Phase II retreat


This weekend I went on the Phase II retreat with CMW. I hadn't really gotten the opportunity to play with other kids all summer long. I had kind of forgotten how exciting and fun and beautiful it can be. I'm so happy that I've been able to go this weekend.

-August Packard, Phase II



This weekend was a Phase II retreat at Camp Aldersgate. I think the best part of Phase II and CMW in general is just how much fun we can have making music together anytime, anyplace. This retreat I was reminded how great that aspect of this community is. While around the campfire we sang songs, jammed on our instruments, and told stories, and I can already tell that it's going to be another fantastic year.

-Liam Hopkins, Phase II


Three Caryatids

If you've been to the third floor of CMW headquarters, you've probably seen the beautiful and abstract painting and prints by Providence-based artist (and CMW Honorary Board Member) Irene Lawrence.


Irene is a celebrated artist and passionate amateur musician, who has donated works of art to CMW to build our collection of inspiring artworks. This season, her "Three Caryatids" will be featured in some photos of the CMW Players. Stop by sometime to see this large-scale work, or to view her "Quartet" of lithographs, created to celebrate the Providence String Quartet's role in CMW and the City of Providence.

-Sebastian Ruth, Founder & Artistic Director

15 years and still experimenting

Okay, it’s time to preview the concert season that awaits you! This year, to celebrate our 15th season, we are experimenting with a different kind of concert programming. In recognition of the fact that our original band of four musicians has grown to a community of ten, we have planned a season this year centered on the multiple combinations that can be formed with a roster of ten string musicians in residence. What does this mean? 

For starters, the Providence String Quartet will take a sabbatical season. We’ve been working hard for ten years, and we’re ready to take a breather to explore pieces of music and different ensemble configurations that we’ve been wanting to explore. Jesse, Sara, Minna, and I, along with our six colleagues, brainstormed a varied mix of pieces to play and we’re feeling excited for the possibilities that await us this season!

What will you hear? For one, we have a Bela Bartok theme in our programming this year, which will feature, along with many great works of chamber music, all 44 Bartok Violin Duos. These are brilliant short works, each based on a different Eastern European folk song, that progress in level of difficulty from the first to the last. Performing the whole set over the course of the season gives us the opportunity to showcase the concept of CMW’s mission—you’ll hear students performing with students, students performing with their teachers, our resident musicians performing with each other, and guest artists mixing in as well. Expect many Bartok treats (performed on cello and viola too!).

Also this year, we’ll feature three guest artist residencies, in which musicians will come to Providence for a week or two to add something special to our roster of string players, including Frank Rosenwein, principal oboist of The Cleveland Orchestra; pianist Knut Erik Jensen, a wonderful Norwegian musician living in California; and our dear friends pianist Amy Cheng and clarinetist Chad Burrow, who will be returning for their third concert collaboration with us (the first being back in 2001).

A few other fun features of this season to look out for include:

•    a Bach festival in November that we’re calling “Bach and Beyond,” because it will feature J. S. Bach as well as works inspired by J. S. Bach
•    a sonata series, on which our musicians will play intimate programs of works for solo string instruments with piano, with several different pianists joining us throughout the season
•    a chamber orchestra collaboration with our friends at Music Haven in New Haven, Connecticut, who have been successfully putting the CMW model into practice there for five years
•    an exploration of four of Franz Joseph Haydn’s six “Sun” string quartets, comprised of our resident musicians in various combinations
•    a new string quartet by Providence-based composer Shep Shapiro
•    a season-ending 15th year reunion concert bringing back musicians who’ve been part of CMW over our history. (Anyone remember the 10th season reunion concert weekend?)

We’re looking forward to this eclectic season of music and musicians, and we look forward to seeing you at concerts along the way!

-Sebastian Ruth, Founder & Artistic Director

15th season key dates

It will take a little while for all of this season's information to make its way to our website calendar page and eventually into your mailbox via the US Postal Service. In the interim, if you like to plan ahead, here are some key dates to save.

15th Season Public Events (as of Sept. 10)

September 13, 5:30-6:30 pm: Open rehearsal and sidewalk reception (rain date: Sept. 15)

October 22, 6:00 pm: Free community dinner and concert featuring the CMW Players with special guest, the Cecilia String Quartet (winner of the 2010 Banff International String Quartet Competition)

Cecilia String Quartet

October 27, 7:30 pm: Sonata series event (Brahms and Prokofiev)

November 3, 7:00 pm: Bela Bartok's Divertimento for Strings in performance and discussion, presented by The Providence Athenaeum (during CMW's November 3-13 "Bach and Beyond" festival)

November 6, 4:00 pm: CMW Players and Haven String Quartet (quartet-in-residence for Music Haven) perform works by Bach, Dvorak, and Bartok (during CMW's November 3-13 "Bach and Beyond" festival)

Haven quartet
Haven String Quartet

November 12, 5:00 pm: CMW Players with Fred Jodry, harpsichord, presented by the John Carter Brown Library performing music by Bach (during CMW's November 3-13 "Bach and Beyond" festival)

Fred Jodry

November 13, 4:00 pm: CMW Players with Fred Jodry, harpsichord, at the Bell Street Chapel performing music by Bach (during CMW's November 3-13 "Bach and Beyond" festival)

November 18-19: CMW and Brown University's Cogut Center for the Humanities co-present a conference on Music and Civil Society (details tba)

December 6-11: Residency by Frank Rosenwein, prinicipal oboist of The Cleveland Orchestra. Performing activities on December 8 (7 pm Providence Athenaeum), 10 (4 pm Brown's Cogut Center), and 11 (4 pm West Side loft)

Frank Rosenwein

January 21, 3:00 pm: Performance Party featuring CMW students and teachers

January 26, 7:30 pm: Sonata series event (details tba)

February 2, time tba: Fellows Quartet performance at John Hope Settlement House

February 5, 2:00 pm: Fellows Quartet performing works by Haydn and Bartok, presented by Roger Williams University (Bristol)

February 27-March 11: Residency by Knut Erik Jensen, pianist, including performing activities on March 8, 10, and 11 (4 pm free concert presented by Temple Beth-El)

Knut Erik Jensen

March 18, 3:00 pm: Sonata series event (details tba)

March 23, 8:00 pm: CMW and CTRL+ALT+REPEAT co-present an evening of new music (details tba)

March 30, 7:00 pm: Youth Salon featuring CMW students and teachers

March 31, time tba: CMW presents touring musicians from the Ravinia Festival's Steans Music Institute, including violinist Miriam Fried, performing Schubert's string Quintet in C Major (fundraising event)

Miriam Fried

April 8, 2:00 pm: Annual Fred Kelley Memorial Concert at the Bell Street Chapel featuring the Brahms Piano Quartet in A Major with guest artists Jeff Louie, piano, and Dmitry Kustanovich, viola

April 12, 7:30 pm: Sonata series event (details tba)

May 1-6: Residency by Duo Clarion (Chad Burrow and Amy Cheng), including performing activities on May 3 (7:30 pm at the Music Mansion), May 5 (details tbd), and May 6 (2 pm concert presented by Trinity Church in Newport)

Amy and chad
Duo Clarion: Chad Burrow (clarinet) and Amy Cheng (piano)

May 19: Performance Party featuring CMW students and teachers

May 20: 2nd annual Jonathan
Biss all-Beethoven piano recital (fundraising event) note date change

Jonathan Biss

June 9-10: 15th season reunion concerts (details tbd)

Of course, details–including time and location–are subject to change over the course of the season. Please visit CMW's calendar page for the most accurate information.

-Heath Marlow, Managing Director

Neighbors helping neighbors


An interview with Sebastian was featured recently in String Visions, the online "contemporary resource center for the 21st century classical musician" created by Ovation Press.

Philosophically there is an orientation that I think is very important. And that is, consider very carefully what role you have in the community, in any community setting. Consider what people’s perceptions are of you, and of classical musicians. Don’t assume that you will be embraced as offering a good thing. And be very conscious to think about how your interests and the interests of people living in the community you want to work in align.

You can read more here and listen to audio clips. Find Part Two of the interview here.