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From Carnegie Hall to Ludlam Island: Strathmere Ensemble Loves the Shore

From Carnegie Hall to Ludlam Island: Strathmere Ensemble Loves the Shore

By Camille Sailer

SEA ISLE CITY – It’s a sublime treat to hear classical music played by artists trained in the handful of top tier schools and by the world’s masters. It’s an occasion worthy of a trip to Manhattan when such artists play at Carnegie Hall with Placido Domingo, with Pablo Casals, or with Andrew Lloyd Weber.
But when these very same artists travel to Ludlam Island as they did the weekend of Sept. 12-13 the opportunity to hear beloved pieces by Mozart, Vivaldi, Strauss and Mendelssohn played in the intimate setting of a local church was surreal.
“We play for the love of the music, we love to play, and we love coming to Strathmere,” commented bass player John Kulowitsch, organizer and de facto leader of the ensemble.
“My brother, Duke, has lived in Strathmere for many years and has a home here and so we look forward to unwinding from our engagements in New York and around the world when we come and then have a chance to offer the locals a bit of what we love to do,” he said. 
Added Kulowitsch, “A while back, we started coming around Labor Day to enjoy the long weekend at the beach and then we had the idea to share our love of the music. We now have been coming each year around this time in September and added a performance during Sea Isle City’s Polar Bear Weekend so we’ll be here again mid-February 2016 God willing.”
Kulowitsch comes from Allentown, Pa. where his father was a well-regarded musician with his own orchestra that played everything from Bach to boogie woogie.
The ensemble is composed of Mitsuru Tsubota, violinist and wife of Kulowitsch, Mioi Takeda, violinist, Louise Schulman, viola, and Daire FitzGerald, cellist.
Paul Zito, who has been termed “currently America’s best guitarist” by numerous critics and publications made a guest appearance for the Vivaldi Concerto in D major. All members of the ensemble are renowned throughout the world for their mastery of their instruments.
Tsubota will play at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City for the pope during his upcoming visit and Schulman will play for the pope at Madison Square Garden.
On Sept. 12 the group played at the small Methodist church in Strathmere where they performed their first concert eight years ago at the shore. On Sept. 13 they played the same program at the United Methodist church in Sea Isle City.
The pieces chosen are cherished and well known in the classical music repertoire and accessible to all levels of listeners and audiences. “We wanted to conclude our performance today with Mendelssohn’s Scherzo to the Midsummer Night’s Dream, we think that’s a fitting piece for the summer season as well, you can even hear the fireflies in some parts of the music,” explained Kulowitsch with a smile.
“I can’t wait for each of their September and February performances,” said concert-goer Ed Roberts from Ocean City. “When I think of the incredible caliber of these musicians and the wonderful music they play, and that we sit so close to them and their instruments, we can even see each time the bow draw across the strings, it’s hard to believe how fortunate we are.”
To contact Camille Sailer, email csailer@cmcherald.com.

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