Who: Isabelle Senger is a Bend-based musician, teacher and the founder and executive director of High Desert Chamber Music. The concert series and music education nonprofit recently announced its 2019-20 season, which kicks off Oct. 5, and tickets are on sale now at highdesertchambermusic.com. Senger played with the San Diego Symphony and San Diego Chamber Orchestra, among others, before moving to Bend in 2007, where she continues to perform in HDCM’s annual music series with Crown City String Quartet, performing March 28.
Q: What’s coming up this season?
A: It’s our 12th season, and I always like to have a mix of returning artists and brand new performers. So we’re bringing back the Central4 Piano Quartet for our opening night celebration at the Tower Theatre. It’s been a few years since they’ve been up here. We are bringing back by popular demand the Neave Trio (Dec. 6). They were a big hit, and we wanted to invite them to return this year. In the new year, the new group I’m bringing is the Calder Quartet. This is a phenomenal group of musicians. These four young men have been together since they were all undergraduate students at USC. They formed the group and went on and did their graduate studies at the Colburn Conservatory and at Juilliard. … To have a group of all-original members of a quartet that just released a new album, it’s going to be so exciting to have them make their Central Oregon debut up here with us. That’s our Valentine’s Day concert at the Tower, of course. Then we have our resident group the Crown City String Quartet (March 28). And our season finale will feature pianist Robert Thies (May 9) in a solo piano recital in the round. That means the piano will be in the center of the room, and the seats will surround the piano.
Q: Where are you doing that?
A: That’s in Wille Hall at Central Oregon Community College. The hall itself is like a big square box, so it’s the perfect setup for that.
Q: It’s got good sound in there, too.
A: Yeah. You’ll get a 360-degree view. You can choose wherever you’d like to sit.
Q: That was a new venue added last year, right?
A: It was, and it worked out great. We were really pleased with our concerts that we held there. So we have our same three locations: the Tower Theatre, Wille Hall and Bend Church for our five major events.
Q: It seems like you have a formula, but you also continue to tinker from year to year. Would you say that’s true?
A: Yeah, just to keep things a little interesting, we try new ideas, we learn from how things go and keep our supporters engaged, and also be at the forefront of bringing new experiences as it relates to classical music here in Central Oregon.
Q: You’re so busy there, is it tough for you to also focus on your own violin practice?
A: You know, yeah, there are certainly times of year that it’s a little big more difficult for me. I do try to make that a regular part of my day. But certainly during the summer, when it is a busy time for me as executive director, even though we don’t have any events going on. And then also having my son home from school changes things for me on a day-to-day basis. So it’s something that’s just a part of me, so I do what I have to do to keep it up. It certainly takes a lot of effort, and yes it is difficult to keep that balance. To keep it at a high level, it takes the dedication that others put into, normally, their day job (laughs).
— David Jasper,