Many Keys Unlock 50 Years of Norfolk Chamber Consort

1 October, 2018, 7:30PM, Old Dominion University

Gerard Terborch (1617-1681), The Concert

The 50th-anniversary season of the Norfolk Chamber Consort will open at Old Dominion University’s Chandler Recital Hall on 1 October, 2018, at 7:30PM.

Along with guest artists James Kosnik and Kevin Kwan, the Invencia Piano Duo of Andrey Kasparov and Oksana Lutsyshyn will perform in works by François Couperin, Johann Sebastian and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, and Antonio Vivaldi.

Dr. Andrey Kasparov spoke recently with Jeff Maisey of Veer Magazine to discuss the upcoming concert, the history of the Norfolk Chamber Consort, and his joint role as Artistic Co-Director, an office he has shared with with fellow pianist Oksana Lutsyshyn since 2009. The first concert program of the 2018-2019 season will highlight the harpsichord as both a solo and as an ensemble instrument, expressive in groups of up to four harpsichords, or in solo accompaniment of string and wind instruments:

According to Dr. Allen Shaffer, the Norfolk Chamber Consort’s former Artistic Co-Director,… “the Norfolk Chamber Consort was founded in 1969 by Kay Gardner, who was a flutist with the Norfolk Symphony (now Virginia Symphony) and adjunct instructor of flute at Norfolk State College (now University).”

“… The new group’s earliest seasons were played at the Norfolk Theater Center on Freemason Street. The second floor featured a large room with a thrust stage like a theater-in-the-round. The piano was an old and occasionally out-of-tune spinet. Admission was $3.00.”

“… Clarinetist F. Gerard [“Gerry”] Errante joined the faculty at Norfolk State in 1970 and joined the group soon thereafter. The following year, Allen Shaffer, an organist and harpsichordist who specialized in Baroque music, also joined. Kay Gardner left the area in 1972, asking Shaffer to become director. He accepted, but on one condition: that Gerry Errante be a part of the leadership team.”

“They went on to lead the Norfolk Chamber Consort as co-directors for the next thirty-eight years…. Early venues for the Consort included the Unitarian Church on Yarmouth Street and the Chrysler Museum Theater. In the mid-1980s Walter Chrysler invited the Consort to become Artists in Residence at the [Chrysler] Museum, but Norfolk Chamber Consort leadership chose to remain independent. In 1991 Chandler Recital Hall at Old Dominion University was completed and the Consort moved in.”

“… Errante left the area in 2008 and pianist/ composer Andrey Kasparov became the Consort’s new director. Shaffer became artistic advisor (2008 – October, 2013). In 2009, Oksana Lutsyshyn joined Kasparov as Artistic Co-Director.”

Andrey Kasparov & Oksana Lutsyshyn (Photographer, Glen McClure)

Since Oksana and I became Artistic Co-Directors, we have striven to maintain the Consort’s themed, diverse and adventurous programming. In order to bring these creative ideas to fruition, we have sought to develop collaborative ties with other organizations and to recruit top performing talent in the area.

… The works [on the first concert of the 2018-2019 season, 1-2-3-4 Harpsichords,] were chosen to showcase the expressive capabilities of the harpsichord as a solo instrument as well as in combination with other harpsichords, strings and wind instruments.

… The historical aspects of the harpsichord are highly valuable to those seeking to experience the original environment, whether it be the general public, students, performers or scholars. But the harpsichord is also very much alive today as a concert instrument, which is absolutely indispensable for performing certain compositions written for it and that simply do not work on any other keyboard instrument.

Oksana and I would like to extend our utmost thanks to our dedicated board members, subscribers, fans, sponsors, advertisers, media outlets, and, of course, our enthusiastic audiences.

Click Here for the full interview or see the September, 2018, issue of Veer Magazine.

The first program of the Consort’s 50th-anniversary season will open with Andrey Kasparov at the keyboard in a performance of J.S. Bach’s Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue for solo harpsichord. Next on the bill, Dr. Kasparov will lead from the keyboard in François Couperin’s Concert Royal No. 4 in E Minor, for flute, harpsichord and cello continuo; with flutist Wayla Chambo and cellist Jeffrey Phelps. Before intermission, Invencia Piano Duo will present the Sonata in C Major for two claviers by C.P.E. Bach, Johann Sebastian’s most talented son, as rendered on two harpsichords.

Additional works for two and three harpsichords by C.P.E. and J.S. Bach, respectively, have been scheduled for the second half. Complemented by the artistry of past collaborators, James Kosnik and Kevin Kwan, the program will also feature solo keyboard concerti by J.S. Bach and François Couperin.

This concert event honors Vernon A. McCart, Norfolk’s resident aficionado of antique keyboard instruments. Recognized in Hampton Roads and beyond for his broad expertise in clavichords and fortepianos of the 18th and early 19th Centuries, he also constructed and later restored one of the four harpsichords to be featured in this recital.

The program will begin at 7:30PM, with a pre-concert discussion by Dr. Kasparov from 7:15PM.

A catered reception follows the performance, with food provided by friends of the Norfolk Chamber Consort.

Tickets at the door $25.00, Students $10.00.

E-mail invenciaduo@gmail.com for further details.

Click here for the Norfolk Chamber Consort’s 2018-2019 performance schedule.

© Norfolk Chamber Consort, Invencia Piano Duo, Veer Magazine

The Teacher & His Two Students

23 April, 2018, 7:30PM, Old Dominion University

The Norfolk Chamber Consort, under the direction of Dr. Andrey Kasparov and Oksana Lutsyshyn, concludes its 49th season with reflections on the legacy of composer and pianist Anton Arensky (1861—1906), in a program entitled The Teacher & His Two Students. From Arensky’s Moscow studio there would arise the great talents of Alexander Scriabin and Sergei Rachmaninoff. As Invencia Piano Duo, in selections for duo and solo piano, Kasparov and Lutsyshyn will demonstrate their virtuosity through the music of all three artists.

Karl Tavaststjerna, Portrait of Anton Arensky (1901)

The concert begins with Arensky’s lyrical Four Pieces for Cello and Piano, Op. 56. Inspired by the exoticism of Asian musical motifs, the cycle opens with Orientale. Cellist Jeffrey Phelps joins pianist Oksana Lutsyshyn on this work.

The evening continues with Alexander Scriabin’s Piano Sonata No. 2, one of his best-known works. Oksana Lutsyshyn will perform this celebrated composition with her own lighting design — Scriabin was a strong proponent of synesthesia and a pioneer of multimedia.

The first portion of the recital will conclude with Invencia Piano Duo’s rendition of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Suite No. 2 for two pianos. Written in Italy in 1901, the work signaled the composer’s first return to creativity after a prolonged four-year period of silence and depression.

Stanislav Zhukovsky, Sunny Day

The second half will open with Andrey Kasparov’s rendition of Four Piano Pieces, Op. 25, by Arensky. This Romantic cycle – the exact year of its composition unknown – reveals an eclectic approach wherein various European trends are combined with a Chinese theme in the Etude and unusual meters in the Scherzino. Some of the composition’s texture and harmony foreshadow the style of Scriabin.

The program continues with selections of lieder by Rachmaninoff written at various stages of his career: from the poignant “Lilacs” to the symbolic “Daisies.” Accompanied by Andrey Kasparov, Tenor Brian Nedvin of Old Dominion University is the featured vocalist for this portion of the program.

The concert will conclude with the world premiere of Andrey Kasparov’s piano duo arrangement of Vers la flamme (“Toward the flame”), one of Scriabin’s last works, originally composed for solo piano. The title symbolizes a gradual accumulation of heat and intensity that eventually blossoms forth in a cataclysmic blaze. Rendered expertly by Invencia Piano Duo, this masterwork by Alexander Scriabin will be presented with an original lighting projection designed by Kasparov and Lutsyshyn.

The concert begins at 7:30PM at ODU’s Chandler Recital Hall, with a pre-concert discussion by Dr. Kasparov from 7:15PM.11168153_761115160667805_825347124670488533_n

A catered reception follows the performance, with food provided by The Green Onion restaurant of Norfolk’s historic Ghent.

Tickets at the door $25.00, Students $10.00.

E-mail invenciaduo@gmail.com for further details.

Click here for the Norfolk Chamber Consort’s 2017-2018 performance schedule.

© Invencia Piano Duo, Old Dominion University & Norfolk Chamber Consort

Lenny & His Friends

29 January, 2018, 7:30PM, Old Dominion University

The Norfolk Chamber Consort, under the direction of Dr. Andrey Kasparov and Oksana Lutsyshyn, present Lenny & His Friends, celebrating the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth with a showcase of works that illuminate the variegated talents of this great American composer, conductor, and musical personality.

Leonard Bernstein

The concert begins with Bernstein’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, with clarinetist Kevin Clasen accompanied at the piano by Dr. Andrey Kasparov. Written between 1941 and 1942, the Sonata was the composer’s first published composition.

The program continues with a selection of Bernstein’s keyboard works, including those dedicated to his friends, Aaron Copland and Paul Bowles. Performed by Oksana Lutsyshyn, there also will be piano music by Virgil Thomson, Bernstein’s close friend and mentor, written in tribute to Copland and Bowles, respectively.

(from left to right) Virgil Thomson, Leonard Bernstein, Walter Piston, William Schuman, and Aaron Copland (Photographer, Bruce Davidson)

These miniatures will then be followed by the brilliant aria, “Glitter and Be Gay,” from Bernstein’s operetta, Candide, performed for the occasion by virtuoso coloratura soprano Elizabeth Hogue, with Dr. Kasparov at the piano.

Kasparov and Lutsyshyn shall then join forces as the award-winning Invencia Piano Duo, concluding the first half with three of Paul Bowles’ original pieces for piano duo: “Night Waltz,” “Nocturne” and “Turkey Trot.”

All three selections were included on the second of two compact discs produced by Invencia Piano Duo, released by the American Classics Division of Naxos Records, and which featured Paul Bowles’ complete piano works.

The Invencia Duo will open the second half with Aaron Copland’s Danzón Cubano and Danza de Jalisco, both of which highlight Bernstein’s shared affinity for Latin American motifs.

Cailin Crane, © Hampton Roads Photography

Next on the bill, vocalist Cailin Crane, Runner-Up of the 2015 Lisa Relaford Coston Voice Competition, will appear in two of Bernstein’s art songs, “Piccola Serenata” and “Silhouette” (Galilee), as well as, “My New Friends,” from the 1979 Broadway musical production, The Madwoman of Central Park West.

To include the talents of flute soloist Wayla Chambo (Associate Artistic Director, Norfolk Chamber Consort), percussionists David Walker, Sara Williams and Jon Wudijono, and pianists Oksana Lutsyshyn and Nichole Dorobanov, the evening will conclude with Bernstein’s, Halil: Nocturne for Flute, Percussion and Piano, all under the baton of Dr. Andrey Kasparov.

The concert begins at 7:30PM, with a pre-concert discussion by Wayla Chambo from 7:15PM.11168153_761115160667805_825347124670488533_n

A catered reception follows the performance, with food provided by The Green Onion restaurant of Norfolk’s historic Ghent.

Tickets at the door $25.00, Students $10.00.

E-mail olutsysh@odu.edu for further details.

Click here for the Norfolk Chamber Consort’s 2017-2018 performance schedule.

© Invencia Piano Duo, Old Dominion University & Norfolk Chamber Consort

Best Frenemies Forever: Handel Revisited

 

Encore for George Frideric & His Frenemies

George Frideric Handel (Original Portrait by Philip Mercier)

On the evening of 18 September, 2017, at Christ and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, in a program that featured the music of Handel and his contemporaries, Johann Matheson and Nicola Porpora, the Norfolk Chamber Consort presented George Frideric & His Frenemies. A detailed account of the performance is recorded on the website for Artsong Update, courtesy of Adelaide Coles.

Click here to read the complete review.

The program opened with “La Follia,” a violin sonata by Corelli, written in the form of a chaconne or passacaglia. Additional works will included arias by Handel and Porpora. Also on the bill was a selection of operatic arias by Handel, with Johann Mattheson’s Sonata in G minor for Three Flutes.

ncconsortlogoConducted by Dr. Andrey Kasparov, the first half concluded with Handel’s Organ Concerto in F Major, with Dr. James Kosnik at the keyboard, accompanied by oboists Harvey Stokes and Sandra Richards, violinists Loyola and Anna Dobrzyn, violist Anastasia Migliozzi, cellist Jeffrey Phelps, double bassist Madeline Ditrich, and harpsichordist Oksana Lutsyshyn. The second half began with a rendition of Handel’s Suite in G Minor for harpsichord, followed by the Sonata for three flutes by Johann Mattheson. The evening finished with Handel’s Organ Concerto in B-flat Major, with organist Kevin Kwan, Music Director of Christ and St. Luke’s, as soloist.

M.D. Ridge

The event was dedicated to the memory M.D. Ridge, a liturgical composer, musician, writer and editor, who passed away in June of 2017.

E-mail invenciaduo@gmail.com for further details.

Click here for the Norfolk Chamber Consort’s 2017-2018 performance schedule.

© Christ and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Artsong Update, Adelaide Coles, Norfolk Chamber Consort

Frideric’s Firebrands & Frenemies

18 September, 2017, 7:30PM, Christ and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

The Norfolk Chamber Consort, under the direction of Andrey Kasparov and Oksana Lutsyshyn, present George Frideric & His Frenemies, featuring the music of Handel and his contemporaries, Johann Matheson and Nicola Porpora.

George Frideric Handel (Portrait by Philip Mercier)

Presented as part of Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Christ and St. Luke’s welcomes the Norfolk Chamber Consort as part of its annual series of concerts.

Click here for a complete schedule of Sacred Music in a Sacred Space for 2017-2018.

Dr. Andrey Kasparov spoke recently with Jeff Maisey of Veer Magazine to discuss the rocky road travelled by Handel on his rise to fame. This concert program explores the dynamics of Baroque London’s musical landscape and the role played by Handel in its evolution. Dr. Kasparov had the following to say regarding the continued fascination with the era’s dramatic events and personalities:

We have been living in an amazing time of [rediscovery]. This process started during the first quarter of the 20th century and subsequently brought some major Baroque names… back into the repertoire. With this trend continuing today, more and more Baroque names, who for this or that reason fell into obscurity, are coming back to the fore…. It is a great time to enrich our lives by re-evaluating the music of the Baroque, experiencing it fully through compositions by a wide slew of its representatives, not only the most famous ones.

Click here to read the complete interview.

The program will open with the famous “La Follia,” a violin sonata by Corelli written in the form of a chaconne or passacaglia. This will feature performances by violinist Gretchen Loyla and cellist Jeffrey Phelps, with the Chamber Consort’s Artistic Co-Director Oksana Lutsyshyn at the harpsichord. Additional works will include arias by Handel and Porpora, with soprano Bianca Hall.

Casavant Frères Organ, Christ & St. Lukes

Conducted by Dr. Andrey Kasparov, the first half concludes with Handel’s Organ Concerto in F Major with Dr. James Kosnik in his debut with the Consort as organist, accompanied by oboists Harvey Stokes and Sandra Richards, violinists Loyola and Anna Dobrzyn, violist Anastasia Migliozzi, cellist Jeffrey Phelps, double bassist Madeline Ditrich, and harpsichordist Oksana Lutsyshyn.

The second half begins with Oksana Lutsyshyn’s rendition of Handel’s Suite in G Minor for harpsichord, followed by the Sonata for three flutes by Johann Mattheson, with flutists Wayla Chambo, Bonnie Kim and Hyorim Kim. The evening concludes with Handel’s Organ Concerto in B-flat Major, with organist Kevin Kwan, Music Director of Christ and St. Luke’s, as soloist.

M.D. Ridge

The event is dedicated to the memory M.D. Ridge, a liturgical composer, musician, writer and editor, who passed away in June of 2017.

The concert begins at 7:30PM, with a pre-concert discussion by Dr. Andrey Kasparov from 7:15PM.11168153_761115160667805_825347124670488533_n

A catered reception follows the performance, with food provided by The Green Onion restaurant of Norfolk’s historic Ghent.

Tickets at the door $25.00, Students $10.00.

E-mail invenciaduo@gmail.com for further details.

Click here for the Norfolk Chamber Consort’s 2017-2018 performance schedule.

© Norfolk Chamber Consort, Christ and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Veer Magazine

Sharing Bowles: Invencia & XX Digitus Duos

The first of Invencia’s two recordings devoted to the complete piano works of Paul Bowles included Andrey Kasparov’s piano duet arrangements of Bowles’ three songs for voice and piano.

Bowles composed over one hundred songs in English, Spanish, and French, some as part of his extensive output of incidental music. From 1944, Mes de Mayo (“The Month of May”) is set to poetry by an anonymous Mexican. The work tells of a prisoner who can ascertain the time of year only from the birdsong he hears through the window of his cell. “April Fool Baby” (ca. 1944) is a nonsensically comical poem by Gertrude Stein, a writer who was a major influence on Bowles. “Baby, Baby” (1946) – also known as “Sleeping Song” – is a lullaby from music Bowles wrote for Maxine Wood’s play, On Whitman Avenue, about the racial prejudice a black family faces when moving into a predominantly white neighborhood.

An influential author, Bowles was also a brilliant composer in his own right, among the select few capable of lasting contributions in both literary and musical artforms. Bowles’ wit, lyricism, humor and charm are on full display in these recorded gems.

Click here to learn more about Andrey Kasparov’s piano duet arrangements of these and other works, which are readily available for performance.

In fact, at a house concert in February of 2017, XX Digitus Duo performed Andrey Kasparov’s arrangements of the three abovementioned songs by Paul Bowles.

Pianists Maria Garcia and Momoko Muramatsu have each enjoyed successful careers as solo artists that have taken them around the world, to the Aspen, Tanglewood, Bergen and Casals Festivals, as well as having enabled them to perform with groups like the Mark Morris Dance Group, among others.

Momoko Muramatsu & Maria Garcia

Friends and colleagues since their years together at the New England Conservatory, in 2014 they joined forces to explore the duo piano and piano four hands repertoire, with the creation of XX Digitus Duo (“Twenty Fingers”).

Together Momoko and Maria explore the classical standards, along with a vast repertoire from their shared Latin American musical heritage. They are deeply committed to collaboration with composers — in the creation of new works for the medium. Their goal is to excite and entertain audiences with an eclectic catalogue, complementing other art forms such as film, visual arts, poetry and dance.

E-mail invenciaduo@gmail.com for further details.

© Invencia Piano Duo & XX Digitus Duo

Andrey Kasparov: On the Record & Off the Podium

In July of 2017 Invencia Duo’s Dr. Andrey Kasparov sat down to talk with Tigran Arakelyan, founder and host of the podcast “Off the Podium.”

The conversation ranged from Dr. Kasparov’s childhood in Baku, Azerbaijan, to his observations as a seasoned contemporary composer of classical music. From his earliest years on the shores of the Caspian Sea to his arrival at the then Soviet capital of Moscow at the age of 15, Andrey would eventually enter the State Conservatory. He studied composition with Tatyana Chudova and Tikhon Khrennikov; he later continued in the independent studio of Alexandr Chaikovsky.

(ca. 1992)

By the end of the 1980s, with increased tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Andrey’s family was evacuated from Baku. His family’s flight to the Armenian capital of Yerevan and Andrey’s graduation from the Moscow State Conservatory all coincided with the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Thankfully, however, in attendance of a meeting of student leaders at Sochi, Russia, with the added advantage of his superior knowledge of English, Andrey was befriended by a delegation from Indiana University at Bloomington. Ultimately, while it would represent for Andrey a stark contrast with the booming metropolis of Moscow, Bloomington would become the setting his for further academic and professional development in the immediate post-Soviet era.

Tikhon Nikolayevich Khrennikov

Dr. Kasparov also shared with Tigran personal impressions of his instructors at the State Conservatory, including the formidable and historic figure of Tikhon Khrennikov, longtime and influential leader of the Union of Soviet Composers. Andrey also contemplated the future of composition as an artform and as a profession, contrasting the last generation of great figures like Alfred Schnittke, Edison Denisov, John Cage and George Crumb, with the younger more modest set of today. In turn, this segued into a thorough examination of Andrey’s work on the music of Béla Bartók, and his participation as soloist in the 1994 premiere of the revised edition of Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

The conversation ended with some insight into Andrey’s personal interests, which served merely to reinforce just how competitive he can be, on and off the podium.

Created by Tigran Arakelyan, “Off the Podium” is intended to facilitate discussion on a variety of topics in music, culture, and the arts. Alongside his own observations Tigran’s guests come to share their stories, ideas and perspectives on all things in the world of music.

Click here for more “Off the Podium” podcasts.

E-mail invenciaduo@gmail.com for further details.

© Invencia Piano Duo & Off the Podium