Playing with Four Nations
Andrew Appel

The Four Nations Ensemble has been the sailing vessel on which I have traveled through an artistic life over the last 25 years. Through it I have met people who inspire, challenge, nurture, support and love me. Because of it, I live a life of incomparable wealth and joy.Andrew Appel photo by David Rodgers
In chronological order, Ryan, Loretta, Claire, Charlie and Krista have become my cohorts in an effort to celebrate and recreate music that we all adore. As a soloist, when I would reach a moment in the score that befuddled me I was obliged to wait, to be patient, to hope that some light would come. With Four Nations I simply know that for any turn in the phrase these valiant colleagues will have valuable solutions. Always more beautiful and expressive than anything I would find on my own.
We fight with each other over tiny differences. This gigue should be faster, this line should be legato, this ornament should end slightly before the bass line moves, this phrase should climax here and not there, I want to play that high note in my improvisational cadence, etc. We bicker with each other because the art is so important to each of us. There are times when Charlie is so playful and witty, Krista so exciting and daring, Loretta so lyrical, that I find it hard to keep my hands on the keyboard. And the profound generosity of each artist, focused on the music and available to the audience, whether it be you tonight or children from schools around the country, is reason for me to celebrate my decision, 25 years ago, to dedicate my working life to Four Nations.

Loretta O’Sullivan

Loretta O'Sullivan Photo by David RodgersI joined the Four Nations Ensemble early in my career. Our first concert together was at the Quaker Meeting House downtown. It's mind boggling to consider how many excellent concerts we've performed together over the last 23 years. Thousands? The group has been through a few re-incarnations, and I will say that each and every player has been uniquely inspiring to me. With gratitude for these friends and brilliant players, I wish us a Happy Anniversary.

Charlie Brink
Charlie Brink Photo by David Rodgers
I have been lucky enough to play with the Four Nations Ensemble for ten (!) years. One quality of the Four Nations Ensemble that I most cherish is that with every piece we perform, there is an absolute premium placed on having that piece "say" something to the listener. Every time we tackle a piece, whether it is one we have played before or not, we ask ourselves (and each other) "what does the composer want?” This is, after all, our most important job as performers, and I am proud to say we do this rather well! Andy's ingenious programming and openness to a wide range of music makes playing with the Four Nations Ensemble always interesting and the dear colleagues make it always a pleasure.
Also I have Andy to thank for making me love Couperin almost as much as he does!.....almost.

Krista Feeney

Krisa Feeny Photo by David RodgersIn Northern California there's a turquoise mountain lake surroundedby deep green forests. My family loves swimming there. It's refreshing, beautiful and uplifting. Being immersed in great music from the days of yore with Andy, Loretta and Charlie in Four Nations is kind of like being immersed in that lake, gazing upon an open sky and evergreens, seeking into the music with sympathetic and wise souls.

Ryan Brown

Ryan BrownWhen I first met Andy at his apartment behind the Academy of Arts and Letters in upper Manhattan in 1985, little did I know what an impact that sonata – reading session would have on my future musical life! Over the years our association has introduced me to a treasure trove of repertoire and nourished an approach to bringing this music alive, which is broadly and deeply probing. Sharing this first with Andy, then with Loretta, further still with Claire and Charlie, and now watching it flourish with Krista, has been a defining personal experience that I shall always cherish. I thank everyone - onstage, in the audience, and in the wings, who has helped bring Four Nations to this 25th anniversary!
Claire Jolivet

I am really chagrinned that owing to a prior commitment in France I am not able to participate in this wonderful concert celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Four Nations Ensemble and to be in the company of all these very Claire Jolivetspecial musicians. Without Andy, Loretta, Ryan, and later, Charlie my musical life would not have taken the inspiring turn it did. Little did I know when I invited the trio to come out to my chamber music festival in Colorado fifteen years ago that this encounter would lead to my being lured into the world of historical performance where I seem to have firmly planted my feet. I was honored to be asked to become a member of the Ensemble. Our journey together lead me to discover a world and a repertory that had been only on the fringes of my radar if at all. During the ten years or so that we worked together I learned so much from their knowledge and artistry. I can’t remember a program that was not fresh, exciting, refined, seductive, revelatory and delicious to play (and hopefully to hear as well), and filled with exquisite beauty. I have been very privileged to make music with these fine artists and human beings, and not just with the four of them, but with all the other wonderful players and singers Andy gathered into the Four Nations circle to bring life to this beautiful music. (Thank you Andy for always insisting on the exquisite, Loretta for your gracious and steadfast steering of the bass line as only you can do, Ryan, for showing me the ropes in the first place and for all those suspension goose bumps that only duetting violinists can appreciate, and Charlie for flute fireworks and making me believe that we can always play it faster!).
I wish Four Nations in its present and future configurations every success and a long and prosperous life.


Tickets to Four Nations' celebratory 25th Anniversary Concert are $25
The Friends' Meeting House-15th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue
Wednesday, June 15th at 7:30 PM

Call 212 928 5708 or

Email fournationsinc@aol.com

FourNations.org