Amid the dog days of summer, when there are typically few opportunities to hear well-played classical chamber music, the Perimeter Flutes will perform a free concert Saturday at 1 p.m. at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Tucker. All the music is by living composers, four of them based in Atlanta, and it will include the premiere of “Chasing Time” by Atlanta composer Nickitas Demos, commissioned by the Perimeter Flutes last year.
The group — Kathy Farmer, Jeanne Giager, Nicole Chamberlain and Laura Philpott — decided to schedule an Atlanta concert before they head to New Orleans next week, where they will perform at the National Flute Association convention, a gathering of several thousand flutists from across North America.
The two concerts will be almost entirely different. The only work they have in common is “Music for the Outer Edge” by Charles Knox, which the Perimeter Flutes premiered last year. Besides that piece and the Demos premiere, Saturday’s concert in Tucker will include “Tailing the Sparks” by Brian Chamberlain, “Tamar” by Nicole Chamberlain and works by Catherine McMichael and Andrey Rubtsov. Though the concert was not planned to include only music by living composers, the music the group wanted to play just happened to work out that way.
“They wanted to get an Atlanta performance in before going to New Orleans,” says Demos, who is delighted that his “Chasing Time” will be premiered Saturday. “It’s a hard piece,” he says. “They jumped right in. They put a lot of time into it. I went to a rehearsal Tuesday and it sounded great.”
At the convention performance in the Big Easy, in addition to the Knox piece, the Perimeter Flutes will premiere works by two of their own members, “Saints Fantasy” by Farmer and “French Quarter” by Chamberlain. Those pieces can’t be performed Saturday because there is an agreement with the NFA that their premieres will take place at the convention.
“This will be the first time I’ve ever played at a national NFA convention,” says Chamberlain. “This is old hat for Kathy. She’s been very supportive and encouraging and is very positive about it.” The Perimeter Flutes performed at the 2011 convention in Charlotte, but as the newest member, having joined a little over a year ago, Chamberlain didn’t play there. This one could give her a boost in visibility as both composer and performer. And as luck would have it, her “Tamar,” which the Perimeter Flutes will play Saturday, will be performed by another group at the convention Thursday.
“I’m excited that Nicole is going to get to have two pieces played there,” says Farmer, “because she hasn’t hit the national market a whole lot yet. She certainly should; she’s a fantastic composer.”
Farmer knows what exposure can do, as her works have been performed at previous conventions. Although there will be 2,500 to 3,000 flutists in New Orleans, multiple events are scheduled simultaneously, so each performance will attract only a small slice of the attendees.
“If we have 100 or 150 people and they like it, they talk to their friends,” Farmer says. “There is nothing unusual about someone coming up to you and saying, ‘I just heard the coolest piece.’ Basically, that’s how I find music, if somebody I know and trust [tells] me this is something I should go buy.”
The Perimeter Flutes are planning another concert in metro Atlanta in the fall, but details are not yet finalized.