FARMINGTON – The Arts Institute of Western Maine will present cellist Katie Kennedy and friends in an evening of chamber music old and new at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at the University of Maine at Farmington.

The Uncanny Valley, a new cello-percussion duo made up of Kennedy and Bill Solomon, will perform pieces for this unlikely combination of instruments, including a work by UMF faculty member Phil Carlsen.

The Uncanny Valley combines the diverse sounds of exotic percussion instruments with the rich voice of the cello. The duo is also expanding its repertoire, soliciting works from up-and-coming young composers, including New England natives Stephen Bathory-Peeler and Phil Salathe. Bathory-Peeler drew inspiration for his piece from the final movement of Messiaen’s Quartet of the End of Time, while Salathe’s “Ajandek” is a study in dark humor and mystery.

The Uncanny Valley will also play Vivian Fine’s ground-breaking Divertimento of 1951, and Solomon will double as composer, performing an original work on an instrument of his own creation.

The concert will also feature Carlsen’s evocative 1971 work, “Totem,” which evokes Native American drumming and sounds of nature in five contrasting movements. Carlsen has received many commissions and awards from the Maine Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts as well as other organizations and ensembles.

The program will conclude with Mendelssohn’s much-loved Piano Trio in D Minor performed by violinist Sarah Washburn, pianist Chiharu Naruse and cellist Katie Kennedy. An expansive masterpiece, this composition is filled with lush themes reminiscent of Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words.” The romantic dialogue between violin and cello is elaborated upon by the intricate, filigreed piano part.

Franklin County natives, Kennedy and Washburn began playing string quartets together while high-school students at Dirigo and Mt. Blue. Now established professional musicians, they return to Farmington together to play in one of their favorite halls. As a founding member of the West End String Quartet, Washburn has performed across the Northeast and at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. Kennedy plays in ensembles across New England and has performed at the Smithsonian Institute, at castles and coffee shops across Europe and for thousands of schoolchildren.

A Hallowell resident, Naruse graduated from the prestigious Hanns Eisler Academy in Berlin and is in demand across the state as a collaborator, soloist and teacher.

Kennedy and Naruse have performed frequently together at Nordica as well as in concert series at the Portland Conservatory, Trinity Church and St. Luke’s in Portland.

Solomon, a doctoral candidate at the Hartt School, has performed Bang on a Can Marathon, Quixotic Performance Fusion and Sequenza21 and has received many awards, including second prize at the National MTNA competition.

Admission for this concert in Nordica Auditorium is $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens and free for anyone 16 or younger. For more information, call 645-2157


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