Bach Society teams up with Tucson Jr. Strings

2014-07-17T00:00:00Z Bach Society teams up with Tucson Jr. StringsBy Cathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

St. Andrew’s Bach Society is going to summer camp.

The arts organization that presents a summer classical music recital series is hosting a concert in conjunction with Tucson Junior Strings’ Chamber Music in the Mountains Camp on Mount Lemmon.

On Sunday, the society will host Danny Seidenberg, the longtime violist with the critically acclaimed Turtle Island String Quartet, in a concert of mostly virtuosic violin pieces on his viola.It is a program that violinist Ben Nisbet, the Bach Society’s artistic director, called ambitious for a violinist and even more so for a violist.

“I think he is really kind of putting together a program to really show off his stuff,” Nisbet said.

After Sunday’s performance, Seidenberg will join Nisbet on Mount Lemmon for TJS’s annual summer camp. Seidenberg will be the senior coach for the camp’s 60 students, most of them high schoolers, and will hold master classes. The camp includes 15 Tucson musicians — Nisbet is one of them — on faculty.

At the end of the camp, which runs Saturday through July 27, the faculty will join Seidenberg in a second recital, this one July 26 at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 400 E. University Blvd.  at North Fourth Avenue. The campers will perform a recital July 27 at First Southern Baptist Church, 445 E. Speedway.

TJS Director Dennis R. Bourret said this is the first time the camp has hosted a musician with as diverse a background as Seidenberg. The violist’s career has traversed jazz, classical and pop, performing with such groups as New York City Opera, several ballet companies including American Ballet Theater and New York City Ballet, and a handful of orchestras including Long Island Philharmonic and Brooklyn Philharmonic. He also toured and recorded with a host of pop artists including Richie Havens, Black Eyed Peas, Tony Bennett and Led Zeppelin.

But he is perhaps best known for his work with Turtle Island String Quartet, the seminal jazz quartet formed in 1985 that was the first to achieve commercial success integrating jazz improvisation. Seidenberg was a member of the group from 1992 to 2003.

“We are venturing into the world of jazz. This is the first time we’ve gone in this direction. … The guy is a fabulously trained violist and has a huge amount of experience,” Bourret said.

Nisbet, who attended Chamber Music in the Mountains Camp for 10 summers as a child and who has been on its faculty since 2006, said St. Andrew’s Bach Society is giving the camp’s master teachers an added incentive to come to Tucson. In addition to teaching, the musicians, who come from all over the country, get a chance to perform before a new audience.

“It’s my chance to help this camp out by adding the Bach Society to the mix. And, of course, it’s great for us because we can present a concert with an outstanding performer” from outside the community, said Nisbet, a longtime violinist with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

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