By Michael Johns

Amy Schwartz Moretti

On Sunday, March 3, 5:00 pm, USCB Chamber Music will present a concert filled with a spectacular mix of musical colors and styles. Artistic Director, pianist, and host Andrew Armstrong has assembled a program to satisfy all tastes, including deep introspection, plaintive song, dreamy sensuousness, sacred hymnody, razzmatazz jazz, and hefty romantic splendor. A combination of six new and returning artists will assemble in five configurations (piano trio; four piano-accompanied works for viola, horn and clarinet; a sextet including all artists) to perform works by six composers (Rebecca Clarke, Ernst von Dohnànyi, George Gershwin, Florence Price, Sergei Rachmaninov, and Camille Saint-Saëns).

The first half of the concert introduces the performers, beginning with Rachmaninov’s Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor for piano, violin, and cello. Written at age 19 while under the influence of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov modeled it after that master’s Piano Trio in A minor (heard on the January concert) in an expressive audible panorama with from-the-heart intensity. Camille Saint-Saens is represented by his tuneful and gentle Romance for valveless French horn and piano. Rebecca Clarke’s Morpheus displays English bearing leavened with impressionistic ambiance in her ethereal narrative of Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, for viola and piano. Two works by American composers, arranged for clarinet and piano, round out the first half: Florence Price’s Adoration, a sublimely melodic incantation, and George Gershwin’s three-movement Prelude No. 1, a sassy, jazz-age celebration.

Concluding the program is a dazzling, hyper-romantic showpiece: Sextet for Violin, Viola, Cello,

RJ Kelly

Horn, Clarinet and Piano, Op. 37 by Ernst von Dohnányi. A major force in Hungarian music as a pianist, composer, conductor, and administrator, the sextet showcases Dohnányi’s lyricism, expansive sonic vistas, and sparkling wit. It is a unique, strong,  masterful work and the unusual combination produces a huge, orchestra-scale color palette. Because of its novel size and instrumentation it is under-represented in concert halls; do not miss the opportunity to hear this masterpiece live in Beaufort!

Violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti makes a welcome return. A frequent presence on this series, she has a distinguished musical career of broad versatility, being equally adaptable as soloist, chamber musician, concertmaster, and educator. In the latter category, she is the inaugural Director of Mercer University’s McDuffie Center for Strings.

Violist Gabriela Diaz, a celebrated performer and advocate for contemporary music, has worked closely with many significant composers on their own compositions as a member of multiple Boston area contemporary music groups. A childhood cancer survivor, she is a firm believer in the healing properties of music, leading her to organize colleagues for chamber music performances in numerous hospital cancer units.

Raphael Bell

Cellist Raphael Bell enjoys a varied career as a principal cellist, chamber musician, teacher, and festival director. He is currently principal cellist of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra (Belgium), founder and co-director of the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival (Virginia) and co-Artistic Director of La Loingtaine in Montigny-sur-Loing (France).

Clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein has performed in recital, with distinguished orchestras, and with chamber ensembles worldwide. A winner of multiple competitions, recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant Award, and Professor of Clarinet at the Peabody School, Mr. Fiterstein’s playing is described in The Washington Post as “dazzling in its spectrum of colors, agility, and range. Every sound he makes is finely measured without inhibiting expressiveness.”

French hornist R.J. Kelly is a versatile musician who is comfortable playing in the middle of

Gabriella Diaz

opera, ballet, symphony, and conductor-less orchestras, in front of ensembles as a concerto soloist, and in jazz groups around the world. As if this did not keep him busy enough, he has a second international horn-playing career on the valveless horn which requires very different techniques, equipment, and repertoire than the modern valved (French) horn. On this program he will display his artistry on both instruments.

Rounding out the ensemble is deeply engaged, captain-of-the-ship Artistic Director, loquacious host, and barn-storming pianist Andrew Armstrong, who recently returned from a successful solo recital in London’s Wigmore Hall. He will hold the music-making together by playing on every piece, providing sensitive accompaniment, exquisitely synchronized ensemble passagework, or dashing éclat as needed.

Alexander Fiterstein

Experience in-the-moment creativity with artists who have crafted major careers and arrive in Beaufort with the performance-earned reputations that they will deliver an intriguing, soothing, probing, joyous, and memorable concert. The January concert was a complete sell-out, Don’t take a chance at missing this event; reserve your seat today for the Lowcountry’s premiere chamber music series. There are three ways to enjoy the concert: in person and virtually by Live-Stream and On-Demand. All virtual concerts are professionally produced, creating great viewing opportunities. On-Demand is accessible four days after the concert and available to view at your leisure for three weeks. For concert, event, or ticket information, go to or call 843-208-8246, Monday through Friday. The concert is Sunday, March 3, 5:00 pm at the USCB Center for the Arts, 801 Carteret Street, Beaufort in the downtown historic district.