Luka, a violinist from Serbia by way of Slovenia, met Amber, a violist from America. After only having known each other two weeks, they decided they did not want to be apart. Being on two different continents was certainly a challenge and one that was made easier when Luka moved to the US in August of 2014 to be with the love of his life. The couple was married a few months later in December.
Not long after, Amber had a dream about a name for a chamber music project that Luka initially conceived a few months prior. She had recently started studying Serbian and realized something interesting: the words for “black” and “white” in Serbian were strikingly similar “to grow” and “beautiful” in Spanish. (Amber’s parents were born in the Dominican Republic and Panama.) Hence, CernaBella was born.
Now five years after their chance encounter, they are embarking on this musical journey. CernaBella’s goal is to find the intersection of traditional and contemporary music both in terms of history and in terms of culture. As we know, most of what is performed in classical concerts today are the tried, true and tested pillars of Western European art music. Luminaries such as Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Debussy and even Bartok are always welcome sights on a program. However there is a new generation of music and compositional figures emerging, many of which/whom are not from the same cultures or ethnic backgrounds as the luminaries of the past, but worthy of being recognized nonetheless.
As products of immigration, CernaBella seeks to delve deep into the waters of composition which is culturally relevant to performers. These are, but not limited to, the Balkans and regions of Eastern Europe, Spain and Latin America, and the Africadiaspora which can be found all over the Western Hemisphere. The objective is to create an authenticity to the performance that creates a palpable connection to the listener, while simultaneously expanding the string duo repertoire (which historically has been undervalued) and other chamber music repertoire by commissioning original works.
By bringing together both the “old school” and the “new school”, it is CernaBella’s hope that the music presented and inspired from his project will touch lives, draw new audiences to classic music and create a sense of cohesion amongst people of all colors and creeds. For we are all more alike than we are different.