Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival: An evening of skill and artistry

Published 8:22 am Wednesday, April 6, 2022

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For more than 20 years, the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival has brought some of the world’s most extraordinary musicians to North Carolina as well as performing on the national and international stage. In residence at the East Carolina University School of Music, their performances have included concerts at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and a six-concert tour of Israel.

And now this exceptional group of musicians is returning to the Outer Banks on Friday, April 8 for a 7 p.m. concert at All Saints Episcopal Church in Southern Shores. Sponsored by the Don and Catharine Bryan Cultural Series, this year’s Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival will feature music for a clarinet trio, with Thomas Sauer on piano, Alan Kay on clarinet and Four Seasons founder violinist Ara Gregorian.

The Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival has become an annual feature of classical music performance on the Outer Banks. The ensemble has always performed their selections with a nuance and understanding of the music that is hard to find, but this year’s program will take on some of the most challenging music the ensemble has presented to date.

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The evening will begin with “Romanian Folk Dances,” Sz. 56 by Bela Bartok. Fascinated by the intricacies and melodic beauty of the folk music of Transylvania, Bartok’s 1915 composition is a relatively short piece of music, but the beauty of the melodies has the power to transport listeners to another time and place.

The trio will also perform another selection from Bartok – “Contrasts for Violin, Clarinet and Piano,” Sz. 111.

More traditional classical music will also be included with performances of Beethoven’s “Piano and Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Major,” Op. 12 #2 and the Finale: Presto non tanto of Frederic Chopin’s “Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor,” Op. 58.

One of the more interesting composition for the evening will be “Suite for Clarinet, Violin and Piano” by Alexander Arutiunian. Composed in 1992, the music is a remarkable blending of traditional classical music motifs with the atonality often used in modern music.

The musicians that will be coming to the Outer Banks are among the few who could take on such a varied evening of music and present it with skill and artistry.

Ara Gregorian, the founder and artistic director of Four Seasons has performed in international venues from Finland to Hong Kong and is a Distinguished Professor of Music at East Carolina University where he has been on the faculty since 1998.

Pianist Thomas Sauer, who is part of the music faculty at Vassar College and has a career that includes performances at Carnegie Hall, on stage in Europe in Amsterdam and Berlin and in the United States from the east coast in Philadelphia to Seattle on the west coast.

Clarinetist Alan Kay teaches at Juilliard, the Manhattan School of Music and Stony Brook University in New York state. He is principal clarinetist for a number of orchestras and has been involved in a numerous recordings over the years.

The 2022 Don and Catharine Bryan Cultural Series Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival promises to be an outstanding evening of music. Tickets are $15 and are available online through the Bryan Cultural Series website at or locally at Gray’s Department Store in Kitty Hawk, Sea  Green Gallery in Nags Head and Downtown Books in Manteo.

The performance will be at All Saints Church in Southern Shores on Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m.

Masks will be required for all audience members.

For more information about the Bryan Cultural Series and to find more information about the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival event, visit

Support is provided by TowneBank of Currituck, OBX Chevrolet Buick, Ramada Plaza Hotel of Kill Devil Hills and Hilton Garden Inn of Kitty Hawk.

The Bryan Cultural Series is a non-profit organization formed in 2012. The board of directors is composed of nine community leaders dedicated to offering a series of high quality cultural events, including a variety of visual, literary and performing arts.