Pianist and CCM professor Sandra Rivers is stepping in for André Watts to perform two extra programs for the Phoenix Chamber Music Society this week. Piano legend Watts is unable to perform for the Winter Festival due to ongoing cancer treatments, according to the festival’s website.
Rivers, who has collaborated with stars such as Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Kathleen Battle, was already slated to perform Brahms sonatas with the wonderful violist/violinist Nokuthula Ngwenyama last Sunday. But after arriving, she was invited to add a heaping plate of repertoire at the last minute for performances on Monday and Wednesday, as well.
“It’s very exciting,” Rivers said by phone on Sunday. “I’ve been in nonstop rehearsals since I arrived.”
Last night she played the four Brahms Op. 119 piano pieces (Klavierstücke), as well as the lovely Brahms Sonata Op. 120, No. 1 for piano and clarinet with David Shifrin, who also directs the festival.
And tomorrow night, she will join four other artists to anchor Mozart’s Quintet for Piano and Winds, K. 452. This one will be in the Music Pavilion at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West. It’s sold out. Rivers only concern: What to wear so as not to clash with the very red room!
Meanwhile, we send good vibes and our best wishes to Mr. Watts for a quick recovery! I hear that he hopes to be back on the concert stage by this summer.
It seems that the end of a year always results in lists — looking back and looking ahead. And invariably, my list is different from your list. There were so many other great performances that I could have added here — the Polish Festival at CCM, the Ariel Quartet, the great jazz heard every week in our community, and the high-energy shows by John Morris Russell and the Cincinnati Pops… not to mention the entire opening season this fall at the CSO, with Emanuel Ax, Hilary Hahn, Lang Lang, Gil Shaham and Branford Marsalis!
I loved it all. But here’s my column, in case you missed it, for better or worse. At the list’s end, I look back at two of the big stories in the arts that I covered, and look forward to the opening of Music Hall next October.
It’s hard to believe that the month is almost over. Music at CCM has been in full swing. Between my other concerts, I’ve managed to swing by for a few events, and here are some of my impressions, from chamber music to jazz. Continue reading →
“I don’t like the ivory tower,” said Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. “When I’m writing for musicians, I can hear them in my head.”
Indeed, there was no “ivory tower” here. On Sunday, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer was in the house — First Unitarian Church, home of the Linton Music Series — to hear the world premiere of her delightful “Pas de Trois,” honoring the 40th anniversary of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, to whom the piece is dedicated. It was her sixth piece for the ensemble: Pianist Joseph Kalichstein, violinst Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson.
Her Piano Trio marked their 10th anniversary, and she has also written a Double Concerto (violin and cello), a Triple Concerto, a Septet and a Quintet for the musicians:
Admitting that she had “butterflies,” Zwilich said “When there’s a commission, I feel like people are betting on me, and that inspires me…. This is not my piece. This is their piece. Performance breathes life into music.” Continue reading →
Chamber music lovers won’t want to miss the Linton Music Series season this year, The 38th season of this musical gem takes place in Avondale’s First Unitarian Church and Loveland’s Congregation Beth Adam, Besides the 40th birthday tribute to the KLR Trio — two of whom, Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson, are the series artistic directors — -there will also be the Cincinnati debut of the McGill/McHale Trio, a rare performance by CSO maestro Louis Langrée and Kelley O’Connor, and much more. Continue reading →
The arts and e-media school — College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati — offers an embarrassment of riches (the most performances in the state, I’m told) and much of it is free. The season starts Aug. 29. See the whole digital calendar here. (My list is just the tip of the iceberg.) For ticketed events, call the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183.