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“Buoyant, sprightly and utterly beguiling…” – The Irish Times

About this Event

An acclaimed harpist and member of the Silkroad Ensemble, Maeve Gilchrist presents selections from her latest release, “The Harpweaver,” featuring the Grammy-nominated Aizuri Quartet. Drawing inspiration from “The Ballad of the Harpweaver” by 1923 Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, the suite of music weaves a rich textural soundscape that illuminates her roots as a traditional folk musician through the prism of luscious string parts. The album evokes a sense of nostalgia, the catharsis of familiar sounds and words that bring a sense of connection, possibility and joy. Hailing originally from Edinburgh, Gilchrist blends original compositions and traditional Irish and Scottish music into a richly imaginative world.

About the Artists

Described by one critic as “a phenomenal harp player who can make her instrument ring with unparalleled purity”, Maeve Gilchrist has taken the Celtic (lever) harp to new levels of performance and visibility.

Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, and currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Maeve‘s innovative approach to her instrument stretches its harmonic limits and improvisational possibilities. She is as at home as a soloist with an internationally renowned orchestra as she is playing with a traditional Irish folk group or using electronic augmentation in a more contemporary, improvisatory setting.

She tours internationally as a band leader as well as maintaining a number of collaborations including the progressive folk quartet, DuoDuo (featuring percussive dancer Nic Gareiss, cellist Natalie Haas and Yann Falquet of Quebecois super-group Genticorum), a more electronics based project with Viktor Krauss and as a member of the Irish Music Network-commissioned Edges of Light quartet: a multidisciplinary group featuring the piper David Power, dancer Colin Dunne and the fiddler Tola Custy. Maeve is also a member of the prestigious Silkroad Ensemble. She has appeared at such major music events as Celtic Connections in Glasgow, Tanglewood Jazz Festival, the World Harp Congress in Amsterdam and the historic opening of the Scottish Parliament. She has played with such luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma, Esperanza Spalding, Tony Trishka, Ambrose Akinmusire, Darol Anger and Kathy Mattea.

Maeve has released six albums to date, including her recent recording, Vignette, on Adventure Records, with bassist Viktor Krausse while, on her own label, her solo Ostinato Project is a beguiling exploration of the possibilities of her instrument. In 2018 Maeve was a featured soloist on the Dreamworks blockbuster movie soundtrack, How to tame your dragon: The hidden world.

Maeve was the first lever harpist to be employed as an instructor by her alma mater, Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she taught for five years before switching to being a visiting artist in 2018. She has written several instructional books published by Hal Leonard Music. She is also an in-demand composer and arranger, with past commissions including a ground-breaking concerto for lever harp and symphony orchestra co-written with North Carolina-based composer Luke Benton and most recently a new piece for harp and string quartet premiered at the Edinburgh International Harp festival last spring. Maeve is the co-artistic director of the new Celtic Roots and Branches Festival launching in Rockport MA this summer and the assistant music director of WGBH’s Christmas Celtic Sojourn.

Praised by The Washington Post for “captivating” performances that draw from its notable “meld of intellect, technique and emotions,” the Aizuri Quartet was awarded the Grand Prize and the CAG Management Prize at the 2018 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition, along with top prizes at the 2017 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Japan, and the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in London. The Quartet’s debut album, Blueprinting, featuring new works written for the Aizuri Quartet by five American composers, was released by New Amsterdam Records and nominated for a 2019 Grammy Award.

Through its engaging and thought-provoking programs, branded by The New York Times as “genuinely exciting” and “imaginative,” the Quartet has garnered critical acclaim for bringing “a technical bravado and emotional power” to bold new commissions, and for its “flawless” (San Diego Union-Tribune) performances of the great masterpieces of the past. In the 2019-20 season the group will tour extensively across North America giving both debut appearances at Lincoln Center and at Carnegie Hall as part of CAG Winner’s Series.

Based in New York City, the Aizuri Quartet was the 2017-2018 MetLiveArts String Quartet-in-Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they presented five unique programs throughout the season, leading The New York Times to applaud them as “a quartet of expert collaborators, who cogently traverse a range of repertoire staples and modern works.” Previous residency engagements include: the 2015-2016 Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts; resident ensemble of the 2014 Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute; and, from 2014-2016, the String Quartet-in-Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Formed in 2012 and combining four distinctive musical personalities into a unique collective, the Aizuri Quartet draws its name from “aizuri-e,” a style of predominantly blue Japanese woodblock printing that is noted for its vibrancy and incredible detail.

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