‘Mahler’s ‘Titan’ and Invoke’

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Invoke (Courtesy photo)

“More music for more people” is the theme of Glacier Symphony’s 35th concert season and to that end a young, innovative string quartet called Invoke will join the symphony as guest artists for its Nov. 18 and 19 Masterworks concerts.

Music director John Zoltek titled the concert “Mahler’s ‘Titan’ and Invoke” and will feature the Austin, Texas-based quartet in the “Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra” by 20th-century composer Benjamin Lees, a rhythmically charged contemporary work. Following the Lees concerto, Invoke will play a mini encore set.

“This extraordinary work features Gustav Mahler’s ‘Symphony No. 1 in D minor’ called ‘Titan,’ composed in 1887. Mahler is now considered one of the most influential composers of the 20th century,” Zoltek said.

Zoltek notes that Mahler’s nine symphonies are top of the charts on orchestra programs and performed worldwide on a regular basis.

“‘Symphony No. 1’ was an auspicious and radical work from the pen of the 28-year old composer/conductor,” Zoltek said. “The work is astoundingly original and incorporates late romantic and visionary elements, not the least of which is the use of popular music idioms such as rustic village band music and children’s songs. Mahler’s ‘Titan’ is among his most performed symphonies and serves as an introduction to this vital and popular composer.”

Invoke has been in residence at the University of Texas at Austin as its Young Professional String Quartet since 2016. Their music offers a unique blend of classical with more edgy, modern, pops-oriented pieces and has been described as “not classical ... but not, not classical.”

The multi-instrumental band’s other “not-nots” encompass traditions from across America, including bluegrass, Appalachian fiddle tunes, jazz, and minimalism. Invoke weaves all of these traditions together to write a truly unique contemporary string quartet repertoire. Invoke’s 2015 debut release “Souls in the Mud” features original works composed by and for the group. Equally at home in a collaborative setting, Invoke has performed and recorded with musicians from widely varying genres.

Personnel in the quartet include Geoff Manyin, cello; Karl Mitze, viola, mandolin, singer and composer; Nick Montopoli violin, banjo, multi-instrumentalist and composer; and former Kalispell resident Zachariah Matteson, on violin.

Matteson recalls that the Glacier Symphony helped his career path.

“I started playing with the Glacier Symphony in 2006 when I was 14 years old with my mother’s [then a bassoonist in the orchestra] encouragement and of course, maestro Zoltek’s approval,” Matteson said. “It was a pivotal moment in my musical training — being surrounded by and participating in the historical works like Beethoven’s sixth and Sibelius’ second symphonies, both in my first season — really opened my eyes to new worlds of feeling that I had never experienced before.

“In truth, playing in the symphony got me hooked on the violin and its possibilities to make music. The GSC also helped me with scholarships to fantastic music camps like Interlochen and Tanglewood before I headed off to study at the University of Maryland. I really can’t thank the GSC and maestro Zoltek enough for helping me to get where I am today.”

Both concerts will be held at the Flathead High Performance Hall in Kalispell at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19. Tickets are available in three seating tiers online at https://www.gscmusic.org or by calling 406-407-7000. Support for this Masterworks concert is provided by Freedom Bank of Columbia Falls.

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A special “Cabaret Evening with Invoke,” offering an intimate concert with the bowed and fretted quartet, will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, at Buffalo Hill Golf Club in Kalispell. The event includes small bites, a cash bar and time for a meet and greet with the artists. Tickets are $40 per person or $30 for season subscribers and when purchased for groups of four or more. Seating is limited at the venue and reservations must be made by Nov. 13 by calling 406-407-7000.

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