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Brightmusic Chamber Ensemble to debut first 2012 concert this month

Special to The City Sentinel

On January 16-17, 2012, Oklahoma City’s own Brightmusic Chamber Ensemble will present two performances of its third concert of the 2011-12 Season, “Café Music.”

Each performance will feature the variety for which Brightmusic is known – from Germany to France to the United States, from Beethoven to living American composer Paul Schoenfield.

The works on the program are: (1) Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Trio No. 5 in D Major, op. 70, no. 1 (the “Ghost Trio”); (2) 20th Century French composer Jean Françaix’s Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano; (3) 19th Century German composer August Klughardt’s “Schilflieder” (Reed Songs”), Five Fantasy Pieces, op. 28 for oboe, viola and piano; and (4) the concert’s title work – American composer Paul Schoenfield’s “Café Music for Piano Trio,” for violin, cello and piano.

The musicians who will appear are: Gregory Lee (violin), Royce McLarry (viola), Jonathan Ruck (cello), Lisa Harvey-Reed (oboe), Carl Rath (bassoon) and Amy I-Lin Cheng (piano).

Performances will take place: (1) on Monday, January 16 at 7:30 pm in the St. Edward’s Chapel on the campus of Casady School, 9500 N. Pennsylvania Avenue (at Britton Road) and (2) on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 7:30 pm at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, 127 NW 7 St. (at Robinson). Admission is $10 per adult; students are free of charge. A reception with the musicians will follow each performance.
This concert is made possible by season grants from Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Ad Astra Foundation.

Brightmusic Musicians Appearing:

Violin: Dr. Gregory Lee, concertmaster of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and associate professor of violin at the University of Oklahoma.

Viola: Royce McLarry, principal violist of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and the Lawton Philharmonic, and an associate music faculty member at Oklahoma Christian University.

Cello: Jonathan Ruck, principal cellist of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and assistant professor of cello at the University of Oklahoma.

Oboe: Lisa Harvey-Reed, principal oboist of the Oklahoma City and the Lawton Philharmonic, and instructor of oboe at Oklahoma City University.

Bassoon: Carl Rath, principal bassoonist of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and associate professor of bassoon at the University of Oklahoma.

Piano: Dr. Amy I-Lin Cheng, concert pianist and collaborative musician; former head of the piano department at Oklahoma City University; currently a member of the piano faculty of the Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts and a collaborative pianist at the University of Michigan School of Music; Co-Artistic Director of Brightmusic.

Musical Works To Be Performed:

Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Trio No. 5 in D Major, op. 70, no. 1 (the “Ghost Trio”) (violin, cello and piano): Beethoven (1770-1827) wrote this trio, one of the masterpieces of his so-called “Middle Period,” at the age of 38. In addition to completing his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, 1808 was the year in which he returned to composing piano trios, a genre in which he had not worked for 11 years. The trio’s reputation centers on its second movement, the “profound heart of the work” [Lewis Lockwood]. Its eerie sounds inspired the nickname “Ghost,” coined by Carl Czerny. Parts of the second movement incorporate Beethoven’s sketches for an opera version of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” while other parts evoke Movement II of his Second Symphony. The first and second movements of the “Ghost” trio “sparkle with life” [Blair Johnston], and they are anything but ghostly.

Jean Françaix, Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano: Françaix (1912-97) was a prolific 20th Century French composer, virtuoso pianist and master orchestrator. He grew up in a musical household and studied composition with the famous teacher Nadia Boulanger. His compositions – which number more than 200 – include works for almost every instrumental combination of chamber music. His neo-Classical style rejected atonality in favor of music that was light, witty and designed to “give pleasure.” The International Double Reed Society commissioned this work in 1994. Françaix dedicated it to the English bassoonist William Waterhouse of the Melos Ensemble.

August Klughardt, “Schilflieder” (“Reed Songs”), Five Fantasy Pieces, op. 28 (oboe, viola and piano): Klughardt (1847-1902) was a 19th Century German Romantic conductor and composer. His compositions include symphonies and many chamber music works. He was influenced by a diverse group of composers, including Schumann, Brahms, Wagner and Liszt. Klughardt composed this five-movement work of Romantic fantasy in 1872. The pieces are based on a poem by Nikolaus von Lenau, which describes the day and evening journey of a man wandering in a forest and by the banks of reeds around a pond. Klughardt dedicated this work to Franz Liszt, whom he met in Weimar in 1869.

Paul Schoenfield, “Café Music for Piano Trio” (violin, cello and piano): Schoenfield (b. 1947) is an American composer and pianist, as well as a student of mathematics and the Talmud. A faculty colleague of Brightmusic Co-Artistic Director Chad Burrow, Schoenfield serves as Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan. He draws on many ethnic and folk music traditions to compose works for piano, orchestra, voice and chamber ensemble. His music also spans a wide range of human experience, from the darkness of his Holocaust remembrance work “Ghetto Songs” to the lightness of “Café Music.” “Café Music” (1986) was commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, inspired by Schoenfield’s one-time gig as a freelance pianist in a Minneapolis steakhouse. This work has been recorded by violinist James Ehnes and cellist Edward Arron, with Mr. Schoenfield at the piano. Despite the polished sophistication of his work, Schoenfield considers himself a folk musician who doesn’t “deserve the credit for writing music – only God deserves the credit.”

Brightmusic is a participant in Allied Arts’ OKCityCard program. Brightmusic is on the web at

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