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The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center returns to Buffalo

Gloria Chien
Kristin Lee

From Lincoln Center to the Mary Seaton Room

On Tuesday, November 11 at 8pm, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will perform at Kleinhans Music Hall as part of the Buffalo Chamber Music Society’s 91st season. A “Chat with the Artists” hosted by WNED-FM host Peter Hall precedes the concert at 7:15pm.

The neat thing about a Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center concert is that it is never predictable, either as to the number of musicians performing at any one event, or to the number of musicians necessary to perform the scheduled works on the program. A case in point is this concert, which includes a sonata for violin and piano, a trio for piano, violin and cello, and a quintet for piano, two violins, viola and cello.

Violinist Kristin Lee, a winner of Julliard’s concerto competition and the Aspen Music Festival’s violin competition earned a master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music in 2010, studying under Itzhak Perlman and Donald Weilerstein. An Artist of the Chamber Music Society, she is on the faculty at the Aaron Copland School of Music in Queens College. She will be joined by pianist Gloria Chien, a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, where she was a student of Russell Sherman, for a performance of Beethoven’s darkly passionate Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano, op. 47, ‘Kreutzer’, which will be, surprisingly, a series premiere. Beethoven originally dedicated the sonata to his friend, the violin virtuoso George Bridgetower. While they performed the work’s premiere at an 1803 concert that began at the ungodly early hour of 8am, the friends soon after had a permanent falling out, leading the composer to dedicate the published edition to the French violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer who, sadly, never performed it.

Mozart’s Piano Trio in E Major, K. 542, last performed on this series almost 20 years ago, was composed in the summer of 1788, when the composer was experiencing serious financial difficulties, and had to compose works that would be readily accepted by his publisher. Mozart wrote a total of six piano trios, with the last five mature trios composed between the years of 1786 and 1788. Mozart had observed that his piano trios were, “the fruit of a long and laborious effort,” a surprising admission from a composer whose music usually seemed to spring from his pen as spontaneously and as fully formed, as the Greek god Athena had, from the head of her father Zeus.

Violinist Sean Lee, violist Richard O’Neill and cellist Mihai Marica will join Kristin Lee and Gloria Chien for the series premiere of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s early work, the Piano Quintet in E major, written in 1921-22, well before the composer’s move to California to escape political persecution in his native Austria. Like Mozart, Korngold was a genuine child prodigy and his concert music enjoyed much success in Europe, while he was still very young. After moving to America, he initially composed music scores, with great success, for many Hollywood films, being nominated for three academy awards and wining once, only to discover that now his new, “serious” works were often disdained, very unfairly, by the classical music establishment.

Tickets: $20/$10; free admission for Middle/High School students. Information:

The Gift to the Community Series with violinist Stephan Waarts

The next event on the Buffalo Chamber Music Society’s “Gift to the Community” Series takes place in the Mary Seaton Room on Sunday, November 9 at 3pm. The very young violinist Stephan Waarts, accompanied by pianist Chelsea Wang, offers a recital of works by Beethoven, Bartók, Ravel and Bizet/Waxman. Waarts, who has been praised by Strings Magazine for playing “with technical command and a totally natural sense of musical drama,” won the First Prize in the 2011 International Louis Spohr Competition for Young Violinists, and the First Prize at the 2014 Menuhin Competition. As the winner of the 2013 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, he makes recital debuts this season at the Kennedy Center and Merkin Concert Hall. He studied with Itzhak Perlman, and currently works with Aaron Rosand at the Curtis Institute. In addition to his music studies, he is also an accomplished mathematician and has won several national math awards.

He will perform Beethoven’s Sonata No.8 in G major, Op.30, No.3, and two works by Ravel, the Sonata in G major and the Piece en forme de Habanera, as well as the Carmen Fantasy, film composer Franz Waxman’s arrangement of music from Bizet’s popular opera. Last, but by no means least, Waarts will perform the very challenging Sonata for solo violin, Sz.117 by Béla Bartók.

Admission to the event is free.

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