Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Chris Black and Chamber Lab: One Year Down and a Wide-Open Future for Chamber Music in Popular Culture

Posted By on Wed, May 29, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Spicy, sweet, hot, funny, giddy — the rich and happy mood of chattering diners clustered with friends could be felt almost upon opening the door to Café Desta, packed as it was with fans of avant indie chamber music on the verge of a historic event. Chris Black’s original Tucson vision, Chamberlab, was turning one year old, and celebrants anticipated an evening of the gang’s greatest hits, delicious as the spirit and the company of its culinary overture.

Program, players and lots of pictures after the jump.

Chamberlab performed for a charmed, SRO audience at Café Desta Saturday night.
  • C. Elliott
  • Chamberlab performed for a charmed, SRO audience at Café Desta Saturday night.

The almost rudely talented Rosano brothers, Marco, Tony and Dante, composers and multi-instrumentalists all, dominated the concert by sheer numbers, scoring seven of the 13 pieces in the two-part concert, and performing in nearly all of them.

Percussionist Benjamin DeGain dazzled with a composition in three movements starring a dozen, more or less, glass bowls; and another featuring a vibraphone with such art deco design authority that it could have come straight from the Chrysler Building’s storied Rainbow Room.

Chris Black revealed a handful of his many dimensions—first whimsy, with a composition for ten players titled, “Around the Neighborhood in Socks”; then wizardry, with a lighthearted set of short pieces for three bassoons; and, finally, emotive, dark free verse, melding music and spoken word into a harrowing first-person account of a paranoid-schizophrenic episode. Matthew Shreve’s melancholy work for traditional chamber quartet, a tribute to a musical inspiration, rounded out the program, and Dante Rosano’s finale engaged all of the musicians present.

Next up, a multimedia event: August’s concert will involve downtown muralist Joe Pagac. Chamberlab’s composers will present works inspired by Pagac’s epic images, and the artist will create new works in realtime, inspired by the music he’s hearing.

Chamberlab First Anniversary, May 25, 2013

1. Schmur Schmur Schmur in G minor by Tony Rosano
2. One Strange Day, by Marco Rosano
3. Early Evidence of Summer, by Benjamin DeGain
4. Three Bassoon Trios, by Chris Black
5. The Little Dream, by Marco Rosano
6. A Little Coffee, by Marco Rosano
7. Around the Neighborhood in Socks, by Chris Black


1. Cooper Must Die, by Chris Black
2. This’ll Do, by Dante Rosano
3. Expectation Management, by Benjamin DeGain
4. Poems, By Matthew Shreve
5. Dethra’s Theme, by Tony Rosano
6. There It Goes, by Dante Rosano

Cassandra Bendickson: Bassoon
Chris Black: Percussion, Narration
Jessica Campbell: Bassoon, Contrabassoon
Nick Coventry: Violin
Benjamin DeGain: Percussion
Beth Holub: Viola
Daniel Hursey: Bassoon
David LeGendre: Tuba
Daniel Mendoza: Bass
Megyn Neff: Violin
Dante Rosano: Trumpet, Wurlitzer
Marco Rosano: Clarinet, Wurlitzer
Tony Rosano: Baritone
Sandy Schwoebel: Flute
Matthew Shreve: Horn
Michael Simmons: Cello


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