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April 23, 2008 > Sacred muse inspires spiritual world music

Sacred muse inspires spiritual world music

By Janet Grant

Ludwig van Beethoven described music as "the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life." On Saturday, April 26, Music at the Mission in partnership with Music@Market will conclude its 2008 season by exploring that spiritual side of life by presenting the ADORNO Ensemble in "Traveling Polyhymnia."

In Saturday's concert, ADORNO pays homage to Polyhymnia, the Greek goddess of sacred music, by dedicating her as the symbolic muse. In "Traveling Polyhymnia", they will journey on a sacred path of sound and spirit from Buddhism to the Azerbaijani culture.

The program features K'vakarat for clarinet and string quartet, by Argentinean composer Osvaldo Golijov, whose work merges sounds of Jewish mysticism with contemporary music. Also presented will be Faith for violin, percussion, and piano, a new work by composer Kurt Erickson, inspired by Saint Francis of Assisi. Chinese composer Zhou Long's work, Ding (or Samadhi in Sanskrit) for clarinet, double bass, and percussion is a musical depiction of the perfect concentration of thought into the one object of meditation. And completing the program is a work by Azerbaijan composer, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh whose music is rarely heard in the United States. Her Aspheron Quintet for piano and string quartet is a dramatic fusion of Azerbaijani traditions with western music.

Music at the Mission audiences will remember ADORNO from its 2005 inaugural season, where they performed "An Evening of Chamber Music." The young group named after German culture theorist and philosopher Theodor Adorno, returns to Mission San Jose having made some major contributions to the world of live music with compelling performances and groundbreaking projects.

The eight member ensemble has captivated audiences through live chamber music performances, vital public dialogue, and multifaceted, innovative programming. In 2006, ADORNO launched the Gallery Sessions Radio Show, a sophisticated, cutting-edge podcast series of live-recorded contemporary music concerts and artist talks held in San Francisco art galleries. In 2007, ADORNO was awarded first place in the ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award.

Garnering accolades throughout the music community, ADORNO continues to create fresh and profound perceptions of art and culture through live music. The group embraces risk-taking with a clear, conscious eye on contemporary audiences, and offers diverse opportunities to enrich people's lives through the arts.

Echoing Music at the Mission's goal of providing innovative programming, ADORNO promises to lend its rich and unique voice to wow Saturday's concertgoers by paying tribute to human spirituality from Asian to Middle Eastern cultures.

Music may be that great mediator between the spiritual and sensual life, but "Traveling Polyhymnia" will definitely focus on the world of spirit, as the Greek muse imbues the old Mission with her sacred breath.

On Saturday, an informative, half-hour talk will precede the concert at 7:15 p.m. with the concert beginning at 8:00 p.m. A complimentary dessert reception will immediately follow the concert where you will be able to meet the artists.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or online (credit card): or call (866) 468-339. For more information, visit

Traveling Polyhymnia
Saturday, April 26
7:15 p.m. Pre-Concert Talk
8 p.m. Concert
Old Mission San Jose
43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont
(866) 468-339

General Admission, $25; Students and seniors, $20

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