Arkansas Philharmonic brews up evening of beer and Vivaldi April 4

Arkansas Philharmonic brews up evening of beer and Vivaldi April 4

“The changing of seasons always reminds me of Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons,” says Jason Miller, executive director of the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, “and Er-Gene found a wonderful quartet arrangement that is perfect for [an] intimate space.”

Er-Gene Kahng, concertmaster for APO and a world-renowned violinist, says she never gets tired of playing Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi’s best known work.

“For a piece composed in the 1720s, its enduring love says something about how it is still able to inspire, fascinate and charm audiences of today,” Kahng says. “I’m looking forward to playing it in condensed form, as a string quartet.”

“From elevator muzak and call-centre hold-music to TV and film soundtracks, ‘The Four Seasons’ by Antonio Vivaldi supplies an inescapable backdrop to everyday life,” a story in The Economist said earlier this year. “With familiarity came over-exposure, indifference, even undeserved contempt. [But] for Adrian Chandler, a violinist and the founder-director of the Baroque ensemble — and Vivaldi specialists — La Serenissima, ‘it’s a crying shame that people don’t realise what a genius he was.’”

Unusually for the time, Vivaldi published the concerti with accompanying poems, possibly written by Vivaldi himself, that elucidated what it was about those seasons that his music was intended to evoke, Encyclopedia Britannica explains. It’s one of the earliest and most-detailed examples of what was later called program music — music with a narrative element.

The performance April 4 is part of the APO’s philosophy of meeting people where they are “by bringing music into unconventional performance venues for classical music,” Miller says. It will take place at Bentonville Brewing Company.

“A brewery is a perfect example,” Miller says. “It’s a community space where friends and family hang out, and we want to be part of the family. The brewery’s ‘reflective’ acoustics are perfect for a few soaring strings to interact — just two violins, a viola, cello and you.”

“The intimacy for both the audience and performers cannot be replicated or rivaled elsewhere,” agrees Kahng. “Making music in a chamber music setting is one of my favorite ways of sharing music.”

In addition to an evening of music, this “APO Small Bites” event includes a curated flight of beer to go with each season or movement of the music, Miller says. The event is family friendly, although clearly patrons must be 21 or older to enjoy the alcoholic offerings.

It’s part of a busy schedule for APO. The Arkansas Philharmonic Youth Orchestra just had their season concert on March 5, Miller says, and summer workshops will be announced soon. Next on the agenda for the adult orchestra are more performances of “The Four Seasons” at other local breweries and a “brand new piece in collaboration with Bob Ford from TheatreSquared that tells about the love affair between Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms,” Miller says.

“The APO explores a musical love triangle in our latest theatrical collaboration,” Miller explains. “It’s no secret that Johannes Brahms had feelings for Robert Schumann’s wife Clara, a composer herself. All of these emotional complications affected their work.

“And it affected our work. The APO is excited to collaborate again with actor/director Steven Marzolf in this new play by award-winning playwright, Bob Ford. In ‘Clara and Johannes at the Lake,’ Marzolf directs as Elizabeth Jilka and Riles Newsome perform this heartrending story, piece by piece, before selections from Brahms’ four symphonies.”

That performance will be at 7 p.m. April 19 at Thaden Performing Arts Center in Bentonville. Find out more at


APO Small Bites:

Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’

WHEN — 7 p.m. April 4

WHERE — Bentonville Brewing Company, 901 S.W. 14th St.

COST — $40


BONUS — The APO will also perform at 7 p.m. April 19 at Thaden Performing Arts Center in Bentonville in a collaboration with TheatreSquared. Tickets are $40.

Categories: Music