Beth Speaks for Herself: The Chatter String Quartet Performs March 27 | Opinion

Ronald Maltese

RDonald Maltais is thrilled to announce that the highly acclaimed Chatter String Quartet will open the 2022 season of his Meadow City Academy of Music.

When he heard about the program from Chatter String Quartet co-founder and artistic director David Felberg, Ron said, “I was overwhelmed with gratitude. This music is so relevant to our current situation because all three pieces are tied to the music and history of Russia and, by association, the war in Ukraine.

Before developing the music, here are some details about the concert:

What: Chatter String Quartet

When: Sunday March 27, at 3 p.m.

Or: Immaculate Conception Church, 811 6th Street, Las Vegas NM (The church is large to accommodate spaced seating.)

Tickets: $20, students: free. please go to to buy tickets or make a donation. Tickets will also be available at the entrance.

The quartet includes David Felberg and Elizabeth Young, violins, Laura Steiner, viola and Dana Winograd, cello.

First on the program is Sergei Prokofiev’s Sonata for Two Violins, written in 1932 while the pianist/composer was living in the United States after leaving Russia, Germany and France. He settled permanently in Moscow in 1936. A child prodigy, Prokofiev composed his first opera at the age of nine. He is well known for the music Diaghilev commissioned for the ballets and for “Pierre et le loup”. American scholar Richard Taruskin acknowledged Prokofiev’s “gift, virtually unparalleled among twentieth-century composers, for writing original diatonic melodies”.

The second selection is String Quartet No. 3 by Pēteris Vasks, born in 1946 and ranked among the main contemporary European composers. Within this quartet, he has woven a theme that comes from a Latvian hymn that Vasks calls the “Peace on Earth” motif. As Ron notes, “It also ties into Ukraine.”

The last piece on the program is Beethoven’s String Quartet, Opus 59, No. 3, sometimes called the Razumovsky Quartet after the man who commissioned it in 1806. Ron comments: “The second movement contains a theme which sound like no other Beethoven I have ever heard. It evokes a Russian gypsy melody.

The Chatter String Quartet has an interesting history. Founded in Albuquerque in 2008, it was originally called Beethoven’s Church. In an old, disused warehouse, concerts were held at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings and attracted people who would rather go to concerts than to church. The concerts were always full. After purchasing your ticket at the door, you’ll enjoy your complimentary coffee and pastries. The atmosphere was informal. In addition to the music, a star poet, often local, would read a poem or two. Two minutes of silence were also included. Ron adds: “I was a bit disappointed when they changed their name because I was so intrigued by Beethoven’s church.”

By the way, when they first used the name Chatter, their slogan was “music worth talking about”.

Also worth mentioning is the Meadow City Academy of Music, which Ronald Maltais founded five years ago. When he left after 15 years as Music Director of UWC-USA, many in the community were sad because they had attended his concerts and thought he might pass away. “But no,” said Ron, “it was an opportunity for me to move into the heart of Las Vegas, so why not have an academy? Now we’re incorporated as 501 (c3) so the academy is independent.

“The mission of the Academy is twofold. The first is to bring musicians and dancers from all over New Mexico to Las Vegas. At this point, we have featured nearly 70 artists.

Ron felt a real need in Las Vegas to help fund young Las Vegas talent. If they cannot afford to take private lessons with a very good teacher, the Academy offers them a scholarship for 12 free lessons. If a student does well and commits, they will receive a second scholarship. Donors can give to the Academy and guarantee individual scholarships.

In addition to monetary contributions, people also donated musical instruments to the Academy, including a very fine student violin, flute, guitar, and trap set. The Academy also received a beautiful new alto saxophone from a man from Albuquerque who called and said to Ron, “I bought this alto sax and was going to learn on my own, but I lost everything. interest, so I would like to donate it to your Academy. .” Perfect!

Ron has also established a relationship with a company that works with small non-profit organizations. Now, for the first time, you can go to meadowcitymusic.orgclick on upcoming events and the button just above Chatter String Quartet to purchase tickets or donate.

By the way, Ron chose Immaculate Conception Church because the acoustics are amazing and it’s a great space. People fresh out of Covid may scatter. Another reason for choosing a Sunday performance is that there is a service earlier in the day, so the sanctuary will be warm.

On a different note, Ron Maltais has teamed up with Elmo Baca to create the Indigo Film Series to showcase arts films including Pavarotti, Linda Ronstadt and Billie Holiday. Two movies are in the pipeline, one about Aretha Franklin and the other about Ray Charles (starring Jamie Foxx.)

We are fortunate to have Ron Maltais, not only a gifted musician and composer, but also an impresario, who supports local talent and also brings world-class performances to Las Vegas.

beth urech is a writer, traveler and spoken word artist, performing nationally and internationally. She lives in Las Vegas, NM, with her husband, Mark, and her dog, Java. Follow Beth on She can be reached by email at

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