Innovation, imagination secret to Art of Elan's success


As Tuesday’s program by Art of Élan at the San Diego Museum of Art again demonstrated, this innovative chamber music group codirected by San Diego Symphony musicians Kate Hatmaker and Demarre McGill is clearly doing something right. The programming was imaginative, the performances expert and the gallery was filled to capacity. Here’s how they did it:

Concept: Limited to an hour, each program is inspired by a work of art (Tuesday it was African-American artist Faith Ringgold’s “Seven Passages to a Flight Quilt”).

Connections: Associating with the San Diego Museum of Art gives the up-and-coming ensemble cache and an ideal, intimate environment in which to perform.

Communication: The group has its own website

( and everyone at the concert receives a download code from allowing you to listen again at home

Content: Tuesday’s typically surprising program featured the music of African-American composers Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (“Blue / s Forms for Solo Violin”) and William Grant Still (“From the Hearts of Women”); and Welsh-American composer David Bruce (“Gumboots”)

Execution: Suffice it to say violist Amadi Azikiwe (in the Perkinson), soprano Alison Buchanan (in the Still), harpist Julie Ann Smith (in the Still), clarinetist John Klinghammer (in the Bruce), and violinists Jessica Guideri and Julia Pautz, violist Travis Maril and cellist Sarah Koo (in the Still and the Bruce) offered alert, committed, energetic performances.