Brahms, Bartok and a New Guy

Jan 24, 2010

Composer Jeff Kryka

Pacific Serenades, one of the longest-performing ensembles west of the Rio Grande, kicks off its 24th season this weekend with a program called “To Youth! To Wisdom!”, which brings together the old, the kind of old/kind of new, and the totally brand new. The old is Brahms’ String Quintet #1 in F Major; the fence-sitter is selected movements from Bartok’s 44 Duos for Two Violins; and the new is Quintessence (literally “fifth essence”), a five-moment work with a five-note motive for five strings written by 25-year-old whippersnapper Jeff Kryka. According to Kryka, the piece’s title is a reference both to the “fifth element” of the ancients and to contemporary usage by astrophysicists, who use the term to describe a hypothetical form of Dark Energy.

Pacific Serenades has long blended the classical with the contemporary in its programs, in part to illustrate the continued vitality of an ongoing tradition, in part because its people believe in adventurous programming, for which they have won awards: two Adventurous Programming Awards from ASCAP. In order to recreate the intimate environment in which chamber music has historically been performed, concerts generally take place in three small venues: a private home in Culver City, at the UCLA Faculty Center and in Pasadena’s very own Neighborhood Church. The musicians for this performance will be Tereza Stanislav and Brendan Speltz on violin, Roland Kato and Connie Kupka on viola, and David Speltz on cello.

“To Youth! To Wisdom”
Sunday, January 31, 4 p.m.
Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church
301 N. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena
Tickets $32, $5 for students at the door
Call 213.534.3434 or visit



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