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Colin Jacobsen, Yo-Yo Ma Violinist, to Perform in West Hartford

Colin Jacobsen. Courtesy photo

The celebrated violinist and composer will perform at St. James’s Church in West Hartford.


Colin Jacobsen, celebrated composer and violinist with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, will perform at St. James’s Episcopal Church at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 25.

The piano and violin recital, featuring accompaniment by Alan Murchie, will offer a rare opportunity to hear these extraordinary musicians performing the music of Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schubert and Vitali in the beauty of historic St. James’s Church. The Washington Post writes that Jacobsen is “one of the most interesting figures on the classical music scene.”

Jacobsen has forged an intriguing path in the cultural landscape of our time, collaborating with an astonishingly wide range of artists across diverse traditions and disciplines while constantly looking for news to connect with audiences. For his work as a founding member of two game-changing, audience-expanding ensembles – the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and orchestra The Knights – Jacobsen was selected from among the nation’s top visual, performing, media, and literary artists to receive a prestigious and substantial United States Artists Fellowship. He is also active as an Avery Fisher Career Grant-winning soloist and has toured with Silk Road since its founding by cellist Yo-Yo Ma in 2000 at Tanglewood.

Starting in the 2022-23 season, Jacobsen assumes the position of Artistic Director of Santa Fe Pro Musica, an organization with which he has had a fruitful long term association as a guest soloist and leader. Jacobsen’s work as a composer is a reflection of his deep curiosity about the world around him and a desire to find unexpected connections between seemingly disparate elements.

Jointly inspired by encounters with leading exponents of non-Western traditions and by his own classical heritage, his writing reveals an eclectic personal voice with a “knack for spinning lines with an elasticity that sounds uncannily like improvisation” (New York Times). Recent commissions include Head, Heart, written and premiered at Tanglewood for mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton alongside pianist Emanuel Ax and cellist Yo-Yo Ma with text by Lydia Davis; Time and Again for Israeli mandolinist Avi Avital and Brooklyn Rider; Starlighter for Syrian-born clarinetist Kinan Azmeh and Brooklyn Rider; and For Sixty Cents, premiered and recorded by Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie Von Otter.  Jacobsen collaborated with Iran’s Siamak Aghaei to write a Persian folk-inflected composition, Ascending Bird, which he performed as soloist with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House, in a concert that was streamed live by millions of viewers worldwide.

Alan Murchie is associate for education and music at St, James’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford. Murchie is a versatile musician whose performance schedule includes regular appearances as a solo pianist, organist, conductor, chamber musician and lecturer. Concert performances include piano and organ concerti with The Knights, a live performance on WGBH Boston with BSO cellist Owen Young, and summer festival performances at the Maverick Festival in Woodstock, NY.

As a solo pianist, Murchie has toured Morocco and has performed in Vienna, Berlin, Edinburgh, Venice, and Florence. In 2016, he traveled to the UK for cathedral residencies in Edinburgh and Lichfield; organ recital venues include the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City.  In 2007, as Director of Music at Trinity Episcopal Church in Southport, Murchie founded the Southport Summer Music Festival, which was noted in 2010 by the New Yorker as “an elegant new series” and recommended for its outstanding collaborating artists.

Murchie’s musical career began early, at age 10, when he joined the renowned St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys. He appeared as treble soloist on St. Thomas’ 20th Century Services. He was graduated summa cum laude from Yale College, where he was named “most promising and gifted composer.” His Paean for brass and woodwinds was chosen to open a concert dedicating the new Yale School of Music campus. After college, Murchie returned to St. Thomas as Organ Scholar and as a member of the Choir School faculty. He was organist and choirmaster for seven years at St. James’ Church, Madison Avenue and for 10 years at Church of the Advent Hope, both in New York City. He is now Assistant Rector at Calvary Episcopal Church in Stonington, CT, and lecturer in music history at Fairfield University, where he also coaches chamber music.

Tickets to the May 25 concert are $25 and can be purchased by phone at 860-521-9620 or online at stjwh.org/colin.

If you have questions or would like to arrange interview, contact the Rev. Joseph J. Rose at St. James’s at 860-710-1515 or [email protected].

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