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Fireside Quintet to play a wide range of classics

Woodwind group comes to Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church on March 5

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The Fireside Quintet is a group of young classical musicians who reject the notion that Bach and Beethoven only draw older audiences.

"We're all in our late 20s, early 30s," says oboe player Kristen Cooke.

"Of course, we love all the grey heads in the audience, but it's exciting for us to see younger people, too. We're all educators as well; we have private students and perform in schools. So we reach out to younger people."

The Fireside Quintet is coming to Whistler as the second show produced by the new Whistler Chamber Music Society.

"We were asked by the society to make up a program of accessible music, because this will be more open to a wider audience," says Cooke.

Woodwind quintet are made up of freelance musicians Cooke on oboe, Paul Hung on flute, Sydney Tetrenko on clarinet, Debra Loh on bassoon, and Holly Bryan on French Horn.

"Our goal in this concert is to show each of our five instruments. We have showcase pieces for each one," Cooke says.

Four of the players met at the UBC School of Music. Cooke and Hung are currently working on their doctorates there.

"Our quintet is a typical arrangement in the classical world," she says.

"We have a lot of pop stuff we do in addition to classical quintet repertoire. All of the standards from the 1800s on written for ensembles.

"But we also really like to do our own arrangements for the ensemble, music that may not have been specifically written for us, but because we have a wide range of sounds available, we can play a lot of music written for other groups."

This includes music soundtracks; in the upcoming Whistler show they are performing a Harry Potter medley and the Game of Thrones theme, as well as "New York, New York," and Carnival of the Animals.

They are also performing Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein, Carmen Fantasy by Georges Bizet and other works by Ibert, Rubstov, Danzi and Arnold.

"It works well, people like it. We want to show all the different ways that quintets can be used. It's very versatile," Cooke says.

"We also have some longer pieces, such as movement from the (Carl) Nielson Wind Quintet, which is a very famous piece in the quintet repertoire. It's very classical and really, really pretty; it starts off with a clarinet and bassoon duet.

"And we are playing a very early classical wind quintet piece that shows the beginnings of type of quintet."

Cooke says that the concert will be interactive, with the musicians talking between each piece to explain the music.

The Fireside Quintet performs at Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church on Lorimer Road, on Sunday, March 5, at 5 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for youth. Advanced tickets are available at the Whistler Museum on Main Street.

For more information, visit www.firesidequintet.ca.

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