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Edward Arron returns to Caramoor this spring with a curated performance featuring talented colleagues-including fellow Evnin Rising Stars alumni-that will entertain and enlighten.
Beethoven Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 16 Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello Chausson Piano Quartet in A Major, Op. 30
Adam Neiman, piano
Maria Bachmann, violin
Hsin-Yun Huang, viola
Edward Arron, cello
“Edward Arron is not only one of New York’s most exciting young cellists but also an inventive impresario.” –The New Yorker
Adam Neiman, piano
American pianist Adam Neiman is hailed as one of the premiere pianists of his generation, praised for possessing a truly rare blend of power, bravura, imagination, sensitivity, and technical precision. With an established international career and an encyclopedic repertoire that spans more than sixty concerti, Neiman has performed as soloist with the symphony orchestras of Belgrade, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Saint Louis, San Francisco, Slovenia, Umbria, and Utah, as well as with the New York Chamber Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington D.C. He has collaborated with many of the world’s celebrated conductors, including Jiri Belohlavek, Giancarlo Guerrero, Theodor Gushlbauer, Carlos Kalmer, Uros Lajovic, Yoël Levi, Andrew Litton, Rossen Milanov, Heichiro Ohyama, Peter Oundjian, Leonard Slatkin, and Emmanuel Villaume.
A highly-acclaimed recitalist, Neiman has performed in most of the major cities and concert halls throughout the United States and Canada. His European solo engagements have brought him to Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan, where he made an eight-city tour culminating in his debut at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall.
Neiman’s recent season highlights include monumental solo recital tours of North America presenting the complete Rachmaninoff Preludes and Études-tableaux, followed up by a triple disc recording, due for release on Aeolian Classics in 2017. Prior to that, Neiman toured extensively with an equally behemoth project, pairing Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, Op. 120, and “Hammerklavier” Sonata, Op. 106; he subsequently recorded a double disc set, due for release on Sono Luminus in 2017. Additionally, audiences may look forward to a long-awaited DVD release of his complete Liszt Transcendental Études, recorded live in Los Angeles. Above and beyond his epic recital projects, Neiman premiered his Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra (commissioned and composed in 2012) with the Manchester Chamber Orchestra and conductor Ariel Rudiakov on tour throughout Vermont and New York, and gave a west coast premieres in Telluride. A high-definition video release of the world premiere performance is available on Neiman’s YouTube channel.
Current chamber music recording releases include the following: the complete Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky Piano Trios with Trio Solisti, for Bridge; Ravel and Chausson Piano Trios with Trio Solisti, for Bridge; Bernstein Piano Trio with the Seattle Chamber Music Society, for Onyx; Concerto da Camera by Howard Hanson with the Ying Quartet, for Sono Luminus; Dohnanyi’s Sextet for Clarinet, Horn, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano with the 45th Parallel ensemble in Portland, Oregon; and piano quartets of Saint-Saëns and Fauré with Maria Bachmann, Hsin-Yun Huang, and Edward Arron. These releases add to a rapidly expanding chamber discography consisting of the following recordings: Arensky’s Piano Quintet with the Ying Quartet, for Sono Luminus; Sonatas by Franck, Debussy, and Saint-Saëns with violinist Maria Bachmann, for Bridge; and the world premiere recording of Jennifer Higdon’s Piano Trio, for Naxos.
His diverse solo discography includes three releases for VAI: a two-disc set of Mozart’s early keyboard concertos with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, an award-winning two-disc set entitled Adam Neiman Live in Recital, proclaimed “Critic’s Choice” for 2007 and 2008 by the American Record Guide, and a DVD entitled Adam Neiman: Chopin Recital. He released a critically-acclaimed recording of solo piano works by Anton Arensky for Naxos, and his debut recording on Lyric Records of a live, unedited solo recital at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall has recently been re-issued.
Neiman’s live recording presence has extended to the Internet, via his own YouTube channel featuring high-definition video footage from recent concert tours, found at: www.youtube.com/user/adamneiman
Radio and television broadcasts featuring Neiman regularly span international airwaves, and his live performance of the Brahms Rhapsodies, Op. 79, at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival on NPR’s Performance Today was nominated for a Grammy Award. Chosen as a featured artist by director and Academy Award nominee Josh Aronson, Adam Neiman appeared in the PBS documentary film Playing for Real, which aired worldwide and continues to air on the Bravo and Ovation networks. He was also featured in Peter Rosen’s In the Key of G, a PBS documentary about the Gilmore Festival.
His affiliation with PBS and the documentary genre has merged with his passion for composition: he wrote the score for Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate, a film by director and Emmy Award winner Helen Whitney, released on PBS in 2010. His output as a composer encompasses an array of works for solo piano, chamber music, voice, and symphony orchestra, and he is currently polishing a trove of film music samples for his cinematic portfolio. Some of his chamber works have been premiered at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Poisson Rouge in New York City, and at the Festival Cervantinos in Mexico, and he frequently performs his own solo piano music in recital. In 2012 he witnessed the world premiere of his first String Quartet at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, and he is currently in the process of finishing his Second Symphony.
Born in 1978, Neiman has captured the attention of audiences and critics alike since his concerto debut at 11 in Los Angeles’s Royce Hall. Clavier Magazine wrote, “Adam Neiman gave a performance that rivaled those of many artists on the concert stage today…his playing left listeners shaking their heads in disbelief.” His formative years saw him at the helm of many competitions, with top prizes at the MTNA’s Junior Baldwin Competition, UCLA’s Samick International Competition, the Joanna Hodges International Competition, the Stravinsky Awards International Competition, the Young Keyboard Artists Association International Competition, the California Concerto Competition, and the California State Bartok Competition. At fourteen, he debuted in Germany at the Ivo Pogorelich Festival, and at fifteen, he won second prize at the Casagrande International Piano Competition in Italy, the youngest medalist in the competition’s history. In 1995, Neiman also became the youngest-ever winner of the Gilmore Young Artist Award. The following year, he won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and went on to make his Washington D.C. and New York recital debuts at the Kennedy Center and the 92nd Street Y. The Washington Post remarked, “A collection of Chopin’s Waltzes and Nocturnes danced and stormed, and Prokofiev’s Second Sonata enthralled with a dazzling display of inner voices rather than a mere display of muscle. This was playing of wisdom and light befitting an artist in the autumn of his career.” Young Concert Artists additionally honored Neiman with the Michaels Award and presented him in a critically acclaimed solo recital at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center.
Two-time winner of Juilliard’s Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, Neiman received the Rubinstein Award upon his graduation in 1999, the same year in which he received the Avery Fisher Career Grant. Neiman’s principal teachers have included Trula Whelan, Hans Boepple, Herbert Stessin, and Fanny Waterman, and he has participated in master classes with legendary pianists Emanuel Ax, Jacob Lateiner, and György Sandor.
In 2015, Neiman was awarded the full-time position of Assistant Professor of Piano at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. He was a member of the esteemed Artist-Faculty at the CCPA for two years prior, and, in addition to his rigorous performance schedule, he has been teaching private lessons for more than a decade. Neiman has presented acclaimed masterclasses throughout the U.S., Europe, and Korea. He regularly serves on the summer chamber music faculty of the Manchester Music Festival in Vermont, and he has taught at the Great Mountains Music Festival in Korea.
As an adjudicator, he has presided over the Philadelphia Orchestra Concerto Competition, KING FM Young Artists Competition, and Reno’s Youth Music Festival, and in August 2016 he will judge the Chicago Amateur Piano Competition.
Maria Bachmann, violin
A violinist who combines outstanding musicianship with dazzling technical command, a tone of exceptional purity, and a magnetic stage presence, Maria Bachmann has received critical accolades from the beginning of her career. The New York Times has hailed her as? “a violinist of soul and patrician refinement…warmly lyrical, and unexpectedly sensuous.” Ms. Bachmann has forged a unique profile as a soloist, violinist of Trio Solisti, recording artist, proponent of new music, and the artistic director of Telluride MusicFest in Colorado for fourteen years. As the artistic director of New York Friends of Chamber Music, she curated a three concert series in 2015 of the complete piano chamber music of Johannes Brahms, performed by Trio Solisti and guest artists at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall to critical acclaim.
In 2016, Maria’s CD releases include the world premiere recording of Paul Moravec’s Violin Concerto with Rossen Milanov conducting Symphony in C for Naxos, and Trio Solisti’s Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov Piano Trios. Her recordings encompassing works from Beethoven’s Violin Concerto to new music can be found on Sony Masterworks, Sony/RCA Red Seal, Naxos, Endeavour Classics, Orange Mountain Music, and Bridge Records.
Of Hungarian descent, Bachmann was invited by the Library of Congress to recreate the legendary Bartok/Szigeti recital of 1940. She has made acclaimed debuts with The National Symphony at The Kennedy Center, The St. Louis Symphony, the Taipai Symphony and Shanghai Symphony, and performed recitals in great concert halls around the world. In 2010, Ms. Bachmann performed Philip Glass’s Double Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra with the Orchestra of The Hague in The Netherlands. A leading advocate of new music, she has premiered and recorded works by Philip Glass, Lowell Liebermann, Paul Moravec, Sebastian Currier, Kevin Puts, George Rochberg, and Leon Kirchner, among others.
Upon completing her studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with Ivan Galamian and Szymon Goldberg, Maria was awarded the Curtis Institute’s Fritz Kreisler Prize for outstanding graduating violinist. She performs on a 1782 violin by Niccolo Gagliano.
Hsin-Yun Huang has forged a career as one of the leading violists of her generation, performing on international concert stages, commissioning and recording new works, and nurturing young musicians. Ms. Huang has been soloist with the National Philharmonic of Taiwan, with which she performed the complete Hindemith concertos in 2013. Other concerto appearances have included the Berlin Radio Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic, Zagreb Soloists, ICE, and the London Sinfonia, among many others. She performs regularly at festivals, including Marlboro, Santa Fe, Rome Chamber Music Festival, and Spoleto USA. Other festivals include Moritzburg, Divonne, Cartagena, Prague Spring, Telluride, and Salt Bay. She tours extensively with the Brentano String Quartet, most notably including performances of the complete Mozart string quintets at Carnegie Hall.
The 2014-2015 season brought the debut of a series of three chamber concerts curated by Ms. Huang and presented by the 92nd Street Y. Other recent highlights include complete Hindemith Viola Concerti with the National Philharmonic of Taiwan; concerto appearances in the Alice Tully Hall and Central Park of New York City.
Ms. Huang has in recent years embarked on a series of major commissioning projects for solo viola and chamber ensemble. To date, these works include compositions from Shih-Hui Chen (Shu Shon Key, which Ms. Chen also arranged for orchestra) and Steven Mackey (Groundswell), which premiered at the Aspen Festival. Ms. Huang’s 2012 recording, titled “Viola Viola,” for Bridge Records, included those works along with compositions by Elliott Carter, Poul Ruders, and George Benjamin; the CD has won particular accolades from Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine.
A native of Taiwan and an alumna of Young Concert Artists, Ms. Huang received degrees from The Juilliard School and The Curtis Institute of Music. She now serves on the faculties of both schools and has given master classes at the Guildhall School in London, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, the San Francisco Conservatory, and the McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University. She served on the jury of the 2011 Banff International String Quartet Competition.
Ms. Huang first came to international attention as the gold medalist and the youngest competitor in the 1988 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition. In 1993 she was the top prize winner in the ARD International Competition in Munich, and was awarded the highly prestigious Bunkamura Orchard Hall Award. Ms. Huang was a member of the Borromeo String Quartet from 1994 to 2000. She is a founding member of the Variation String Trio with violinist Jennifer Koh and cellist Wilhelmina Smith. Ms. Huang is married to Misha Amory, violist of the Brentano String Quartet. They live in New York City with their two children, Lucas and Leah.
Edward Arron, cello
Cellist Edward Arron has garnered recognition worldwide for his elegant musicianship, impassioned performances, and creative programming. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Mr. Arron made his New York recital debut in 2000 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Since that time, he has appeared in recital, as a soloist with major orchestras, and as a chamber musician throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
In 2013 Mr. Arron completed a ten-year residency as the artistic director of the critically acclaimed Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert, a chamber music series created in 2003 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Museum’s prestigious Concerts and Lectures series. Currently, he is the artistic director, host, and resident performer of the Musical Masterworks concert series in Old Lyme, Connecticut, as well as the Festival Series in Beaufort, South Carolina, and Chamber Music on Main at the Columbia Museum in Columbia, SC. Additionally, Mr. Arron curates a series, “Edward Arron and Friends,” at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, and is the co-artistic director along with his wife, pianist Jeewon Park, of the new Performing Artists in Residence series at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Mr. Arron has performed numerous times at Carnegie’s Weill and Zankel Halls, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully and Avery Fisher Halls, New York’s Town Hall, the 92nd Street Y, and is a frequent performer at Bargemusic. Festival appearances include Ravinia, Salzburg, Mostly Mozart, BRAVO! Colorado, Tanglewood, Bridgehampton, Spoleto USA, Santa Fe, Seattle Chamber Music, Great Mountains, Charlottesville, Telluride Musicfest, Seoul Spring, Lake Champlain Chamber Music, and Bard Music Festival. He has participated in Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project as well as Isaac Stern’s Jerusalem Chamber Music Encounters.
Edward Arron began playing the cello at age seven in Cincinnati and continued his studies in New York with Peter Wiley. He is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where he was a student of Harvey Shapiro. Mr. Arron has served on the faculty of New York University since 2009.
About the Music.
Ludwig van Beethoven / 1770-1827 / Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, arranged from Op. 16
During Beethoven’s first years in Vienna, he wrote several chamber works involving wind instruments, not all of which have survived complete. After about 1800 his chamber music output was restricted to ensembles of stringed instruments, with or without piano. One of the most successful of his early chamber pieces is the Opus 16 quintet for piano and winds, in which the choice of instruments, key, and arrangement of movements all point to Beethoven’s inspiration in Mozart’s masterful quintet for the same forces (K.452). Certain elements of Mozart’s ground plan may be discerned, such as the way the slow introduction presents each of the protagonists in little solo snatches, or the arpeggiated horn call near the end of the first movement. But with a composer of Beethoven’s imagination, the influence of an older composer always takes the form of a call to new creation, not plagiarism, and attempts to trace really direct connections between the two works are otiose.
The quintet seems to have been composed in late 1796 or early 1797 and achieved its first performance as one of two Beethoven works included in a concert presented by the violinist Schuppanzigh on April 6, 1797. The piano part, no doubt created for Beethoven’s own use, is brilliant and elaborate, even to including concerto-like cadenzas, while the fact that the clarinet tends to lead the winds virtually throughout has prompted the suggestion that Beethoven may have planned the work for Joseph Beer, the earliest important clarinet virtuoso, for whom it is believed that Beethoven also wrote his trio, Opus 11, for piano, clarinet, and cello the following year.
But there is no clarinet here! It was a normal procedure in Beethoven’s time for publishers to issue popular works of chamber music (and even orchestral music) in transcriptions for different kinds of ensembles. These would, of course, increase a work’s potential sale and also spread familiarity with the music more widely in an era when almost the only way to learn a new composition was to play it at home. Most such transcriptions were done by musical hacks, who simply took the original material and assigned it in the most convenient way to a different group of instruments. Beethoven objected to such manhandling of his works, though there was little he could do to prevent it, given the lack of copyright laws as we know them and the fact that he had sold his piece outright to the publisher.
But on a few occasions, he adopted the attitude “If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em.” He converted his piano sonata in E, Opus 14, No. 1, to a string quartet in F, his Second Symphony to a piano trio, and the Quintet for piano and winds to this piano quartet. In all of these arrangements he demonstrated his conviction that arranging a composition for a different group of instruments was no cut-and-dried affair, but requires the thorough rethinking of the entire musical layout. In the present case, Beethoven probably made the arrangement at his publisher’s insistence (since a piano quartet would find many more purchasers than a quintet for piano and winds); both versions were published in 1801, and both bear dedications to Prince Schwarzenberg.
Maurice Ravel / 1875-1937 / Sonata for Violin and Cello
The composition of the Sonata for violin and cello was sparked by a request by a French publisher in 1920 for several leading French composers to write short pieces to be published for a memorial tribute to Claude Debussy, who had died in 1918. Ravel responded with a single movement work for violin and cello. The following year he decided to expand this “duo” (the title he gave while it was in progress) to a substantial four-movement composition, working extensively during a summer visit to his native Basque country, and completing it early the following year at his newly acquired home, Le Belvédère in Montfort-Amaury, a small village about thirty miles from Paris. The Sonata, as it was finally called, is a surprisingly austere work for a composer usually connected with the most sensuous sonorities, whether conceived for piano, chamber ensemble, or full orchestra. But it evidently marked a conscious departure for the composer, who had recently been made aware of new trends coming from Vienna; he had heard Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire, for example, and, although he never took on most of the elements of Schoenberg’s style, nonetheless he drew from it precisely what suited him.
As he himself realized, “I believe this sonata marks a turning point in the evolution of my career. In it, thinness of texture is pushed to the extreme. Harmonic charm is renounced, coupled with an increasingly conspicuous reaction in favor of melody.”
A sonata composed for two melody instruments is sure to be more linear in conception than, say, a string quartet. Ravel worked intensively on it, but with difficulty, since he was already beginning to show the medical problems that were to grow worse over the rest of his life—sleeplessness and increasingly frustrating struggles to invent musical ideas, which would, in a decade, force him to stop composing almost entirely. The finished work was dedicated “To the Memory of Claude Debussy,” just as its motivating single movement had been.
The resulting work is a fascinating showpiece for the two instruments, each of which carries half the burden of the piece. The remarkable feeling of independence that each line generates is perhaps the most modern element of Ravel’s score; at times he writes simultaneous different keys for the two parts, and he avoids any simple melody-and-accompaniment dichotomy. More often than not, the whole of each line is both melody and accompaniment.
The first performance was given by violinist Hélène Jourdan-Morhange and cellist Maurice Maréchal at the Salle Pleyel in Paris on April 6, 1922. They found the piece a major challenge to put together, and Jourdan-Morhange recalled later that they “went over it again and again till we were giddy.” She also told Ravel, “It’s complicated. The cello has to sound like a flute and the violin like a drum. It must be fun writing such difficult stuff, but no one’s going to play it except virtuosos!”
Ravel’s delighted response: “Good. Then I won’t be murdered by amateurs!”
The first movement follows a reasonably normal sonata form, based on an alternation of major and minor triads, with Ravel avoiding such obvious conventions as inverting the parts so that the violin, say, would play in the recapitulation what the cello had played in the exposition.
The second movement, Très vif, exploits special effects including pizzicato, with an homage to Stravinskyan rhythmic ostinatos, played pizzicato in one part against a sustained line in the other. A brief lyric passage of melody sometimes imitated between the two instruments offers a respite from the energy of the main section.
The slow movement comes next, a wonderful lyric outpouring that, more than anywhere else in the sonata, offers sheer melody with the accompaniment of another instrument. Its middle section, by contrast to that of the second movement, is dramatic and tense, but the close, with the instruments muted, is pure and serene.
The finale is the longest and tightest movement in the sonata, built on a rondo structure whose refrain contrasts with three other melodies. The refrain figure is stated at once in the cello, expanded by imitations in the violin and pizzicato accompaniments. This returns after each of the contrasting sections. On the last return, Ravel tightens up the texture still further by juxtaposing the refrain with the third counter-theme to engineer a dramatic close.
Ernest Chausson / 1855-1899 / Piano Quartet in A Major, Op. 30
Ernest Chausson grew up among adults, mostly cultivated, artistic people, and, showing talent in music, art, and literature, he found it difficult to choose his calling. To satisfy his family he obtained a law degree and a doctorate, but never practiced. Having satisfied his family’s demand educationally, he felt he was ready to pursue his own interests. He began studies in instrumentation with Massenet at the Conservatoire and also followed César Franck’s course as an auditor. The latter had a greater effect upon him, particularly since he was attracted by Franck’s mystical temperament more than by the down-to-earth practicality of Massenet. Nonetheless Massenet recognized his talent and entered him in the Prix de Rome competition. But when he failed to win the prize on his first try, he left behind all formal training (in June 1881).
Chausson’s life was cut short by a bicycle accident when he was forty-four, and at that time he was only beginning to be fully recognized. The critics in France tended to ignore him or describe him as a “difficult” composer, even when the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Artur Nikisch, one of the greatest conductors of the day, introduced his Symphony to Paris in May 1897 (this was ironic—no French orchestra had chosen to play the piece in the composer’s own capital). The fact that Nikisch had programmed his piece was very heartening for Chausson. Depressions of the recent past vanished, and he began work on the Piano Quartet, which his long-time friend Vincent d’Indy hailed as “a culminating point in his work.”
Normally a painstaking, slow composer, Chausson finished the quartet in a very short time, completing the first movement on September 17, 1897, and the finale on October 23. The premiere took place the following April 2, with the dedicatee, Auguste Pierret, playing the piano part. The work had the best reception of any Chausson premiere during the composer’s lifetime, with the audience particularly applauding the second and third movements.
It is surprising that the Piano Quartet is not better known, because it is a capstone to Chausson’s chamber music output, a work of vivid inspiration and one shaped effectively by the way he employs the device (learned from Franck and beloved by his pupils) of using variants of thematic material in several movements to unify the work as a whole.
The piano introduces a pentatonic theme before the appearance of the strings to open the work—a reminder of the sensation that Asian music, and particularly gamelans made at the Paris Exposition a decade earlier. The instruments take turns playing with this figure through modulations aiming toward C major, gradually introducing the opening notes of the second theme in anticipation of its arrival. After a pause and a soft pulsing in the strings, the piano plays the full secondary theme. These two themes contend in an extended development section, a recapitulation that opens normally with the first theme, but develops the second still further. In the coda the original theme recurs, transformed rhythmically from 2/2 time to 6/4. The entire movement is marked with a naturalness of growth and expressive warmth.
The slow movement, Très calme, is the emotional high point of a superb score. The autumnal voice of the viola is the perfect choice to introduce the pensive main theme, which grows in waves of melancholy through more restless regions to a climactic outburst and a rapid fall to the vanishing point.
The third movement grows out of a melody that seems simple enough to be a folk tune while also seemed to be related to the opening theme of the first movement. This lighter, slightly folkish, character runs throughout the movement.
A stormy beginning in a driven 6/8 time marks the beginning of the finale, but much of the further development brings back references to themes from the previous movements, finally setting the cyclic theme from the beginning into contrast with the songlike theme of the second movement. Finally the movement’s first theme and the cyclic theme of the whole work create a gloriously sonorous conclusion.