Online Premiere
7:00 PM PDT
April 23, 2023

A Contemporary Portrait: Brian Raphael Nabors

Concert is free

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Guest Artistic Director Joseph Williams presents a portrait of contemporary composer Dr. Brian Raphael Nabors. Violinist Caitlin Edwards, & cellist Sterling Elliot, perform an emotionally rich program including Nabor’s Piano Trio, Theme & Variations for Solo Violin, and Sonata for Cello & Piano.  

“My compositional voice really is rooted in humanity and exploring different facets, and stories, and narratives behind humanity. 

—Dr. Brian Raphael Nabors


Brian Raphael Nabors


Caitlin Edwards


Sterling Elliott


Jessica Evotia Andrews-Hall


Joseph Williams



Brian Raphael Nabors (b.1991):

Theme & Variations for Solo Violin

Sonata for Cello & Piano


Carl Vine (b.1975):

Red Blues

Red Blues

Brian Raphael Nabors:

Piano Trio

Hyde to Jekyll
A Day In the Life
Jekyll to Hyde

“Elliott’s impeccable musicianship, as well as his discernible love for the music won over the audience, which responded with sustained standing applause.”

—Victor Carr Jr. of Classics


Notes on the Program

By Joseph Williams, Guest Artistic Director

I’ve always described the music of Dr. Brian Raphael Nabors as chocolate. Expansive, vibrant, heartfelt, churchy, funky, classical, Black. Theme and Variations for Solo Violin (2018) dresses the skeleton of a virtuosic showpiece with tasty seasonings of bluegrass, fiddle and contemporary sounds. Sonata for Cello & Piano (2017) demonstrates refined motivic development and a mature command of form. According to the composer,this piece is a special one, as it marked the beginning of an era that I started to make deeper musical considerations in my compositional process. I began to explore the significance of engineering the structure of a piece of music and how this idea affects the listener. Some of my most thoughtful harmonic/rhythmic writing is exuded throughout the work. The cello and piano writing is full of deep contrasts in density and does a lot to showcase the range of both instruments.In 2020, Dr. Nabors was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study with Carl Vine, a major compositional influence. While the former’s residency in Sydney, Australia was cut short due to a global pandemic, the experience deeply enriched his already vivid imagination. Red Blues (1999) draws upon African American blues harmonies and syncopations to adventurously exploit sour dissonances and rhythmic kaleidoscopes. Smooth and unbothered, the work hums tunes to itself before concluding in muscular rebellion. This portrait concert culminates in the theatrical Piano Trio (2019), inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Each movement cleverly wrestles between the duality of good and evil. Who wins?  



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