Liverpool Public Library

Expand Menu

Opus Black String Quartet Kicks Off Fall Music Series with a Twist

23 months ago

Great community-made sounds return to the LPL once monthly with the Fall Music Series.

The Opus Black String Quartet starts the action at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18.

You can find out more about the unique ensemble with my weekly community library column for the Eagle News Online/Star Review. 

If you haven't seen in on the newsstand, you can read it here:

Four string musician perform.

Liz "Fiddle" Simchik, Jessica Kline Tumajyan, Allyson Sklar and Kristen Kopf are the Opus Black String Quartet.

What, exactly, does the ensemble name Opus Black String Quartet signify?

Let first violinist Liz “Fiddle” Simchik explain.
“Opus (is the) catalog or body of work traditionally used in classical settings. Black for the Luis and Clark carbon fiber instruments that we perform with. We generally perform in black outfits as well, with red accents, to ‘edgy’ up our classical-looking quartet,” Simchik said.
The quartet opens the Fall Music Series at 2 p.m. Sept. 18 in the Liverpool Public Library’s Carman Community Room. Simchik will be joined by Jessica Kline Tumajyan on second violin, Allyson Sklar on viola and Kristen Kopf on cello.
One might think they’ll take their spots at the front of the room to provide classical music as expected from a quartet that carries these instruments.
The goal was different when they formed in 2016.
“We wanted to provide an alternative to the traditional classical string quartet,” Simchik said.
So those who will attend should be ready to handle something different.
“The quartet performs music in more of a rock band setting. We play with amplification,” Simchik said. “Higher instruments take vocal melodies, bass and drums are replaced by viola and cello, and sometimes the violins will do things that are unexpected. Chops, slides. From fiddle tunes to beautiful Elton John melodies to avant-garde arrangements of 90s alternative rock songs. We generally tell audiences, ‘We are sorry if you came looking for Handel.’ We encourage our audiences to participate, sing, dance and talk to us. It’s a lot more lively than most string quartet performances.”
They also mix in new pieces, composed with arranger Will Pegg.
The library setting seems right for them.
“Since all of us are music educators, it makes perfect sense for us to share our music and our experience at the library,” Simchik said.
Yes, it will be engaging. “Expect to have a lot of fun, play name that tune and enjoy some of your favorite songs in ways you’ve never heard,” Simchik said.
The series continues with world music by Grupo Pagan on Oct. 16; American sounds of Chuck Schiele’s Quatro on Nov. 20; and a holiday concert Merry Mischief: Christmas on the Erie Canal on Dec. 18. All shows are at 2 p.m. on a Sunday in the Carman Community Room.
The concerts are made possible with funds from grants administered by CNY Arts.

This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrants Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by CNY Arts.