La Musica Chamber Music Festival begins Monday and offers music to please most tastes, from the Baroque period to the Charleston.
Artistic director Bruno Giuranna has assembled five programs, each with a variety of musical styles and composition eras. For instance, the Friday program begins with a Mozart string quartet and ends with Elgar's Piano Quintet. Between will be Dances and Diversions for String Quartet by Dick Hyman, composed in 2007. The work, featuring the dance rhythms of the Charleston, tango and samba, was debuted in New York.
"I never heard of anyone doing the Charleston for string quartet, so I decided to try it," Hyman said from his Venice home.
At 81, he is still active after nearly 60 years as a pianist, arranger and composer. "I still concertize, doing lots of recitals. One of the things I enjoy performing is a set of improvisations on the great American songbook.''
Composing for chamber ensembles is a major focus.
"I do more and more writing. And I'm happy that my new piece will be the second one of mine performed at the La Musica festival. The first one was composed for clarinet, flute, viola, piano, bass and drums. It was halfway between chamber music and music for a dance band," Hyman said, laughing.
Dances and Diversions for String Quartet is a 13-minute piece. "It's totally harmonic but, I hope, somewhat adventurous," Hyman said.
He also will lecture at an open rehearsal at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Sainer Pavilion of the New College of Florida.
One reason La Musica has thrived is because it attracts great performers from all over the world. Among the 13 performers this year: violinists Ellen DePasquale, former concertmaster of the Florida Orchestra, and Massimo Quarta; violists Cynthia Phelps and Hsin-Yun Huang, and cellists Julie Albers and Andres Diaz. Other artists include flutist Carol Wincenc, clarinetist David Shifrin and pianist Derek Han.