Chamber musicians reach final crescendo

By Michelle Tang
Staff Writer

Featuring music from renowned composers like Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss, Brahms, and Debussy, the annual Spring Chamber Concert took place on Tuesday, May 19, for an audience of about 40 in the Chorale Room. Duets, trios, quartets, and a small chamber orchestra played eight pieces during the 90-minute program and showcased the skills of what Amber Wolf ’16, one of the pianists in the concert, called an “unusually strong” group of musicians.

Chamber Music Director Brian Reasoner, Homa Gharagozlou ’16, Sebastién Ridore ’15, and Adrian Sands ’15 performed the third movement of Brahms Quartet No. 3 in C minor, Op. 60, for piano, violin, viola, and cello, respectively. The school last performed the piece alongside Yo-Yo Ma in 1996—a fact that had Adrian, who played Yo-Yo Ma’s part and described the piece as “intricate and moody,” feeling both honored and anxious.

“It was a lot to live up to,” Adrian said.

The longest piece of the night was the 20-minute piano duet performed by Amber and Isaac Sebenius ’15, who together prepared a rendition of four movements of Schubert’s Fantasia in F minor. One challenge they had to meet was coordinating their four hands’ positions and movements to ensure smooth transitions, Mr. Reasoner noted. The first movement opened with a repeating melodic motif, which weaved through the entire piece, and transitioned into a darker second theme dotted with sudden alternations between fortissimos and pianos. An energetic third movement led to the finale, which echoed the first movement. 

The concert closed with what Mr. Reasoner described as a “unique” mini orchestral ensemble that consisted of nine performers—two seniors, one junior, six freshmen, and Mr. Reasoner—playing “The Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss, Jr. 

“It was really cool to experience orchestra all over again, except with a smaller, tight-knit group,” Violinist Elizabeth Bowen ’18 said.

Alex Medzorian ’15, also a member of the orchestra but not of a chamber group, agreed that this was a “fantastic” show to attend. 

“To see my fellow musicians and friends have the opportunity to display their musical talents on a more individual basis was really fun to watch,” he added.

The event also constituted the last school-affiliated concert for the four seniors, all of whom played in at least two different chamber groups this trimester: HJ Hwang ’15, Isaac, Adrian, and Sebastién. 

Amy Gu ’16, who played violin for the performance, said she would miss Adrian’s “understated and easygoing” personality and Sebastién’s appreciation for music. Sebastién was a member of four chamber groups, and Adrian three.

“I enjoyed the process of playing and working through pieces with [the seniors],” she said. “You can see the passion everyone has about the music.” 

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