Classically Alive  

 
Classically Alive presents 















“Mendelssohn Trio in Concert”
 Works by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Frank Martin, 
Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel and Kenji Bunch

Erik Peterson, violin
Barbara Thiem, cello
Theodor Lichtmann, piano

Sunday, February 17th, 2019  -  2:30 pm

    Minzer/Schreuder Residence
     8 Broadmoor Hills Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80906

General Admission: $25.00; 
Students: $10.00; Youth up to 13 free.
Heavy  Hors d’Oeuvres/Drinks Included
PLEASE RSVP EARLY- for reservations and info, 
please contact Abe Minzer at:
	 aminzer@comcast.net or (719) 229-2239

Please join us for an afternoon program with the Mendelssohn Trio, one of the best chamber music groups in Colorado!!  With most of our programs in the evening, I know some of you will want to take advantage of a daytime offering.   

Having the Mendelssohn Trio back again, not only will we have world-class musicianship, but their programming is always most interesting. Two women composers are featured, Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel from the Romantic period, and Ellen Zwilich, Pulitzer Prize-winning living American composer.  Also on the program is Slow Dance by Kenji Bunch, an expressive and haunting work.  And I am glad to introduce Classically Alive audiences to Swiss-composer, Frank Martin with his Piano Trio.   Frank Martin is not a household name, but is a highly respected composer, and his trio based on Irish folk tunes will be delightful.  Please scroll down to read program notes by pianist, Theodor Lichtmann.    
--Abe Minzer, Director/Classically Alive

The Mendelssohn Trio was formed in 1988 and is named for Thiem's great grandfather, Franz von Mendelssohn, a nephew of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and an important supporter of artists and musicians in the Berlin of the early 20th century. The members of the trio are university professors and in residence at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado where they give frequent concerts and work closely with the students on chamber music projects.
In addition to concerts in the US the trio has performed on three tours to several European countries including Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The last in 2012 included an appearance at the International Mendelssohn Festival in Berlin. The Trio is planning another tour to Europe for the summer of 2019.
While performing the standard repertoire of the 18th and 19th centuries the trio has also made an effort to introduce its audiences to works by 20th century composers such as the Americans Muczynski, Copland and the young Suzanne Sorkin, as well as the Europeans Martinu, Bridge, Martin and Bloch. In one of the last programs they premiered a trio by the little-known French composer Theodore Gouvy (1819-1898) together with the well-known one by Maurice Ravel. The program for 2019 includes works by the woman composers Fanny Hensel, Ellen Zwilich as well as trios by the Swiss composer Frank Martin, and Kenji Bunch.

Program Notes by Theodor Lichtmann

Born in Miami, Florida, Ellen Zwilich became the first woman to receive a DMA in composition from the Juilliard School of Music in 1975 where she was a student of Elliott Carter and Roger Sessions. She was also the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in music for her Symphony No. 1. Besides several Grammy nominations and commissions from famous orchestras she was named to the first composer’s chair in the history of Carnegie Hall. Currently she holds an endowed professorship at Florida State.
The trio for piano, violin and cello was written in 1987 on a commission and first performed in April 1988 in San Francisco. In her own words she wanted “to exploit the differences among the three instruments, with dialog and with the instruments switching roles but allowing the three instruments to be three equal voices.”


Frank Martin was one of the most important Swiss composers of the 20th century. He was born and educated in Geneva, where he studied mathematics and physics at the University of Geneva. But soon music became his calling; he composed, performed impressively as pianist and harpsichordist, taught chamber music at the Conservatory and improvisation and theory of rhythm at the “Dalcroze” Institute.  While he was searching for a personal musical language, he was also experimenting with 12-tone technique, which he eventually adapted and incorporated in his own style. The Frank Martin Trio which you hear today was commissioned in 1925. It doesn’t use serialism nor does it show the composer’s mysticism and deep faith; yet it already speaks his unmistakable language. It is playful, boisterous, and joyful. 

In place of a description of the music, here are some quotes by prominent musicians:
“His work stands like a rock and upholds credence in the future of Music”.  
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

“Many great works of this century are admired; few have the privilege of being loved. Frank Martin created works which are both admired and loved”.  Paul Badura-Skoda

“Frank Martin has always belonged to the elite of the musical world due solely to his creative genius, nurtured by the silent meditation in his work and by the fervor of his faith”. Pierre Fournier


Kenji Bunch’s Slow Dance for piano trio was commissioned by the Ahn Trio in the summer of 1996, dedicated to that group, and premiered by them on September 7, 1996, at the Soho Arts Festival in New York City. Bunch took "the image of an old torch-singing chanteuse who hasn't endured enough booze and hard living to forget a happier, more innocent time" as his starting point for the work. 

Slow Dance begins with scattered fragments of a dance: sliding pizzicati in the cello, shufflings from the violin, and quiet, isolated notes in the piano. Gradually, the dance pulls itself together; the piano begins playing notes in what were spaces, then chords, and then a full melody. Finally, a cool, resigned melody blossoms in the violin and cello, filling the dark spaces. The melodies stay in the strings, and gradually become more passionate, seeming to expand to fill an imaginary stage. After a climax, however, the piano part bottoms out, and there is no more dancing to be done. The passionate outpourings are replaced by music which emotionally recalls the work's opening; the violin plays high, wheezing notes and the cello shudders at the lowest possible volume, with distant, cold accompaniment in the piano. The work ends on sustained high notes in the violin over descending notes from the piano and cello, and one last quiet, high, ghostly chord in the piano. Bunch's Slow Dance brilliantly illustrates the image the composer had in mind, and it is expertly laid out for the piano trio. 


Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel was born in 1805, 4 ½ years before her beloved brother Felix. She is said to have been as musically gifted as her brother; she was apparently an excellent pianist and composed in the same style as he did. She was able to play Bach’s Das Wohltemperierte Clavier from memory at the age of 13. She attended A. von Humboldt’s lectures on physical geography lectures on experimental physics. In 1829 she married the painter Wilhelm Hensel. Some of her works were (a sign of the times) published under the name of her brother. What was published of her works were some songs, some piano pieces and the Piano Trio op. 11. Most of her compositions, however, including cantatas, oratorios and dramatic scenas, were never printed. She died in 1847, during a rehearsal of her brother’s Walpurgisnacht.
Her Trio should not be compared with her brother’s 2 Trios; it can certainly stand on its own merit in terms of skillful and demanding writing for each instrument and a wonderful sense of color and drama. 


PROGRAM

Trio for piano, violin and cello (1987)                                             Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (b. 1937)                                                                                                                 
        Allegro con brio
        Lento
        Presto

Trio on Popular Irish Folk Tunes (1925)                                              Frank Martin (1890 - 1974)                                                                                                                
        Allegro moderato
        Adagio
        Gigue: Allegro


INTERMISSION

Slow Dance                                                                                                    Kenji Bunch (b. 1973)                                                                                                                
        Adagio

Trio in D Minor, Opus 11                                             Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel (1805 - 1847)                                                                                                               
        Allegro molto vivace
        Andante espressivo
        Lied: Allegretto
        Allegro moderato


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ABOUT THE MUSICIANS


The Mendelssohn Trio (Erik Peterson, violin; Barbara Thiem, cello; Theodor Lichtmann, piano) was formed in 1988 and is named for Thiem's great grandfather, Franz von Mendelssohn, a nephew of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and an important supporter of artists and musicians in the Berlin of the early 20th century. The members of the trio are university professors and in residence at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado where they give frequent concerts and work closely with the students on chamber music projects.

In addition to concerts in the US the trio has performed on three tours to several European countries including Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The last in 2012 included an appearance at the International Mendelssohn Festival in Berlin.
While performing the standard repertoire of the 18th and 19th centuries the trio has also made an effort to introduce its audiences to works by 20th century composers such as the Americans Muczynski, Copland and the young Suzanne Sorkin, as well as the Europeans Martinu, Bridge, Martin and Bloch. 

Violinist Erik Peterson has been a member of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra since 1991, and is concertmaster of the chamber orchestra Up Close and Musical.  As an active performing chamber musician, Erik is often heard in performance with Ivy Street Ensemble and Mendelssohn Trio.  In addition to his work as a violinist, Erik is Artistic Director of the Chintimini Chamber Music Festival in Corvallis, Oregon and the Front Range Chamber Players, based in Fort Collins, Colorado. His performances are often broadcast on Oregon Public Radio and Colorado Public Radio performing chamber music as a member of the Ivy Street Ensemble, a trio with flutist, Catherine Peterson, and violist Phillip Stevens.
In addition to maintaining and active private teaching studio, Erik has taught violin, chamber music, and orchestral repertoire at Colorado State University, Denver School of the Arts, and Denver Young Artists Orchestra.
Erik attended the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, and Rice University. His influential teachers include Andres Cardenes, Leopold La Fosse, and Camilla Wicks. Erik has held principal positions with the CSO, Santa Fe Pro Musica, the Great Falls Symphony, Des Moines Metro Opera, Toledo Opera, and The American Sinfonietta.  He has been a featured soloist with the CSO and orchestras in Iowa, Colorado and Oregon.
When not performing, teaching, or creating concert opportunities for audiences of all ages, Erik enjoys spending time with his family, skiing and hiking.
Cellist Barbara Thiem was born and raised in Germany where she trained with Siegfried Palm (Cologne), specialist in 20th century cello music. She came to the US for graduate studies in cello with Janos Starker at Indiana University where she received the Master of Music in cello performance and the coveted Performer’s Certificate.
Ms. Thiem has held teaching positions at Iowa State University, the University of Texas at Dallas, several universities in Colorado, and at the University of Wyoming. At present she is Artist-in-residence at Colorado State University. Active as soloist with orchestra and in recitals and chamber music she has been a founding member of the Dallas Piano Trio and the Mendelssohn Trio. Her concerts and radio recordings have taken her all over Europe, the US, and Canada. She has produced several CDs and has published in the field of music and medicine.
She makes her home in Ft. Collins, Colorado, and spends her summers with her family in Austria where she directs the Music Academy at Schloss Ort in Gmunden and the “Villa Mendelssohn Festival.”
Pianist Theodor Lichtmann, born and educated in Switzerland, received his Gymnasium degree in Classical Languages (Greek and Latin). For his formative years as a pianist he studied with Irma Schaichet (a student of Busoni and Bartok) in Switzerland; later with Leonard Shure (a Schnabel student) in New York and at the University of Texas at Austin.
Lichtmann embarked early on an international career as soloist and collaborative artist; he appeared in Wigmore Hall in London, Brahms Saal in Vienna, the Lucerne Festival Hall, the BBC, the Swiss Broadcasting Corp. and many more venues. He has recorded for DECCA, TURICAPHON and SUMMIT where he was the first pianist to record Paul Hindemith’s complete works for Brass and Piano. He is also the featured piano soloist in Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with the DENVER BRASS.
He is co-founder of the Mendelssohn Trio. Until his retirement from academe Theodor Lichtmann was Professor at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music at the and Chair of the Piano Division. 
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For reservations/info: Contact aminzer@comcast.net or 229-2239
Please RSVP early - Space Is Limited   
http://ClassicallyAlive.com

For more information on the 2019 season, please click: 2019 season
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Classically Alive features diverse monthly house concerts, which include food, drink, and time for guests to socialize, and mingle with the musicians.  At the venue, founder, director, and pianist, Dr. Abe Minzer performs along with many top musicians of the Pikes Peak region.  Additionally, Classically Alive hosts world-class visiting artists of national and international reputation, often as part of the Piano Masterworks series and through collaboration with the German arts organization, Weltklassik.  

Since its inception in 2006, Classically Alive has presented over 150 concerts featuring over 100 musicians.  The eclectic offerings include a wide range of classical, as well as contemporary, popular styles, jazz, and world music. 
For more information, please visit: http://ClassicallyAlive.com  
 
For Abe Minzer’s website including performance and presentations, Click:
Abe Minzer, Pianist

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