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Date and Time

Saturday, May 11th
4:00 pm (Doors open at 3:30 pm)



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The Shepherd Center
34 Center Street (William Street Entrance)
Fairhaven, MA 02719


About the Show

Join New Bedford Symphony Concertmaster Jesse Holstein and Principal Viola Anna Griffis for a dynamic program of Duos for violin and viola.

Opening the program is Mozart’s Duo in G-major. Written in secret by Mozart in 1783 to assist an ailing Michael Haydn who was unable to finish a commission, it is a three movement romp where the violin and viola alternate between bantering back and forth with each other and then joining together to make beautiful, harmonious music.

Next is Three Madrigals by the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů, who was inspired to write this piece after attending a performance of the Mozart Duo for violin and viola. Martinů wrote the Madrigals for the virtuoso brother and sister duo of Lillian and Joseph Fuchs in 1947. Written in bed while the composer was convalescing from a fall, the Italian Madrigals of the 16th century and Parisian Jazz of the 20s and 30s were central inspirations for Martinů. These amazing works push the boundaries with respect to color, texture, and virtuosity for the violin and viola.

Our grand finale will be Passacaglia for Violin and Viola by the Norwegian violinist, conductor and composer Johan Halvorsen. Written in 1894 as part of the European virtuosic-showpiece tradition, this duo uses a bass line from a 1720 harpsichord suite by Georg Fredric Handel as the basis for a set of variations that call for a high-wire act of danger and fun for the two instruments. Sparks will fly!

About the Artists

Jesse Holstein, NBSO Concertmaster

Jesse Holstein graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory, where he studied with Marilyn McDonald, and then received his master’s degree with James Buswell at the New England Conservatory. Prior to attending Oberlin, he studied violin with Philipp Naegele in Northampton, Massachusetts. Jesse would be remiss if he did not send a huge thank you to his wonderful Suzuki teacher, Diana Peelle, who started him at age 5 and was extremely patient with his slouching posture for years. 

An active recitalist, orchestral, and chamber musician, Jesse is concertmaster of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra.  He has performed at the Bravo! Festival in Vail, Colorado, the Montana Chamber Music Festival in Bozeman, the Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport, Maine, and the Apple Hill Festival in Sullivan, New Hampshire, in recent summers, and of course, in the NBSO’s own South Coast Chamber Music Series. Jesse also attended the Violin Craftsmanship Institute in Durham, New Hampshire, where he learned about instrument repair.

While an undergraduate, Jesse taught for the Oberlin Preparatory Program in the Lorain, Ohio, public schools. Also at Oberlin, he served as assistant concertmaster, and later as music director of the Royal Farfissa Disco Juggernaut, the premier disco orchestra in Greater Cleveland in the mid-1990s.

Jesse has been a violin professor at L’Ecole de Musique, Dessaix Baptiste, in Jacmel, Haiti, and is currently on the faculty at Brown University. Some of his life forces are mindfulness, running, animals, and visiting Donegal, Ireland, with his amazing wife, NBSO violinist Ealaín McMullin.

Anna Griffis, NBSO Principal Viola

Equally at home on steel and gut strings and with new and old music, Boston-based violist/violinist Anna Griffis is a sought-after collaborator across a variety of styles and settings. She made her concerto debut with the Baltimore Symphony at 16 and has gone on to perform in Mexico, Turkey, Austria, Slovenia, Czechia, Taiwan, and across North America. She is principal viola with the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Festival Orchestra, a member of the Albany Symphony, and performs with the Portland Symphony, Boston Baroque, Emmanuel Music, the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, and Boston Lyric Opera.

An enthusiastic chamber musician, Anna frequently collaborates with Blue Heron and A Far Cry, and has been a guest artist with the Arneis and Cassatt Quartets, Sheffield Chamber Players, and the North Country Chamber Players. She co-founded Chicago-based Trio Speranza, prize winners at the Early Music American Baroque Competition, and is executive director and violist with the new music group Ludovico Ensemble. Anna’s playing has been featured on PBS’ “American Masters” and in releases by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Albany Symphony (for which the orchestra won a GRAMMY), and Les Bostonades. Keen on alternative settings and partnerships, Anna has shared the stage with Aimee Mann, DJ Premiere, Weird Al, Hugh Jackman, and Audra McDonald, and was a featured soloist for a “Moth Mainstage” taping.

Anna teaches and coaches chamber music at the New School of Music (Cambridge) and Tufts University, and is an affiliate artist in the Emerson/Harris program at MIT. In addition to her playing and teaching, she oversees communications for the Tufts Music Department and is a freelance graphic designer specializing in concert programs and arts marketing. Originally from Annapolis, MD, Anna is the proud product of her public school music program and the Peabody Institute’s Preparatory program. She now lives in the great neighborhood of Lower Allston with her bassoonist husband and their cat, Pig, and gets excited about fonts, road trips, and diners. Anna studied at Lawrence University, The Hartt School of Music, Tanglewood Music Center, and Boston University.

Concert Preview

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