Concertmaster & Friends String Sextet

Chamber Concert
Ticket price

Live and in person at the Historic Grove Theater!

Experience great music with ORCMA as we present an inclusive and diverse range of orchestral, choral, and chamber music in its many forms.  Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Karen Kartal leads a string sextet in chamber music by Johannes Brahms and William Grant Still, live at the Historic Grove Theater, Saturday, April 10, 2021, 3:30 PM.  The concert will not have an intermission, and will conclude by 4:30 PM.  A limited number of tickets are available for in-person attendance at $15/person.  Scroll down and click on the Ticket Request Form to purchase your tickets.  Tickets will not be printed.  Check in at the door.  See you there!

In-person attendees must meet certain requirements:

  • Purchase tickets in advance online or by calling (865) 483-5569;
  • Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and show proof upon arrival at the theater;
  • Wear a properly fitted mask (not a face shield) covering nose and mouth at all times;
  • Remain socially distanced when entering and exiting the theater and during the performance

Can't attend?  If you're not already an ORCMA email subscriber, sign up to our eList by sending your request to  A link to the recorded concert will be emailed to you.  Or, call (865) 483-5569 for assistance.

Concertmaster & Friends

Karen Kartal, violin

Sara Lee-Cho, violin  Christy Graffeo, viola

Shelley Armer, viola  Theodore Kartal, cello

Dan Allcott, Music Director and cello

Saturday, April 10, 2021
3:30 PM
The Historic Grove Theater

A link to the concert recording will be available after April 18 for ORCMA's email subscribers.

ORCMA's 2020 strategic plan immediately better serves our membership and better connects our association with our larger community.  The plan also enables all ORCMA concerts to include music by underrepresented composers and arrangers, specifically women and people of color who have been marginalized in our industry.


Sextet No.1 in B-flat minor, Op. 18 (1860)                             Johannes Brahms

I.   Allegro ma non troppo        
II.  Andante, ma moderato
III. Scherzo: Allegro molto
IV. Rondo

“Mother and Child” for String Ensemble (1943)                        William Grant Still

Thank you to our supporters.  Today’s performance and the Chamber Music Series are supported in part by Bill Schwenterly, the Carlson Estate, Chuck Coutant, and the Feldman Family in memory of Cyrus & Rose Feldman.  ORCMA’s programming is made possible with generous support from UT-Battelle/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Spectra Tech, Inc., the Tennessee Arts Commission, TN Specialty License Plates, the National Endowment for the Arts, Oak Ridge Rotary Club, and James Rome. 


 About the Artists

Karen Kartal masked, playing violin

Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Karen Kartal performs regularly in the east Tennessee region, and recently joined the Cumberland Piano Trio, replacing founding violinist Dr. Sue Eddlemon.  Ms. Kartal has performed throughout the United States from Lincoln Center to Oregon, and in Italy, Taiwan, and Japan. Her extensive solo and orchestral experience includes concerto performances with the Oak Ridge Symphony, the Lake Charles Symphony, and the South Arkansas Symphony, full time positions with the Knoxville and Shreveport Symphonies, and concertmaster of the Lake Charles Symphony and Baton Rouge Opera. She has spent summers performing in Spoleto Italy, Round Top International, Chautauqua Institute, Britt Festival and Oregon Coast Music Festival. In 1991, her piano trio won first prize in the MTNA National Chamber Music Competition. A trained Suzuki teacher, Karen also has a busy teaching schedule.  Before moving to Knoxville in 1998, Karen taught at McNeese State University in Louisiana. She is currently on the faculty at Pellissippi State College. Karen has been concertmaster of the Oak Ridge Symphony and first violinist of the Oak Ridge String Quartet since 2004.  Friends violinist Sara Lee-Cho, violists Christy Graffeo and Shelley Armer, and cellists Theodore Kartal and Dan Allcott join Ms. Kartal in this performance.  Each is affiliated with the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra and maintains an impressive teaching and performance profile. 


Program Notes by Lisa Muci Eckhoff

It was 76 years ago that ORCMA founder Waldo Cohn gathered friends in his living room to play chamber music in their new-found community of Oak Ridge.  A community focused on the ills of WWII.  Today’s concert is a near-perfect reflection of those days, with Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Karen Kartal performing with a small group of friends in the Historic Grove Theater, in the midst of a world-wide pandemic.  Listeners, and performers, will experience chamber music’s power to calm our souls so disturbed by the troubles of the world.  As a result, the concert is equally a commitment to community and a commitment to great music.  

Johannes Brahms’ Sextet No.1 (1860) is a dream composition for many musicians.  A composition often first encountered at music festivals. That was the case for me, hearing it and learning it for the first time at our region’s Brevard Music Festival near Asheville, NC.  Finding six string players with equal artistry and the time commitment to prepare such a work is generally difficult in a normal day-to-day setting.  So it perhaps becomes clear that today’s performance is indeed a special treat – especially during a pandemic.

As you’ll hear, the four-movement work is in a traditional structure for 21st century listeners. Fast-slow-scherzo-rondo, with a quick coda at the end.  I have always been captivated by the sonority of Brahms’ music.  Perhaps you are, too.  The memorable melodies with complex counterpoint draw me in.  And I can’t forget what to me is a little homage to Beethoven in the scherzo movement.

William Grant Still’s “Mother & Child,” (1943) may not be a familiar piece to you – yet.  It is a composition with an unforgettably beautiful melody.  I first became familiar with it in the mid-1990s when I was asked to find a violin piece to perform for a Martin Luther King Day celebration concert.  “Mother & Child” is the second movement of Still’s Suite for Violin – heard in Oak Ridge, February 2020, with soloist Derek Reeves and the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, Dan Allcott conductor.  

The single movement is widely accepted as an audition piece in its original version for violin, and has long been a required piece for the national Sphinx Competition.  The arrangement you’ll hear today was made by the composer himself.  Still was a prolific arranger, after all, and I imagine he knew that his music would need to be available in numerous iterations in order to be performed. Haunting, sweet, agitato, plaintive, the piece will take you on a swift but wistful journey leaving a memory of the melody in your head for later enjoyment.


This concert took place on April 10, 2021.  Tickets are no longer available.

Ticket request form


Call (865) 483-5569 for assistance with ticket purchases.

36.0163166, -84.260613