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A New Home At AKAG

Buffalo Chamber Players (Photo by Luke Copping)
A New Home At AKAG
The Buffalo Chamber Players move uptown to the Albright-Knox

The Buffalo Chamber Players will celebrate their new status as Ensemble-in-Residence at the Albright Knox Art Gallery with the inaugural concert of their Thursday evening four concert series on October 1 at 8pm. The BCP had a happy home at the Buffalo Seminary for the previous eight seasons, but BCP founding artistic director Janz Castelo felt that it was the right time to make a move. “The Buffalo Seminary was a great space,” says Castelo, “and while we appreciated the opportunity to perform there, we were recently operating close to capacity. Our new venue in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Auditorium gives us a better platform to grow and expand our presence in Western New York. I’m thrilled that the Buffalo Chamber Players will now have a lot more visibility, not only in the city, but also in the region. Naturally, it’s a huge responsibility to be associated with one of the leading arts organizations in the area, and while I find it humbling, I’m also excited about the possibilities that our new relationship opens up for us.”

One plus for the BCP is that now all ticketing will be handled through the Albright-Knox, freeing the musicians from having to deal with what can sometimes become a burden for any small cultural organization. The BCP will also enjoy the much greater marketing opportunities that result from being included under the organizational umbrella of a local cultural giant like the Albright-Knox. While some longtime BCP patrons might regret the loss of the always available free parking on Bidwell Parkway for the Buffalo Seminary concerts, Castelo noted that there is also ample free parking available behind the Art Gallery and across Elmwood Avenue after 7pm on the Buffalo State Campus. And while there will be a charge for parking in the Gallery lot, patrons just need to bring their ticket and pay at the front desk, eliminating what can sometimes later be a hassle when concert patrons all leave at the same time, after a performance. Also, the AK Café will be open, both for dinner before concerts and for drinks afterwards, where concert goers will have the opportunity to meet the musicians.

As for the programming for the inaugural concert, the BCP have decided to go with both something new and something old. Some readers may recall that the Albright-Knox already has a wonderful legacy of hosting classical music events, dating back to the now almost legendary era of the Evenings for New Music Series that began in the 1960’s through the efforts of the then BPO music director Lukas Foss. The debut concert in that series was held in the very same Skidmore, Owings and Merrill glass cube auditorium, designed by Buffalo native Gordon Bunshaft in 1962, on November 29, 1964, before a packed house. The work that opened that concert, which was repeated in Carnegie Hall on December 1, was American composer Henry Cowell’s 26 Simultaneous Mosaics for clarinet, violin, cello, percussion and piano, and in recognition of that historic occasion, the piece will be performed at this concert.

In a more traditional vein, the first ten or so minutes of Handel’s opera Serse will be performed, including the Overture and, sung by soprano Colleen Marcello, the aria “Ombra mai fù.” Marcello will also have the opportunity to demonstrate her considerable vocal range when she sings Brahms’ Two Songs for voice, viola and piano, Op. 91, a work far more often sung by an alto, while the final traditional work on the program, Mozart’s String Quintet in C minor, K. 406 will conclude the evening.

The BCP has two composers-in-residence who will be present for the premieres of their new works. About his Eulogy for Strings, Rob Deemer says “Eulogy is a transcription for strings of a choral work that I composed for the Harmonia Chamber Singers last year. They subsequently premiered that choral work in New York City at Weil Hall at Carnegie Hall in March. Since I’m now composer-in-residence with both ensembles, this seemed like a good way to connect the two.”

Speaking of How Small I Am, Caroline Mallonée says: “The first time I was given a residency at the MacDowell Colony I arrived, was shown to my studio, and found myself alone in a simple room with a piano and desk. The walls of the studio were lined with boards that had been signed by each composer or writer who had worked there before me. I sat down at the piano and wrote this piece. I felt small—so many names, famous ones and even the names of some of my teachers, and I wanted to write something that would convey that sense of smallness, and also of being in the company of greatness. It is a contemplative piece, and an unusual one in my oeuvre. I play it often on the piano—I find it clears the mind.”

And, not to be forgotten the concert opens with The Star-Spangled Banner! (in Slanted Time) for piano trio by the Toronto-based Canadian composer Brain Current, who will also be present.

Tickets: $20/15/5 students. Phone: 270.8223 or visit:

Triple Play at UB

The classical music season at UB got off to a fabulous start last weekend, when the Miró Quartet delivered an unforgettable pair of concerts devoted to the final five string quartets of Schubert, which reconfirmed the stellar impression that the group had made in their transversal of the complete Slee/Beethoven string quartet cycle last season. In an unusual programming move, the only three concerts at UB in October are scheduled within a five day period at the start of the month, beginning at 7:30pm, as do all UB department of music events, on Friday October 2 when Stephen Manes returns to town to present his always eagerly anticipated annual emeritus faculty recital. During his long tenure as chairman of the department of music at UB, Manes offered complete performances on three occasions of all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas, played from memory, during a single academic year. For this performance Manes will play the final three sonatas by the composer, ending with the incomparable Piano Sonata No. 31 in C minor, Op. 111, a work so far ahead of its time that it still manages to shock even experienced listeners.

On Monday October 5 the Mivos Quartet, a young American group devoted to performing the works of contemporary composers, will perform works by Taylor Brook, David Felder, Martin Stauning and Helmut Lachenmann’s Grido in Baird Recital Hall. UB will help kickoff the community wide Finn Fest the next day, Tuesday October 6 when Brad Lubman leads Ensemble Signal in a Slee Hall program devoted to the music of Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, who will give a lecture earlier the same day at 3pm in Baird. Works to be performed include NoaNoa, Lichtbogen, Près and Aile du Songe.

Tickets: $15/10 seniors students; free for UB students. Information:

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