Tantalizing programming and brilliant execution. That is what Lowcountry audiences have come to expect and treasure from USCB Chamber Music. The upcoming season will reaffirm that commitment with 26 works by 18 composers from 10 countries. Thirteen distinguished performers, seven new to this series, will bring the music to life. There is something for everyone during the five- concert season.
It gets off to a dazzling start on October 31 with music of warmth, comradeship, and Viennese romanticism by Robert Schumann (Violin Sonata No. 3 and Märchenbilder [“Fairytale Pictures”] for viola and piano) and Johannes Brahms (Sonatensatz and Violin Sonata No 3). The works of these close friends will be performed by another pair of close friends: fellow virtuosos and frequent duet partners violinist/violist James Ehnes and Artistic
Director/pianist Andrew Armstrong. James Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after violinists on the international stage. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favorite guest at the worlds most celebrated concert halls. Pianist Andrew Armstrong has been praised by critics for his passionate expression and dazzling technique while delighting audiences with a sprawling repertoire of more than 50 concertos with orchestra. Andrew’s 2021-2022 season takes him around the globe with concerts in London, Glasgow, Geneva, Dresden, and across the US, Canada, and Australia. Nevertheless, Beaufort continues to be a favorite destination, and he has made space in his packed itinerary to continue a USCB Chamber Music Artistic-Director tradition and perform on all five concerts.
The first half of the second concert is a fascinating example of variety, difference, and commonality. Twelve short movements from 1898-1945 by Béla Bartók, Grażyna Bacewicz, Amy Beach, William Grant Still, and Lili Boulanger paint evocative pictures from differing musical and national traditions. The half closes with a more recent work by Paul Wiancko: American Haiku, for Viola and Cello. Following intermission, Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet, Opus 44 will bring the concert to a rousing close. Violinist Gabriela Diaz is a champion of contemporary music who works with new music groups in Boston and across the country. A childhood cancer survivor, Gabriela supports cancer research and treatment as a musician by organizing chamber music concerts in cancer units at various Boston hospitals. Michi Wiancko is a violinist and composer whose creative work encompasses a wide spectrum of new composition and commissions, performance, recording and teaching. Violist Ayane Kozasa is a respected chamber musician, collaborator, competition winner, orchestral performer, and educator. She has commissioned multiple new works featuring viola, including Paul Wacko’s American Haiku. Strad magazine describes cellist Ani Aznavoorian as having “scorchingly committed performances that wring every last drop of emotion out of the music. Her technique is well-nigh immaculate, she has a natural sense of theater, and her tone is astonishingly responsive.” Her performances at USCB last season confirmed this review.
Two well known, longtime series favorites, cellist and former Artistic Director Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park, return early in the new year. They will play works that are suave and refined (Felix Mendelssohn’s Variations Concertante, Opus 17), feisty and rakish (Astor Piazzola Le Grand Tango), imposing and passionate (Sergei Rachmaninoff Sonata in G minor, Opus 19). Jeewon and Andrew Armstrong will team up for piano four-hands orchestral music of Beethoven (Egmont Overture) and Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue). After a one-year covid delay, this will be a celebratory concert to thank Ed and Jeewon for 14 brilliant years and to encourage them to return soon and often.
In March three performers will be featured. Violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv
enjoys an international career as soloist, recording artist, teacher, and chamber musician throughout Europe, North America, and China. French hornist Jennifer Montone has held the principal French horn position of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 2006. She is a highly regarded teacher, winner of many solo competitions and awards, and a coveted chamber music collaborator. Each performer will take a soloist’s turn: Solomiya Ivakhiv (Sergei Prokofiev Violin Sonata No. 2), Jennifer Montone (William Grant Still (Songs for Horn and Piano) and Andrew Armstrong (Fryderyk Chopin Scherzo No. 2 in B minor). The concert, the champagne reception, and in particular the Chopin Scherzo, a Lortz favorite, will be performed in memory of William Lortz, a long-time, tireless supporter of USCB Chamber Music. The three artists coalesce to conclude the program with Brahms’ Trio for Horn, Violin, and Piano, Opus 40.
The season finale has delights for every musical taste: dance, sophistication, swagger, substance, intimacy, something familiar/something brand new. It begins with a work by Victorian composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (African Dances for Violin and Piano, Opus 58) and continues with a world-premiere composition by the American composer Jeremy Taylor, Six-Mile House for Clarinet Violin, Cello, and Piano. Movement titles foretell its character: “Wayfarer’s Tea” “The Bed” Old City Jail” Gallows Leap.” Following intermission Paquito d’Rivera’s Vals Venezolano y Contradanza and George Gershwin’s Three Preludes, both for clarinet and piano, alternately sooth and excite. The curtain comes down on the season with Brahms’ Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor, Opus 101, a tightly coiled and compact work with a profusion of musical ideas displaying Brahms’ consummate mastery of compositional craft. Clarinetist Igor Begelman’s virtuosity and imagination has earned him a formidable list of awards, honors, and engagements as orchestral soloist, chamber musician, and masterclass presenter in the US and abroad. Violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti, an always welcome, returning guest artist is equally versatile as a chamber musician, concertmaster, and educator. Juilliard-trained cellist Raphael Bell performs as a principal cellist, chamber musician, teacher, and festival director across Europe and the US. Multi-talented musician Jeremy Turner studied cello at Juilliard and joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at age 21, rising to assistant principal. His original compositions have been heard around the world, from Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House, as has his scoring work on multiple projects for Disney+, HBO, Netflix, and Hulu.
Support the Arts! Engage with the mystery and excitement of chamber music where your performance experience is personal in scale and intense in communication, exploring the full range of human emotion. Join us for USCB Chamber Music’s impressive upcoming season. There are multiple ways to enjoy the concerts—In Person, 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/ticket information, go to http://www.uscbchambermusic.com or call 843-208-8246, Monday through Friday. All concerts will be at the USCB Center for the Arts on Carteret Street at 5:00 pm on the following Sundays: October 31, December 5, January 9, March 6, and April 10.