The South Florida Symphony will kick off its summer chamber music concert series with "Sultry Nights," featuring chamber music compositions by Joseph Haydn, Felix Mendelssohn and Joaquin Turina.
Three musicians from the South Florida Symphony Orchestra, violinist Huifang Chen, cellist Christopher Glandsdorp and pianist Catherine Lan, team to perform Haydn's "Piano Trio No. 39 in G Major," Mendelssohn's "Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 66" and Turina's "Piano Trio No.2 in B Minor, Op. 76."
"Sultry Nights" is Thursday, May 18 at Coral Gables Congregational Church in Coral Gables and on Friday, May 19 at the Center For Spiritual Living in Oakland Park.
Unlike the classical music that the full orchestra performs at larger venues such as the Parker Playhouse in Ft. Lauderdale and the New World Symphony in Miami Beach over the fall and winter season, the SFLSO will create intimate chamber music for smaller audiences who seek an informal presentation of classical music in the summer
"Chamber concerts are a fantastic way to experience our world-class musicians up close. As we wind down our 25th anniversary season, we are thrilled to close out the season in style with these thematic programs featuring some of the most revered classical chamber music masterpieces ever," said Jacqueline Lorber, Chief Executive Officer and President of the South Florida Symphony Orchestra.
Adding to the intimacy of the chamber music concerts this summer is the opportunity for audiences to meet the musicians following their performances at each venue with a glass of champagne and desserts.
Chen and Glansdorp will join three other musicians in the SFLSO's second chamber music concert titled “The Perfect Pairing” featuring Dvorak's “Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, Op. 81” and Schumann's “Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44 on Thursday, June 15 at Temple Israel in Miami and Friday, June 15 at Center For Spiritual Living in Oakland Park.
Chen and Lan join two other musicians in the third SFLSO chamber music concert titled “The Legend and the Hidden Gem” featuring Mozart's “Piano Quartet No. 2 in E flat major, K 493” and Saint Saens “Piano Quartet in B flat major, Op. 41” on Thursday, July 20 at Barry University in Miami Shores and Friday, July 21 at Center For Spiritual Living in Oakland Park.
For its first program of the season, the “Sultry Nights” concert begins with the Haydn composition, also called “Gypsy” because of its fiery Rondo Hungarian style to close out the third of three movements in the piece.
“The composition does start out calmly with an Andante first movement, which is a theme and a variation, then a beautiful singing second movement, then the third movement goes wild, like a crazy party,” said violinist Chen.
“The third movement is so fast (presto) and Haydn's use of syncopated accent rhythm and the dazzling Romani effect of left-hand pizzicato for sure will thrill the audience,” added Chen.
Turina's composition is the second piece in the concert, a short 15-minute piano trio of three movements
“Turina's second piano trio is a nice little gem in the repertoire that serves as a great second course in our program,” said cellist Glandsdorp.
“While the three movements work definitely has some of the feel of the Spanish composer's homeland, he (Turina) did some composition study in France and one can definitely hear the works of Claude Debussy and Gabriel Fure. The second movement, a spritely Molto Vivace, is interesting because of its 5/8 meter, a typical rhythm of some Spanish dance forms,” added Glandsdorp.
Mendelssohn's piano trio with four movements closes the “Sultry Nights” concert and is considered a masterpiece by the musicians.
“Mendelssohn's C Minor trio is one of the most popular works from the early Romantic period. It is written in a highly virtuosic manner for all three instruments which creates a perfect equilibrium amongst the performers. Audiences have been wowed by it (Mendelssohn's C Minor Trio) since its very first performance,” said pianist Lan.
Huifang Chen is South Florida Symphony Orchestra's concertmaster and a violin soloist who has performed with leading orchestras around the world. Chen is the only musician who will perform in all three of the SFLSO chamber music concerts this summer. When not performing, Chen teaches violin at the New World School of the Arts in Miami Beach and the Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach.
Christopher Glandsdorp is the Principal Cello with the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra, The Symphonia Boca Raton and the Kravis Center Pops. Glandsdorp has also performed with the Florida Grand Opera and in numerous Broadway national tour shows at Kravis Center.
Catherine Lan has toured throughout the world and has highly acclaimed performances on television, including her “Beethoven & Mas” program on PBS. She received her Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Miami, is on the faculty at Broward College in Ft. Lauderdale and has taught master classes on the piano throughout the world.
“Sultry Nights,” the first of three chamber music concerts has two performances, both at 7:30 p.m. The first is Thursday, May 18 in Coral Gables Congregational Church, 3010 De Sota Blvd. in Coral Gables and on Friday, May 19 at Center For Spiritual Living, 4849 N. Dixie Highway, Oakland Park. General admission tickets are $30 per concert (student tickets are $15) or a three concert ticket package for $75. For more information and tickets, go to southfloridasymphony.org or call 954-522-8445.