PLATTSBURGH The Vivaldi Project has been a year in the making, but the Biava Quartet and the Community Chamber Orchestra will soon showcase their incredible range of talents during their upcoming concerts. The Biava Quartets year-long residency with Hill and Hollow Music has offered many special events in the way of guest artists and repertoire. But the real highlight comes with their April 16-23 visit, when they will present the Vivaldi Project, which includes members of the classical string communityamateurs and professionals alikeall of whom have come together during the past year to explore Antonio Vivaldis baroque masterpiece The Four Seasons. Last year string players from Clinton and Essex counties were invited to join the Vivaldi Project, provided they possessed an ability of Level 5-6 or higher and a genuine commitment to prepare in advance and to attend all rehearsals. Players were also required to show a sincere desire to learn in a collegial atmosphere and to participate in a serious ensemble. This is something we started working on last September, it is a project I have become very excited about, said Austin Hartman, a violinist with the Biava Quartet. Hartman, having experienced a similar project in Lancaster County, Penn., had realized what a wonderful opportunity this would be for a rural area such as this. We actually chose Vivaldi because he had a great mission to want to help people from smaller communities and those who are less-fortunate, Hartman said. Vivaldi was known as the red-headed priest who had a wonderful, charitable side. When this began I had assumed wed have a little interest - probably three per section, he said. But the response was astounding, with more like eight-12 musicians per section. About two dozen players, ages 14 to 92, accepted the challenge. So it is a big orchestra, and the enthusiasm is much higher than we had ever expected, Hartman said. The orchestra includes a nice mix made up of about half teens and half adults from such areas as Malone, Rainbow Lake, Ray Brook, Lake Placid, Jay, Crown Point, Westport, Peru, Plattsburgh, Morrisonville, Saranac, Mooers, and Hemmingford, Quebec. Kama Prellwitz, 15, of Rainbow Lake, has played violin for nearly 10 years. She is particularly excited to be playing the viola - and even more so to be situated next to Biava Quartet violist Mary Persin. I just love it, all the musician together creates such a wonderful atmosphere. It is a powerful experience, said Prellwitz. Hartman and the other members of the Biava Quartet lead balanced sections of Violin I, Violin II, Viola, and Cello, making a bona fide chamber orchestra of string players and harpsichord, according to Angela Brown of Hill and Hollow Music. Violinist Anna Battigelli, of Peru, said she was very grateful to have the chance to learn from such exceptionally talented musicians. It is interesting to hear the transformation after having worked with Biava, she said. They are all so musical, so articulate and so generous in sharing their expertise with us. It is really quite moving. Battigelli, an English professor at SUNY Plattsburgh, feels Hill and Hollow does a magnificent job of bringing such opportunities to the North Country. As a quartet we really enjoyed the aspect of meeting both professional and amateur musicians from your communities, Hartman said. It was a unique experience in that it allowed us to develop relationships into what I feel will be long-lasting friendships. This has become a home away from home. IF YOU GO: Two public performances of The Four Seasons will be given by the Vivaldi Project chamber orchestra, along with a reading of companion poetrysonnets of the same title written also by Vivaldi: Saturday April 21 at 2 pm in Saranac Lake, Saranac Village at Will Rogers Senior Living Community (free-will donation). Saturday April 21 at 6:30 pm in Plattsburgh, Lake Forest Senior Living Community ($7 concert only or $13 with 5:30 dinner). For other opportunities to see Biava Quartet please see our events calendar. Educational Workshops: The Biava Quartet will offer educational performances and workshops in area schools including: Crown Point, Momot Elementary, Morrisonville Elementary, Peru Central, Plattsburgh High, Stafford Middle, SUNY Plattsburgh, and Westport. For further information about any of the events, please call 518-293-7613 or visit online at www.hillandhollowmusic.com Photo provided: Members of the Biava Quartetviolinists Austin Hartman and Hyunsu Ko, violist Mary Persin, and cellist Jason Callowayare recent recipients of Artist Diplomas from the Yale University School of Music. The Biava Quartet is honored to take its name from Maestro Luis Biava, who has been a mentor and inspiration to the quartet since its inception. Please visit www.biavaquartet.com to learn more about them.