Music News & Reviews

Highly accessorized opening to Chamber Fest main stage shows

Triptych is Matt Ulery, Zach Brock and Jon Deitmyer.
Triptych is Matt Ulery, Zach Brock and Jon Deitmyer.

The following is a quick check list of items normally not associated with a chamber music concert: Amplifiers. Pedal effects. A drum kit. Oh, yes – and red shoelaces.

Actually, all of the above were accoutrements to perhaps an even more unlikely component within Wednesday night’s first of three mainstage concerts in this year’s Chamber Music Festival of Lexington at the Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center: jazz. Yet these trappings were quite unobtrusive (with the possible exception of the shoelaces) within a very engaging set by Triptych, a jazz trio that boasted artist-in-residence (Lexington native and he of the shoelaces) Zach Brock on violin, composer-in-residence Matt Ulery on bass and Jon Deitmyer on drums.

Deviating somewhat from the announced program (Ulery’s “Nightshade” was jettisoned), the trio embraced a sound full of exquisite reserve, especially on Brock’s part. He and Ulery may have employed modest amplification (including Brock’s subtle use of effects), but their combined sound possessed a light, organic tone that was alternately playful and pensive in the opening “Sweet Bitter,” the more chamber-esque coupling of violin and bowed bass that triggered a brief improvisation and the contours of Ulery’s bass work that shifted from an assured rhythmic bounce to strides of boppish cool during “Kentucky Animal Orchestra.”

The rest of the program was impressively diverse. Violinist and festival artistic director Nathan Cole came out discreetly swinging on Maurice Ravel’s “Sonata No. 2 in G Major,” displaying often astonishing dynamics alongside pianist Alessio Bax. Speaking of dynamics, ensemble-in-residence Windsync provided Miguel del Aguila’s “Quintet No. 2 for Winds” with a rich, varied vocabulary of animated runs and puncture-liked percussion formed on the mouthpieces of their instruments. At times, even a group vocal hum was added to accent the soundscape.

The concert’s second half was devoted exclusively to Franz Schubert’s “String Quartet No.13 in A Minor, Opus 29 (Rosamunde) that perhaps played more to crowd expectations. While violinist Akiko Tarumoto nicely led several, folk-like passages, the composition and its performance relied on remarkable ensemble execution and an ability to color it with grace, delicacy and effortless drama.

The festival continues Thursday night at Al’s Bar and returns to the Pam Miller center Friday and Sunday.

If you go

Chamber Music Festival of Lexington

Performing: Matt Ulery (composer-in-residence, bassist); Zach Brock (artist-in-residence, violin); Triptych (trio of Ulery, Brock and drummer Jon Deitemyer); violinists Nathan Cole and Akiko Tarumoto, violist Burchard Tang, cellist Priscilla Lee and pianist Alessio Bax (Festival core artists)

Where: Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center, 141 E. Main St., and Al’s Bar, 601 N. Limestone

When: Aug. 30-Sept. 3

Tickets: $15 students, $35 adults (Sept. 1, Sept. 3); $15 (Aug. 31)

Call: 859-425- 2550


The programs

Aug. 31: Cabaret concert featuring all Chamber Festival artists. 7:30 p.m. at Al’s Bar. $15 at the door.

Sept. 1: Main stage concert II: Haydn’s “String Quartet No. 4 in B-flat, ‘Sunrise;’” Faure’s “Piano Quartet No. 2 in G Minor”; world premiere of Matt Ulery’s “Become Giant.” (7:30 p.m., Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center).

Sept. 3: Main stage concert III: Ravel’s “String Quartet in F Major”; Matt Ulery’s “Hubble,” and Shostakovich’s “Piano Quintet in G Minor.” (2 p.m., Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center).