Salastina: A New Breed

Maia Jasper and Kevin Kumar

The Salastina Music Society is leading a new breed of innovative classical musicians who believe there’s something in classical music for everyone regardless of age.  Founded by two virtuoso violinists, Maia Jasper and Kevin Kumar, Salastina approaches classical music as pure entertainment.  In their hands, it is.  Their program selections are designed for broad appeal and they love to interact with the audience.  The music they play is accessible, but they don’t shy away from the profound.  And the way they approach the presentation is nothing short of unique.

For Saturday’s concert, they’ll be performing Franz Schubert’s majestic String Quintet in C Major.  As much as any other chamber composition in history, this piece benefits from some background knowledge—about Schubert’s life, about structure and melody and theme, and about the otherworldly way Schubert captures such a wide range of human emotion and experience in it. It’s tempting to provide this background now, but Salastina will be covering that ground during the concert.

This is what they do.  In the pause between movements, they gracefully let us know what’s coming next, helping us hear a key change here, a change in tempo there,  and what might have been in Schubert’s mind and heart while composing the next movement of this immortal Quintet.

For the new listener and the listener of long experience, both, Salastina liberates classical music from the cloistered cells of academia and makes it completely relevant to our lives today.

That commitment to broad audience appeal shows up in other ways, too.  Recently, they recorded a dramatic reading of Ferdinand the Bull with cinema star Seth Rogen.  It’s delightful.

For the Schubert String Quintet, Maia Jasper and Kevin Kumar will be joined by guest cellists Amy Barston and Karen Ouzounian and rising viola star Born Lau.

Written by: Bill Haxton

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