Hudson Chamber Players begin second season
at Western Reserve Academy on July 15
by Daniel Hathaway
Summers have been quiet at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson since the Cleveland Institute of Music's month-long Encore School for Strings suspended activities after nearly a quarter century when founders David and Linda Cerone retired. But since Chagrin Valley Chamber Music's International Festival for Strings and More has stepped in to fill an educational gap and the Hudson Chamber Players have completed their first season and are planning a second, summer chamber music is once again singing forth on the Academy's historic campus.
Hudson Chamber Players was born out of nostalgia but also with a healthy dose of the entrepreneurial spirit that characterizes today's young instrumentalists. “Last year toward the end of the CIM school year, a number of us who were playing in chamber music groups were reminiscing with Elizabeth DeMio, the collaborative pianist, about the days of the Encore School”, violist Sergein Yap told us in a phone conversation. “A lot of us attended Encore and remembered its wonderful concerts. We knew we were going to be in and out of town all summer, but we thought, why not try to put something together in Hudson?”
That group of CIM friends had enough repertory already in their fingers to plan five Sunday afternoons of chamber music, and WRC's Midge Karam, who was the Encore School's administrative director offered the Academy's facilities. “Everything just came together”, Yap remembers, “but we stretched ourselves thin with marketing and rehearsal preparations. This year, we wanted to learn bigger pieces, so we planned a three-concert series with a Sunday in between each concert.”
Sergein Yap soon found himself acting as spokesperson for the group in addition to playing the viola. “I'm very much opposed to titles, but it got to a point where we were being asked 'who's in charge?' and 'who can I speak to?' and everybody was pointing fingers at me! In all honesty, I never imagined that I'd be doing this at this time in my life.”
This year's roster of performers includes CIM faculty, alumni and current students Kristin Baird, Ariel Clayton, Annie Fullard, Miran Kim, Filip Lazovski, Julian Machala & Mari Sato, violins, Brenton Caldwell, Joe LoCicero & Sergein Yap, violas, James Jaffee, Carlos Javier & Erica Snowden, cellos, & Elizabeth DeMio & Shuai Bertalan-Wang, pianists. Repertory will be a mix of pre-existing and newly-learned works, including the Brahms String Quintet in F, the Taneyev Piano Quintet in D, and Shostakovich's Two Pieces for String Octet, a special request by Annie Fullard. Violist Brenton Caldwell will be featured in two solo viola works on the third program.
The three concerts will be held in the Chapel at Western Reserve Academy on Sunday afternoons, July 15 and 29 and August 12 at 3 pm., with a run-out performance at the Coventry Village Library in Cleveland Heights at 7:30 pm on July 16. Admission is free, but donations toward remunerating the players are welcome. “Last summer, everybody played for free”, Yap said. “We're all close friends. We all love doing this and we like to create opportunities for ourselves, but we have to eat and buy gas, too”. This summer, some seed money has been provided by the Hudson Community Foundation, who have set up a non-profit account for HCP. The group will also launch a Kickstarter campaign as soon as the end of this week in hopes of raising $5,000 toward the costs of the series by the end of August.
Another initiative is to have the concerts professionally recorded. “We did that amaturishly last year on our own rehearsal recording devices, but this time the concerts will be recorded by CIM audio engineer Ian Dobie and we'll make digital downloads of season highlights a premium for the Kickstarter campaign.”
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Published on ClevelandClassical.com July 10, 2012
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