Cherry Street Music

Allison Eldredge is the newest Allen Center Artist-in-Residence and Founder of Cherry Street Music.

Cherry Street Music is a chamber ensemble with a simple mission: to create a space to meet new people, develop friendships, and find togetherness, passion and hope through evenings of music. Our "classical with a twist" concerts are less formal with conversation between artists, special guests, and audience members. Attendees will also have an opportunity to experience the visionary educational history and beauty of the 1840 Nathaniel Allen Homestead, now The Allen Center, as our artistic home!

We have 2 concert series this year: Classical with a Twist, and Americana.

For a full overview of our season and to purchase tickets, click here!

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Upcoming Performance

Classical with a Twist - "Love" - Season-opening concert!

Saturday, October 14th. 7:30 PM

Cherry Street Music begins our concert series with "Love" - a program featuring a universal message chosen to inspire an evening of classical music and contemporary poetry. 


Music will include Brahms' Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 3; Liszt's Liebestraume no. 3; and Kriesler's Liebeslied and Liebesfreud, performed by Aleksandr Polyakov (piano), Sarita Kwok (violin), Amadi Azikiwe (viola), and Allison Yoshie Eldredge (cello).

The "twist" for this program will be poetry written and read by poets Grey Held and Carol Hobbs.

Get your tickets here!

Enjoy this poem by Grey Held as an example of what you might hear in person!


Grey Held

First choose the palette for drawing
on blank newsprint: Desert Brown

crayon, plain old black, the beige
that used to be called Flesh. Start

with the head: circle or no circle.
Then arms. Straight lines for boys.

For girls, wide open. Tell them
the flare of hair: optional. Tell them

make the eyes like two doors slightly
open. Note to self: learn to say

have fun in Spanish. Diviértete
mi amigo. Help Carlos hold it

together. Do not mention his
mother. She’s in another

detention center. Have Jesús
help his little brother, who’s only

got one arm. Tell them the way
to unlearn fear is undocumented.

Remind them the sky is not
nothing. remind them that if all

the Mango Tango crayon is gone,
any color can conjure up the sun.

Grey Held is a recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Creative Writing and the 2019 Future
Cycle Poetry Book Prize Winner. Three books of his poetry have been published: Two-Star
General (BrickRoad Poetry Press, 2012), Spilled Milk (WordPress, 2013), and WORKaDAY
(FutureCycle Press, 2019). Grey is a literary activist, who through civic involvement
connects contemporary poets with wider audiences.

Meet Our Artists




















Aleksandr Polyakov is a Ukrainian-American pianist and conductor who is rapidly establishing an international reputation for his remarkable virtuosity, command of sonority, and communicative powers. The winner of more than 20 international competitions, his notable prizes include third prize at the ninth International Liszt Competition (Netherlands), second prize at the sixth International Liszt Competition (Germany), and first prize at the Steinway Society Competition (Boston).

His numerous concerto performances include the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic under Jaap van Zweden, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine under Volodymyr Sirenko and Allin Vlasenko. In the United States he gave nine performances of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Boston Ballet Orchestra under Mischa Santora, and has had numerous performances with the Brockton and Newton Symphony Orchestras with James Orent. Polyakov has performed in major venues of the United States, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Estonia, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, and Brazil. “Technical difficulties seem to disappear under his hands” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), and “he has the tremendous virtuosity of Martha Argerich” (Nordbayerischer Kuriernotes).

Polyakov was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, and studied piano performance and orchestral conducting at the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine. He earned his A.D. at Boston Conservatory at Berklee under the instruction of Michael Lewin. He is on the Berklee - Boston Conservatory Piano Faculty.

Australian violinist Sarita Kwok  has distinguished herself as a charismatic and powerful
performer whose passion for performing is matched only by her commitment to education,
cultural leadership and academic innovation.

Frequently sought after as a chamber musician and soloist, Kwok is a founding member of the
Arabella String Quartet, an ensemble that rapidly developed a reputation for its remarkable
artistry. Kwok is an artist member of the Boston-based Mistral Music and also performs as a
substitute player with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops during their regular
season at Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood. A persuasive advocate of contemporary music,
Kwok recorded Ezra Laderman’s last three string quartets with the Alianza Quartet for Albany
Records to critical acclaim. More recently, her recording on Starkland records of Martin
Bresnick’s Josephine the Singer for solo violin was described by Gramophone as “gorgeously

Kwok received the Doctor of Musical Arts and Artist diploma degrees from the Yale School of
Music, where she was a student of Syoko Aki and the Tokyo String Quartet. She performs on a
violin from 1736 by Italian maker Johannes Florenus Guidantus and a bow by Joseph Arthur


Amadi Azikiwe, violist, violinist and conductor, has been heard in recital in major cities throughout the United States, such as New York, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Houston, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., including an appearance at the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Azikiwe has also been a guest of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at the Alice Tully Hall in New York, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. He has appeared in recital at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, the “Discovery” recital series in La Jolla, the International Viola Congress, and at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“Violist Amadi Azikiwe is a musician who plays so effortlessly that the listener does not fully appreciate what has been accomplished until reflection after the fact. ... and the technical feats demanded by the Paganini (Sonata per la Grand Viola)”
– Raoul Abdul, New York Amsterdam News New York, NY

Mr. Azikiwe’s performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today”, “St. Paul Sunday”, on WNYC in New York, WGBH in Boston, WFMT in Chicago, and the BBC, along with television appearances in South America.

Mr. Azikiwe is a Music Artist Faculty member of the NYU Steinhardt School, the Mannes School of Music, a member of The Harlem Chamber Players, the Pressenda Chamber Players, the Serafin Ensemble, and Music Director of the Harlem Symphony Orchestra. With the Harlem Symphony Orchestra, he made his New York City conducting debut at the Apollo Theater, and his Washington, D.C. conducting debut at the National Gallery of Art. With the Harlem Chamber Players, he conducted the world premiere performance of Adolphus Hailstork’s Tulsa 1921: Pity These Ashes, Pity This Dust, broadcast on New York’s WQXR.



Grey Held ( is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Creative Writing and the winner of the 2019 Future Cycle Poetry Book Prize. Three books of his poetry have been published: Two-Star General (BrickRoad Poetry Press, 2012), Spilled Milk (WordPress, 2013), and WORKaDAY (FutureCycle Press, 2019). He holds a BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Grey is also a literary activist, who has received six Massachusetts Cultural Council LCC grants for public projects that connect contemporary poets with wider audiences. Through his efforts the city of Newton received a MassDevelopment Commonwealth Places Grant for MakePoetryConcrete, which has resulted in dozens of poems being stamped into the concrete of newly constructed sidewalks throughout Newton’s village centers. He teaches a weekly poetry workshop (PoetryRoundTable) via Zoom and also works privately with poets to help them hone their craft. Grey is also a visual artist who collaborates with his talented wife, Leslie Held in making fabric wall hangings and in creating public art throughout Newton—on doors, on pianos, on Jersey barriers, on electrical boxes and on the sides of buildings (



Carol Hobbs is a poet from Newfoundland, Canada who now lives and teaches high school English and creative writing in Hudson, Massachusetts. Her first poetry collection New-found-land, published by Main Street Rag Press, received the New England PEN Discovery Prize, and Honorable Mention for the Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize through the New England Poetry Club. Poet Kathleen Aguero writes that Hobbs’s poems “detail a life by centering on precisely described moments that turn toward mystery. They unfold slowly like flowers drawing us into their centers. What seems simple is not." Carol Hobbs’s work appears in many journals including The Antigonish Review, Appalachian Heritage, Cider Press Review, The Fiddlehead, Lily Poetry Review, The Malahat Review, and Pendemics Journal. Solstice Literary Magazine chose her poem “Polar Bear” for the Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize for 2022. Carol Hobbs is a longtime member of the PoemWorks Community in Massachusetts founded by Barbara Helfgott Hyett, and she workshops poetry in company with the Round Table Poets of Newton, Massachusetts led by Grey Held.

Allison-Yoshie Eldredge, cello

Cellist Allison Eldredge, a recipient of the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant and Musical America’s “Young Artist of the Year”, has enjoyed performing nationally and internationally, from London to Moscow to China to Berlin. She has been called “a cellist afraid of nothing” (Chicago Times) with “virtuosity wholly at the service of the music” (American Fanfare – American Record Guide). She gained international attention when Daniel Barenboim invited her to give the first performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto, which he conducted years after the death of his wife, the celebrated cellist Jacqueline Du Pre.

Ms. Eldredge has appeared as cello soloist with 30 major American orchestras and innumerable major international orchestras. She has been invited by the premiere Music Directors of the world from Scotland to Italy to Canada to the Netherlands and the United States receiving critical acclaim such that “She belongs to “the crème de la crème” of cello talents”  (Het Noord Hollands Dagblad Amsterdam).

Ms. Eldredge has loved teaching the next generation for the past 30 years. She has taught cellists at New England Conservatory since 2000 and at Harvard University from 2008-2011. Ms. Eldredge also maintains a private teaching studio in Massachusetts and Connecticut. She has given masterclasses at numerous universities and schools and has visited more than 100 schools in support of music education in communities with greater needs. She teaches chamber music at Young Talent Chamber Music, a two-week Pro-Am intensive summer camp in Connecticut, where she has been Artistic Director since 2014.

Her cello teachers have included Harvey Shapiro, Yo-Yo Ma, Eleonore Schoenfeld, Joan Lunde, Mstislav Rostropovich, Ardyth Alton and Channing Robbins. Ms. Eldredge studied at the Pre-College and College of The Juilliard School.

Instagram @allison.eldredge.1740

Facebook @allisoneldredgecellist


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