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New Path for Chamber Music on Elmwood

Roman Mekinulov, Jacqueline Galluzzo, Valerie Heywood, and Ansgarius Aylward.

The popular music festival celebrates its 10th anniversary

When long-time BPO assistant concertmaster Ansgarius Aylward started the Chamber Music on Elmwood series back in 2001, he had a very definite idea about what he wanted to do. “I started the series,” says Aylward, “with the Hauskonzert concept in mind. This is prevalent in Europe, where friends gather at one another’s homes periodically to enjoy the marvelous wealth of chamber music. So far it has been very successful—this is the 10th anniversary season—and I have received copious positive reinforcement from both audience members and, especially, the performers themselves.”

As is usual, all three concerts in this year’s series will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo at 7pm on three Sundays in May, beginning this Sunday, May 8. “The series is entirely self-supporting,” Aylward says, “though occasionally individuals have come forward with large one-time donations, which are very much appreciated. We’ve always been very happy to rent the UUC as our performance venue, as the staff there has been more than helpful and accommodating.

“I myself have come to love the yearly Slee Beethoven Quartet cycle at UB, which we have here in Buffalo thanks to the very generous bequest from Frederick and Alice Slee,” he continues. “I decided to devote each of our three concerts to an individual composer, starting with Schubert, moving on to Brahms, and ending with Beethoven. This year’s single-composer-per-concert concept is something I am trying for the first time. Any feedback I get will be used in evaluating how to go forward next year.”

The first concert on the series this Sunday, devoted to the music of Franz Schubert, will feature pianists Claudia Hoca and Phyllis East in one of his many delightful duets for piano four-hands, Lebenssturme (The Storms of Life), Op. 144, as well as Aylward and Hoca in the D Major Sonatina for Violin and Piano, Op. 137, No.1. The Octet for Winds and Strings in F Major, Op. 166, will feature many first and second chair BPO musicians: Jacqueline Galluzzo, BPO associate principal second violin; Antoine Lefebvre, BPO principal second violin; Valerie Heywood, BPO principal viola; David Schmude, BPO cellist; Edmond Gnekow, BPO principal double-bass; John Fullam, BPO principal clarinet; Martha Malkiewicz, BPO bassoonist; and Daniel Kerdelewicz, BPO principal French horn.

Culture in Cinema: Philadelphia Orchestra

The simulcast at the Amherst Theater of a Philadelphia Orchestra performance on Saturday, May 7, will feature the distinguished German conductor Kurt Masur, the music director emeritus of the New York Philharmonic, who led that orchestra in its memorial remembrance performance of Brahms’ German Requiem in the days immediately following the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Saturday’s concert will feature Shostakovich’s Symphony No.1 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, Pathétique. The Philadelphia Orchestra, generally recognized as one of the “Big Five” American symphony orchestras, shocked the classical music world when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week. Attendance at these Philadelphia simulcasts is one small way that music lovers everywhere can offer their support.

The Amherst Theatre (3500 Main Street, across from UB South Campus), has been specially upgraded to accommodate the Culture in Cinema series. For more information, visit

The Brahms program for May 15 features a performance of the Horn Trio in E Flat Major, Op. 40, one of the most popular works in the chamber music repertoire, with BPO French horn player Jay Matthews, Aylward, and Hoca, as well as Two Songs for Alto, Viola and Piano, Op. 91, with mezzo-soprano Melissa Thorburn, Heywood, and Hoca. The evening will conclude with a performance of the String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111, with violinists Aylward and Galluzzo, violists Valerie Heywood and Natalie Piskorsky, anchored by BPO principal cellist Roman Mekinulov.

The final concert in this year’s series, on Sunday, May 29, is devoted to the music of Beethoven, and features a rare performance of the humorous Duet for Viola and Cello, WoO 32, subtitled mit zwei obligaten Augengläsern (“with two pairs of obbligato eyeglasses”), by BPO violist Kate Holzemer and BPO cellist Amelie Fradette, while the irresistible Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola in D Major, Op. 25, features flutist Natalie Scanio, with Aylward and Heywood. The most challenging work on the series finds violinists Aylward and Galluzzo joined by violist Heywood and BPO associate principal cellist Feng Hew in a performance of Beethoven’s monumental, late String Quartet in A Minor Op. 132.

Tickets are available only at the door, for $20. For more information, call 883-3150.

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