Friday, October 16, 2020 marked this semester’s first Friday Afternoon Musicale and the Chatham University Music Program’s first virtual concert, as well as the first virtual concert on the ChathamU Music Program YouTube channel. This series of firsts was a success with pianist James Iman’s intense, contemplative program and enthusiastic online presence during the premiere.
The program featured piano works by female composers including Elisabeth Lutyens, Jeanne Strieder, Soe Tjen Marching, and Annea Lockwood. In fact, Jeanne Strieder was present during the premiere to answer questions as her piece was performed.
If you missed the premiere, you can still watch the full concert on our YouTube channel at this link: https://youtu.be/NtEin3qRNrc.
We’re so grateful we could continue our Friday Afternoon Musicale series this semester and hope you will join us for our next virtual event, American Awakening, with our flute instructor Zoe Sorrell.
Happy birthday, Amadeus! Thank you to all who attended our Music for Food concert last night in honor of Mozart’s 264th birthday. We raised over $900 for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to help the hungry in the Pittsburgh area. Mozart certainly would have felt the same warmth we felt while listening to his music by knowing that it benefitted such a humanitarian cause as this–and indeed, it brought warmth to the cold January night. We especially thank our performers for their work, as this concert would have been impossible without them!
The Chatham University Music Program concert series began its Spring semester with the continuation of Walter Morales’s Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas series. Part XI was a pianistic success, as was proven by the overflowing Founders’ Room and all-around enthusiasm for Beethoven. Morales’s display of personally collected Beethoven scholarship (spanning about six music stands) showed his passion and expertise for the composer and his music, all of which clearly informed Morales’s interpretation and gave life to the attentive precision with which he played. There wasn’t a better way to begin the decade of the ’20s!
This Sunday, we celebrated Thanksgiving a little early with Aria412’s delicious performance of songs on themes of food, drink, and revelry from opera, musical theatre, and cinema. The entire program was permeated with personality, humor, sugar, and spice. These songs certainly must’ve had their fair share of time in the oven, as they came out fresh, crisp, and fully cooked without being overdone. Serving us appetizers, main dishes, and dessert, Kelly Lynch, Desirée Soteres, Kathy Soroka, Kevin Adamik, William Andrews, Zoé Soteres, and Matt Gillespie are truly musical chefs who displayed their mastery of singing (and playing, in Gillespie’s case) tunes both savory and sweet!
We give special thanks to the talented and award-winning Akina Kondoh for her performance this Friday as she shared with us the last piano compositions of Bach, Chopin, Debussy, Scriabin, and Schubert. The highlight of the recital was Kondoh’s masterful rendition of Scriabin’s “Vers la flamme.” In the moments before she played, Kondoh spoke of her desire to convey the obsession with mysticism and ecstasy that Scriabin had especially near the end of his life; with hair-raising intensity, Kondoh transported us into an ecstatic realm and towards the flame that so enticed Scriabin.
Last Saturday, Roy Sonne, Yeeha Chiu, and Kathy Melucci performed a beautiful program in memoriam of last year’s Tree of Life victims. Heartfelt expression and exquisite musicianship insinuated their way into the hearts of the audience, and, soothing like a balm, demonstrated to all the healing power of music.
This past Friday, vocal group Aria412 performed songs from the golden age of Broadway at the chapel. The gaps that the unfortunately small audience could not fill in such a big space were compensated by the full, resonant voices of the performers, who truly transformed the atmosphere into a glittering scene of spunk, sass, and beauty as they became the characters in a variety of Broadway and show tunes. Every heart brimmed with fondness as the sentimental journey finished its course, gently letting the audience off at the train station of reality.
Bravo to Matthew Bengtson, who performed at Chatham on September nineteenth on his copy of a 1785 Anton Walter fortepiano! Bengtson’s playing transported us back to 18th-century Vienna, providing an enriching perspective to what Bach’s, Haydn’s, and Mozart’s music would have really sounded like, bringing their presence, made distant by the centuries that separate them from us, back to life in the fortepiano. After the performance, the audience jumped at the chance to try out the instrument, which proved to be very sensitive to any unevenness and quite difficult to control–this made Bengtson’s playing all the more impressive. Thank you to all who joined us for this exciting first concert of the 2019 Fall semester!
World-renowned pianist, Finghin Collins, privileged the Chatham community with the opportunity of hearing his lecture-recital. Collins played an exquisite program of music by John Field, Chopin, Mozart, and Schubert, as well as two contemporary Irish composers, Philip Martin and Marian Ingoldsby, performing their works from the Ros Tapestry Suite, which, as the New Ross Piano Festival site describes, “represents a variegated musical response to the Ros Tapestry, an impressive fifteen-panel work of embroidery tracing the history of the Norman invasion of Ireland.” Collins, in a remarkable way, infused in his music both the remembrance of things past and the freshness of the contemporary, performing simultaneously with gravitas and lightness, attentive to every subtlety. The Chatham community offers an indelible gratitude and a perpetual bravo to Finghin Collins!
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians Kelsey Blumenthal (violin), Deanna Badizadegan (viola), Will Chow (cello), and Max Blair (oboe) performed with pianist Francesca Tortorello at our second Music for Food concert this semester. These brilliant musicians delivered a program of works by Britten, Loeffler, and Brahms, exhibiting remarkable sensitivity, passion, and masterful musicianship.
Being one of our first programs since the daylight savings time change, it was warm and light outside as the concert started. The performers serenaded our audience into the evening, beginning with the jaunty militancy of Britten’s Phantasy Quartet, Op. 2 for oboe and string trio, and capturing, in the Loeffler and Brahms pieces, the shifts between the shadows and light we saw outside. Bravo and thank you to these talented artists who showed us that music is truly food for the soul, as well as to our audience for their generous contributions to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
Photo credits: Yundian Jing