Classically Alive  

Classically Alive presents 


“Pianist Susan Merdinger & Friends”
Susan Merdinger, piano
Michaela Paetsch, violin
William Spengler, cello
Abe Minzer, piano

“Walter Hautzig Memorial Series”

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017  
6:30 PM  food/drink
7:00 PM concert
    The Minzer/Schreuder Residence
     8 Broadmoor Hills Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 
General Admission: $15 minimum, $20 suggested (or more :)
~ PLEASE bring an appetizer, side-dish or dessert ~ 
~ Drinks included ~

For reservations/info: Contact or 229-2239
Please RSVP early - Space Is Limited

Beloved teacher, pianist Walter Hautzig, passed away this past January, 2017 at the age of 95.  Walter Hautzig had an illustrious career and played thousands of concerts on every continent.  He was a US State Department musical ambassador, and was the first American musician chosen to play in China, his concert broadcasted to almost 1 billion Chinese people, at a time when diplomatic relations between the US and China were just opening up.
He had a special relationship with each of his students, and cared for each of us like a parent.   As musician/teacher he gave insight to the very essence of each composer- a smart, but not overly-intellectual approach, that always dealt directly on the emotional, human level of the music.

Steinway-artist from Chicago, concert pianist, Susan Merdinger will be making her first appearance with Classically Alive.  And what a coincidence, just learning that Susan studied for an entire summer session with 
Walter Hautzig!
  While this is short notice, (sometimes it works that way), this encore performance is one not to miss.  Besides Susan Merdinger on piano, the evening will feature the incomparable Michaela Paetsch on the violin!  Those who have heard Michaela Paetsch before at Classically Alive know it doesn’t get any better than this.

And what a program “Susan Merdinger & Friends” have in store for you.  We open with a famous composition, Schubert’s “Marche Militaire” for piano 4-hands, with Susan Merdinger and Abe Minzer, sharing the piano bench. Next follows two sonatas for piano and violin by Beethoven, from his early period, but hedging into his middle period style.  While these two sonatas are from the same time in Beethoven’s life, and each follows the “fast-slow-fast” three-movement, these works are opposites.  The A minor sonata, in the minor mode, while fiery, at times delves into darker, melancholy moods.  The G major sonata that follows is happy, friendly, rollicking, and ends with a dancing gypsy-like finale.  Continuing with the gypsy flair, the first half ends with two brilliant, heart-felt Brahms Hungarian Dances arranged for violin and piano.

After intermission, the second half opens with pianist Susan Merdinger playing Liszt’s Liebestraum No. 3 (Dream of Love).  One of the most beloved shorter Romantic compositions, Liebestraum begins and ends with its famed tender melody, but in the middle reaches ecstatic heights.  The major work on the second half is the Mendelssohn Trio in C Minor for piano, violin and cello.  This work is in four movements.  The first movement is a mix of brilliance and lyricism.  The second movement, which is slower, is a beautiful “song without words.” The third movement is the playful Scherzo, lightening fast, with elfin lightness as well.  The final fourth movement returns to the brilliant power of the first movement, finishing with a majestic chorale melody, a dazzling conclusion to the evening.
With the holiday season upon us, a surprise encore with holiday cheer would be delightful, don’t you think?  I guess you will have to join us - :)
Social Time (Food/Drink) - 6:30 -7:00 followed by concert

Schubert Marche Militaire
        Abe Minzer, Susan Merdinger, One Piano, Four Hands

Beethoven Sonata No.4 in A minor, Op. 23
Andante scherzoso, più allegretto (in A major)
Allegro molto
Beethoven Sonata No.8 in G major, Op. 30 No.3
Allegro assai
Tempo di minuetto, ma molto moderato e grazioso - in E-flat major
Allegro vivace
Brahms Hungarian Dances Nos. 3 and 5
        Michaela Paetsch, violin
        Susan Merdinger, piano


Liszt Liebestraum No. 3
        Susan Merdinger, piano

Mendelssohn Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor
Allegro energico e con fuoco (C minor)
Andante espressivo (E-flat major)
Scherzo: Molto allegro quasi presto (G minor)
Finale: Allegro appassionato (C minor, ending in C major)
        Michaela Paetsch, violin
        Susan Merdinger, piano
        Special Guest Artist: William Spengler, cello


Susan Merdinger, piano, Steinway Artist, Susan Merdinger has been internationally acclaimed in prestigious newspapers and journals such as American Record Guide and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Performing her sold-out solo recital debut in Carnegie Recital Hall at age twenty-four, Merdinger has continued to grace the stages of some of the world’s best concert halls and international music festivals, such as Norfolk, Chautauqua, Summit and Quimera (Mexico) Music Festivals.. Merdinger has soloed with the Chicago Philharmonic under direction of Mattia Rondelli, The Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico under direction of Gabriela Diaz Alatriste and the Highland Park Strings with Francesco Milioto, among many other fine orchestras. Merdinger has toured Europe, Mexico, and the USA and she performs regularly with principal members of the New York Philharmonic, the New Jersey Symphony, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She is a regular Visiting Artist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series with the Tononi Ensemble at The Art Institute and at Symphony Center. 
Merdinger’s live performances and recordings have been broadcast on WQXR, WFMT, WDAV, WMNR, CKWR (Canada), BRT-3 (Belgian National Radio), and BBC Television (U Kingdom). In 2016-2018 Merdinger records the complete sonatas for Piano and Violin and Piano and Cello in live concerts for WFMT with violinists David Yonan, Ilya Kaler and Michaela Paetsch and National Symphony Orchestra cellist Steven Honigberg. A passionate advocate of contemporary music, Merdinger has also championed works by many contemporary composers and has had several works dedicated to her by Grammy-nominated composer Ilya Levinson and noted American composer, Jeremy Beck. Ms. Merdinger has nine award-winning solo, duo and chamber music CD’s to her credit. 
Merdinger is recipient of top prizes in numerous international competitions including Artists International Young Musicians Competition (1986) and Artists International Distinguished Artist Award (1990), The Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition (2012 and 2017), the prestigious Dewar’s Young Artists Award in Music (1990), the Masterplayers Prize (2009) and a Gold Medal in the Global Music Awards (2014). Merdinger received her education and training at Yale University, Yale School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and the Fontainebleau School of Music in France, studying with distinguished pianists such as Walter Hautzig, Constance Keene, Claude Frank, Ozan Marsh and Gaby Casadesus. She has been a member of the Artist Faculty at Summit Music Festival in New York since 2011, is an Adjunct Professor of Piano at Concordia University of Chicago and is Artistic Director of Sheridan Music Studio Presents, a not-for-profit organization representing Sheridan Solisti, The Five Greene's and Pianissimo!- Chicago’s Premier Piano Ensemble. 

Michaela Paetsch’s violin 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.

William Spengler, cello, recently completed his bachelor’s degree in cello performance at the University of Colorado Boulder, graduating with highest honors. A Seattle native, Will has played music all across the United States and Canada, attending such prestigious summer festivals as Académie d’Orford Musique, the Meadowmount School, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Indiana Summer String Academy and Interlochen Center for the Arts. A passionate chamber musician, Will has performed on the Jacobsen Faculty Series at the University of Puget Sound and the Pendulum New Music Series at the University of Colorado Boulder, in addition to working closely with members of the Takács, Tokyo, Shanghai and Altius string quartets. Additional cello studies have taken Will to Lisbon, Portugal for intensive studies with famous Russian concert cellist Pavel Gomziakov. Will’s former teachers include David Requiro, Olga Ruvinov, Pavel Gomziakov and Meta Weiss. Spengler performs on a 1942 Romolo Parmeggiani cello made in Cremona, Italy. 


For reservations/info: Contact or 229-2239
Please RSVP early - Space Is Limited

For more information on the 2017-18 season, please click: 2017-18 season

Under the sponsorship of the Pikes Peak Arts Council, 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 130 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:  
For Abe Minzer’s website including performance and presentations, Click:
Abe Minzer, Pianist

Want to learn to play piano, go check out:
Minzer Piano Studio

Music Series