published Thursday, March 14th, 2013

String Theory at Hunter

Gloria Chien
Gloria Chien
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

What: String Theory

When: 6:30 p.m. today, March 14; seating at 6 p.m. Art Connections program at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Hunter Museum of American Art, 10 Bluff View

Admission: $40 at door ($30 for series donors or museum members); $10 students with ID

Phone: 423-267-0968


Israeli violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi, a five-time Grammy nominee who has been hailed as a “genuine talent and profoundly gifted,” will join pianist Gloria Chien for the next performance in String Theory tonight, March 14, at the Hunter Museum of American Art.

Their concert, according to Chien, artistic director of the chamber music series, will feature some of Ashkenasi’s all-time favorites: Schubert’s Rondo Brillant in B, Dvorák’s Four Romantic Pieces and Brahms’ Sonata No. 1 in G.

Schubert’s Rondo Brillant showcases the violinist’s virtuosity. The piece was written for Josef Slavik, a Czech violinist whom Chopin called a second Paganini.

Dvorák’s work was written just a few years before his well-known Dumky Trio. The composer gave each of his Romantic Pieces a charming descriptive title: Cavatina, Capriccioso, Romance and Elegy.

Brahms’ tender Sonata No. 1 in G was written shortly after the untimely death of his young godson, Felix Schumann. Upon hearing the sonata for the first time, Clara Schumann was quoted as saying, “[I] could not help bursting into tears of joy over it … I wish the last movement could accompany me to the next world.”

A top prizewinner of both the Tchaikovsky and the Queen Elisabeth music competitions, Ashkenasi was the founding first violinist of the revered Vermeer Quartet in 1969, which was active until 2007. During his tenure with the quartet, he received five Grammy nominations and gained a reputation as one of the world’s most outstanding chamber musicians.

He is currently on the faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music. He performs and teaches master classes all over the world.

The performance will be preceded by Art Connections at 5:30 p.m. in the museum galleries. Chief curator Ellen Simak and Robert Bernhardt, conductor emeritus of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, will discuss works from the Hunter collection that relate to the music featured in the concert.

String Theory, presented by the Hunter and Lee University, will conclude its fourth season on April 11 with a performance by 10 virtuoso musicians from the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

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