The word frisson means “a shiver or thrill” or “a sudden burst of excitement,” making it an apt name for this 11-member ensemble composed of some of the best and brightest of classical music’s rising stars. Under the artistic direction of acclaimed oboist Thomas Gallant, the ensemble puts fresh, virtuosic spins on such classical and classic holiday favorites as Winter from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, traditional carols including Hark! the Herald Angels Sing and O Come All Ye Faithful, and more.
Founded in 2016, Frisson has since become known for its diverse repertoire and inventive musical arrangements that showcase masterworks both rare and familiar. The ensemble performs in over 25 cities annually, including appearances in such diverse venues as the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City, the Da Camera Society in Los Angeles, and the Bermuda Festival.
Most of the members of Frisson are recent graduates of such prestigious schools as the Manhattan School of Music, the Yale School of Music, and the Juilliard School. “It is a delight to present a live holiday concert again, and especially with this dynamic ensemble,” says Marcy Miller, executive director of Artist Series Concerts. “These young musicians are each brilliant in their own right, and together, under the artistic direction of Thomas Gallant, their musicianship and programming truly sparkle.”
Collectively, the resumes of Frisson’s 10 young musicians (Adelya Nartadieva, violin; Suliman Tekalli, violin; Rachel Lanskey, violin; Jordan Bak, viola; Serafim Smigelskiy, cello; Sam Suggs, double bass; Anna Urrey, flute; Bixby Kennedy, clarinet; Rémy Taghavi, bassoon; and Erik Huckins, French horn) include performances at Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln and Kennedy Centers, the BBC Proms, and the Mostly Mozart, Verbier, and Yellow Barn festivals. They hold principal positions with the Albany and New Haven Symphony Orchestras, and several of them have been participants in Ensemble Connect, the highly selective two-year fellowship under the joint auspices of Juilliard, the Weill Institute, and Carnegie Hall.
Artistic director and oboist Thomas Gallant is the 11th member as well as the unofficial “father figure” of the group. Gallant himself achieved initial success at a very young age but then stopped performing and only in recent years has returned to the concert stage. Hailed by critics as “excellence personified” (Borrego Sun) and for his “full throttle technical brilliance and musicality” (Palm Beach Daily News), Gallant was a first-prize winner of the Concert Artist Guild’s International competition and has performed at major venues and festivals throughout the world, including Avery Fischer Hall, Weill Recital Hall, the Spoleto Festival in Italy, and as a guest soloist with the Kronos Quartet and Cuarteto Casals, amongst others.
“It’s not often one comes across an ensemble of stellar young musicians like these who shine individually but also play together so beautifully,” says Daniel Jordan, director of artist programs for Artist Series Concerts. “Be it on violin, viola, cello, flute, oboe, clarinet, double bass, bassoon, or horn, theirs is an individual and collective brilliance that is not to be missed.”
Frisson performs on December 5 at 7 p.m. at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N Pineapple Ave, Sarasota. Tickets are $20–$55 and are available online at ArtistSeriesConcerts.org or by calling 941-306-1202, Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. More information about this performance and the rest of Artist Series Concerts’ season, which runs through May 2022, can be found at ArtistSeriesConcerts.org.
COVID-19 update: Artist Series Concerts is a partner in #SafeArts Sarasota and will be following the policies and protocols set forth by this initiative. Updates and Artist Series Concerts’ most recent COVID-19 statement can be seen at ArtistSeriesConcerts.org.