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  • Ellen Hwangbo

A Welcome Message from the Artistic Director


Welcome to Constellations Chamber Concerts! I'm so grateful for the chance to bring this amazing artistic venture to life, and I'm so glad you are interested in learning more!


I'd like to share a little bit about what led me to found Constellations a few months ago. I've spent much of the early years of my professional career as a pianist performing chamber music around the country with various partners and ensembles, whether in New York, Los Angeles, or anywhere in between. Having enjoyed many successful collaborations with fantastic artists, I decided the time was right to use my experience and talents as best I could to create new opportunities for awe-inspiring chamber music here in Washington, DC.



When I sat down to map out my vision for Constellations, my first thoughts immediately turned to my teacher and mentor, Gilbert Kalish. A legendary chamber musician himself, Gil is also a leading advocate for music by living composers, with more world premieres and definitive recordings under his belt than I can count. But part of the magic of Gil's career is that he has equal mastery of the great standards of the classic repertoire. His example teaches that these masterworks are part of every musician's lineage, and worthy of intense and passionate study - but that we should apply ourselves with the same fervor to music of the modern era and present it with the same loving care.


Following Gil's lead, Constellations is about so much more than just mixing "old music" and "new music." We will devote ourselves to crafting musical journeys and illuminating the patterns that emerge between eras, composers, and works. Just as each individual star in the night sky can be seen as part of many different constellations, each piece represents a fragment of a musical journey - and may lead somewhere completely new when placed in a fresh context. This is a type of "thematic" programming that is not at all typical - because it takes an incredible amount of investment to pull off! This approach requires moving beyond superficial links and diving head-first into the core elements of the music, drawing on extensive knowledge, experience, and intense study. This wouldn't even be possible, if not for the help of our Artistic Advisory Committee (Gil Kalish, Seth Knopp, Tina Dahl) and Programming Committee (Ian Rosenbaum, Daniel Pesca), who collectively bring an astonishing amount of expertise to the table.



Our aim is to constantly challenge preconceived notions about "classical music" by creating powerful experiences that draw in audiences in a way that is instinctive, not academic. The most effective music moves us in a direct and physical way: getting our hearts pumping, making us hold our breath, bringing tears to our eyes. This kind of raw emotional power is what makes music a basic part of human survival (it's certainly what drew me to music in the first place!). But to create experiences like these, it's not enough to simply gather together top-notch players and hope for the best. The audience itself needs to be part of that experience, reflecting energy back to the performers and creating pure magic in the process.


I want to thank our ever-growing Constellations family of supporters for making this dream of mine come true! These next two years will be a massive push to put all these ideas into practice, connect with our audience of passionate and curious music lovers, and continue to build support from the ground up for our vision.


Your energy can be part of that vision - join us!

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Contact

Phone: 202.734.0752

Venue: 910 16th Street N.W.

Washington, DC 20006

Mail: 1768 Lang Place N.E.

Washington, DC 20002

© 2020 by Constellations Chamber Concerts

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