2005 Highlights

The Providence Mandolin Orchestra acknowledges with deep gratitude the D’Addario Foundation for the Performing Arts for their support of our 2005 season.


Bright Night Providence

The Providence Mandolin Orchestra will perform 2 shows for Providence's celebration of the First Night of the Year at 7:00 and 8:00 in the sanctuary at the Beneficent Church on 300 Weybosset Street. Admission to the event is free with a Bright Night bracelet.

Bright Night Providence

A free concert on Sunday, October 30, 2005 at The William Hall Public Library. The concert will take place at 2:00 p.m.

Directions to the William Hall Public

Under the capable direction of Mark Davis, the Providence Mandolin Orchestra (PMO) presented a highly successful season of concerts and musical events.   A generous grant from the D'Addario Foundation, makers of musical instrument strings and accessories, helped to make this season possible

FALL RETREAT – October 2-3, 2004

The season commenced with an intensive weekend music retreat at the Alton Jones campus in rural southern Rhode Island, featuring the fabulous Tamara Volskaya and her husband and musical partner Anatoliy Trofimov as guest artists.   The weekend commenced with rehearsals of repertoire including Barbella's Trio in G, a Sinfonia of J. S. Bach (arranged by Dan Moore), Yasuo Kuwahara’s lyrical 'Song of Japanese Autumn,' a new piece by Clarice Assad entitled 'Song for My Father,' and several Russian-flavored pieces including the traditional Russian folksong 'I've Met You' and Tschaikovsky's lively 'Neapolitan Dance,' both pieces featuring Ms. Volskaya on domra and Mr. Trofimov on bayan (the Russian button accordian).  A mandolin masterclass given by Ms. Volskaya gave soloists and small ensembles from within the orchestra a chance to work with her on technique and interpretation.  A pre-dinner concert featured virtuosic performances by Volskaya on both domra and mandolin. We can safely say that none of us have heard such speed and articulation on either instrument, which, coupled with her impassioned delivery makes for truly world-class listening!


The William Hall Public Library Fall Concert – December 5, 2004

The Providence Mandolin Orchestra presented a free concert at the William Hall Public Library in Cranston, Rhode Island, to an enthusiastic full house.  The program included music by Barbella, Byrd, Gal, Kuwahara, Bach, Sainz de la Maza, and Mandonico.  With the exception of the Byrd and Bach, every piece on the program was originally written for plucked string ensemble.  This was a terrific opportunity for the orchestra to demonstrate to an enthusiastic public the variety and sophistication of modern international music written for mandolin and guitar.


The Providence Public Library – February 12, 2005

Sponsored in part by our grant from the D'Addario Foundation and with additional assistance from the Providence Public Library, this concert featured the compositions of Giuseppe Pettine (1872-1966).   Born in Italy, Pettine emigrated to Providence in the late 19th century and quickly became one of the premier performers on mandolin in his generation. 

The program opened with an offering of some of Pettine's charming music for small ensemble, ably performed by Pettine's student, Maria Magnelli Arsenault, with the assistance of Robert Paul Sullivan and Thomas Green.  The PMO followed with a selection of their international music for plucked strings.

The main event was a performance of Pettine's "Concerto for Mandolin in G Major", never before performed in its fully orchestrated version. The full forces required to present this piece include woodwind quintet, tenor banjo, and mandolin orchestra.  

The noted American mandolinist Richard Walz completed Pettine's unfinished orchestration of the piece, and flew over from France to perform the solo part.   Prior to the performance of the Concerto, Mr. Walz discussed Pettine's significance in the history of the mandolin, and demonstrated some of Pettine’s characteristic mandolin techniques.

The capacity audience included many relatives and friends of the Pettine family who were on hand to witness the event and applaud the excellent performances.

As part of the festivities the Providence Public Library mounted a public exhibit of their large collection of Pettine manuscripts and memorabilia, which opened for viewing at the pre-concert reception.


St. Martin's Church, Providence – April 9, 2005

Russian-born Tamara Volskaya is without question one of the leading performers in the world today on domra and mandolin.  Accompanied by her husband Anatoliy Trofimov, who arranges their repertoire and performs on the bayan, the couple has been winning over audiences world-wide with the combination of sheer technical virtuosity coupled with impassioned performances.  A "standing room only" crowd was on hand to hear the couple perform separately and with the PMO on April 9 at St. Martin's Church in Providence in a concert sponsored in part with the generous assistance of the D'Addario Foundation.

The Russian duo commenced the evening's program with arrangements of Russian and Hebrew folk songs mixed in with classical selections by Vivaldi and Kreisler.  Their magic created a visible impression on the audience, who demanded many encores.

The PMO followed with original compositions by Claudio Mandonico, Yasuo Kuwahara, and Owen Hartford.  The orchestra was then joined by the Russian duo for a brilliant performance of Vivaldi's Concerto in G for Two Mandolins, as well as selections from Pakenham, Trofimov, and Tschaikovsky.


Mansfield, MA – April 1, 2005

The PMO was invited to perform at the 'Banjo Spring Fling,' an annual event which draws banjo enthusiasts from all over the Northeastern United States.  Several hundred were in attendance to hear the PMO perform selections by Barbella, Bach, Gal, Sainz de la Maza, Mandonico, Kuwahara, and Hartford.  The reception from this crowd was overwhelmingly positive.  Many in this audience had never heard a mandolin orchestra and were not aware subtleties and sophistication of musical effects which are possible to achieve in such an ensemble.


World premiere of Clarice Assad's 'Song for My Father'

Rhode Island School of Design Auditorium, Providence RI – May 28, 2005

"WaterFire"– the sparkle of flames on water, the smell of wood smoke wafting down the river, throngs of enchanted people lining the riverbanks…and the Providence Mandolin Orchestra!   The PMO presented two performances at the Rhode Island School of Design on a WaterFire evening in late May.  The program started and ended with two highly rhythmic pieces with traces of jazz and pop music influences – Mandonico's 'Music for Play' and Hartford's 'Cornflakes.' Also performed were Yasuo Kuwahara's highly evocative 'Song of Japanese Autumn' as well as Barroso Plaza's flamenco-influenced three-movement 'Concierto de Media Luna.'

The highlight of the program was the world premiere of Clarice Assad's 'Song for My Father' which was commissioned by Robert Margo for the PMO.  The large audiences at the two recitals were pleased to give their full concentration to listening to this music.  Ms. Assad was present at the premiere and her videotape of the proceedings may be viewed on our website (www.mandolin-orchestra.org).   Audience members lingered long after the final performance to congratulate Ms. Assad and the members of the orchestra, and to find out more about the instruments and style of music.


Providence, RI – August 17-20, 2005

The Providence Mandolin Orchestra had the honor of opening the musical proceedings of FIGA's annual convention with a full hour of original music for plucked strings.  In addition the PMO performed at FIGA's full WaterFire event on Saturday night. 


The Providence Mandolin Orchestra has made a name for itself as one of the world's leading groups dedicated to the performance of music for plucked strings.  The performance of newly arranged and composed music is part of the PMO's mission, and this season's repertoire was no exception.

The 'Trio in G' by Emanuel Barbella (1718-1777) is an example of chamber music for mandolins which was so popular in the early classical era.  Our version was arranged for modern mandolin ensemble by the German editor Reiner Stutz. 

The 'Capriccio' by Hans Gal (1890-1987) evokes the 'haus-musik' style of Hindemith.  Gal himself was from Vienna where he worked with the mandolin pedagogue Vincenz Hladky for some years before expatriating to Scotland. 

'Music for Play' by the contemporary Italian composer Claudio Mandonico is an excellent modern three movement suite consisting of a Entrata, a gorgeous slow Canzona, and a final Ritmico based on a jazz-rock style bass line.  Mandonico is also the music director of the Citta di Brescia and brought this piece as a gift to the PMO when his orchestra participated in the Providence International Mandolin Festival in 2001.

'Cornflakes' by PMO resident composer Owen Hartford is another piece owing its rhythmic propulsion to pop and jazz elements. Featured on the PMO's CD recording 'Resonance,' this, along with Hartford's 'Family Squabble,' have been popular mainstays of the PMO repertoire for some years now.

'Concierto de Media Luna' by Jose Luis Barroso Plaza won first-prize in the 'Jose Maria Abella' contest for plucked string composition in Vila-Real, Spain. The three movements reflect the colors and rhythms of Spanish music, with strong flamenco influences in the dance-like third movement.  Composed originally for Spanish 'bandurrias' the piece translates exceptionally well to the idiom of the American mandolin orchestra.

"Song of Japanese Autumn" by the late Yasuo Kuwahara is a romantic work highly evocative of Japan yet squarely in the tradition of European guitar and mandolin music.  Kuwahara was a noted teacher, composer, and mandolin soloist.  He directed the Ensemble Filmusica and founded the Kobe International Musikfestival.  We were fortunate enough to count Yasuo among our friends, and know that he will be sorely missed by the world-wide mandolin community.  We dedicated this season's performances of 'Song of Japanese Autumn' to his memory.

'Song for My Father' was written by the highly talented New York composer, pianist, and singer Clarice Assad.  Ms. Assad is the daughter of composer and guitarist Sergio Assad, who performs with his brother Odair in the world-famous Duo Assad; her aunt is the multi-instrumentalist Badi Assad; and her grandfather Jorge plays the bandolim (Brazilian mandolin). Many of the infectious rhythms and brilliant figurations for guitar and mandolin in the piece bear strong evidence of her upbringing in this family of virtuoso musicians and her Brazilian background. 


The Providence Mandolin Orchestra holds free seminars for anyone interested in learning more about the mandolin.  Players of all ages and levels get a chance to make music and learn a little about the history of the mandolin.  The orchestra offers instruments to potential mandolinists who wish to take part in the seminar.

Members of the PMO traveled to Maine in mid-December to assist with a weekend holiday concert at Colby College, which also included a well-attended Saturday morning "Introduction to Mandolin" for area residents.


The PMO is in the midst of planning its upcoming 2005-06 season.  Highlights of the upcoming season will include the US premiere of a fantastic new work for mandolin orchestra, 'Concerto per Orchestra a Pizzico' by New York composer Victor Kioulaphides.  The premiere concert will also feature performances by Tamara Volskaya of some of Kioulaphides' works for solo mandolin.

Plans are also being made to present the brilliant young Italian mandolinist Carlo Aonzo in a concert next spring.  Aonzo will perform two concerti by Antonio Vivaldi with the PMO, as well a variety of virtuosic mandolin solos.  Mr. Aonzo has released a number of highly-regarded recordings, including "Traversata" on David Grisman's Acoustic Disc label, as well as a performance video for Mel Bay.

Next year the orchestra will be offering additional out-reach activities as well as a student ensemble.  These activities will be directed by the PMO's concertmaster Josh Bell.

Keep up to date on all the Providence Mandolin Orchestra's many activities by visiting our website www.mandolin-orchestra.org.

Saturday February 12,
1:00 pm: Reception (Barnard Room, 3rd floor)
2:00 pm: Performance (Auditorium, 3rd floor)
Providence Public Library - 150 Empire Street.

The Providence Mandolin Orchestra featured artist Richard Walz on Saturday February 15. The noted French virtuoso performed the celebrated Concerto for Mandolin and Orchestra by Providence's Giuseppe Pettine (1872-1966).

Giuseppe Pettine immigrated to Providence in the late 1800s. A teenager who knew no English, he was soon heralded as a musical genius and the "Greatest Mandolin Soloist" in the world. He managed a network of music studios in Providence and Boston, performed with the Reeves American Band, and toured with William Foden and Fred Bacon, the leading guitar and banjo players of the era.

American-born, French-based musician, Richard Walz, is one of the world's leading classical mandolinists and a highly accomplished violinist. He tours internationally on a regular basis as a recitalist, soloist and member of several chamber music ensembles. When he was thirteen years old, he learned the mandolin's fundamentals at the knee of an old-school Italian player, one of Giuseppe Pettine's leading protégés, Albert Bellson (Alfonso Balasone 1897-1977). Richard is recognized for his research and performance of 18th and 19th century music. He is a passionate champion of Pettine's legend, his music, and his style of playing.

Click for an Interactive Map to the concert

For Interactive Driving Directions

Friday, April 1, 2005
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Main ballroom at the Holiday Inn in Mansfield, MA.

The PMO will perform a one hour concert on Friday,
April 1, 2005 from 7:30pm to 8:30 pm at the Stone Street Strummers Spring Fling in the main ballroom at the Holiday Inn in Mansfield, MA

Saturday April 9,
8:00 pm: St. Martin's Church —50 Orchard Avenue, Providence.

The Providence Mandolin Orchestra will be performing with featured artists Tamara Volskaya and Anatloliy Trofimov. The concert will feature Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Mandolins, Tchaikovsky's Neapolitan Dance, and other traditional Russian classics.

Tamara Volskaya and Anatoliy Trofimov comprise one of the most electrifying musical duos to be found anywhere in the world. "Merited Artists of Russia, winners of international and national competitions, Professors of the Ural State Conservatory in Yekaterinburg, the "Russian Duo" has toured throughout the former Soviet Union, Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, and the United States and recorded numerous remarkable CDs.

In 1997 "Russian Duo" performed at Carnegie Hall in the gala "America Salutes Moscow." In 1998 Volskaya's "Russian Carniaval Ensemble" made its World Premiere in New York. In 1999 "Russian Duo" was featured on NPR's nationally syndicated program "All Things Considered" and on WMAR-ABC TV. In 2000 the "Russian Carnival Ensemble" was featured at a ceremony hosted by Jordan's Queen Noor in honor of Hilary Rodham Clinton. "Rondo," Volskaya's mandolin ensemble, performing primarily baroque and classical repertoire on Italian mandolin, mandola, and guitar, made its World Premiere in New York in 2000.

In 2000-01 the "Russian Duo" appeared as the featured artists at international festivals in Japan and Spain. Highlights of 2001 for the "Russian Carnival Ensemble" were performances for the prestigious Madison Council of the Library of Congress and being featured nationwide on the CBS prime time special "Christmas Around the World." In 2002 Volskaya performed at Avery Fisher Hall at the "Mostly Mozart Festival" with Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky. In 2003 the"Russian Duo" performanced as the soloists with chamber orchestra "Bachanalia" under Nina Beilina at Merkin Hall. The duo made a debut for the production of famous F. Dostoevsky "Brothers Karamasovs" in February.

In 2004 Tamara Volskaya performanced as a guest-artist with Seattle Symphony Chamber Orchestra including two concertos by A. Vivaldi and by G. Pergolesi. In March 2004 "Russian Duo" had a concert tour to Russia where they performed with tremendous success in 6 main Ural and Siberian cities. On this tour Tamara Volskaya performed concertos by A. Vivaldi and by modern Russian composer E. Podgayts with the Philharmonic chamber orchestras of Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk.

Tickets are $10 General Admission, $6 for Seniors and Students

Click for an Interactive Map to the concert

For Interactive Driving Directions