Posted on by jdoerck | Posted in So Forth

Demarre McGill and Kate Hatmaker, Art of Elan founders

Demarre McGill and Kate Hatmaker, Art of Elan founders

May 8, 2012
Art of Elan
San Diego Museum of Art

Art of Elan was founded by Demarre McGill, flutist, and Kate Hatmaker, violinist, a few years ago when they were both new members of the San Diego Symphony. An excellent idea: bringing a wide range of music to us. Their view, with which I completely agree, is “good music is good music.” Demarre is now principal flutist of the Seattle Symphony but returns for the Art of Elan concerts. This concert was a good example of presenting a wide range of music: quartets, Americana band, solo harp. As we entered, music was playing in the background which I discovered was Bon Iver whose newest CD I just downloaded and am listening to as I write. I like them. Who knew? I didn’t know of any of the composers of the night so that another opportunity for elucidation. A string quartet opened the live music with “Spider Dreams” by David Balakrishnan which incorporated bits of blue grass and jazz. The next two pieces were by The Tree Ring, the chamber-inspired project of Joel West, folk artist who sings, plays guitar, pump organ and glockenspiel. The ensemble includes the excellent Kelly Bennett, violin; Darla Haun, drums; Daniel Rhine, bass; and Travis Maril, viola. Impressive and nice to finally get to hear and then with Art of Elan musicians. It was a nice mix-up of performers. Julie Ann Smith played solo harp: “John Riley” by Kati Agocs. I have no idea how this fit into the night but it was a pleasure. Perhaps as the evening was entitled “Americana” and John Riley was a fabled soldier who returns from war to find his love has been true to him (the good ole’ days). The Tree Ring then performed more pieces by Joel P. West. These were sad, soulful songs which expressed life and nature. One of the quartet formations of the night included Demarre, flute; Julia Pautz, violin; Travis Maril, viola and Alex Greenbaum, cello performing “Light Screens” by Andrew Norman. A favorite of the night; incorporating delicacy with verve. The composer, in the program notes said his inspiration came from Frank Lloyd Wright’s glass window designs. No wonder I liked it; I am an architecture/design devotee. The big new world premiere of “Americana” was composed by Jonathan Bailey Holland, the only composer in attendance and a long time college friend of Demarre’s. The Tree Ring and the above quartet performed this gorgeous piece which took all the musicians outside their usual comfort zone which was the goal, crossing all those genre stifling boundaries by combining folk with contemporary classical and it worked really well. The evening ended with “Dreams Where I am Sleeping” by The Tree Ring. The next Art of Elan concert is Oct. 9th. It’s on my calendar.