The Creston Concert Society is starting 2020 with Atlantic String Machine at the Prince Charles Theatre on Jan. 24. Comprised of five brilliant classical musicians from Prince Edward Island, the ASM invites the audience to experience traditional classical music juxtaposed with selections from folk, jazz, world and pop music, as well as their own compositions.
Atlantic String Machine is a dynamic ensemble of string players — Sean Kemp (violin), Karen Graves (violin), Jeffrey Bazett-Jones (viola), Natalie Williams Calhoun (cello) and Adam Hill (bass) — who perform as many styles of music as they can fit into their portfolios.
Based on Prince Edward Island, they have established themselves at the forefront of new and exciting arts groups throughout the region. Their unique approach comes from a desire to keep live music relevant, transformative and, above all, entertaining. In their efforts to keep themselves and their audiences engaged, they seek out interesting collaborations with other artists, unexpected venues for concerts, and write their own arrangements (including Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, as well as “Enter Sandman” by Metallica) and compositions, keeping their repertoire fresh and alive.
Described as “playful, tightly executed and delightfully innovative” (the Guardian) the group has received multiple awards from Music PEI (Achievement in Classical or Jazz, 2016, 2017 and 2019), and their debut album, Lost Time, received two East Coast Music Award nominations (Best Classical Recording and Best Classical Composition, 2017). The band has also been featured at festivals across the country, including the Stan Rogers Folk Festival, the Vancouver Island Music Festival, Summerfolk and the PEI Festival of Small Halls. They were hailed by Bill Roach of CBC Radio as “the rock stars of the ECMAs.”
Over the past few years, Atlantic String Machine has performed with a long list of exceptional artists, including Sarah Slean, Duane Andrews, Paper Lions, the Once, James Keelaghan, Meghan Blanchard, Rachel Beck and Adrienne Gallant. They have also appeared on recordings by Lennie Gallant, Irish Mythen and Dave Gunning. Their newest album, The Bayfield Sessions, builds on that spirit of collaboration by featuring guest performances of original songs by Ian Sherwood, Catherine MacLellan, Nathan Wiley, Matthew Byrne and Alicia Toner.
Atlantic String Machine performs at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24 (intermission draw donated by Wynnwood Cellars). Advance tickets are $22 for adults and $10 for youth ($25/$12 at the door) and available at Black Bear Books, Kingfisher Used Books and Fly in the Fibre.