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by Daniel Hathaway

Setzer-PhilipWe took advantage of a last-minute opportunity to chat on the phone with violinist Philip Setzer of the Han-Setzer-Finckel Trio on the morning before the ensemble’s performance on the Cleveland Chamber Music Society series on Tuesday, September 23 at 7:30 pm at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights.

Setzer, a Cleveland native (both of whose parents played in The Cleveland Orchestra, and who also is a founding member of the Emerson String Quartet), had just emerged from serving for seventeen days on the jury of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis (won by long-time Cleveland Institute of Music student Jinjoo Cho) and had spent Monday evening coaching members of Sharon Robinson’s Intensive Piano Trio Program at the Institute.

Daniel Hathaway: Women seem to have been the big winners in the recent Indianapolis Competition.

Philip Setzer: You know, that’s just the way it worked out this year — there were five Korean women and one American woman. It’s all done on a point system. We don’t discuss things among the jury. The level was generally high, but there were a lot of young, gifted Korean women. It’s extraordinary what’s coming out of the teaching program there. Read the rest of this entry »


by Daniel Hathaway

WuHan-Setzer-FinckelThe famous piano trio with no name of its own, consisting of pianist Wu Han, violinist Philip Setzer and cellist David Finckel, will launch the sixty-fifth season of the Cleveland Chamber Music Society at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights on Tuesday, September 23 at 7:30. The program will include Beethoven’s Trio in G, op. 1, no. 2, Shostakovich’s Trio No. 2 in e, op. 67 & Mendelssohn’s Trio in c, op. 66. A 6:30 pm pre-concert lecture will feature WCLV’s Robert Conrad in a talk entitled “Not Your Father’s Radio Station.”

Interesting relationships connect the three performers. Wu Han and David Finckel are husband and wife as well as partners who run the Music from Menlo chamber music series in California and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. And until the end of the 2012-2013 season, Finckel and Philip Setzer had played together in the Emerson String Quartet since 1976. Finckel has since set out on his own to pursue other projects, among them, continuing to perform with the Lincoln Center group, which will bring him back to Cleveland for a concert on the CCMS Series on January 13. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

eighth-blackbirdWhen you mostly present ensembles as portable as string quartets, what do you do when an ensemble requires a whole lot of percussion? In the case of the Cleveland Chamber Music Society and eighth blackbird, you move the concert to where the percussion lives — to Cleveland State University’s Waetjen Auditorium, where the celebrated new music sextet performed their acoustic program, “Still in Motion,” on Tuesday evening, April 29.

As season finales go, this was a doozy. eighth blackbird is famous for performing the unplayable and making thorny pieces engaging for audiences. As they rightly claim on their website, the ensemble “combines the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band and the audacity of a storefront theater company.” Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway & Mike Telin

PARRY-RichardToday, we complete our preview of eighth blackbird’s repertory for the ensemble’s program next Tuesday, April 29 at 7:30 in Waetjen Auditorium at Cleveland State University. Spokesman and flutist Tim Munro shares his personal reflections about pieces eighth blackbird will perform composed by Richard Parry, Brett Dean, and Steven Mackey.

Richard Parry: Duo for Heart and Breath

Canadian performer, composer and producer Richard Parry (left) is a core member of the indie band Arcade Fire. Duo is one of a series of works that connect the rhythms of the human body to musical performance.

Tim Munro: “Parry did not write this for us, although it is a very recent piece. We discovered it in a YouTube clip. One of the difficulties of being on the road so much is that we have to hear all of this fantastic new music second or third hand.

“It is an unspeakably beautiful piece. It is literally a duo for heart and breath. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway & Mike Telin

MUNRO-Tim“Expect the unexpected,” eighth blackbird’s spokesman/flutist Tim Munro told our readers in the first of these previews, but he didn’t mean that patrons should go in uninformed. Today, Tim delves into the background of two of the pieces on the ensemble’s program next Tuesday, April 29 at 7:30 in Waetjen Auditorium at Cleveland State University.

The concert will begin with Bryce Dessner’s Murder Ballades, inspired by violent stories preserved in American folk music. The piece was written for and premiered by eighth blackbird in 2013 in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, where Dessner is a composer-in-residence at the Muziekgebouw.

Tim Munro: “We met Bryce six or seven years ago when he came to some of our concerts and we were quite taken with his music. He’s kind of a wildly famous rock star (he’s a member of the band The Nationals) as well as a classically trained musician (he has a master’s degree from Yale, where he studied classical guitar, flute and composition). He has an incredibly unique compositional voice that we were excited to take advantage of. And he was quite taken with this dark, dingy, strange world of the murder ballads. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

8bb-wallWhat does eighth blackbird flutist Tim Munro want audiences to know about their Cleveland Chamber Music Society program titled Still in Motion? “There are a lot of things that I love about this program, the surprising twists and turns that it takes. But I would say to expect the unexpected.”

On Tuesday, April 29 beginning at 7:30 in Waetjen Auditorium at Cleveland State University, eighth blackbird makes a return visit to the Chamber Music Society’s series with a concert that features Dessner’s Murder Ballade Suite, Johnson/Ligeti’s Counting Duets/Etudes, Parry’s Duet for Heart and Breath, Dean’s Sextet & Mackey’s Suite: Slide. A pre-concert lecture by Daniel Hathaway begins at 6:30.

Speaking by telephone from Philadelphia where the group serves as Ensemble in Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music, Munro said there is a duality implied in the concert’s title, Still in Motion. “Sometimes things can appear to be very still while requiring a lot of energy or requiring a lot of motion. It’s about the conjunction between those two things and the fight between those two things – the stillness and the motion. And no sooner are you lulled into a false sense of stillness and calmness, than the music takes you into another direction and moves you into motion. So the world of the concert is constantly shifting.The ground is constantly shifting under your feet.“ Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

Pavel-Haas-QuartetFor their second appearance on the Cleveland Chamber Music Society series at Plymouth Church on April 8, the Pavel Haas Quartet scheduled two riveting twentieth-century works, Leos Janáček’s Quartet No. 1 and Benjamin Britten’s Quartet No. 2, followed by Beethoven’s “middle period” Quartet in e, op. 59, no. 2.

Founded in 2002 in Prague, the Haas Quartet retains two of its founding members, first violinist Veronika Jarůšková and violist Pavel Nikl. In an amusing swap soon afterward, the Haas Quartet traded cellists with the Škampa Quartet, thus musically reuniting Jarůšková with her husband, Peter Jarůšek. Second violinist Marek Zwiebel joined the ensemble in 2012, becoming the fourth person to occupy that position.

Changes in personnel are worth mentioning if only to marvel at the unanimity of approach such a quartet as the Pavel Haas can maintain as players come and go. Among the ensemble’s distinguishing characteristics is a visceral intensity that can be hair-raising in aggressive music but sustains itself even in quieter passages, along with finely managed dynamics and smooth, even crescendos and diminuendos. Read the rest of this entry »

Isserlis-LevinAt the performance by the Pavel Haas Quartet on April 8, the Cleveland Chamber Music Society announced the seven concerts to be presented during its 65th season. All performances will begin on Tuesdays at 7:30 pm at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights.

September 23: Pianist Wu Han, violinist Philip Setzer & cellist David Finckel.

October 21: The Belcea Quartet

December 2: The Juilliard String Quartet

January 13: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Benjamin Beilman & Ani Kavafian, violins, Paul Neubauer & Yura Lee, violins & David Finckel, cello)

February 24: The Jerusalem Quartet

March 10: Cellist Steven Isserlis & fortepianist Robert Levin (above)

April 21: Tenor Ian Bostridge & pianist Wenwen Duh

by Mike Telin

Pavel-Haas-QuartetSince winning the Paolo Borciani competition in Italy in Spring 2005, the Pavel Haas Quartet has established itself as one of the great chamber ensembles of today. On Tuesday, April 8 beginning at 7:30 pm in Plymouth Church, the quartet returns to Cleveland for a performance for the Cleveland Chamber Music Society. The program includes Leos Janáček’s Quartet No. 1 “Kreutzer Sonata”, Benjamin Britten’s Quartet No. 2 in C, op. 36 & Beethoven’s Quartet in e, op. 59, no. 2. At 6:30 pm a pre-concert lecture will be given by Costa Petridis. You can read Daniel Hathaway’s discussion with Petridis here.

In addition to their Cleveland performance, the Pavel Haas Quartet’s current US tour includes stops in San Francisco, Tucson, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Toronto, Durham, Atlanta and Cincinnati. “Everything is going very nicely, but it is quite busy,” violist Pavel Nikl said by telephone from his hotel in South Bend. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

PETRIDIS-ConstantinePre-concert lectures are fixtures of many concert series, offering talks by well-known musicians or musical scholars to put audiences closer in touch with the music they’re about to hear.

The Cleveland Chamber Music Society takes a slightly broader approach to its roster of speakers, which this season includes, to be sure, two certified musicologists (CWRU’s David Rothenberg and Bard’s Peter Laki) but also a well-known program annotator (Richard Rodda), a Rabbi (Roger Klein of The Temple-Tifereth Israel), an audiophile and WCLV program host (Eric Kisch), the editor of an online journal (me) and, next Tuesday, the Curator of African Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art (Constantine Petridis).

“This is my very first talk on music ever,” Costa Petridis told us by phone from St. Louis, where he was attending a conference, “so I’m a little bit nervous, but very excited about it too.” Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

Takacs-Quartet-2A colleague at Monday evening’s first installment of the Tackács Quartet’s complete Bartók Quartet cycle looked up at the packed balconies of Plymouth Church and mused about why such a crowd would turn up for an all-Bartók concert but probably not for one dedicated to the music of Webern or Schoenberg.

Good question. Part of the answer undoubtably had to do with the performers. In choosing to invite the Takács Quartet to play all six quartets over two evenings (March 17 & 18), the Cleveland Chamber Music Society delivered a tightly-wrapped package for its patrons: a half-dozen of the finest string quartets written in the twentieth century played by an originally all-Hungarian ensemble who have these pieces in their bloodlines and have made a specialty of playing them complete in a short stretch of time. (Some years ago, the Takács did that in a single day at Reinberger Chamber Music Hall, a marathon some are still talking about.)

Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

McDonoughFor the fourth part of our preview of the Takács Quartet’s complete cycle of Bartók string quartets on the Cleveland Chamber Music Society series at Plymouth Church on March 17 and 18, we spoke with Jupiter Quartet cellist Daniel McDonough and Oberlin’s Associate Professor of Viola and Chamber Music Michael Strauss about performing and coaching the Bartók quartets, and come back full circle to musicologist Peter Laki for final reflections about the Takács Quartet. We spoke with all three by telephone.

Performing the Bartók Quartets. Cellist Daniel McDonough said, “The wonderful thing about the Bartók quartets is that they are so carefully constructed. Like Beethoven, there is so much attention to detail so the challenge is finding clarity in the texture and making sure the evolution of the musical motives are really clear to the audience without ever becoming too cerebral-sounding. We are always looking for an emotional way to bring clarity to the music. Again, like Beethoven, I think the combination of head and heart is wh Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

CavaniQuartetFor the third part of our preview of the Takács Quartet’s complete cycle of Bartók string quartets on the Cleveland Chamber Music Society series at Plymouth Church on March 17 and 18, we sought comments from a well-known violinist and a seasoned music critic, both of whom have — by playing and listening — developed an intimate relationship with Bartók’s quartets.

Annie Fullard is founding first violinist of the Cleveland’s Cavani Quartet (right in photo) and a committed chamber music coach at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Donald Rosenberg served as music critic of the Cleveland Plain Dealer from 1992-2013, and has recently been named editor of Early Music America Magazine. We spoke to them separately by telephone.

Annie Fullard has had hands-on experience with the Bartók Quartets. “I’ve played them a few times now and I love them,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin


If you’ve never really gotten into the music of Béla Bartók, the Takács Quartet’s two-evening cycle of his six string quartets on March 17 and 18 on the Cleveland Chamber Music Society series at Plymouth Church is an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in his musical language.

In Part One of this series of articles, we spoke with Peter Laki about Bartók’s creative use of elements derived from folk music in writing his quartets. Laki went on to note that “the third quartet, which is very abstract, is filled with these tiny motives that he never would have come up with had he not been steeped in folk music. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

LAKI-PeterFor the first of four articles leading up to the Takács Quartet’s performances of the complete Bartók string quartets on the Cleveland Chamber Music Society series on March 17 and 18 at Plymouth Church, we spoke by telephone with Bard Conservatory’s visiting associate professor, Peter Laki.

Laki began writing program notes for The Cleveland Orchestra in 1990. He has taught at Case Western Reserve University and has also held appointments at Oberlin, John Carroll and Kent. A native Hungarian, he received his diploma in musicology from the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, and is an authority on Hungarian music.

In addition to giving the 6:30 pm pre-concert lectures before each Takács Quartet performance, Laki will lecture about “Bartók and the Hungarian Musical Tradition” at the Hungarian Heritage Museum on Saturday, March 15 at 2 pm.

Mike Telin: You must be one of the world’s foremost authorities on Béla Bartók.

Peter Laki: I don’t know about that, but I am from Hungary and I did go to school at the Franz Liszt Academy where every day I walked past the classroom with the plaque that said “This is where Bela Bartók taught piano.” Read the rest of this entry »

TakacsQuartetFollowing the Takács Quartet’s April 2013 performance of Bartók’s six string quartets, Classical Voice North Carolina’s headline read, “Bartók String Quartets — Takács Quartet: Genius Meets Brilliance””. On Monday, March 17 and Tuesday, March 18 beginning at 7:30 pm at Plymouth Church, the Cleveland Chamber Music Society presents the Takács Quartet, Edward Dusinberre and Károly Schrantz, violins, Geraldine Walther, viola and András Fejér, cello in performances of the six quartets by Bartók.

Monday’s performance includes Quartets Nos. 1, 3, & 5 and on Tuesday, Quartets Nos. 2, 4 & 6. Beginning at 6:30 pm each evening a pre-concert lecture will be given by Cleveland Orchestra program annotator and Bard Conservatory of Music faculty member, Peter Laki. Laki will also give a lecture on “Bartók and the Hungarian Musical Tradition” at Cleveland’s Hungarian Heritage Museum on March 15 (see concert listings).

Beginning Thursday, March 12 and continuing through Sunday, March 16, ClevelandClassical will post daily features highlighting Bartók’s music, specifically his six string quartets. Musicians, musicologists and audiences will share their thoughts about the composer’s music and his legacy to classical music.

by Timothy Robson

Albers Trio Orion WeissThe Albers Trio (Laura Albers, violin, Rebecca Albers, viola, and Julie Albers, cello) and guest pianist Orion Weiss were greeted by a large audience on Tuesday, February 4, in their concert for the Cleveland Chamber Music Society at Plymouth Church UCC in Shaker Heights. This was despite a winter storm warning and steady snowfall as the audience arrived. The concert was a pleasant respite from this year’s seemingly unending blasts of Cleveland winter.

There was a certain down home feeling between the audience and the performers; three of the four have strong Cleveland connections, either through family relationships or study at the Cleveland Institute of Music. The local ties for the concert were further emphasized with some cross-organizational marketing: Richard Fried, the President of the Chamber Music Society, introduced the program and gave the usual plug for future concerts. He then introduced Diana Cohen and Frank Cohen, masterminds of the summer ChamberFest Cleveland, who spoke about the close relationship between the two organizations, as well as with the evening’s performers. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

WEISS-OrionI love playing in Cleveland,” says 32 year old pianist and native Clevelander Orion Weiss, “it’s always an honor to come home and I’m looking forward to the concert very much.” On Tuesday, February 4 beginning at 7:30 pm in Plymouth Church, the Cleveland Chamber Music Society presents the Albers Trio — violinist Laura, violist Rebecca and cellist Julie — with pianist Orion Weiss. The program includes Beethoven’s Trio in G major Op. 9, No. 1, Martinů’s Trio No. 2, H. 238 and Dvorák’s Piano Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 87. A pre-concert interview hosted by Eric Kisch begins at 6:30 pm.

Since graduating from the Juilliard School in 2004, Orion Weiss has performed with many major North American orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Additionally, Weiss is enthusiastic about playing chamber music. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

Daedalus-SQIf the prospect of hearing music by Erwin Schulhoff, George Perle and Benjamin Britten kept some regulars away from the Cleveland Chamber Music Society’s most recent concert by the Daedalus Quartet on Tuesday, December 3 at Plymouth Church, a healthy contingent of students from the Cleveland Institute of Music bolstered the mid-sized audience and contributed whoops and cheers to the society’s normally enthusiastic but rather staid ovations. CIM is in the midst of its winter chamber music festival, which included coaching sessions by the Daedalus members in addition to numerous concerts and chamber music marathons, and the student musicians obviously had great respect for tonight’s artists.

Since the Daedalus Quartet last performed on the CCMS series four years ago this month, half of its membership has changed. Violinist Kyu-Young Kim decamped for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, where he uniquely fills both the role of director of artistic planning and principal second violin, and cellist Raman Ramakrishnan has gone on to play with the Horszowski Trio. New players who have now joined founding violinist Mi-Young Kim and violist Jessica Thompson (who came onboard later) are second violinist Matilda Kaul and cellist Thomas Kraines. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

Daedalus-SQIt’s a small world,” says violinist Matilda Kaul, recalling how she came to join the Daedalus Quartet. “Min and I were both students of Donald Weilerstein at the Cleveland Institute of Music so we knew each other from there. And the person I replaced was also a student of Don’s, so we were all friends.”

On Tuesday, December 3 beginning at 7:30 pm in Plymouth Church, the Cleveland Chamber Music Society presents the Daedalus Quartet, Min-Young Kim & Matilda Kaul, violins, Jessica Thompson, viola and Thomas Kraines, cello, in a concert featuring the music of Mendelssohn, Schulhoff and Britten. Rabbi Roger Klein will give a pre-concert lecture beginning at 6:30 pm.

Praised by The New Yorker as “a fresh and vital young participant in what is a golden age of American string quartets,” Kaul says that she and her Daedalus colleagues look forward to being in Cleveland and performing their program. “The Mendelssohn Quartet No. 1 in E-flat is just a wonderful piece. And the Britten Quartet No.1 in D — we that played a lot this past summer and we think it’s a fantastic piece. Besides, everyone is playing Britten, especially this week. So we are excited to play the quartet because of the anniversary year.” Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

Cuarteto-Casals-BarueccoLast Tuesday evening at Plymouth Church, Cuarteto Casals warmed up a chilly, drizzly evening with sunny Iberian music that invoked the Mediterranean Sea and the night sounds of Madrid — with a bit of a detour into neighboring France in the middle. The Barcelona-based string quartet brought along the esteemed, Cuban-born guitarist, Manuel Barrueco, for quintets written by or inspired by those of Italian cellist Luigi Boccherini, who spent two extended sojourns in Spain, and the large audience was swelled on this occasion by members of the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society, who co-sponsored the event with the Cleveland Chamber Music Society.

Catalonian composer Eduardo Toldrà (1895-1962) subscribed to an anti-modernist movement, “1900-ism”. Though his cheerful and tuneful 1920 quartet, Vistes al mar, based on three sea-related poems by Catalonian poet Joan Maragall, may have bucked against prevailing trends, the piece is thoroughly engaging and makes a delightful concert opener. Its lyrical lines, solid sense of form and rhythmic thrust were masterfully revealed by the players, who achieved an elegant blend and brought a catalog of nuances to their task. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

Cuarteto-Casals-BarueccoFormed in Barcelona in 1997, Cuarteto Casals soon rose to international prominence with first prizes at string quartet competitions in London and Hamburg. Violinists Vera Martínez Mehner and Abel Tomàs Realp, violist Jonathan Brown and cellist Arnau Tomàs Realp have joined the King of Spain on diplomatic visits and have performed on the special, decorated Stradivarius instruments housed at the Royal Palace in Madrid. Collaborations with György Kurtág, Christian Lauba and James MacMillan have underlined the ensemble’s commitment to contemporary music.

Curateto Casals will appear in its latest collaboration, with Cuban-born guitarist Manuel Barrueco, on the Cleveland Chamber Music Society series at Plymouth Church on Tuesday, October 29 at 7:30 pm. The performance, itself a collaboration with the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society, features Eduard Toldrà’s Quartet “Vistes al mar,” Debussy’s Quartet in g, op. 10, Boccherini’s Quintet in D, “Fandango,” and the premiere of Roberto Sierra’s Fantasía.

Violist Jonathan Brown, a native of Chicago, joined the quartet in 2002. We reached him by telephone in Gainesville, FL at the beginning of Cuarteto Casals current United States tour.

Daniel Hathaway: You’ve been with Cuarteto Casals now for eleven years. How did you come to join the ensemble?

Jonathan Brown: I was studying in Salzburg and playing with the Camerata Salzburg and the quartet was studying with the Alban Berg Quartet in Cologne. Read the rest of this entry »

by Timothy Robson

CCMS-Phillips-TrioSusanna Phillips is on a roll: she recently starred at the Metropolitan Opera as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, as part of conductor James Levine’s anxiously awaited return to conducting at the Met, and on New Year’s Eve upcoming she will star as Rosalinde in a new production of Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. This past Monday evening, October 15, she presented a most unusual, but highly enjoyable, concert with collaborators Anne-Marie McDermott, piano, and Paul Neubauer, viola, as the first concert of the Cleveland Chamber Music Society’s 2013/14 season, at Plymouth Church of Shaker Heights.

The concert was unusual in a couple of ways. First, the pairing of soprano and viola is not commonly heard, but proved to be felicitous. Second, Ms. Phillips and friends performed a program of mostly “light” music – songs of an earlier era, intended to please and entertain and not stress the listener. Only one of the numbers was originally written for voice, viola and piano (more on that later). Most of the viola obbligati were found or devised by Mr. Neubauer, who is acclaimed in his own right as an orchestral musician and soloist. Mr. Neubauer and Ms. McDermott both had their opportunities to shine as soloists during the course of the evening. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

PHILLIPS-SusannaTwo of the singers who joined James Levine in his triumphant return to the Metropolitan Opera for Mozart’s Così fan tutte on September 24 will find themselves in Cleveland on different missions during the next week. Tenor Matthew Polenzani will appear with The Cleveland Orchestra in performances of Britten’s Serenade, and soprano Susanna Phillips will bring two of her favorite chamber music collaborators to town for the opening concert of the Cleveland Chamber Music Society’s 64th season on Tuesday, October 15 at Plymouth Church.

New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini wrote that Phillips “had what could be a breakthrough night at the Met as Fiordiligi…She has the purity and bloom of a Mozart lyric soprano. Yet her voice can lift phrases with penetrating sound and deep richness.” Asked in a telephone conversation about that night, Susanna Phillips told us that Levine’s return was “an incredible experience — he’s an incredible guy. It was a night I won’t soon forget. It was great to see him back so full of joy and focus. Everybody was thrilled.”

Though Phillips is an international opera star, her feet are planted firmly on the ground, and she maintains a close relationship with Huntsville, the Alabama town where she grew up. When she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in La bohème in 2008, four hundred and fifty local fans flew up to New York to hear her sing. “It’s very rewarding to have the community rally behind you — and they keep showing up and sending me emails and notes,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

CCMS-Logo-64The lineup for the sixty-fourth season of the Cleveland Chamber Music Society has its board members buzzing with enthusiasm. “Yes, there are world famous string quartets,” said Melvin Arnoff, “but also three pianists, a guitarist, a soprano, clarinets, flutes and percussion. And the composers range from Bartók, Beethoven and Britten to Dean, Dessner and Parry. This promises to be a “WOW” season.”

Anthony Addison agrees and mentions his favorites. “All six Bartók quartets and a return of eighth blackbird are the high spots of the season, as far as I am concerned. Cuarteto Casals with Manuel Barrueco on guitar, and Pavel Haas playing Janáček, Britten and Beethoven are a very close second. It’s a fascinating season.”

CCMS’s season begins at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights on Tuesday, October 15 at 7:30 with a program of salon music from the British Isles, Russia, France, Germany and Italy performed by soprano Susanna Phillips, pianist Anne Marie McDermott and violist Paul Neubauer.

Barbara Green is especially enthusiastic about the first concert in the series. “I first heard Susanna Phillips when she was still a student at Juilliard and a participant in the Art Song Festival. She had a lovely voice, a fine command of the texts, and that certain quality which I can only describe as ‘presence’. I have followed her career for many years and was delighted to read the review of her performance [at the Metropolitan Opera] in today’s New York Times. How exciting it will be to hear her again!” Read the rest of this entry »

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Daniel Hathaway
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