Monday, June 27, 2011

The Best-Kept Secret in Delaware County

The Silver Jubilee Chamber Ensemble at the Cyr Center in Stamford, June 19, 2011. Pictured from left to right: Katie Thomas, violin; Jesse Mills, Concertmaster; Kyu-Young Kim, violin; Anna Elashvili, violin; Sarah Zun, violin; Pitnarry Shin, cello; Logan Coale, double bass; Philip Kramp, viola; Lance Suzuki, flute; Sycil Mathai, trumpet; Arthur Sato, oboe; David Byrd-Marrow, French horn.

To tone down my over-the-top enthusiasm for the concert on June 19th by the group we dubbed the "Silver Jubilee Chamber Ensemble," I waited a week to post this assessment. As a result there will be less gushing, but the people I spoke with who were there were equally smitten, so I still must say: This was our best concert ever! EVER!

If you read some previous posts you know I have a bad habit of proclaiming that each concert in succession is the best, ever. This speaks well of the quality of the performers who make the trek up to the hills for us, and after all it's a bit of comparing apples to oranges, or in our case Mozart to Barber, or Bach to Chopin. Folks who listen to classical music on a regular basis no doubt have their favorites as well as composers whose works they never listen to by choice, and how we react to a particular concert (based on our choice to attend it in the first place) has as much to do with the program as with the artists who perform it. Each performance, exhilirating and fresh in the memory seems impossible to surpass.

That said, it may not be possible for us to top this last one, not the least reason being we won't have the budget to engage such a large group again, at least not until another big anniversary milestone. By then this particular group will be too far-flung in their careers to journey back here. It was a very auspicious confluence of events: extremely talented and dynamic musicians, a varied and approachable program that resonated beautifully with the setting and with the audience, and an especially gorgeous day.

The tent was set up by the Morris Tent Co. on the lawn at the
Cyr Center during the week before the concert.
I was still a bit giddy as I began writing this last Monday. How fortunate we all were to have heard this gifted group here in our own back yard (almost literally)! The weather could not have been better, and the acoustics in the tent were quite good, which we had worried about. We were also concerned that because this group had been conjured up on quite short notice (by cellist Wolfram Koessel to save us from the dismal prospect of having to cancel our anniversary celebration due to a lack of performers), they might not play well together and would not have the cohesive sound that a seasoned troupe would have.

Those fears were utterly unfounded, I'm happy to say. As my friend Dusanka so astutely observed, perhaps because they were so newly recruited they seemed to revel in each other's company and to enjoy the talents of their colleagues as much as we in the audience did: smiles all around. While of course there is much to be said for long-term collaborations, one can easily imagine the spark might be missing from a piece that has been performed many times over a period of many years, regardless of the talent involved. Subtleties of interpretation abounded, but there was also a verve and a freshness to last Sunday's performance that truly delighted us and that was especially appropriate to the occasion and to the venue.

And such pleasant young folks too, not a big head amongst them though they have every right to be cocky; we were in the presence of great talent. They presented a beautifully balanced sound, a polished yet nuanced performance that belied the short amount of time these young professionals had to work on this program with this group. Concertmaster Jesse Mills led with a gentle toss of his head, a short intake of breath, and beauty emanated from the little stage where the twelve musicians transported us to that timeless place where great art lives.

Though we'd hoped for a much larger audience, I'm happy to say there were new faces at the concert, including some folks who had never heard a live performance of classical music before. What a fabulous initiation; they were "blown away" and will no doubt come back for more. Gone were the "stuffy and boring" adjectives they had previously associated with this type of music.

Before the performance began I heard a woman remark, incredulously, as she read our flyer about the anniversary celebration, "They've been doing this for twenty-five years?! They should advertise more!" It's a sentiment we often hear. Two years ago we decided to try a print ad campaign. Money is tight of course and we were loathe to spend it when there was no assurance of any benefit. We polled the audiences to find out why people had come to each concert, and found ads in the local newspapers were the only ones sighted and cited, and then mostly as a reminder to those who already knew of the series. We truly can't afford radio or television ads so we still rely predominantly on word of mouth. The music is - and should be - our priority, yet after a quarter century Friends of Music of Stamford NY still has not entered the awareness of many in the area.

On Sunday June 19th one gentleman came all the way from Hudson for the performance; that's more than an hour's drive from Stamford. He'd heard about the event from a friend and had understood the high-level quality of the artists who would perform. He and another unknown visitor each commented that to attend such a concert where they lived, they would have to pay $100.00 or more, and were astonished that such an event could be offered free of charge (thanks to the generosity of our foundation donors).

Trumpeter Sycil Mathai, left, listens to comments from some new 
fans inside the Cyr Center after the performance.
Sycil Mathai, the trumpeter of the Ensemble, encouraged me to come down to the City for the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center later this summer, as he and several others from the group would be playing. I tried to explain to him why I probably wouldn't do that, the difficulties of making a living here and the expense of a trip downstate. It occurred to me a comparison of the costs of such an excursion with the cost of attending our concert on Sunday would be an interesting one. I do this to emphasize the economic value of what we have available to all right here in Stamford, in the hopes more will choose to take advantage of this low-cost opportunity to hear live performances of such high caliber.

Attending the concert in Stamford, in this case, was free. Many chose to donate funds, and we are grateful, especially as the O'Connor Foundation grant will match those donations. If you would like the details of how I came up with these numbers, feel free to contact me. In my estimation the range of costs for most folks who attended on Sunday, including transportation, was from $5 to as much as $50 if they chose to go out for a meal and drinks at a restaurant afterwards.

A single ticket to the Mostly Mozart Festival costs $35, which is pretty reasonable by New York City standards. O.K., I understand we did not have a full orchestra or Joshua Bell performing on June 19th, but I'd be willing to bet Jesse Mills is every bit as talented and as charismatic as Mr. Bell is (no offense intended to either of them at the comparison). And several of the artists in the Silver Jubilee Chamber Ensemble will be in that orchestra. Figuring for transportation and meals but not counting time, I estimated a total cost, best-case scenario, of $128 if you take the bus and bring your own food and stay with friends or family to $500 and up depending on your choice of restaurants and a hotel.

Thanks to the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation, and in this instance also thanks to the O'Connor Foundation, we have the chance to hear equally high-quality musical performance at the Cyr Center for very little money, or free of charge for those who truly can't spare the $5 or $10 (and there are quite a few in our region for whom $5 is unaffordable, sad to say). How fortunate we are to live in a place where some folks who did well for themselves felt the generous inclination to share their fortunes with their community, to help improve the quality of life for all of their neighbors and not just for their own families. And how fortunate we are that fate brought these gifted young musicians to our stage on the lawn of the former Rexmere Hotel on a perfectly beautiful day in June, 2011.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Program for the June 19th Performance by the Silver Jubilee Chamber Ensemble

    25th Anniversary Celebration
     Concert for Friends of Music

June 19th, 2011 - 3PM at the Cyr Center
The Silver Jubilee Chamber Ensemble

Jesse Mills, violin
Sycil Mathai, trumpet
David Byrd-Marrow, French horn
Lance Suzuki, flute
Arthur Sato, oboe

Anna Elashvili, violin            Philip Kramp, viola
Kyu-Young Kim, violin          Pitnarry Shin, cello
          Sarah Zun, violin                   Logan Coale, double bass
                          Katie Thomas, violin

Giuseppe Torelli (1658-1709): Trumpet Concerto in D
Soloist: Sycil Mathai
I.     Allegro
II.    Adagio-Presto-Adagio
III.   Allegro

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741):
From Le Quattro Stagioni (The Four Seasons)                             
Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, “L’estate” (Summer)
Soloist: Jesse Mills, violin
I.     Allegro non molto
II.    Adagio e piano – Presto e forte
III.   Presto

Samuel Barber (1910-1981): Adagio for Strings
Dedicated in memory of Dorothy Aldrich and Jack Wadsworth

Wolfang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791):
From Horn Concerto No. 4 in E-flat major, K. 495
Soloist: David Byrd-Marrow, French horn
II.    Romanza, Andante
III.   Rondo, Allegro Vivace                  


Benjamin Godard (1849-1895): 2 movements from Suite de Trois Morceaux
Soloist: Lance Suzuki, flute
II.  Idylle
III. Valse

Alessandro Marcello (1669-1747):
Concerto for Oboe and Strings in D minor                                        
Soloist: Arthur Sato, oboe
1. Andante spiccato
2. Adagio
3. Presto

George Frideric Händel (1685-1759): Excerpts from the Water Music            

What a fabulous program--do come and join us to hear it! Read more about the artists of the Ensemble in the previous post. Note that any last-minute changes to the program will be reflected here if at all possible.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Silver Jubilee Chamber Ensemble performs Sunday, June 19th

The Silver Jubilee Chamber Ensemble will help Friends of Music mark its 25th Anniversary Season with a special concert on Sunday, June 19th at 3 PM at the Cyr Center in Stamford. Weather permitting, the performance will take place outdoors on the grounds of the Center under a large tent canopy to accommodate the expected larger-than-usual audience. The concert is free to the public and refreshments will be served after the performance. Bring Dad along as a great way to celebrate Father’s Day, as well!

The Ensemble includes 12 artists, 5 of whom will be featured as soloists. All hail from the New York City area and were recruited for this gala event through our mutual friend, cellist Wolfram Koessel. Mr. Koessel is on tour in Europe this summer, but we hope to hear him again soon.

Friends of Music hopes you will join us on this special occasion to enjoy talented young professionals with a much bigger sound and a very different program than we are usually able to present. We thank the A. Lindsay and Olive B. O’Connor Foundation for their matching grant to help fund this concert, and the generosity of the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation which makes our entire season possible.

Grammy-nominated violinist Jesse Mills enjoys performing music of many genres, from classical to contemporary, as well as composed and improvised music of his own invention. Mr. Mills is the Concertmaster for the Silver Jubilee Chamber Ensemble.

In 2004 Mills made his professional concerto debut with the Ravinia Festival Orchestra conducted by Nicholas McGegan in a unique partnership with Salsa trombonist, Jimmy Bosch.  This project combined a classical performance of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, with Mills as violin soloist, and a Salsa band arrangement of the same piece, fronted by Bosch and Mills as improvising soloists.  A successful performance at Ravinia led to bookings with the Phoenix Symphony, the Colorado Symphony and the Green Bay Symphony. In past years Mills has performed as soloist with orchestras including the Juilliard Chamber Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, the Denver Philharmonic, the Teatro Argentino Orchestra in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the Aspen Music Festival's Sinfonia Orchestra as winner of the Festival's E. Nakamichi Violin Concerto Competition.

As a chamber musician Jesse Mills has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada, including concerts at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, the Metropolitan Museum, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Boston's Gardener Museum, Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, and the Marlboro Music Festival. He has also appeared at prestigious venues in Europe, such as the Barbican Centre of London, La Cité de la Musique in Paris, Amsterdam’s Royal Carré Theatre, Teatro Arcimboldi in Milan, and the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels. Mills is co-founder of Duo Prism, a violin-piano duo with Rieko Aizawa, which earned 1st Prize at the Zinetti International Competition in Italy in 2006. 

Mills is also known as a pioneer of contemporary works, a renowned improvisational artist, as well as a composer. He earned a Grammy nomination for his work on a CD of Arnold Schoenberg's music, released by NAXOS in 2005. He can also be heard on the Koch, Centaur, Tzadik, Max Jazz and Verve labels for various compositions of Webern, Schoenberg, Zorn, Wuorinen, and others. Soon to be released on the NAXOS label are recordings of Schoenberg’s String Quartets #3 and #4, as well as the Ode to Napoleon. As a member of the FLUX Quartet from 2001-2003, Mills performed music composed during the last 50 years (including the famous six-hour-long String Quartet No. 2 by Morton Feldman), in addition to frequent world premieres. As a composer and arranger, Mills has been commissioned by venues including Columbia University’s Miller Theater and the Chamber Music Northwest festival in Portland, Oregon.

Jesse Mills began violin studies at the age of three. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School in 2001.  He studied with Dorothy DeLay, Robert Mann and Itzhak Perlman. Mr. Mills lives in New York City, and he is on the faculty at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

Lance Suzuki has been described as an “unusually passionate flutist who captivates an audience” by the New York Concert Review. The Los Angeles Times has called his playing “musically poised” and “cool in sound” and The New York Times has deemed his collaborations “the evening’s most compelling offerings.” Upcoming highlights include a concert of all four Mozart Flute Quartets at the Long Island Mozart Festival and performances for Lincoln Center Out of Doors and New York's Mostly Mozart Festival.

Mr. Suzuki has appeared as a chamber musician and soloist in venues such as the Marlboro Music Festival, NPR’s Performance Today, Weill, Zankel and Merkin Halls, and the Metropolitan Museum’s Temple of Dendur in Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Flutes with Paula Robison. He performs as principal flutist with groups such as the Metropolis Ensemble, Mark Morris Dance Group Ensemble, and the New England Symphonic Ensemble in Carnegie Hall. He has also premiered new works with the Argento and East Coast Contemporary Ensembles, and in Carnegie Hall workshops led by Dawn Upshaw in collaboration with composers John Harbison, Osvaldo Golijov, and Donnacha Dennehy.

Born and raised in the state of Hawaii, Lance Suzuki began studying the flute at age nine. Since then, he has been the recipient of numerous honors and grants in his home state and abroad. He holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, and from the University of Southern California where he was named “Outstanding Graduate” in his class by the faculty. He has studied with Linda Chesis, Michael Parloff, Nadine Asin, Gary Woodward, Jean Harling, and in master classes with Paula Robison.

Oboist Arthur Sato has performed with an array of ensembles including Orchestra of St. Lukes, San Diego Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, West Point Band, Malaysian Philharmonic, New York Symphonic Ensemble, American Ballet Theater, Princeton Symphony, Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, and the Knights Chamber Orchestra.  In October 2009, Arthur made his NYC solo debut with the Brooklyn Philharmonic.  He has collaborated with recording artists Herbie Hancock, Alicia Keys, Josh Groban, Lenny Kravitz, Shania Twain, Sufjan Stevens, and has appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, NPR’s Performance Today, and PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center.  As a member of The Academy@ Carnegie Hall, Arthur has electrified the stages of Carnegie Hall with Ensemble ACJW. According to the Carnegie Hall Web site (and as recently profiled on NPR), The Academy is a competitive two-year fellowship program designed to prepare the world’s finest young professional musicians for careers that combine musical excellence with teaching, community outreach, advocacy, and leadership.” A graduate of Indiana University and The Juilliard School, Mr. Sato is on faculty at the Brooklyn-Queens Conservatory and enjoys fine cuisine, fine beer, politics, and hip-hop. 

Atlanta, Georgia native David Byrd-Marrow received his earliest tutelage from his father, who also played the French horn. Once in high school, David began studying with Richard Deane of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. After studying with Mr. Deane all through high school and participating in the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Atlanta Wind Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Georgia All-State orchestra, where he was selected for the top position in the state, David went on to study at The Juilliard School in New York City. 

At Juilliard, while working on his Bachelor's degree, Mr. Byrd-Marrow studied with the late Jerome Ashby of the New York Philharmonic. For his Master's degree, David went on to study with William Purvis at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was then selected for fellowship into The Academy - a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. During his time there, David played numerous concerts in all three of Carnegie's grand stages, and was able to study with several great hornists.

In 2008, David was invited to become Solo hornist for the International Contemporary Ensemble, and has also played with groups such as Carnegie Hall’s “Zankel Band,” The Orchestra of St. Luke’s, The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, The Tokyo Symphony, The New York City and Atlanta Operas and The New York Philharmonic.

Trumpeter Sycil Mathai is part of various directions of contemporary and experimental chamber music in New York City.  Resigning from his post with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra now affords him the chance of playing with diverse groups such as the Extension Ensemble, Orchestra of St.Lukes, Sequitir, Bach Players of Holy Trinity, Sospeso, Iris Chamber Orchestra, Ne(x)tworks, artists Carter Burwell, Butch Morris, and the dance companies of Merce Cunningham, Mark Morris, and Nai-Ni Chen.  He has recorded for RCA, PBS, Summit Brass, Albany Records, New World, and Sirius Satellite Radio.  Sycil is a graduate of The Juilliard School as a student of Mark Gould, and of The Music School at Texas Christian University as a student of Steve Weger.

Violinist Anna Elashvili, hailed as “riveting” by The New York Times, has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in major halls around the world.  She has collaborated with renowned artists such as Lynn Harrell, Dawn Upshaw, and Peter Serkin and performed solo with Maxim Vengerov. 

In 2006 Ms. Elashvili was nominated to be a fellow at The Academy at Carnegie Hall, a program for which she is now a fellowship mentor and an active alumna.  As a part of the Academy family, she performs concerts internationally and brings classical music to New York City’s public schools.  Ms. Elashvili is currently the first violinist of the Bryant Park Quartet, violinist in the Brooklyn Philharmonic and Carnegie’s Zankel Band.  Ms. Elashvili is on violin faculty at the Third Street Music School Settlement in Manhattan and in residence at Stony Brook University’s Community Music Program with the Bryant Park Quartet.  She has appeared as Concertmaster with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Phoenix Symphony, the Verbier Festival Orchestra, String Orchestra of New York City (SONYC), and the Colorado Music Festival Chamber Orchestra

As the former member of the Fountain Ensemble and current violinist of the Bryant Park Quartet, she is a prizewinner of several international competitions.  Anna Elashvili received her Bachelors and Masters Degree by 2001 from The Juilliard School as a student of Masao Kawasaki and Joel Smirnoff.   In her hometown of Baltimore, she studied with Violaine Melançon of the Peabody Trio and Klara Berkovich.

Kyu-Young Kim is one of the most versatile and accomplished violinists of his generation.  Hailed by John von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune for his “flawless musical and technical command,” Kim is an active soloist and chamber musician.  He has recently toured throughout North America, Europe and Asia, performing in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, the Seoul Arts Center, the Palais des Beaux Arts (Brussels), and the Beethoven-Haus (Bonn).  As a founding member of the Daedalus Quartet, winners of the Grand Prize at the 2001 Banff International String Quartet Competition, he performed in many of the major halls of Europe, including the Musikverein (Vienna), the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), the Philharmonie (Cologne), the Cité de la Musique (Paris), the Mozarteum (Salzburg), the Festpielhaus (Baden-Baden), and the Megaron (Athens), and was a member of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Two Program.  He has appeared as soloist with the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, of which he served as Associate Concertmaster for five years, the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Poland, and the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. As a recitalist, he has performed throughout the U.S. and in Korea, Japan, Germany, and New Zealand.  He has also served as guest Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and is the newest member of both the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the New York City Ballet Orchestra. 

Mr. Kim is a recipient of the 2007 Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center in recognition of outstanding young artists from the Lincoln Center community.  He is also a winner of a McKnight Fellowship as a member of the Soyulla Duo with his wife, cellist Pitnarry Shin.  As a former member of the Pacifica String Quartet, Mr. Kim won the prestigious Naumburg Chamber Music Award in 1998 and served as an artist-in-residence for National Public Radio’s “Performance Today.”  Mr. Kim’s other chamber music activities have included collaborations with pianist Gary Graffman and the Juilliard String Quartet, and performances with the Chicago Contemporary Players, the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, the DaCapo Chamber Players, and the New Juilliard Ensemble. He has toured on four continents with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and has performed with the Sejong Soloists.
Widely recognized for his teaching and musical outreach activities, Kim has served on the faculties of Columbia University, the University of Chicago, the Music Institute of Chicago and the Interlochen Summer Festival, among others, and has given outreach concerts to young audiences throughout the United States.  Mr. Kim has received degrees from the Curtis Institute, the Juilliard School, and the Cleveland Institute of Music, and has studied with Donald Weilerstein, Robert Mann, Jaime Laredo, Yumi Scott and Shirley Givens.

Sarah Zun is a highly sought after violinist based in the New York City metropolitan area. She is a member of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro William Boughton, and regularly appears with the Harrisburg Symphony, Greenwich Symphony (CT), New York Chamber Virtuosi and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas. While her main interest is in orchestral performance, Sarah has also had the privilege of playing chamber music in many venues throughout New York City, including Alice Tully Hall and Le Poisson Rouge. 

Sarah received her degree in violin performance from The Juilliard School where she studied with Dorothy Delay, Naoko Tanaka and Won-Bin Yim. She has toured extensively at the international level with the Verbier Festival Orchestra based in Verbier, Switzerland. She has also had the privilege of attending, with full fellowships and scholarships, the Aspen Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, and the Sommermusikakademie in Leipzig, Germany. Most recently she participated in a tour to Japan with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, with whom she performed La Boheme, Don Carlo and Lucia di Lammermoor.

Katie Thomas is a young violinist with an emerging professional career. She has performed in halls and venues across America as well as Europe and the Caribbean.  She earned a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Lucie Robert. Ms. Thomas was awarded the School of Music Merit Scholarship and The Hugo Kortschak Award for outstanding achievement in chamber music.
Ms. Thomas was a past finalist in the Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival Concerto Competition, and she played as both Concertmaster and principal second violinist in the Festival Orchestra in Houston.  She was chosen to be a member of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas which shared the stage with Joshua Bell and Julian Rachlin under the baton of Valery Gergiev and Carlos Minguel Prieto in Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. Ms. Thomas also participated in music making at the Château de Fontainebleau, in Fontainebleau, France with Phillippe Entremont and at the Academie Internationale de Musique de Montpellier in Montpellier, France with Ruggiero Ricci.
She earned great praise from concert reviewer Zan Stewart for her leadership as concert master of her school’s Jazz Philharmonic for the season 2009-2010 – “the 18-piece orchestra… played impeccably under the leadership of concertmaster Katherine Thomas.” Another reviewer, Manly Romero, stated “Just left of downstage center, one musician, Concertmaster Katherine Thomas, focusing the sound of the orchestra, fighting the tide, and delivering solo phrase after solo phrase with thoughtful integrity enough for a Brahms Concerto…Magnetically drawn to follow Ms Thomas’ example, the strings presented unusual warmth and calm. Friday night, Ms. Thomas was in control, and her leadership transformed the performance.”

Originally from Bloomington, Illinois, Philip Kramp is a violist increasingly sought after in the United States.  A 2009 graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, his primary teachers were Joseph dePasquale and Michael Tree, and his chamber music instructors were Steve Tenenbom, Pam Frank and Peter Wiley. Currently Philip is pursuing graduate studies at the New England Conservatory where he is a student of Roger Tapping.  While at Curtis, Phil was principal viola of the Curtis Orchestra during the 2007-2008 Season. In addition to his studies, Phil performs with many professional ensembles across the country.  While at Curtis Mr. Kramp was a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia from 2007-2009 under the artistic direction of Ignat Solzhenitsyn.  Currently, Philip is a regular substitute with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.  He also performs regularly with the Mark Morris Dance Group in venues across the country.  Philip has also performed at many well known chamber music festivals, such as Marlboro, Ravinia, Yellow Barn, Kneisel Hall, Sarasota, Music From Angel Fire, and many others.  In the fall of 2010, Philip was chosen to be a Rising Star at the Caramoor Center for the Arts where he spent a week working closely with mentors Ralph Kirshbaum, Pam Frank and Atar Arad.  Phil will be touring with Musicians from Marlboro in the spring of 2011 and 2012, and will also appear on a Ravinia tour in the spring of 2012.  Philip Kramp has collaborated with many of the world’s greatest musicians, including Ida Kavafian, Pam Frank, Miriam Fried, Gil Kalish, Soovin Kim, and members of the Guarneri and Juilliard String Quartets.

Pitnarry Shin has been a member of the Minnesota Orchestra for five seasons and has served as guest co-principal cellist of the London Symphony Orchestra as well as principal cellist of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. She also appeared as solo cellist with Ensemble Intercontemporain Acadamie under Pierre Boulez. As a founding member of the Soyulla Ensemble she was awarded both the McKnight Fellowship and the Sony Career Grant from Salon De Virtuosi. Ms. Shin received her Bachelor of Music degree from Curtis Institute of Music and her Master of Music from the Yale School of Music. She also received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany.

Double bass player Logan Coale is a native of Portland, Oregon.  After moving to New York City he has become an integral part of the young classical new music scene. He is a member of contemporary chamber music group NOW Ensemble, and is also a member of the Knights Chamber Orchestra.  Mr. Coale performs regularly with the Long Count, Alarm Will Sound, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), the Wordless Music Orchestra, Queen’s Band Baroque Music Ensemble, Metropolis Ensemble, the American Composer’s Orchestra, Miami's Seraphic Fire and Firebird Chamber Orchestra, and the Mark Morris Dance Group.  He has also played with the San Antonio Symphony and New Haven Symphony, and played with the Sarasota Opera Orchestra for three seasons.  As a teacher Mr. Coale is on faculty at Mannes College’s preparatory division and the Kinhaven Music School in Weston, Vermont. Mr. Coale can be heard on Sony Classical and Ancalagon Records with The Knights, Decca with Nico Muhly, XL Recordings and Parlophone Records with Jonsi Birgisson of Sigur Ros, and on New Amsterdam Records with NOW Ensemble and Television Landscape.  His major teachers include Todd Seeber, Tim Pitts, and Edwin Barker.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chopin and our Visitors from Poland

After the performance on May 15th, as we were serving the food a person from the audience said to me "Best concert ever! EVER!!!"   Later I realized she'd actually read my "review" of the April concert, and I'm sorry I didn't get the joke at the time, though she did emphasize it really was a great concert. There were enthusiastic cheers after the performance by Mr. Lewandowski of the Chopin piano pieces in the second half of the program, along with a heartfelt ovation and three encores.

I was chastised recently for being too effusive in my praise, to the point of being maudlin and even cloying, so I will try to be more subdued in my descriptions from now on. So instead, by way of illustration I will admit that during the second waltz I was embarrassed when I realized I was practically dancing in place as I stood at the back of the room (where I usually listen to all the concerts--the sound is amazing back there!). When I glanced over the audience to see if anyone had noticed, I realized nearly everyone was swaying to the music.

Chopin is indeed a composer much loved by many of us. I also heard from a few folks how much they were enjoying Mr. Lewandowski's CD which they purchased, including Jeanette Balins of A Taste of Europe Restaurant in Cobleskill, who makes the delicious treats we enjoy at each concert. (Did you have some of that incredible chocolate cake with the elderberry filling?) Jeanette said her grandmother was a concert pianist who studied at the school in Gdansk, where the two artists live and where Dr. Wujtewicz teaches. Chopin was her favorite composer and she played his compositions frequently, so Jeanette has especially fond memories hearing Chopin's work.

Such popularity makes it difficult to stand out when nearly every pianist includes his works in their repertoire. While I am clearly not a music critic, many of us in the room that day were quite enthralled with Mr. Lewandowski's performance, and I too am enjoying listening to his CD.