Violist Annie Center to join string quartet Bella Sala for free concert

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Annie Chang Center, former principal violist for the Phoenix Symphony Sinfonietta and the Arizona Chamber Orchestra, will join the string quartet Bella Sala to perform a free concert on Tuesday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre at Edmonds Community College (EdCC).

The four members of Bella Sala are violinist Pamela Liu, violinist Rose McIntosh, cellist Erika Pierson and violist Jenn Glenn Shoval. Liu, who teaches violin and viola at EdCC and is the concertmaster of the Cascade Symphony Orchestra, founded Bella Sala seven years ago.

The group has played at multiple benefit concerts for charitable organizations including the Humane Society and Hopelink. Bella Sala regularly performs at Resonance at Soma Towers in Bellevue and the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford.

Center met most of the members of Bella Sala at the Academy of Music Northwest in 2009. She performed with the group in 2014 at a benefit concert for the International Rescue Committee. “We laugh a lot when we are together,” Center shared about the quartet, adding the group is “serious about achieving the shared artist goal of playing at the highest level.”

Center has performed as a violist and pianist in Europe, the U.S. and Asia. A member of the Arizona MusicFest Orchestra and the Black Pearl Orchestra in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Center currently coaches chamber music for the Seattle Chamber Music Society’s Music In The Classroom Program and the Cornish Summer Music Program.

The upcoming concert will be Center’s first performance at EdCC. The group will play the string quintet number 4 in G Minor, K 516, by Amadeus Mozart, and the string quintet number 2 in G Major, opus 111, by Johannes Brahms. Both pieces are scored for a string quartet (two violins, viola and cello) plus an extra viola.

Mozart completed the quintet in May 1787, just weeks before the death of his father Leopold – who was himself a maestro and violinist. Occasional melodies in a major key followed by the carefree energy of the finale brighten the overall melancholic mood of the quintet, perhaps reflecting the intense, often conflicting relationship between father and son.

Johannes Brahms published his string quintet in G Major in 1890. Both exuberant and poignant, the second quintet reminded one of Brahms’ friends of an amusement park in Vienna, called the Prater. The quintet was subsequently known as the “Prater quintet.”

Worried the piece had depleted his creativity, Brahms considered making it his final composition. Inspiration struck the following year, however, and Brahms composed many more works before his death in 1897. 

Admittance to the concert is free, with a suggested donation of $7.