April 11 concert to feature Latin American/Spanish compositions

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On Saturday, April 11, 2009, Maine Mountain Chamber Music will perform in Nordica Auditorium at the University of Maine at Farmington, starting at 7:30 p.m.

For this concert MMCM brings back three outstanding musicians: violinists Jesse Mills and Cyrus Beroukhim, and cellist Jan Müller-Szeraws. They will be joining MMCM directors violist Laurie Kennedy and pianist Yuri Funahashi for a program featuring the music of Latin America and Spanish composers, including Villo-Lobos of Brazil, Ginastera of Argentina, and Turina of Spain.

Jesse Mills

MMCM will open the concert with “Three Pieces for String Quartet” by Peruvian composer Armando Guevara Ochoa. These pieces, based on the typical Andean style music, were presented to Laurie Kennedy & her quartet by the composer in 1976, while the quartet was touring Peru.

Villo-Lobos, perhaps most famous for his Bachianas brasileiras, also wrote a chamber music series known as Chôros; which he described as ‘serenades’ and cited the influence from the music of the chorões, Brazilian popular musicians of the period. The program includes “Two Chôros (bis)” written for violin and cello.

Next on the program is Ginastera’s “Pampeana #1 Rhapsody for violin and piano,” which is characterized by lively Argentinian rhythms and plaintive tonality that also gives the violin a highly virtuosic and idiomatic treatment.

After the intermission, MMCM will continue with a work by Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas. Revueltas helped create an original Mexican music based on indigenous folk styles. He wrote what he heard, often throwing together dance music, folk tunes and street sounds in a web of distinctive colors and complex rhythms. The String Quartet No. 4, titled “Musica de Feria” depicts the excitement, chaos and earthiness of a carnival.

The program also includes two works for violin and piano, the “wistful and yearning” Ausencias and the highly energized and electric Piringundin from Argentine composer Fernando Otero’s 2008 debut album “Pagina de Buenos Aires” on Nonesuch Records. The performances will mark the Maine premieres of these works.

The program will close with Turina’s Piano Trio No. 2. According to program notes from the Trio Solisti website, the trio is “‘lively, sparkling, evocative and concise;” also, “The second movement is a brief but dense scherzo based on a spicy dance rhythm, a bright counter-melody and a languid trio. The finale is a majestic landscape miniature with all the poetry and perfume of great Spanish music.”

About the performers:

Cellest Jan Müller-Szeraws’ musical journey has taken him over three continents as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher. He is a member of the touring chamber group, Mistral, the QX String Quartet, the contemporary music ensemble Boston Musica Viva. He has performed with the New England Philharmonic, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, and has recorded the Allende Cello Concerto with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Chile.

Jan Muller-Szeraws

Jesse Mills, violin, has performed as soloist with Teatro Argentino Orchestra in Buenos Aires, and with many other symphony orchestras. He has performed at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, New York City’s Merkin Concert Hall and Bargemusic, and at the Marlboro Music Festival. Mr. Mills received a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School in 2001. Other teachers include Itzhak Perlman.

Violinist Cyrus Beroukhim made his debut with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at the age of fifteen. He received his doctorate at The Juilliard School, and has since performed at many prestigious music festivals and is a member of numerous chamber music ensembles. Beroukhim has earned broad recognition as a leading performer of his generation.

Yuri Funahashi is a member of the Festival Chamber Music Society of New York City and the Pane-Funahashi Duo, and is a frequent guest performer at chamber music festivals around the world. Laurie Kennedy, Principal Violist of the Portland Symphony since 1981, appears frequently as a soloist with that orchestra and chamber artist throughout the Northeast.

Admission for the concert is $9 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and free for youth ages 16 and under. Sponsored by the Arts Institute of Western Maine. For more information, you may call 645-2157

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