Arts and Culture / News

Boston chamber orchestra makes A Far Cry at Newman Center

A Far Cry performs works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and Gabriela Lena Frank Feb. 8 at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts. Photo: Yoon Byun

Music has long been heralded for its power to bring people together, but the Boston-based chamber orchestra A Far Cry takes the idea of musical community to a whole new level. The collaborative group of 16 young string players performs without a conductor, connects with fans via blogs and online videos and lets the public peer in on rehearsals in its storefront headquarters in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood.

“They’re all young musicians, they’re only two or three years out of New England Conservatory, and they decided they wanted to create their own ensemble and run their own business their own way,” says Steve Seifert, executive director of DU’s Newman Center for the Performing Arts. “It’s a conductorless chamber orchestra, and I support that kind of enterprise by young musicians.”

Seifert’s support came in the form of booking A Far Cry to perform Feb. 8 at the Newman Center. Performing in collaboration with noted classical pianist Joel Fan, the group will present its Celestial Rite program, featuring works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Dvorak, plus “Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout,” by American composer Gabriela Lena Frank. The six-movement suite explores Frank’s roots (her father is from Brooklyn, N.Y., and her mother is from Peru) and mixes elements from Western classical and Andean folk music traditions.

It’s a unique and challenging piece, and A Far Cry teamed up with Boston’s Cambridge Studios to document their rehearsal process for the work. The resulting video demonstrates how hard the orchestra members work on a piece, and how much passion they have for the music they’re performing.

“These musicians play wonderfully together,” Jeremy Eichler of The Boston Globe wrote in a 2009 review. “They have forged a group sound that is both tightly unified but also flexible and nuanced, cohesive yet without any sense of forced unanimity. … And it seems relevant to report that the musicians appeared to be having a ball on stage, smiles darting between sections like 16th notes.”

A Far Cry and Joel Fan perform at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 in DU’s Newman Center, 2344 E. Iliff Ave. A free “Behind the Curtain” lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $32–$48; visit for tickets and more information.

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