International Musicians Unite Through Neo-Baroque Orchestra to Perform Long Beach Debut

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Photos courtesy of Raymond Jacobs, Kontrapunktus executive director.

Kontrapunktus, a Neo-Baroque orchestra made up of young Southern California-based musicians from all over the world, will be making its Long Beach debut at St. Cornelius Catholic Church on Friday, June 2 at 8:00PM.

The 90-minute performance will feature classic Baroque pieces from J.S. Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Pietro Locatelli as well as new Baroque music from the group’s first studio album, Kontrapunktus, A Neo-Baroque Introduction, written by Mark Moya.

The “conductorless” concert will be led by Concertmaster and French Violinist Etienne Gara, who regularly plays with Los Angeles Philharmonic and LA Opera.

“Baroque music, it’s been written 300 years ago or more, and it’s fresh and fun to play,” he told the Post. “We present that to the audience, and I think that feedback is also part of the thrill of the stage experience. […]It’s about sharing something that everybody feels rewarded from in many ways.”

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Joining Gara will be violinists Mishkar Nunez-Mejia, YuEun Gemma Kim, Myroslava Khomik, Alexander Granger, Leila Nassar-Fredell, violist Tanner Menees, cellist Joo Lee, bassist Ryan Baird and Arthur Omura on harpsichord and organ. Together, they form a unique group of musicians from different parts of the globe including France, Ukraine, Dominican Republic, South Korea and the United States.

“Classical musicians of this generation who reside in the Los Angeles [and] Orange County area almost have a clique,” Executive Director Raymond Jacobs told the Post. “The bond that they form not only has to do with their age, but also their ethnicity. Many of them come from different regions of the world and lean on one another, since classical music is their common passion.”

Rehearsals often go overtime by up to two hours because everyone is enjoying playing the music and spending time with one another, Gara added. “We are like a little family.”

Kontrapunktus, Latin for “counterpoint” was founded in 2015 by Jacobs to record the album for the purpose of reviving the art of Baroque music in today’s music scene. Members of the group come from USC Thorton School of Music, Colburn Conservatory of Music, University of California, Los Angeles and the Cal State Long Beach Bob Cole Conservatory.

“We’re really looking forward to converting new fans with each concert through the power of our performance as a group,” Jacobs said. “We received a long, enthusiastic ovation from our last audience and intend to continue our momentum when we return to the stage […]. We have a uniquely remarkable program in store for those who come and intend to deliver on our promise in making the concert one for all ages.”

The concert is sponsored by the Port of Long Beach and Arts Council for Long Beach.

Find more information about Kontrapunktus, visit the website here.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

St. Cornelius Catholic Church is located at 5500 West Wardlow Road.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.
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