Dmitri Shostakovich, a Soviet-Russian citizen of delicate temperament, was molded under the iron thumb of Stalin. He was alternately hailed as a shining example of socialist superiority or denigrated as an enemy of the state. The anxiety-producing dualism of being either an honored, respected artist or fearing for his life comes out in his music. Piano Quintet in g minor, Opus 57 flows with powerful images, biting sarcasm, and tender introspection. It is a compelling and often muscular work not to be missed. Following intermission, the concert concludes with the Piano Quintet in A Major, Opus 81 by Antonin Dvořák. This work brims with the joy and fullness of life. Like much of Dvořák’s music, it is tuneful, with a warm and easy familiarity. As in his well-known Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”, written while visiting America, the quintet utilizes an almost orchestral palette of colors to create a welcoming atmosphere of hearth-fires flickering, friendships renewed, festive dancing, and comforting memories.
All of the musicians bringing this music to life are USCB Chamber Music veterans. They have been trained in the leading conservatories of the U.S., gone from there into international careers, winning prizes and accolades, and garnering respected teaching positions at leading music schools. Pianist Rieko Aizawa has been praised by the New York Times for an “impressive musicality”, violinist Hye-Jin Kim won First Prize at the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition at age nineteen, two-time Grammy nominated violinist Jesse Mills earned First Prize at the Zinetti International Competition, dual-threat artist Ara Gregorian will play viola on this concert but is equally comfortable on the violin and has built a career around teaching, chamber music and solo performance. Beaufort’s visiting-favorite-son, cellist Edward Arron, is always a welcome presence who provides impeccable musicality, sure technique, and insightful, affable commentary.
It has been a memorable season. The performances have been spectacular; in fact, spectacular has become an expectation rather than an exception. An Endowment campaign has been started with the intention of keeping this musical jewel sparkling for generations to come. The response has been gratifying and indicative of the supporters’ belief in the capacity of the series to enrich the life of our community.
Feel the excitement at the USCB Chamber Music concert on Sunday, April 22 at 5:00pm. A free Preconcert Conversation with Dr. Michael Johns will be presented in the concert hall from 4:00-4:30pm. Series information and tickets, as well as information about the newly launched Endowment, are available on www.uscb.edu/chambermusic or at 843-208-8246, Monday through Friday. The USCB Center for the Arts, located at 801 Carteret Street, opens at 3:30pm on the day of the concert. Come and experience the joy of chamber music for yourself!