By Michael Johns
USCB Chamber Music has been proud to provide its full slate of concerts throughout the pandemic. Inconveniences included overcoming last minute artist and repertoire changes. One such scramble occurred with the December 2020 concert featuring cellist Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park. Planned as a public thank you and celebration of their many memorable concerts during Edward’s tenure as Artistic Director, COVID concerns forced Jeewon to remain in Massachusetts and a piano-cello recital featuring both the former and current Artistic Director was performed. On January 9, 2022, the husband-and-wife duo will try again and offer an evening of lyricism, passion, and power. Finally, the Lowcountry audience will have the opportunity to say thank you for 14 grand years.
The concert begins with Felix Mendelssohn’s Variations concertantes for Cello and Piano, an early set of variations ranging from youthful innocence to romantic fervor. Le Grand Tango for Cello and Piano, by Argentinian composer and bandoneón player Astor Piazzolla, percolates with rhythmic drive and evocative, sensual melodies. Jeewon Park and Andrew Armstrong then team up for a pair of arrangements for piano 4-hands. The first is Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, Opus 84, composed during the Napoleonic Wars for a production of Goethe’s play of the same name. It is the opening movement of Beethoven’s final “Heroic period” composition, in which he expresses his own political point of view by glorifying a man condemned to death for fighting oppression. The first half closes with a most American work: George Gershwin’s sassy and soaring Rhapsody in Blue.
Ed and Jeewon return to the stage with a sonata by one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century, Sergei Rachmaninoff. Sonata in g minor for Cello and Piano, Opus 19 is an imposing and passionate work that calls for an all-in, every-moment-counts approach. Knowing the duo’s formidable talents, the audience can anticipate an exquisite and thunderous conclusion to the concert.
Former Artistic Director Edward Arron is an exceptional cellist who performs a wide-ranging repertoire and repeatedly exhibited an encyclopedic knowledge of the chamber music canon. His leadership as a chamber-music series artistic director is unquestioned: 13 seasons with the Musical Masterworks concert series in Old Lyme, Connecticut; 10 years with the Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert series; 25 years as the curator of chamber music concerts at the Caramoor International Music Festival, and 14 years at the helm of USCB Chamber Music. A faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Amherst since 2016, Ed continues with an international performing schedule and is co-director, with his wife, Jeewon Park, of the Performing Artists in Residence series at Clark Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He also is a member of the highly regarded Ehnes String Quartet.
Jeewon Park came to the U.S. in 2002 after having won all the major competitions in her native Korea. She is well known to Beaufort audiences through her many memorable performances on this series. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Yale University, and SUNY Stony Brook, Ms. Park has been praised for her “deeply reflective playing” (Indianapolis Star) and “infectious exuberance” (New York Times). Jeewon has performed in prestigious venues across North America, Europe and Asia, is a sought-after chamber music collaborator, and co-directs the Clark Art Institute Performing Artists in Residence series, along with husband Ed Arron.
Artistic Director, host and pianist Andrew Armstrong has justifiably been praised by critics for his passionate expression and dazzling technique. In concerts across Asia, Europe, Latin America, Canada, and the United States, Andy has performed an enormous repertoire of solo and chamber music at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, the Rudolfinum of Prague, and Warsaw’s National Philharmonic. Andy is also an artist focused on the future of the classical music genre and in support of that ideal he relishes performing outreach programs and playing for children. Since the concert here on Halloween, he and violinist/chamber-music collaborator James Ehnes have played in concert halls from London to Geneva to rave reviews.
The frenetic holiday season is ramping up and will remain with us until the New Year. Celebrate the beginning of 2022 with a holiday gift of concert tickets that will ensure a festive afternoon of memorable music as the cold days of January arrive.
Join us in person or virtually for the highly anticipated third concert of USCB Chamber Music’s 42nd season. There are multiple ways to enjoy the January 9, 5:00pm concert—In-Person, Live-Stream and On-Demand. All concert videography is professionally produced: viewers will feel as if they are onstage with the performers. Live-stream is available at 5:00pm on the ninth, and on-demand is accessible four days after the concert for three weeks to all ticket holders. For concert information or to purchase tickets, either live or virtual, go to www.uscbchambermusic.com or call 843-208-8246, Monday through Friday. Located at 805 Carteret Street, the doors of the USCB Center for the Arts will open at 4:15 on the 9th. Current COVID guidelines are limiting the audience to three hundred and requiring masks.