Strings, brass students highlighted in second installment of chamber series

Zoe Kolenovsky
Staff writer

This evening, the School of Music’s Instrumental Program will present the second in a series of five chamber music concerts scheduled for this weekend.

At 6 p.m. tonight in Fletcher Music Hall, 18 students from the Music School Festival Orchestra will perform a selection of works for the audience without the guiding baton of a conductor.

Thursday’s show highlighted the talents of mainly woodwind and piano students, while the concert this evening will feature students from the strings and brass sections.

“I think each program will be interesting and exciting,” said Kathryn Votapek, chair of chamber music at the School of Music. “There are so many pieces that are special, it’s hard to know where to begin.”

The program will begin with a selection of movements by Antonin Dvořák’s Terzetto in C Major, Op. 74. The trio, which Votapek notes is a lesser-known piece the audience is sure to enjoy, will be performed by violinists Gabriella Foster and Rachel Lawton with violist Anna Stein.

“Another highlight will be Barber’s moving Adagio for Strings,” said Votapek, which will be performed entirely on bass by Duo Chen, Olivia McCallum, Eric Reigelsperger and JoHanna Arnold.

The final strings piece will be selected movements from Mozart’s String Quintet in C Minor, K. 406, delivered by violinists Laura Herrera and Sarah Yang, violists Kate Reynolds and Ian Jenson, and cellist Maria Savarese.

The last two items in the program are brass quintets. The first movement of Victor Ewald’s Brass Quintet #3, Op. 7, will be played by Fiona Shonik and Jeremy Bryant on trumpet, Dena Levy on horn, Tsz Yin Ho on tenor trombone, and Ian Graves on tuba.

“The musicians in my quintet are truly incredible,” Levy said. “I have loved learning from them and with them. Seeing our quintet improve more and more every time we play is so rewarding.”

Levy will be rejoined by Shonik, Bryant and Ho, as well as bass trombonist Evan Beachy, for the finale of the recital: various selections from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story Suite, arranged by Jack Gale. The students will be performing “Maria,” “Tonight,” “One Hand One Heart,” “I Feel Pretty” and “Somewhere” — familiar, delightful songs for many.

Trombone instructor Scott Hartman coached this quintet, and Levy expressed her gratitude for his guidance during rehearsals.

“He was not only a nice person, but pushed us past what we thought we were capable of to truly mesh together as a single unit,” she said. “I learned so many new things about playing in a chamber group from him.”

As the last chamber performance of the summer for many of the musicians, the students have been reflecting on what studying this summer at Chautauqua has taught them.

“One of my goals coming in was to get experience as a first horn so that I am better prepared to lead a section,” Levy said. “I feel like I have already gotten so much better at being a respectful and confident principal horn. … I have learned so much from every musician around me.”

Levy will be performing with the rest of the MSFO this Monday for a capstone performance in the Amphitheater, where she will be able to showcase her development as a section leader in a performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor.

“Overall, it’s been such an amazing summer, and I can’t wait to come back,” she said.


The author Zoe Kolenovsky