Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Friends, Fans Reconnect at Chamber Fest

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Friends, Fans Reconnect at Chamber Fest

Article excerpt

LA MUSICA 2017

Each spring for 31 years, La Musica International Chamber Music Festival has brought together musicians from around the world to celebrate chamber music -- classical music played by small ensembles -- and to renew friendships with each other and the art form's most avid fans.

This year's festival, directed as always by artistic director Bruno Giuranna, opened Saturday with its unique combination of open rehearsals, special events including a musical chefs' interactive dinner, and concerts of unparalleled excellence performed by top-flight musicians.

"It's the same mix of ingredients that we have every year, some old hands and new faces, some very familiar pieces and some not familiar to some of us," said violist Daniel Avshalomov, who has been a festival musician since the beginning. This year he will be playing two pieces for the first time, Dvorak's Piano Quartet in D major and J.C. Bach's Keyboard Quartet in G major, WB 66.

The latter work is "absolutely new to me. Not only have I not played it before, I didn't know it existed," he said.

The composer was the youngest of Johann Sebastian Bach's sons and an 18th-century contemporary of Mozart.

"They were both terrific keyboard players and sometimes they played together," said Avshalomov. "The strings are sort of along for the ride. In the late Baroque-early Classical period, there really aren't very many string quartets, so it's a glimpse of a parallel universe. And it's fun to play."

Derek Han, the festival's associate artistic director and resident pianist, also is looking forward to the Bach Quartet.

"It's always an adjustment to what was in Bach's mind; how much do you bring into the modern world," he said.

The piece was written not for today's piano but for harpsichord.

"Obviously with a piano you have a much bigger, thicker sort of sound than a harpsichordist ever imagined to do," Han said. "It's impossible to lower the texture from a modern piano to the harpsichord. …

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