Classically Alive  

Classically Alive presents 



“Paetsch Minzer Violin-Piano Duo” 
in  “ROOTS”  
A July 4th Weekend Barbecue & Concert 

Michaela Paetsch, violin  
Abe Minzer, piano

Sunday, July 7th, 2019  -  5:00 pm
    Minzer/Schreuder Residence
     8 Broadmoor Hills Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80906

General Admission: $25.00; 
Students: $10.00; Youth up to 13 free.
Barbecue Dinner & Drinks Included

PLEASE RSVP EARLY- for reservations and info, 
please contact Abe Minzer at: or (719) 229-2239

Classically Alive is thrilled with the return visit of internationally renowned violinist, Michaela Paetsch, and in duo concert with pianist, Abe Minzer in a program called “ROOTS”.  But first, join us for the barbecue at 5:00 PM, which includes barbecued chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, veggie burgers, side dishes, all the trimmings, plus dessert, and then followed by an amazing concert.

In addition to masterpieces by Mozart and Grieg, in honor of Independence Day, our program will feature works by two American composers, Aaron Copland and Ofer Ben-Amots.  The program title “ROOTS” has several meanings, including our American roots.  On that note, violinist Michaela Paetsch, who now makes her home in Ligerz, Switzerland, is originally from Colorado Springs.  And she comes back to the US often to visit family and friends, that is, to return to her roots.  And we all also have the joy of hearing this magnificent musician.

Our program opens with the Mozart Sonata in E Minor for Violin and Piano.  This profoundly beautiful and tragic work is rooted/connected with Mozart’s mother.  Mozart wrote the work at the age of 22, and just after his mother’s sudden death.  Very few of Mozart’s compositions are in minor keys, and these works have a tragic tone.  While Mozart’s creative genius peaked at about 30 years old, this earlier sonata has great depth, and in fact is the most often played Mozart violin and piano sonata.  The first movement seems to be negotiating, moving between grief, anger, and reflection.  The second/last movement, in the tempo of a minuet, appears conciliatory, the music now more at peace, especially in the beautiful middle section, and oasis in E Major.

In laying out our Independence Day program, the must-have, first work that came to mind is the Aaron Copland Sonata for Violin and Piano.  More than any composer Aaron Copland so thoroughly captures the American spirit, its landscape, its people, our roots.  Copland is the founder of the American nationalist school of composition, and hugely influenced other American composers, such as Bernstein, Barber, Piston, Persichetti, and others.  The Copland Sonata for Violin and Piano is dedicated to Copland’s close friend, Harry Dunham, a WWII pilot who was shot down in combat in 1943.  The sonata’s slow middle movement is closest to an understated tribute to his friend.  The first movement begins broadly, and injects American folk-influenced  melodies  throughout.  The tempo here also quickens building into several climactic points.  The lively finale, follows the slow movement without pause.  Here there is much playfulness, brilliance, plenty of tunes, and several imposing climactic points.

The second half opens with American composer, Ofer Ben-Amots’ “Bulgariana”, a fun piece in brisk asymmetrical 7-beat Bulgarian rhythm.  Israeli-born, local composer Ben-Amots’ musical language  takes from his various ethnic roots.  In “Bulgariana” the roots are Ofer’s grandmother, who was from Ruse, Bulgaria!  

Closing the program is the Grieg Sonata No. 3 in C Minor.   Grieg is widely considered one of the leading composers of the Romantic Era.  Grieg’s music is heavily rooted in his native Norway.  His music invokes the beautiful Norwegian landscape and is filled with native folk melodies and dance rhythms.  In the standard fast-slow-fast, three-movement form, the outer movements are brilliant, lyrical and passionate, and the middle movement is a heavenly Romance.  While Grieg was not American, Norway was our great WWII ally, suffered greatly, but fought so bravely against Nazi tyranny.  The world situation aside, the Grieg sonata is truly one of the great inspirations, a fantastic way to close our program, you’ll see!  

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Sonata in E Minor for Violin and Piano, K. 304
I: Allegro
II: Tempo di Menuetto
Aaron Copland (1900 - 1990) 
Sonata for Violin and Piano (1943)
I: Andante semplice
II: Lento
III: Allegretto giusto
Ofer Ben-Amots (b. 1955)
“Bulgariana” for Violin and Piano
Edvard Grieg (1843 - 1907)
Sonata No. 3 in C Minor for Violin and Piano, Opus 45 
I: Allegro molto ed appassionato
II: Allegretto espressivo alla Romanza
III: Allegro animato


Violinist Michaela Paetsch’s playing has been described as “gloriously charged…beguilingly velvety” (The Strad).  Her captivating artistry is celebrated for the soaring vitality and the personal commitment she shows her audiences.  She grew up in a musical family on a mountain in Colorado Springs.  “Making music and performing with my family chamber ensemble was the most important part of my development as a performing artist,” Michaela says. Michaela has garnered international attention and numerous awards, including first prize in the G.B. Dealey International Competition, a bronze medal in the Queen Elisabeth International Competition, and the prize for the Russian Composition by Juri Falik at the International Tchaikovsky Competition.

Michaela has performed as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician in the major musical centers of the world.  And she has collaborated with major orchestras throughout the world, including the NHK Symphony Orchestra (Japan), the Philharmonics of Osaka (Japan), Seoul (Korea), Liége (Belgium) and Bergen (Norway); the National Orchestra of Belgium, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony. Her extensive discography began with the 1987 recording of the 24 Caprices by Niccolo Paganini for TELDEC, making her the first female performer to record the complete work.  Die Zeit, a German newspaper, described the disc as a “sensation in the history of record-making.” Discs for TUDOR include “Brahms: 21 Hungarian Dances”, “La Capricieuse” and the Sonatillen and Morxueaus by Joachim Raff with Eric Le Van, piano. Michaela, along with the Original Ensemble Prima Carezza, performed for Simonetta Sommaruga to celebrate her election as President of the Federal Council of Switzerland for 2015; and for an official state visit welcoming French President Francois Hollande.

Michaela made her orchestral debut at the age of twelve with the Colorado Springs Symphony (now the Colorado Springs Philharmonic).  In addition to subsequent performances with the Colorado Springs Symphony, she performed as soloist with orchestras throughout Colorado including the Denver Symphony (now the Colorado Symphony Orchestra), the Denver Young Artists Orchestra, the Pueblo Symphony, and the National Repertory Orchestra.  In July 2017, Michaela Paetsch was violin soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra in a performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.

Michaela plays a beautiful Gaetano Pasta violin made in 1704.   “I cherish its dark sensuous beauty and amazing variety of colors – it reacts so well in all conditions,” Michaela says.
Michaela resides in Ligerz, Switzerland, and travels frequently to her native Colorado.

Pianist Abe Minzer earned a master’s degree in Piano Performance from the Peabody Conservatory, a doctorate in music at West Virginia University, and has taught at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD. He plays concerts throughout the US, and has appeared as piano soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major with the Pittsburgh Symphony.  

Currently, Dr. Minzer is on the faculty at Pikes Peak Community College where he heads the Piano Department, teaches Private Piano, Group Piano, Music Theory, and serves as staff pianist/accompanist. Abe Minzer also teaches piano, music appreciation, music history, jazz history and music theory at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Dr. Abe Minzer often performs works of living composers, including world premieres of compositions by Sylvia Hazlerig, Jorge Cardoso, Jim Bosse and Ofer Ben-Amots. 


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. 

Music Series