The Taos News
Taos School of Music gets set to embark on its 49th illustrious Chamber Music Festival

By Ariana Kramer

June 16, 2011


The season begins with the internationally renowned Borromeo String Quartet performing a concert that includes Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “String Quartet No. 18,” Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Op. 74, ‘Harp’ ” and a piece written by composer Curt Cacioppo specifically for the Borromeo String Quartet.

Borromeo member, Nicholas Kitchen, explained that Cacioppo’s piece was written specifically for the Borromeo String Quartet. “Kinaalda,” translated as “Changing Woman,” is based on Diné (Navajo) origin beliefs and the American Indian coming-of-age ceremonies for young women. Kitchen explained that it developed out of Cacioppo’s involvement with a project to help document Diné music.

“He was very fascinated with its sound and meaning and eventually it inspired him to seek a Navajo mentor and write a series of four string quartets based on Navajo mythology,” said Kitchen.

The group first played it at the 2011 Tucson Chamber Music Festival last March. Kitchen explained that the first movement evokes “the mythical events of pre-history” and creation, while the second movement contains a running theme.

“The second movement is a large set of variations on a resplendent singing theme. Within the variations are three courantes, the baroque form named after running. This running has great significance in the story of ‘Changing Woman,’ and this running continues to have great significance in the coming-of-age ceremonies in Navajo culture,” Kitchen said.

Cacioppo also includes an energetic fugue spelling the name of Jacoby Ellsbury. Kitchen explained that Ellsbury is the star player of Diné ancestry who plays with the Boston Red Sox, the Borromeo’s hometown team.

UP FRONT / Classical launchpad 

The Taos News, 6/16/11, S04