Random Acts of Violins

It’s hours after Art Detour. There can’t be a thing going on downtown because all the art crazies are passed out on their studio floors after the three-day binge of visual eye candy and culture. Right?

Uh, wrong. The Downtown Chamber Series keeps the culture coming with some glorious ear candy. The unusual program includes Black Angels by George Crumb, which, according to series director and performer Mark Dix, may be the only chamber piece written to commemorate the Vietnam War.

“[The composition] uses a standard string quartet, amplified with tons of reverb, to bring out a huge range of sounds seldom heard out of a classical instrument, ranging from screaming terror to the drone of tropical insects,” he says. “It also involves pitched wine glasses, percussion, and spoken words in various languages. From our standpoint as performers, it is one of the most challenging and unusual pieces we have ever seen — it is a very terrifying work.”

A perfect exclamation point to Detour, eh?

The program will also feature Stravinsky’s Three Pieces for string quartet and Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata showcasing soloist Nokuthula Ngwenyama.

Sun., March 9, 8 p.m.; Mon., March 10, 8 p.m., 2008