DMA Exhibit Inspiration for Bancroft Family Concert

Fine Arts Chamber Players invites you to a FREE Bancroft Family Concert on Saturday, November 22, 2014 inspired by the current Dallas Museum of Art Concentrations 57: Slavs and Tatars exhibit. This afternoon of folk-infused music includes Khachaturian’s Trio for clarinet, violin and piano performed by members of the Dallas Symphony and the premiere of Universal Language performed by The Obscure Dignitaries, a Dallas-based world-folk music ensemble. The museum is located at 1717 North Harwood, Dallas, TX 75201. Admission to the concert is free with no reservations or tickets required.  Horchow Auditorium doors open at 2:30pm for the 3:00pm concert. For more information, please call 214.520.2219 or visit

Aram Khachaturian’s three-movement Trio integrates the composer’s interest in the folk music of Armenia and Uzbekistan and will be performed by Dallas Symphony members Angela Fuller-Heyde – violin, Stephen Ahearn – clarinet and Gabriel Sanchez – piano.The Obscure Dignitaries will premiere Universal Language, a new work by composer Margaret Barrett and libretto by linguist Dr. David Silva. Based on the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this commission serves as a musical response to the exhibit, Concentrations 57: Slavs and Tatars, which runs through December 14 at the Dallas Museum of Art. Entrance to the exhibit and to the concert are free of charge.

* Arrive early for a special tour of Concentrations 57: Slavs and Tatars at 1:30pm with Gabriel Ritter, the Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art. Note that tour space is limited. For more information, visit the Dallas Museum of Art website.

The Obscure Dignitaries

Information about the Universal Language commissioned work:

Universal Language has been selected as a recipient of a grant from the TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund.

Music by Margaret Barrett, Dallas-based composer

Libretto by Dr. David Silva based on the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Performers: The Obscure Dignitaries

Performance Date: Saturday, November 22, 2014, Dallas Museum of Art, 3:00 pm. No admission charge

Description of Commission:

Slavs and Tatars, founded in 2006, is an art collective whose installations, lecture-performances, sculptures and publications contemplate otherwise little-known affinities, syncretic ideas, belief systems and rituals among peoples of the Caucasus, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

The Concentrations 57: Slavs and Tatars exhibit, which runs at the Dallas Museum of Art through December 14, 2014, serves as the inspiration for this 25-minute new work composed by Margaret Barrett. An abbreviated version of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) will be used as the libretto.

In tandem with UT Arlington’s professional linguist Dr. David Silva, composer Margaret Barrett has selected select six diverse languages whose native speakers have grappled with alphabet-politics as represented in the Slavs and Tatars exhibit: Turkish, Armenian, Bulgarian, Greek, Arabic and Azeri. The UDHR will be presented in six sections, each corresponding with one of the chosen languages. English translations and graphics of the text in its original language will be projected while the musicians perform the music.

The premiere will be performed by mezzo soprano Rachel LaViola, bassist Kevin Butler, guitarist Michael Nesuda and percussionist Benjamin Croucher who make up the local world-folk music group, “The Obscure Dignitaries.” With degrees from Baylor, Yale, and Southern Methodist University, these musicians came together during their ethnomusicology training at SMU and formed a virtuosic ensemble that focuses on world music with a special emphasis in Slavic and Eastern European expressions.

Combining the expertise of linguists, world musicians, and a classically trained composer, this work will serve as a reminder alongside the Slavs and Tatars exhibit about the still tenuous grasp we as a human race hold on equality and human rights, and how, no matter how small, foreign or unfamiliar the language and background of an individual may be, the desire to live freely and without fear continues to be a right and a hope for the world.


Bancroft Family Concerts are made possible in part by the Sue & Christopher Bancroft Family, Dallas Museum of Art, Union Pacific Foundation, City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, TACA, Texas Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts and Sloan Bergmann Print Services. For over 34 years, FACP has presented free classical music programs for the enrichment of North Texas area residents.  In addition to the free Bancroft Family Concerts, FACP presents the free Basically Beethoven Festival in July.  Each year, FACP’s educational outreach programs, Dream Collectors, Music A to Z, residencies, and masterclasses, provide over 500 free educational classes and performances in area public schools. Since its inception in 1981, FACP has served over 210,000 children and performed for over a half-million residents of North Texas.


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Fine Arts Chamber Players