South Carolina Philharmonic


June 24, 2011

Philharmonic faces Conundrum

A South Carolina Philharmonic quintet faces West Columbia’s intimate new Conundrum Music Hall with a casual, eclectic concert on Friday, July 22 at 9 p.m.

Music Director Morihiko Nakahara is excited about presenting the “Classical Conundrum” program inspired by hip-hop, pop, bluegrass, Middle-Eastern and gypsy music, among others.

“We’re presenting a wide variety of music in a remarkably intimate setting compared to our regular home at the Koger, aiming at a non-traditional audience in some ways but also the portion of our established audience that enjoys off-the-beaten-path rep,” Nakahara said.

Doors open at 8 p.m. for the 9 p.m. concert at Conundrum Music Hall (626 Meeting Street, West Columbia). The 99-seat hall opened June 18 and caters to eclectic musical tastes. The SCP quintet’s program fits right in, with selections from known composers like Astor Piazzolla (tango), Shostakovich (polka) and Mark O’Connor (bluegrass) planned. Also featured are Hamza El Din and Alexandra Vrebalov, two composers whose works were written for and recorded by the groundbreaking, genre-bending Kronos Quartet. Egyptian-born El Din performed with the Grateful Dead, and his early performances of Nubian folk music influenced the likes of  Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.

“We all talk about the 'Famously Hot' part of  Columbia's slogan, but the fact that we have a strong support for new music (as evidenced by the level of enthusiasm shown for our programming, Southern Exposure, 21Sounds and the Upton Trio) highlights how 'Surprisingly Cool' Columbia truly is."

-Music Director Morihiko Nakahara

The local music scene (see sidebar, right) is represented as well, with works by USC School of Music faculty John Fitz Rogers and George Fetner (also of the band Pinna) and SCP Concertmaster Mary Lee Taylor Kinosian presented on the program.

Kinosian joins the quintet on violin. Assistant Concertmaster Ashley Horvat, Principal Viola Jarrod Haning, Principal Cello Dusan Vukajlovic, and Principal Percussion Chris Lee on djembe round out the ensemble.

“This program allows our musicians to explore the kind of repertoire they don’t often play,” Nakahara said.

Tickets are $8 at the door. Beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks are available, and unlike the typical SCP concert, patrons are encouraged to enjoy them during the concert.

Thoughts by Morihiko

“I'm not a big fan of the word ‘fusion’ when it comes to restaurants (so many bland ‘Asian fusion’ experiences in my life), but in this sense of ‘Classical fusion,’ it describes this vast, exciting, and fun world of music today where the different worlds collide (classical concert music with vernacular idiom, be it hip-hop, world music, rock, whatever). Of course, this has always been the case. Composers like Mozart and Beethoven were keenly aware of popular/vernacular forms of music in their day and incorporated them into their styles. People on the program like DBR (Daniel Bernard Roumain, not PBR), and John Mackey are doing exactly that today. After all, it's not really that much of a ‘conundrum,’ just acknowledging the obvious and natural.“


Jason Rapp, Communications Director
721 Lady Street, Suite B, Columbia SC 29201
(P) 803.771.7937   (F) 803.771.0268

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