Excerpted from Stylus Magazine
"Another palpable hit by the Chameleon Ensemble."
"A motley robe of dazzlement. The audience was appropriately breathless."
"The Chameleons have done a mitzvah in introducing the audience to the lieder-writing side of Webern: this must be news to those who see him as just a miniaturist."
""The musicians play so well together, passing themes back and forth, that no one shines out or overshadows another. Tender melodies creep in, only to surrender to chaotic bars (like Gary Gorczyca’s high pitched clarinet figures)."
Last Saturday's performance of Boston’s Chameleon Ensemble (the season opening) once again revealed the sheer virtuosity and flexibility of the group. "
"Pärt's work has also been called "meditative" and I suppose it is that too. Both Kelli O'Connor (clarinet) and Vivian Chang-Freiheit (piano) do a splendid job on this challenging piece and keeping it fresh. "
"Cellist Rafael Popper-Kaiser opens this densely modernistic work with sumptuous mysterious tones. Flutist Deborah Boldin plays with sharp accents and rapid glissandos, handling the difficult passages with requisite skill. Percussionist Aaron Trant handles the unusual Chinese and African instruments to startling effect."
"Manual de Falla's Siete Canciones Populares Españolas are deceptively simple at first. But in the hands of soprano Sabrina Learman, they become intriguing Spanish folk songs with dipping melodies, dramatic textures, and gently doleful themes."
"Few performances of the Chameleon Ensemble take place without at least one work I've never heard before. And that is one of this plucky group's chief strengths: introducing new works to concert goers."
"Once again the Chameleons have produced a chamber concert worthy of their name. "
"In keeping with the Chameleons’ mission of presenting hidden treasures, they unearthed Alexander Zemlinsky’s youthful work, the Trio in D Minor. He’d written it for a contest, sponsored by Brahms, in which he placed third. Of course there is an intense Brahmsian feel, particularly in the opening Allegro. Kelli O’Connor plays clarinet in this piece so deftly, I wonder how she’d do with Brahms’ own Clarinet Trio, written five years before this one."
"The Chameleons, a nine-year-old chamber music group,
take chances in their selection of the music and play it with
passion and elegance. Miraculously, they manage the rare feat
of remaining on the knifes edge of Apollonian precision
and clarity and Dionysian transport."
"After now attending two concerts by the Chameleon Arts
Ensemble, this reviewer continues to be impressed with the
versatility and range of this Boston-based group. I thoroughly
enjoy the variety of their performances. They are most definitely
a force on the local scene that I hope will continue and flourish
for a long time to come. "
"The concert was profound and whimsical, lyrical and
"The Chameleon Arts Ensemble has done it again: it has
given us a fantastic, varied program with gorgeous playing.
Those who were lucky enough to have been there on May 20 listened
to Deborah Boldins exquisite and at times haunting flute,
particularly in the Adagio section of Martinus Trio
in F Major; Gloria Chiens delicate piano playing, like
a constant waterfall in the background of the Andante section
of the same piece."
"Once again this concert showed how good these young
players are. Their programs continue to show considerably
virtuosity within their ensemble playing and program choices
that are considerably more eclectic than many comparable groups
in the Boston area. "
"This was a record-worthy performance of the Schumann
quartet played with passion, virtuosity and dramatic color
"An absolute high point of this all-Russian concert
was Mr. Popper-Keizer's cello playing in Rachmaninoff's Sonata
in G Minor. Dynamic, passionate, sustained and gorgeous playing.
I am really looking forward to the next concert the Chameleons
offer. It is bound to be inspired and memorable. "
"This complex Schubert Octet was a very satisfying,
artfully played piece that showcased the Chameleons' very
best ensemble playing."
" Next was Libby Larsens Songs from Letters
from Calamity Jane. Learmans singing was a beautifully
modulated performance, one of the high points in the concert.
"Judith Shatin's "Secret Ground" had its Boston
premier on this evening. Like a new pair of shoes, it took
some getting used to, with its mysterious duets (cello/clarinet,
violin/flute) and rapidfire chatter between players. Suddenly
Rafael Popper-Keizer played an astounding cello solo and lead
into a duet with Joanna Kurkowicz, one whose jazzy figures
took the piece high into the stratosphere. Flutter tonguing
on Gorczyca's clarinet and impish pizzacattos on the strings
added to the complex timbre of this artful piece. The crowd
applauded enthusiastically, as well they should have."
"The Chameleon Arts Ensemble continues to perform concerts
that include well known and not widely known composers, helping
to inform and entertain the audience at the same time."
"As always, this program was varied and innovative,
ranging from composers of the Baroque to the new Classical
Asian music, from Robert Schumann to Lukas Foss' modernism.
"Magical percussive instruments were introduced. The
flute was highly suggestive of a blackbird in flight or despair.
It was really a superb treatment of the poem windy,
atmospheric and humorous, while also conveying the ominous
under layers of the poetry."
"Elena Firsova's Perpetual Return, written in 2000 and
commissioned by Ensemble Pyramide and first performed in Zurich,
followed. It opened with a haunting solo flute, joined by
cello and the other strings and oboe. Poignant flute was followed
by an introjected harp. Pensive cello helped to stretch the
range of all the instruments to a point resembling a chorus
of birds, marked by particularly lovely intonation by Joanna
Kurkowicz's violin and Anna Reinersman's harp."
"The first piece, George Antheil's Sonata Number 2,
was composed by Antheil in 1923...The piece was lyrical and
dissonant at the same time like a disjointed tango
that jumps to a jukebox tempo afterward. Joanna Kurkowicz
and Gloria Chien played it admirably well and were joined
by D. Boldin on drum near the end. This was a terrific concert
opener, thoroughly whetting this reviewer's appetite for more!