Bach Around the Clock

CMW’s Annual Celebration of Bach
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!









Pardon the nerd talk to follow, but Bach’s works are catalogued by their BWV number or, their Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (Bach Works Catalogue in ‘merican), so our events will each have their own BWV number.


BWV 1: CMW Players at Providence College
Kickoff is on October 31 at 4pm at the Ryan Concert Hall at Providence College with a program of Bach, Vivaldi and Piazzolla. CMW students Heather Argueta and Alana Perez will be featured in the iconic first movement of Bach’s Double Concerto for 2 Violins while Karl Oung and Ruby Espinoza will play the beautiful second movement from the Vivaldi Double Concerto for 2 Cellos.

Following the concertos will be this year’s Bach cantata, Widerstehe doch der Sünde (Just Resist Sin) BWV 54, featuring our long-time friend, the inimitable Fred Jodry, who will be strapping on his counter-tenor pipes for the occasion. As Fred will not be playing and singing simultaneously Billy Joel style (though he is quite good at it), a new musical friend and colleague, harpsichordist Catherine Gordon-Seifert will be joining us for this concert as well.

After the Cantata will be a fun experiment of contrasting two of Vivaldi’s Seasons with two of Astor Piazzolla’s Seasons of Buenos Aires featuring new CMW fellows Josie Davis, Kate Outterbridge as well as the old-guard of Minna Choi and Jesse Holstein.


This being Halloween, please come in costume! Extra credit will go to Bach themed costumes or costumes with the word Bach or some derivation of Bach as part of the ensemble. Examples are Baby Bok Choy, Chewbacca, Burt Bacharach, baby Bach ribs, etc.

CMW Players at Providence College
Saturday, October 31 at 4pm
Ryan Concert Hall, Smith Center for the Arts
Admission is free
Map and Directions 


BWV 2: CMW Players at the John Carter Brown Library
The following day, Sunday, November 1 at 2pm, is the ever-popular concert at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. On the menu is the same program as the previous day. Also, the Patriots are playing the Thursday night game that week so no conflicts with that. The concert is free but a reservation is required and spots are limited!

CMW Players at the John Carter Brown Library
Sunday, November 1 at 2pm
94 George Street, Providence
This concert is sold out.


BWV 3: Bach Around Town
From Monday, November 2nd until Friday, November 6th there will be pop-up, guerrilla-style performances around the city at various restaurants, cafes, bookstores, and other venues. Please consult the CMW website for times and places.


Perhaps you’ll witness a gorilla-guerilla Bach performance!

Bach Around Town

Tuesday, November 3
Noon: Providence Public Library–Minna Choi
Noon:  Elmwood Retirement Home–Josie Davis and Kate Outterbridge
7:15pm: CAV restaurant, 14 Imperial Place, Providence–Lisa Barksdale

Wednesday, November 4
Noon: Cafe La France, Amtrak Station, Providence–Sebastian Ruth
Noon: City Hall–Minna Choi
4pm:  Olneyville Public Library–CMW student Aaron Grijalva and Hannah Ross

Thursday, November 5
Noon: State House Rotunda–Chase Spruill and Lisa Barksdale
1pm:  Providence Place Mall/Macy’s–Chase Spruill and Lisa Barksdale


BWV 4: CMW Players at La Lupita
Thursday, November 5th at 7pm marks our third Inhabit Event at La Lupita Tacos Mexicanos. Come have some free food and listen to more Bach and other related works in our favorite local taqueria.

lalupitaArrive early for the pre-concert talk-o. 

Inhabit Event at La Lupita Tacos Mexicanos
Thursday, November 5, 7pm
1950 Westminster Street, Providence RI 02909
Map and Directions


BWV 5: Bach Marathon
Next up is the return of “Bach to the Future”-the wild and crazy All-Night Bach Marathon! Bring your pillow and sleeping bag to Manning Chapel at Brown and snuggle up to hear all things Bach and Bach inspired. The concert will feature CMW staff, friends, guests, and all sorts of interesting creatures.

7pm: Welcome
7:15: Sara Stalnaker (cello)
7:35: RISD PIGEON COOP (Bevin Kelley & Luke Moldof)
7:55: Josie Davis & Colin Wheatley (violin duo)
8:00: Matt McLaren (of Barnacled / the Eyesores)
8:15: Josie Davis (violin)
8:25: Houseboy (Reba Mitchell & Dylan Going)
8:45: Adrienne Taylor (cello)
9:00: Andrius Zlabys (piano)
9:25: Ben Eberle (of Sandworm / Clean)
9:40: Morgan Evans-Weiler
10:00: Vinny Bucci (viola)
10:05: Brendan Glasson (of Vio/Mire)
10:20: Assembly of Light Choir
10:30: Heath Marlow & Laura Cetilia (cello)
10:45: Vic Rawlings
11:10: Minna Choi (violin)
11:30: La Neve (Joey DeFrancesco of Downtown Boys / Malportado Kids)
11:35: Jake Meginsky
12:00: Ealain McMullin (violin)
12:10: JJB Buckmaster (of the Terribles / Dungeoneers)
12:30: Donny Shaw (of Fat Worm of Error)
1:00: Hannah Ross (viola)
1:10: Isabella Koen
1:40: Joe DeGeorge 1
1:55: Dan Talbot
2:10: Michael Unterman (cello)
2:35: Jeremy Harris (Xerome / Lazy Magnet)
2:50: Thorns (Tayla)
3:05: Kate Outterbridge (violin)
3:20: Alexis Nelson (viola)
3:30: James Falzone
3:45: Joe DeGeorge 2
4:00: Lisa Barksdale (violin)
4:25: Low Bun (Rachel Lewallen & Francesca Caruso)
4:40: Jacob Berendes
4:55: Matt Underwood
5:10: Sebastian Ruth (viola)
5:20: Kristin Hayter
5:45: Betsy Hinkle (violin)
6:15: Work/Death

Link to the Bach to the Future Facebook page here.

Bach to the Future III-The All-Night Bach Marathon!
Friday, November 6, 7pm until Saturday, November 7, 7am
Manning Chapel at Brown University
69 Brown Street, Providence RI 02906



BWV 6: CMW Musicians with the Festival Ballet
CMW musicians Hannah Ross, viola, and Adrienne Taylor, cello, perform solo works of Bach in a collaboration with the Festival Ballet’s “Up Close on Hope” Series.

November 13, 14, 20, 21 and 22
FBP Black Box Theatre
825 Hope Street, Providence

Information and tickets here.

Come celebrate with us and check out some Bach!

–Jesse Holstein
Associate Director and Senior Resident Musician



In Her Honor and in Her Footsteps: Remembering Liz Hollander


Our dear friend, mentor, and long-time leader of Community MusicWorks, Liz Hollander, has passed away.

I met Liz in 1999 after a chance meeting with Vartan Gregorian, the past president of Brown, who suggested that Liz would want to know about Community MusicWorks. I called Liz, she took me to lunch, and so began a sixteen-year friendship that would lead to her becoming a central figure in the growth and life of Community MusicWorks.

Liz joined the Community MusicWorks board in 2005, worked closely with Karen Romer, our then President, including chairing the strategic planning committee that produced CMW’s 2010 strategic plan, and served as President for four years.

Liz “got it,” as she would say, and helped other people “get it” too. At one point we were sitting with a potential supporter who didn’t seem to understand that CMW was about students and professional chamber musicians, and didn’t understand how the two groups were related. She said, “think of it as socially responsible chamber music. Right?!”

Then there was her manner—forthright, determined, focused, combined with a bright smile and easy laughter. Part of this style was the speed of her intellect. Liz would be sitting in a board meeting with her needlepoint, looking at her stitching and listening to a presentation, and then pick her head up and say, “Sebastian, we need to emphasize that it’s about social justice, and we need to get to the black preachers, because they’re the ones who have the ear of people, right?” And then that look—raised eyebrows, nodding, waiting for you to see the conclusion she had reached so quickly! And that’s the thing—she was right. Then she was ready for the next item of business.

Liz set up the board buddy system, and she paired herself with Kirby Vasquez as her board buddy—our beloved student cellist who, with Liz’s mentoring, became an awesome role model and leader among students.

Liz’s frank, honest warmth worked with anyone sitting in front of her—a CMW parent or student, a staff member, a donor, or a national foundation representative. I remember sitting with Karen and Liz at the Mellon Foundation in New York in 2007, explaining CMW to the five foundation officers sitting around the mahogany conference table. Liz, with total ease, said to them “and you know what’s really amazing to me about this is that the musicians are making their careers doing this. It’s really a model for our communities and for musicians around the country.”  (We got the grant.)

One of the many people who thought of Liz as a central mentor was Michelle Obama. Liz served on her board when Michelle was running the Chicago Public Allies office, and they remained connected in Michelle’s subsequent work at the University of Chicago. When the Obamas won the election, Liz served on a transition committee for service and helped write plans for the first administration. But she was disappointed that there was no easy way to get a message to Michelle to congratulate her.

Although Liz didn’t once ask, I knew it would be great fun to somehow pass along a message when CMW won the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the First Lady in 2010. We were instructed in the protocols meetings before going to the White House that we were not to speak to the First Lady, but just to shake her hand, say thank you, and accept the award. However, being who she is, the First Lady was warm and inviting with everyone, and I decided to use my 15 seconds on stage for a quick comment. When shaking her hand I said that Liz Hollander sent her greetings, and that she was our Board President. The First Lady smiled a huge smile and said, “I should have known Liz was behind this! Send her my love!”

Community MusicWorks is indebted to you, Liz, for the incredible blessing of mentorship, leadership, and example-setting. We weren’t finished learning from you, but we will keep on working toward beauty and justice in this world in your honor, and in your footsteps.

–Sebastian Ruth

Read this wonderful piece about Liz in the Chicago Sun-Times

Please join friends and family in a memorial service for Liz on Friday, Nov. 20 at 1pm
Temple Beth El
70 Orchard Avenue


Photo of Liz Hollander by Jori Ketten

Not Far From the Tree: Updates from Friends and Fellows

This post kicks off a new blog series!  In these “Not Far From The Tree” posts we’ll be reporting updates on the current activities of former fellows, IMPS participants, and CMW alums.


This week we caught up with Annalisa Boerner, the CMW Viola Fellow from 2012-14. This past June, she accepted a position as Resident Violist at Music Haven, a similar program in New Haven, CT. This handy chart compares her experiences at CMW with the past six weeks’ experiences at Music Haven.  Click the diagram for a closer look!


Fellowship 2016-2018: Calling all Cellists/Violists!


Community MusicWorks is now accepting viola and cello applications for the 2016-2018 Fellowship Program!

The Fellowship Program is a two-year intensive immersion that gives career-bound musicians the experience of participating in the Community MusicWorks model. This model is an ongoing experiment of a brand of musicianship where careers braid together strands of performance, education, community building and reflective practice.

Read the full description for the Fellowship position here:
Fellowship 2016-2018 Posting

Find the application here:
Fellowship 2016 application

Deadline for applications is December 1, 2015.


Community MusicWorks Season Nineteen: Musicians at Work

Over Community MusicWorks’ nearly two decades, we have experimented with a new brand of musicianship, where our careers are about braiding together the strands of performance, teaching, community building, and reflective practice, with the conviction that the combination is valuable for artists and valuable for our communities.

In this nineteenth season, we are launching an ambitious strategic plan that recommits to this vision, and sets many exciting goals for the coming five years. But as we look ahead, we also look back at the important traditions that precede our work.

In the 1930s, for instance, the United States implemented various programs to pull the country out of the Great Depression. Because of the familiar plaques that still adorn sidewalks, park buildings, and post offices, it’s easy to remember that the Works Progress Administration (WPA), as one of these initiatives, accomplished a great number of infrastructure improvements in that decade.

But less visible eighty years later are the arts projects funded through the WPA: iconic public murals, orchestras, theaters and community arts centers aimed to make arts experiences an integral part of American life, and accessible to everyone.

The administrators of the WPA programs promoted the belief that art and artists were central to a healthy country. In this spirit, President Roosevelt expressed the belief that the American dream relied both on economic and social justice, and on people having access to cultural enrichment. Fundamentally, he thought, the country could not be whole without people—and not just the rich—having access to arts and culture.

At CMW, like in the WPA, we employ musicians to make their work in the context of a community, with the clear goal of building an inclusive society that comes together around experiences in the arts.

This season we celebrate this tradition through music and discussions. We explore themes of social justice with our students, our community members and our city. We feature our musicians’ solo and collective voices through the Sonata Series, fall concerts of Vivaldi and Piazzolla concertos, a spring performance of a twentieth century cello masterpiece, and sonatas and partitas in our Bach Around Town performances.

Also this season we celebrate artistic collaborations, including a first with Festival Ballet in the company’s “Up Close on Hope” series; with the Rhode Island Black Storytellers for a reprise performance of the new “Twelve Moods” by Jessie Montgomery; and a return of the Bach to the Future overnight Bach marathon, curated by Sakiko Mori. We continue our collaboration with the RISD Museum to present a multimedia experience combining the sculpture of British artist Martin Boyce with music that traces themes in popular music from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries. And these concerts are just a few among a rich season of musical voices from Haydn to Brahms to the Polish composer Wojciech Kilar.

Thank you for joining us, for participating in the ongoing experiment to bring together artistry and community, to expand access and to ensure all people can participate in the joy of making this a thriving community.

–Sebastian Ruth
Founder & Artistic Director

Click here to view our Season 19 calendar

Photo by Stephanie Alvarez Ewens