The Great Falls Symphony’s Cascade Quartet presents the Chamber Music Series concert “Turn Up the Bass” with guest artist Mark Bergman, bassist. The concerts take place at 2PM on Sunday, April 15, at First Congregational Church UCC and 7PM on Tuesday, April 17, at the University of Providence’s Trinitas Chapel. Single admission is $15.00 for adults and $5.00 for students. Seven-ticket passes are available for purchase for $75.00 for adults and $25.00 for students. Single admission tickets and seven-ticket passes are available for purchase online at gfsymphony.org or at the door. For more information, contact the Symphony office at 406-453-4102 or visit gfsymphony.org.
The Cascade Quartet is pleased to include both local and out of town guests for their “Turn up the Bass” performance April 15 and 17. Dr. Mark Elliot Bergman, Director of Strings and Orchestral Studies at Sheridan College in Wyoming will perform Dvořák’s famous String Quintet No. 2, Op. 77. Bergman will also be joined by former violist of the Cascade Quartet, Jennifer Smith and Great Falls Symphony members Mary Stelling on cello and Molly Wilson on violin. They will perform a piece by Bergman himself for strings and string trio with the Cascade Quartet.
The program will begin with Beethoven’s String Quartet Op 18, No. 4. Violinist Mary Papoulis, says, “This is my favorite early Beethoven quartet. It is stormy, rich, and playfully all wrapped up with such craftmanship. The first movement opens with the darkness of C minor which builds to big orchestral chords that we can sink our teeth into without getting too serious." The middle movements are light hearted and playful, but still very much Beethoven. The finale is a bubbly Allegro which suddenly leads to a roaring Prestissimo that drives to a dramatic finish. The Dvořák quintet is one of the most massive, chamber pieces ever written for strings. The addition of the string bass fills out the string sound with such depth, as one can imagine.
Megan Karls and Mary Papoulis met Mark Bergman at the Assisi Performing Arts Festival in Assisi, Italy in 2016. They enjoyed playing there with him so much that they knew the Dvořák quintet would be the piece to bring to Great Falls, along with some of Mark’s own fun selections. Bergman composed his Dance of the Americas in 2006 and dedicated it to Leandro Carvalho, the Mato Grosso Chamber Orquestra, and all music lovers in Mato Grosso, Brazil.
Bergman explains in a general sense, “As a composer, I am often inspired to capture with music my impressions of a specific place or time. Chamber music is a genre that speaks to me because of its intimacy. I am pleased to be working with Recital Music in the United Kingdom to make many of my compositions available.” Dance of the Americas uses bouncy rhythms on top of long flowing lines to bring sunshine and smiles to the listener. It incorporates a section of extended techniques in all the instruments which brings images of perhaps insects hopping through the forest. It is a very uplifting piece that is a pleasure to listen to as well as perform. The Cascade Quartet is grateful to Jennifer Smith, Mary Stelling, and Molly Wilson for joining them in bringing Mark Bergman’s piece to life for their Great Falls audience.
Mark Bergman, bassist
Dr. Mark Elliot Bergman is the Director of Strings and Orchestral Studies at Sheridan College where he teaches double bass, composition, music history, and directs the Sheridan College Symphony Orchestra and Sheridan College Viol Consort. He formerly served as a Professor of Music History and Ensemble Director at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Mark has an active background as an orchestral double bassist. He held positions as the Principal Double Bassist of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, National Philharmonic Orchestra, North Carolina Baroque Orchestra, and the Mato Grosso Chamber Orchestra in Cuiabá, Brazil. During the summer, he performs with Assisi Performing Arts in Assisi, Italy, and the Peter Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Oregon.
In 2006, Mark founded Virginia Virtuosi, a string trio dedicated to innovative chamber music programs and arts education. The ensemble maintains a very active performing schedule and won the first Yale University Alumni Ventures Award in 2008. Fairfax Connections recently cited them for “turning classical music cool.” The ensemble receives support from the Virginia Commission for the Arts to tour state-wide and has performed regionally at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Corcoran Gallery of Art, National Gallery of Art, George Mason University, Montgomery College, Arts Club of Washington, and other venues. Mark also has extensive experience performing klezmer music throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. He appeared as an on-stage character in Theater J’s 2014 musical adaptation of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s “Yentl the Yeshiva Boy.” His performance on CD companion to Mel Bay’s Easy Klezmer Tunes has been described as “world class.” Mark's has appeared as a baroque double bassist with the Washington Bach Consort, North Carolina Baroque Orchestra, and other ensembles.
Recital Music in the United Kingdom publishes Mark's compositions. His orchestral works have been performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, Mato Grosso Chamber Orchestra, Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, and other ensembles. He received the 2011 William Strauss Fellowship from the Arts Council of Fairfax County supporting the creation of Shenandoah Suite, a string trio commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of Shenandoah National Park. He was a winner in the second British International Bass Forum Composition Contest (2002) and the Kappa Gamma Psi composition (1990).
Dr. Bergman completed the Doctor of Arts degree from George Mason University in 2015.Cognella Academic Press published his book In The Groove: Form and Function in Popular Music in 2012. Mark lives in Sheridan, Wyoming with his wife Rachel and their children Avi and Zachary.