ALIAS Chamber Ensemble Announces 2013-2014 Season

The Grammy-nominated ALIAS Chamber Ensemble begins its 2013-14 season with a concert that features three living women composers, including a World Premiere by Pulitzer prize-winning Caroline Shaw. And Shaw is not the only Pulitzer winner on that concert, let alone in the season. ALIAS will also be performing works by Tennessee native Jennifer Higdon (who won the Pulitzer in 2010), and Paul Moravec (who won in 2004).

Also on the ALIAS season this year are works by older and more familiar names: Ravel, Ginastera, and Debussy. ALIAS audiences will also recognize Baroque master Antonio Giovanni Pandolfi Mealli, whose music has been performed on period instruments several times by ALIAS Artistic Director Zeneba Bowers and friends. “We like to mix up the programs,” Bowers explained. “We’ve become known for the new music that we play and record, but we don’t limit ourselves to the 20th and 21st centuries.”

Indeed, most of the remaining programs consist of newer composers, though some will be familiar, at least to fans of the Grammy-nominated chamber group. Kenji Bunch, Margaret Brouwer, Piotr Szewczyk, and ALIAS cellist Matt Walker have been featured on ALIAS concerts in the past, and will be again this season.

The keystone of ALIAS’ programming this season is its collaboration with the acclaimed vocal group, Portara Ensemble, and the Nashville Ballet. Co-commissioning a work by Pulitzer-winning composer Paul Moravec, ALIAS and Portara will record the new piece and two other Moravec works for release on the Delos label in fall 2014. The entire CD of works will be performed with all-new choreographies for the Nashville Ballet’s “Emergence” series in May 29-31, 2014. 

ALIAS will also be expanding its education community programs (ECP) this season, after the great success of last season’s outreach efforts led by ECP Coordinator Chris Farrell. Also a composer, Farrell wrote music to create an imaginative and interactive program to show how composers write music, allowing the audience to participate in the process of constructing a piece of music. Farrell is writing more new music for the 2014 ECP series, which will reach hundreds of students and adults in a wide variety of venues throughout Nashville.

As a resident ensemble of Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music, ALIAS will perform its series concerts at Turner Hall at Blair.

ALIAS Chamber Ensemble 2013-14 Season

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

ALIAS’ opening concert features music by four living American composers, including three women: Pulitzer Prize winning Caroline Shaw (2013) and Jennifer Higdon (2010); Kenji Bunch, whose music ALIAS has championed and recorded for years; and Guggenheim Fellow Margaret Brouwer. Adding a bit of contrast is an early Baroque sonata by ancient Italian master Giovanni Pandolfi.

Kenji Bunch Suite for viola and piano (1998)

Caroline Shaw "Cantico delle creature" for mezzo soprano, violin, baroque cello and piano (2013) World Premiere

Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli Sonata No. 3 for violin and continuo (1660)

Jennifer Higdon "An Exaltation of Larks" for string quartet (2005)

Margaret Brouwer "Demeter Prelude" for string quartet (1997)

Nonprofit Partner: Better Decisions

February 14-16, 2014

ALIAS performs with the Nashville Ballet, "Attitude" series (Visit for tickets)

Kevin Puts "And Legions will Rise" for clarinet, violin and marimba

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

ALIAS’ Winter Concert unveils the ensemble’s project of presenting works by Paul Moravec, beginning with his “Tempest Fantasy”, which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. ALIAS will record this and other of Moravec’s works on a disc that will be released in Fall 2014 on the Delos label. Works by Ginastera, Debussy, and young American composer Piotr Szewczyk round out this eclectic program.

Piotr Szewczyk "Twisted Dances" for oboe, violin, cello and piano (2012)

Alberto Ginastera String Quartet No. 2 (1968)

Claude Debussy Trio for flute, viola, and harp (1915)

Paul Moravec Tempest Fantasy for clarinet, violin, cello and piano (2002)

Nonprofit Partner: The Contributor

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Continuing the roll-out of its recording project, ALIAS teams up with Nashville vocal ensemble Portara to present two more of Paul Moravec’s works: Sacred Love Songs, and the World Premiere of “Amorisms”, which has been commissioned by ALIAS, Portara, and the Nashville Ballet. Also on the program are a trio by Maurice Ravel and works by Douglas Hill and ALIAS cellist Matt Walker, both influenced by American folk/pop idioms.

Maurice Ravel Sonatine en Trio for flute, cello, and harp (1905)

Douglas Hill "A Set of Songs and Dances" for clarinet, horn, vibraphone, and bass (2006)

Paul Moravec Sacred Love Songs for string quartet and SATB voices (2012)

Matt Walker “Grooves” for string quartet (2013)

Paul Moravec "Amorisms" for clarinet, string quartet and SATBB voices (2014) World Premiere

Nonprofit Partner: Students Taking a Right Stand (STARS)

May 29-31, 2014 

ALIAS with the Nashville Ballet, "Emergence" series (Visit for tickets)

Paul Moravec Works from ALIAS and Portara's CD on the Delos label

ALIAS concert tickets $15, $5 for students with ID, free for Blair students

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The Grammy-nominated ALIAS Chamber Ensemble is a nonprofit chamber ensemble dedicated to an innovative repertoire, artistic excellence, and a desire to give back to the community. Its wide-ranging repertoire brings Nashville audiences a mix of chamber music that cannot be heard anywhere else. Its collaborations with local nonprofit service organizations raise awareness of the breadth of giving in our community.

ALIAS formed in the fall of 2002 when a group of Nashville musicians, already well-known as professional orchestra players and teachers, set out to perform chamber music on their own terms. With a new artistic identity, they quickly won praise by performing outstanding repertoire, and donating their time and proceeds to carefully selected local charities.

  • In 2003, ALIAS found sponsors and began a critically-acclaimed concert series at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music. The audience doubled with innovative programming and PR, and funds donated to charity grew.
  • In 2004, ALIAS became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. ALIAS Education and Community Programs reached out to bring chamber music to W. O. Smith Music School, Nashville School for the Blind, Outlook Nashville, and a program for Nashvillians in substance abuse recovery.
  • In 2005, ALIAS launched a website, doubled the donor base, and created partnerships with the Blair School of Music and Vanderbilt University.
  • In 2006, ALIAS became PENCIL Partners with Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet School, doubling its reach yet again through school-wide performances and Master Classes for band and orchestra students. This year ALIAS also launched its Double Take series, a collaboration with the Nashville Symphony.
  • In 2007, ALIAS began interactive video-conferencing with classrooms from Texas to Florida via The Virtual School at Vanderbilt.
  • By 2008, ALIAS had raised thousands for local groups like Better Decisions, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, CASA, Dismas House, Second Harvest Food Bank Kids’ Cafe, Oasis Center, W.O. Smith Music School, and Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker Program.
  • In 2009, ALIAS received its third Best of Nashville award from the Nashville SCENE: “Best Socially Conscious Classical Programming: ALIAS Chamber Ensemble’s Emerging Voices Series.”
  • In 2010, ALIAS announces a major new project featuring Guggenheim Fellowship- and Latin Grammy-winning composer Gabriela Lena Frank. The project includes the first-ever ALIAS recording, featuring Ms. Frank’s chamber works for NAXOS, on its American Classics label.
  • In 2011, ALIAS released its first CD, “Hilos”, a collection of Gabriela Frank’s chamber music, which went on to receive a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Small Ensemble Performance.
  • In 2012, ALIAS performed with the Nashville Ballet on the Ballet’s groundbreaking “Emergence” series, which subsequently received a “Best of Nashville” in the SCENE for “Best Modern Dance Composition”; and the ensemble recorded and released its second CD, “Boiling Point”, works of virtuoso violist and composer Kenji Bunch, on the Delos label. The disc reached the Billboard Top 100 Classical chart in its first week of release.

ALIAS’ Leadership

Zeneba Bowers, Artistic Director and violinist - Zeneba earned both her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Eastman School of Music in 1994 and 1996, respectively. Zeneba has served as concertmaster of Charleston Spoleto Festival, Festival dei Due Mondi (Spoleto, Italy), and the New World Symphony. She has played under the batons of Michael Tilson Thomas, Zdenek Macal, Pinchas Zuckerman, Hugh Wolff and Leonard Slatkin. She has also performed with the Rochester Philharmonic and with the Nashville Ballet on their Emergence series in 2007. Zeneba joined the Nashville Symphony in 1999 and won the title of Assistant Principal Second Violin in 2001. She founded ALIAS in the fall of 2002.

Jim Robert, Executive Director – Jim has been very active in Nashville’s nonprofit community for many years. His first contact with ALIAS was as Development Coordinator for Outlook Nashville, who was one of ALIAS’ nonprofit partners in 2006. Jim became a volunteer for ALIAS and soon joined their Board, while at the same time working for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee. He became ALIAS’ Executive Director in June 2011.

Christopher Farrell, Education and Community Programs Coordinator and violist - Though only joining ALIAS officially in 2009, Chris has been one of the most frequent Guest Artists on ALIAS’ stage since the group’s inception. A native of Arlington, Texas, Chris joined the Nashville Symphony viola section in 1999. Previously, he was a member of the Knoxville Symphony. Chris holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Texas and a Master of Music degree from Indiana University.

ALIAS Musicians

Zeneba Bowers, violin

Chris Farrell, viola

Alison Gooding, violin

Licia Jaskunas, harp

Lee Levine, clarinet

Christopher Norton, percussion

Leslie Norton, horn

Sari Reist, cello

Christopher Stenstrom, cello

Matt Walker, cello

Roger Wiesmeyer, oboe, English Horn, and keyboard

Jeremy Williams, violin

For more information on ALIAS, please visit