The best things I heard in 2017

In 2017, Cincinnati audiences heard sensational performances by living legends, as well as musical rarities and world premieres. This year’s list – a baker’s dozen — highlights some musical milestones, such as Cincinnati Opera’s first opera by a woman, as well as some of my personal favorites of the past year.Read More »


A jazzy, joyful premiere

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich/photo by Bill Keefrey
Ellen Taaffe Zwilich/photo by Bill Keefrey

“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:

Creator and performers discuss their longtime collaboration.
Creator and performers discuss their longtime collaboration.

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.”Read More »

André Previn and more: A celebratory afternoon at Linton Music

rsz_klr_colorCincinnati has an impressive tradition of chamber music. For 36 years, the Linton Music Series has added to the landscape with rewarding “music making among friends.” On Sunday, a packed house was on hand in the beautiful First Unitarian Church in Avondale to hear the local premiere of André Previn’s Piano Trio No. 2, as well as Dvorak’s Piano Trio in G Minor. Schumann’s gorgeous Piano Quintet in E-flat Major concluded the program.Read More »