Chicago Philharmonic Chamber Players Preview - Return to City Winery Chicago

Experience a concert of “Mozart and Mimosas” at noon on Sunday, March 19, at The City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph, in Chicago’s West Loop: Fine Music and Brunch

 The Chicago Philharmonic Society is a collaboration of over 200 of the highest-level classical musicians performing in the Chicago metropolitan area. Governed under a groundbreaking structure of musician leadership, the Society presents concerts at venues throughout the Chicago area that cover the full spectrum of classical music, from Bach to Britten and beyond. The Society’s orchestra, known simply as the Chicago Philharmonic, has been called “one of the country’s finest symphonic orchestras”.

The Chicago Philharmonic; photo by Elliot Mandel

  Its unique chamber music ensembles, which perform as The Chicago Philharmonic Chamber Players (cp2), draw from its vast pool of versatile musicians. The Chicago Philharmonic Society has been presenting its cp2 City Winery Series since fall 2014, with wide-ranging programs envisioned by the Society’s musician members. The most recent iteration of the series, this spring, 2017, included “Broadway on Randolph”, featuring the music of Gershwin and Bernstein, and “Sounds of Change”, presenting the music of the 60’s and 70’s.

 The Chicago Philharmonic Chamber Players (cp2) return to City Winery Chicago in the West Loop for the last in this three-concert series for spring 2017. The cp2series allows Chicago Philharmonic musicians to explore a wide range of programming in a uniquely casual brunch setting.  Information for the final concert is as follows:

 

 “Mozart and Mimosas”

A Classical Music Brunch

Sunday, March 19, 2017, Noon

Mathias Tacke, Rose Armbrust Griffin, Kuang-Hao Huang, Paula Kosower; photo courtesy of The Chicago Philharmonic

 

Kuang-Hao Huang, piano

                                                        Mathias Tacke, violin

Rose Ambrust Griffin, viola

Paula Kosower, cello

 

 

The program for the one-hour concert will consist of 2 stellar pieces from the classical canon:

-       Mozart’s “Piano Quartet in G minor”, K. 478, 1785, and

-       Schumann’s “Piano Quartet in E-flat major”, Op. 47, 1842

Mathias Tacke; photo by Christiane Tacke

 

Kuang-Hao Huang, piano, has performed throughout the U.S, Europe and Asia, most often in collaboration with Chicago’s finest musicians. A member of Fulcrum Point New Music Project, he serves on the music faculties of Northwestern, Roosevelt and Concordia Universities. He has recorded for Cedille, Innova and Naxos.

 Mathias Tacke, violin, was a member of the acclaimed Vermeer Quartet from 1992 to 2007. He appears internationally as a soloist and chamber player, as well as performing regularly with the Chicago Philharmonic. A Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Northern Illinois University and Guest Lecturer for String Chamber Music at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, his repertoire runs the gamut from music of the Baroque to New Art Music.

 Rose Armbrust Griffin, viola, is currently a member of The Chicago Philharmonic as well as the Lake Forest Symphony, International Chamber Artists and The Jupiter Chamber Players. She has appeared in chamber performances at The Kennedy Center, Avery Fischer Hall and Ravinia’s Stearns Institute.

 Paula Kosower, cello, an active performer and music teacher, is a faculty member of North Park and Northeastern Universities and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She teaches pedagogy courses at Northwestern and DePaul and coaches chamber music for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. She has performed chamber music in concert series with the Chicago Philharmonic and at many venues, and frequently subs with The Chicago Symphony, the Milwaukee Symphony, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Rose Armbrust Griffin; photo by Jean Blower

 

IN THE WORDS OF KUANG-HAO HUANG AND MATHIAS TACKE:

 This reviewer had the opportunity to speak with pianist Kuang-Hao Huang and violinist Mathias Tacke about the choice of musical pieces, their colleagues, and their expectations for the concert next Sunday. Both artists advised me that they had played with Griffin and Kosower before, but not as a foursome; they are looking forward to the collaboration. Huang chuckled when he told me that Armbrust Griffin is from a family of musicians, including “Many violists!” He has known Kosower for over 25 years, meeting first at the Aspen Musical Festival, then again at Indiana University before they both moved to Chicago. He called Tacke “The Great Elder Statesman of Experience of the group", and added,"An opportunity to work with him is a treat”.

Huang advised me that he had assembled the virtuoso group. “Piano quartet opportunities don’t come along so often”.  The choice of music was a mutual decision. However, he pushed for the Schumann piece, because he “adores” it! He described the slow movement as “Gorgeous. It’s some of Schumann’s most lyrical music, and it doesn’t get played as often as his piano quintet.” Tacke also talked about the incredible beauty of the slow movement in the Schumann. He described it as “Having a theme which gets repeated and sticks in your mind. I would not be surprised if this portion of the concert is one the audience goes away humming”.

Kuang-Hao Huang; photo by Mari Nord

As for the Mozart piece, Huang told me, “It’s the first one of his 2 piano quartets. It’s regarded as a masterpiece for that combination of instruments. Mozart was commissioned to write 3 piano quartets for the publisher Franz Anton Hoffmeister. When the first one was finished, he was told it was too difficult for amateurs to play and the commission was cancelled; he wrote the second one anyway, in E flat major.” Huang went on to describe the piece, “It has a very serious and dark side that becomes more cheerful”.

Tacke, too, in describing the order of the pieces, spoke of the concert as “A journey from dark to light. The Mozart starts out somber and goes up from there.” He said the Schumann is “Larger in scope, with the feel of a symphony.” He offered, “The 2 pieces have an interesting key relationship. G minor is dark and somber, while E flat major is associated with a heroic sound. These keys have an interesting effect on each other; Mozart chose for his symphony #25 in G minor the key of E flat major for the slow movement”. Tacke mused, “The 2 pieces have other similarities which may or may not be coincidental. Schumann may have known Mozart’s piece very well”. Finally, he observed, “Every one of us has played both pieces before; in rehearsing we simply need to align our ideas and find a common format”.

Paula Kosower; photo courtesy of Paula Kosower

The audience next Sunday is in for a rare treat both musically and gastronomically!

For tickets to this concert, go to the  City Winery website

For information about and tickets to all the great programs by The Chicago Philharmonic, go to the

Chicago Philharmonic website

 

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