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PROGRAM REVIEWS for the individual concerts will be posted here as they become available.




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

Buenos Aires.”


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 ( this week to watch, listen and contribute to support these musicians!”


Ruth Berry 
Cellist and founding member of several chamber ensembles 
Artistic Director of In Praise of Music,,
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!” 


Matt Nakoa 
Musician, composer

"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."


Tina Toglia 
Lecturer in Piano at Hamilton College

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