Minifest returning to Kerrytown Concert House, looking forward and back
The Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, a multi-venue southeastern Michigan affair directed by pianist James Tocco, turns 20 this year. That’s as good a sign of maturity as 21 is for adolescents leaving their teens for real.
For 14 of its 20 years, this annual June festival has paid a visit to Kerrytown Concert House, with a three-concert residency the house calls “Minifest.”As befits this anniversary year, the concerts—not just at KCH but at the festival’s venues around the Detroit area (including Windsor)—look back as well as forward. They feature artists old and new; mature ensembles that have come through its Shouse Institute and emerging groups benefiting from the Shouse experience; and works by former festival composers-in-residence and new commissionees.
Here’s a look at what’s in store at Kerrytown in three programs, June 14 and 21 at 8 p.m. and June 23 at 2 p.m. For a fuller look at GLCMF programs, visit the website, greatlakeschambermusic.com.
June 14 (Friday):
It’s old home night at KCH, as favorite Minifest artists return. Cellists Andres Diaz and Paul Katz are on the bill; so is pianist Pei-Shan Lee—and the Jupiter String Quartet, an established group that cut its teeth in the Shouse emerging artist program.
The works include familiars, too, like the divine Schubert String Quintet in C Major, D. 956, Schubert’s final work for chamber ensemble and one of the greatest of chamber music pieces. The cello (of which there are two in the Schubert) gets another turn in the spotlight in Schnittke’s dark 1978 Cello Sonata No. 1, and Yale University composer Hanah Lash unveils her festival co-commission “Now of All Times.”
June 21 (Friday):
Beethoven (the String Trio in C Minor, Op. 9, NO. 3) anchors this bill in the past, along with a seminal 1912 brass quintet by the Russian composer, cellist and civil engineer Victor Ewald. But the group playing the Ewald, the Axiom Brass, is a current Shouse Institute ensemble, and the rest of the program also says the future is now. Ann Arbor’s own Pulitzer Prize-winning William Bolcom appears as pianist and composer as the festival celebrates him both as a former composer-in-residence and as a birthday boy (75 years young). Soprano Lauren Skuce, an Ann Arbor favorite from numerous appearances, is his partner for a selection of his witty and charming songs. A current commissionee, Australian composer Brett Dean, makes an appearance as performer and composer, too, with his “Skizzen Fur Siegbert.” The program also features violinist Kimberly Kaloyanides Kennedy and cellist Kee-Hyun Kim.
June 23 (Sunday):
Violinist Ani Kavafian and pianist Andrea Lam (of the Claremont Trio - another former Shouse group) appear this afternoon, as do two Shouse ensembles new to the festival, the City of Tomorrow Woodwind Quintet and the San Francisco-based Delphi Trio. Works of Elliott Carter, the influential double-Pulitzer-winning American composer who died recently at nearly 104, form the nucleus of the bill. They span the years from 1948 (Woodwind Quintet) to 2009 (“Nine by Five”).
Framing these are two classics, Mozart’s Violin Sonata in E-flat, K. 481, and Dvorak’s powerful Piano Trio No. 3 in F minor, Op. 65 - not the famous “Dumky,” but a work that holds the ear even if it sits in the shadow of that other popular work.