Musicians of Palaver Strings play for New Hope

Sep 21, 2017
Cellist Matt Smith, left, and pianist Peipei Song are among the musicians playing at an Oct. 7 benefit concert for New Hope for Women.

Waldoboro — The Musicians of Palaver Strings will perform a concert to benefit New Hope for Women Saturday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m. at Broad Bay Congregational UCC, 941 Main St./Route 220. The concert, with pianist Peipei Song will feature Mendelssohn's Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49 and Schubert's String Quintet in C major, D. 956, Op. 163.

In conjunction with October’s emphasis on domestic violence awareness, New Hope's exhibit “An Empty Place at the Table,” a memorial to victims of domestic violence, will be on display. All proceeds from the admission-by-donation concert go to New Hope for Women, which serves men, women and children of all ages involved in domestic violence, dating violence and stalking in Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc and Waldo counties.

Musicians of Palaver Strings is an offshoot of Palaver Strings, a joyful group of young Boston-area musicians dedicated to using music to help promote community. Founded in 2014, the musician-led string orchestra has performed at the Kennedy Center, Bay Chamber Concerts, the Hammond Concert Series and in a celebration of the Lullaby Project at Carnegie Hall. The group is beginning a yearlong residency at the Boston Center for the Arts and will continue their long-standing residency with Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School in Rockport. Palaver Strings’ first album, “Simple Gifts,” became available in August.

A new project for the group is the Chamber Music Institute, launching at Bridge Boston Charter School, Roxbury, to provide coaching and one-on-one instruction to motivated students. Other projects include the continuing residency at three locations of Boston Medical Center; the Lullaby Project, in which pregnant women and new mothers are paired with musicians who help them write and then record a lullaby; and Life Songs Project, a songwriting workshop for older adults in the LGBT community.

The group's founder and executive director is violinist Maya French, who grew up in Belfast. She is the cousin and musical collaborator of Josie and Sophie Davis, sisters who grew up in Waldoboro and have given many Midcoast violin concerts including at Broad Bay.

French, who earned a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from Boston University in 2014, works as a teaching artist with K-5 students at Bridge Boston Charter School’s El Sistema-inspired strings program and is working on a master’s in music at BU. She coaches at Bay Chamber’s Envision Chamber Music Workshop during the summer. Palaver normally performs in a 14-person, musician-led string orchestra setting, so members like to break into smaller configurations to play master chamber works throughout the season, French said.

“This was a perfect opportunity to learn one of the most renowned cello quintets by Schubert, which is a masterpiece that evokes energy, romanticism and beauty throughout," she said.

Other performers are Brianna Fischler, Jennie Brent, Ryan Shannon and Matthew Smith. Song, the guest pianist, is a performer and educator specializing in instrumental chamber music and song literature. She has performed throughout the United States, as well as in China, and recently gave a lecture recital of piano chamber music at the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing. Song has a doctorate in collaborative piano from Arizona State University and works at the Boston Conservatory as a collaborative pianist.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

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