School of Music’s chamber series concludes with concerts this weekend

Zoe Kolenovsky
Staff writer

Offering students the chance to showcase their musical talents through a collaborative approach, the School of Music will conclude its chamber music series for the summer with three concerts this weekend.

The chamber music program allows students to develop their artistic voice through a different format than the large orchestral performances or solo recitals. Musicians from the Instrumental and Piano Programs collaborate on classical works without the authoritative influence of a conductor, teaching them to balance their individual voice with the melody of the group in an exercise of creative responsibility.

Working on so many attributes of musical technique means that the students face an intense seven weeks of programming at the Institution, but harpist Zibin Zhou remarked that the experience has been overwhelmingly beneficial.

“The performances were varied and rich in selections, covering a wide range of forms,” she said. “For performers, such a program list is a wonderful experience. I have enjoyed working with these superb musicians and have met many good people here.”

Under the guidance of Kathryn Votapek, chair of chamber music, the students have been having trainings and rehearsals for the chamber concerts since the beginning of the summer. They appeared in two sessions of chamber performances: a series of three shows in mid-July and the five-show sequence taking place this week, with one per day on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and two shows Sunday evening.

Chautauquans can attend the first performance this weekend at 4 p.m. this Saturday in Fletcher Music Hall, which will feature 16 students of the MSFO’s string section.

The program will begin with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s well-known Quartet in C Major, K. 465, commonly referred to as the “Dissonance Quartet.” The four movements will be performed by Pavlo Kyryliuk and Jaewon Jun on violin, Mack Jones on viola, and Anna Holmes on cello.

Following this will be String Quartet No. 1, a piece by Black American composer Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson. Violinists Noah Arcenas and Matthew Muchasio will be joined by violist Joia Findeis and cellist Ari H. Scott to perform the composition.

The concert is set to conclude with a selection of movements from Felix Mendelssohn’s Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20, a piece Votapek said is “always an audience-pleaser.” 

The eight students taking on this challenge are violinists Hobart Shi, Carlos Chacon, Caroline Cornell, and Jameson Darcy; violists Mira Vaughn and Emma Johnson; and cellists Griffin Seuter and Teo Dage.

The first of Sunday’s concerts will take place at 4 p.m., also in Fletcher, and will again highlight the talents of the School’s string musicians.

The concert begins with another piece by the German Mendelssohn, his Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 12. This will be performed by Evan Schuman and Noah Ghosh on violin, Owne Xayboury on viola, and Adrian Hsieh on cello.

They will be followed by violinists Eric Yun and Gabriel Roth, violist JeongJae Lee, and cellist Layla Morris in a rendition of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 8, Op. 110.

The final item in the program is a selection of movements from Antonin Dvorak’s Quartet in D Minor, Op. 34. The piece will be played by Amelia Posner-Hess and Nora Wang on violin, Diego Mieres on viola, and Jooahn Yoo on cello.

The final chamber concert of the summer for the School of Music will begin at 7 p.m. Sunday in Fletcher. The show consists of five works performed by 13 students from the string, brass, and woodwind sections.

Hornist Katya Jarmulowicz, trumpeter Kevin Skinkis, and trombonist Dane Magruder will open the show with two pieces. First will be German composer Oskar Bohme’s Prelude and Fugue for Brass Trio, followed by the French Francis Poulenc’s Sonata for Horn, Trumpet and Trombone.

The evening will continue with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Quartet in F Major, Op. 18 No. 1, performed by Valerie Xu-Friedman and Kate Nelson on violin, Lily Jonsson on viola, and Sofia Puccio on cello.

The next item in the program is Vincent Persichetti’s Serenade  No. 10 for Flute and Harp, Op. 79. Harpist Zhou will be joined by flutist Ivo Shin de Souza to deliver the piece.

“The harp and the flute have always been a very popular combination … (as) the harmonies of the harp blend exceptionally well with those of the flute,” said Zhou.

“Ivo and I are very happy to be able to play this duet,” she continued. “I always look forward to playing with different people because there’s always a new spark in the collaboration process.”

They will be followed by violinists John Heo and Wendi Li, violist Ho Fei Ng, and cellist Abby Hanna for the show’s finale: a selection of movements from Jean Sibelius’ String Quartet, Op. 56, “Voces Intimae,” which is Latin for “intimate” or “inner voices.”

“(It is) a really evocative and emotional piece that doesn’t appear often in situations like this because of its intricacy and the demands it places on the players,” Votapek said.

Heo agreed — he had his fellow students works very hard, in a short amount of time, to learn the piece, and he said it was going well.

“This piece includes some harmonies and different melodies from the instruments,” he said. “All the instruments have the conversational quality of the music with each other.”

As the season draws to a close, the students noted that studying at the Chautauqua School of Music has made for an enjoyable and memorable summer.

“Everyone is very energetic and experienced, and I also enjoy my life outside of Chautauqua music, (as) the Chautauqua community is full of activities every day,” Zhou said

“I really enjoyed my time at Chautauqua, especially chamber music and orchestra with other students from different music schools,” Heo said. “It was a fun summer, and I was glad to participate in this festival with other talented musicians.”

“The orchestra has an atmosphere of mutual help and solidarity,” Zhou said. “I have learned a lot from experienced and skillful teachers, and this has helped me to maintain a passion to continue exploring my professional path.”


The author Zoe Kolenovsky