Hutchins Consort to Perform at Historic Upper East Side Church
Ensemble Celebrates 100th Birthday of Famed Violin Maker
with a performance at Park Avenue Christian Church
The famed violinmaker Carleen Maley Hutchins (May 24, 1911-August 7, 2009) was called the “female Stradivari” by her mentor Harvard physicist Frederick A. Saunders. Her contribution stems from her efforts to harvest technology to improve on the centuries old string instruments and her invention of a new “family” of musical instruments to give new expression to music both ancient and modern.
The new palette of sounds originates with the Hutchins Consort of San Diego, CA—the only ensemble named for an American luthier and the only ensemble in the world that performs on a Hutchins Violin Octet. The Hutchins Consort will embark on its Debut East Coast Tour in October, 2011, in honor of the 100th Anniversary of Hutchins’ birth and will be honoring Dr. Hutchins’ memory throughout their 2011-2012 season. The full schedule is here and the first NYC event is:
Friday, October 21
Park Avenue Christian Church,
1010 Park Avenue (at 85th Street)
New York, NY 10028.
$20 Adults, $15 Students/Seniors
tickets at the door.
Former Boston Globe arts journalist and Carleen Hutchins biographer, D. Quincy Whitney, will tour with the Hutchins Consort. Whitney will give a short pre-concert talk about how she met Hutchins and came to write her biography.
Hutchins was a most unlikely pioneer—a biologist and trumpet player who taught herself acoustical physics by making violins. Hutchins and Saunders performed more than 100 acoustical experiments on violas and violins made by Hutchins. Hutchins eventually created a louder, more resonant violin via plate tuning and modal analysis. In addition, Hutchins created a forum for an international community devoted to violin acoustics through the Catgut Acoustical Society and its scientific journal that she published for more than thirty years.
Despite the fact that she was a lone female in two male-dominated fields of acoustical physics and violinmaking, Hutchins was the only woman to be awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Acoustical Society of America – whose very short list of recipients includes Thomas Edison. Hutchins was also the recipient of four honorary doctorates, a Guggenheim Fellowship and was considered the foremost authority on violin acoustics. From 2002 to 2003, Mrs. Hutchins’s octet was the subject of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Titled “The New Violin Family: Augmenting the String Section.”
But the most exciting Hutchins legacy is the Violin Octet and the Hutchins Consort—a chamber music ensemble like no other—with a dynamic range and palette of sounds never heard before from a string ensemble. The Hutchins Consort performs a wide repertoire ranging from Medieval, Baroque and Renaissance to jazz, blues and modern, including new works written specifically for these instruments. The Consort is used to performing for audiences of all ages and tastes, and also shines in their concerts for young audiences, as they are very familiar with performing in educational settings.
ABOUT THE HUTCHINS CONSORT
The Hutchins Consort, founded by Artistic Director Joe McNalley, plays on the eight scaled violins designed and built by famed luthier Dr. Carleen Hutchins. The instruments are the first successful attempt to create an acoustically balanced set of instruments that can truly sound like violins across the entire range of written music. A Violin Octet is a true consort of violins composed of eight violins across the range of a piano—treble, soprano, mezzo, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, and contrabass violins—a tuned set of violins from an 11” treble to a seven-foot contrabass. The Hutchins Consort, based in Southern California, is the only professional ensemble in the world performing on this octet of the New Violin Family instruments.
The Consort brings together a group of extraordinary musicians to play music from the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the music of the modern masters and new works written specifically for these instruments. They display a breadth and depth that few traditional groups match, and a sound that is truly unique.