New ensemble offers free chamber concerts


After two debut performances of music from the late Renaissance to the Classic period in November and December, Ohrlando’s Chamber Ensemble plans six free performances in December and January.

New Year’s concerts are scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday at Waikoloa Community Church, 11 a.m. Sunday in the lobby of Kahilu Theatre and 5 p.m. Sunday at Hualalai Academy. The concert will offer a colorful bouquet of salon-musique, waltzes, dances, opera fantasies and more. Roland Maurer will be accompanied on the piano by his wife, Ursula Hesse.

January concerts will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 24 at Waikoloa Community Church, 5:30 p.m. Jan. 25 in the Kahilu Theatre lobby and at 5 p.m. Jan. 26 at Hualalai Academy. These performances will start with Walter Greenwood on organ and Maurer on oboe and bassoon.

Maurer, a retired oboe and bassoon player, teacher and conductor, and Hesse moved from Switzerland to Hawaii two years ago. They found an island full of live music – from Hawaiian songs, pop, rock and jazz – played at bars and restaurants throughout the community.

Maurer and Hesse also enjoyed performing classical chamber music for small gatherings of friends in their home. The suggestion was made to make the music available to all. At the same time Maurer and Hesse met Ron Shelden, who, together with Sonja and Larry Scadden, had already enriched the community with live opera from the Metropolitan Opera as part of a small committee called Friends of Chamber Music. Their vision was to bring a series of sophisticated chamber music concerts to the west side of Hawaii Island. Immediately the two plans were meshed. Under his earlier artistic name, “Ohrlando,” Maurer founded Ohrlando’s Chamber Ensemble, looked for music, venues and musicians, eager and willing to put together a series of six programs in different combinations.

Like much in life the future depends on money, the willingness of musicians to play for little more than expenses, the willingness of audiences to cover these expenses, whether through ticket sales or contributions at the door. Friends of Chamber Music hopes to grow to become a formal organization, and obtain support so it can offer a serious honorarium to artists and provide a full season.