Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ensemble Schumann Performs Friday in Hotchkiss

CHESTERTOWN—The Ensemble Schumann trio will take the stage at Washington College Friday evening, November 12, with pianist Sally Pinkas, violist Steve Larson and oboist Thomas Gallant performing works by W.A. Mozart, Robert Schumann, August Klughardt and Robert Kahn. Part of the Washington College Concert Series, the performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Hotchkiss Recital Hall, which is part of the Gibson Center for the Arts on the College campus, 300 Washington Avenue.

Tickets, priced at $15 for general admission and $5 for youth ages 18 and under, will be available at the door. Washington College students are admitted free with a valid ID.

A colorful combination of artists and instruments, the Schumann Ensemble members have performed at prestigious venues that include Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York City and Wigmore Hall in London, as well as at the Tanglewood, Ravinia, Lucerne, Spoleto and Mostly Mozart music festivals.

The evening’s program will begin with “Serenade in F-minor, Op. 73” by Kahn (1865-1951). In the program notes, Pinkas describes Kahn’s style as “intimate and lyrical.” His “Serenade” is a through-composed work, with no breaks between movements. “Not a sonata, nor a fantasy, the Serenade invents its own organic coherence,” writes Pinkas.

What follows is Klughardt’s “Schilflieder, 5 Fantasy Pieces on Lenau’s Poems, Op. 28.” Schilflieder translates as “Reed Poems.” These “tone poems” by Klughardt (1847-1902) are based on Nikolaus Lenau’s written poems, which tell of the sadness of lost love as the poet wanders at the edge of a reed-filled pond.

The program will continue with Schumann’s “Marchenerzählunger (“Fairy Tales,) Op. 132.” Schumann (1810-1856) suffered from bouts of deep depression and hallucinations. His “Fairy Tales” were written in 1853, during his last creative burst before the final mental breakdown that sent him to an asylum.

The concert closes with “Trio in E-flat Major, K. 498.” The composition is nicknamed Kegelstaat, or “Skittle Alley,” and it was rumored that Mozart (1756-1791) composed it during a game of skittles. Pinkas writes that the Trio is “one of the most delightful and beloved chamber music works in the literature.”

About the performers:

Sally Pinkas has appeared with the Boston Pops and Aspen Philharmonia and collaborated with a wide variety of artists including the Adaskin String Trio and the Lydian String Quartet. She also performs with her husband, Evan Hirsch, as the Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo. The couple has toured in Russia, China and Nigeria and recently released a compilation of George Rochberg’s piano works on the Naxos label. Pinkas teaches at Dartmouth, where she is pianist-in-residence of the Hopkins Center.

As a member of the acclaimed Adaskin String Trio since 1994, Steve Larson has performed extensively in the U.S. and Canada and recorded the complete String Trios of Beethoven for the Musica Omnia label. The Adaskin String Trio’s release of Fauré piano quartets with Sally Pinkas for the MSR Classics label has been praised as “ferociously gorgeous” and “worth celebrating.” Larson also performs as part of the Avery Ensemble and has collaborated with many other artists, including the Emerson and Miami String Quartets. He teaches viola and chamber music at the Hartt School, University of Hartford.

Thomas Gallant is one of the world’s few virtuoso solo and chamber music performers on the oboe. He has performed as both soloist and chamber musician in prestigious halls around the world and with such artists as Jean-Pierre Rampal, the Kronos Quartet, the Adaskin String Trio and the Prague-based Martinu Chamber Orchestra. New Yorker magazine described him as “a player who unites technical mastery with intentness, charm and wit.” His unique performance style combines the American and European traditions of oboe playing.

For more information on this concert, please call 410-778-7839 or email For updates and news of future concerts, please visit the Concert Series web page:

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