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Sounds of Summer

Eugene Gaub and Nancy McFarland Gaub.

Roycroft Chamber Music Festival opens this Saturday

Celebrating its 18th season, the Roycroft Chamber Music Festival returns to its home in St. Matthias Episcopal Church on the corner of Maple and Main in East Aurora, for two weekends of music, beginning this Saturday, June 11, at 8pm.

Violinist Nancy McFarland Gaub and her husband, pianist Eugene Gaub, are former Buffalo residents who have been faculty members at Grinnell College in Iowa for many years, yet their ties to the Buffalo area have remained strong, no more so than in their continuing role as the artistic directors of the Roycroft Chamber Music Festival that they founded while living here. The Roycroft Festival features a core group of musicians who return to perform every year, including many BPO members and local free-lance musicians, as well as a select group of out-of-towners who are only too happy to be invited to East Aurora to take part in what has become a local tradition.

The musical selections to be performed are, as always, a mix of both the familiar and the rarely heard. The opening night program this Saturday, devoted to the music of Mozart, features a pair of his trios: pianist Eugene Gaub, violinist Rebekah Johnson, and cellist Eva Herer, perform the Piano Trio in G Major, K. 564, while violinist Nancy McFarland Gaub, violist Donna Lorenzo, and cellist Scott Ballantyne join forces for the Divertimento in E Flat, K. 563, completed in 1788, the same year that Mozart composed his last three great symphonies. Also on the program is the Sonata in B Flat Major for Bassoon and Cello, K. 292, featuring Glenn Einschlag, bassoon, and David Schmude, cello.

On Sunday, June 12, at 7pm, pianist Gaub joins Andrea Cone, violin, Ann Roggen, viola, and Roman Mekinulov, cello, in Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quartet in C Minor, Op. 15, while Johnson, McFarland Gaub, Roggen and Ballantyne take on the challenge of performing Beethoven’s String Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 127, the first quartet in that composer’s group of late string quartets, a group of works that many music lovers feel have not been equaled, let alone surpassed, in the history of the medium.

For the first time this season, the festival will include a Friday night concert, when on June 17 at 8pm a pair of quartets are featured: Haydn’s String Quartet in E Flat Major, Opus 64, No. 6, performed by violinists Antoine Lefebvre and David Niwa, violist Donna Lorenzo, and cellist Robert Hausmann, and a rarity, E. J. Moeran’s String Quartet in A Minor, featuring violinists McFarland Gaub and Rebecca Ansel, violist Janz Castelo, and cellist Michelle Djokic. The music of the prolific, folk-music-influenced British composer Moeran rarely makes an appearance on American concert programs; for example, a search of the Buffalo Chamber Music Society’s extensive performing archives failed to turn up any performance of the composer’s works in its 86-year history. The evening concludes with Brahms’ Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 101, performed by Amy Glidden, violin, Djokic, cello, and Gaub, piano.

Culture in Cinema Series

The opera portion of the highly successful inaugural Culture in Cinema series concludes on Monday, June 13 at 2:30pm, with a simulcast of Giuseppe Verdi’s operatic take on Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, live from the Royal Opera House in London (re-broadcast: Wednesday, June 15 at 7pm). 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

On Saturday, June 18, at 8pm, the final concert in this year’s festival opens with a performance of an early work by Beethoven, the Clarinet Trio, Op. 11, with John Fullam, clarinet, Amelie Fradette, cello, and Gaub, piano. Charles-Auguste de Bériot is generally considered to be the founder of the great Franco-Belgian school of violin playing that has produced several generations of legendary virtuosos, from Eugène Ysaÿe to Arthur Grumiaux. His many compositions for the violin are more often known nowadays, if at all, from recordings, so devotees of the violin will not want to miss David Niwa and Antoine Lefebvre’s performance of Bériot’s Duo Concertante in G Minor for Two Violins. Both the evening and the entire festival wraps up with a performance of Alexander Glazunov’s Quintet for Strings, with violinists Ansel and Gaub, violist Lorenzo, and cellists Schmude and Nancy Baun. Best known as a composer of colorfully scored orchestral works, Glazunov composed well over a dozen well crafted chamber music works, but with the notable exception of his Saxophone Quartet, none of these works has entered the standard repertoire.

As part of this year’s festival, a free children’s concert will be held on Thursday, June 16, at 6:30pm, in the East Aurora Public Library on Main Street.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and are available at Tops in East Aurora, the Roycroft Inn, and the Copper Shop. Tickets may also be purchased online at

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