New concert series comes to Manchester

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Thu., Sep. 29, 2011
Woosug Kang, musical director at Emanuel Lutheran, sees the Casavant organ, which was installed in the 1980s, as a symbol of the value of music. Photos by Martha Marteney.
Woosug Kang, musical director at Emanuel Lutheran, sees the Casavant organ, which was installed in the 1980s, as a symbol of the value of music. Photos by Martha Marteney.

A new Chamber Music Series has begun in Manchester, featuring world-class performers and up-and-coming musicians. The concerts are hosted by Friends of Music at Emanuel, a newly-formed, non-profit organization affiliated with the Emanuel Lutheran Church in Manchester. Woosug Kang serves as the artistic director of the Friends, as well as the director of music at the church.

According to Kang, an informal music series was started in summer 2010, which was well-received by the audience. Soon after, performers began contacting him. “The demand of performers wanting to perform was high, which was important to me,” said Kang. He attributes some of the interest to the venue itself, which provides an intimate setting for both the artist and the audience. After each concert, the performers meet with the audience for a reception. Kang said the performers especially like to hear the audience’s reaction to the music.

The name, “Chamber Music Series,” was selected to reflect the small setting, which provides a different experience for both musician and audience than a large concert hall. But the music itself is not limited to classical string quartets. For example, on Sunday, Oct. 16, the vocal group LYRA will perform a range of Russian music, from sacred, to secular, to traditional folk songs. The members, who hail from St. Petersburg, Russia, will be wearing traditional costumes, as well.

“You’ll not get to see something like this very often,” said Kang about the various performers in the concert series. He was pleased to announce that the Sebastian Chamber Players have been named “Artists in Residence” at Emanuel Lutheran. At their Sept. 10 concert, Sebastian Chamber Players brought 10 musicians playing on period instruments from 1750. The ensemble performed a new composition, with the composer in attendance at the concert and available for discussion at the post-concert reception.

Kang, himself, is a trained organist, holding a master’s in organ performance from Yale University, with minors in church music, music history and harpsichord performance. He is currently working on his doctoral thesis through Indiana University. He and his fiancée live in North Hampton, Mass. He recently performed at Cheney Hall for the Sept. 11 “Compassion Beyond Crisis,” and will perform in the Chamber Music Series on Nov. 12 with baritone Robert Barefield, professor of voice at Hartt School of Music.

Admission to the concerts is free, with donations accepted. “We view this as a free gift to the community – a cultural gift,” said Kang. He hopes people from the greater Manchester area will experiment with the different performances, and be inspired. “We always get really positive feedback on how unique and fun the programs are,” he said.

For more information about the Chamber Music Concert Series presented by the Friends of Music at Emanuel, visit the website or contact Woosug Kang at Emanuel Lutheran Church is located at 60 Church St., in Manchester.

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