Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Enchanting Clarinet and Piano Music at The Edge

This musical concert by two world-renowned classical musicians at The Edge Center in Bigfork will provide enjoyment, a greater appreciation of music, and a chance to hear beautiful music in a space designed just for such an event. Clarinetist Igor Begelman accompanied by pianist Rieko Aizawa are part of the Piatigorsky Foundation's program of sending some of the best classical musicians in the world to small towns all over America. With top national and international awards, Igor Begelman is also an active educator who strongly believes in musical education for young people.  With a career starting at 13 years old at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, Rieko Aizawa’s capabilities and performances have grown to incredible levels. There will be two performances on Friday, May 16th, one private for students and a second open to the public on 7PM. Prices for the public performance are $10 for adults, $5 for children.

Igor Begelman

Clarinetist Igor Begelmann has a gracious sense of style and an excellent musical personality that have become his musical signature.  He has a dual career as musician and educator and enjoys his association with the Piatigorsky Foundation because it permits him to teach and perform classical music in less traditional settings. Raised in Kiev, Ukraine, Igor came to the United States in 1989. He is Professor of Clarinet at the North Carolina School of the Arts and also teaches at Brooklyn and Sarah Lawrence Colleges. Igor is Winner of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, the award given to outstanding American artists, and has performed recitals in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Israel, and as a soloist with such orchestras as the Houston, Savannah, and New Haven Symphonies, Boston Classical Orchestra, as well as the Odense Simfoniker and L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. His performance return to The Edge Center will be a another memorable one.

Pianist Rieko Aizawa

Igor’s accompanist, Pianist Rieko Aizawa, was on stage at two of America’s most prestigious venues when 13 years old. How special is that? She got to the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall through the efforts of the conductor, Alexander Schneide.  Her career since then includes performances throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, Boston's Symphony Hall, Chicago's Orchestra Hall, and Vienna's Konzerthaus. Rieko is also an active chamber musician and has performed as a guest with string quartets such as the Guarneri Quartet and the Orion Quartet.  She is a founding member of the both the Horszowski Trio, and of the prize-winning duo, Prism.  She became Artistic Director of the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Colorado in 2010.

 In 2005, Rieko’s solo debut recording of Scriabin’s and Shostakovich’s “24 Preludes” was released by Altus in Japan, and her second album is coming out this season. Her performances are described by the NY Times as having “impressive musicality, a crisp touch and expressive phrasing.”

The Music

The audience can expect this performance to cover a wide range of music, with the intention of satisfying a wide range of chamber music tastes. Please keep in mind that the below program is planned, but is also subject to change. Come and enjoy the program.

Canzonetta - Gabriel Pierné

Gabriel Pierné (1863 – 1937) was a French composer, conductor, and organist. He moved to Paris with his family to escape the Franco-Prussian War and studied at the Paris Conservatoire where he won many awards for his work. He had an opportunity to debut an Igor Stravinsky ballet in 1910, and some of his live performances survive due to early recordings from 1928 to 1934.

This Canzonetta for clarinet and piano was probably composed near the end of the 19th century and is among the more serious of the composer’s works. It is dedicated to a friend, Charles Turban. References:,_Op.19_(Piern%C3%A9,_Gabriel),,

Dance Preludes  - Witold Lutoslawski

Witold Roman Lutoslawski (1913 - 1994) was a Polish composer and orchestral conductor. He was one of the major European composers of the 20th century, and one of the preeminent Polish musicians of the end of the last century. His early work was influenced by Polish folk music. During WWII, Lutoslawski escaped German capture and made a living playing in Warsaw bars. The Stalinist authorities banned his First Symphony for being "formalist.” He gave moral support to the Polish Solidarity independence movement near the end of his life, and was awarded the order of White Eagle, Poland’s highest honor.

In 1954, Lutoslawski completed this work for clarinet and piano entitled Dance Preludes. The work is in five movements and is based on folk songs from northern Poland. The original folk material has been so seamlessly interwoven, however, that any precise identification is impossible. Lutoslawski felt it was his farewell to folk music influences in his work.

Sonata  - Francis Poulenc

Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc (1899 - 1963) French composer and pianist, associated with the French group Les Six. Les Six is the name of a loosely formed group of French and Swiss composers who performed concerts in the art studio of artist Émile Lejeune. Poulenc composed art songs, solo piano music, chamber music, oratorios, choral music, operas, ballet music, and orchestral music.

He was seriously affected by the death of some close friends near the end of his life, and this 1962 Sonata for clarinet and piano is dedicated to the memory of one of the Les Six. Of the two Poulenc works that premiered posthumously, The Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, was performed by Benny Goodman and the other by Leonard Bernstein.  References:,

Grand Duo Concertant  - Carl Maria von Weber

Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber (1786 - 1826) was an early composer of the Romantic era who wrote what is called the first “nationalist opera” in Germany. Because of von Weber’s life-long interest in musical cultures outside of Germany, his work shows the impact of non-western styles. His operas greatly influenced the musical development of the era in Germany and influenced music for generations of composers.

Compared to other clarinet music that von Weber wrote, the Grand Duo is different in that the two instruments are clearly equal and played as equal partners.. His other works have a lead or virtuoso part and a clearly supporting accompaniment part. The Grand Duo clearly shows two leads with neither in the foreground or background. The listener should be able to hear that the work is clearly an equal dual performance.

Suite from Porgy and Bess  - George Gershwin

George Gershwin (1898 –1937) was an American pianist and composer whose music spanned popular and classical music. His opera Porgy and Bess, which he called “folk opera,” was not understood by the critics.  They could not figure out if it was opera or a Broadway type musical.  Not a commercial success then, it has passed the test of time and become one of America’s outstanding musical works. References:,

Piatigorsky Foundation

The non-profit Piatigorsky Foundation's mission is to make live classical music part of the fabric of everyday life for communities throughout the United States. Their concert tours bring top-quality musicians to audiences who often would not have the opportunity to hear them. The Foundation was established in 1990 by cellist Evan Drachman, grandson of the great Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky (1903-1976). The Foundation carries on his legacy in the belief that, as Piatigorsky said, "Music makes life better. Music is neither a luxury nor a frill. It is a necessity! It is rich. It is imaginative. And it is for everyone."

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