Eclipse Coming to Harvey Mudd, March 11

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Scientific discussions of astronomical obscurities may be common occurrences in the new Shanahan complex but talk will shift to an Eclipse of an entirely different nature next Tuesday when Harvey Mudd will be graced by the spare and stunning sounds of a string quartet of the same name.

On March 11, in a celebration of Women’s History Month, Eclipse String Quartet will be playing a diverse program of modern women composers. The program is named “Terra Memoria,” after a piece written by the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. In addition to Saariaho, Eclipse will be sharing works by Sofia Gubaidulina, Joan Jeanrenaud, Julia Wolfe and Johanna Beyer.

Eclipse has a growing reputation for championing new and exciting works and unjustly neglected composers, such as Johanna Beyer, who wrote her remarkable and innovative quartet in 1936. Dedicated to the music of 20th-century and present-day composers, works in the group’s repertoire sometimes even incorporate electronics and computer processing. The all-female group performs frequently on both coasts and participates in music festivals around the world, but ensemble members have many ties to the Claremont community and to each other.

Eclipse is comprised of Sarah Thornblade (violin), Sara Parkins (violin), Alma Lisa Fernandez (viola), and Maggie Parkins (cello). Thornblade is on the music faculty at Pomona while twin sisters Sara and Maggie Parkins regularly play in a trio with Pomona College piano professor Genevieve Feiwen Lee. “We come from one of those music families,” said Maggie Parkins,who makes her home in Claremont and has played music with her sister as long as she can remember.

It was Maggie Parkins’ recent attendance of a concert at the new Drinkward Recital Hall—where a piece composed by Fernandez’s husband Jason Heath was featured—that sparked an idea to have Eclipse utilize the same venue. She really enjoyed the new performance space, and when she approached her friend and colleague Bill Alves, professor of music and chair, Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts at Harvey Mudd, he was very happy to facilitate.

The performance, part of the inaugural concert series “Music at Harvey Mudd,” will take place March 11 at 8 p.m. in Drinkward Recital Hall. It is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are required. Street parking is available along Foothill Blvd. For more information call 909.621.8022.

Learn more about the quartet and listen to audio/video clips at