Chamber Music Concerts

Last week on Feb 25 and 27th, I performed in 2 chamber music concerts as a member of “Musica Bella”. This ensemble of flute, violin, cello and keyboard was the inspiration of  cellist Diane Coffman. Originally called the Rauschenburg Quartet, we had performed  daytime concerts at the Rauschenburg Gallery in Fort Myers. I am so honored to be a part of this group playing violin with these talented musicians: Wendy Willis (flute), Diane Coffman (cello) and Dr. Ron Doiron (keyboard).

Diane arranged for us to play a noon concert at Florida Southwestern State College in their Rush Library. We had such a great turnout of students, many of whom had never heard live music. I know most of them had been strongly encouraged to be there by their professors but their response afterwards was so very rewarding.

For the second performance, we were invited by CAPA, Cultural and Performing Arts Center, to perform a concert as part of their series. This concert was held at the Marco Island Center for the Arts and titled an “ala carte” performance. The concert was scheduled at 6pm.

Musica BellaWe repeated the concert we played at the college with a few additions. Wendy and Ron spoke to the crowd about the selections in this intimate atmosphere and everyone appreciated the historical information they provided.

Here was the program:

Quartet in d minor by Handel

Tangos by Wendy Loomis

Paris Quartet in G major by Telemann

Blues by T. Lucas

Salon Quartet No.5 with melodies by Schumann

Extras we played at the CAPA concert. Audience members got to play, “Name That Tune” for prizes. Great fun put together by Wendy!

Habanera by Bizet

Pineapple Rag by Joplin

Drinking Song from La Traviata by Verdi

New performances will be planned for the fall.

Viva la Viola

This is the time of year when many arts organizations in Naples put on programs for the seasonal residents and tourists. I have been busy performing on viola for several of these performances.

Tha Opera Naples performances of Faust were very well received. I think it is my favorite opera that I have done with Opera Naples thus far. The music was challenging but enjoyable under the baton of Maestro Paul Nadler. The patrons of Opera Naples are very excited about the future alliance with the Naples Philharmonic. For me, it may mean that this is among the last performances I will play with the Opera as they will now use Naples Philharmonic Orchestra members.  I have enjoyed working with the many outstanding conductors and fellow musicians and wish all the best for Opera Naples in the future. I am fortunate that in my life I have had wonderful experiences performing with both opera and ballet companies. It was great to see my friends John and Michelle Mansika of Naples Original Video Productions handling the filming of the production.

Here is a link to read the review.http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/feb/26/neopera-naples-faust-gives-devil—-and-every-face/

Next came the performance at the Sugden Theatre in downtown Naples as I was part of the Fifth Avenue Chamber Orchestra on the Classic Chamber Concerts series. On the program was the Mendelssohn” Italian” Symphony #4 and the Piano Concerto #2 by Saint- Saens. I really enjoy performing with William Noll, the Director and Conductor. He is well liked and respected by his patrons and musicians and always gives a little talk before the concert begins.  As a result, his concert series have performed to sell out crowds. The Mendelssohn was also very challenging for me, requiring great concentration and a lot of practice to prepare. The concert was superb and very well received by the audience. We had the privilege of performing with a young man who has quite a future ahead of him. He was brilliant!

Here is a link to the review. http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/mar/07/sanchez-werner-pulls-crowd-into-high-energy/

The next project was the Bach Mass in B minor performed with the Bach Ensemble. Performing at the Moorings Presbyterian Church under the leadership of Dr. Ron Doiron, this performance was the culmination of many months of preparation for the group. This work is considered one of the greatest choral masterpieces and this performance marked the first time it has been performed in Southwest Florida. The vocalists were all wonderful as well as my fellow musicians. All my colleagues who make up Seaside Strings are in the orchestra: Susan Sikuta, Joan Stewart, Diane Coffman and Wendy Willis. The concert was very well attended and the audience was very enthusiastic about the performance. This performance marked the tenth anniversary of the Bach Ensemble’s founding and was also a benefit concert for Avow Hospice. Also noteworthy was that several choir members traveled from Europe to participate in this concert. It was another memorable evening!

Here I am with Dr. Ron Dorion and my stand partner, Lani Mastrangelo.

The Rauschenberg Gallery Chamber Music Concerts

My colleague, Diane Coffman, began this concert series several years ago. During season, for each new exhibit, she puts together a chamber music concert. She describes this as “giving back to the community”.  These concerts have given us a great opportunity to perform chamber music masterpieces. They have been well attended with enthusiastic and appreciative audiences. Each one has been a very rewarding experience!

The concerts are held at the Rauschenberg Gallery which is located on the Edison State College campus. Each concert is at 1:00  the afternoon, lasting only one hour in order the accommodate the students’ schedules.  The concerts are free and open to the public.

On the program today was the Franz Schubert Quintet in A major nicknamed the “Trout”. This work  was written for Violin, Viola, Cello, String Bass and Piano. The musicians performing today were Joan Stewart, Violin; Vivian Aiello ( me) Viola; Diane Coffman, Cello; Doni Landefeld, Bass and Dr Ronald Doiron, Piano.

After a brief speech by Dr Dorion giving a history of the piece, we performed the five movements: Allegro vivace, Andante, Scherzo, Theme and Variations and Finale.

You can view videos of past concerts at the gallery’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bob-Rauschenberg-Gallery/366206992334?sk=videos

Thank you to the Docents of the gallery for making these concerts possible!