by Mike Telin
What do marriage and an octopus have in common? They both served as inspirations for Gregg Kallor’s new work for string octet. On Wednesday, October 30 at 7:30 pm at E.J. Thomas Hall, Tuesday Musical will present “October Octets” featuring the Dover and Escher String Quartets. The program will include the premiere of Kallor’s String Octet as well as Shostakovich’s Two Pieces for String Octet, Op. 11, and Enescu’s Octet for Strings in C, Op. 7. A conversation with the musicians will be held in the Flying Balcony Club beginning at 6:30 pm. Tickets are available online.
First, the marriages. Kallor’s new work will bring together two brilliant string quartets. That’s a marriage of a sort. But there’s more — Dover violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt and Escher cellist Brook Speltz are in fact married. And when composing his String Octet, marriage was at the forefront of Kallor’s thoughts. “I started writing it in the late winter of last year,” the composer said during a recent interview. “But I had proposed to my wife in November, so marriage was very much on my mind.” That marriage took place in September.
Second, the octopus. “My wife has this thing for octopuses, and we’re dealing with eight musicians. It wasn’t a conscious decision but this was all floating around in my head when I was writing the piece.”