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Missouri Chamber Music Festival returns this week with premiere of ‘This is Not a Story’

Nina Ferrigno, Christopher Stark and Scott Andrews discussed this year's Missouri Chamber Music Festival on St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
Nina Ferrigno, Christopher Stark and Scott Andrews discussed this year's Missouri Chamber Music Festival on St. Louis on the Air.

The seventh annual Missouri Chamber Music Festival returns to St. Louis this week with a slate of classical chamber-style performances at Washington University and in Webster Groves.

A married couple, pianist Nina Ferrigno and Scott Andrews, principal clarinet at the St. Louis Symphony, direct the festival, which they started in 2010 to educate and promote chamber music in the community.

“We felt like we wanted to have a concentrated festival of chamber music to celebrate great performances, collaborations with people from around the country, to work with some of our great colleagues here,” Andrews told St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter. “We wanted to create something fun, festive and musically satisfying.”

The festival kicks off on Monday night with a performance of the Calyx Piano Trio at Washington University’s Graham Memorial Chapel. It continues through the week at the First Congregational Church of Webster Groves with three performances melding together a wide variety of chamber music.

This year’s festival will feature a premiere of composer Christopher Stark’s “This is Not aStory.” Stark is an assistant professor music at Washington University. Originally hailing from Montana, much of his work is deeply rooted in the American West. He recently received a fellowship from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to compose a chamber opera based on the work of Dorothea Lange and stories collected during the Great Depression.

“This is Not a Story,” is a riff on René Magritte’s painting “The Treachery of Images,” which depicts a pipe with writing that translates to “This is not a pipe.”

“There’s a lot of program notes that float around pieces right now, but maybe we should listen to the sounds themselves and create a narrative the audience can bring to [a composition] rather than the composer dictating a meaning to the listener,” Stark said of the piece.

Ferrigno said she appreciates Stark’s work because of expressivity and rhythm and what it brings to the table in terms of atmosphere. Such atmosphere fits with the feeling of the Missouri Chamber Music Festival, which seeks to connect with audiences in a more intimate way.

“As a pianist, we spend so long in practice rooms honing technical demands of the instrument,” Ferrigno said. “With chamber music, I could finally put it together with friends and family, just having fun. That’s what I’d love to share with my community. We’re having a good time and we hope that translates to the audience as well.”

Related Events

What: Missouri Chamber Music Festival Presents "A New View: The Calyx Piano Trio"
When: Monday, June 12 at 7 p.m.
Where: Graham Memorial Chapel at Washington University, 6475 Forsyth Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63130
More information.

What: Missouri Chamber Music Festival Presents "MOCM Morning Music," "Rhythms, Echoes," and "Finale"
When: June 14 at 10:30 a.m.; June 15 at 5 p.m.; June 17 at 7 p.m.
Where: First Congregational Church of Webster Groves, 10 W. Lockwood Ave., St. Louis, MO 63119
More information.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.