Violists, trombonists, and lutenists to gather in Northeast Ohio in June

Summer is the time when musical birds of a feather decide to flock together. During the month of June, critical masses of violists, trombonists, and lutenists will convene for festivals and seminars at the Oberlin Conservatory, Cleveland State University, and Case Western Reserve University.

It all starts with the American Viola Society, who will offer four public concerts in conjunction with their convention this week in Oberlin. On Wednesday, June 8 at 7:30 pm, the Jasper String Quartet (left) will open the series in Warner Concert Hall with guest violist Liz Freivogel and music by Beethoven, Missy Mazzoli, Donnacha Dennehy, and Brahms.

A Warner Concert Hall event on the following evening, June 9 at 7:30 pm, will celebrate the career achievement of Robert Vernon, principal viola of The Cleveland Orchestra, with a program of music by Max Bruch, Robert Schumann, and Gabriel Fauré performed by Vernon, violinist Elmar Oliveira, cellist Ralph Curry, and pianist Carolyn Warner. 

Violist Kim Kashkashian and pianist Michael Bukhman will be featured in Warner Concert Hall on Friday, June 10 at 7:30 pm in a program of Kashkashian’s arrangements of music by Béla Bartók and Antonín Dvořák.

The closing recital on Saturday, June 11 in Finney Chapel will mark two premieres: a work for viola and piano by Paul Wiancko and Kenji Bunch’s Rise (And Shine), featuring a mass ensemble of festival participants. Other performers will include Primrose International Viola Competition Laureates Ayane Kozasa and Zhanbo Zheng, with pianist Allie Su.

Tickets to all performances will be on sale at the door for $20 ($10 students and seniors).

What subjects are on the minds of violists when they get together to share information? This year’s gathering is titled “Exploring New Pathways.” Master classes, presentations, and panel discussions will cover such topics as Teaching Alternate Styles on Viola (learning music by ear); Music For Singing Violist; Common Needs and Challenges Facing Dyslexic Music Students; Synergy: Western Musical Practice and Asian Aesthetics; and Extended Techniques and Collaborating With Composers. Robert Vernon will share his expertise in Teaching Teachers to Teach Orchestral Excerpts; and a workshop titled Oh Mr. Paganini, Don’t Be Such a Meanie will discuss unusual techniques needed to play Niccolò Paganini’s Caprices.

Moving on to low brass: the Cleveland Trombone Seminar is the brainchild of Cleveland Orchestra assistant principal Shachar Israel. The Seminar draws an impressive list of major orchestra players to work with students on the campus of Cleveland State University for its fifth edition this month.

Shachar Israel will play the opening faculty recital on Saturday, June 11 at 2:00 pm, with Deborah Yasutake at the piano. Three 6:00 pm faculty recitals follow on Monday, June 13 (Nitzan Haroz with pianist Shuai Wang), Wednesday, June 15 (Mark Lusk with Deborah Yasutake), and Thursday, June 16 (Stephen Lange with Shuai Wang).

Randall Hawes will play the final faculty recital with Deborah Yasutake on Saturday, June 18 at 4:00 pm. Then all the faculty, associates, and participants will take part in a final concert on Sunday, June 19 at 2:00 pm.

All trombone seminar recitals will be held in CSU’s Drinko Hall and tickets will be on sale at the door for $15. The final concert is free.

In addition to master classes and ensemble experiences, trombonists will have the opportunity to play a mock audition, explore wellness through yoga and meditation, learn about the Feldenkrais techniques for preventing and recovering from injuries, and participate in clinics about performance anxiety and correct practice techniques.

And now the lutenists: the Lute Society of America will gather on the Case Western Reserve University campus late in June for a variety of activities. Paul O’Dette (above) will play the first recital, a program for Renaissance Lute, on Sunday, June 26 at 7:30 pm. Other performances will feature Baroque guitarist Xavier Díaz-Latoree on Monday, June 27 at 1:00 pm; Nigel North, Baroque lute, on the 27th at 7:30 pm; Robert Barto, Baroque lute, on Tuesday, June 28 at 7:30 pm; and Jakob Lindberg and Emma Kirkby, lute and voice, on Wednesday, June 29 at 7:30 pm.

Various lutenists will combine for three events: a Scholarship Concert on Thursday, June 30 at 1:00 pm; a program for “Three, Four, and Twenty Lutes” on June 30 at 7:30 pm; and a Participant Concert on Friday, July 1 at 7:30 pm.

All performances will be held in Harkness Chapel, where tickets will be on sale at the door for $20 (general admission) and $10 (students and seniors).

During their week-long gathering, lutenists can enjoy a long list of lectures, workshops, and master classes, including Making It Up: Improvising on the Lute; The Mechanics of Renaissance Lute Playing (including advanced “dirty tricks”); and Resurrection and Redemption: Making an Unplayable Lute Playable. Returning to our opening “birds of a feather” theme, soprano Ellen Hargis will offer a lecture called Songbirds, featuring lute songs about nightingales, ravens, larks, cuckoos, and other avian creatures.

Published on ClevelandClassical.com June 7, 2016.

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