The Georgetown Quintet: A Classic Wind Quintet Who Aren’t Afraid to Mix it Up
The Georgetown Quintet plays at Blackrock Center for the Arts.
On a beautiful Friday afternoon in Germantown, the Georgetown Quintet, a collection of local residents who are all classically trained, professional musicians, delighted the crowd, at Blackrock Center for the Arts,with a performance as varied and diverse as its members.
TGQ, as they are affectionately known, is a classic woodwind quintet, made up of a clarinet, oboe, flute, bassoon and French horn. While TGQ's members earn their bread and butter playing with symphonies and orchestras around the country, they gather from time to time to indulge in the intimate setting a quintet offers.
"Playing with an orchestra is like working for IBM," said clarinetist Evan Solomon, "you have your assigned job, you have a boss, and you work. A quintet is great because no one is really the boss. It is a much more collaborative process, where we try out a few pieces, usually with a theme or collective tissue, and we come to a consensus on what kind of performance we want to give."
The show comprises five different sets, ranging from a classic, seven-part suite by early 20th Century composer Darius Milhaud, to Soviet era Estonian composer Arvo Part, to the Latin jazz vibes of world-renowned Paquito D'Rivera. The highlight of the show, however, was the second set, as the composer of the piece was in attendance!
Andrew N. White, a jazz musician renowned for his expertise on all things John Coltrane (he has transcribed note-for-note over 700 Coltrane performances), came on stage and gave a solo performance with his alto saxophone. The quintet then followed with their rendition of Mr. White's original composition, seamlessly integrating a pure jazz piece within the quintet structure - a real treat for all of us in attendance.
The Georgetown Quintet started in 2005 by Nancy Switkes, who plays bassoon. Oboist Yeon-Jee Sohn is also a founding member and still with the group. Switkes, a classical and chamber music lover her whole life, always wanted to start a DC Metro area based group.
"Our mission is to bring lesser-known works in the quintet repertoire to audiences who probably have never heard them before," said Nancy. After this show, it is safe to say that TGQ is accomplishing its mission.
TGQ does not have a set schedule of performances but check out their website for upcoming shows when they do get posted, as well as more information about the quintet.