In May of 2014, the Red Poppy Art House hosted a concert entitled The String Quartet Experience. It was named after a project organized by Argentinian guitarist and composer Nahuel Bronzini, who, at that time, had recently completed his guitar studies with David Tanenbaum at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. However, rather than a guitar recital, the concert featured a performance by a string quartet consisting of violinists Azat Fyshian and Eric Aurenbach, violist Sarah Lee, and cellist Helen Newby, performing Bronzini’s arrangements of Argentinian folk music, as well as original works in classical, jazz, and pop genres.
This past August Bronzini launched a Kickstarter campaign to record nine compositions some of which had been performed in 2014, while others were provided by selected composers. The participating string quartet consisted of the recently-formed Amaranth String Quartet, with Newby now performing with violinists Katie von Braun and Abigail Shiman and violist Erica Zappia. Eight of the pieces on the album were to be songs with a vocalist performing with Amaranth and sometimes other instruments. Four of the songs were in English and composed by local artists: Mike Suarez, Camille Mai, John Haesemeyer, and Kendra McKinley. Three were in Spanish, written by composers from both Argentina and the East Coast: Diana Gameros, Ayelen Seches, and Tomás Latorre. In addition, Claudio Santomé also sang Ariel Ramírez’ song, “Dorotea La Cautiva.” All arrangements were by Bronzini, who also supervised recording and technical post-processing. The project also included Amaranth performing Bronzini’s set of variations on his song “That To Be Missed.”
That campaign has concluded, the recording has been completed, and it will be released for download from Bandcamp on December 3. Bandcamp is currently processing pre-orders on the Web page for the album. (The album will also be available at other download sites and will also have a physical release with the cover reproduced above.) On the evening of the release date Bronzini and Amaranth will return to the Red Poppy to give a concert in celebration of the occasion. They will be joined by Gameros, McKinley, Mai, Haesemeyer, and Santomé, all of whom will be singing their vocals contributions to the recording. Gameros, McKinley, Haesemeyer, and Santomé will also be playing guitar, while Mai will be playing piano. Other contributing performers will be cellist Misha Khalikulov and bassist Schuyler Karr. In addition, Karr will join Amaranth to play his own arrangements of three songs.
The Red Poppy Art House is located at 2698 Folsom Street, on the northwest corner of 23rd Street, a short walk from the 24th Street Mission BART station. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 3. Doors will open at 7 p.m., and the concert should conclude around 10 p.m. Tickets will be $15 and $20. There will be no advance purchases, and the Red Poppy has limited space. Those interested in attending are strongly advised to arrive when the doors open to purchase their tickets. Further information may be found on the Red Poppy event page.