A performance ensemble engaged in a joyous pursuit
to investigate and invigorate the harmony of music and the spoken word
Pawtucket, RI (August 23, 2022)—Aurea Ensemble presents its first concert of the season, Eating Poetry, an immersive performance of music and poetry on Monday, September 12, 2022, at the Pawtucket Arts Festival, Veteran’s Memorial Amphitheater, 175 Roosevelt Avenue, Pawtucket, RI. Admission is free.
The title, Eating Poetry, refers to two poems in the program that span eight centuries. One is by the 13th century Persian poet, Rumi, and the other by the contemporary American poet, the late Mark Strand. It also symbolizes the absolute essentialness of art, from ancient times and distant cultures to the present, and their great overarching connections.
This project has been full of new discoveries for Aurea. Opening with the words of Enheduanna, a 23rd century BC Sumerian high priestess and the earliest known poet in the world, the performance threads seamlessly through time and space, communing through the ages. The concert will also celebrate the chamber music of Rebecca Clarke, José Elizondo, and Ernst von Dohnanyi, with soaring harmonica improvisations of Chris Turner and readings from Pawtucket’s own, Nigel Gore.
About the Aurea Ensemble
Based in Rhode Island and founded more than 15-years ago, this eclectic chamber ensemble explores the relationship between music and the spoken word. The group takes its name from Catena Aurea Homeri, or the Golden Chain of Homer, a symbol of 18th century esoteric alchemy—the combining of disparate elements into a divine new element. This is the very definition of every Aurea event: a new kind of artistic experience is created out of the group’s strong framework of classical, folk and contemporary music performed together with eloquent poetry, journals and prose.
Consuelo Sherba, violist, has been on the applied music faculty at Brown University since 1986, teaches at the RI Philharmonic Music School and performs with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, The Vermont Symphony and Buzzard’s Bay Music Festival. She has served as principal violist of the Simon Sinfonietta and the Boston Virtuosi, and has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the Boston Pops, Grand Teton Music Festival, the Carvalho Festival in Brazil, the Aspen Music Festival, and Colorado Music Festival. She was also a member of the Atlanta Chamber Players, principal violist of the Atlanta Chamber Orchestra, Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, and the West Virginia Symphony. From 1983-2000, Consuelo was violist of the Charleston String Quartet, in residence at Brown University, performing with the quartet throughout the United States, Europe and Scandinavia. Consuelo is artistic director and a founding member of the performance ensemble Aurea. Since 2004, she has performed with Aurea at the Chicago Humanities Festival, the New York University Humanities Festival, FirstWorks Providence, the Pawtucket Arts Festival, the Maverick Festival and throughout New England. She is a 2015 honoree of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities for her creative vision and multidisciplinary, humanities-driven programming with Aurea.
Alexey Shabalin, violin, is a Professor of Music at Rhode Island College. He has been Artist-Director of the Rhode Island Youth Philharmonic Orchestras Since 2003. He also founded and conducts the Rhode Island Youth Soloists, a chamber orchestra of the top string players. For several years, Shabalin has been the assistant conductor and strings coach of the MIT Symphony. He coaches chamber music at Brown University. At Providence College, he conducts the symphony orchestra, coaches violin and chamber groups, and teaches music theory. In 2005, the Siemens Foundation appointed Shabalinas Artistic Director to select talented students from elite colleges around the country. He created a concert in New York City featuring an eclectic mix of pieces by these young performers. Currently, he is a member of the Rhode Island Philharmonic. Shabalingraduated from Moscow Conservatory in 1995, having studied with Professors Igor Besrodny and Alexander Melkinov. As a student he won third prize in the Soviet national string quartet competition in 1991. During the same year he was a semifinalist in the International Shostakovich Chamber Music Competition. In 1995 he won the “Best Violinist in a Duet” category in the International Bashmet Competition in Moscow. From 1992 to 1996, Shabalin toured with the world-renowned Moscow Soloists Chamber Orchestra. In 1995 the group gave the second performance ever held of Mozart’s newly unearthed Triple Concerto, with Shabalin playing the solo violin part. In recognition of his talent, he was allowed to perform on a priceless Stradivarius violin owned by the Russian government. He moved to the United States in 1996 and has since played in many orchestras and chamber groups.
Emmanuel Feldman, cello
Hailed by John Williams, Grammy award winning composer and conductor as “an outstanding cellist and truly dedicated artist,” Emmanuel Feldman enjoys an active career as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, champion and commissioner of new music and educator. With a repertoire ranging from Bach to Ligeti to today’s cutting-edge composers, Feldman has concertized throughout Europe and North America. He has performed as soloist with the Boston Pops, Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Greensboro Festival Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, New England String Ensemble and many others. An avid chamber musician, he was invited to participate in the Marlboro Music Festival and has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Richard Stoltzman, Gilbert Kalish, Robert Levin, Joy Cline-Phinney, Victor Rosenbaum, Jorge Bolet, Lynn Chang, Marcus Thompson, the Borromeo String Quartet, Aurea Ensemble and soloed with world renowned pop and jazz artist Bobby McFerrin in music from McFerrin’s album “Hush.”
Following his debut in 2006 on the Bank of America Marquee Celebrity Series, Richard Dyer of the Boston Globe wrote “Emmanuel Feldman was superb in the Bach Solo Suites.” His solo CD on Albany Records, Rider on The Plains, featuring Virgil Thomson’s Cello Concerto, was part of producer Blanton Alspaugh’s 2008 nomination for a Grammy award (Producer of the Year) and was hailed as an “excellent recording…the concerto sounds exhilarating in this bracing and confident performance” by Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times. He has also recorded chamber music on the Naxos, Arsis, Zimbel and other labels. A consummate advocate of new music, Feldman has participated in premieres and first recordings of numerous new compositions by composers Richard Danielpour, Michael Gandolfi, John Harbison, Aaron Kernis, David Diamond, Charles Fussell, Gunther Schuller, John McDonald, Jan Swafford and many others. As co-founder of Cello e Basso (formerly the Axiom Duo) with double bassist Pascale Delache-Feldman, they have been called “a musical Lewis and Clark, opening up new musical territories” by NPR’s Ron Schacter and are dedicated to bringing new music and new musical experiences to audiences worldwide.
Feldman has participated in the Pablo Casals Festival, Schlesswig Holstein Musik Festival and was a faculty member at the Yellow Barn Music Festival, the Killington Music Festival and the Summit Music Festival.
Chris Turner – harmonica, spoken word
Harmonica virtuoso, Chris Turner was born into a musical family in London, England, and learned harmonica and recorder as a child. He has been playing professionally since 1967, working in a variety of idioms including Folk, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country, Early and Avantgarde music. While traveling extensively in Europe and Africa, he assimilated many different musical styles. Turner studied composition with Christopher Small and improvisation with John Stevens. In 1975, he was recognized for his virtuosity when he was awarded the European Harmonica Championship.
Chris has toured with numerous professional bands and appears on many recordings. He has worked extensively as a composer, music director, and arranger for various theatrical organizations including Rhode Island’s prestigious Trinity Repertory Company, as well as for films, animations, radio and TV.
A unique and very talented stylist on all kinds of harmonicas, Turner is equally at home playing blues, various folk styles, as well as modern classical music. He has premiered and recorded orchestral pieces composed for the harmonica, and has composed and transcribed others himself. Besides a variety of harmonicas, Chris is also proficient on flutes, bagpipes, shawms, keyboards, brass, synthesizers and some percussion. He has appeared as concerto soloist with the Rhode Island Philharmonic and the Ocean State Chamber Orchestra.
Nigel Gore, spoken word
Nigel Gore trained at the Rose Bruford College, UK and at the Trinity Repertory Conservatory in Rhode Island. He received the Eliot Norton Award for Outstanding Actor for his portrayal of George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Publick Theatre in Boston; and the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Richard at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, “Gore’s original interpretation made the Colorado Shakespeare Festival production of Richard III new.”-Westword, Denver.
Most recently he has performed in the World Premiere of Mother of the Maid, Shakespeare & Company; the Bedlam Theatre production of Sense and Sensibility & Seagull, Off-Broadway; Women of Will at the Hague Shakespeare Festival, Netherlands; the San Miguel Allende Writers Conference, Mexico; and the Orlando Shakespeare Theater; as well as Brutus in Julius Caesar, Prague Shakespeare Company and Caesar in Julius Caesar, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. Other roles include Macbeth in Macbeth and Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, 2013. Television includes Thurston Twitchell in seasons 2 and 3 of Brotherhood for Showtime.
With Aurea his roles include Faust in Goethe’s Faust, the role of Hector/Menelaos in the Airea & First Works World Premiere of War Music by Christopher Logue which performed in NYC, Chicago and Providence; and most recently, Sigfried Sassoon in Not About Heroes.
Mr. Gore is a founding member of Aurea and a published poet.