|Diversity and talent shine in Classical Music Chicago’s (CMC’s) February 2023 nationally acclaimed noontime Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts series. Free to the public since its launch in 1977, and taking place each Wednesday of the month, the free performances offer dynamic programs featuring such works as Kapustin’s vivacious and charming Nearly Waltz, Beach’s Dreaming, with its lyrical cello melody, Higdon’s Pale Yellow, in which the composer asks “…can colors actually convey a mood?”, Hahn’s Piano Quintet in F-sharp minor with its fresh textures and moving line, and the melancholia and emotion filled Ballade in C minor by Coleridge-Taylor, as well as works by Debussy, Mendelssohn, Beethoven and more.
One of the country’s forerunners in accessibility, creativity and inspiration, the February edition of the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts closes with a program featuring works by Black composers honoring Black History Month.
Chicago Tribune has praised the series as “one of the nation’s premier spring-boards for gifted young classical musicians.”
DAME MYRA HESS MEMORIAL CONCERTS
FEBRUARY 2023 CONCERTS
Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist, Chicago – 55 E. Wacker Drive
February 1, 2023
Anita Graef, cello and Louise Chan, piano
Nikolai KAPUSTIN Nearly Waltz, Op. 98
Arvo Pärt Fratres for Cello and Piano
Claude Debussy Beau Soir, L. 6
Amy Beach “Dreaming,” Op. 15, No. 3
Felix Mendelssohn Song Without Words, Op. 109
L.V. Beethoven – 7 Variations on “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen,” WoO 46
A musician of “superb artistry” (Pasadena Now) who plays with “high energy and polish” (WQXR), cellist Anita Graef has earned recognition for her music making as an artist who is equally at home exploring traditional as well as contemporary works, along with a deep commitment to service, outreach and education. Notable appearances include Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, “Concerts from the Library of Congress,” Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society, Boston Court Pasadena, the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, Antigonish Performing Arts, and Lyric Chamber Music Society, to name a few. Graef also serves as the Artistic Director and cellist of the Juliani Ensemble, an inventive, multi-faceted chamber ensemble, with whom she has performed extensively both nationally and internationally.
Pianist Louise Chan is a founding member of Blue Violet Duo. Their critically acclaimed debut album, American Souvenirs, was featured as WFMT 98.7’s Album of the Day, and their second album was just released by Centaur Records. Recent performances in her home base of Chicago have included the Ear Taxi Festival and the George Crumb Festival, and with Fulcrum Point New Music Project and The Zafa Collective. The former principal pianist for Madison Symphony Orchestra, Chan has appeared as a soloist with the Music Institute of Chicago Community Orchestra, the Evanston Summer Orchestra, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Feb 1 – Dame Myra Hess Classical Music Chicago
February 8, 2023
(Grant Houston, violin; Yi-Mei Templeman, cello; Andrew Barnwell, piano)
Jennifer HIGDON Pale Yellow
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN Piano Trio Op. 1 no. 1
New England Conservatory’s graduate piano trio in residence, was formed in 2018 and is dedicated to offering audiences dynamic, personally relevant experiences inside and outside the concert hall. Recently, the trio won 1st prize at the 2022 WDAV Young Chamber Musicians Competition, as well as prizes in the 2022 Premio Trio di Trieste International Competition, the 2021 Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition, and the 2019 Plowman National Chamber Music Competition. The trio has performed concerts at venues ranging from the historic Boston Public Library to MIT’s Whitehead Institute and have crafted educational content for the Panama Jazz Festival, local schools, and senior homes. More recently, Trio Gaia was invited to present a weeklong residency with the Virginia Arts Festival.
Feb. 8 – Dame Myra Hess Classical Music Chicago
February 15, 2023
Sara Davis Buechner, piano and Kontras Quartet
Joaquín TURINA La Oración del torero, Op. 34
Reynaldo HAHN Piano Quintet in F-sharp minor
I. Molto agitato e con fuoco
II. Andante (non troppo lento)
III. Allegretto grazioso
Sara Davis Buechner is lauded for her “intelligence, integrity and all-encompassing technical prowess” (New York Times), “thoughtful artistry in the full service of music” (Washington Post), and “astounding virtuosity” (Philippine Star). Japan’s InTune magazine sums up: “Buechner has no superior.” Ms. Buechner has earned top prizes at many of the world’s premiere international piano competitions — Queen Elisabeth (Brussels), Leeds, Mozart (Salzburg), Beethoven (Vienna), and Sydney. She has performed in every state and province of North America — as recitalist, chamber musician and soloist with top orchestras like the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra; and in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the Hollywood Bowl. She has toured throughout Latin and South America and Europe; and she enjoys a special following in Asia. As a proud transgender woman, Ms. Buechner also appears as a speaker and performer at important LGBTQ events and has contributed interviews and articles about her own experience to numerous media outlets worldwide.
The Kontras Quartet has been described as “a tightly crafted and beautiful instrument” (CVNC Arts Journal) and has been commended by Gramophone Magazine for their “scrupulous shading and control” and “enjoyable musical personality” (Fanfare Magazine). Until 2020, Kontras served as the Quartet in Residence at Western Michigan University. The quartet has also continued its work in the Chicago Public Schools with the support of a grant from the Boeing Company. Outside of the Chicago area, Kontras has made a significant educational impact in North Carolina, bringing over 200 innovative and interactive outreach programs to 40,000 school-age and college students. The Kontras Quartet records for MSR Classics. Formed while the group’s members were string principals in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Kontras Quartet began pursuing a professional career in 2009. Kontras enjoyed immediate recognition, winning a four-year chamber music residency with the Western Piedmont Symphony in North Carolina, a full-time position established through Chamber Music America’s Residency Partnership Program.
Feb. 15 – Dame Myra Hess Classical Music Chicago
January 25, 2023
Caitlin Edwards, violin and Daniel Schlosberg, piano
Ethel SMYTH Sonata for Violin and Piano
I. Allegro Moderato
IV. Allegro Vivace
Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR Ballade in C minor
Ahmed ALABACA Mere Mortals
Caitlin Edwards is the recipient of the 2018 Rising Star Award from the Gateways Music Festival. In 2020, she was featured as a soloist in the “Dreams of Hope” documentary which premiered on PBS stations across the US.Amongst the esteemed organizations with which she has performed are Chicago Sinfonietta, Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, Nairobi Philharmonic, Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra, and the ReCollective Orchestra, to name a few. She has performed and recorded with artists such as Ms. Lauryn Hill, Common, PJ Morton, Yolanda Adams, India Arie, and on John Legend’s “Bigger Love” album, for which she received a Grammy Certificate in 2021. She also recorded for the Disney movie score, “The Lion King”, at Sony Studios in 2019.
Pianist Daniel Schlosberg gives frequent recitals at Bargemusic, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Phillips Collection and National Gallery of Art in D.C. He has appeared on numerous Chicago Symphony Orchestra chamber music and MusicNOW concerts. Art Song is another passion, and he directs the Baltimore Lieder Weekend each October. He is on the faculty in the music department at the University of Notre Dame, where he is currently Director of Undergraduate Studies. In his various endeavors, he strives to spotlight marginalized voices while also bringing a sense of discovery to canonical works.
Feb. 25 – Dame Myra Hess Classical Music Chicago
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts – Classical Music Chicago
The concerts are generously sponsored by the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, and by individual donors.