Muchas Gracias Argentina

A few weeks ago, Sybarite5 made its South American debut. We traveled to Cordoba, Argentina (our own Sami Merdinian’s hometown) to perform at the second annual New Docta International Music Festival. It was a packed week of concerts, outreach performances, masterclasses and rehearsals. We had the privilege of collaborating with the other New Docta artists: mezzo-soprano Solange Merdinian, cellist Yves Dharamraj, violist Nathan Schram, and pianist Riko Higuma for all of these activities, as we packed ourselves in and out of a very large van to travel all over the Cordoba area. Cordoba is Argentina’s second-largest city after Buenos Aires, and is home to a large university and other important cultural institutions including the grand Teatro San Martin in which we performed the gala concert at the end of the festival. For us, while we always love performing for new audiences in new places, the highlight was the outreach performances, which we gave for hundreds of schoolchildren in several schools. Though none of us, except Sami, speaks Spanish, we were able to communicate with the children through the music (and with the help of Sami, Solange and Nathan who thankfully do speak the language). We found it fascinating that the students reacted in very much the same ways that American children do when we present similar programs, and it really made us realize anew the power of music to transcend language and geographical barriers. We also had the profoundly moving experience of performing a varied selection of music with a children’s choir at the gala concert. The disparate works included Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus, a traditional Argentinean song, a traditional Armenian song and of course, in true Sybarite5 fashion, two of our Radiohead songs. It was very interesting to hear the Radiohead sung by children; it infused the music with an innocence that’s definitely not present in the original songs.
Our appearance in Cordoba marked the completion of our “hometown circuit”: we’ve now brought Sybarite5 to all of the places we are from; the others being St. John’s, Newfoundland; Concord, MA; Sarasota, FL and West Hartford, CT. We’d like to thank here everyone that made our visit to Argentina including Mid-Atlantic arts for their generous grant funds, the entire (extended) Merdinian family for their help and hospitality, all of the artists of the festival and all of the numerous community sponsors. (This engagement is supported by Mid Atlantic Arts ¬†Foundation through USArtsists International in partnership with the National Endownment for the Arts and the Andrew W Mellon Foundations.)

We now turn our attentions (somewhat) closer to home with performances coming up in Georgia, Alaska, upstate NY, Iowa, Kansas, Texas, and our home venue in our home city, the cell in NYC November 6-7. Please visit the tour page for that information! A happy fall to all.

South America here we come!

Hello and happy Summer from Sybarite-land!

We’re enjoying a small break in the action following a busy July which included our debuts at the Caramoor and Green Lake (Wisconsin) music festivals, as well as giving the New York City premiere of Andy Akiho’s Revolve in Bryant Park presented by Chamber Music America. Next, we’re looking forward to our first trip to South America at the end of this month, where we’ll be performing at the New Docta International Music Festival in Cordoba, Argentina! We’re furiously brushing up on our Spanish in preparation.

And it’s been a few months now, but we’d like to say a few words here about the huge project we launched this past May: the Forward Festival. Many of you helped us via Kickstarter to realize our dream of starting our very own music festival, and we’re so grateful and couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. In one week, we put on five concerts in five venues all over Sarasota, Florida. We were so lucky to collaborate with and feature world class artists: mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert, cellist Abe Feder, the Chroma Quartet, harpist Cheryl Losey, pianist Djordje Nesic and percussionist George Nickson. True to our style, we presented an array of music from Bach to Bjork, and judging from the reviews, it was a very successful week! The Forward Festival is designed as a portable music festival, so we’re planning to bring it to our home of NYC, as well as West Hartford, CT and Concord, MA in the near future. If you’d like to get involved, please visit this link as this is an ongoing project, any support helps!” Stay tuned for news of a Forward Festival in your area!

And last but not least, we’ve revived our food blog! We love exploring new cuisine frontiers and hidden food gems in the places we visit at 5bites.

Thanks for reading and for your continued support of our endeavors.
Until next time,
Angela, Laura, Louis, Sami & Sarah

Setlist 6/3/2014 Caramoor Music Festival, Katonah, NY

Caramoor 6:00pm

The Rebel- Piotr Szewczyk
Black Bend- Dan Visconti

Paranoid Android- Radiohead arr. Paul Sanho Kim
Milonga Del Angel- Piazzolla (arr. Bragato/syb5)
Muerte Del Angel- Piazzolla (arr. Bragato/syb5)
Alegro Di Molto, Divertimento in Bb- W.A. Mozart
Revolve- Andy Akiho (*NY Premeire & CMA Commission)
Two Armenian Folk Songs
No Surprises- Radiohead (arr. Kim)
Turceasca- Taraf De Haidouks (arr. Matt Van Brink)

*Encore- Blue Rondo a la Turk- Dave Brubeck