The Portsmouth Athenaeum presents this annual series of chamber music concerts held in historic properties around Portsmouth.

The public is invited to four concerts:  

Sebastian Baverstam, cello, and Constantine Finehouse, piano. Courtesy photo.

SUNDAY, JULY 21, 3 p.m.


at St. John’s Episcopal Church

(cello, piano)

PACM is proud to introduce Portsmouth area audiences to cellist Sebastian Baverstam, who at the age of 25 was already praised by The Strad for his “. . .powerfully expressive style” and “consummate instrumental mastery” after his 2013 performance at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall. Originally from Newton, MA and a graduate of NEC, Baverstam is currently studying electro-acoustic composition techniques in Sweden, but he returns to perform with pianist Constantine Finehouse, now a familiar face in Portsmouth. The duo will perform what Mr. Baverstam has called a “high voltage” program: Brahms’ F Major Cello Sonata No. 2, which weaves cello and piano together as if in a full symphonic score, and Shostakovich’s powerful Cello Sonata, whose discomfiting tempi combine with the composer’s unusual harmonic language to depict the sound of modern atrocities and torment.

Musicians from A Far Cry, from top left clockwise: Jesse Irons, violin, Kyle Miller, viola, Jason Fisher, viola, Zenas Hsu, violin, Jae Cosmos Lee, violin, and Michael Unterman, cello.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 11, 3 p.m.


at The Dance Hall, Kittery

(two violins, two violas, one cello)

Six musicians from Boston’s acclaimed string ensemble “A Far Cry” will join us again to perform a trio and two quintets. Dvorak’s Terzetto in C Major, a rare trio for viola and two violins, was composed when Dvorak, himself a violist, lived next door to a violin student and his teacher playing duets and wanted to join them! Mendelssohn’s joyous Quintet in A Major, though written when Mendelssohn was only 17, is considered a full-fledged manifestation of the composer’s maturity “in all its still youthful splendor” and includes the occasional bursts of “fire-breathing virtuoso finger-work” from the first violin that characterizes his string chamber music. Brahms intended his Viola Quintet in G Major to be his final work, but he continued to compose, and the luscious and romantic quintet itself, permeated with an Austrian vivacity, gives no hint of being planned as a valedictory work.

Alex Cox, cello, Erica Tursi, violin, Jinsun Hong, viola, and Mason Yu, violin of the Omer String Quartet. Photo: Matt Dine.



at North Church of Portsmouth

(two violins, viola, cello)

The Omer Quartet received rave reviews from New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini for their NYC debut this winter, reprising the program they performed here in Portsmouth last fall. Tommasini called their Haydn “ebullient,” their Debussy “glowing and vividly dramatic” and their rendering of Beethoven’s notoriously difficult Grosse Fuge “fearless.” The quartet’s program in September will include Schubert’s Quartet n.10 in E-flat Major, written at age 16, but already showing the germs of his unique melodic voice; Brahms’ humorous and playful Quartet no. 3 in B-flat Major; and the disturbing but hauntingly beautiful Yiddishbuuk, by Osvaldo Golijov, with three sections based on apocryphal Hebrew psalms, ordered by their dedications, first to children interned in WW II concentration camps, then to Isaac Bashevis Singer and last to Leonard Bernstein.

Anna Williams, violin, Eri Nakamura, piano, and Mikhail Veselov, cello of the Neave Piano Trio. Photo: Arthur Moeller.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27, 3 p.m.


at The Dance Hall, Kittery

(piano, violin, cello)

The Neave Trio returns this fall with a program of piano trios by four distinguished female composers, spanning the Romantic era through the modern day. The Piano Trio in A minor by Amy Beach, New Hampshire born and the first female composer to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra (the BSO in 1986), incorporates lush romantic melodies over impressionistic tones and color. The unique harmonic language of British early twentieth century composer and violist Rebecca Clarke are showcased in her Piano Trio. Cecile Chaminade was primarily a pianist and her Piano Trio No. 1 unifies the strings with the piano in supportive, balanced setting. Different moods and energy levels characterize the two movements of the Piano Trio by contemporary American composer and Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Higdon, who named the movements “Pale Yellow” and “Fiery Red.”




$250 per person / $500 per couple

Each patron receives a subscription ticket and invitations to post-concert receptions in private homes.


$75 for all four concerts Make checks payable to the following:

Portsmouth Athenaeum

PO BOX 848, Portsmouth, NH 03802

(Please note PACM on memo line)


Admission $20 (in advance or at the door)