Monday, February 11, 2013

Centuries of Cello and Piano Music in Bigfork

Hear classical music that can be enjoyed by everyone when The Edge Center in Bigfork presents the pleasant sounds of cello and piano chamber music through the past three centuries. “From Beethoven to Barber: Masterpieces for Cello and piano Across the Centuries”, played by Cellist Josh Aerie and Pianist Kate Lanzer, PhD offer selections that demonstrate the power and range of their instruments. One of Josh’s students, Maggie Anderson on cello accompanied on piano by her father Ed Anderson, MD, a Bigfork Valley Clinic physician, open the program with a Joseph Haydn Concerto.  Beautiful and smooth sounds of the classics, two of the best artists in the state, plus a very talented local touch: What a wonderful way to warm a February afternoon in Northern Minnesota. The place is center stage at The Edge Center in Bigfork with a reception following the performance. The date, Sunday February 17th. The time 2PM. The prices $10 for adults, $5 for children.

Josh Aerie is a sought-after performing and recording artist, instructor, and conductor. Josh’s career highlights span a wide array of credits and accomplishments, including major-label recordings, nationally syndicated television performances, and film soundtracks. He currently lives in Duluth, Minnesota, and is on the music faculty at the College of St. Scholastica, the University of Wisconsin-Superior, and Mesabi Range Community and Technical College. He is Music Director and Conductor of the Heartland Symphony Orchestra, the Red Cedar Symphony Orchestra, the Mesabi Community Orchestra, and the Duluth Community Orchestra. In the summer of 2007 he founded and inaugurated the Woodland Chamber Music Workshop for adult amateur musicians of all abilities.

Returning artist Josh Aerie is no stranger to The Edge Center Stage, “The Edge Center is a wonderful venue for our concert - it's acoustically near-perfect for cello and piano, with an intimate feel. I've performed in many concert halls across the country and the Edge is one of my favorites!”

Josh is a founding member of the Duluth-based Gichigami Piano Trio, and the Minneapolis-based AxialAge Ensemble. In September 2009 Josh was selected as a 20 Under 40 Award recipient in the Duluth News Tribune’s annual recognition of 20 community leaders under the age of forty. In June 2010 he was a recipient of a McKnight/ARAC Artist Fellowship Grant.

About Dr. Kate Lanzer, Josh says, “Kate and I have been collaborating in different ways for a number of years; Kate has played for and soloed with a couple of the orchestras I conduct, and we've kept up with and participated in each others musical endeavors along the way. This is the first time we've put together a major cello/piano concert and, speaking for myself, I'm so pleased to be partnering with Kate on this program. I think we make a good team.”

Dr. Kate Lanzer is a performing artist and teacher in Duluth, MN. Since completing her Doctorate in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of WI-Madison, Dr. Lanzer has been on the faculty at the University of MN-Duluth and the College of St. Scholastica. Currently, Kate teaches at the College of St. Scholastica in addition to maintaining a private teaching studio in the Duluth community.  As an active recitalist, Kate has given solo and collaborative performances around the country and abroad.  Dr. Lanzer is also a certified instructor of Yoga and is a sought after clinician on her research that combines the practice of Yoga with art of playing music.

Maggie Anderson is an up-and-coming student of Josh Aerie who is dedicated to making the cello an important part of her future.  Her accompanist father, Dr. Anderson and her mother, Kristen, have played piano from childhood and her younger sister is now starting out with the violin.  Maggie has been a “regular” at The Edge Center as a musician.

Earlier in 2012 Maggie played in the Itasca Symphony Orchestra when it visited The Edge Center for a concert.

More recently, Maggie and her mother played during the Great Northern Radio show with Maggie on cello and Kristen playing the guitar.

Maggie and he father will open the concert with a challenging work by Joseph Haydn, the Haydn Concerto in C Major for Cello and Piano.

About the music for the concert, Josh says, “The repertoire for our concert, 'From Beethoven to Barber: Masterpieces for cello and piano across the centuries' includes three wonderful and distinct pieces: Beethoven's most famous cello sonata, the No. 3 in A Major; Debussy's only cello sonata - an impressionistic masterpiece full of color and wit; and Barber's cello sonata - an early work brimming with vigor and passion." Below is Beethoven and Debussy on top plus Barber on the bottom.

“These three pieces nicely encompass the cello/piano literature: the Beethoven is an example of early Romanticism during which the cello emerges as a solo instrument; Debussy displays his mastery of the French Impressionism genre and inventive compositional technique in his sonata; the Barber hints at emerging 20th-century tonalities and poly-rhythms while still remaining melodically and emotionally driven.”

So come and warm yourself on a cold February afternoon with music, friendship and enjoy a reception to help share the fun.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Many Hollywood Legends

Come and see one of the best Hollywood love stories for Valentine’s day this year at The Edge Center in Bigfork.  No matter how many times you've seen “Casablanca”, this is a good time to see it again on the big screen and learn much more about the “story behind the story” from an expert. Possibly things like: why the ending might be totally different if made elsewhere, or why Rick could have lost his cynical edge if made just a little later in the war. And, maybe why Bogart and Bergman would not have shared this career defining moment in movie history without perfect timing and the right studio.

Learn more when you see “Casablance” at The Edge Center in Bigfork along with an informative discussion about the movie February 14, 6:30PM. The movie is presented by the Classic Movie Series with an appropriate cartoon, treats matched to the movie, and a background presentation by Jack Nachbar.

With a general release in 1943, the fact that Casablanca starring, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, won a Best Picture Academy Award tells us how the public and critics felt about the movie back then.  It truly is a movie classic love story and one that is still very special on this 70th anniversary year of its release.

The studio system was in full force during that time with each major studio having a reputation for making a certain “type” of movie.  Warner Brothers, was a tight run organization watching budgets closely and known for making “edgy” movies.

Edgy was the Warner Brothers mark and it made their movies often distinctive. That’s why “Casablanca” is that it is, why it became a cult classic, made its stars “super stars”, and, most importantly, made the studio money.

Humphrey DeForest Bogart (1889 – 1957) appeared in 75 films during his 30-year film career, after his Broadway career slowed due to hard times for plays due to the 1929 stock market crash.  He was a successful movie actor at the time of  “Casablanca”, but it made him a film icon and, in 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Bogart as the greatest male film star in the history of American movies.  He had four wives with his last being Lauren Baccall (below).

It is hard to talk bout Bogart without talking about Lauren Bacall.  They were truly meant for each other with only his death from cancer ending the marriage.  Lauren provides some insight to Bogart’s feeling about “Casablanca” when she said, “Boggie would say, ‘ Of course, I did nothing in Casablanca that I hadn't done in twenty movies before that, and suddenly they discover I’m sexy. Any time that Ingrid Bergman looks at a man, he has sex appeal.’ ” This according to Aljean Harmetz in the 1992 book, “Round up the Usual Suspects.”

Above is Ingrid Bergman (1915 – 1982), a Swedish actress who has 53 acting credits in her career with 13 in Swedish movies.  It is said her career had its up and downs, with her best work in the 1940's and ending up winning three Academy Awards in her movie life.  She left the United States for some six years due to a marriage scandal in the 1950's, but came back strong winning an Oscar in 1956 for "Anastasia".  About “Casablanca” Bergman says, “"I feel about Casablanca that it has a life of its own. There is something mystical about it. It seems to have filled a need, a need that was there before the film, a need that the film filled.” This is according to Charlotte Chandler in the 2007 book  “Ingrid: Ingrid Bergman, A Personal Biography.”

Not only a box office success, Casablanca became a cult film with people seeing it 50 – 60 times or more and audiences shouting lines at the screen.  A truly special film with special stars, and you can see it all, learn some of the background and history about the 1940's wartime period in our history and enjoy the treats. Bring your valentine too if you wish.