Welcome to Festival Chamber Music

Zoltán Kodály

Posted on: March 22nd, 2012 by festivalchambers No Comments

Hi Everyone,

In 1905 when Zoltán Kodály was 20 years old and his friend and fellow Hungarian, Béla Bartók was 21, the two young men began a a project that would inspire them for the rest of their lives. Over a 10-year period, Kodály and Bartók spent their summers touring Hungarian villages and recording songs on wax or jotting them down as the villagers sang them. Together, they compiled and edited more than 3,000 Hungarian folk songs, authentic Magyar songs without the gypsy influence we often associate with Hungarian music.

Kodály was a man of many parts. In addition to his composing, he was an educator, serving as professor and then assistant director at the Budapest Academy of Music. He was a music critic for newspapers and journals in Hungary and the author of numerous scholarly writings on central European folk music. And he was an internationally recognized music educator; his “Kodály method” for developing musical literacy in school children has been adapted to many other countries àincluding the United States.

Kodály composed the Duo for Violin and Cello in 1914 at the height of his interest in Hungarian folk music, and the piece certainly reflects that interest. You might imagine yourself in the square of a Hungarian village on a summer evening listening to the local fiddler and cellist extemporize – except that the music demands virtuoso technical skills far beyond the average village musician.

Our concert on Thursday, March 29th which includes the Kodály Duo opens with Beethoven’s witty Variations on the German folk song, Ich Bin der Schneider Kakadu and concludes with the magnificent Brahms B Major trio.

I hope you will join us for another evening of glorious music!

Gabriela Lena Frank World Premiere

Posted on: January 23rd, 2012 by festivalchambers No Comments

As part of our 20th Anniversary celebration, we will be presenting the world premiere of a brand new work commissioned to mark this celebration (the ink is barely dry)!

This new work by Gabriela Lena Frank, is a duo for violin and piano. Entitled Mititos, it is a collection of pieces inspired by characters or objects that one might encounter in Latin American fables. It will be performed by violinist, Eriko Sato and pianist, David Oei to whom the piece is dedicated.

One of the most sought after composers of her generation, Ms. Frank was a 2009 recipient of the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and a winner of the Latin Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. Her works have been commissioned and performed by major orchestras and chamber organizations.

Ms. Frank (or Gabi as she is known to her friends) will speak about the new work at the concert.

The program opens with Mozart’s beloved Quartet in F Major, K.370 for Oboe and Strings and concludes with Dvorak’s gorgeous Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 87.

Leo Brouwer: Sultry Afro-Cuban Guitar/ Piano Music

Posted on: November 30th, 2011 by festivalchambers 1 Comment


Hi Everyone,

For those of you who don’t know Leo Brouwer’s work, I’m excited to introduce you to a wonderful composer! Brouwer who won a Latin Grammy award earlier this year for his CD, Integral Cuartetos de Cuerda (complete String Quartets) was born in Havana on March 1, 1939. The CD was recorded to commemorate the composer’s 70th birthday. He is one of Cuba’s leading classical guitarists and composers.

Leo Brouwer began composing and publishing his guitar pieces in the mid-1950s, but did not begin formal training until coming to the United States in 1960 to study at the Juilliard School. He traveled to Europe where he became fascinated avant guarde music, but his commitment to the role the artist in a revolutionary society, brought him back to Cuba where he has held posts with Radio Havana, the composition department of the Havana Conservatory and the music department of the Instituto de Arts Industria Cinematograficos for which he has written the scores for more than sixty films. His enormous influence on guitar music in particular and classical music in general is demonstrated by more than a hundred recordings on which he has played, composed or conducted.  Brouwer’s compositions reflect classical, Afro-Cuban, jazz and avant-garde influences.

Brouwer’s Tres Danzas Concertantes, which guitarist, Oren Fader will play with pianist, David Oei, on our December 8th concert was  originally written for solo guitar and string orchestra in 1958. It is Brouwer’s earliest significant work, dating from the years when instinct more than training was driving his creativity. In Brouwer’s words,

These pieces were a sort of résumé of my first hearings of Bartók and Stravinsky. Harmony? I knew nothing of harmony, but I had in my head the sounds I wanted, vertical and horizontal. I was clearly thinking of the spirit of my country, of the Afro-Cuban drums. Three dances from my country, my culture — some of their melodies sound Asiatic, some harmonies sound European, and the rhythms are African. That’s Cuba!

I hope you will join us on December 8th in Weill Recital Hall (in Carnegie Hall) for this beautiful and interesting program which also includes Beethoven’s buoyant Serenade for String Trio, Op 8 and the lushly romantic Piano Quartet by Richard Strauss.


Welcome to the Festival Chamber Music Blog!

Posted on: November 15th, 2011 by festivalchambers No Comments

When we started these concerts 20 years ago my colleagues and I wanted to create an atmosphere that felt as though we were sharing an evening of music together with friends at home. That is why those of you who are familiar with our concerts know how important we feel it is to connect with our audience. We are looking forward to having a blog as an opportunity to get to know you – our audience, to exchange ideas with you and share interesting information about chamber music in general and Festival Chamber Music in particular.

We invite you to join us in the conversation and look forward to hearing your ideas and comments!