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Accordo chamber group, with top-tier talent, to debut at Southern in September

The impact of the new management team at the Southern Theater has yet to be fully measured, but it’s altogether possible that a highlight will be the launching of a new chamber group made up of top-tier talent.

Accordo, a string quintet involving principal players from the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra, will make its debut on Sept. 20 and 22 with a program that includes music by Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Mozart. But more significantly, the ensemble is making the Southern its first-season residence hall, with additional concerts planned in January, February and April.

The choice of the venue is deliberate, according to SPCO Concertmaster Steven Copes. Chamber music — and especially ensemble chamber music — has a rarefied reputation, and these musicians hope to change that. As Copes put it: “Playing in a theater space like the Southern tends to change the perception of how classical music is often presented and portrayed.”

The SPCO musicians include Copes and Associate Concertmaster Ruggero Allifranchini on violins, violist Maiya Papach, and Principal Cellist Ronald Thomas. They’re joined by Principal Cellist Anthony Ross from the Minnesota Orchestra, though he’s not slated to perform in the first concert.

All have extensive experience in launching new groups. Copes was co-founder and director of Colorado’s Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival. Allifranchini co-founded the Borromeo String Quartet and is a member of the world-traveling chamber trio, Nobilis, with pianist Stephen Prutsman and cellist Suren Bagratuni. Papach is a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble. Thomas is a co-founder and former artistic director of the Boston Chamber Music Society. Ross, who plays with a number of ensembles, is one of the Minnesota Orchestra’s star performers.

For full biographies of the performers, go here.

Those who attend Accordo’s first season could find themselves bragging about being there when a major new group was born. They have that potential.

The premiere program: Prokofiev’s Sonata in C Major for Two Violins, Shostakovich’s Quartet NO. 3 in F Major and Mozart’s Divertimento in E-flat Major. Single tickets are $20, or $50 for a package of three concerts. For tickets, go here.

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