Black Oak Ensemble kicks off Gila Valley Arts Council’s 2018-19 season

Contributed Article

The Gila Valley Arts Council is proud to present the Black Oak Ensemble, a string trio, on Thursday, November 15, 2018, 7:00 p.m. at the David M. Player Center for the Arts.

The Black Oak Ensemble is acclaimed for its eclectic programming and virtuoso performances.

The ensemble core is made up of Grammy-nominated violinist Desiree Ruhstrat, violist Aurelien Pederzoli, and cellist David Cunliffe.

The project-based Black Oak Ensemble presents exciting programs from Bach to the music of today and is a passionate advocate of undiscovered and new works. They have premiered commissions from renowned composers such as Michael Nyman, David Ludwig, Conrad Tao and many more.

The Black Oak Ensemble has performed throughout the U.S., including appearances at the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Latino Music Festival, Mayne Stage, WFMT Radio, the Grand Rapids Museum of Art and has held residencies at Eau Claire University, St. John’s School for the Arts (USVI) and the New Music School Chicago.

The 2018/19 season will feature a very special program for the Ensemble, ’Silenced Voices’, a project to speak for those who were so brutally murdered during the Pogroms, the Exiles, and the Shoah.

This summer will see Black Oak touring ‘Silenced Voices’ throughout the U.S. and France and will culminate in a recording of these works for Chicago-based Cedille Records.

As dedicated educators, the members of the ensemble have recently put down roots in the south of France, creating ‘Musique Dans Le Gers’, a music festival in the southwest of France, which gives them the opportunity to work with young musicians and share their gift of music with the community.

The ensemble was named for the black oak, a beautiful tree native to their home state of Illinois (one stands in the front yard of Desirée Ruhstrat and David Cunliffe).

Tickets are currently on sale at Richards Music, 428-2442, Pollock’s Western Outfitters, and online at or at the door. Adult ticket prices this year are only $10 or $15 and are all reserved seating. New this year are special prices for children and students at just $5. Adults can purchase tickets in the $10-$15 range and purchase children seats right next to them for only $5. GVAC is offering a great way for families to have quality time together.

The GVAC Fine Arts concert series is made possible in several ways. We graciously thank many of you, our individual member donors who join as supporting members every year giving out of their personal pockets. Membership is vital to helping us make ends meet every year. Membership can range from as little as $25, $50, $100, $250, $500 to $1000, but every dollar is spent on the cost of bringing the artists here to not only perform a concert, but they also spend an extra day or two working with our school children with music workshops and school performances.  GVAC is also very grateful for the support received from the United Way of Graham County, Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold, the Arizona Community Foundation of the Gila Valley and the Arizona Commission of the Arts. 

GVAC is also hoping to attract new volunteers that can help escort our artists to the classrooms as well as serving on our advisory board of directors. If you might be interested in helping them in this effort contact its president, Tom Green, at 428-0081.