FARMINGTON – On Saturday, May 29, Maine Mountain Chamber Music will perform in Nordica Auditorium at the University of Maine at Farmington, starting at 7:30 p.m. The concert will celebrate the 200th birthday of Robert Schumann, and will include works by Clara and Robert Schumann. The program will open with Clara Schumann’s Three Romances for Violin and Piano, Op. 22, will continue with Robert Schumann’s String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 41, No. 1, and conclude with Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E Flat Major, Op. 44.
Clara Schumann was considered one of the most distinguished pianists of her day. In 1827, at the age of eight, Clara gave a performance at which she met another gifted young pianist, Robert Schumann, nine years older. Schumann admired Clara’s playing so much that discontinued his studies of law and started to take music lessons from Clara’s father; by the time Clara was 17 she and Robert were in love.
Clara’s Three Romances for Violin and Piano was published in 1853. (“Romance” was a title favored by both Robert and Clara for an instrumental piece that is lyrical in character and tender or even sentimental in mood.) The first public performance of Robert Schumann’s piano quintet took place in Leipzig in 1843 with Clara at the piano, and was an immediate success. Today the quintet is generally regarded as the greatest of Schumann’s chamber-music works, and the peer of any for this instrumental combination. In a sense, it is really a piano concerto with a string quartet rather than an orchestral accompaniment. From notes (© 2009) by Willard J. Hertz, “The piano carries one-half rather than one-fifth of the tonal body, and while it has no cadenza, its part is written out in a more brilliant virtuoso fashion than that of any of the strings. In many passages, in fact, the strings simply double one another in unison, octaves or simple chords. This blending of virtuoso piano writing with doubled strings, particularly when contrasted with characteristic Schumann moments of grace and charm, produces a degree of full-blooded excitement with few equals in the chamber-music repertoire.”
From its very first concert in October of 2002, Maine Mountain Chamber Music has offered area music lovers exceptional programs, performed by exceptional players. For this concert the directors, Laurie Kennedy and Yuri Funahashi, have invited three old outstanding performers to join them: violinists Jasmine Lin and Jennifer Elowitch and cellist Elizabeth Anderson.
Jasmine Lin graduated from the Curtis Institute, was a prizewinner in the Paganini Competition, and won second prize in the Naumburg Competition. As a chamber artist she has participated in the Marlboro Music Festival, and on tour with the Chicago String Quartet. She has soloed with the Chicago Symphony, is currently a member of the Chicago Chamber Musicians, and is also a founding member of the Formosa Quartet, which won first prize in the London International String Quartet Competition in 2006, and released its first recording recently on the EMI Debut Series.
Jennifer Elowitch, a Portland native, is a co-founder of the Portland Chamber Music Festival, the assistant principal second violinist of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra and performs frequently with the Boston Symphony and Emmanuel Music, with whom she toured Europe.
Cellist Elizabeth Anderson has performed in the world’s most prestigious chamber music series, and has studied with Jacqueline Du Pre, Yo-Yo Ma, and Leonard Rose. She holds Bachelor of Music degrees from the Juilliard School and California State University at Sacramento, and a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music. Ms. Anderson currently performs as cellist of the Carolina Trio and at Lincoln Center as a member of the New York City Opera Orchestra.
Admission charges for this concert, sponsored by the Arts Institute of Western Maine, are as follows: $9 adults / $7 seniors / free for under 16 and UMF students. Please call 645-2157 for more information.