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Thursday, June 25, 2015

ChamberFest 2015 Preview: A Conversation with Matthew Tracy of the Echo Saxophone Quartet

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 5:06 PM

By Jeremy Reynolds

“This is exactly the type of performance opportunity that we’re interested in doing as a quartet — we’re taking it extremely seriously,” said Mathew Tracy (pictured second from the left), soprano saxophone player in the Echo Quartet. On Wednesday, July 1 at 7:00 pm, in the Blackstone Pipe Organ Residence, the quartet — comprising Tracy, Kyle Landry (alto), Casey Grev (tenor), and Eric Troiano (baritone) — will open ChamberFest Cleveland’s final 2015 concert with Terry Riley’s Tread on the Trail. The program, titled “Stars and Stripes” in honor of its proximity to July 4, will feature works by American composers Charles Ives and Ned Rorem and American-inspired music by Antonín Dvořák. We reached Tracy by phone to ask how the quartet became involved with ChamberFest and to discuss Riley’s music.

“This is our first year playing in ChamberFest,” said Tracy. “We were contacted by Diana Cohen about four months ago, asking if we wanted to be a part of the festival. We knew Diana and Frank Cohen by reputation, and we knew that this was a festival of the highest professional caliber. It’s one of the best kind of festivals we could hope to be invited to, and we feel very lucky to be involved with people as talented and successful as they are.”

Why Tread on the Trail at a concert celebrating American music? “This is a piece that Diana suggested based on its jazz connotations,” said Tracy. “The piece is for an unspecified number of unspecified instruments. It’s been done with mixed chamber groups, and I’ve heard recordings of with up to sixty people. We’re doing it as soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone quartet.”

Riley’s musical notation can be a bit strange sometimes. “The score is on one sheet of music, and everybody reads off of the same sheet,” said Tracy. “There are four or five lines of music to be repeated at the performers’ discretion. We the performers have to be in communication with one another and know where we all are to help this piece make some kind of logical sense. But it should work with anybody playing any of the parts at any time.” Read the entire article on

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