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by Mike Telin

JONES-JoelaWe continue our coverage of the Kent/Blossom Music Festival with an extended conversation with pianist Joela Jones. On Wednesday, July 17 beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Ludwig Recital Hall, Jones will be joined by violinists Ying Fu and Jeffrey Zehngut, violist Stanley Konopka, cellist Richard Weiss, oboist Danna Sundet and bassoonist Barrick Stees in a program that features de Falla’s Suite Popular Española for Cello and Piano, Poulenc’s Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano and Elgar’s Piano Quintet in A minor.

On Wednesday, July 24 beginning at 7:30 p.m. Jones will return to the Ludwig Recital Hall stage along with Cleveland Orchestra First Associate Concertmaster Peter Otto in performances of Lutoslawski’s Partita for Violin and Piano, Nielsen’s Praeludium and Theme with Variations, Kapustin’s Omaggio a Giovanni Paisiello, Two fantasies on thematic fragments from the string quartets for violin solo and Grieg’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in C minor.

As her biography states, Joela Jones is an artist of exceptional versatility. As principal keyboardist of The Cleveland Orchestra, Jones can be heard playing piano, organ, harpsichord, celesta, synthesizer, and accordion. She has performed over fifty different concertos in more than 200 performances at Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center as well as on tour in Europe and Asia. Read the rest of this entry »


by Guytano Parks

Miami-SQ-Spencer-MyerThe Kent/Blossom Music Festival 2013 Concert Series opened its 46th Season with a pair of concerts featuring guest pianist Spencer Myer: on Wednesday, June 26 with the Miami String Quartet and on Saturday, June 29 with David Shifrin, clarinet and first Kulas Guest Artist. Both performances were well attended with enthusiastic, near-capacity audiences in Kent State University’s Ludwig Recital Hall.

In residence at KSU’s Glauser School of Music since 2004, the Miami String Quartet — Benny Kim and Cathy Meng Robinson, violin; Scott Lee, viola and Keith Robinson, cello — began with a profound performance of Beethoven’s String Quartet in f, Op. 95 “Serioso” which was notable for its contrasts between the rhythmically aggressive and the lyrical. A remarkable degree of tonal variety and color was achieved by each member of the quartet, adding much to their expressive delivery. The players dug into the opening Allegro con brio movement with a great sense of balance and control, making the most of Beethoven’s subito shifts in dynamics and mood and punctuating accents. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

Omni-QuartetNote: this concert was cancelled due to weather conditions and has been rescheduled with revised repertory for Tuesday, July 23 (see the concert listings for details).

We continue our coverage of the Kent/Blossom Music Festival with an enlightening conversation with violinist and faculty member Jung-Min Amy Lee. Lee joined The Cleveland Orchestra as associate concertmaster in March 2008 and has served on the Kent/Blossom Faculty since that same summer.

On Wednesday, July 10 beginning at 7:30 pm in Ludwig Recital Hall, Amy Lee (left in photo) will join her Cleveland Orchestra colleagues and Omni Quartet members violinist Alicia Koelz, violist Joanna Patterson, and cellist Tanya Ell for a performance of Bartok’s 3rd String Quartet and Kodaly’s Duo for Violin and Cello. The program also includes Ligeti’s Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano featuring Cleveland Orchestra principal horn Richard King and pianist Randall Fusco.

For Amy Lee, teaching is all about the passing down of traditions. “I think the real beauty of [teaching] is that you take the traditions from the past, preserve them and hopefully better them, and hand them down to the younger generation.” Beginning in the fall, Lee will have the opportunity to pass down musical traditions more when she becomes part of a new faculty ensemble at the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music at Kent State University. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

Shifrin-DavidClarinetist David Shifrin holds the distinction of being one of only two wind players to have been awarded the Avery Fisher Prize since the award’s inception in 1974. As a recitalist, Shifrin has performed in distinguished venues throughout the world, and as a chamber musician he has collaborated with the Guarneri, Tokyo, and Emerson String Quartets, Wynton Marsalis, Emanuel Ax and André Watts. Shifrin has been an artist member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 1989, and served as its artistic director from 1992 to 2004. As a teacher he has served on the faculties of the Juilliard School, University of Southern California, University of Michigan, and the Cleveland Institute of Music. He currently teaches at the Yale School of Music, a position he has held since 1987.

In addition to his Avery Fisher Prize, Shifrin has also received a Solo Recitalists’ Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the 1998 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Music Academy of the West. At the outset of his career, he won the top prize at both the Munich and the Geneva International Competitions. Most importantly, David Shifrin was a student at the Kent/Blossom Festival in 1970 and served on the festival’s faculty from 1974 to 1976. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

Miami-SQ-Spencer-MyerIt’s bigger than ever, and we’re really excited about it,” exclaimed Danna Sundet, who along with cellist Keith Robinson, is one of the co-artistic directors of the Kent/Blossom Festival. This year’s festival officially begins on June 26 with a concert featuring the Miami String Quartet and pianist Spencer Myer in Ludwig Recital Hall on the Kent State University Campus. “We’re releasing our first-ever Kent/Blossom CD at a gala party afterward,” Sundet said during a conference call. Robinson jumped in with more news. “We’re also having our first Kulas Guest Artist, clarinetist David Shifrin, who used to play in The Cleveland Orchestra before he went on to fame and fortune with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.”

Those concerts are only two of the seventeen events Kent/Blossom will offer between now and July 27. There will be six performances by Cleveland Orchestra members and friends (who make up the faculty for the chamber music-oriented summer festival which began when the Blossom Music Center opened in 1968), and six concerts by students — three at the end of each of the two-week chamber music sessions. At the end of the festival following an orchestral week, the Kent/Blossom Chamber Orchestra will play Ravel’s La Valse in a side-by-side concert with The Cleveland Orchestra on July 27 preceded by its own set under the baton of James Feddeck, who will lead the student ensemble in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 and Debussy’s Clair de lune. Read the rest of this entry »

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