PROGRAM REVIEWS for the individual concerts will be posted here as they become available.
NEAVE TRIO AND WINDSYNC CONCERT, JANUARY 24-31, 2021
"A TASTE OF SUCCESS…
The Chamber Music Society of Utica presented its second virtual concert
(week-long and free of charge) on Sunday, Jan. 24th at 2:30pm, continuing
thru Jan. 31st, at 2:30pm. Susanna Watling, president of the society, referred
to this virtual performance series as ’tasting menu concerts’ - a modest
framing, indeed, for the rousing and riveting event viewed on Sunday.
First up on the program was the Boston-based, Neave Trio. Founded in
2010, this award-winning piano trio is comprised of Anna Williams
(violin),Mikhail Veselov (cello), and Eri Nakamura (piano). After charming,
informal introductions by the artists, themselves, we - the virtual audience
members - are ‘taken’ to the concert (which was filmed before an actual live
audience in January of 2019). The trio’s performance piece is, “The Four
Seasons of Buenos Aires,” by Astor Piazolla (1921-1992). Not unlike the
seasons of the year, Piazolla’s palette is an ever-changing one, with
surprising shifts from deeply expressive melodic phrases to percussive and
fiery rhythmic passages, fusing tango, jazz, and classical.
The Neave Trio seems to cross these genres, effortlessly - each player
displaying virtuosity on their instrument, and playing with complete
command and clarity. If one is looking to warm up their chilly Central New
York winter with a bit of fire and passion, look no further than the Neave
Trio’s top-notch performance of Astor Piazolla’s “The Four Seasons of
The next ensemble presented during CMSU’s virtual concert was the
Houston-based wind ensemble, WindSync, comprised of Garrett Hudson
(flute), Emily Tsai (oboe), Julian Hernandez (clarinet), Anni Hochhalter
(horn), and Kara LaMoure (bassoon). The program, entitled, “Voyager,”
features a collection of musical pieces, inspired by space travel and celestial
bodies, each carefully chosen and arranged by members of WindSync. The
artists, again, take the lead in describing the pieces. And what follows is a
dizzying array of musicianship and seamless ensemble playing.
Our voyage begins with Buxtehude’s heavenly, “Passacaglia in D minor,”
followed by the meditative, “Tsuru Sugomori,” a flawless J.S.Bach’s Fugue
No. 1 in C Major, and culminating with the stately, “Jupiter” an exquisitely
beautiful, hymn-like melody from The Planets by Gustav Holst. Each of the
compositions is given its due, performed with precision, expertise, and
great musicality. WindSync is clearly ‘in sync’ with their audience, even
when that audience is virtual.
Kudos are in order for all of the musicians, technicians, and members of
The Chamber Music Society of Utica for bringing this quality of arts and
entertainment to the public, even during such challenging times as these.
Hopefully, the public will respond, in kind, to help support all of the
immense efforts and talents. Because, clearly, this event was much more
than a tasting-menu… more like a full-course meal."
Dianne Adams McDowell
Composer / Lyricist / Arranger
Music Director, Office of the Chaplains, Colgate University
Vocal Arranger, Broadway’s “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”
“This concert is fantastic!----I have performed both the piano trio and the string orchestra w/soloist arrangements of the Piazzolla “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires”
and am keenly aware of the creative and technical work needed to perform these arrangements in a genuine, stylistically pertinent way: The Neave Trio did much, much more…They went well beyond the notes and directions on the page and created an original, new dimension of experience.
WindSync performs a nicely varied program—not just in style but in texture—a breath of fresh air from the traditional woodwind quintet concert! Their arrangements are pleasantly idiomatic and not at all “gimmicky” or awkward. I especially appreciated the adaptations and expansions of flute techniques for the Japanese shakuhachi composition. Go to the CMSU webpage (www.uticachambermusic.org) this week to watch, listen and contribute to support these musicians!”
Cellist and founding member of several chamber ensembles
Artistic Director of In Praise of Music, www.InPraiseofMusic.org,
cellist with the Glimmerglass Orchestra and teaches at Colgate University
since returning to her home town of Hamilton, NY.
“The violin, cello, and piano that make up The Neave Trio became sultry voices, wild drums, and the occasional biting insect in Piazzolla’s ‘Four Seasons of Buenos Aires’. The ensemble’s fullthroated tones and rhythmic virility transported me to muggy nights of passionate dancing. In elegant contrast, the ensemble WindSync delivered a celestial-themed program that positively floated on air. Inspired selections, stunning arrangements, and precision playing lifted me to a state of weightlessness. A world-class program. Bravo!”
Musician, composer www.mattnakoa.com
"I greatly enjoyed listening to the online streaming concert provided by CMSU. The production was extremely high quality, including the opening comments and both performances. The ensembles utilized creative and exciting programming that demonstrated both their artistry and their desire to connect with their audience.
The Piazzola played by the Neave Trio was immediately and sustainably compelling. The trio is remarkably polished and plays with such ease and finesse.
WindSync’s performance was moving and communicative. Their Voyager program included a few favorite keyboard pieces of mine, and hearing them transcribed for wind quintet lended them a fresh perspective. I enjoyed that they varied the combination of instruments, expanding the reach of their repertoire.
Kudos to the Chamber Music Society of Utica for having the initiative to undertake this worthwhile endeavor. Although nothing beats a live performance, there are advantages to viewing a video performance: seeing the performers on their instruments up close, and the ability to watch and listen to a favorite piece more than once. When I go to see both of these groups next year, I will feel more connected to them as an ensemble, and more invested in their live performance as a result of having seem them online this year.
Again, many thanks to the CMSU for finding a way to support both their community and the arts in these difficult times."
Lecturer in Piano at Hamilton College