Assume the piano

Simin Ganatra, violin
Simin Ganatra, violin

The Asheville Chamber Music Series has been raising funds for a new piano throughout the year. “Well, I shouldn’t say a new piano,” says Richard Wrightson, president of ACMS. “It will be a used piano, but a very good used Steinway piano.” ACMS set a funding goal of $50,000 to acquire the instrument. “To date, we’ve got pledges of over $36,000,” Wrightson says.

As if to demonstrate what concertgoers can expect $14,000 down the road, the organization planned the 2011-2012 season with a number of chamber works involving the piano. “We’re bringing in a good piano — a good Steinway B — for a couple of the concerts,” Wrightson says. “What makes this year a little bit different is that there is more variety in terms of instruments being used.”

Chamber works for strings have dominated the annual series in recent seasons. “There’s a conscious effort within the organization to present a more varied program in terms of wind instruments in combination with strings and piano,” Wrightson says. “That certainly shows through in the program this year.”

The opening concert, which features four piano-inclusive works performed by The Kavafian-Schub-Shifrin Trio, proves that the “conscious effort” is being realized.

Historically, an astounding number of world-famous ensembles and soloists have visited Asheville through ACMS, including the Budapest, Emerson, Fine Arts, Julliard and Kodaly quartets. The Amadeus Quartet — one of the most renowned ensembles of the 20th century — performed in the first season in 1952 and seven times thereafter. The present-day musicians are equally celebrated. “All of the groups that are playing — from a world point of view — are very preeminent in many ways,” Wrightson says. “The Pacifica Quartet, for example — they are very good. They have been appointed as the quartet-in-residence at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Kavafian-Schub-Shifrin Trio is part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. All of these groups are well-renowned and perform all over the world.”

All performances begin at 8 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville, located at 1 Edwin Place at Charlotte Street. Individual tickets are $35. Season tickets are available for $135.00 each. To purchase season tickets see us at http://www.ashevillechambermusic.org or call Pam Miller at (828) 259-3626. ACMS concerts are free for students.

The Kavafian-Schub-Shifrin Trio, Oct. 21

The program:
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Kegelstadt (clarinet) Trio.”
Béla Bartók, “Contrasts for Violin, Clarinet and Piano.”
Igor Stravinsky, Suite from “L’Histoire du Soldat.”
William Bolcom, “Afternoon Cakewalk” (Rag Suite of Joplin, Lamb, Scott and Bolcom.)

The players:
Ani Kavafian (violin), Andre-Michel Schub (piano) and David Shifrin (clarinet).
Listen for yourself: http://avl.mx/64

The Calder Quartet, Nov. 18

The program:
Johannes Brahms, Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 67, No. 3.
Anton Webern, Five Movements for String Quartet, Op. 5.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131, No. 14.

The players:
Benjamin Jacobson (violin), Andrew Bulbrook (violin), Jonathan Moreschel (viola) and Eric Byers (cello).
Listen for yourself: http://avl.mx/5u

The American Chamber Players, Jan. 13, 2012

Mozart, Quartet for Flute and Strings, D Major, K. 285.
Beethoven, Quartet for Piano and Strings, Op. 16, E-flat Major.
Robert Schumann, Three Romances for Flute and Piano, Op. 94
Brahms, Quartet for Piano and Strings, Op. 25, G Minor.

The players:
Miles Hoffman (viola), Stephen Balderston (cello), Joanna Maurer (violin), Sara Stern (flute) and Reiko Uchida (piano).
Listen for yourself: http://avl.mx/5t

The Alexander String Quartet, March 2, 2012

Franz Joseph Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 76, No. 3, "Emperor.”
Beethoven, String Quartet, Op. 95, "Serioso.”
Dmitri Shostakovich, Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87, Nos. 1 and 15 (arr. Grafilo).
Shostakovich, String Quartet No. 4.

The players:
Zakarias Grafilo (violin), Frederick Lifsitz (violin), Paul Yarbrough (viola) and Sandy Wilson (cello).
Listen for yourself: http://avl.mx/5v

Pacifica Quartet, April 13, 2012

[Pictured]
Beethoven, Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 18, No. 6.
Antonín Dvorak, "American" Quartet in F Major, Op. 96
Beethoven: Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2

The players:
Simin Ganatra (violin), Sibbi Bernhardsson (violin), Masumi Per Rostad (viola) and Brandon Vamos (cello).
Listen for yourself: http://avl.mx/5z

— Jaye Bartell can be reached at jbartell@mountainx.com

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