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By Daniel Hautzinger

Robinson-KeithLearning and putting together Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time is a scramble against time. The piece features complicated rhythms (sometimes notated without time signatures), infinitely long phrases, and complicated layering of parts. György Ligeti’s Horn Trio and Schoenberg’s First Chamber Symphony are similarly difficult works. But students at Kent/Blossom Music Festival (KBMF) are assigned to learn them in two weeks for performance.

“Two weeks is just enough time,” said Keith Robinson, artistic coordinator of Kent/Blossom, professor of cello at Kent State and KBMF, and cellist in the Miami String Quartet, who gave a recital as part of the festival. “You want something that will challenge them for two whole weeks.” Read the rest of this entry »


by Daniel Hathaway

ART-Players-042714Arts Renaissance Tremont crowned its 23rd season at Pilgrim Church Auditorium on Sunday afternoon, April 27 with an excellent concert of music for winds and piano featuring Cleveland Orchestra members Mary Lynch, oboe, Robert Woolfrey, clarinet, Barrick Stees, bassoon and Richard King, horn, with Youngstown State University faculty member Cicilia Yudha, piano. A new Yamaha concert grand piano was the sixth performer.

Planning a full-length concert of wind music can be tricky. The ear can grow weary no matter how fine the playing (and wind players can get tired for their own reasons). Sunday’s group made some savvy decisions, mingling two trios with a solo piece and ending with probably the best work in the wind chamber music repertoire.

Robert Woolfrey led off with Oskar Morawetz’s Clarinet Sonata from 1981. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

hereOn Sunday, April 27 beginning at 3:00 pm in Pilgrim Congregational Church, Arts Renaissance Tremont presents a concert of chamber music for woodwinds and piano performed by Cleveland Orchestra members Mary Lynch, oboe, Robert Woolfrey, clarinet, Barrick Stees, bassoon and Richard King, horn, with Cicilia Yudha, piano.

The program includes Oskar Morawetz’s Clarinet Sonata (1981), Heinrich von Herzogenberg’s Trio in D for Oboe, Horn & Piano, op. 61, Poulenc’s Trio for Oboe, Bassoon & Piano (1926) and Mozart’s Quintet in E-flat for winds and piano, K. 452 (1784).

Cicilia Yudha, who is an Assistant Professor at the Dana School of Music Faculty at Youngstown State University and coordinator of the keyboard musicianship program, pointed out during a recent telephone conversation, “As a pianist, it is rare to play chamber music with woodwinds. There is a lot more repertoire in the piano trio and quartet area. But this music is such a joy to play and of course these players are all top notch. I’m just very happy to be doing it.”

Oboist Mary Lynch who along with Yudha spearheaded the program added, “I’m very excited about the whole program. I think it presents a good picture of the repertoire for winds and piano. And we’re all just very happy to be playing this music together and excited to bring it to people.” Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

Sinaisky-VassilyNow that classical music has become increasingly homogenized through globalization, there’s something deeply satisfying about experiencing works from a national tradition interpreted by conductors and soloists who grew up speaking the language. On Thursday evening, Russian conductor Vassily Sinaisky and Russian-born pianist Kirill Gerstein treated the Severance Hall audience to deeply-felt performances of music by Liadov, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. Led early on by Russian conductors, The Cleveland Orchestra has a near-native feel for this repertory and played it with expressive passion coupled with New World precision.

Conducting with his bare hands, Sinaisky, who is music director of Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, painted perfect little scenes for each of Anatoly Liadov’s Eight Russian Folk Songs to open the program. English horn and bassoon solos (Robert Walters and Barrick Stees) set a solemn mood for the “Religious Chant,” an affect that first assistant principal cellist Richard Weiss recaptured later in the “Plaintive Song.” “Dance of the Gnat” created a buzz both in the strings and an amused audience. Mary Kay Fink’s piccolo soared out over pizzicato strings in the “Round Dance,” and a vivacious orchestral tutti brought the set of tiny pieces to a celebratory ending in the “Village Dance Song.” Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

Cleveland composer Margi Griebling-Haigh has written a new piece on commission from Cleveland Orchestra assistant principal bassoonist Barrick Stees. Sortilège will have its premiere on Mr. Stees concert, “Instrument of Enchantment: the Supernatural Bassoon” in Tucker Hall of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights on Friday, May 6 at 7:30 pm.

Ms. Griebling-Haigh comes from a family which boasts three generations of composers, including her father, her mother, her sister and her daughter.

A native of Akron, she began music study with her parents and before graduating from high school, had already won awards for her compositions from BMI and the National Federation of Music Clubs. An oboist, she took her Bachelor’s degree from Eastman, studying with Robert Sprenkle, and Master’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory, studying with Marc Lifschey.

In addition to the commission from Barrick Stees, she has been asked to compose for other Cleveland Orchestra soloists, including principal hornist Richard King and the late principal oboist, John Mack. Other commissions have come from organist Karel Paukert, the Schenectady Symphony, the Greater Akron Music Association and the Cleveland area chamber ensemble Panorámicos.

Her daughter Gabrielle (Gabby) is following in the tradition. Currently training to be a classicist at Clare College, Cambridge, where she sings soprano in the Chapel Choir, her Symphony No. 1 was premiered recently by the Monterey Symphony Orchestra.

We spoke with Margi Griebling-Haigh by telephone to talk about her career as a composer, her remarkable family and about the new work she has written for Barrick Stees.

Read the rest of this entry »

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