THE SPOKANE STRING QUARTET, in its 23rd year, is offering a sort of reprise of one of its most successful concerts of last season. Russian pianist Paul Ostrovsky will join the Quartet at The Met on Sunday for two pieces. First on the program will be Schubert's "Trio No. 1 in B-flat Major, Op. 99." Violinist Kelly Farris and cellist John Marshall join Ostrovsky on this number, about which Robert Shumann said, "One glance... and the troubles of our human existence disappear and all the world is fresh and bright again."
"It will be a very nice break from the gray of January," agrees Linda Becker of the Chamber Music Association. "The Quartet likes to bring in guest artists in the winter and spring concerts... Ostrovsky is a great chamber musician."
The second piece on the program, which will include the talents of all the Quartet players, will be Johannes Brahms' "Quintet in F minor, Op. 34," considered one of the greatest of all piano quintets.
The String Quartet's performances at The Met have enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years, due, no doubt, to the beauty of the venue, the quality of the performances and the increasing awareness of audiences that chamber music is a unique experience.
"The more people are exposed to chamber music, the more they like it," explains Becker. "The Met is a really nice spot for chamber music; it's a very intimate atmosphere."
It is that intimacy with the performers that draws her to this type of music. "Just watching the interaction between the musicians is a lot of fun," Becker admits. "You can see how they're communicating with each other."
In addition to the four regularly scheduled concerts by the Spokane String Quartet, the Chamber Music Association is offering a very unique opportunity on Feb. 27. Gunther Schuller will be the audience's guide in a Jazz Violin Summit. Four violinists will be backed up by drums, bass and guitar to give audiences a sampling of jazz violin pieces ranging from country swing to avant garde. (Schuller will be in town for the annual Bach Festival -- pick up the Feb. 15 Inlander for a full preview.)
"This is something Kelly [Farris] and Gunther Schuller have been trying to put together for a long time," Becker says. "It will be a real meeting of the different jazz violin styles." Schuller will act as tour guide for this singular experience. "He will be our narrator," Becker explains, "leading us on this tour of the different jazz styles."
Paul Ostrovsky joins the Spokane String Quartet at The Met on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 3 pm. Tickets: $15; $12 for seniors; $6 for students. Call: 467-5795. Gunther Schuller joins the Spokane Chamber Music Association in presenting the "Jazz Violin Summit" on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 pm, also at The Met. Tickets: $20; $18 for seniors; $10 for students. Call: 467-5795.
A veritable feast
THE SPOKANE SYMPHONY has a lot on its plate this season, and the next month is no exception. Violin soloist Stephanie Chase performs with the Symphony on Friday.
Chase is a performer of unique renown. She began her performance career at the age of 2, and by 8 she was performing the Mozart "Concerto No. 3" as well as Bach's "Double Concerto." That auspicious beginning has been followed by success after success all over the world, not to mention a nice reception here in Spokane.
"She was here in '94 and was really popular and well-received," says Annie Matlow, marketing director for the Spokane Symphony. Chase will be performing Glazunov's violin "Concerto in A minor" and Tavel's "Tzigane" for Spokane audiences. The day before the concert, she will share her talents with KPBX's Lunch and Learn series, as well as teach a free master class that afternoon at Holy Names Music Center.
The symphony follows the Chase concert with something completely different. The Feb. 1 concert, held at the Masonic Temple, will give concert-goers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the symphony. Both table seating, with wine and hors d'oeuvres, and gallery seating are available in this intimate chamber style concert. Small groups of Symphony musicians, in a variety of combinations, will provide an experience much different from that of the full orchestra.
"We're saying it's Spokane's Only Chamber Music Nightclub," laughs Matlow. "It's really an opportunity for Spokane audiences to come closer to the music. We did two like this last year, and this year we're doing three, with this concert being the second."
Four different groups, representing various sections of the Spokane Symphony, will play from the dining floor. "It's the best of each of our groups," says Matlow. "These performers are what we call our principals, which is the first chair from each group. We'll have a flute solo as the first part, followed by a string quartet. The third group is a woodwind quartet, which is going to be just wonderful, and then finally a brass quintet. It's going to be a much more intimate experience than most symphony audiences are used to."
Just two days later, the Symphony takes another turn, this time toward jazz. Pianist Walt Wagner, a Seattle native, takes the Symphony on a ride through both original pieces and jazz standards. Jazz lovers can attend this Superpops Concert to tide them over until the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival at the end of the month.
Finally, winning the award for the most romantic offering of the month, the Valentine concert pairs conductor Fabio Mechetti with his wife, pianist Aida Ribeiro on Feb. 16. The Symphony will perform three pieces never performed by the Spokane Symphony, and Ribeiro will play the Villa-Lobos "Momoprecoce." This concert is definitely a labor of love.
Stephanie Chase plays with the Spokane Symphony on Friday, Jan. 26, at the
Opera House at 8 pm. The Spokane Symphony's Thursday, Feb. 1, concert at
the Masonic Temple is at 7:30 pm. Tickets: $20, tables; $14, gallery seating. The
jazz concert with Walt Wagner is Sunday, Feb. 3, at the Opera House at 8 pm.
Tickets: $16-$35. Finally, Fabio Mechetti conducts the Spokane Symphony with pianist Aida Ribeiro on Friday, Feb. 16, at 8 pm
at the Opera House. Tickets: $14.50-$32. Call: 624-1200 or 325-SEAT.
A new kid in town
Although the Spokane Symphony has always performed admirably in providing high quality symphony music to a variety of venues in our region, Coeur d'Alene residents have no doubt been gratified this year by the premier season of their very own symphony orchestra. THE COEUR D'ALENE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA is conducted by Todd Snyder, and has begun their musical journey with some wonderful selections this season.
On Feb. 17, they leave NIC's Schuler Auditorium to grace the Coeur d'Alene Resort Convention Center. The change of venue is due to the novelty of a pops concert paired with a dance. Dinner is available, and music lovers of all ages can dance the night away while supporting this fledgling organization.
The Coeur d'Alene Symphony's pop concert and dance is Saturday, Feb. 17, at 7:30 pm at the Coeur d'Alene Resort Convention Center. Tickets: $7; $5 for seniors, $3 juniors. Call: (208) 769-7780.
And an old favorite...
For 34 years, the University of Idaho has played host to THE LIONEL HAMPTON JAZZ FESTIVAL, a truly star-studded gathering celebrating jazz through performance, learning, and competition. In addition to the quality performances by the more than 18,000 students, elementary through college age, who perform and compete at the festival, the evening concerts offer something special for every jazz lover. This year's festival, Feb. 21-24, will include, as always, performances by Lionel Hampton and his New York Big Band. Joining Hampton will be singers Nancy Wilson and Lou Rawls. The Ray Brown Trio and the Roy Hargrove Quintet are two more groups bound to please. All the featured concerts offer a mix of old names, new artists and a variety of jazz styles.
Nowhere else in our region are music lovers likely to find such a mix of outstanding jazz performances. It is worth the trip.
& & & lt;i & The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival is at the University of Idaho in Moscow on Feb. 21-24. Tickets: $18-$28. Call: (208) 885-7212. & lt;/i & & lt;/center &