The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 10, 2003


Sarah Darling and friends bring chamber music to Carlisle

Carlisle music lovers knew what they were in for when they filed into the First Religious Society on a cold and snowy evening last weekend. The Arcturus Chamber Ensemble, a group of young, talented musicians brought together by violist Sarah Darling of West Street, would once again be offering an evening of outstanding chamber music: Vivaldi's Concerto in B minor for Four Violins, Hindemith's Clarinet Quartet, Mozart's Viola Quintet in D major, and Fauré's Piano Quartet in C minor, Op.15.

These musicians, now ages 20 to 25, started out as a group playing chamber music together at Harvard University. When Darling took a year off between her sophomore and junior years to study at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City, she met others who were eager to join the group.

After intermission the musicians came back to perform Mozart's Viola Quintet in D major (Photo by Ellen Huber)
Arcturus, now in its third year, gives concerts three times a year: at Thanksgiving, Christmas and in the spring. Last week the group performed at the Lawrence Library in Pepperell, the Memorial Church at Harvard, and at the First Religious Society in Carlisle. As violinist Francesca Anderegg so aptly put it, "These are the musicians Sarah has met along the way." "...starting with GBYSO and the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra at the New England Conservatory of Music," added Sarah's dad, Eric Darling.

The 17 musicians performing on Saturday night included students studying music at Harvard, Juilliard, Rice, Amsterdam Conservatory, The Royal College of Music in London, University of Michigan, Eastman School of Music, and Indiana University. The two musicans who have graduated and decided not to pursue careers in music are working at Microsoft and at a law firm.

"This is a pretty loose group," continued Anderegg. "It's never the same people, but there is a core group." One member of that core group is Ben Rous from Durham, New Hampshire, who played with Sarah at Harvard. He plays both the violin and the viola and this year is studying conducting at the University of Michigan.

Following the concert, I had a chance to sit down and talk with Sarah. After graduating from Harvard in the spring, she is now at the Amsterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands, where she went to study viola, on scholarships, with a "special teacher from Japan." "It's a very international community in Amsterdam," Darling told me. "Next year I plan to go to Germany to study with another special teacher, and then I want to return to Boston, which has a very rich, diverse, fascinating and passionate musical community."

There were kudos all around for Sarah Darling (right) and her mother, Margaret Baltz Darling. (Photo by Ellen Huber)
Darling, who started with music at home and continued at the Carlisle School and the high school, hopes to have a career playing chamber music and teaching. She also told me, "I want to get involved in playing with some of the smaller orchestras."

Speaking of Arcturus, she explained how she had sent out 30 e-mails from Amsterdam asking which musicans would be able to take part in the Christmas concerts. Once she knew which performers would be available, she worked at finding a program that would use each person to the best of his/her ability. "I want to satisfy everyone the best that I can. I'm always trying to please."

With students scattered all over the world and no more school vacations to count on, members of the Arcturus Chamber Ensemble are not sure what direction the group will be going in. For now we music lovers here in Carlisle must be satisfied with the outstanding performances we have enjoyed over the past three years. We thank Sarah Darling, as well as her parents who took the musicians into their home during the days before each concert. As Francesca Anderegg expressed it, "This wouldn't have been possible without Sarah's parents."

So it's hats off to the Darlings — Sarah, Margaret and Eric for providing us with these marvelous evenings of music, right here in Carlisle. In a couple of years we'll be looking for Sarah and her friends on stage in one of the many concert halls in Boston.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito