Tessa Lark dazzles in masterworks, bluegrass at Matinee Musicale

Tessa Lark

For Tessa Lark, performing in Cincinnati on Thursday was “basically coming home.” The violinist, who has appeared with dozens of American orchestras and is a Naumburg winner, among other prestigious awards, made an impressive recital debut at Matinee Musicale.

Cincinnati — specifically, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music — was a kind of second home during her early years. Between the ages of 11 and 18, her mother drove her two hours each way every Saturday from Richmond, KY, to work with master teacher Kurt Sassmannshaus in CCM’s Starling Preparatory String Project, a program for vastly talented kids. She made her Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra debut at age 16.

Now 29, she plays with an easy virtuosity. But she also charmed the audience at Anderson Center on Thursday with her down-to-earth personality and sense of humor as she spoke about each piece that she was performing with her pianist, Andrew Armstrong.Read More »

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My picks in the coming week

As always, Cincinnati offers myriad choices of things to do in the fall season. Here are just a few options that you might want to try.

Cincinnati Ballet’s “Peter Pan,” with a charming musical score composed by Carmon DeLeone, honors the maestro in its performances this weekend for his unprecedented 50 years as the Ballet’s music director. The dancing crocodile is one of my personal favorites. Thursday through Sunday in Music Hall. Tickets: cballet.org or call 513-621-5282.

Christian McBride. Photo provided

The great jazz bassist Christian McBride has shared the stage with jazz legends like Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock or Pat Metheny; pop giants like James Brown, Sting andThe Roots; and classical artists like Kathleen Battle, Edgar Meyer or the Shanghai Quartet. He visits the Xavier Jazz Series, 8 p.m. Oct. 27 in Gallagher Theater on the XU campus. Tickets: xavier.edu/musicseries

Cincinnati native and rising conductor Isaac Selya has just returned from making his debut with the Deustche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (yes, Paavo’s orchestra).

Next, he says, “I’m jumping straight into the next Queen City Opera program.” This one will be operatic selections featuring 11 emerging artists, accompanied by full orchestra. Eight of them trained at CCM; the other three trained at Indiana University, University of Kentucky, and Miami University in Oxford.

The concert will also feature the Xavier University Concert Choir,

Isaac Selya

singing in “Habanera” from Carmen. There will be a rare chance to hear the Council Chamber Scene from Simon Boccanegra, which ends with a soft entreaty for peace.

Just one performance: 3 p.m. Sunday, October 28 at the Sanctuary at Community Matters (2110 Saint Michael Street, 45204). To read the details on the repertoire and the performers click here.
Tessa Lark
Violinist Tessa Lark returns to the Queen City (where she trained at CCM) to star in Matinee Musicale’s 106th season, 2 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Anderson Center, 7850 Five Mile Road. Since her concerto debut with the Cincinnati Symphony at age 16, the Kentucky native is the recipient of a coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant and was silver medalist in the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis and winner of the 2012 Naumberg International Violin Competition. She recently acquired a very special new violin from the Stradivari Society of Chicago. Read about it here. Andrew Armstrong collaborates at the piano. Here’s the program:
Suite Italienne……………………Igor Stravisky (1882-1971)

Appalachian Fantasy…………….Tessa Lark

Sonata in A major………………..César Franck (1822-1890)

Sonata No. 9, Op. 47 “Kreutzer”.. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Visit matineemusicalecincinnati.org for tickets or purchase at the door.

 

Matinée Musicale announces grants to 10 arts programs

Students from MYCincinnati. Photo provided

Thanks to a bequest from the estate of the late arts patron Louise Dieterle Nippert, Matinée Musicale is awarding $72,000 in grants to 10 deserving music education and outreach programs in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

They are all achieving great things in the arts. The list:

Benjamin Carlson-Berne Scholarship Fund, which provides weekly private lessons and mentorship to youth of middle school age to high school age.Read More »

Jamie Barton gives voice to women in music

The time is right, says opera mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, seen here in the Richard Tucker Gala, to put women composers in the spotlight. Photo by Dario Acosta

“Being able to do a brilliant piece by a female composer written in my own language — it feels very much like home,” said mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton.

Barton, a young American opera singer whose sumptuous voice is being compared to that of legends such as Kirsten Flagstad, was discussing the recital program that she will sing for Matinée Musicale next week. Cincinnati is a stop in her five-concert tour that began in December at Carnegie Hall.

Notably, half of her selections are by women: Elinor Remick Warren, Lili and Nadia Boulanger, Amy Beach and Libby Larsen. Even though women are gaining more recognition in classical music than perhaps ever before in history, it’s still remarkable to find concert programs that include very much, if any, music by women.

The time was right, Barton felt, to put women in the spotlight.Read More »

In memoriam Nancy Walker: Arts patron, influential classical music devotee

Nancy Walker with ClaireHuangci__ 2015
Nancy Walker shown with pianist Claire Huangci

Nancy Fuldner Walker was devoted to Cincinnati’s arts, with a special passion for Matinée Musicale.

An accomplished pianist, oboist and teacher, Mrs. Walker headed the 105-year-old music club for nearly five decades. During her tenure, Matinée Musicale presented a stellar roster of rising stars, thanks to her contacts with artist agents and her immense knowledge about the classical music industry.

“Walker was the heart and soul of Matinée Musicale, selecting music performers for recitals on their way to famous careers,” said Rick Pender, a theater critic and member of Matinée Musicale. “Her knowledge, judgment and great musical instincts sustained the organization at the forefront of local presenters for nearly half of its 105-year existence.”

Mrs. Walker died on Oct. 30 at Jewish Hospital. The longtime resident of Mount Lookout was 87.Read More »

It’s almost Fall — Matinee Musicale turns 104

I can’t believe the fall season is upon us. I am getting season lineups daily in my inbox, and I’m going to try to post many of them on this blog.

First up is the 104th season of the venerable Matinee Musicale, which has launched the Cincinnati debuts of hundreds of major artists. Mark your calendars:

Sept. 18: Cellist Amit Peled performs a Tribute to Casals. The Israeli musician will perform two recitals on his historic Gofriller cello (1733) that once belonged to the eminent Pablo Casals, loaned to him by Casals’ widow Marta.  His program features music the legendary cellist frequently performed in recitals. Sunday, Sept. 18, 3 p.m., at Anderson Town Center (7850 Five Mile Road, Cincinnati 45230),

On Monday, Sept. 19, the personable Peled will offer a lecture/recital, “Journey with My Jewishness,” discussing his personal, musical and spiritual evolution. His program will include traditional numbers as well as Max Bruch’s “Kol Nidrei,” Mark Kopytman’s “Kaddish” and Ernest Bloch’s three scenes “From Jewish Life.”  Sept. 19,  7:30 p.m., a program presented jointly with the Isaac M. Wise Center (8329 Ridge Road, Cincinnati 45236), Read More »