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by Daniel Hathaway

April-6,-'14-poster“It’s a piece of epic proportions with so many emotions from deep sorrow to sarcasm,” violinist Hristo Popov told us in a telephone conversation. “The Shostakovich Piano Quintet has a lot in common with the current political environment in Eastern Europe, and should be very appealing to people on both sides.”

Popov, who is artistic director of the Chagrin Valley Chamber Music Series, has chosen the Shostakovich, along with chamber works by Mozart and Dvořák, for the season finale of the series on Sunday, April 6 at 3:00 pm in Valley Lutheran Church in Chagrin Falls. The concert is free.

Shostakovich, who had a complicated relationship with the Stalinist government of the USSR, falling in and out of official favor on a regular basis, wrote his only chamber work for piano and string quartet in 1940, a piece that has been described as both rigorous and accessible. It was enthusiastically received at its first performance by Shostakovich and the Beethoven Quartet, who encored both the scherzo and finale.

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by Daniel Hathaway

CFC-June-30-AdamsFor the last of the eight concerts in its expanded second season, ChamberFest Cleveland moved from traditional concert halls (and a new art gallery) to our local urban version of a rustic summer New England venue, the Dunham Tavern’s barn on Euclid Avenue in midtown. The structure, built in 2000, replaced an 1840 horse and crop storage barn that was leveled by a fire in 1963. Though it looks rather modern and utilitarian from the outside, its wooden beams frame an interior space with warm acoustical properties.

There’s barely room to swing a viola there, much less accommodate a grand piano, so Mirrors was devoted to music by Purcell, Britten and Mendelssohn for three, four and five string players who stood (except for the cellists) to save room, optimize sight lines and broadcast the music over the heads of the capacity audience, who were packed into the space on folding chairs. The seating was uncomfortable and the temperature a bit on the warm side, but the afternoon was otherwise completely delightful, with the bonus of free ice cream outside afterward. 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 »

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