The French Horn takes the spotlight in Brightmusic’s fourth concert of the season, “The Virtuoso French Horn,” featuring guest artist Adam Unsworth. The ensemble will present horn works by Robert Schumann, Joseph Haydn, W. A. Mozart and others on March 3 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Cathedral, 127 N.W. 7th Street near downtown Oklahoma City.
This season the Brightmusic Chamber Ensemble celebrates the contribution of women to the vast body of classical music, featuring a work by a woman composer in each program.
In this month’s concert the ensemble will present a piece by Ukrainian-born Catherine Likhuta, an Australian-based composer, pianist and recording artist. Her music has been described as highly emotional, programmatic and rhythmically complex.
The ensemble will be joined by Unsworth in presenting Likhuta’s intensely personal “Lesions for Horn, Clarinet and Cello.” The 2017 work is written in four parts, says Likhuta, representing the four most common emotional stages of dealing with incurable illness: Sadness, Anxiety, Denial and Acceptance, inspired by her mother’s struggle with multiple sclerosis.
Likhuta adds, “The absence of a pause between the last two movements has an extra-musical meaning: though denial and acceptance are antithetical states of mind, many patients find themselves stuck between the two for a long time, sometimes for the rest of their lives. The new reality is too difficult to accept, yet the symptoms are just as difficult to deny.”
Likhuta was born in Kyiv, Ukraine in 1981. She holds a bachelor’s degree in jazz piano and a post-graduate degree in composition from Kyiv Conservatory. She is currently pursuing a PhD in composition at the University of Queensland. Her compositions have enjoyed worldwide popularity, and she was the most-performed composer last summer at the 51st International Horn Symposium in Ghent, Belgium.
She has a special affinity for the instrument, saying, “I absolutely love writing for horn. It is considered to be one of the most difficult instruments to write for and to play for many, many reasons. I was fortunate to have collaborated with some of the world’s best horn players, including Adam Unsworth.” Likhuta has well over a dozen pieces featuring horn in her catalogue.
Unsworth, a recording artist who has collaborated with Likhuta, is Professor of French Horn at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Prior to his appointment in Ann Arbor, he was a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony. With the San Francisco Symphony he toured Asia and Europe, and he appears frequently as a guest artist with the Detroit Symphony. He is currently Principal Horn of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra.
For more information, visit www.SMTD.umich.edu.
On the program for March 3 are:
Robert Schumann — Adagio and Allegro in A-flat major for Horn and Piano, Op. 70
Joseph Haydn — Divertimento a Tre for Horn, Violin and Cello in E-flat major, Hob. IV:5
Catherine Likhuta, Lesions for Horn, Clarinet and Cello
Robert Kahn, Serenade for Horn, Clarinet and Piano in F minor, Op 73
Daniel Schnyder, Walden Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Quintet in E-flat major for Horn and Strings, K. 407
Musicians performing at this concert will be:
Adam Unsworth, Horn; Chad Burrow, Clarinet; Gregory Lee, Violin; Mark Neumann, Viola; Samuel Formicola, Violin and Viola; Jonathan Ruck, Cello; and Amy I-Lin Cheng, Piano.
In June the ensemble will present its ninth annual Summer Chamber Music Festival. Programs and dates will be announced this month.
Single admission prices are $20 at the door. There is no charge for children; active-duty military and students are admitted free with ID.
Brightmusic Chamber Ensemble presents fine classical chamber music in the acoustically-rich St. Paul’s Cathedral at NW 7th and N. Robinson near downtown Oklahoma City. Free parking is available just south of the cathedral.
For more information about the ensemble and upcoming concerts, visit brightmusic.org.