Front Row
Tryon Concert Association

CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY
OF LINCOLN CENTER

Front Row: National / Online Concert Series
Available through Tryon Concert Association 2020 – 2021

These performances are presented free of charge, but donations are appreciated. Please click here to make a donation in the amount of your choice.

 

Chamber Music Society Front Row National

1

ARTIST SERIES:
Anne-Marie McDermott
(piano)

SEP 23 – 27, 2020

Mozart: (arr. Czerny) Concerto in
D minor for Piano, Flute, and
Strings, K. 466
Smetana Trio in G minor, Op. 15

Anne-Marie McDermott,
Bella Hristova, Ida Kavafian,
Sean Lee, Paul Neubauer,
Gary Hoffman, Mihai Marica,
Timothy Cobb, Tara Helen O’Conner

PROGRAM

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791)
Concerto in D minor for Piano, Flute, and Strings, K. 466 (1785) (arr. Carl Czerny)
Allegro
Romance
Rondo: Allegro assai
Anne-Marie McDermott, piano • Tara Helen O’Connor, flute • Sean Lee, violin • Bella Hristova, violin • Paul Neubauer, viola • Mihai Marica, cello • Timothy Cobb, bass
BEDŘICH SMETANA (1824-1884)
Trio in G minor for Piano, Violin, and Cello, Op. 15 (1855, rev. 1857)
Moderato assai
Allegro, ma non agitato—Alternativo I: Andante—Alternativo II: Maestoso
Finale: Presto
Anne-Marie McDermott, piano • Ida Kavafian, violin • Gary Hoffman, cello

NOTES ON THE PROGRAM

Concerto in D minor for Piano, Flute, and Strings, K. 466 (1785) (arr. Carl Czerny)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Salzburg, 1756 – Vienna, 1791)

This piano concerto is one of Mozart’s most famous. It has demonstrated remarkable staying power, remaining popular from its premiere on February 11, 1785 through the 19th century (when some of his other music went out of fashion) to today. It received a glowing review from one of Mozart’s toughest critics—his father—at the premiere. In a letter to Mozart’s sister, his father described the evening’s success after Mozart barely finished the piece in time:

“On Friday evening at six o’clock we went to [Mozart’s] first subscription concert, where there were many important people… The concert was incomparable, the orchestra excellent… There was a new excellent piano concerto by Wolfgang, which was still being copied when we arrived. Your brother didn’t even have time to play through the Rondo because he had to oversee the copying.”

The rushed timeline is corroborated by Mozart’s catalogue, where he recorded completing the piece the day before the premiere. In typical Mozart fashion, a work he hastily composed and barely practiced quickly entered the repertoire. After Mozart’s death, the following generations embraced the work—Beethoven, Brahms, Busoni, and Clara Schumann all published their own cadenzas. The concerto was both a favorite of large Romantic orchestras and arranged to perform at home and in salons. Viennese composer/pianist Carl Czerny made tonight’s arrangement for flute and string quartet (with bass added for this performance). He left the solo part unaltered while expertly arranging just four string parts and a contrasting flute to capture the energy and excitement of a full orchestra.

Of Mozart’s 23 piano concertos, only two are in minor keys (this one and one in C minor from the following year). The music is Mozart at his most Romantic—stormy, dark, and full of drama. The first movement is the weightiest and gave the piece its long lasting appeal. Starting with the driving, offbeat D minor accompaniment in the ensemble, to the unassuming piano entrance, and through spirited passagework, this movement is vigorously tempestuous. The second movement is a complete turnaround, a calm and collected Romance, until the stormy mood from the first movement breaks in for a starkly contrasting middle section. The last movement is a frenetic romp in D minor before an upbeat major-key finale ends the work on a positive note.

FROM ANNE-MARIE MCDERMOTT:

This Mozart concerto performance stands out in my memory as an absolutely joy-filled and exhilarating experience. What a group of musicians to play a Mozart concerto with. I so love this arrangement of the D minor concerto by Carl Czerny. Somehow he captured the spirit and drama of this music with so few instruments—just the addition of the flute to the ensemble brings more depth to the work. I worship the cadenzas in this concerto that were written by Beethoven—they are a pianist’s dream!!

I find that playing a Mozart concerto with more intimate forces gives the music greater flexibility and intimacy and clarity. It is a great privilege to perform Mozart concerti in this form. This work is a perfect masterpiece—how did Mozart achieve that?!

———

I grew up with two sisters who are musicians, Kerry (violinist) and Maureen (cellist), and I was blessed to grow up playing chamber music from a young age. It was an amazing experience to grow up in a household where music was always present.

Trio in G minor for Piano, Violin, and Cello, Op. 15 (1855, rev. 1857)
Bedřich Smetana (Leitomischl, Bohemia, 1824 – Prague, 1884)

Before Smetana wrote his Czech operas, before he earned his place as the father of Czech music, before he became a Czech national icon, he was a struggling composer/pianist and father of four girls. And he knew tragedy. Three of his four daughters died young; only one survived to adulthood. The oldest daughter, Bedřiška (named after her father and nicknamed Fritzi), delighted Smetana with her precocious musical talent and even attended one of his concerts in her short life. Her death at age four was a particularly difficult blown to the composer. “Nothing can replace Fritzi,” he wrote in his diary, “the angel whom death has stolen from us.”

Smetana wrote the piano trio in the months after Bedřiška’s death to honor her memory. It is a work of grief and yearning. It is not tightly structured but rather full of jagged twists and turns like a desperate fantasy. The opening movement is based on two themes: the first is stridently declamatory and the second is a delicate melody that Smetana said his daughter loved. Rather than following with the expected slow movement, the second movement is a skittering scherzo with two trios, one introspective and the other a grief-filled march. There are tiny wisps of the work’s opening before the quiet, uncertain end. The third movement’s main theme is a dashing cross-rhythm gallop juxtaposed with dream-like episodes. Another march takes shape before an ending that, like the Mozart, clears away much of the turmoil that came before.

Smetana premiered the original version of this trio with violinist Otto Königslöw and cellist Julius Goltermann in Prague on December 3, 1855 (three months after Bedřiška’s death) and he reported unenthusiastic reviews. However, after receiving positive feedback from Liszt the following year, he edited the first and third movements and premiered a revised version in 1857. Its honest emotional outpouring has made it a staple of the piano trio literature.

Program notes by Laura Keller, CMS Editorial Manager

FROM ANNE-MARIE MCDERMOTT:

I have to also say that having the opportunity to play the Smetana trio with two of my favorite artists and friends, Ida and Gary, was an absolute thrill. We had the most memorable rehearsals and discussions and it all culminated in the performance. It affirms for me why I am so in love with what I do and how humbled I am to be able to do it!

———

My mother took me to a concert when I was around four or five years old and it featured a piano soloist in front of an orchestra. I remember thinking that it was the most powerful and glamorous thing I had ever seen. My older sister was already playing the piano and I wanted to push her off the bench and play myself. The piano immediately attracted me. My reasons for playing have certainly evolved over the years and I have never been more attracted to it than I do now. The repertoire, the power, the colors, the challenges all remain an inspiration for me.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Timothy Cobb is the principal bass of the New York Philharmonic, prior to which he served as principal bass for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He has appeared at numerous chamber music festivals worldwide, and as a former participant in the Marlboro Music festival, has toured with the Musicians from Marlboro series. He is a faculty member of the Sarasota Music Festival and serves as principal bass for Valery Gergiev’s World Orchestra for Peace, an invited group of musicians from around the world, from which he has earned the title UNESCO Artist for Peace. He also served as principal bass for the Mostly Mozart festival orchestra. He can be heard on all Met recordings after 1986, as well as on the Naxos label in a recording of Giovanni Bottesini’s duo bass compositions with fellow bassist Thomas Martin, of London. Mr. Cobb graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Roger Scott. In his senior year he became a member of the Chicago Symphony under Sir Georg Solti. He serves as bass department chair for The Juilliard School and on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music, Purchase College, and Rutgers University. He also holds the title ‘Distinguished Artist in Residence’ at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.

Gary Hoffman is one of the outstanding cellists of our time, combining instrumental mastery, great beauty of sound, and a poetic sensibility. He gained international renown upon his victory as the first North American to win the Rostropovich International Competition in Paris in 1986. A frequent soloist with the world’s most noted orchestras, he has appeared with the Chicago, London, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco, Baltimore, and National symphony orchestras as well as the English, Moscow, and Los Angeles chamber orchestras, the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Netherlands and Rotterdam philharmonics, the Cleveland Orchestra for the Blossom Festival, and The Philadelphia Orchestra. He has collaborated with such celebrated conductors as André Previn, Charles Dutoit, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pinchas Zukerman, Andrew Davis, Herbert Blomstedt, Kent Nagano, and Jesús López-Cobos. He performs in major recital and chamber music series throughout the world, as well as at such prestigious festivals as Ravinia, Marlboro, Aspen, Bath, Evian, Helsinki, Verbier, Mostly Mozart, Schleswig-Holstein, Stresa, Festival International de Colmar, and Festival de Toulon. He is a frequent guest of string quartets including the Emerson, Tokyo, Borromeo, Brentano, and Ysaÿe. In 2011, Mr. Hoffman was appointed Maître en Résidence for cello at the prestigious Chapelle de Musique Reine Elisabeth in Brussels. He has a new release of Elgar’s Cello Concerto and Bloch’s Schelomo on the La Dolce Volta label with Orchestre de Liège and Christian Arming. He performs on a 1662 Nicolo Amati cello, the “ex-Leonard Rose.”

Acclaimed for her passionate, powerful performances, beautiful sound, and compelling command of her instrument, violinist Bella Hristova’s growing international career includes numerous appearances as soloist with orchestra including performances with the Milwaukee and Kansas City symphonies, and Beethoven’s ten sonatas with acclaimed pianist Michael Houstoun on tour in New Zealand. Last season, she performed ten different works as soloist with orchestra, from Mozart to Sibelius to Bartók, as well as concertos by Florence Price (with the Knoxville Symphony) and David Ludwig (with the Hawaii Symphony and Symphony Tacoma). She has performed at major venues and worked with conductors including Pinchas Zukerman, Jaime Laredo, and Michael Stern. A sought-after chamber musician at festivals, she performs at Australia’s Musica Viva, Music from Angel Fire, Chamber Music Northwest, and the Santa Fe Chamber and Marlboro Music festivals. Her recording Bella Unaccompanied (A.W. Tonegold Records) features works for solo violin by Corigliano, Kevin Puts, Piazzolla, Milstein, and J. S. Bach. She is recipient of a 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant, first prizes in the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and Michael Hill International Violin Competition, and a laureate of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. Ms. Hristova attended the Curtis Institute of Music, where she worked with Ida Kavafian and Steven Tenenbom, and received her artist diploma with Jaime Laredo at Indiana University. An alum of CMS’s Bowers Program, she plays a 1655 Nicolò Amati violin.

Violinist/violist Ida Kavafian just recently retired after 35 successful years as artistic director of Music from Angel Fire, the renowned festival in New Mexico. She leaves a legacy of over 40 world premieres commissioned by the festival. Her close association with The Curtis Institute continues with her large and superb class, the endowment of her faculty chair by former Curtis Board President Baroness Nina von Maltzahn, and the awarding of the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching, which is presented in recognition of outstanding service in stimulating and guiding Curtis students. In addition to her solo engagements, she continues to perform with her piano quartet, OPUS ONE and Trio Valtorna. Co-founder of those ensembles as well as Tashi and the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival (which she ran for ten years), she has toured and recorded with the Guarneri, Orion, Shanghai, and American string quartets; as a member of the Beaux Arts Trio for six years; and with such artists as Chick Corea, Mark O’Connor, and Wynton Marsalis. A graduate of The Juilliard School, where she studied with Oscar Shumsky, she was presented in her debut by Young Concert Artists. Ms. Kavafian and her husband, violist Steven Tenenbom, have also found success outside of music in the breeding, training, and showing of champion Vizsla dogs, including the 2003 Number One Vizsla All Systems in the US and the 2007 National Champion. She has performed with the Chamber Music Society since 1973.

Violinist Sean Lee has captured the attention of audiences around the world with his lively performances of the classics. A recipient of a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, he is one of few violinists who dares to perform Niccolò Paganini’s 24 Caprices in concert, and his YouTube series, Paganini POV, continues to draw praise for its use of technology in sharing unique perspectives and insight into violin playing. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony, Israel Camerata Jerusalem, and Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice; and his recital appearances have taken him to Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. As a season artist at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and an alum of CMS’s Bowers Program, he continues to perform regularly at Lincoln Center, as well as on tour. Originally from Los Angeles, Mr. Lee studied with Robert Lipsett of the Colburn Conservatory and legendary violinist Ruggiero Ricci before moving at the age of 17 to study at The Juilliard School with his longtime mentor, violinist Itzhak Perlman. He currently teaches at The Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division, as well as the Perlman Music Program. He performs on a violin originally made for violinist Ruggiero Ricci in 1999 by David Bague.

Romanian-born cellist Mihai Marica is a first prize winner of the Dr. Luis Sigall International Competition in Viña del Mar, Chile and the Irving M. Klein International Competition, and is a recipient of Charlotte White’s Salon de Virtuosi Fellowship Grant. He has performed with orchestras such as the Symphony Orchestra of Chile, Xalapa Symphony in Mexico, the Hermitage State Orchestra of St. Petersburg in Russia, the Jardins Musicaux Festival Orchestra in Switzerland, the Louisville Orchestra, and the Santa Cruz Symphony in the US. He has also appeared in recital performances in Austria, Hungary, Germany, Spain, Holland, South Korea, Japan, Chile, the United States, and Canada. A dedicated chamber musician, he has performed at the Chamber Music Northwest, Norfolk, and Aspen music festivals where he has collaborated with such artists as Ani Kavafian, Ida Kavafian, David Shifrin, André Watts, and Edgar Meyer. He is a founding member of the award-winning Amphion String Quartet. A recent collaboration with dancer Lil Buck brought forth new pieces for solo cello written by Yevgeniy Sharlat and Patrick Castillo. He recently joined the acclaimed Apollo Trio. Mr. Marica studied with Gabriela Todor in his native Romania and with Aldo Parisot at the Yale School of Music where he was awarded master’s and artist diploma degrees. He is an alum of CMS’s Bowers Program.

For over 25 years Anne-Marie McDermott has played concertos, recitals, and chamber music in hundreds of cities throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. She also serves as artistic director of the Bravo! Vail Music and Ocean Reef Music festivals, as well as Curator for Chamber Music for the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego. Recent performance highlights include appearances with the Colorado Symphony, Florida Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, New World Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Tucson Symphony, Mexico National Symphony, and Taipei Symphony. She also returned to play Mozart with the Chamber Orchestra Vienna-Berlin at the Bravo! Vail Festival. She has performed with leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Seattle Symphony, National Symphony, and Houston Symphony. Her recordings include the complete Prokofiev piano sonatas, Bach’s English Suites and partitas (Editor’s Choice, Gramophone magazine), Gershwin’s complete works for piano and orchestra with the Dallas Symphony (Editor’s Choice, Gramophone magazine), and, most recently, the Haydn piano sonatas and concertos with the Odense Philharmonic in Denmark. She tours each season with the Chamber Music Society, as a member of the piano quartet OPUS ONE, with violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and as part of a trio with her sisters Kerry and Maureen McDermott. Ms. McDermott studied at the Manhattan School of Music, has been awarded the Mortimer Levitt Career Development Award for Women and an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and won the Young Concert Artists auditions.

Violist Paul Neubauer has been called a “master musician” by the New York Times. He recently made his Chicago Symphony subscription debut with conductor Riccardo Muti and his Mariinsky Orchestra debut with conductor Valery Gergiev. He also gave the US premiere of the newly discovered Impromptu for viola and piano by Shostakovich with pianist Wu Han. In addition, his recording of the Aaron Kernis Viola Concerto with the Royal Northern Sinfonia was released on Signum Records and his recording of the complete viola/piano music by Ernest Bloch with pianist Margo Garrett was released on Delos. Appointed principal violist of the New York Philharmonic at age 21, he has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras including the New York, Los Angeles, and Helsinki philharmonics; National, St. Louis, Detroit, Dallas, San Francisco, and Bournemouth symphonies; and Santa Cecilia, English Chamber, and Beethovenhalle orchestras. He has premiered viola concertos by Bartók (revised version of the Viola Concerto), Friedman, Glière, Jacob, Kernis, Lazarof, Müller-Siemens, Ott, Penderecki, Picker, Suter, and Tower and has been featured on CBS’s Sunday MorningA Prairie Home Companion, and in The Strad, Strings, and People magazines. A two-time Grammy nominee, he has recorded on numerous labels including Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, RCA Red Seal, and Sony Classical and is a member of SPA, a trio with soprano Susanna Phillips and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott. Mr. Neubauer is the artistic director of the Mostly Music series in New Jersey and is on the faculty of The Juilliard School and Mannes College. 

Tara Helen O’Connor is a charismatic performer noted for her artistic depth, brilliant technique, and colorful tone spanning every musical era. Winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a two-time Grammy nominee, she was the first wind player to participate in CMS’s Bowers Program. A Wm. S. Haynes flute artist, she regularly appears at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo, the Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass, Spoleto USA, Chamber Music Northwest, Mainly Mozart Festival, Music from Angel Fire, the Banff Centre, the Great Mountains Music Festival, Chesapeake Music Festival, Rockport Chamber Music Festival in Massachusetts, Bay Chamber Concerts, and the Bravo! Vail Music Festival. She is a newly appointed co-artistic director of the Music from Angel Fire Festival in New Mexico. A much sought-after chamber musician and soloist, she is a founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning New Millennium Ensemble and a member of the woodwind quintet Windscape. She has premiered hundreds of new works and has collaborated with the Orion String Quartet, St. Lawrence Quartet, and Emerson Quartet. She has appeared on A&E’s Breakfast with the ArtsLive from Lincoln Center, and has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, EMI Classics, Koch International, CMS Studio Recordings with the Chamber Music Society, and Bridge Records. She is associate professor of flute and coordinator of classical music studies at Purchase College. She is also on the faculty of Bard College and Manhattan School of Music and is a visiting artist at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.