classical music

Amanda Tipton Photography

Edward Dusinberre is the first violinist of the Takács Quartet, which will perform on the Fontana series at 7:30 pm on Friday, Feb 21 in the Dalton Center Recital Hall at Western Michigan University. He's also the author of Beethoven For A Later Age: Living With The String Quartets. In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, Dusinberre previews the three works on the program, including Fanny Mendelssohn's String Quartet in E-flat, a dramatic Romantic-era work, and one of her best. She was denied a path forward as a musician by her father and brother, says Dusinberre, it being highly inappropriate at the time for a woman to seek recognition for composing.

Established in 1975 by four students at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, the U.S.-based group is celebrating 45 years of exceptional music-making. 


The Moxie Strings

Conductor Bruce Uchimura will lead the WMU Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 and Arturo Marquez' Congal del Fuego Nuevo at 3 pm on Sunday, Feb 9 in a free concert in Miller Auditorium. The Moxie Strings, an innovative electro-acoustic duo featuring violinist Diana Ladio and WMU alumna cellist Alison Lynn, will join the orchestra to play their original music, which includes Celtic, rock, and contemporary influences. 

Lynn and Uchimura talk to Cara Lieurance about the concert, and Lynn talks about how she and her partner turned Moxie Strings into a music career that takes them around the country and beyond.


Edward Callahan

Edward Callahan was surprised and gratified to learn that his debut album, The Minor Keys, had topped the iTunes charts when it was released in December 2019. Raised in Kalamazoo and trained as a classical pianist from the age of 5, Callahan credits family, teachers and local mentors for recognizing his determination to become a concert pianist. He spoke to Cara Lieurance from his home in New York about the new album, why he wanted to record it, and about a return to Kalamazoo in April. The Alma Powell Spring Concert, featuring Edward Callahan in a solo recital, will be at 5 pm Saturday, April 4 at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.


fontanamusic.org

David Shifrin, Peter Wiley, and Anna Polonsky all bring rich and joyful backgrounds in classical music to their music-making. Taking time out of a rehearsal, Shifrin, Wiley and Polonsky get on the speaker phone talk to Cara Lieurance about how their musical histories intersect. For example, all are alumni of the Curtis Institute, and all have enjoyed performing together at summer festivals. Their trio, which was formed in 2018, will perform music of Beethoven, Brahms, and Zemlinsky on the Fontana series at 7:30 pm on Friday, January 31 at First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo. A pre-concert lecture is offered at 7 pm. 


Sehvilla Mann | WMUK / photo of Emmet Cohen by Taili Song Roth

Pierre Van Der Westhuizen, executive director of the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, joins Cara Lieurance to open the 2020 festival brochure and discuss the various artists, styles, venues and extra-musical experiences the festival will offer between April 22 - May 10. Van Der Westhuizen created different categories with multiple events for 2020, including "A Celebration of Beethoven," "Blissfully Baroque," "Keyboard Deep Dive," and "Jazz." The festival will be held in venues in Kalamazoo and surrounding communities from April 22 - May 10. 

One of the pianists singled out in the discussion is Sergei Babayan, whose career as a teacher has kept him under the radar as a soloist. He's one of the few pianists whose Chopin playing can bring Van Der Westhuizen to tears, he says. The festival will also celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth with a number of concerts, including 2018 Gilmore Artist Igor Levit playing an all-Beethoven program.

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