The Con Amici Chamber Players will play a program of classical string quartet and chamber music at 8 p.m. Friday, March 14 at the River Theater.

Con Amici Chamber Players was founded in Astoria in early 2001 by Jeffrey Reynolds, David and Alexandra Myers, Betsy Ellerbroek, and Mike Woods, origianlly to play string quartets, piano quartets and quintets.

They enjoy adding friends to play other ensembles, now regularly including Monica Belzer and Eric Johnson. Their upcoming concert will be performed with a tentative program for violins, viola, cello, double bass and harmonium and includes works by Handel, Dvorak, Glazunov, Mozart, and Gainger.

Con Amici plays concerts, wedings, and other events. Con Amici is Italian for "with friends"

Featured in the concert are many classical works including Handel Water Music Suite in D, in baroque style on modern instruments. The Suite is truly ancient music in honor of the River.

Dvorak Bagatelles opus 47 for string trio and harmonium, and Quintet in G major opus 77 for string quartet and string bass will also be performed. The Bagatelles are mysterious and haunting melodies combining the bowed instruments with the sound of the harmonium, a form of reed pump organ.

From the Quintet, Con Amici will play the opening, Allegro con Fuoco. All of the Dvorak is steeped in folk music of Eastern Europe with rousing dances and lush themes. Interludium In Modo Antico, opus 15, by Glazunov will be included.

Glazunov was regarded by Shostakovich as a master of orchestration. In this work, Glazunov treats modern and ancient Russian themes in an antique mode. The result is a meditative and moving river of song for string quartet.

Mozart string quartet in D, K. 499 is known as the "Hoffmeister" in honor of the publisher who issued 12 of Mozart's works in the years following 1785, after being so impressed with the initial publication of the Piano Quartet in G minor. The 499 is recognized for its challenging and uncompromising nature in which Mozart was able to express some of his most complex ideas exploring counterpoint and fugal development.

Molly on the Shore by Grainger draws themes from a traditional Celtic dance reel.

Con Amici will also present another program with students of Astoria Schools at the Astoria High School auditorium Thursday, March 20.

The group will appear in various capacities in some of the Lenten Luncheon series at Peace Lutheran at noon Fridays throughout March.

Tickets are $8. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the River Theater box office from 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday or by calling during these hours with a Visa or Mastercard at (503) 325-7487.

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