NEW BRITAIN - A longtime music professor enjoyed a packed house at the New Britain Museum of American Art Sunday.
The NBMAA’s Sunday Music Series featured cellist Julie Ribchinsky, performing a program titled “Bach and the Modern World.”
A music professor at Central Connecticut State University since 1978, Ribchinsky paired Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Major with music by The Beatles, in the first of seven concerts she’s planned through Jan. 2020.
“It’s very exciting,” Ribchinsky said as the museum’s Stanley Works Center began filling with people. “This represents the maiden launch of my project, which is part of a sabbatical award at CCSU,” she explained. “Many cellists choose to perform all six Bach Suites at once, but I chose to focus on one of the suites for each concert and the modern works influenced by them.”
Also featured in the opening program was “Suspended Shadows” - a new composition by June Violet Aino, which Ribchinsky performed alongside guitarist Nicholas Cutroneo.
Cutroneo was thrilled to perform a piece of music that had previously never been heard by audiences.
“It’s wonderful to be able to perform a new work with musical tidbits from the Beatles,” he said.
Linking Bach to popular artists from the 20th century showcases the influence the classical composer had on modern-day music, spanning the genres.
“The Beatles incorporated a lot of Baroque-style influences in their history,” Ribchinsky said.
The band frequently collaborated with string sections, as Paul McCartney and John Lennon both named Bach as one of their earliest influences.
Ribchinsky shared with the audience how the Bach suites have played a key role in her growth as a musician.
“I’ve been playing them since I was teeny-tiny,” she said. “They teach cellists how to perform technically, but also musically and personally.”
She also thanked people for coming out to an indoor event in lieu of enjoying the pleasant weather outside.
“Despite it being a beautiful beach day I’m thrilled to thank you all for coming.”
Berlin resident Patricia Kiniry made a special trip to the NBMAA for the show.
“I grew up in New Britain and I love this museum,” Kiniry said. “This program sounded wonderful and I want to support them.”
Ribchinsky’s lecture-concert series continues in Windsor Oct. 3; to be followed by three events in November in Old Lyme, Madison and Middletown. In January 2020, Ribchinsky has a show planned in Essex and a final concert back at CCSU. All are free and open to the public.
The next installment of the NBMAA’s Sunday Music Series is set for Sept. 8, featuring “Coming Home” by the Cuatro Puntos String Quintet. The ensemble will perform three pieces from 3-4 p.m. Entry is free with museum admission.
Here are the remaining dates in Julie Ribchinsky’s lecture-concert series:
nOct. 3 at 7 p.m. Windsor Public Library, Windsor
nNov. 3 at 3 p.m. Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme (free with museum admission)
nNov. 10 at 3 p.m. First Congregational Church of Madison
nNov. 21 at 12 p.m. Wesleyan University, Middletown
nJan. 11, 2020 at 3 p.m. Essex Public Library, Essex
nJan. 30, 2020 at 3:05 p.m. CCSU, Founders Hall, New Britain.