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A new look at classical music

Quartetto Gelato describes itself as a place where music meets theatre with virtuosic showpieces, romantic tenor arias, gypsy pyrotechnics and a world accordion champion.

Chamber Music Concerts is bringing the Canadian musicians to the Rogue Valley for a concert and week-long residency. The concert will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, at the Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

The concert, entitled "Amore," will feature a program of romantic favorites such as "La Vie en Rose," "Besame Mucho," "O Sole Mio," "My Funny Valentine," and many more.

Quartetto Gelato members include Peter De Sotto (operatic tenor, violin, mandolin), Alexander Sevastian (accordion, piano, bandoneon), Carina Reeves (cello), and Kornel Wolak (clarinet).

The ensemble established themselves as dominant forces on the emerging "new classical" scene early in their career by winning NPR Performance Today's Debut Artist of the Year award in 1996.

Classical by training and eclectic by design, Quartetto Gelato's performance repertoire includes classical masterworks, operatic arias, tangos, gypsy and folk songs served up with a theatrical stage presence and relaxed humor.

When Quartetto Gelato won NPR's Performance Today's Debut Artist of the Year, the selection panel concluded the quartet was "an amazing ensemble that achieves the nearly impossible: they play salon music with real style and classical music with real precision; great chops and a commitment in all that they play."

In 2007, the group's first DVD "Quartetto Gelato: A Concert in Wine Country!" was picked up by PBS throughout the U.S. for broadcast.

Recent concerts have included performances with the Toronto and Quebec symphonies, as well as engagements including the Toronto Luminato Arts Festival, the Calgary Mosaic Festival, and the "4X4" Festival in Binghampton, NY.

"QG" is regularly heard on CBC, Classical 96.3 FM, NPR, PRI, and NUR networks. Their "Concert in Wine Country" DVD is seen regularly on PBS.

Their seven CDs have sold over 150,000 copies to date and they have been featured on the Hollywood soundtrack "Only You."

The quartet has just recorded its seventh CD, "Musica Latina," featuring music of Latin America, which is scheduled for release in the spring of 2009.

The group's 2004 recording, "Quartetto Gelato Travels the Orient Express," celebrates the original journey of the famous luxury train and featuring music from London to Istanbul. Previous recordings include "Neapolitan Café," "Aria Fresca," "Rustic Chivalry," and their debut recording, "Quartetto Gelato."

Two of their CDs were literally been heard around the world when they accompanied Canadian astronaut, Dr. Robert Thirsk, during his NASA flight on board the space shuttle Columbia in 1997. Quartetto Gelato is in the process of developing a new project that blends their music with grand illusion and magic.

From Monday, Jan. 12 through Friday, Jan. 16, Quartetto Gelato will present a residency with programs for students in area schools, at SOU, and for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute members. These events are free and open to the public.

Concert tickets are $26 or $30, and $5 for youth ages 22 and younger. See ChamberMusicConcerts.org or call 552-6154 for more information about the quartet's residencies.

Quartetto Gelato won National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” Debut Artist of the Year in 1996. - quartettogelato.ca