Showing posts with label Pyxis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pyxis. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Concerts on Kentmere: 10 Years IN & Stronger Than Ever

This post appears courtesy of
By Christine Facciolo

The Delaware Art Museum INvites you to join in celebrating the 10th anniversary season of its’ Concerts on Kentmere series, featuring performances by Pyxis, Wilmington’s premier piano quartet.

The ensemble — Luigi Mazzocchi (violin), Amy Leonard (viola), Jennifer Jie Jin (cello) and Hiroko Yamazaki (piano) — will perform three concerts during the 2018-19 season, the final event featuring a commissioned work by David Schelat.

Commissions are playing a greater role in the Museum’s offerings. “That’s something the Museum is doing across all programs, trying to respond in the moment to art and to current times,” said Jonathan Whitney, performance & community engagement manager at the Museum. “So we’re bringing Pyxis in on that because they’re one of our ensembles.”

The milestone season will also see a closer relationship between Pyxis’ repertoire and the exhibits.

“We met with all the curators last spring before we planned our season because we wanted to see what we had to work with,” said Leonard.

The first concert which takes place on September 27 provides the musical response to the work of conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas. The commissioned exhibit — “Black Survival Guide, or How to Live Through a Police Riot” — tells the lesser-known stories of the 1968 riots and occupation of Wilmington through a series of fourteen retro-reflective prints drawn from the photographic archives of the Delaware Historical Society and The News Journal. Viewers become “activists” when they apply light to the prints revealing hidden images.

Pyxis will complement the exhibit with a performance of Alfred Schnittke’s Prelude in Memoriam Dmitri Shostakovich. “There are many layers involved and secret meanings and things that aren’t immediately apparent,” said Leonard. “And we’ll be performing it in a very kinetic way, spreading ourselves out in the space.” The program will also feature a performance of Debussy’s cello sonata, a work written as the composer struggled under the physical and psychological oppression of terminal cancer.

The artistic accomplishments of women will be the focus when Pyxis performs on January 10, 2019. “The Feminine Mystique” honors the work of pre-Raphaelite artist and mid-19th Century feminist and women’s rights activist Barbara Bodichon. Leonard and company will offer a musical response with works by such trailblazing composers as Germaine Tailleferre, Rebecca Clarke, Dora Pejacevic and Gwyneth Walker whose “Letters to the World” reflects on the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

“Tailleferre was the only female member of the group known as Les Six and Rebecca Clarke was one of the first women to play in a symphony orchestra,” said Leonard.

Pyxis’ final concert on May 2 will explore the relationship between color and sound. The ensemble will perform vibrant works by Brahms (Piano Quintet in F minor featuring guest violinist Dara Morales of the Philadelphia Orchestra) and Beethoven (the String Quartet in E-Flat Major nicknamed the “Harp” for its use of pizzicato).

The concert will also feature a newly commissioned work by David Schelat. Leonard doesn’t know much about it yet but hopes it’s challenging. “I hope it’s really hard and that he gives us plenty of ‘crunchy’ harmonies.”

Concert dates: Thursdays, September 27, January 10, (Snow date Sunday, January 13), May 2. Prior to each concert, the museum's curator will offer a brief personal insight.

Curator talks begin at 7:30 p.m. Performances begin at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Smooth Beginning of the Delaware Chamber Music Festival

Barbara Govatos and Marcantonio Barone
From the first thirty-second note of the Grave in the Beethoven Opus 16, Barbara Govatos, Marcantonio Barone, Che Hung Chen and Priscilla Lee were glued together – making that treacherous journey through the beginning of the quintet with ease and confidence which is rarely managed,  even on recordings.  Mr. Barone even added a short and melodic bridge between the  Grave  and Allegro movements – keeping a Beethoven tradition but making it a fleeting and well-matched bridge to the faster movement.    

The theme of the first evening of the Delaware Chamber Music Festival was Classical Influences.  The Poulenc Sonata for flute and piano, Opus 164 may seem at first to be an incongruous fit for the Mozart and Beethoven, but the extremely soft dynamics of Ms. Guidetti’s flute in the Cantilena movement evoked the quiet of the second movement of Bach’s Italian Concerto.  The Presto giocoso cleared any lingering baroque feeling as the duo gave a brilliant rendition of the modern, dance-like movement.

The Mozart Piano quartet in G minor, K 478 was played with twenty-first century vigor – sometimes letting the modern piano dominate with the sudden fortes.  Yet Mr. Barone made the piano sing the theme of the second half of the first movement and Ms. Lee’s cello lines could be clearly heard as his accompaniment.  The vocal quality of the high notes of Che Hung Chen’s viola – especially in the Rondeau movement, was delightful. 

Pyxis rehearses with Barbara Govatos
The classical beginnings of the Festival will make way for romantic and even blues influences on Sunday, June 16 when the Pyxis Piano Quartet joins the Festival.  The quartet will also play a Delaware premiere by composer Kathryn Mishell, the winner of the 2010 Sylvia Glickman prize of the International Alliance for Women of Music.  On Friday, June 21, Christian Taggart will be a featured guest playing the Paganini Cantabile for violin and guitar, the Sonata concertante for violin and guitar and some Piazzola.  There will also be a fest of romantic trios played by Marcantonio Barone, Clancy Newman and Barbara Govatos.

The Festival will present a fourth and final concert with a Delaware premiere: String Quartet No. 2 by local composer Ingrid Arauco.  The theme Chip off the old Bach and the Bach Duet for violin and viola in C minor,  the Mozart  Adagio and Fugue in C minor and the Mendelssohn String Quintet in B-flat Major hint that Ms. Arauco’s string quartet will also be a classically structured piece. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chamber Music in October

Would you believe that the Pyxis Quartet’s October 1 concert at the Delaware Art Museum has been sold out since August? The Concerts on Kentmere series will be presented in the Pre-Raphaelite gallery and an option for dinner on the Chihuly Bridge can be part of the package for those lucky few who booked early.

The Pyxis Quartet was founded this year and I hope they will play together for many years to come: Hiroko Yamazaki, piano, Meredith Amado, violin, Amy Leonard, viola and Jie Jin, cello are a formidable combination.

If you did NOT book early for the Concert on Kentmere, fret not. You have two other opportunities to hear the Pyxis this fall: They will be playing on Thursday, October 29, at noon at First and Central Presbyterian Church just off Rodney Square and on Sunday, November 1 at Grace United Methodist Church at 3:00 p.m.

But don’t forget the Newark Symphony Chamber Series which starts on Saturday, October 3, with a star-studded ensemble of players. Thomas DiSarlo, concertmaster of the Philadelphia group Camerata Ama Deus, will play a violin etude by Ernst, and two Mozart violin duos with Amy Walder. Walder will switch to viola to join Susan Kiley, who will trade in her NSO viola role for a violin, and Charles Thomas, cello and Thomas DiSarlo, violin for the Haydn Emperor Quartet. The final piece in the concert will be the Schumann E-flat Piano Quartet with Vincent Craig, piano, DiSarlo, violin, Amy Walder, viola and Charles Thomas, cello.

On October 11 at 4:00 p.m.,near perfect acoustics in the Church of the Holy City will enhance the delightful sound of the Copeland String Quartet: Eliezer Gutman, violin, Thomas Jackson, violin, Nina Cottman, viola and Mark Ward.

And if you are still hungry for chamber music (and macaroons), don’t forget the Hotel Dupont Chamber Series. On October 27, you will hear the Nielsen Wind Quintet, the Strauss Happy Workshop and a local composer, Chuck Holdeman’s Petit Concert.

On Tuesday, December 1, David Amado teams up with his wife, Meredith, for an evening of Mozart violin sonatas at the Hotel Dupont.

There is no shortage of chamber music in the Diamond State this season!