Possibly one of the most underrated string quartets in the capital region, the versatile members of Kitka Quartet have stimulated the ears for a decade.
This all-woman chamber ensemble indulges their fantasies and ours by playing popular classical works as well as jazzed up folk, Latin and pop.
These nimble performers are offering up a free, outdoor concert with inventive arrangements at St. Albert Botanic Park on Sunday, Aug. 20.
Playing esoteric heavy chamber arrangements is not how these string artists earned their reputation.
“We met in the University of Alberta music program and we played in the University Symphony Orchestra. We played so much together, we decided to form a quartet,” explains violinist Marie Krejar.
The other founding members are violinist Amy Kao, violist Julia Davis and cellist Julia Dolman. For the St. Albert concert Kate Wood temporarily replaces Dolman who is on her honeymoon.
Krejar explains that working together proved to be an invaluable opportunity and they first pooled their talents in 2010 as freelance musicians for private events.
“As students, if we needed extra cash, it was a good way to earn it.”
By 2014 the group had gelled and selected the name Kitka (kytka), a Czech word that translates to blossom or flower.
“We were fishing for names and that one sounded interesting,” laughs Krejar.
Within this clutch of special musical skills, each musician plays a necessary role. Kao is the cool-headed “supermom” that keeps everyone relaxed. Dolman is the archivist and networking agent while Krejar and Davis are the powerful creative drivers.
As musicians, they work through the notes bar by bar. While respectful of each other, they are not afraid to push different points of view with the directness of siblings.
Expecting a wide audience at the Sunday concert, Kitka has chosen repertoire that is performed often and is easily recognizable.
Although every piece on Kitka’s program has been played countless times, they continue to offer a rich, yet subtle palette unlike any other.
In the classical realm, they will perform Mozart’s most popular string quartet, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music) and a Brandenburg concerto.
Also on the bill is a transcription of composer Yann Tiersen’s piano/accordion-driven music from the 2001 French movie Amélie, a story about a young woman trying to help people around her.
“It’s a waltz. I wanted to get my hands on an arrangement. I couldn’t get my hands on one, so I sat down and wrote it.”
The contemporary church hymn, You Raise Me Up popularized by Josh Groban in 2003, is also included as a viola-driven work, and Astor Piazzolla’s Rio Sena spices up the afternoon with its seductive, flirtatious aura.
Seating will be available under a tent providing shade from the sun or protection from rain. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets and a picnic lunch.
St. Albert Chamber Music Society
Sunday, Aug. 20 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
St. Albert Botanic Park
265 Sturgeon Rd.