The Rockport Chamber Music Festival kicks off week three with the rising stars of the Aizuri Quartet, which performs both classic and new works. 

In addition to works by Haydn and Beethoven, the quartet will perform works by contemporary composers Gabriella Smith and Caroline Shaw at its concert today at 8 p.m. at Shalin Liu Performance Center.

The Aizuri Quartet was nominated for a 2019 Grammy Award for its debut album, “Blueprinting,” which features new works written for the quartet by five American composers. Two of those, Shaw’s “Blueprint” and Smith’s “Carrot Revolution,” will be played tonight.

Shaw, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, is no stranger to Cape Ann. She performed at the debut season of the Manchester Summer Chamber Music series, founded in 2009 by Manchester native Sage Cole and Andover native Lorna Tsai. Shaw returned to participate in that Manchester series as both performer and composer. 

Smith, who earned a music degree in composition from the Curtis Institute of Music, is a doctoral candidate at Princeton University.

“When not composing, she can be found backpacking (playing trail songs on her ukulele along the way), birding, playing capoeira and recording underwater soundscapes with her hydrophone,” according to her biography.

Formed in 2012, the group’s name relates to a style of Japanese woodblock printing, which is noted for its “vibrancy and incredible detail.” Earlier in the day, at 2 p.m., the Aizuri Quartet will hold a free open rehearsal at Shalin Liu.

In keeping with the festival theme of “Source and Inspiration,” this Friday’s concert, “Take This Waltz,” features Toronto’s Art of Time Ensemble and guests, in a program that explores how the waltz inspired music throughout the last 150 years from Strauss and Ravel to Jacques Brel and even Leonard Cohen’s “Take This Waltz.”

There is a trio of events on Saturday, starting with a free child-friendly family concert at 10 a.m. at Shalin Liu featuring violinist Danny Koo and pianist Kevin Ahfat. 

The main stage concert on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. presents violist Paul Laraia along with an all-star ensemble featuring the Aizuri Quartet, violinists Danny Koo and Barry Shiffman, and pianist Kevin Ahfat. The updated program features Mozart, Dvorak, Bruch and Brahms. Laraia replaces Gilad Karni, who is unable to perform due to unforeseen circumstances.

The day ends with a late-night cabaret at 10 p.m. on the third floor of Shalin Liu. It will feature dramatic works of Bruch and Shostakovich, as well as arrangements of musicals for cello and piano and jazz selections. Tickets are $25 seated and $10 standing.

On Sunday at 5 p.m., the JCT Trio, featuring violinist Stefan Jackiw, composer/pianist Conrad Tao and cellist Jay Campbell, perform a program of Ives, Trapani and Dvorak.  

For details on tickets and subscriptions, visit

Rockport artist at Red Tractor

The Red Tractor Trading Company, at 9-B Bearskin Neck, Rockport, will present a special showing and meet-the-artist reception for Rockport artist Ryan Davis this Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m.  

Davis takes the linear timeline of art history over the past 500 years and forces images together, evoking new responses.

“His paintings have a sense of realism, high contrast and energy. He strives to be striking, to be memorable, to challenge his audience to socialize. ... He questions why we accept art as ‘art,’” according to a show statement. 

Davis, who graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2018, also works as a lobsterman. The show runs Friday through Sunday.

Red Tractor Trading Company cultivates artists and makers from across New England and showcases their original work and specialty items. See @redtractortradingcompany on Instagram for more information. 

New show at Deering Gallery

The Jane Deering Gallery presents “Within — Without,” featuring Gloucester artist Ann Conneman and her talents in hand-carved lettering in stone and on paper.

The exhibition opens with a reception this Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. and runs through July 28 at the gallery at 19 Pleasant St., Gloucester.

The stones that Conneman carves are found throughout New England, many on her walks in the wilds of Cape Ann. Conneman holds a degree in graphic design from the Rhode Island School of Design and earned a diploma in bookbinding from the North Bennet Street School in Boston.

Gallery hours are Fridays through Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. and by appointment; call 917-902-4359.  

A Fiesta music party

As part of its centennial celebration and its participation in this year’s Fiesta festivities, the Lester S. Wass American Legion Post in Gloucester is sponsoring a set of free live music in its newly renovated lounge this Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m.

Featured will be Jake Pardee and Chris Fritz-Grice of the popular North Shore pop reggae band Pier Ave. They will perform a special acoustic duo set, including their own original hits from their last two CDs and popular covers that have earned them praise from audiences around New England. 

The American Legion, located at 8 Washington St., is in the heart of the downtown near the weekend festivities. The event is open to the public, and there is no cover charge.

Artist demo and solo shows

The North Shore Arts Association presents a watercolor demonstration with Cape Ann artist Michele O’Neil on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the association at 11 Pirates Lane, Gloucester. This is free and open to the public. 

O’Neil has worked with watercolor and oil paints for more than a decade, expressing her love of the local landscape and awe-inspiring light. She has studied and taken workshops with artists Paul George, Alvaro Castagnet, George Van Hook and Colley Whisson. She has won numerous awards across Cape Ann and continues to be an active part in the classical art community. 

Along with the demonstration, there will be a pop-up show of O’Neil’s work on display.  

The North Shore Arts Association also presents two new solo shows with works by Faripour Forouhar and Helene Pierce, running through July 6. On display are more than 20 works in oil by Forouhar and more than 20 works by Pierce in watercolor. 

The galleries are open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit

Cape Ann captured in watercolors 

Cape Ann Collectors, at 474 Washington St., Gloucester, is holding a final reception for “Wet-on-Wet: Watercolors of Cape Ann” on Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m. 

The show, featuring some of Cape Ann’s historic watercolor masters, has recently been infused with the energy of several new watercolor acquisitions, including a rare original Nell Blaine masterpiece of Gloucester Harbor, a modernist Gloucester street scene by William Meyerowitz and a quarry painting by Erma Wheeler.

The curators invite the public to celebrate the beauty of Cape Ann and the magic of watercolor. For more information, visit

Around Cape Ann is a column devoted to events happening on Cape Ann and artists from Cape Ann performing elsewhere. If you would like to submit an item, contact reporter Gail McCarthy at 978-675-2706 or, at least two weeks in advance.