Fresh crop for student chamber music recitals

Yemi Falodun | Staff Writer

Welcome to where the setting is intimate, the pairings are unpredictable and the chemistry can make for unforgettable music.

Chamber music is both musical and social. It is an artful balance between musicians and their score. And many young musicians will join in that exchange, during the Student Chamber Music Recital series, beginning at 4 p.m. tonight at McKnight Hall.

“Unlike in an orchestra, where you are pretty much following the conductor and their vision of the piece, you are on your own here,” said Arie Lipsky, School of Music chamber music chair.

Lipsky leads faculty members in forming groups and assigning coaches. The mixes are meant to be eclectic, giving returning and new students a refreshing take on things.

“You have the joy of working in a group, but it’s so small that you’re individuality is not completely lost,” Lipsky said about the creative outlet the chamber music series provides the students, who are enrolled in such a demanding program.

Sixteen-year-old violinist Billy Bao, who made his Chautauqua debut last year, said the intensity and fun of the chamber music performances are the major reasons why he is back again.

“I learned how to communicate with other instruments properly, take the rhythm into my own hands and shape the music accordingly to everyone else,” Bao said.

Bao will be playing the “Suite for Violin, Clarinet and Piano,” by Darius Milhaud tonight, under his familiar maestro, Jacques Israelievitch, from the University of Toronto. Israelievitch encouraged the young violinist to come to Chautauqua.

Jessica Lipstone, who will play flute in the Damase Quintet at Friday’s recital, shares a similar story with Bao.

During the past academic year at Indiana University, Lipstone took a class with revered conductor and Chautauqua alumnus David Effron.

“I never had a teacher push harder than he pushed me,” Lipstone said about Effron.

The 19-year-old flutist is anticipating the chance to play with diverse musicians.

“I’ve never been in a group with a vocalist before, so I’m really looking forward to hearing how we sound,” Lipstone said.

For some, the creative mix for the ensembles can feel daunting. But to Yi Qing Tang, a 23-year-old pianist, chamber music is an opportunity to meet people and to produce beautiful music.

“When you say hello to each other, you already begin to rehearse,” Yi said. “Each of us has a very special characteristic, but then we need to perform like one body.”

The ensemble in which she plays, the Schubert “Trout” Quintet, will perform at 2 p.m. Thursday in McKnight Hall.

Programs for upcoming student rectials are available at