It turns out that Erik Peterson, a Corvallis native who’s well-known throughout the mid-valley as the artistic director of the Chintimini Chamber Music Festival, wears other musical hats as well.
In addition to a day job with the Colorado Symphony in Denver, he’s one of the three members of the Ivy Street Ensemble, which also includes a pair of musicians familiar to Chintimini audiences: Peterson’s wife, Catherine, on the flute and another longtime collaborator, violist Phillip Stevens.
The Ivy Street Ensemble is set to perform in concert at 7:30 tonight at the First Presbyterian Church.
In terms of chamber music, the violin-viola-flute combination isn’t particularly common, as Erik Peterson admitted in a telephone interview this week with The E. There’s a famous Beethoven serenade written for the three instruments — and, as it turns out, that work is on the program for Thursday night. “Beethoven really set the standard for this repertoire,” Peterson said, and after that, the repertoire is not particularly deep.
But it isn’t entirely bare. Also on Thursday’s concert is a modern work, “Pennipotenti,” by California composer Maria Newman. It’s a four-movement piece in which each movement represents a different sort of Northwest bird. So, the hummingbird movement is “frenetic and over in a blink,” Peterson said. The fourth movement, representing the falcon, is “terrifying,” he said.
The program also includes a pair of pieces that show off the musicians in the ensemble in a different light: Erik Peterson and Stevens will perform Bohuslav Martinu’s “Three Madrigals,” and Catherine Peterson will perform Ian Clarke’s “The Great Train Race,” a piece that Erik Peterson called “the greatest thing I’ve ever heard for solo flute” and one that requires considerable skill and technique. And yes, Peterson said, “you definitely hear the sound of trains.”
The Ivy Street Ensemble recently dropped into a studio to record its first CD, which will include the Beethoven serenade and a piece that will be familiar to Chintimini audiences: A serenade by Portland musician Kenji Bunch that was written on commission for the festival.
The recording went well, Peterson said, but he still prefers live performances: “You get to just play.”