All posts by Kaitrin McCoy

A breath of fresh sound: Roman’s flute concertino makes world premiere in CSO performance featuring Valdes, Sherman

A breath of fresh sound: Roman’s flute concertino makes world premiere in CSO performance featuring Valdes, Sherman

For Laurence Roman, composing music is “a little like playing … chess on a skateboard on an icy slope.”

Melodies, rhythm, thematic development, musical texture, orchestral colors, tonality and formal structure — all of these elements must be balanced for a piece to be successful. Roman said there are times when he’s saturated with a musical problem and needs 400 cups of coffee to keep going. In those moments, he remembers to take a break from his work.

REVIEW — A brave exploration of fear and death MSFO, Voice students beautifully stage Poulenc’s haunting ‘Dialogues’

REVIEW — A brave exploration of fear and death MSFO, Voice students beautifully stage Poulenc’s haunting ‘Dialogues’

The chilly evening air and half-empty wooden pews of the Amphitheater may have dampened the spirits of patrons Monday night during Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, performed by students from the School of Music’s Voice Program and the Music School Festival Orchestra. The performers, though, couldn’t have asked for a better environment for the hauntingly austere production.

Manhattan Piano Trio brings unique sound, new cellist to Logan series

Manhattan Piano Trio brings unique sound, new cellist to Logan series

Nobody asked Milana Strezeva, a renowned Moldovan-American pianist, if she wanted to learn to play piano. Her parents invited a music teacher to look at Strezeva’s hands and her fate was pronounced: She had very good hands for the instrument.

Lessons began at age 6, and by 11, Strezeva was accompanying her father, a clarinetist, and her mother, a soprano vocalist, in concert. This was her first chamber music ensemble. Luckily, Strezeva turned out to love chamber music.

Summer heat: Versatile CSO, with Chafetz  takes on Broadway, pop classics

Summer heat: Versatile CSO, with Chafetz takes on Broadway, pop classics

The weather may be cool, but the Chautauqua Opera Company Young Artists and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra will heat up the Amphitheater Saturday night with hot Broadway and pop tunes, all about summer.

“Summertime” from Porgy and Bess, “Summer in Ohio” from The Last Five Years and “Too Darn Hot” from Kiss Me, Kate are just some of the selections the Young Artists and the CSO will perform, starting at 8:15 p.m. Saturday night in the Amp. The program will be conducted by Stuart Chafetz, CSO principal timpanist and guest conductor.

A real riot: Segal returns to conduct CSO in Stravinsky’s ‘Rite’; Pegis readies Dvorák’s ‘masterful’ cello concerto

A real riot: Segal returns to conduct CSO in Stravinsky’s ‘Rite’; Pegis readies Dvorák’s ‘masterful’ cello concerto

Uriel Segal hopes that no one throws rotten tomatoes or eggs at him tonight as he conducts Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. It’s been 13 years since Segal — who retired in 2007 as CSO music director, a position he held for 18 years — conducted the piece’s Chautauqua Institution premiere. No one threw rotten food last time, Segal said, but the history of the piece’s 1913 premiere in Paris — including some emotionally charged riots — has made The Rite of Spring infamous.

Orchestral snapshots: Merkley joins CSO to celebrate Britten’s 100th with ‘Young Person’s Guide’

Orchestral snapshots: Merkley joins CSO to celebrate Britten’s 100th with ‘Young Person’s Guide’

It isn’t often that Marty Merkley recites rhymes in front of a packed Amphitheater, but he hopes that tonight will be one of those nights.

Merkley, Chautauqua Institution vice president and director of programming, will perform his rhyming adaptation of the narration that accompanies Benjamin Britten’s “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.” This year marks the British composer’s 100th birthday, and Merkley said that performing Britten’s most well-known piece to mark the occasion was a no-brainer.

Pacifica Quartet features ‘magic mix’ of identities

Pacifica Quartet features ‘magic mix’ of identities

Behind the musicians of Pacifica Quartet are enthusiastic parents, parents who helped their young children choose an instrument — or picked it for them. They shuttled their children to and from music lessons, making the most of what money and connections they had. When necessary, they made mandates and even ultimatums.

After all of this work, they got results: Pacifica Quartet has performed in world-class venues. They won the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Ensemble. And they’ve played Franz Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major with Yo-Yo Ma.