Monday, June 18, 2012

CANCELED


MinYoung Cho, violin


Violinist MinYoung ChoDr. MinYoung Cho is a native of Seoul, Korea, and she has performed with many orchestras in her homeland, including the Korean-American Youth Orchestra, Gwacheon Youth Orchestra, Seoul National Symphony Orchestra, Korean Philharmonic Orchestra and Gangneung Philharmonic Orchestra. Her talent as an ensemble player remains much in demand, and she now performs with a number of chamber and symphony orchestras in North Florida, including Tallahassee Bach Parley, Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Gulf Coast, as well as with the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra and Panama City Pops Orchestra. In Georgia, she plays with the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra. As a guest solo artist, recent recital engagements have included appearances at Chipola College (Marianna, Florida) and Valdosta State University (Valdosta, Georgia).

Dr. Cho has been a prizewinner in several competitions, including the Korea Music Competition and Choong-Bu Conservatory Competition. She is among the American Fine Arts Festival 2011-2012 Season Winners, and won an AFAF Summer Music Courses in Europe scholarship. Dr. Cho received her BM at Dankook University in Korea, and both her master's and doctoral degrees at Florida State University, in Tallahassee. Her principal teachers have included Corinne Stillwell, Karen Clarke and Daesik Kang.

Promenade! Art Walk Concert, 05/1/2013 @ 7pm

Faculty Artists from Albany State University

Ken Trimmins, trumpet
Mimi Noda, piano

  • PAUL VIDAL : Aria et Fanfare
  • JOHANN BAPTIST GEORG NERUDA : Concerto
  • HENRI TOMASI : Triptyque
  • RICHARD PEASLEE : Nightsongs  
Dr. Ken Trimmins is a dynamic and versatile trumpet player, composer and educator who excels in both jazz and classical genres. He recently completed a distinguished 23-year career with the United States Air Force Band, serving as director of operations, musical director and band leader for a number of touring ensembles. As a trumpet soloist, he has been a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State, and his broadcast performances have include appearances on BET Jazz and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Dr. Trimmins holds degrees from Valdosta State University (BA), Mercer University (MM), and FSU (DMA), and has studied with a number of world-renowned artists, including jazz great Bobby Shew, Willie Thomas, Vincent DiMartino, and former Atlanta Symphony principal trumpeter Jim Thompson. Ken Trimmins is the trumpet instructor at Albany State University (Albany, Georgia), and previously served on the faculty of Armstrong Atlantic State University, in Savannah. As a jazz artist, he performs with The Ken Trimmins Jazz Quartet.

Dr. Mimi Noda was a collaborative pianist with the Japanese Choral Association before relocating to the United States in 1998 to pursue graduate studies. While earning degrees at the University of Georgia (MM) and Florida State University (DM), she was awarded a number of prizes and scholarships in piano performance, and she also has taught Japanese in FSU’s Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics. In addition to her responsibilities as Assistant Professor at Albany State University, Dr. Noda is a keyboardist with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and she regularly volunteers keyboard performances at Albany's Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. She also enjoys singing as a member of the Albany Chorale.



PROGRAM NOTES, by Ed Lein, Music Librarian


French composer Paul Vidal (1863-1931) was a classmate of Claude Debussy (1862-1918) at the Paris Conservatory, and in 1863 Vidal won the coveted Prix de Rome, the year before Debussy won the same composition prize. But unlike his famous friend, Vidal was better known as an opera conductor than as a composer, and he became chief conductor at the Paris Opera from 1906, and was director of the Opera-Comique from 1914-1919. After 1909, Vidal also taught at the Paris Conservatory, where his students included Henri Tomasi (see below), Jacques Ibert (1890-1962) and Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979), the legendary conductor and composition teacher who used Vidal's harmony text as one of her principle pedagogic tools. Not surprisingly, as a composer Vidal was best known for his theatrical and vocal compositions, although these are rarely performed today.  In addition to the Aria et Fanfare (1927), among Neruda's instrumental works featuring cornet or trumpet,  his Concertino (1922) is also sometimes still performed.   

Little is known about the composer born as Jan Křtitel Jiří Neruda (ca.1707-ca.1780) except that he came from Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), and that he was a violinist and conductor working primarily in Prague and in Germany. In addition to one opera and a number of chamber sonatas and sacred choral pieces, Neruda wrote at least 18 symphonies and 14 concertos. His cello and bassoon concertos are still performed, but the Trumpet Concerto in E-flat is his best-known work. It was composed around 1750, the same year Neruda became the concertmaster of the court orchestra in Dresden, Germany, where he was known by the German translation of his name, Johann Baptist Georg Neruda. The Concerto in E-flat originally was written for the high register of the Corno da Caccia, a valveless hunting horn, but today it is almost always performed on trumpet or cornet.

Composer and conductor Henri Tomasi (1901-1971) was born in Marseille, France, and entered the conservatory in his hometown when he was 7 years old.  As a youngster he was not very happy being a musician, complaining that his father forced him to perform "like a trained animal" for wealthy families. Despite dreams of running away and joining the navy--and skipping many of his classes--Tomasi won his school's 1916 prize in harmony. This set him up to study at the Conservatoire de Paris, but because of World War I, his entrance there was delayed until 1921. In the meantime he played piano in any place that would hire him, from fancy hotels to low-rent brothels, and, significantly, in movie houses where he began to hone his compositional skills while improvising background music to the onscreen antics of Charlie Chaplin, et al.  In 1925, Tomasi won a prize for a wind quintet, apparently his first "official" composition, and he continued to demonstrate a special affinity for wind instruments throughout his career.  In 1927, and by unanimous vote, he won both the Prix de Rome for composition and the first prize in conducting, and by the 1930s he had established a strong reputation throughout Europe as both composer and conductor. In 1936, he won the Grand Prix du Disque for his recorded performance of Gluck's opera, Orfeo, and, after World War II in 1946, he became the principal conductor for the Opera de Monte Carlo.  He enjoyed success as a composer of operas and other works for the stage, and in 1952 he was awarded the Grand Prix de Musique Française, and in 1960, the Grand Prix musical de la ville de Paris.  Tomasi's Triptyque dates from 1957, about the same time that he had to give up conducting due to failing health and failing hearing in his right ear.

Richard Peaslee (b. 1930) lives in Seattle, Washington, but he was born in New York City, and  he has written music for numerous theatrical productions in his hometown, as well as in London, England, and Paris, France. In addition to receiving degrees from Yale University and the Juilliard School, he studied in Paris with the afore-mentioned Nadia Boulanger. His concert music has been performed by a number of major orchestras throughout the United States, and Lincoln Center’s Composers’ Showcase presented a career retrospective at Alice Tully Hall. Peaslee has composed for film (e.g., Marat/Sade, 1967) and television, and he received an Emmy nomination for his music to the PBS series, The Power of Myth (1988).   Nightsongs, for flugelhorn and/or trumpet, was written in 1973 to fulfill a commission from trumpeter Harold Lieberman.

Promenade! Art Walk Concert, 04/03/2013 @ 7pm

Krzysztof Biernacki, baritone
Denise Wright, piano


Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, Op. 25 (D.975)


Baritone Krzysztof Biernacki has established a strong reputation as a powerful performer, versatile stage director, and talented teacher. Born and raised in Poland, his professional credits include opera, oratorio, concert, and recital performances in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Dr. Biernacki has sung principal roles with Vancouver Opera, Manitoba Opera, Calgary Opera, Orchestra London Canada, Theater of Usti nad Labem (Czech Republic), as well as with opera ensembles of University of British Columbia and University of Western Ontario. Dr. Biernacki frequently performs song recitals with repertoire ranging from Haydn to Szymanowski, Shostakovich, and Britten, and his commitment to contemporary music is highlighted by world premiere performances heard on CBC Radio and CBC Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, including a highly acclaimed production of Filumena, co-produced by the Calgary Opera and Banff Centre for Performing Arts.  He made his Carnegie Hall debut with th UNF Wind Ensemble performing works of Tchaikovsky and Tosti, and was reengaged for a recital of opera arias and duets at Carnegie Zankel Hall. Summer engagements have included solo recitals in Italy and Poland, concerts with North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and stage directing engagements at the European Music Academy in the Czech Republic. Krzysztof Biernacki holds degrees from the University of Manitoba (B. Mus.), University of Western Ontario (M. Mus.), and University of British Columbia (D.M.A). He is the head of Applied Voice and Director of UNF Opera Ensemble at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville native Denise Wright received her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Samford University (Birmingham, Alabama), and her Master of Music in Piano Performance from Indiana University (Blommington). As a young artist, Ms. Wright was active in a myriad of events sponsored by the Jacksonville Music Teachers Association. While at Samford, she served as a pianist for the Baptist Festival Singers European Tour. She was a Professor of Piano at Bethel College (Mishawaka, Indiana), and was a collaborative pianist at both Indiana University and at St. Mary’s College (Notre Dame, Indiana). Returning to Jacksonville in 1991, Ms. Wright assumed the position of pianist at First Baptist Church. Highly sought after as accompanist, she joined the staff of the University of North Florida where she works with several voice studios, as well as with the UNF Opera Ensemble. She also serves as accompanist at Douglas Anderson Shcool of the Arts, Jacksonville University, and for RC Arts Management. Ms. Wright balances her many artistic endeavors with raising her five children: Sarah, Victoria, Joshua, Anna, and Daniel.


In addition to numerous symphonies, chamber works, masses, and solo piano music, the Austrian composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828) composed over 600 songs in his short life, and he has remained unsurpassed in the ability to marry poetry with music. Even Beethoven, who apparently never met the younger composer, touted Schubert's genius when he was given some of Schubert's songs (including Die schöne Müllerin) shortly before his death. Although Schubert was virtually unknown to the general public, his music was regularly performed in private concerts for Vienna’s musical elite, and by 1825 he was in negotiations with four different publishers. But the bulk of Schubert's masterworks remained unpublished at the time of his death, so he generally had had to depend on his devoted circle of friends to help maintain his finances. After Schubert died, probably from medicinal mercury poisoning, his wish to be buried next to Beethoven, who had died just the previous year, was honored.

    Die schöne Müllerin
  1. Das Wandern ("To Wander")
  2. Wohin? ("To Whence?")
  3. Halt! ("Stop!")
  4. Danksagung an den Bach" ("Thanksgiving to the Brook")
  5. Am Feierabend ("At Quitting Time")
  6. Der Neugierige ("The Inquisitor")
  7. Ungeduld ("Impatience")
  8. Morgengruß ("Morning Greeting")
  9. Des Müllers Blumen ("The Miller's Flowers")
  10. Tränenregen ("Rainstorm of Tears")
  11. Mein! ("Mine!")
  12. Pause ("Intracte")
  13. Mit dem grünen Lautenbande ("With the Green Lute-ribbon")
  14. Der Jäger ("The Hunter")
  15. Eifersucht und Stolz ("Jealousy and Pride")
  16. Die liebe Farbe ("The Favorite Color")
  17. Die böse Farbe (The Wicked Color")
  18. Trockne Blumen ("Drying Flowers")
  19. Der Müller und der Bach ("The Miller and the Brook")
  20. Des Baches Wiegenlied ("The Brook's Lullaby")

Although Beethoven's lovely An die ferne Geliebte (To the Distant Beloved, 1816) is generally cited as being the first "song cycle," Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin (The Miller's Lovely Daughter, 1823-24) is the first song cycle of its own type. Beethoven's cycle is one continuous movement with several contrasting sections, along the lines of a sung fantasia, in which music from the beginning returns at the end so as to form a kind of musical circle. In contrast, Schubert composed a set of related songs intended to be performed as a group in a specified order, but each of the 20 songs is nonetheless self-contained, and so may also stand alone as a separate piece. Thus, Schubert's concept of the song cycle is more in keeping with a Baroque-era solo cantata, with piano accompaniment. And it is Schubert's model more than Beethoven's which has provided inspiration for song cycles by later composers, from Schumann and Mahler to Britten and Barber, and beyond


In truth, Schubert's groundbreaking work, first published in 1824, was really the concept of German poet Wilhelm Müller (1794-1827). In 1820, when Müller published his cycle of 25 poems about a young miller’s apprentice who finds but then loses love, he intended them as song lyrics, and later wrote a friend that he hoped "... a kindred spirit may some day be found, whose ear will catch the melodies from my words, and who will give me back my own" (Schubert Songs, by Maurice J.E. Brown). Although Schubert chose a number of Müller's poems as texts for other songs as well, including those of another great cycle, Winterreise (Winter Journey, 1828), there is no evidence that Müller ever knew that his "kindred spirit" indeed had been found, and that Schubert used his words to create unsurpassed musical masterpieces.

Die schöne Müllerin

Promenade! Art Walk Concert, 03/6/2013 @ 7pm


Douglas Anderson School of the Arts Music Students

Vera Watson, coordinator

  • BEETHOVEN: Sonata No. 13 in E-flat Major "Quasi una fantasia," Op. 27, No. 1.
    -- I. Andante--Allegro--Andante
         Joshua Rentrope, piano
  • HAYDN: Sonata in G Major, Hob. XVI: 40.
    -- I. Allegro innocente
         Stephanie Bird, piano
  • CLEMENTI: Sonatina in C Major, Op. 36, No. 3.
    -- I. Spiritoso
         Kierstyn Granzow, piano
  • KABALEVSKY: A Short Story (30 Pieces for Children, Op. 27, No. 20)
         Matthew Cunningham, piano
  • BROWN: Soliloquy
         Noah Higgins, piano
  • SCHUMANN: Of Foreign Lands and Peoples (Kinderszenen, Op. 15, No. 1)
         Emily Taylor, piano
  • CLEMENTI: Sonatina in G Major, Op. 36, No. 2.
    -- I. Allegretto
         Phillip Hess, piano
  • CHOPIN: Prelude in B minor, Op. 28, No. 6 "Tolling Bells"
         Remy Van Nostrand, piano
  • ROLLIN: Moonlight Nocturne
         Asia Strong, piano
  • DEBUSSY: En bateau ("Onboard boat," Petite suite, No. 1)
         Alyssa Jang & Miranda Caprio, piano 4-hands
  • MOZART: Sonata No. 12 in F Major, K. 332/300k.
    -- III. Allegro assai
         Viann Yu
  • DEBUSSY: Ballet (Petite suite, No. 4)
         Chloe Reynolds & Morgan Stark, piano 4-hands
  • BEETHOVEN: Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor "Moonlight," Op. 27, No. 2.
    -- III. Presto
         Ryan Feeney, piano
  • CHOPIN: Nocturne No. 20 in C-sharp minor, Op. posth.
         Sen Valeski, piano
  • CHOPIN: Polonaise in A Major, Op. 40, No. 1 "Military"
         Caleb Webber, piano
  • MAHLER: Piano Quartet in A minor (in one movement)
         Kara Swanson, violin; Benjamin Campbell, viola; Tara Reifnider, cello; Dylan Hewlett, piano
Recordings of most of these pieces may be heard on our event web page at InstantEncore 
Douglas Anderson School of the Arts is a Duval County Public School for students grades 9 through 12 with a desire for intensive study in the arts. Established as an arts school in 1985, the school attracts students from all parts of North Florida and South Georgia who have talent in dance, instrumental or vocal music, performance or technical theater, film and video production, creative writing, and visual arts. A high academic standard, coupled with broad arts curriculum, offers students an opportunity to excel in a chosen discipline while preparing them for post-secondary education.
DASOTA Piano Program In 2000 DA’s Piano program was recognized as the best music program in Northeast Florida and was awarded the Jacksonville Symphony Association’s Harmony Grant. The Piano Department offers serious young pianists a unique opportunity to be in an intensive and varied program and to work with internationally acclaimed guest artists.
Pianist Vera WatsonVera Watson has been Chair of the Piano Department at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts since 1999. She received her Bachelor's degree and Master of Music with honors from the Russian Academy in Moscow, toured Russia as a recitalist, taught piano and conducting as a graduate assistant, and has published several works on science. Ms. Watson has served as the scholarship chairperson of the Jacksonville Music Teachers Association, as assistant to the president of the Jacksonville District of Federated Music Clubs of America, and has been an adjudicator for various piano competitions. During summer months she teaches at the North Florida Piano Camp held at UNF, and, as a member of the American Guild of Organists, serves as guest conductor at Palms Presbyterian Church. She has National Certification in Piano from the Music Teachers National Association, and is included in Who's Who in American Women and Who's Who in American Teachers.

PROGRAM NOTES, by Ed Lein, Music Librarian 

The transcendent German-born composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) began his compositional career essentially imitating the styles and forms he inherited from  Haydn, Clementi and Mozart, but during his "middle" period (ca. 1803-1815) Beethoven expanded and personalized this inheritance, creating works that have come to represent the culmination of the Classical style in much the same way that the works of J.S. Bach (1685-1750) represent the culmination of the Baroque. During Beethoven's "late" period (ca. 1815-1827), he discovered new paths toward still more personal, even intimate, musical expression, and, despite the gradual and eventually total degeneration of his hearing, he forged the way beyond the Classical tradition into the Romantic.
Beethoven composed both Sonata No. 13, Op. 27, No. 1, and Sonata No. 14, Op. 27, No.2, in 1801, about the same time he began to lose his hearing, and he gave them both the same subtitle: Sonata quasi una fantasia ("Sonata in the manner of a fantasy"). This title is especially apt for Sonata No. 13, since its four, highly contrasted movements do not follow the "typical" ordering of Classic-period sonatas, and they are played without a break. Rather than being cast in an "expected" sonata-allegro form, the first-movement Andante-Allegro-Andante shapes up as an ABA song form. 

Genial Austrian composer (Franz) Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) is the musician most credited with establishing the “Classical” style that his two younger contemporaries Mozart and Beethoven built upon, and by the time of his death "Papa" Haydn had become the most widely celebrated composer in Europe. Known as both “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet,” Haydn started out as a choirboy and never developed into a keyboard virtuoso, so his 52-62 keyboard sonatas (depending on who's counting) were mostly composed in the early part of his career for the instruction and amusement of his noble patrons.  Composed in 1784, Haydn's Sonata in G Major, H.XVI:40, is dedicated to Princess Marie Esterházy (1768-1845), and the Allegretto e innocente is first of the sonata's two movements.


At the end of the 18th Century, only Haydn was held in higher regard as a composer than was Muzio Clementi (1752-1832).  Clementi was born in Italy, but when he was a teenager he moved to England where he continued his musical education while working as a musician on the estate of the Lord Mayor of London. At age 21 Clementi began touring as one of the most-celebrated concert pianists in Europe, and he also became successful as a music publisher and piano manufacturer. Beethoven credited Clementi with providing the foundation upon which he built his own piano technique, and also touted Clementi as the best composer for the still-developing keyboard instrument.  Written in 1797, Clementi's six Sonatinas, Op. 36, are nicknamed "Progressive Sonatinas," indicating that the playing becomes more challenging as the pianist moves through the cycle.


Dmitri Kabalevsky (1904-1987) was a leading composer and music educator of Soviet Russia.  He was one of the few Soviet composers who developed a following in the West, due in part to champions such as conductor Arturo Toscanini and pianist Vladimir Horowitz. Although Kabalevsky's concert music is sometimes dismissed by music critics for lacking many of the modernist mannerisms typical of composers of his generation, his accessible and often very energetic style has been a great favorite with audiences. Kabalevsky was especially dedicated to working with children and composing music for them, and he was elected the head of the U.S.S.R.'s Commission of Musical Esthetic Education of Children in 1962.  The collection entitled Thirty Pieces for Children, Op. 27, composed in 1937 and 1938, has achieved "classic" status among works specifically written for the training of young musicians. Short Story (also known as "Fairy Tale") is among the most popular pieces from the set.

American composer Timothy Brown is a fine arts specialist for the Public Schools in Dallas, Texas, where he also serves on the advisory board of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.  He has published over a hundred compositions, and his works, which are performed throughout North America and Europe, have been featured at the Spoleto Music Festival and in the Library of Congress Concert Series in Washington D.C., as well as on National Public Radio.  He has had numerous commissions, including from the Hattiesburg Composer Festival, and from the Dallas Ballet Foundation to write an orchestral score for The Happy Prince, a ballet based on Oscar Wilde's short story.  His elegiac Soliloquy in F# minor ((2009) was written “in memory of Anna Kronbauz.”


The hopes of the great German Romantic composer Robert Schumann (1810-1856) to become a concert pianist were dashed in his early twenties when he permanently damaged his hand, so he redirected his energies to both composing and music criticism. From childhood he was torn between literature and music, but he managed to combine these two loves even in some of his purely instrumental music by using poetry and dramatic narrative to color and direct the musical discourse.
Composed in 1838, the 13 pieces that comprise Schumann's Kinderszenen ("Childhood Scenes") are not really intended  specifically for children, as one might suppose at first glance. Rather, they are nostalgic remembrances of youth filtered through the experience of adulthood. Nothing demonstrates this better than the first piece, Von fremden Länder und Menschen ("Of Foreign Lands and Peoples"). The simple, wistful tune perhaps suggests that the imagined distance is not of place, but of time--a happy remembrance of a carefree existence foreign to the often troubled circumstances adults face, such as the embittered court battle with his former teacher, and future father-in-law, that Schumann was then waging, fighting for the right to marry his beloved Clara Wieck (1819-1896).


The Polish-born pianist Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) was the first composer to make full use of the expressive qualities and coloristic potential of the piano when it was a still-developing keyboard instrument, and he rightly has been called the "Poet of the Piano." Much of all piano music by subsequent composers shows his influence, and his revolutionary use of chromatic harmonies and unusual key relationships profoundly influenced composers of symphonic music and operas as well, such as Franz Liszt (1811-1886) and Richard Wagner (1813-1883)--thus Chopin's importance in the development of the "Romantic" style in general can not be overestimated.
It comes as no surprise that Chopin held the keyboard works of J.S. Bach in very high regard, and Chopin's 24 Preludes, Op. 28, perhaps best can be viewed as a tribute to the Baroque master.  In each his two books called the Well-tempered Clavier, Bach uses a prelude-fugue pairing to explore all 24 major and minor keys. Chopin dispenses with the fugue, but his Preludes likewise traverse all 24 keys, although he organizes them by the "Circle of 5ths" rather than by ascending half-steps as Bach had done. The melancholy Prelude No. 6 was performed at Chopin's funeral, and is often nicknamed "Tolling Bells," but it also is sometimes called "Homesickness." 


American composer and pianist Catherine Rollin is an active teacher and clinician, and has given workshops and masterclasses in Japan, Canada, and throughout the United States. She has published over 200 pedagogic compositions for the piano, including works commissioned by Music Teachers National Association and Clavier magazine.  Her Romantically-inspired Moonlight Nocturne in C minor was published in 2007.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was a quintessentially French composer, pianist and music critic whose own revolutionary music ushered in many of the stylistic changes of the 20th Century. Debussy is universally identified as the chief proponent of musical Impressionism, but he did not approve of that label and the associations he felt it harbored. But since his death the term as applied to music has been redefined almost exclusively around the characteristics of some of Debussy's most famous pieces, such as Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and La mer ("The Sea"), so whatever negative connotations "Impressionism" once may have had have since evaporated.
Debussy's Petite suite ("Little Suite") for piano 4-hands, was composed in 1889, and most likely was intended originally for performances in private salons rather than the concert hall. The first of the four movements, En Bateau ("Onboard Boat"), was inspired by a poem of the same title by Paul Verlaine (1844-1896), whereas the final movement, Ballet, is a jaunty dance. 

Austrian-born Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), unquestionably one of the greatest composers in history, began his career as a 6-year-old piano prodigy, and he absorbed and mastered all the contemporary musical trends he was exposed to along the way. The Sonata in F Major, K. 332, is the third of three sonatas (along with K. 330 and K. 331) that were published in 1784. It seems likely that Mozart had composed them for his students the previous year, but he and his publisher decided they could "cash in" on Mozart's growing fame as a pianist by offering them for sale to the public at large.

Beethoven's famous Moonlight Sonata did not receive it's nickname until after the composer's death, when a music critic reflected that the first movement conjured an image of moonbeams shimmering on the surface of a lake. By contrast, the stormy Presto finale is so vigorous that when Beethoven played it himself he reportedly snapped some of the piano strings.

The last three of Chopin's 21 Nocturnes were published posthumously, but the piece now known as Nocturne No. 20 was not actually named that by the composer. Written for his sister Ludwika in 1830 as a study to prepare for playing his 2nd Piano Concerto, it was first published in 1856 under its tempo indication, Lento con gran espressione ("Very slowly with much emotion"). But an 1870 editon called it "Nocturne" and the title stuck, although it sometimes also is called "Reminiscence." This Nocturne was featured in the World War II bio-pic, The Pianist (2002), and it played a major part in another real-life drama from the same dark period.  In 1943, the commandant of a Nazi concentration camp discovered that Polish pianist Natalia Weissman (1911-2007) was among his prisoners, and he ordered her to play for his birthday. She chose the Nocturne in C-Sharp Minor, and so impressed her captors that they spared not only her life, but also the life of her sister. After the war she resumed her concert career, performing into her 90s as Natalia Karp, and she was known especially for her interpretation of the piece that had saved her life.
Among the five Polish national dances, the polonaise (stately 3/4 time) and mazurka (lively 3/4 time) are the best known, thanks to Chopin having written so many of them both. Chopin's earliest known compositions were two polonaises written when he was seven years old, probably before he could even reach the pedals, and his last work in the genre, the Polonaise-Fantaisie, was written three years before he died. Among Chopin's 18 (or so) polonaises, the "Military" Polonaise, Op. 40, no. 1 (1838), and the "Heroic" Polonaise, Op. 53 (1842), are the most-recognizable by the general public.

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was born in Bohemia (now Czechoslovakia), and he achieved his greatest successes in Vienna. But it was more for his conducting rather than composing that he gained international fame, and during the last years of his life he accepted principal conducting appointments at New York’s Metropolitan Opera and to the New York Philharmonic. When Mahler died from a blood infection at age 50, he still had not received full acceptance from the Viennese musical establishment as a composer. Now, however, he is regarded as the last great Viennese symphonist, joining the ranks of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Bruckner and Brahms.
In his maturity as a composer Mahler produced only symphonies and orchestral songs, and his only existing chamber work is the early Piano Quartet in A minor, the manuscript of which was rediscovered in the eary 1960s by Mahler's widow, Alma (1879-1964). Its single movement was first performed in 1876 while Mahler was a student at the Vienna Conservatory, and the young composer toyed with the idea of expanding it into a multi-movement work, but abandoned the idea after sketching only two dozen measures of a scherzo movement.

CANCELED

UNDER CONSTRUCTION - Please check Back!

Jacksonville University Choral Ensembles
Dr. Timothy Snyder, director


Choral Music at Jacksonville University
Under the direction of Timothy Snyder since 2010, the Jacksonville University Choirs contribute to the cultural life of northeastern Florida by bringing high quality and artistically polished performances of the choral repertoire to campus, the community and the region. The JU Choirs have performed for the American Choral Directors Association, Beaches Fine Arts Series, Chamber Music Society of Good Shepherd, and the Florida Music Educators Association. Notable appearances include concerts in New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, England’s Canterbury Cathedral and numerous collaborations with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

University Singers
A mixed ensemble of approximately 32 experienced singers selected by annual audition, the University Singers performs a varied and challenging repertoire ranging from Renaissance polyphony, Baroque chamber music and Classical masterworks to new music by living composers. The University Singers maintain an active performance schedule, appearing frequently on campus, in the community and on tour.


Timothy Snyder is Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at Jacksonville University where he directs the University Singers, Men's and Women's Choirs, and teaches courses in choral arranging, literature, choral methods and music history. Dr. Snyder comes to JU from Colorado where he was Artistic Director of the Boulder Chorale from 2001-2010. Under his leadership, the Chorale grew from a single community chorus to become one of the leading choral arts umbrella organizations in the region, serving 200 singers in multiple graded ensembles for children and adults. He led the Chorale to acclaimed performances of Beethoven, Fauré, Mozart, Bach, Handel and Orff with the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra--collaborations hailed as a “series of artistic triumphs”. Distinguishing himself as a chorusmaster, he has prepared choirs for the Yale Symphony and Philharmonia, Jacksonville Symphony, Colorado MahlerFest, Colorado Music Festival, and for notable conductors including Marin Alsop, Michael Butterman, Michael Christie, Shinik Hahm, Fabio Mechetti, Steven Reineke, Lawrence Leighton Smith and Robert Olson. He was honored with a 2008 Boulder County Pacesetter Award “in recognition of significant contributions to the arts and entertainment in the community.”

Dr. Snyder taught high school in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and served on the music faculties of Connecticut College and the Yale School of Music. A strong advocate for music education in our public schools, he established the Yale Glee Club/New Haven High School Choral Festival, an annual event now in its ninth year, and established a similar project at Jacksonville University in 2012. Choruses under his direction have toured to most major cities of the United States, and to Norway, France, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Greece, Poland, Italy, and the People's Republic of China. Active as a composer, his choral works are widely performed and recorded, have earned recognition in competitions sponsored by the American Choral Directors Association, the Composer's Guild and Ithaca College, and are published by Hinshaw Music, Shawnee Press, Lawson-Gould and Santa Barbara Music.

Dr. Snyder is active as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator of choruses, and has directed church music programs in Connecticut and Colorado. His research on choral literature and performance practice has been presented to national and regional gatherings of the American Choral Directors Association, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, Boulder Bach Festival and published in the Choral Journal.

He holds degrees in choral literature and performance, conducting and music education from the University of Colorado (D.M.A.), Yale University School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music (M.M.), and Colorado State University (M.M.; B.M.Ed.).


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University of North Florida Clarinet Students
from the Studio of Dr. Guy Yehuda



University of North Florida is home to one of the most recognized performance-based music programs in the country. With an emphasis on American Music and comprised of dedicated faculty members who are recognized artist/practitioners in their fields, UNF’s Department of Music offers a stimulating, yet personal atmosphere in which students can study and grow. The UNF Department of Music is a limited access and exclusively undergraduate program offering Bachelor of Music (B.M.) degrees in Performance with concentrations in Voice, Piano, Piano Pedagogy, Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, and Strings as well as a B.M. in Jazz Studies. UNF also offers a Bachelor of Music Education degree. Since its beginnings in 1972, the Department of Music’s limited access status has allowed for a more personal rapport between teacher and student while upholding the highest standards of musical excellence. The countless awards and endorsements that the Department has received and continues to receive is testament to the caliber of the UNF Department of Music as one of the very best anywhere. UNF's Department of Music is a fully accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). UNF was again voted by Princeton Review as one of the Top 50 Best Value Public Colleges for 2011

Clarinetist Guy Yehuda is recognized as an outstanding talent on the international concert stage around the world today. Dr. Yehuda has given master classes throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Israel. He is a Selmer-Paris artist and an active clinician in the U.S. and abroad and has been frequently invited to judge on national and international competitions, as well as frequent soloist at the ICA ClarinetFest conferences in the U.S. and abroad and the Oklahoma clarinet symposium. Dr. Yehuda is the artistic director of the Florida Clarinet Extravaganza - an annual clarinet festival - and over the summer months he is the Artist–Teacher resident at the acclaimed Orford festival in Quebec, Canada. Currently he serves on the faculty at the University of North Florida as Professor of Clarinet and Chamber Music. As an accomplished conductor, he served as Conductor-in-Residence of the Royal Conservatory Orchestra in Toronto, working with maestros George Cleve, Leon Fleischer, and Gary Kulesha. During his studies at Indiana University, Dr. Yehuda worked with conductors David Effron and Imre Palo and is also a published composer and winner of the prestigious Israeli Sharet composition award, having worked individually with Pierre Boulez, P.Q. Phan, Alexander Rappoport, Yinaam Leef, and Haim Permont.

The top prizewinner of several international Clarinet Competitions, Dr. Yehuda has performed with the Israel Philharmonic, Lucerne Contemporary Festival Orchestra, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, among others, as well as been a guest clarinetist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

Dr. Yehuda performed on tours of Europe and the U.S. under the batons of top conductors including Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, Kent Nagano, Yuri Temirkanov, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Sir Andrew Davis, Cliff Colnot, and Daniel Barenboim. He has performed as soloist and chamber musician at the Spoleto Festival (USA), Verbier Festival, and Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Parry Sound Festival, Domain Forget Festival, Fountain Arts concert series, and at the Israeli Chamber Music Festival at Kfar Blum.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Promenade! Art Walk Concert, 06/05/2013 @ 7pm



Tony Steve, percussion
Bob Moore, piano
Joe Yorio, Bass Clarinet







Born To Be Wild (1967) / Mars Bonfire (b.1943) ; arranged by David Lang (b.1957)
Choro 1. (2002) / Augusto Marcellino (1910-1973) ; arranged by Gordon Stout (b.1952)
Low Viscosity (2010) / Bob Moore (b.1962)
In A Mist (1927) / Bix Beiderbecke (1903-1931) ; arranged by Red Norvo (1908-1999)
Dance of the Octopus (1935) / Red Norvo (1908-1999)
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle in CONEY ISLAND (1917)
      Silent Film – Directed by Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle
      Score arranged by Tony Steve (b.1959) and Bob Moore (b.1962)


Percussionist and composer Tony Steve is an Assistant Professor of Contemporary Music and Percussion at Jacksonville University. He has performed with the Jacksonville Symphony, Israeli Festival Orchestra, Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra, Hartford Symphony, North Eastern Pennsylvania Symphony, Greenwich Symphony, and Bridgeport Symphony.  He toured with A Chorus Line in Europe, appeared as marimba soloist with the Brooklyn Percussion Ensemble in Korea, and performed as percussionist at Madison Square Garden for A Christmas Carol, and also has worked with Henry Mancini, Lou Rawls, Sheri Lewis and The Xavier Cugat Orchestra. Tony's works are published by Media Press, Keyboard Publications and Percussion Arrangers, and he has won numerous ASCAP writers awards for his compositions, which are performed in America as well as in Europe and Asia. His degrees include a Bachelor of Music from Jacksonville University and a Master of Music from Ithaca College, and he is completing a doctorate at Florida State University.


Multifaceted composer and pianist Bob Moore is the Music Director for the Episcopal Church of Our Savior, and was Director of Music Ministry at the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine, where he co-founded the St. Augustine Music Festival. He has published nearly 200 choral and instrumental works, many of which have been recorded on 6 CDs and appear in various denominations’ hymnals. He was a resident composer in the Faith Partners Program, a finalist in the Jacksonville Symphony’s Fresh Ink competition, and has been the recipient of numerous commissions. In addition to his private students, Mr. Moore has taught band and chorus in public and private schools, and has directed community choral groups as well.

Joe Yorio grew up in Rochester, New York studying saxophone, flute, and clarinet at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Florida, and has since made a name for himself playing in the horn sections of Aretha Franklin and The Temptations, as well as touring with several Broadway shows and backing up entertainers Robert Goulet, Bob Newhart, and Regis Philbin. Along with Tony Steve and Bob Moore, Joe performs sacred jazz and world music as a member of the trio De Profundis, and he also performs with the quintet Freudian Slip. Mr. Yorio is an adjunct professor of saxophone at Jacksonville University.

PROGRAM NOTES by Edward Lein, Music Librarian

The classic rock anthem Born To Be Wild is by Canadian songwriter Mars Bonfire (b. 1942 as Dennis McCrohan, aka Dennis Edmonton), and it was first recorded in 1967 by Steppenwolf, the band in which Bonfire’s brother was the drummer. The song is used under the opening credits of the 1969 film Easy Rider, and since then it has appeared in numerous other film and television productions, and has been covered by wildly diverse musicians, including in a duet between Ozzie Osbourne and Miss Piggy. Among its most ironic incarnations is the post-minimalist creation by American composer David Lang (b. 1957). who won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for The Little Match Girl Passion. Lang definitely has the “motor running,” but one might venture that his version is about as far-removed from the Easy Rider “rebel biker” persona as you can get.

The music of the Argentine guitarist Augusto Marcellino (1911-1973) was first introduced to American composer Gordon Stout (b. 1952) by Pablo Cohen, a guitar teacher on the faculty of Ithaca College, where Stout has taught percussion since 1980. Marcellino’s guitar choros are written in a style derived from Brazilian folk music, and Cohen suspected that they would be well suited to the marimba. Stout discovered that indeed they were, and, in addition to Choro 1, he published marimba arrangements of several other pieces by Marcellino, and also took them as models for some of his original compositions.

Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, Jacksonville composer Bob Moore (b. 1962) studied composition with Richard Proulx, William Schirmer, Gordon Goodwin and Bud Udell at the University of South Carolina, Jacksonville University, and the University of Florida. He is the St. Augustine Orchestra’s composer-in-residence, and the SAO recently premiered the orchestral version of his Low Viscosity, with the composer conducting and Tony Steve (b. 1959) as the marimba soloist. As a piano and percussion duo, Bob and Tony frequently perform jazz and experimental music together, and they are noted for their collaborations providing live music for silent films.


Even as a young child, Bix Beiderbecke (1903-1931) could play almost any piece he heard by ear, and at seven he was hailed as a miniature musical genius by the Davenport Daily Democrat, the newspaper in his Iowa hometown. Largely self-taught on piano and cornet, Beiderbecke was one of the most original and influential jazz musicians of the 1920s, despite being largely unknown to the general public when he died at age 28. First conceived as a piano solo, In a Mist is Beiderbecke's most famous composition, and its fluid and "misty" harmonic language demonstrates an affinity with the musical Impressionism of Debussy and Ravel.

Red Norvo (1908-1999) began playing marimba professionally in 1925, making him a pioneer in the use of mallet instruments in jazz bands, and he continued performing and recording into the mid-1980s, when a stroke ended his career. Along the way, the Illinois native collaborated with many of the eras superstars, including Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Billie Holiday, Dinah Shore, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, and Frank Sinatra. He also scored several "number one" hits with his own band, and he and his wife, vocalist Mildred Bailey (1907-1951), became known as "Mr. & Mrs. Swing." In 1933, Norvo was joined by Benny Goodman on bass clarinet, and a couple of other friends on guitar and bass, for a recording session that included the previously-mentioned In a Mist, and Norvo's own Dance of the Octopus. As Beiderbecke's piece might be called impressionistic, Dance of the Octopus veers toward the surreal, and it's said that upon hearing the recordings the studio director ripped up Norvo's contract on the spot. But the recordings were released nonetheless, and continued to sell throughout the decade.

Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle (1887-1933) was one of Hollywood's greatest comedic filmmakers of the silent era, and he had an unheard-of, million-dollar-a-year contract at the height of his career. But in real life, in 1921 Arbuckle became a tragic Hollywood character, ostracized and demoralized after being falsely accused of raping and killing a "party-girl" acquaintance who died several days after attending a party that he also had attended. Despite courtroom testimony which clearly demonstrated that the woman had died from a ruptured bladder, and that there was neither any evidence nor death-bed accusation that she had ever been intimate with Arbuckle or had been raped by anyone, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst published sensational "accounts" that portrayed Arbuckle as a lecherous monster who forced himself on innocent young women, against the backdrop of a town where debauchery was the norm. But among those who actually knew him, the shy Roscoe was called "the most chaste man in pictures," and even though he was acquitted in 1922, this didn't stop moral crusaders from demanding his execution. One of the very few celebrities who never faltered in publicly showing support for Arbuckle was his protégé and Coney Island co-star, Buster Keaton (1895-1966). Even though Arbuckle and his movies had been so wildly popular, it was perhaps unfortunate that Arbuckle's character in Coney Island is a philandering husband, because this type of on-screen persona may have made it easier for the fickle public to buy into the trumped-up scandal that still casts a shadow over his reputation.

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Ruxandra Marquardt, violin
Christine Clark, piano

Join us for an afternoon of music for violin and piano, featuring Béla Bartók's Rhapsody No. 1 (1928).



Violinist Ruxandra Marquardt-Simionescu is the Principal Second with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, which she joined in 2002, but her hometown is Bucharest, Romania. At age six she entered the George Enescu School of Music, where she studied both violin and piano, but she began to concentrate on violin because "there were too many pianists around." She continued her musical education at the Bucharest Conservatory of Music and the Indiana University School of Music.

At age ten, Ms. Marquardt began performing solo recitals and chamber music throughout Eastern Europe under the guidance of her teacher, Stefan Gheorghiu. She since has won awards in an impressive array of competitions, including the Wieniawski International Competition (Poland), the Spring (Prague), the Tibor Varga Prize (Switzerland), the Yehudi Menuhin Competition (London), the Richard Wagner International Festival (Bayreuth), and two consecutive years of First Prizes at the All-Romania Competition. She has been a featured soloist with the Bucharest Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de La Suisse Romande, and the Syracuse Symphony, where she served as Associate Concertmaster prior to moving to Jacksonville with her husband, composer Paul Marquardt. In addition to the JSO, Ruxandra is a frequent performer with the San Marco Chamber Music Society, and she has participated in the Eastern Music Festival and the Grand Teton Music Festival.



A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Christine Armington Clark began piano studies with James Crosland, and continued her professional training at Oberlin Conservatory. She received a Master's degree in piano performance from the University of Illinois, and studied with Leon Fleisher in the Peabody Conservatory Artist Diploma Program upon the recommendation of legendary concert pianist Lorin Hollander. Ms. Clark was national finalist in the Collegiate Artist Competition sponsored by the Music Teachers National Association, and attended the Aspen Music Festival on a piano performance and accompanying scholarship. She competed in the Maryland International Piano Competition, and won the Boca Raton Piano Competition. A versatile musician, Ms. Clark played keyboard with Trap Door, a local rock group, and toured Europe under the aegis of Proclaim! International. She taught piano at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and her chamber music performances include an appearance at the Goethe Institute in San Francisco.

Well known along the First Coast, Ms. Clark has appeared with the Jacksonville Starlight Symphonette and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and appears frequently with many of the areas finest instrumentalists and vocalists. She also has served on the boards of several arts organizations, is a past President of Friday Musicale, and is on the faculty of Prelude Chamber Music camp. While working as a law clerk in Washington, D.C., Christine gave perhaps her most unusual recital, performing in the United States Supreme Court at the request of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.





Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Intermezzo SATURDAY Concert, 10/06/2012 @ 3pm



Michael Süssmann, violin
Signe Bakke, piano



Michael Süssmann is the Artistic Director of MusicaNord, a Norwegian concert society that produces about 130 concerts every year, and he performs as a solo artist throughout Europe, Asia and North America. He took up the violin at age 5, and made his concert debut at 7 as soloist with an orchestra in Bergen, Norway. In 1972, Süssmann attended the master class at the Royal Conservatoire de Musique in Brussels, where he studied with Andrè Gertler and Leon Ara. He was graduated with a first prize in 1976, and continued studies at the Zürich Musikhochschule with Ricardo Odnopossoff. Following a position with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, in 1980 Süssmann became concert master of Tromsø Symphony Orchestra, as well as the director of the string section at Tromsø Music School. Even though his solo career now allows him to freelance full time, Mr. Süssmann continues teaching at a music school in Os, Norway (near Bergen), and devotes a significant amount of his time providing talented young musicians with opportunities to perform in a professional environment. In addition to directing MusicaNord, Michael Süssmann is the founder and artistic director of the Bergen International Chamber Music Festival, and he is the chairman for the annual Ole Bull Prize. He recently released a recording of sonatas by Grieg and Thomas Tellefsen (1823-1874) on the ARENA label.
After winning Norway’s Youth Piano Competition at age 18, Signe Bakke studied at the Grieg Academy of the University of Bergen, where she now serves as associate professor. While pursuing graduate studies at Norges Musikkhøgskole (Norwegian Academy of Music) in Olso, she appeared as soloist with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Her concert tours since have included performances in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Great Britain, Germany, the United States, Georgia and Azerbaijan. She has been a featured performer at various music festivals, including the Oslo Contemporary Music Festival and the Bergen International Festival. Signe Bakke's repertoire ranges from the Baroque era into the 21st Century, and she is much in demand as a collaborative artist. She frequently gives recitals at Edvard Grieg’s home, Troldhaugen, in Bergen, Norway, and she has recorded a number of CDs, including several featuring the music of Grieg and other Norwegian composers.
PROGRAM NOTES, by Edward Lein, Music Librarian

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) is Norway's most famous composer, and he remains among the most popular of all the 19th-Century Romantics. A virtuoso pianist, Grieg is perhaps best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, op. 16 (1868), as well as for the incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (1876). But Grieg was also a master of more intimate forms, and his originality is especially evident in his songs, many of which were composed for his wife, Nina Hagerup Grieg (1845-1935), and in the Lyriske stykker ("Lyric Pieces," 1867-1901) for piano solo, which earned him the nickname "Chopin of the North."

Grieg's personal favorites among his works included his three sonatas for violin and piano. As expressed in a letter written in 1900, he said they helped map his journey as a composer:

Last week I had the pleasure of performing my three violin sonatas with Lady Neruda-Hallé before a very discerning Danish audience and receiving a very warm response. I can assure you that we did very well and it had special significance for me, because these three works are among my very best and represent different stages in my development: the first, naïve and rich in ideas; the second, nationalistic; and the third with a wider outlook.
The "nationalistic" Sonata No. 2 in G major, Op. 13 (1867), incorporates elements derived from Norwegian folk music, including rhythms of the leaping springdans used in the outer movements. The Sonata was written during the three weeks while Grieg was on his summer honeymoon, which perhaps explains its unbridled optimism. However, the work does have some relatively gloomy flashes as well, because, as Norwegian composer Johan Svendsen (1840-1911) observed when discussing this piece by his famous friend, "a Norway without tragedy is not a complete Norway."


Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was a quintessentially French composer, pianist and music critic whose own revolutionary music ushered in many of the stylistic changes of the 20th Century. Debussy is universally identified as the chief proponent of musical Impressionism, but he did not approve of that label and the associations he felt it harbored. But since his death, the term as applied to music has been redefined almost exclusively around the characteristics of some of Debussy's most famous pieces, so whatever negative connotations "Impressionism" once may have had have since evaporated.

In 1915 he began composing what he announced would be a series of six sonatas for various instrumental combinations, but he was only able to complete three of them before his death from cancer. The Violin Sonata, composed in 1917 after the disease had begun to take it’s toll, was Debussy’s last completed work. While the lush harmonies echo his previous compositions, the sparser textures and simpler formal structure anticipate aspects of the neoclassical trend that became increasingly popular in the years following Debussy’s death.


Norwegian composer Johan Svendsen (1840-1911) was the most celebrated Scandinavian conductor during his lifetime, and his stature as a composer has not diminished among his countrymen. In addition to Norway, Svendsen lived variously in Germany, Italy, France, and England, but he spent the bulk of his professional life in Denmark as the music director of the Royal Opera in Copenhagen from 1883 until 1908, when failing health forced him into retirement.

Svendsen's father was a professional musician who taught his son both clarinet and violin, and Johan's talent afforded him the opportunity to study violin at the Leipzig Conservatory. But Svendsen developed problems with his hand soon after moving to Germany, so he switched his focus to composition. His primary teacher became Carl Reinecke (1824-1910), and the crowning achievement of Svendsen's final year of studies came when he was awarded the Conservatory's first prize in composition, in 1867. Demonstrating his special talent for orchestration, Svendsen's two symphonies and four Norwegian Rhapsodies were performed to great acclaim, and for a time he was even better known throughout Europe than was his friend Grieg. Composed in 1881, Svendsen's most famous work is the Romance, Op. 26, for solo violin with either orchestra or piano accompaniment.


At a time when it was fashionable to write programmatic music that illustrated specific scenes, poems, or stories, the great German composer Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was recognized by his admirers as “Beethoven’s true heir” (Grove Concise Dictionary of Music) by demonstrating that established abstract formal procedures could be used to organize musical discourse without sacrificing the passion and deeply individualistic expression that defines 19th-Century Romantic music. Thus, Brahms joined Bach and Beethoven as one of the great “Three Bs” of classical music.

Contrasting with his lyrical first two violin sonatas, Brahms’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 3, Op. 108 (1886-88) has four movements rather than three and assumes an almost symphonic scale. The choice of D minor as the central key harkens back to the stormy world of Brahms’s youthful Piano Concerto no. 1, Op. 15 (1859), especially in the tarantella-like final movement, and the demanding piano part often resembles a concerto—there is no question that both instruments are meant to share the spotlight. As was very often the case with his works including the piano, Brahms played the piano part himself for the premiere, so it is evident that in addition to being one of our most enduring composers he was also a virtuoso performer.


GRIEG: Romance. This piece is the 2nd movement from Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 3, Op. 45, arranged for violin with cello ensemble by Ekkehard Hessenbruch. The arrangement begins with the violin entrance, at measure 45.

Performed by Michael Süssmann, violin, with the Engelberger Kammercellisten, at the 2010 Grieg in Bergen festival.


BULL: Ad Usum Amicorum, op. 20. From the concert in Gunnar Sævigsal (Bergen, Norway) on Sunday, April 29th, 2012, as part of a festival dedicated to the music of Hagerup Bull, hosted by the Grieg Academy.

Performed by Signe Bakke, piano; Sofya Dudaeva, flute; Ricardo Odriozola, violin; and Ivan Smilovski, cello.