A Game of Cat and Mike: Mandolin Love Story Premieres in San Jose

Published March 12, 2024

A captivating musical narrative about the life and love of two virtuoso mandolinists is set to sweep audiences off their feet in San Jose. 'A Game of Cat and Mike,' a mellifluous new work by composer Evan Price, will receive its world premiere from the San Jose Chamber Orchestra this weekend. This double mandolin concerto, specially written for power couple Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg, promises to blend their distinct styles into a harmonious showcase.

World Premiere at San Jose Chamber Orchestra

The San Jose Chamber Orchestra (SJCO) has taken on the honor of introducing 'A Game of Cat and Mike' to the world. Commissioned by the SJCO alongside other notable patrons including the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the performance also features Claude Debussy’s 'Trio for Harp, Flute and Viola' and Joan Trimble’s 'Suite for Strings.' The latter is a fitting complement to the concerto, being a tribute to Trimble’s Irish roots.

The Masterminds Behind the Strings

Evan Price, a violinist with a rich history in groups like the Hot Club of San Francisco and the Turtle Island Quartet, has a long-standing friendship with Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg. Inspired by their dedication to expanding the mandolin repertoire through the creation of new works, Price saw the perfect opportunity for a collaborative effort when connecting with the SJCO. Price's composition aims to encapsulate not just the couple's deep love for each other, but the diverse tapestry of their combined musical expertise.

The Unique Talents of Mike and Caterina

With one foot in Germany and the other in mandolin’s broader international scene, Caterina Lichtenberg brings a classical European rigor to her performances, both as a celebrated soloist and an educator. Mike Marshall, in contrast, earned his reputation as a pioneer in the string music world, traversing genres such as Brazilian choro, bluegrass, and various acoustic styles with renowned artists across the industry.

When performing together, the couple collaborates in a style that reflects a complex musical Venn diagram. Price's concerto, consisting of four movements, is tailored to honor their rich and diverse musical origins while stretching into choro and bluegrass traditions in its later segments, and offering the entire orchestra a chance to shine.

Upcoming Concert Details

Surpassing expectations with its authentic nod to the mandolin’s historic roots, 'A Game of Cat and Mike' presents a captivating new addition to the mandolin canon. The concert promises to be not only a special evening dedicated to the mandolin but also a crystallization of Marshall and Lichtenberg’s shared passion for music. Those eager to be part of this unfolding story can catch the premiere on March 17 at St. Francis Episcopal Church.

mandolin, concerto, premiere