Paul Chihara, Forever Escher

Works on this Recording.

Forever Escher (for String Quartet & Saxophone Quartet), Paul Chihara
Year of Composition: 1994     Composed for the ASQ

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Molto moderato
Allegro vivace: Ben ritmico
Andante cantabile


Paul Chihara, Forever Escher
Amherst Saxophone Quartet: Paul Chihara, Forever Escher
Susan Fancher, soprano
Russ Carere, alto
Stephen Rosenthal, tenor
Harry Fackelman, baritone
Arcata String Quartet

At the dawning of the third millennium of the Common Era, artists of every discipline find themselves in a brave new world of possibilities for diverse modes of artistic expression enhanced by the worldwide distribution of culture through the mass media. As a consequence of this trend, the cross-fertilization of a variety of cultural art forms that began in Paris at the close of the nineteenth century, consisting mostly of Japanese and African influences, has increased exponentially to include virtually every people on the planet. Perhaps the greatest carriers of this universal phenomenon are music, film, and dance.
Of course. before the advent of film, every high culture had some sort of theater. The origins of ancient theater stem largely from rites associated with religion, which dramatically depict the tensions and relationships between nature, the divine. and humankind. The dance, and above all music, have invariably infused or accompanied theater at least from the lime of the fourth-century B.C. dramatists of Greece, to the fourteenth-century Noh plays of Japan, to the Asian shadow plays of unknown origin, to European opera since the seventeenth century. Film, or the cinema, it might be argued, represents the culmination of the tradition of the theater, and as such absorbs and transmits as many kinds of music as possible in its portrayal of human emotions, and in its tone painting of psychological portraits.
The works of Paul Seiko Chihara are informed by and continue steadfastly this rich tradition of the association of music with theater, dance, and film; for at the center of his music lie the conflictual actions of drama, and even the purifying cathartic power of ritual. Indeed, not only his music for film and stage, but much of his purely instrumental music reflects his concern for narrative and/or protagonist situations. This tendency is made manifest by such formal devices as pitting a single voice against a sound mass of fused instrumental groups in such works as Wind Song (1971), or by contrasting and interpenetrating distinct instrumental choirs in an agonistic exchange of timbral colors, as in Forever Escher (1993-94). Needless to say, the classical process of conflict and resolution permeates his musical structures and gives to them an organicism that is readily apprehended by the ear, mind, and heart of the alert listener.
In addition to the overriding dramatic aspects of his works, Chihara's music also demonstrates a fascination with and an affinity for the natural world, especially in the concert music he composed during the 1960s and '70s. Titles derived from natural phenomena and the oftentimes unique instrumental combinations attached to them, such as Branches for two bassoons and percussion (1968), Willow Willow for flute, tuba, and percussion (1968), and Redwood for viola and percussion (1971), bear this out.
Chihara's involvement with film began when he composed the music for Roger Corman's Death Race 2000 (1974). This opportunity came at just the right moment. Chihara had been an associate professor of music at UCLA since 1966 and was eager for a change; he left academia in 1974 to pursue the precarious path of a composer for film, television, and the stage, though he continued to compose concert music. Since then he has composed scores for more than ninety motion pictures and television series and worked with such directors as Sidney Lurnet, Louis Malle, Michael Ritchie, and Arthur Penn. His movie credits include Prince of the City, The Morning After, and Crossing Delancey. His television credits include China Beach, Noble House, and 100 Centre Street.
With this career change came his rapprochement with the world of tonal music. Up to this point he had indulged in twelve-tone and free chromatic composition, typical of the then established avant garde. Along with this absorption of tonality came his utilization of borrowed materials, or "found objects," that is, pre-existent musics. (He had already integrated Japanese melodies and instrumentation for his 1974 ballet, Shinju.) As a result of these changes he broadened the emotional plane of his concert and stage music, enriching it with the property of poetic allusion, thus giving to it a sense of the archetypal play of time.
Throughout his career Chihara has demonstrated an acute sensitivity to the properties of sound in all its manifestations. From the unique combinations of diverse instruments in his chamber music, to the electronic manipulation of musique concrete, to full orchestra and choral arrangements, he uses the sensation of sound masterfully to move the emotions, whatever the musical context. His incorporation of such stylistically divergent music as jazz standards, folk song, and quotations from classical repertoire articulate the form of Forever Escher. The melding of his concern for contrasting colors and orchestral textures with the aforementioned "found objects" derived from Western and non-Western sources found full flower in his ballet Shinju.
In 1992 Chihara was commissioned by the Amherst Saxophone Quartet to compose an octet for saxophone quartet and traditional string quartet combined. The result, Forever Escher (Double Quartet), is a tour de force of polyphonic writing and acoustical balance. From the beginning of its composition. Chihara was deeply aware of the incongruence between the distinct timbre of each instrumental choir. Perhaps more important, though, he was especially sensitive to the musico-historical legacies of each of these instrumental groups. His problem. then. was to balance the classical tradition of the string quartet (which, with the symphony, might be said to be the crowning achievement of the eighteenth century) with the tradition of the saxophone, the foremost sound symbol of jazz, not to mention its grainy associations with film noir.
The solution Chi ham struck was to allow each quartet its unique timbral identity (though from time to time they merge) while interchanging and metamorphosing much. but not all. of the melodic and harmonic material associated with each. Also, he quotes melodic and harmonic fragments from film, jazz, and classical repertoires as identifiable "found objects." These techniques are very similar to those seen in the prints of the Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher (1898--1972). Of the many techniques Escher employed (nearly all having to do with geometric-mathematic application, especially after 1936), Chihara found inspiration in the works that gradually metamorphose one recognizable image (such as a fish, bird, or reptile) into another, or that change by way of a foreground becoming a background, and vice versa.
Chihara achieves these same effects in Forever Escher by introducing fragments of "recognizable" musical images (round objects). Such sources as the song "Laura," the Tristan chord with its ascending chromatic melody, sonorities from Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun are the most obvious; a riff from Artie Shaw and a self-referential melody from Chihara's own Broadway musical Shogun are more esoteric. Most of these fragments appear in all four movements, oftentimes in counterpoint with each other as they transmigrate from one quartet to the other.
The last movement, with its rubric "Quarendo invenientes" (a clear reference to a canon in Bach's Musical Offering, meaning "seek and you shall find") presents, near the end, an ingenious fusing or "Laura" into the Tristan chord into a fragment from the final section of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. The fluidity with which this metamorphosis occurs is demonstrative of the flawless technique Chihara has honed over the pas I several decades. The last movement ends as the first began, on a sustained C in all the strings. creating an overall structure akin to Escher's print Metamorphose II (1939—40). —Steven Lacoste
Paul Seika Chihara was born in Seattle. Washington. in 1938. He received his doctorate degree (O.M.A.) from Cornell University in 1965 as a student of Robert Palmer. Mr. Chihara also studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, Ernst Pepping in Berlin, and with Gunther Schuller at Tanglewood. summer home of the Boston Symphony. With Toru Takemitsu, Chihara was composer-in-residence at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont in 1971. Chi ham is currently on the faculty at UCLA and was also the first composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Neville Marriner. conductor, Mr. Chihara's prize-winning concert works have been performed in most major cities and arts centers in the United States and Europe. His numerous commissions and awards include those from The Lili Boulanger Memorial Award, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra. the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Active on Broadway as well as in the ballet world, Mr. Chihara was composer- in-residence at the San Francisco Ballet from 1973 to 1986. Mr. Chihara's works have been widely recorded. His compositions appear on BMG Records, Reference Recordings, CRI, Music and Arts, Vox Candide, New World Records, and The Louisville Orchestra First Editions Records.
The Amherst Saxophone Quartet splits its time between touring and its residency at the State University of New York at Buffalo. It was formed in January of 1978, and is now celebrating its twenty-fifth full season of concert performances. The ensemble has performed in the United States from Maine to Hawaii as well as in Japan, Bermuda, and the British Virgin Islands. Concert highlights include appearances at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center. Lincoln Center, the Chautauqua Institution, and broadcasts on CBS Sunday Morning, National Public Radio's All Things Considered and Performance Today, Public Radio International's St. Paul Sunday, Voice of America, and NBC-TV's Tonigh: Show. The ASQ has recorded five albums for Innova Records, MCA Records, Musical Heritage Society, and Mark Records. In 1997 the ensemble released a videotape introducing children to chamber music, called ASQKids.
The Amherst Saxophone Quartet has been a performing member of Young Audiences since 1979. The group also worked with young persons' programs at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the Aesthetic Education Institute (Rochester, N.Y.), and Arts in Education (Buffalo, N.Y). The members of the ASQ are clinicians for the Selmer Company and Vandoren Reed Products.
Founded in 1993 in New York City, the Arcata String Quartet (Marjorie- Bagley, violin; Christopher Takeda. violin: Brant Bayless. viola: Michael Carrera, cello) have amassed in their repertoire four concertos for string quartet and orchestra. the entire Beethoven quartet cycle. five world premieres, and many standard works. They have given concerts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music, the Rheingau Music Festival, Mecklanberg's Vopermern Festival. BargeMusic, and the Concert Solo Series in Paris. In March 1998 they gave their critically acclaimed New York City debut in Town Hall. Other engagements include Trinity Church in New York City. Classical Music Oasis in Birmingham. Alabama, Utah Slate University as facuity quartet-in-residence in Logan, Utah, and the Slee Beethoven cycle at SUNY Buffalo. They have been heard on MDR Radio in Germany performing the Spohr Quartet Concerto. WMNR in Connecticut, WQXR in New York, Radio France, France 3 Television, Radio Monte Carlo, and NPRs Performance Today, and have been seen on a nationally broadcast special on ABC Sports featuring the lives of three prominent female figure skaters. The Arcata String Ouartet has released three CDs on the VOX label.
Producer: Paul Chihara Engineer: Joanna Nickrenz and Marc Aubort Digital mastering: Joanna Nickrenz and Marc Aubert. Elite Recordings, Inc., NYC Forever Escher was recorded April 26. 2001 at St. Peter's Church in New York City. Cover photograph: Lester Lefkowitz/Corbis Stock Market Cover design: Bob Defrin Design, Inc. This recording was made possible with grants from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trust, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Special thanks to Carol Landon.


The Buffalo News (Chautauqua, NY)
Saturday, July 17, 1999
The mellifluous sounds of two quartets
Herman Trotter

CHAUTAUQUA - An unusual shared program in the Chautauqua Amphitheater Thursday evening began with the Arcata String Quartet giving a heartfelt and rhapsodic performance of the Dvorak "American" Quartet, followed by the Amherst Saxophone Quartet in an extraordinarily rich and centered view of the Glazunov Saxophone Quartet, a true masterpiece of the genre.

After intermission they joined forces for the world premiere of Paul Chihara's "Forever Escher."

Chihara didn't start out with a tribute to the Dutch artist M. C. Escher in mind. But over the extremely long gestation period it tool in forms in which the composer recognized similarities with Escher's "morphing" transformations. These are not Escher's famous optical illusions such as his endless waterfall, but linear prints in which images gradually change or "morph" into a series of different but related other images.

Chihara's work is in four movements, without the conventional themes, expositions, developments and recapitulations. Instead, for the most part the music progresses by sliding (or morphing?) subtly from one idea to the next. There are occasional abrupt changes in content or mode of expression, but most of it is gradual transformation of forms which are elusive, in that respect reminding one of the exploratory works of Scriabin.

The music is really quite audience friendly, as the enthusiastic reception by the Chautauqua audience confirmed.

There aren't many works for four strings and four saxes in the literature. Of those I've heard I'd say Chihara has best solved the problem of deftly intermingling the eight instruments to provide, in addition to clear, familiar string and reed sounds, judicious mixtures which actually lift the veil on a palette of new, rich and interesting tonal colors and sonorities.

Chihara includes references to Debussy's "Afternoon of a Faun," which proved to be among the most subtle of effects. Easier to detect were a couple of blatant references to "Tristan" and an alto sax solo which sounded like it would "morph" into "Laura."

Those looking for conventional forms were rewarded, if their attention span was long enough. The work opens with a single violin on C and at the end comes to rest on that same comfortable tone.

Forever Escher (for String Quartet & Saxophone Quartet), Paul Chihara
The mellifluous sounds of two quartets
The mellifluous sounds of two quartets


Chautauquan Daily
Saxes, strings join in premiere

by Jennifer Darrell
Staff Writer

A world premiere performance will take place tonight at 8:15 p.m. in the Amphitheater. The Amherst Saxophone Quartet joins with the Arcata String Quartet for the debut performance of composer Paul Seiko Chihara's octet entitled "Forever Escher."

Paul Chihara
Seattle-born Chihara received his D.M.A. from Cornell University in 1965. In addition to studying with Robert Palmer at Cornell, his principal teachers were Nadia Boulanger, with whom he studied in Paris and won the Lili Boulanger Memorial Award, Ernst Pepping in Berlin and Gunther Schuller at Tanglewood. He also held the position of Composer-in-Residence with Toru Takemitsu at the 1971 Marlboro Music Festival.

Chihara has won numerous awards for his concert works, which are concerned with the evolution and expression of highly contrasting colors, textures and emotional levels, often dramatically juxtaposed with one another.

In addition to composing concert works that have received acclaim both nationally and internationally, Chihara has composed music for over 80 motion pictures and series for television. Some such credits include "Prince of the City," "The Morning After," "Crossing Delancey,' "China Beach," and "Brave New World." On Broadway, he served as musical consultant and arranger for Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Ladies" and was the composer for James Clavell's "SHOGUN the Musical." Currently, Chihara is Professor of Music at UCLA.

The title of his work came after the piece was completed, Chihara explained. Until he decided that "Forever Escher" accurately described both the surface and emotional content of the work, the composer referred to it simply as "Double Quartet." The title refers to Dutch printmaker, M.C. Escher, who is famous for his "metamorphosing" artworks. Chihara compares his work to that of Escher's because, in the composer's words, "Escher was thinking and conceptualizing then the way we do now."

He compared the form of the octet to Escher's "Metamorphosis II," a woodcut measuring approximately seven inches high by 157 inches long. Comprised of images of bees that become fish, then birds, and so on, the significance of the work is that it ends in the same way it began.

Similarly, Chihara's four-movements begin and end on the same pitch, middle C, with "morphing" sections in between. Chihara also noted that "Forever Escher" contains many harmonic references to Debussy's Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un Faune, and, like Debussy's symphonic poem, makes use of antique cymbals near the end of his piece. The final movement also contains French tempi markings, another way of acknowledging the French composer.

Amherst Saxophone Quartet
From Maine to Japan, from "The Tonight Show" to the Bermuda Triangle (and back), the Amherst Saxophone Quartet has been venerated for their "scintillating virtuosity, superb musicianship and, of course, built-in sax appeal." The Buffalo-based group's current line-up includes Susan Fancher, Russ Carere, Stephen Rosenthal and Harry Fackelman. Since its inception in 1978, the quartet has performed internationally, sharing its love for the saxophone ensemble and its desire to build the repertoire for the saxophone quartet. This desire led the musicians to commission the octet from Chihara that will be premiered tonight with the Arcata String Quartet.

Arcata String Quartet
Founded in 1993 at the Manhattan School of Music, the Arcata String Quartet includes violinists Marjorie Bagley and Christopher Takeda, violist Brant Bayless, and cellist Michael Carrera. The young ensemble has developed a varied repertoire, ranging from the standards of string quartet literature to world premiere pieces, including tonight's collaborative performance. In the past, the group has premiered works by various composers, including Pulitzer Prize nominee Judith Shatin, Nils Vigeland and David Noonl. They have endeavored to bring a rarely heard geme to the public by including in their repertoire various quartet concerti by Schoenberg, Spohr, Martinu and Piston. The quartet acknowledges members of the Tokyo String Quartet, Pinchas Zukerman, David Geber, Isidore Cohen and Marta Istomin for their "influential teaching and ardent support."

The Arcata String Quartet will open the evening's program with a performance of Antonin Dvorak's String Quartet No.12, better known as "The American," followed by Alexander Glazunov's Quartet for Saxophones, Op.109, performed by the Amherst Saxophone Quartet. The two quartets will join for the world premiere performance of Paul Seiko Chihara's octet, "Forever Escher," following an intermission.


Saxes, strings join in premiere: Forever Escher for String & Sax Quartets
Saxes, strings join in premiere: Forever Escher for String & Sax Quartets
Saxes, strings join in premiere: Forever Escher for String & Sax Quartets
Chautauquan Daily
Dutch printmaker inspires Chihara's musical octet score

by Jennifer Darrell
Staff Writer

Metamorphosis: a change in form; a turn to or into something else by enchantment or other supernatural means.

This definition, taken from the Oxford Universal Dictionary, applies to both the composition "Forever Escher" by Paul Seiko Chihara and the woodcut "Metamorphosis II" by M.C Escher. In each case, the work begins and ends in the same way, with "morphing" sections in between. Both works manipulate the passage of time and are characterized by a feeling of endlessness, a sense that the work is capable of being repeated to infinity.

Dutch printmaster M.C Escher (1898-1972), born Maurits Cornelius Escher, charged man with being incapable of imagining that time could ever stop. Much of his work, in fact, was aimed at exploring "the realm of the impossible."

In an essay titled, "Approaches to Infinity," he wrote, "Anyone who plunges into infinity, in both time and space, further and further without stopping, needs fixed points, mileposts, for otherwise his movement is indistinguishable from standing still. There must be stars past which he shoots beacons from which he can measure the distance he has traversed .... Has a composer, an artist for whom time is the basis on which he elaborates, ever felt the wish to approach eternity by means of sounds?"

The answer is yes. Chihara's octet titled "Forever Escher" attempts to do just that. By applying principles of "morphing" to the formal content of the work, Chihara makes it theoretically possible for his piece to be played "endlessly." The musical form of the work is comparable to the form of Escher's woodcut "Metamorphosis II," about which J.L. Locher made a valuable observation regarding the significance of duality in his essay, "The Work of M.C Escher."

"A combination of different elements of reality is brought about, this time by means of an unusual double use of the contours," Locher wrote. "In both the print and the drawings, the contours do not serve, as they normally would, to outline a figure against its surroundings but instead delineate figures in two directions, both to the right and to the left. Various figures share the same contours; by these contours they are related to each other; and they are so constructed that they can be repeated, in this linkage, to infinity."

Chihara's most obvious use of dual roles, reflecting the importance of duality in Escher's "Metamorphosis II," is found in the instrumentation of "Forever Escher." Interestingly, the composer explained that, rather than approaching this work as an octet, he considers it a "duet for quartets." In fact, until he attributed "Forever Escher" as its title, the piece was simply called "Double Quartet." In this way, the significance of the two forces — in this case, the two quartets — which are separate at times and blended at others, is clear.

The concept of using "morphing" passages that begin and end in identical ways is the principle on which Chihara's work is based. The piece is in four movements, each containing elements of change as it progresses, reflecting the "morphing" manner in which Escher's images evolve. The work opens on middle C and, after greatly contrasting middle sections, returns to the place it began, ending, as expected, on middle C.

The octet, commissioned by the Buffalo-based Amherst Saxophone Quartet in the early 1990s, was originally intended to be performed in the mid '90s with the Cleveland String Quartet. Chihara explained that there is usually a one to three year gestation period for the composition of a commissioned work. During the composition of this work, however, the Cleveland String Quartet, who had initially suggested Chihara compose the piece, disbanded. As a result, "Forever Escher" was never performed.

Chihara and Steven Rosenthal, member and spokesman for the saxophone ensemble, described the events that have led to tonight's delayed world premiere of the piece with the Arcata String Quartet as "serendipitous." Chihara explained that he was "deathly ill" during the composition of this piece. Hospitalized on and off for over 19 months, the composer wrote the bulk of the music while lying in bed rather than sitting at the keyboard, which is his customary style of composing. Due to the seriousness of his illness, the composer, while writing the piece, believed it might be his final composition. Because of that, Chihara makes reference to J.S. Bach's" Art of the Fugue," which was the German composer's final work and has since become his epitaph.

The relationship between "Forever Escher" and "Art of the Fugue" goes further, however. Although not named by Bach, "Art of the Fugue" is considered the composer's most "baffling" work, making use of a compositional process in which the melody is initially stated and then repeated in its "mirrored form." In fact, all three artists, Bach, Chihara and Escher, were fascinated with the relationship between music and mathematics, a mutual interest that is reflected in each one's work.

The Amherst and Arcata quartets have been rehearsing separately but were not scheduled to rehearse together until a week ago. Understandably, the groups were anxiously awaiting the opportunity to finally hear the work as a whole. Perhaps more exciting, however, is the fact that the composer himself, aside from the sounds conjured by his imagination, will not hear the work until its performance at Chautauqua tonight.

Rosenthal is confident tonight's performance will show no signs of the gravity that surrounded the creation of the music, but rather will be "a joyous and beautiful event that is in no way morbid; rather, it will be life-affirming." And for Chihara it was, in fact, a life-affirming process in the most literal sense.

"I truly believe this work saved my life," he said.

Rosenthal talked about the experience of working with a living composer, stressing how helpful it is to have the creator of "the notes on the page" readily available to discuss details about how the piece was intended to be performed.

He said that whenever they rehearse a work, he and the other three members of his ensemble ask, "How can we best serve the composer today?" He considers collaborating with the composer a luxury and a very interesting way of finding new interpretations of a composition.

The members of the Amherst Saxophone Quartet, for whom chamber music has become a way of life, view their role as being part of a collaborative relationship between performer, audience, music and, in this case, composer. Rosenthal is looking forward to tonight's, performance and is pleased that the world premiere is taking place here at Chautauqua.

"Chautauqua is a wonderful and refreshing place," he said. "I step on the grounds and immediately feel my pulse slow down." And so, after years of waiting and overcoming obstacles, "Forever Escher" will be introduced to the public tonight. It was with hopeful outlook that the work was commissioned; therefore, it is only fitting that its premiere be approached with the same attitude. Its beginning has reached its end, which will become its beginning once again. "Forever Escher," a musical metamorphosis.

Dutch printmaker inspires Chihara's musical octet score
Dutch printmaker inspires Chihara's musical octet score
Buffalo News, The
String connection

After an unusually long gestation period that began in the early 19908, a National Endowment for the Arts commission will finally result in the birth (read "world premiere performance") of ''Forever Escber" by Paul Chihara. On the big stage of the Chautauqua Amphitheater at 8:15 p.m. Thursday for this special event will be the Amherst Saxophone Quartet and Arcata String Quartet.

Yes, you read that right. Chihara's new work is for an ensemble of four strings and four saxophones, which is unusual, but not unique. The Amherst Saxophone Quartet has previously premiered two other works for the same instrumentation, Michael Sahl's "Storms" and Nils Vigeland's "Classical Music." Am Sax spokesman Stephen Rosenthal says "Forever Escher" is.''welI-written music which really tries to communicate with the audience. I think most listeners will find it as gratifying as a good meal."

It's a four-movement work with allusions to Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun." Rosenthal is not sure how discernible they will be to the audience. "I do know," he added "that they'll be able to hear my debut on the crotales. Chihara added a passage for these small antique cymbals to give a different, delicate texture to the last movement. to American composer Paul Chihara was in Seattle in 1938 and, by pure coincidence, turns 61 today. He claims influences as diverse as having studied with Nadia Boulanger in 1962-63 and arranging the stage musical version of Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Ladies" (1981).
—Herman Trotter

Forever Escher (for String Quartet & Saxophone Quartet), Paul Chihara
Chamber Music America magazine
Amherst and Arcata Play Chihara at Chautauqua

A Publication of Chamber Music America, June 1999, Volume 16, Number 3

On July 15, the Amherst Saxophone Quartet and the Arcata String Quartet will join forces at Chautauqua, NY to present a concert of quartets and octets, featuring the premiere of Forever Escher by Paul Chihara. This new work is one of three octets composed for the Amherst by Chihara, who is based in southern California and has a long history of composing works for concerts, television, and film.

The Amherst Saxophone Quartet has performed internationally, sharing their love for the saxophone ensemble and their desire to build the repertoire for the saxophone quartet. Heard on a number of national radio programs and on NBC- TV's Tonight Show, the group (Susan Fancher, Russ Carere, Stephen Rosenthal, and Harry Fackelman) is based in Buffalo, NY, and is in residence at the University at Buffalo.

The Arcata String Quartet was founded in 1993 at the Manhattan School of Music, and includes violinists Marjorie Bagley and Christopher Takeda, violist Brant Bayless, and cellist Michael Carrera. Next season they will make their debut at London's Wigmore Hall, as well as making their way through the US on a fourteen-concert tour sponsored by Community Concerts LLC. The Arcata has two recordings on the VOX label, with a third on the way featuring Brahms's two sextets with guest artists Peter Rejto of the LA Piano Quartet and Kikuei Ikeda of the Tokyo Quartet.

Amherst and Arcata Play Chihara at Chautauqua