As the only ensemble dedicated to music for flute, cello, and guitar, Black Cedar is devoted to creating the new, discovering the neglected, and re-imagining the old works for this unique combination. Their debut album will be released this coming May.
Their new creations include commissioning Of Emblems by San Francisco’s Garrett Shatzer in 2014 with a grant from San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, plus commissioning Miscellaneous Music by Bay Area composer Durwynne Hsieh in 2015. Black Cedar’s 2016 commission, Songs of New Peoples by Mark Fish, will honor the unique diversities of Silicon Valley with a multi-movement suite developed from Chinese, Korean and Indian folk melodies.
Black Cedar has discovered neglected gems like Cambodian composer Chinary Ung’s rarely performed Luminous Spirals (1997), performing it at the Santa Cruz Chamber Players in January 2015. “Hats off to them!” wrote the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The trio’s performance of New Zealand composer Ross Carey’s Te Whanganui-a-Tara (1994) at Berkeley’s Subterranean Arthouse in July 2013 drew this reaction from the Berkeley Times: “The three movements held lovely combinations…sharply plucked guitar notes, high bird-calls on wooden flute, and low cello whispers… the piece certainly worked, and that, powerfully.” Black Cedar also discovered German composer Klaus Hinrich Stahmer’s Debussyana (1983) and presented it at San Francisco’s Noontime Concert Series last year, where the San Francisco Examiner wrote, “We need more wit like this in the chamber music repertoire.”
Black Cedar re-imagines the old masters with their own arrangements of works such as Mozart’s Grand Trio, Nicolo Paganini’s Terzetto, Bach’s E Minor Flute Sonata, and Gabriel Fauré’s Pavane. And, they delve into the folk music idiom with their own renditions of the old Appalachian folk tune House Carpenter, the old English tune Fortune My Foe, and Astor Piazzolla’s lovely Tanti Anni Prima.
Black Cedar is pleased to welcome their newest member to the trio, Isaac Pastor-Chermak, principal cellist of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony in Iowa. Isaac is also a member of the Dayton Philharmonic in Ohio, the West Virginia Symphony, the Monterey Symphony, and the Santa Cruz Symphony. This consummate soloist is an enthusiastic practitioner of contemporary music with nearly two dozen commissions and premieres of new chamber works, and he is equally at home as an early music performer on baroque cello and viola da gamba, having appeared at the Berkeley Early Music Festival, the American Bach Soloists Academy in San Francisco, and at Longy’s International Baroque Institute in Massachusetts.
Flutist Kris Palmer made her New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall in 2001 to rave reviews as a winner in the Artists International Competition. The New York Concert Review called Palmer’s performance “incisive and expressive…particularly enchanting…with sensuous tone and pace.” Noted for her performances of music from the eighteenth century, Kris has performed the concerti of C.P.E. Bach and Mozart in the United States and Europe, and she is the author of the book, Ornamentation According to C.P.E. Bach and J.J. Quantz. The New York Concert Review states, “Palmer is clearly among the few current performers on any instrument to fully understand the nature of Baroque music.” Kris is a second-prize winner in the National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition, a first-prize winner in the Ruth Burr Awards in Houston, and a first-prize winner in the Carmel Chamber Music Society Competition.
Guitarist Steve Lin has concertized throughout the United States, Italy, the Philippines, and Taiwan. He is acclaimed by Classical Guitar Magazine as “a confident player with a powerful sound, quick hands, and a solid musical memory” and praised by American guitar virtuoso Eliot Fisk as a performer who “plays with an innate and uncommon elegance.” Steve is the guitar professor at San Jose State University, and he was the first prize winner at the 2006 Boston GuitarFest Competition and the 2001 East Carolina University Guitar Competition. He has performed at the Mérida Yucatán Guitar Festival, Yale Guitar Extravaganza, L’Accademia Musicale Chigiana, ChitarraImperia Festival, and the Stetson Guitar Workshop. A recording artist for VGo Recordings, Steve has released two albums, Eliot Fisk Series Vol. 1, dubbed “innovative and exciting” by Minor 7th Acoustic Guitar Music Reviews, and Imagen, which Classical Guitar Magazine called “brilliant and virtuosic.”
Black Cedar’s past appearances include the Center for New Music in San Francisco, San Jose State University, the Santa Cruz Chamber Players, the San Mateo Public Library, the Subterranean Arthouse in Berkeley; Noontime Concerts in San Francisco, the Davis Art Center, the Berkeley Arts Festival, the Rengstorff Art and Music Festival in Mountain View, the Bing Concert Series at Stanford, the Emerald Tablet and the Forte House in San Francisco, Classical Revolution in Oakland and San Francisco, Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, and the Foothill Community Concert Series in San Jose. They have performed live on KALW 91.7 FM in San Francisco, KKUP 91.5 FM in San Jose, and KWMR 90.5 FM in Marin County. Upcoming concerts include the San Francisco Public Library and Old First Concerts in San Francisco, the Music at Noon Concert Series and the Crocker Art Museum Concert Series in Sacramento, Music Under the Spheres at the Lick Observatory, the Maybeck Studio for the Performing Arts in Berkeley, and the Foothill Community Concert Series in San Jose.
Steve Lin performs on a cedar guitar made in 1971 by Jose Ramirez. Kris Palmer performs on a grenadilla wood flute made by Verne Q. Powell in 2002. Isaac Pastor-Chermak plays on an 1810 Gennaro Fabricatore cello, generously on loan from a private collector, and a modern bow from the workshop of Ole Kanestrom in Port Townsend, Washington. He performs Baroque repertoire on a 1982 five-string cello by Antonius Rosius.