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Les Amies Trio

Join us on Sunday, February 26, 2017

One of the most exciting new ensembles to emerge in today’s music scene, “Les Amies” is the collaboration of three well established, highly esteemed, and much loved artists. New York Philharmonic Principal Players Nancy Allen, harp, and Cynthia Phelps, viola, join internationally renowned flutist Carol Wincenc to form one of the most dynamic trios that this particular instrumental combination can produce. Merging their individual skills of high artistry and extraordinary technical command, they explore a vast range of repertoire rich in color, texture and imagination. Each of these artists stand alone at the top of their field, winning first prizes in such competitions as the Naumburg, Israel International Harp Competition, Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition, Concert Artists Guild and Pro Musicis. As soloists, they have been featured with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, New York, London, St. Louis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Minnesota and Hong Kong, as well as the chamber orchestras of England, St. Paul, Los Angeles and Orpheus.

All have performed, toured, or recorded with some of today’s most esteemed chamber groups, such as the Guarneri, Tokyo, and Emerson String Quartets, and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, where they have also been seen and heard on “Great Performers of Lincoln Center Live”. They appear regularly in today’s top chamber music festivals including Aspen, Marlboro, Santa Fe, La Jolla, Mostly Mozart, Vail, Portland, Seattle and Music from Menlo.

Championing new music has been a priority for these artists; collectively they have commissioned works from the composers Lucas Foss, Joan Tower, Christopher Rouse, Peter Schickele, George Rochberg, Stephen Paulus, and Sofia Guibaidulina, among many others. Their representation on disc includes the recording labels of Deutsche Gramaphone, Telarc, Decca, Arabesque, Naxos, Virgin and Cala records.

As the name “Les Amies” suggests, they are long-time colleagues, and revel in the glory of their blossoming relationship as artists, bringing to their audiences the color and beauty of this unusual trio combination of flute, viola and harp.

“Our critics have looked back on the best of the 2013-14 season. And the winners are … well, the season isn’t a boxing match nor yet a drawing. But quality does separate the champions from the also-rans. Our choices are …. TRIO LES AMIES

Daily News Arts Critics

“I enjoyed hearing chamber music played by principal players of what is arguably the finest orchestra in the country. I also appreciated that the players varied the ensemble: all playing together, flute and viola, harp solo, and a large ensemble. And, finally, I loved the music that Trio Les Amies made. Their performance was intense yet joyful.” Joseph Youngblood

Members:

Nancy Allen (harp)
Cynthia Phelps (viola)
Carol Wincenc (flute)

Program

IBERT
Deux Interludes
Entr’ Acte

BAX
Elegiac Trio

RAVEL
Sonatine en Trio

-Intermission-

DEVIENNE
Duo in C minor Op.3 No.1 for Flute & Viola

FAURÉ
Après un rêve .. for Viola & Harp
Impromptu for Solo Harp
Morceau de Concours for Flute & Harp

DEBUSSY
Sonata pour Flute, Alto et Harpe

Venue

Temple Beth-El
Address: 211 Belknap Place
Time: 3:15 PM

Aeolus Quartet Outreach Event

Aeolus Quartet Outreach at Jackson Middle School on January 23, 2017

Bright and early on this Monday morning, the young musicians of the Aeolus Quartet started off with some Mozart (Adagio & Fugue K.546) before talking with the 200 or so students gathered in the Auditorium/Cafeteria. They established excellent rapport right away, introducing the audience to each of their instruments, with an explanation of their individual roles within a string quartet. The morning continued with more music by Schumann (String Quartet Op.41, No.3, 2nd Movt.), Copland (Rondino), and Barber (String Quartet in B-Major, Op.11, 2nd Movt.) before breaking into a very lively Q & A session: the students (and teachers!) asked and the Quartet answered a wide range of questions including – motivation for practicing;  breathing together when playing in ensemble; music as a viable career; music as a form of communication; and music serving as a balance in our modern-day tech-filled life.

After a brief pause, the Quartet spent more quality time with a smaller group of orchestra students – they played selections by Schumann (String Quartet Op.41, No.3, Finale) and Barber (String Quartet in B-Major, Op.11, 3rd Movt.), and in between the two pieces answered more  in-depth questions about the intricacies of bowing, synchronization, rhythmic control, and musical direction. Finally the musicians demonstrated to the rapt audience the importance of listening “through the silence”,  and its emotional impact.  At the end of the event, a shy and soft-spoken 7th-grader approached us and said “This is the best thing I’ve ever heard! I’m now motivated to work extra hard!”

Well, that made our day!

Submitted by Pauline Glickman

Review: Aeolus Quartet

Take a close look at our SA Chamber Music logo:  see the swirl?  Thanks to the Aeolus Quartet, who performed a concert for us last Sunday, January 22, the swirl makes perfect sense to me.  Like the Nike “swoosh” signifies speed and aerodynamics, the swirl is a wrap-around sound of beautiful music.  Now I’m not saying the Mozart Adagio and Fugue weren’t close to musical perfection, and I love almost anything Aaron Copeland ever wrote, but the Barber Quartet and the Schumann Quartet were pure – well – swirl.  These very young, very talented musicians created a Temple-filling swirl of sound that was really glorious.

These four who comprise the Aeolus have already made their musical mark in the concert halls of the world.  Only nine years old, they are reaching the top of quartet glory.  They use American-made instruments – most of which are even younger than they – and they create a sound that can only be described as luxurious.  When they performed the Barber, I thought, “I know what he meant.”  I’ve heard that second movement, the “Molto Adagio,” many times, but this time I really listened.  And it was beyond solemn.

These four who comprise the Aeolus have already made their musical mark in the concert halls of the world. Only nine years old, they are reaching the top of quartet glory.

As for the Schumann, which Mr. Tavani said they had only performed in concert four times, well it was one of those performances you’d hope would never end.   Pure swirl.  It’s amazing that four very young musicians could understand the ideas and feelings of a Nineteenth Century master.  Much of what we consider “classical music” – that is, music composed in the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries – is appreciated as beautiful, inspiring, uplifting and even thought-provoking, but Schumann’s composition as interpreted by Aeolus was all of that plus ethereal.  I kept thinking, “I wonder if they had a chance to chat with Schumann.  They seem to understand what he was saying.”  (Did I mention that I’m a big Schumann fan?)

So I hope you enjoyed that Aeolus concert as much as I did and will continue to enjoy the swirl that SA Chamber Music offers.  There are two more opportunities to experience it:  February 26 (Les Amies Trio) and April 23 (Calmus Ensemble).  And don’t forget you can use any of this season’s tickets or bonus tickets to bring a friend or two who could use a good swirl!

– E Doyle

Aeolus Quartet

Join us on Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Aeolus Quartet is committed to presenting time-seasoned masterworks and new cutting-edge works to widely diverse audiences with equal freshness, dedication, and fervor. Violinists Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violist Gregory Luce, and cellist Alan Richardson formed the Aeolus Quartet in 2008 at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Since its inception, the all-American quartet has been awarded prizes at nearly every major competition in the United States and performed across the globe. They were the 2013-2015 Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School, and they currently make their home in New York City.

The Aeolus Quartet are Grand Prizewinners of the 2011 Plowman Chamber Music Competition and 2011 Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition. They were awarded First Prize at the 2009 Coleman International Chamber Ensemble Competition, a Silver Medal at the 2011 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition, and a Bronze Medal at the 2010 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in New England. The 16th Annual Austin Critics’ Table named the Aeolus Quartet their 2010-2011 “Best Ensemble.” The Aeolus Quartet has released two critically acclaimed albums of classical and contemporary works through the Longhorn/Naxos label which are available on iTunes, Amazon, and major retailers worldwide.

The Quartet has performed across North America, Europe, and Asia in venues such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Reinberger Recital Hall at Severance Hall, Merkin Hall, The Library of Congress, Renwick Gallery, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center.

“…smoothly meshed technique with a sense of spontaneity and discovery…”

Baltimore Sun

“A rich and warm tone combined with precise ensemble playing (that managed also to come across as fluid and natural), and an impressive musical intelligence guided every technical and dramatic turn.” Mark Satola

Cleveland Plain Dealer

“…worthy of a major-league quartet…”

Scott Cantrell

Dallas Morning News

The Quartet is named for the Greek god Aeolus, who governed the four winds. This idea of a single spirit uniting four individual forces serves as an inspiration to the members of the Aeolus Quartet as they pursue their art.

Members:

Nicholas Tavani (violin)
Rachel Shapiro (violin)
Gregory Luce (viola)
Alan Richardson (cello)

Program

MOZART
Adagio & Fugue in C minor, K.546

COPLAND
“Two Pieces for String Quartet”

BARBER
Quartet in B Major, Op.11

-Intermission-

SCHUMANN
Quartet Op.11, No.3 in A Major

Venue

Temple Beth-El
Address: 211 Belknap Place
Time: 3:15 PM

The Cello-phile

 

I’m a sucker for cellos.  I freely admit to this weakness.  While all stringed instruments are completely magical – and I don’t claim to understand how anyone masters performance on a violin, viola or bass, for that matter – cellos for me belong in a different category.  I’m informed that the cello has the same range as the human voice and that’s why the cello is so appealing.  I’m not buying it.  If I ever came across someone who sounded like a cello, I would never leave his  or her side.

And even as I watch these words appear on my computer screen, I’m listening to a cello.  Not just any cello this: it’s the cello that belonged to Pablo Casals, perhaps the greatest cellist ever.  And it’s a repetition of Casals’ last concert.  His cello is being beautifully played by a friend, Amit Peled, who has performed for the San Antonio Chamber Music Society in two memorable concerts.  He now plays the Casals cello, loaned to him by Casals’ widow.  This isn’t just a magnificent instrument, I do believe it has a soul, and I think Amit Peled is the luckiest cellist alive to be able to call forth the soul of this very special cello.

A cello is never shrill, it doesn’t scream “Listen to me, listen to me!” It’s sometimes content to just play accompaniment to its more feeble siblings, and without the cello, they would sound, well, thin.

So I’m wondering:  what is it about a cello that appeals to me? I would walk across glass to hear  a Yo-Yo Ma performance.  Perhaps there are other “cello-philes” out there and they no doubt have their own reasons for loving cellos.  But for me, a well-played cello can perform the music of a ho-hum composer and transform it into a masterpiece.  A cello is never shrill, it doesn’t scream “Listen to me, listen to me!”  It’s sometimes content to just play accompaniment to its more feeble siblings, and without the cello, they would sound, well, thin.  But a cello in concert, all on its own, played by a master, can simply make me cry.  As I listen to Casals’ cello and the artistry of Peled, I find myself thinking of things like the Sistine Chapel, fresh baked bread, a field of flowers, the perfection of a scarlet wine – I could go on, you know.  But when I listen to the music of Fauré , for example, performed by a cello – this cello, especially —  I listen.  I am absolutely attuned (for want of a better word) to this swirling music that is so perfect for the instrument.  I guess you could say that it strikes a chord.  Or I guess it just makes me happy.

If you haven’t heard it yet, be sure to listen to Amit Peled’s “Casals Homage.” It will make you happy, too.  And for even more happiness (does your cup runneth over?), remember to come hear the Aeolus Quartet next January 22.  There will be a cello, of course!

– E Doyle

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