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Farmer, Cline, & Campbell

Classically Speaking

Classical music in West Virginia and Beyond

WV Classical Calendar -- November 2009

(News) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 30, 2009

November 09 calendar

Starting to feel the winter chill?  Get thee to a concert hall, and check out some of the great classical music being performed in West Virginia this month.

Nov 1: William Haller, organ (4pm St. Francis de Sales Church, Morgantown)

Nov 1: John Rutter, Requiem (Christ Church United Methodist, Charleston)

Nov 1: WVU Low Brass Concert

Nov 2: Anita White, piano recital (Glenville State)

Nov 3: Laureate Wind Quintet (WVU)

Nov 4: Tim Coffman, Trombone (Marshall University)

Nov 5: Fairmont State University Music Department Recital

Nov 5: Marshall University Percussion Ensemble

Something missing?  Let me know!

River Cities Symphony, Julie Hepler

(Interviews) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 29, 2009

The River Cities Symphony Orchestra is playing a concert tomorrow (Friday) with music by Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Giuseppe Tartini. The featured soloist is bassoonist Julie Hepler, who is originally from Charleston, West Virginia.

I spoke with Julie Hepler about the upcoming concert and about her experiences as a bassoonist:

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Julie Hepler and the World of the Bassoon

In addition to the bassoon concerto by Mozart, they are playing Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 "Italian" and an arragement of Tartini's "Devil's Trill Sonata." For more about the concert and the music, listen to my discussion with River Cities Symphony Orchestra conductor Bob Turizziani:

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Interview with Bob Turizziani

Happy Birthday, George Crumb!

(News, Commentary) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 23, 2009

80 years ago, composer George Crumb was born in Charleston, West Virginia.   Happy 80th Birthday!

George Crumb
George Crumb

Anna Sale interviewed George Crumb two years ago for West Virginia Public Broadcasting, when he was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.  It's worth watching and hearing:

A Conversation with George Crumb

Are you a fan of his music?  Do you have a favorite piece? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I first heard his music in high school, when a teacher played a recording of Black Angels for us in music theory class. I then saw Crumb perform Mundis Canis [Dog's World] with David Starobin. I've since heard many more of his pieces (including the excellent Ancient Voices of Children, Vox Balanae, and Night of the Four Moons). 

I love the sound of his music, his use of space, and the sense of wonder, mystery, and beauty that his music evokes for me. 

So, to George Crumb -- thank you for all the wonderful music, and best wishes from West Virginia for a happy birthday!

* Addition: University of Missouri, Kansas City is celebrating the occasion in style, with a George Crumb 80th Birthday Festival.

Building Trust, Supporting Classical Music

(News, Commentary, Meta) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 16, 2009

pledge drive kitteh
Send it to your public radio station, kitten!

It's all part of what do here on Classically Speaking. Several times a week, we have something new and interesting for you to enjoy, learn from, and share with your friends. 

It does take some resources to pull all of this together. Will you be one of the people who chips in to help support this new connection with classical music online?

Some other cool things that your pledge to support West Virginia Public Radio can do: 

* Help build a house in West Virginia.  As a thank you gift, you can choose to sponsor a piece of the 600th house that Habitat for Humanity is building in Jackson County, West Virginia -- drywall, 2X4s, and a bunch of other things you need to put a house together.

* Every pledge is also entered in a drawing for a trip for two to Florida with all sorts of amenities (no pledge necessary to enter).  Check out all the details here.
You can accomplish all these things in just a couple minutes.  So please make that call (800-723-4687) or, since you're already online, mosey on over to our secure server to pledge

Thank you for supporting classical music on the radio and online, coming to you from West (by God) Virginia:)

Learning to Love Bruckner

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By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 14, 2009

This weekend, the WV Symphony will be performing Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony in Fairmont, Charleston, and Parkersburg (on a concert that will also feature guest soloist Jon Nakamatsu performing Rachmaninoff).

Bruckner’s symphonies can be a divisive subject among classical music fans. Have you heard his music? And what do you think of it? I’ve been asking almost everyone that I see about it, and I’d love to hear from you.  Do you side with Berlin critic who called him a second Beethoven, or Eduard Hanslick, who labeled his music "nightmarish hangover style (traumverwirrten Katzenjammerstil)"?

Bruckner 1
Why don't they love me?

As for me, Bruckner and I have a long and troubled relationship.

As a kid, I would go to New Jersey Symphony concerts with my dad. The second half of one concert was a Bruckner symphony. I don’t remember which one. I always had a bit of trouble staying awake at concerts, not because I was bored, but because I wasn’t good at sitting still late at night in a warm, dark room with nice music playing. Normally my little concert naps would fall during a slow, inner movement of some great classical work.

Ah, but Bruckner; I don’t think I even made it through half of the first movement before I was out like a light.  I would wake up every now and then, thinking “oh no, it’s still going.” 

Tastes do change; as a kid, I hated opera and contemporary music. And starting as a teen, I turned against Mozart for about a decade. My feelings about all of these things have definitely changed, but Bruckner and I still have some work to do on our relationship.

In an undergraduate 19th-century music history class, we studied Bruckner’s music.  As we all followed along with the music, our professor played a movement from one of his symphonies.  A friendly classmate shook my shoulder every time my head drooped.

A few years later, in Indiana, I attended a concert. A miracle – I stayed awake! But I still didn’t go out of my way to listen to his music any more after that. 

Bruckner 2
Perhaps we can be friends...

In preparation for this weekend’s concert, I’ve listened to some Bruckner recordings, and I must admit … I’m starting to hear it. A friend described his music as having “cathedral-like phrases” and an “architectural sense of time.” These descriptions have helped me to slow down and appreciate grandeur of  Bruckner’s music.

This BBC program about Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony is a serious antidote for Bruckner-phobia. It was recommended to me by a tuba player from the WV Symphony, and I highly recommend you listen to it.

OK, now that you know the whole sordid history of my relationship with Bruckner, I want to hear from you. Are you a Bruckner fan or foe?

Then visit us on Facebook, where you can win some tickets to hear what the West Virginia Symphony does with Bruckner's Fourth Symphony this weekend.

Jens Bernieck and Music of Our Time

(Interviews) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 12, 2009

German pianist Jens Barnieck will be performing a recital of 20th- and 21st-century music in Charleston this Wednesday.

The music comes together through Barnieck’s personal connections to the composers and their music, as well as an environmental theme – including John Cage’s Watermusic, “On a Mountain Road at Summer’s End” by Tui St. George Tucker, and selections from John Luther Adams’ In Search of An Ecology of Music. He will also play music by Ruth Crawford Seeger, Frederic Rzewski, and others.

pianist Jens Barnieck
Pianist Jens Barnieck

This is Barnieck’s first visit to West Virginia, but not to the United States – he studied piano at SUNY Buffalo in New York. 


This week, he’ll be performing in West Virginia and Virginia, where he’ll also be doing research about composers Tui St. George Tucker and Vera Lachmann.

We spoke over the phone about the music his plays, his research, and the upcoming recital.  He is an intelligent and thoughtful musician, so take a listen: 

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Interview with Jens Barnieck

Jens Barnieck performs Wednesday evening at 8 pm at Cavendish Hall in Charleston. You can read more about Barnieck and listen to samples of his playing on his Web site

Wheeling Symphony & Zuill Bailey

(Interviews, News) Permanent link
By Jim Lange
 · October 9, 2009
Zuill Bailey
Zuill Bailey

Cellist Zuill Bailey makes his West Virginia debut this evening with the Wheeling Symphony performing Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme. I had the opportunity to interview this artist earlier this week. We began our conversation by talking about his musical background and his first "run-in" with the cello.

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Interview with Zuill Bailey

His education continued with studies at the Peabody Conservatory and then to Julliard. Bailey feels that he has been given many opportunities, something he feels the need to give back both to community and to students. Even his concerts he describes as "a way of sharing."

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Interview with Zuill Bailey, continued
Bailey talks about Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme.
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Zuill Bailey talks about Tchaikovsky

Want to know more about the concert? Here's a short interview with Wheeling Symphony Music Director Andre Raphel Smith about the new season and tonight's concert:

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Andre Raphel Smith talks about the new season and tonight's concert

More information about tonight’s "Capitol Opening Night Dream" concert can be found on the Wheeling Symphony site.

You can also read the concert program notes online.

Here's more about the reopening of the Capitol Theater in Wheeling.

Brass Roots Trio in Fairmont

(Interviews) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 8, 2009

Romantic relationships can start online, so why not musical ones? 

When pianist Rosetta Bacon was googling French horn players around New York and New Jersey, the name Douglas Lundeen kept coming up. So she contacted him, and they played some music together. He suggested that they include trumpet player Travis Heath, then a doctoral student at Rutgers (where Lundeen teaches). When they got together, everything clicked.

Brass Roots Trio
The Brass Roots Trio

The relationship has lasted – the three have been playing together as the Brass Roots Trio for five years, and along the way they’ve recorded three CDs. 

There is some music written for this unusual combo, but they’ve also created arrangements of music that they love and that suits their instruments. 

The Brass Roots Trio is playing in Fairmont this weekend, so I arranged an interview with Rosetta.  The first thing I found out is that she is from Fairmont and studied piano at WVU! You can listen to our interview here:



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Interview with pianist Rosetta Bacon of the Brass Roots Trio

The Brass Roots Trio will play in Fairmont on Sunday at 7:30pm.

You can read more about the trio and listen to some of their music on their Web site. You can find out more about the concert on the Fairmont Chamber Music Society site.

Tosca in a Tizzy (and free tickets!)

 Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 6, 2009
Mattila as Tosca
Karita Mattila as Tosca

Now you can see what all the fuss was about on opening night at the Metropolitan Opera.

The Met opened their season with a new production of Puccini’s beloved and dramatic opera Tosca.  That production will be broadcast live from the Met this Saturday to movie theaters across the world.  

In West Virginia, Tosca will be shown in Barboursville and Morgantown. Nearby, it’s also showing in Ashland, KY and Pittsburgh. In the Eastern Panhandle, I’ve heard your best bets are Germantown, MD; Gettysburg, PA; Fairfax, VA; and Tysons Corner/ McClean, VA, which are all within 50 miles of Martinsburg. Here’s a complete list of theaters.

If you head on over to our Facebook page, you can win tickets for this Saturday or the rebroadcast on Wednesday October 28 at 6:30pm. The tickets I have to give away are for the Ashland, Barboursville, and Morgantown theaters.

If you go, let me know what you think!

Interview: Garth Newel Piano Quartet

(Interviews) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 2, 2009

“Chamber music is like a party or a meeting with friends.  You get together and make music, and you have a say in it, and you can make a musical difference” 

-- Evelyn Grau, Garth Newel Piano Quartet

Garth Newel Qtet

In Charleston, this weekend is all about chamber music.

On Saturday, the Garth Newel Piano Quartet is visiting from Virginia to play music by Brahms and Fauré (on a Charleston Chamber Music Society concert), and on Sunday afternoon the Montclaire String Quartet will be playing quartets by Ravel, Haydn (the Sunrise quartet – one of my favorites!), and John Cage.

I spoke with the Evelyn Grau, the viola player and artistic director of the Garth Newel Piano Quartet. The first questions on my mind were: Who or what is Garth Newel?  What’s this music center like? What music are you bringing with you here?

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Evelyn Grau, Garth Newel Piano Quartet

My favorite part of the interview was when we talked "viola stuff" -- what role the viola plays in a piano quartet, and what makes chamber music a special type of music to play.
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The world according to viola!

We also chatted about favorite composers, future plans, and the challenges of putting out new recordings.
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Garth Newel Piano Quartet interview, continued

The Garth Newel Piano Quartet will be in Charleston this Saturday, and in Lewisburg in February.  The rest of the year, they can be found at the Garth Newel Music Center in Warm Springs, Virginia.

Related posts:

* For another viola interview, check out Maggie Snyder

* More about the art of chamber music, listen to the Prima Trio

* October WV Classical Calendar

October 2009 WV Classical Calendar

(News) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · October 1, 2009

Oct 3: Garth Newell Piano Quartet (Charleston Chamber Music Society)

Oct 3: WVU New Music Concert 

Oct 4: Montclaire String Quartet “Soft Colors” 

Oct 4: WVU Flute Choir Concert

Oct 4: WVUMichael Vercelli (percussion) recital

Oct 6: WVU Wind Symphony Concert

Oct 9: Wheeling Symphony with cellist Zuill Bailey “Capitol Opening Night Dream”

Oct 9: WVU Percussion Ensemble Concert

Oct 10: Met Opera HD: Tosca (Barboursville, Morgantown, Pittsburgh, Ashland)

Oct 11: Brass Roots Trio (Fairmont Chamber Music Society)

Oct 12: WVUChamber Winds Concert

Oct 13: Marshall University Orchestra Concert

Oct 13: Glenville State College Music Fest

Oct 13: Tuesdays with Fran (Carnegie Hall, Lewisburg)

Oct 13: WVUStephen Redfield (violin) and Amber Shay (piano) guest recital

Oct 15-18: WV Symphony with pianist Jon Nakamatsu “Regally Romantic” (Fairmont, Charleston, Parkersburg)

Oct 15, 18: Bellini's I Puritani (Charleston, Huntington, Triadelphia, Beckley)

Oct 16: MUsic Alive Series: Music of Barber and beyond

Oct 16: WVUTuple Bassoon Duo 

Oct 17: Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra (
Shepherd University Friends of Music)

Oct 17: WV Symphony Family Concert "Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln"

October 19: Marshall University Faculty Recital: Solen Dikener, cello & Turev Berki, piano (including music by Scott Michal (interview) and David Williams (interview)

Oct 23: Andre de Moura and Eduardo Meirinhos, guitar (Marshall University)

Oct  23: Shepherd University Choir Concert

Oct 23-24: Charleston BalletDark Dances: A Halloween Happening

Oct 25: WVU Choir Concert

Oct 25: AGO Halloween Organ Recital (Christ Church United Methodist, Charleston)

Oct 25: Huntington Symphony Orchestra Family Concert

Oct 25: WVU, Rebecca Rischin (clarinet) recital and master class

Oct 26, 28: Octubafest at Marshall University

Oct 27: The Vienna Boys Choir (Shepherd University Friends of Music)

Oct 28: Met Opera HD Encore: Tosca (Barboursville,
Morgantown, Pittsburgh, Ashland)

Oct 29:
Baltimore Consort (Concord College)

Oct 29: WVU Music Gala Concert

Oct 29: WVU Graduate Wind Quintet concert

Oct 29/Nov 1: Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake (Charleston, Huntington, Triadelphia, Beckley)

Oct 30: Kandinsky Trio (Fairmont Chamber Music Society)

Oct 30: River Cities Symphony (Parkersburg) with bassoon soloist Julie Hepler

As always, let me know if I’m missing anything!

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