Atlanta Life and Culture

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Atlanta Chamber Players reveal ambitions for 40th anniversary season

The Atlanta Chamber Players, a longtime force on the city's chamber music scene, is announcing its 40th anniversary season on Wednesday, billing the slate as its most expansive and ambitious offerings yet.

The 2015-16 season will include seven concerts — four or five are typically presented — and feature guest appearances by violinist Robert McDuffie, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra music director Robert Spano (playing one of his own piano compositions) and soprano Lucy Shelton.

The lineup includes ACP's first Gwinnett County concert ever, at 550 Trackside, a Lawrenceville event facility, as well as its Carter Center debut.

“Programming such a historic season while still relatively new to the organization is a big responsibility," said pianist Elizabeth Pridgen, who was named artistic director last year. "I chose pieces and composers that reflect the rich history of the Atlanta Chamber Players while also showcasing our potential for new experiences and for growth with pieces we have not yet played as an ensemble, such as Schoenberg’s seminal Pierrot Lunaire."

The schedule:

  • Sept. 11 at the Carter Center with guest violinist Robert McDuffie in a program including works by Brahms and Mozart.

  • Oct. 25 at 550 Trackside. Includes works from Mozart, Schubert, Arthur Bliss and an arrangement of a Henry Purcell composition by Benjamin Britten.

  • Oct. 27 at the New American Shakespeare Tavern. The Rapido! Southeastern Semi-Finals (in which contemporary composers have two weeks to create a new chamber work) will include three new short pieces by southern composers as well as works by Schubert and Britten.

  • Jan. 17, 2016, at the High Museum of Art, Rapido! National Finals with guest performance by pianist Robert Spano, a Rapido! National judge along with composers Michael Gandolfi and Libby Larsen. Five finalists from across the country will compete for prizes that include a $7,500 award; premieres with chamber ensembles in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Detroit and San Francisco; and an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra commission.

  • March 6 2016, at Ahavath Achim Synagogue, featuring ASO concertmaster David Coucheron.

  • March or April 2016, free community concert in southwest Atlanta.

  • May 10, 2016, at SCADshow, including a commissioned premiere by Atlanta composer Richard Prior and a performance of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with guest soprano Lucy Shelton.

ACP also will expend its fully subscribed Intown Soirée Series, which presents intimate evenings of wine, food and music in fine homes and unique venues. In addition to the typical six intown performances, the group is adding a four-event Soirée North Series at suburban venues.

Concert tickets (except for the May 2016 performance, which should be on sale by mid-September) are available at


ACP traditionally draws heavily from the ranks of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for its members. Here is the 2015-16 roster (with asterisks denoting players who also are ASO members):

  • Elizabeth Pridgen, piano
  • Laura Ardan, clarinet*
  • David Coucheron, violin*
  • Julie Coucheron, piano
  • Ted Gurch, clarinet*
  • Helen Hwaya Kim, violin
  • Catherine Lynn, viola*
  • Ann Marie McPhail, soprano
  • Laura Najarian, bassoon*
  • Brad Ritchie, cello*
  • Alcides Rodriguez, clarinet*
  • Todd Skitch, flute*
  • Elizabeth Koch Tiscione, oboe*
  • Kenn Wagner, violin*

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The AJC Features Team spotlights arts previews, reviews, profiles, news features and breaking news on Atlanta's cultural and life scene.