Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival starts March 7
17th festival brings world-traveled chamber musicians to Leo Rich Theatre
For over 60 years, the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music have been hosting chamber festivals, presenting world-class musicians to Tucsonans. Ensembles representing the best musicians from far-flung locales have visited for past festivals, recently including The Tokyo String Quartet and The Australian Chamber Works.
Their 17th Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival, running March 7-14, proffers music that truly runs the gamut of chamber works, from Brahms and Beethoven to contemporary composers Gareth Farr and David Alpher.
This year's visiting ensemble, the Miro Quartet, will kick off the concert series on March 7. The quartet, formed by Oberlin students in 1995, are currently artists-in-residence at the University of Texas. They were the first chamber ensemble to receive the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.
Having frequented such venues as Carnegie Hall and Vienna's Konzerthaus, the Miro Quartet will kick off the festival at TCC's Leo Rich Theatre with compositions by Beethoven, Shostakovich, and the dramatic Schubert Quartet in G Major D 887 op. post 161. The quartet plays more Schubert, as well as Dvorak's Piano Quintet op. 81 with pianist Bernadene Blaha, during the week's program.
The festival also brings two virtuosos to Tucson this year, flutist Carol Wincenc and harpist Katerina Englichova. Each woman will also offer a master class that is free and open to the public.
Carol Wincenc, a 1972 Juilliard graduate, won the Walter W. Naumburg Solo Fluts competition. She has performed with the Chicago, Atlanta and London symphonies. Wincenc has premiered works by contemporary composers, including Henryk Gorecki and Christopher Rouse. She has recorded for classical labels Nonesuch, London/Decca and Telarc, among others. Also a festival executive, Wincenc started and directs the International Flute Festival in St. Paul.
Katerina Englichowa studied at the Prague Conservatoire. A Fulbright scholarship then brought her to the US, where she studied at the Curtis Institute with Marilyn Costello. Englichowa has appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and the Prague Philarmonia, and has won several important awards, including the Pro Musicis International award.
The flute and harp, perfect adjuncts to chamber string ensembles, allow an interesting cross-section of classical compositions to be selected for the program, from Saent-Saens and Ravel to contemporary New Zealand composer Gareth Farr's "Taheke."
Each year, the festival also commissions a new work by a contemporary composer. For the 17th festival, Patrick Zimmerli has composed a trio for flute, viola and harp. Violist Roger Chase will join Wincenc and Englichowa for the debut of the piece.
Zimmerli, who teaches at Columbia University, has had compositions featured on releases from labels including Blue Note, Arabesque and Antilles, and has been featured on NPR's "Fresh Sounds."
A complete festival program can be found at the festival's website.