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Concert Notes for 10.28.18

Posted by on Nov 1, 2018 in News, Uncategorized |

Chamber music, especially in its purest type, the string quartet, is regarded by many music-lovers as the highest form of music. To begin with, by its very limitations it is to some extent free from sensationalism into which orchestral music so easily falls. Impossible to two violins, a viola, and a violoncello are the purely sensuous stimulations of ears and nerve centers to which Wagner, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, and the Stokowsky-Bach transcriptions, and in general the whole ‘Overwhelming’ school, owe a good deal of their popularity. A quartet has a great soul in a small body, and depends on the intelligence and sympathy of the listener to fill out, progressively as his experience deepens, what it only suggests… In other words, the string quartet may grow, as our experience of it grows, to be more vivid to us than the most luxurious orchestra, for the very reason that we cannot take it passively, but must enter it actively, becoming co-creators with it. Daniel Gregory Mason, Columbia University, 1947 I’m always secretly glad when I realize that it’s time to crank up the aged brain and plunge into that pretty much useless activity of writing program notes. I don’t know what the “secretly” part really means, but the ‘glad’ is because I love chamber music and writing about it gives me a chance to think about chamber music and most of all to cast the aged mind back over the decades of chamber music and the many years of rich and fertile programs that we Saratoga Chamber Player fans have enjoyed…. And being refreshed, have often times, yes, been improved in mind & spirit. Among many other fine composers, Beethoven has been, of course, an oft honored participant in these our festal occasions, feeding the soul beginning for us back near the end of the last century — March 24th 1996 — with the fully mature, glorious & formidable “Archduke” Piano Trio opus 97 dedicated to Ludwig’s pupil & young patron the archduke Rudolf, youngest son of the Emperor Leopold II. Some months later we were treated to a much earlier work, the wonderfully dramatic String Trio in C minor, the 3rd trio of his opus 9. These three early string trios (Vienna 1797) are, by the way, as refreshing a pair of musical delights as any of the many pieces of the time, but because they were composed at a point in time when young Beethoven’s teacher, “Papa” Haydn was the King of the String Quartet and universally acknowledged as the greatest composer of his day in Europe, Russia & even in the more or less United States of America. Furthermore, Der Alte (the old man) had just published another “six-pack” of those excellent Quartets, as opus 96, soon to be well-known works and attracting nicknames: “Emperor,” “Sunrise” “Quintens/the Fifths” and to this day are among the most performed. Some...

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Jacinthe Couture

Jacinthe Couture

Posted by on Aug 7, 2018 in Uncategorized |

JACINTHE COUTURE, winner of the Prix d’Europe piano competition and first prize winner of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Concours, the CBC Talent Festival, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra piano competition, made her debut at Carnegie Hall and subsequently soloed with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Vancouver, the Atlanta Symphony and the Orchestre de Radio-Télévision de Belgique. She has performed chamber music with the Swiss Chamber Players, the Quatour Québec and with such artists as Janos Starker, Chantal Juillet, Gary Hoffman and Christopher Bunting in her native Canada as well as in Europe and the United States. She has taught at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Montreal and the Sibelius Academy in Finland. She currently teaches at the Conservatoire de Musique du...

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Paul Suits

Paul Suits

Posted by on Aug 7, 2018 in 2018-2019 Season Artists, Artists |

Paul Suits was born in California and studied for two years at UC Santa Cruz before moving to New York, where he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in piano at the Mannes College of Music. In the years after his graduation he lived as free-lance musician in NYC, and met and collaborated for the first time with cellist Eric Bartlett. In 1983 he received a grant from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst for a year of post-graduate study in Liedbegleitung at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart. This was followed by engagements as coach at the Stadttheater Basel and as head coach at the Luzerner Theater. Paul Suits performed in the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, at the Murten Festival and was for many years keyboardist in the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester (including performances of Berg’s Kammerkonzert). He was pianist and founding member of the chamber music series Brücken in Basel. On tours to Russia, Israel and South America he performed with the Basler Madrigalisten and he regularly appears as accompanist in song recitals. Paul Suits composed operas, songs, piano music and choral works, for example the opera Eulenspiegel, Luegenspiele (2004) commissioned by the Musik-Akademie Basel; jüngst und einst, for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra, (2001) commissioned by the Basler Bach-Chor; as well as his music to Rilke’s Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke (2017), a commission of the vokalensemble larynx. Paul Suits has taught for the last 25 years at leading conservatories of Switzerland: from 1993-2008 at the Hochschule der Künste Bern (vocal coach and score-reading), since 2006 at the Hochschule für Musik in Basel (vocal coach), as well as since 1992 at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste in Zurich (score-reading) – where he for many years was also musical director of the opera course, initiating performances of, among others, Monteverdis Ulisse in Ritorno alla Patria and Brittens Turn of the Screw. Based upon his vast pedagogical experience and acute interest in the subject, he is currently writing a book on...

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Concerts notes from June 2018

Posted by on Jun 17, 2018 in News, Uncategorized |

Welcome all to a new venue for us and the last concert of the Saratoga Chamber Players’ 31st Season, given the elfin title “String Quintets on Parade.” I say ‘elfin’ because there are but two quintets in our parade, albeit quintets composed by two monumental, nay, Rushmorian figures, Beethoven and Brahms. And the first of the two quintets will be introduced by a well known and delightfully Schuberty piece for string trio. Then, after intermission, to achieve a slightly elfin uniformity, the other quintet will be introduced by a string duo. Now if you add these two introductory pieces together, duo & trio equal an arithmetical kind of quintet! Furthermore, the whole of the concert is performed by five very fine lady artists, while the two actual factual quintets on the program are each one of the greatest of all chamber works in the repertoire and quite interestingly early Beethoven and mature [not to say “late”] Brahms. Originally, as many of us have been informed, the program was to have begun with one of the four separate pieces for string quartet opus 81 that Mendelssohn left unpublished when he suddenly died. “The true successor to Beethoven is not Mendelssohn, whose artistic cultivation was quite incomparable, also not Schumann, but Schubert. It is unbelievable, the music he put into his songs.” “There is no Schubert song from which we can’t learn something we need to know.” Johannes Brahms, to music students (1893) “Truly, there dwells in Schubert a divine spark” Ludwig van Beethoven (1827), shortly before he died. Saratoga Chamber Players performed this unfinished String Trio D. 471 16 years ago to open the concert of Oct 27 2002 but that is all but irrelevant, for the reason that this piece is one of those serene works that makes you feel you’ve known and loved it forever, even if you’ve never heard a note of it before. Schubert — more like Mozart than like Beethoven or Haydn — got a very early start at composing. His father, Franz Theodor Florian, who was a school teacher but one who played a wicked Cello, taught our Fränzl the violin as soon as he could hold it in his hands and then the viola, because the two oldest brothers played violin and he himself was, of course, the cellist and they needed a viola to make a family string quartet. Little Fränzl began to compose string quartets for the family from the time he was 7 or 8 (1804/5). His father was so unlike Beethoven’s abusive drunk-of-a-father who wanted only to exploit his son Ludwig as a “2nd Mozart.” Ludwig himself always identified strongly with his grandfather, who been the admired Kapellmeister at the Bonn Court and had also been godfather at his christening in 1770. Although the elder Ludwig van Beethoven had died three years later, our Ludwig always claimed that he...

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Doori Na

Doori Na

Posted by on May 23, 2018 in 2018-2019 Season Artists, Artists |

Known for his sweet and “sumptuous” (New York Times) tone, American-born Doori Na took up violin at the age of four and began his studies with Li Lin at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He quickly made his first performance with orchestra at age seven with the Peninsula Youth Symphony as the first prize winner of the concerto competition. Thereafter Mr. Na went on to win top prizes in The Sound of Music Festival, The Korea Times Youth Music Competition, the Chinese Music Teacher’s Association, The Menuhin Dowling Young Artist Competition, The Junior Bach Festival, VOCE of the Music Teacher’s Association of California, and The Pacific Musical Society. Receiving full scholarships to private high school Crossroads School of Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica, he moved to Los Angeles to study with renowned violin teacher, Robert Lipsett, at The Colburn Music School. There he appeared as soloist with the Palisades Symphony, Brentwood Symphony, and Torrance Symphony. During that time, the summer of 2004 was Mr. Na’s first time at the Perlman Music Program where his expression and musical identity were greatly influenced. He has been a part of the program ever since and participated in many of their special residencies in Florida, Vermont, New York, and Israel. Currently living in New York City, Mr. Na plays with numerous ensembles around the city. He has played with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with tours in the US, Japan, and Europe performing in venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York and the Musiverien in Vienna. Other orchestras include American Symphony Orchestra at Bard College, American Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera House, and Riverside Symphony at the Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. The music of our time has also been an integral part of Mr. Na’s New York life. He is part of the New Music Project of Argento Chamber Ensemble performing the works of Georg Friedrich Haas, Beat Furrer, Tristan Murail, and many more. One of his favorite groups to work with is New Chamber Ballet, where he has been a member since 2013. He provides live solo music for dance at their regular venue of City Center Studios and have also gone on tour to Lake Tahoe, Germany, and Guatemala. Chamber music has always been a big part of Mr. Na’s growth as a musician. His first endeavor playing in an ensemble was with the Luna Trio as a teenager, and were finalists at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in 2016. From then on, he has collaborated with members of the Juilliard String Quartet, New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera and has been fortunate to tour with Itzhak Perlman at venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Other notable experiences include performing at the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach with the Bonhoeffer Trio and Les...

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