Second Festival of French Classical Music


(E) The second Silicon Valley Festival of Classical Music starts tonight at the Tateuchi Recital Hall in Mountain View. The first concert tonight at 8 pm will feature Ensemble San Francisco. The second concert on June 27, 2015, at 8 pm will feature seven Bay Area virtuosi. The festival is organized by the Silicon Valley Alliance Francaise in Santa-Clara. Following are all the details about the festival:

The first concert on June 19, 2015, 8 pm, Friday

Features Ensemble San Francisco

The program is entitled: “Three Summits of French Chamber Music” 72 minutes with a 10- minutes intermission

In the first concert, five musicians from Ensemble San Francisco, an exciting group of noted Bay Area soloists, will impress you with their lively and powerful virtuosity.

The musicians who will be performing are: Christine McLeavey Payne, piano – Rebecca Jackson, violin – Jonah Kim, cello – Livia Sohn, violin – Jessica Chang, viola

Pianist Christine McLeavey Payne and Korean cellist Jonah Kim will begin with Claude Debussy’s Sonata for cello and piano, composed in 1915, a staple of the modern cello repertoire and regarded as one of the finest masterpieces written for the instrument.

In the animated Piano Trio by Maurice Ravel, Jonah Kim and Christine McLeavey Payne will be joined by the Korean-American violinist Rebecca Jackson to perform the contrasting sonorities of the piano and two string instruments. The trio is not only one of Ravel’s greatest works, but it is also one of the supreme challenges for chamber music players.

All the musicians, including violinists Livia Sohn and violist Jessica Chang, will join together to play Cesar Franck’s Quintet for Piano and Strings. This monumental work is rarely heard in a live performance. It is late-Franck at his most profound. Many musicians regard his Piano Quintet as one of the Himalayas of chamber music

The second concert is on June 27, 2015, 8 pm, Saturday

Features seven Bay Area virtuosi

The program is entitled: “Jewels of French Music” 85 minutes with a 10-minute intermission

In the second concert, six major Bay Area virtuosi will present a wide variety of shorter works. They may be shorter, but these works are not small. They are jewels by France’s greatest composers.

The musicians who will be performing are Gwendolyn Mok, piano – Ray Furuta, piccolo, and flute – Mark Anderson and Michelle Mares, duo-pianists – Isabelle Chapuis, flute – Anna Yelizarova, mezzo-soprano – Veronika Agranov-Dafoe, piano – Michael Dailey, tenor.

The program: three pieces of Maurice Ravel: Frontispiece, Trois Oiseaux de Paradis, arranged for flute and two pianos by Mark Starr and Deux Sites Auriculaires will be performed by duo-pianists Mark Anderson and Michelle Mares. Flutist Ray Furuta will perform in the Trois Oiseaux de Paradis.

The Duo-pianists Mark Anderson and Michelle Mares will perform the Sonata for Two Pianos, written by Francis Poulenc in 1953, and dedicated to American pianists Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale. A late and colorful work, Poulenc described it as “a lyrical, profound burst”.

Isabelle Chapuis, (Principal Flute of Opera San Jose and co-director of this festival), will perform Density 21.5 by Edgar Varèse. He composed this work in 1936 for the platinum flute of French flutist Georges Barrere (21.5 is the density of platinum.). Isabelle will play the work on a platinum flute made available for the concert by Silicon Valley inventor Philippe Kahn. Isabelle’s mother studied composition with Varese. Isabelle will perform the work from a copy of the music inscribed by the composer and presented to her mother by him.

She will also perform Le merle noir, by Olivier Messiaen. While a student at the Paris Conservatory, Isabelle performed on French Television with Messiaen’s wife, pianist Yvonne Loriod. She played his Oiseaux Exotiques, as prepared by the composer.

Pianist Gwendolyn Mok. who specializes in the music of Maurice Ravel, will dazzle you with all the five pieces of Mirrors : Noctuelles (“Night Moths”), Oiseaux tristes (“Sad Birds”), Une barque sur l’océan (“A Boat on the Ocean”), Alborada del gracioso (“Morning Song of the Jester”) and La vallée des cloches (“The Valley of Bells”).

Georges Bizet’s Carmen will be performed by brilliant artists from Opera San Jose, mezzo-soprano Anna Yelizarova, as “Carmen”, tenor Michael Dailey as Don Jose, accompanied by pianist Veronika Agranov- Dafoe.

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