High Desert Chamber Music 2017-18 season

• “The Red Violin” screening, Saturday, Tower Theatre

• Elizabeth Pitcairn and “The Red Violin,” Oct. 7, Tower Theatre

• Annual Benefit Gala, Nov. 18

• Peter Wiley & Anna Polonsky, Dec. 8

• Cello Master Class with Peter Wiley, Dec. 9

• Evening with Brahms and Clara Schumann (various musicians), Feb. 14

• Aviara Trio, March 9

• Crown City String Quartet, April 6

• 4handsLA, May 18

For more information or tickets, visit highdesertchambermusic.com.

High Desert Chamber Music has one long birthday party planned for its 10th season. Dedicated to advancing small ensemble instrumental music through concerts and youth education, the Bend-based nonprofit has been on a steady, upward trajectory over the past decade, thanks to its visionary founder and executive director, Isabelle Senger.

Senger, a violinist who teaches and also performs with her own foursome, Crown City String Quartet, has grown the small arts organization into exactly what she envisioned its first season of 2008-09 — and the concerts and other events she’s planned for this milestone season point toward good things further on the horizon.

The season officially starts Oct. 7 with “The Red Violin” concert by Elizabeth Pitcairn, owner of the 1720 Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius (read our interview with Pitcairn page 8). As a prelude to the concert, HDCM is partnering with the Tower Theatre, where the 1998 film “The Red Violin” — said to have been inspired by the 1990 auction where Pitcairn’s family acquired the violin — screens at the Tower on Saturday. It’s the start of a sumptuous season of music from what has become one of Bend’s shining cultural lights.

On Nov. 18, HDCM will hold its Annual Benefit Gala at Bend Golf and Country Club. A major event each season for the nonprofit, the evening will feature students from its musician training program, Spotlight Chamber Players. Next, cellist Peter Wiley will perform with pianist Anna Polonsky on Dec. 8

“He is what I would call, if there were such a thing, chamber music royalty,” Senger said of Wiley, cellist of Beaux Arts Trio and the Guarneri String Quartet.

“To be able to present a musician with his pedigree is just always important to us.”

In a partnership with the Oregon arm of the American String Teachers Association, HDCM will offer a cello master class with Wiley on Dec. 9 — the first of its popular master classes to be offered for cello.

“Those have been well attended and wonderful experiences not only for students, of course, but the audience, as well,” Senger said of the free events.

For Valentine’s Day, HDCM will hold its “Evening with Brahms and Clara Schumann,” a romantically themed concert for the occasion. The evening will feature pianist Timothy Durkovic, French horn player Laura Brenes and Senger herself on violin. Brahms’ Horn Trio will be on the evening program — Brahms being “the big one” of the Romantic Era, Senger said.

Peter van de Graaff, music director of KWAX Classical Radio (91.1 FM) in Eugene, will present a concert preview prior to the performance at the Tower Theater.

“He’s toured the country lecturing on the works of Robert and Clara Schumann, (and) he’s quite versed on Brahms as well,” Senger said.

Additionally, HDCM has entered an arrangement with KWAX to have recordings of its concerts broadcast over the classical station’s airwaves.

“That is so exciting because their reach is so much greater, also, here in Oregon, (and) you can stream them online,” Senger said. “That’s a new development this year.”

Aviara Trio, a dynamic piano, violin and cello group who performed in HDCM’s first season (as well as last season), will return to perform March 9. They’ll be followed by Senger’s group, Crown City Quartet, on April 6 and 4handsLA, featuring two pianists on one piano, on May 18.

Season ticket sales would seem to suggest High Desert Chamber Music is undergoing a growth surge commensurate with that of Bend itself.

“Season ticket sales are doing great,” Senger said. “The sheer number of brand new season ticket sales just continues to amaze me. We’re reaching the right people — I think it’s a combination of brand-new folks to town, and people who have attended one or two events in the past and now our committing to lasting the year with us.”

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