Cuatro Puntos Ensemble:
Contemporary Ukrainian Composers
General Admission: $40
Member: Use ID # to receive 15% discount
Check out the full program here.
Ensemble members include:
Aaron Packard, violin
Annie Trépanier, violin
Steve Larson, viola
Kevin Bishop, viola
Allan Ballinger, cello
Cuatro Puntos (“four points” in Spanish) is a non-profit organization that works to uplift persecuted, silenced or underrepresented music voices from around the world. Based in Connecticut, Cuatro Puntos is the parent organization for two permanent ensembles: Cuatro Puntos Ensemble (a professional string ensemble) and Music Moves Hartford Street Choir (an ensemble of adults who face housing or food insecurity in Hartford, in partnership with Christ Church Cathedral). Cuatro Puntos’ work is long-term project based, and projects often last many years. A project usually consists of a partnership with a musician or musical group who considers their art form as silenced, persecuted, or underrepresented. Through logistical and financial support, and often via musical partnerships with our permanent ensembles, Cuatro Puntos develops opportunities to spotlight the underrepresented musician or art form. The material results of a project vary, but they most often include: a recorded album (distributed on an international label), live concerts, commissions of new music, video projects, and music creation based on an intercultural dialogue model. Our album discography chronicles our most in-depth projects: Ji bo sê kes çay (preserving traditional Kurdish music); Through The Eyes of Children (highlighting American middle school students who speak out against youth violence); Ameen Mokdad’s The Curve (highlighting musical oppression by extremists in Iraq); Jaipur to Cairo (underrepresented composers/genres of the Middle East); and Rosegarden of Light (young musicians of Afghanistan). Current projects include Contemporary Ukrainian Composers (commissioning composers inside Ukraine in 2022/23) and an album of music recorded in 2023 by Afghan musicians who are in hiding inside the country. Our albums have been published on Naxos, Toccata Classics, Métier, and Arkadash. The quality of our work has been praised around the world, with airtime on NPR, BBC, and reviews by Fanfare. Cuatro Puntos Ensemble has performed extensively throughout the United States as well as in Bolivia, Brazil, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Afghanistan as they work alongside underrepresented musicians. Tracks from our albums have been included on the soundtrack for films produced in England, Australia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and our organization has presented at prestigious universities such as New England Conservatory (Boston), Columbi
Ukrainian-born Irena Portenko ﬁrst displayed love and talent for the piano at age three and by age eight, debuted as soloist with the Ukrainian National Orchestra, performing Haydn’s Concerto in D Major. Since then, Ms. Portenko’s spectacular and multifaceted career has ﬂourished in the distinguished array of concerto performances, with the most recent one, in December 2017, as she has performed two Concerti by R. Schumann and by J. Brahms (No 2) in one evening, accompanied by National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. Her newest recording, featuring music by Michigan composers has been dedicated to the University of Michigan’s 200th anniversary in 2017. Ever since Portenko graduated with Master’s and Doctorate in Musical Arts (1998, 2004, respectively) and with Doctorate in Collaborative Piano from National Ukrainian Academy of Music (1998), she has retained a motto “Be free to teach, to serve, to probe the unknown”* that became an inspiration and essence of her further professional journey, consisting of numerous recitals, festival appearances and recognitions at international competition, that has garnered impressive accolades from both audiences and critics throughout Europe and North America, granting her a career of international status. In 2009, upon an invitation from Artists International, Ms. Portenko’s gave a critically acclaimed debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall featuring a performance of Frédéric Chopin’s complete 24 Études, prompting Anthony Tommasini, reporting for the New York Times, to write: “Ms. Portenko pulled off a feat that puts her in a select company.”
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