116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Red Cedar Chamber Music, anchored in the Corridor, wants to circle the globe by bringing the folk music of other cultures to Eastern Iowa audiences.
That effort begins Tuesday, Sept. 20, with the ensemble’s core duo, cellist Carey Bostian and violinist Mira Kim, launching the fall “Fresh Folk” series in Marion’s Uptown Artway.
The Iowa City couple will then travel around Eastern Iowa, bringing their music to senior centers, community sites and libraries for a month, before presenting ticketed MainStage concerts in Cedar Rapids on Oct. 22 and Iowa City on Oct. 23.
Folk music rode a wave of popularity in the mid-20th century. But it’s nothing new, and can be heard woven into the classical music of Beethoven, Dvorak and Bartok, among other Europeans who were writing in the 18th and 19th centuries.
“It really began with a trend towards nationalism,” Bostian said, “and I think that’s related to all the different regions in Europe having their own folk music. …
“I think part of it is an effort to preserve the culture. Dvorak tried to collect a lot of folk music. Bartok and Kodaly traveled the countryside and collected folk music and recorded it. Like, the second wax cylinders started to be used, they were going out and recording folk music, because it’s not written down. And then, they started to preserve the history and honor the history by using (folk) themes in their music.”
Bostian added that even though composers began branching out in many different directions in the mid-20th century, he sees the tide starting to turn, prompting a new long-term vision for Red Cedar Chamber Music.
“People are really considering culture and cultural diversity,” he said, “and that is a really important factor in all aspects of what we do, in terms of programming and in terms of learning.”
The ensemble’s goal is to commission new works from composers of various ethnicities, locales and genders.
“We want to learn about other cultures and we want to present other cultures and explore,” Bostian said.
The first wave of commissioned works, showcased in the upcoming fall concerts, features six composers who have written new settings of folk music from around the world, for violin and cello.
The program begins with a new arrangement of Dvorak’s “Humoresque” by Red Cedar’s composer-in-residence, Michael Kimber. The musical journey continues with the sounds of Brazil, Finland, Scotland, Ukraine, the American West, the Czech Republic and the Philippines.
Most of the pieces are brand-new, while others were written in the recent past, like Warren Gooch’s “Three Fauxmanian Dances,” folk dances from an imaginary world.
Luke Gullickson has set the iconic cowboy song “I’m Leaving Cheyenne (Goodbye, Old Paint)” in a stretched-out minimalist style, Bostian noted. The song is attributed to Black cowboy Charley Willis, who gained popularity on the trail for calming the cattle with his singing.
In announcing the series, Bostian added that former Red Cedar composer-in-residence Stephen Cohn “honors the courage of Ukrainians” with “A Culture of Courage,” featuring three songs relevant to the current effort fight off Russia’s invasion.
Future commissioning projects are designed “to really hit all the corners of the globe,” Bostian said, and to “develop the next generation” of composers.
“The idea of commissioning settings of folk music is two or three years in the making,” Bostian said. “We intend that to be an ongoing project.”
Down the road, Kim would like to see a piece reflect her Korean heritage, and the couple also hope to see future submissions reflecting African traditions and African American spirituals.
Emerging from the pandemic, artistic director Bostian and executive director Kim are treating 2022-23 as a “normal” season — with two exceptions. They will continue to livestream at least one performance from the three-part season, and will continue to be mindful of varying COVID protocols at each senior living community.
The ensemble also is returning to live performances in classrooms. Bostian and Kim are especially looking forward to resuming the two-part program for Marion Independent School District’s second-graders, where the musicians go to the classrooms, then meet the kids at the Granger House Museum, where the students can tour the 19th-century Victorian structure and experience a parlor concert.
“Chamber music is supposed to be in a home,” Bostian said. “It’s so clear, that we can say, ‘This is the way chamber music was intended for us — for people to make their own music.’ It’s great. We’re so excited about that.”
Free unless otherwise noted. Concerts at senior living communities may not be open to the public because of the pandemic; call the venue for policy information.
Sept. 20: Music for Marion: noon, Uptown Artway, 755 10th St., Marion (rain location Marion City Hall, 1225 Sixth Ave.)
Sept. 21: Music for Seniors: 1:30 p.m., Bickford of Marion, 1100 Linden Dr., Marion
Sept. 23: Music for Seniors: 2:30 p.m., Grand Living at Bridgewater, 3 Russell Slade Blvd., Coralville
Sept. 24: Rural Outreach: 1 p.m., Springville Library, 264 Broadway St., Springville
Oct. 4: Music for Seniors: 1 p.m., The Views, 720 Oakbrook Dr., Marion
Oct. 5: Music for Seniors: 7 p.m., Grand Living at Indian Creek, 325 Collins Rd. SE, Cedar Rapids
Oct. 7: Music for Seniors: 6:30 p.m., Keystone at Forevergreen, 1275 W. Forevergreen Rd., North Liberty
Oct. 11: Music for Seniors: 2:30 p.m., The Keystones of Cedar Rapids, 6325 Rockwell Dr. NE, Cedar Rapids
Oct. 12: Iowa City Music Study Club: 1 p.m., Parkview Church, 15 Foster Rd., Iowa City
Oct. 13: Rural Outreach: 7 p.m., Center Point Library, 720 Main St., Center Point
Oct. 15: Rural Outreach: 11 a.m., Lisbon Library, 101 East Main St., Lisbon
Oct. 15: Music in Libraries: 3 p.m., Hiawatha Library, 150 West Willman, Hiawatha
Oct. 19: Music for Seniors: 1:30 p.m., Village Place, 345 Marion Blvd., Marion
Oct. 19: Rural Outreach: 7 p.m., Sts. Peter & Paul Community Center, 1165 Taft Ave. NE, Solon
Oct. 20: Music for Seniors: 7 p.m., Oaknoll Retirement Residence, 1 Oaknoll Ct., Iowa City
Oct. 21: Music for Seniors: 2 p.m., Meth-Wick Community, 1224 13th St. NW, Cedar Rapids
Oct. 21: Rural Outreach: 7 p.m., Fairfax Library, 313 Vanderbilt St., Fairfax
Oct. 22: MainStage Concert: “Fresh Folk,” 7 p.m., Chapel of Mercy at Mount Mercy University, 1330 Elmhurst Dr. NE, Cedar Rapids; $20 adults, $10 ages 30 and under, at the door.
Oct. 23: MainStage Concert: “Fresh Folk,” 3 p.m., Congregational United Church of Christ, 30 N. Clinton St., Iowa City; $20 adults, $10 ages 30 and under, at the door.
Livestream link: Going live Oct. 23 at youtu.be/N2W3S4f7Gg8
Trio Less Traveled: Eight performances the week of Feb. 22 to 26; violin, violin, cello. Guest artist is Amos Fayette, director of community engagement for Cleveland Institute of Music.
Physics, Art & Music: Fifteen performances between March 22 and April 23; string quartet. This program was halted by the pandemic, and now includes a multimedia component. MainStage concert sites will be the new University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art in Iowa City and CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids. The ensemble will explore the physics of sound; the relationship of style in art, words and music; and the history of western music from 100 AD to now. The program includes three works by Michael Kimber, all written for Red Cedar; as well as an art and architecture feature curated by UI art history professor Rob Bork.
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