A hotshot quintet called Classical Jam — Jennifer Choi, violin; Cyrus Beroukhim, viola; Wendy Law, cello; Marco Granados, flute; Justin Hines, percussion — was formed recently "to reach out to diverse audiences" and promote classical music "to people who feel that they cannot relate to it, or for one reason or another, are not exposed to it."
One way Classical Jam fulfills that mission is through collaborative projects and the creation of new music. The ensemble is heading to Maryland for a residency next week at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda and a side trip to Baltimore that promises interesting sounds for veteran and novice classical music listeners alike.
At 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Strathmore, Classical Jam performs works influenced by Asian and Middle Eastern music, including the premiere of Randall Woolf's "Mekong Delta Blues," which incorporates Vietnamese folk music.
The Jammers will collaborate on several events with the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras (that group's artistic adviser is BSO concertmaster Jonathan Carney), including a public session on the art of improvisation May 21 at Strathmore. And a new work created during a Classical Jam/Youth Orchestra workshop will premiere at Baltimore's An die Musik on May 22.
A finale at Strathmore on May 23 features the premiere of Payton MacDonald's Concerto for Quintet, Orchestra and Audience. Yes, the audience, which will contribute some of the sonic components, including reciting, humming and finger-snapping. Should be a great barrier-breaker.
For information on Strathmore events, call 301-581-5100 or go to strathmore.org. For information on the Baltimore concert, call 410-385-2638 or go to andiemusiklive.com.