Sunday, June 17, 2001

Classical music

XU music series brings stars to town

        The Xavier University Piano and Guitar Series will observe its 25th anniversary season next year with an impressive roster of international talent.

        “I wouldn't have them unless they were good,” says the Rev. John Heim, founder of the series and its diehard champion.

        Next year's list includes Angela Hewitt, Van Cliburn gold medalist Jon Nakamatsu, Martin Jones, Kemal Gekic and Ian Hobson. The 10-concert piano series begins Oct. 14 and will end on March 24. On Feb. 3, Hamilton pianist Bryan Wallick will make his Xavier Piano Series debut.

        Among those on the five-concert guitar series are David Tanenbaum in his fourth appearance, Andrew York of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and Franco Platino, a student of Manuel Barrueco.

        Father Heim is proud of his track record in presenting major artists for 25 years. The piano series, founded in 1976, is one of only a few remaining in the country.

        “The time went fast, but nonetheless we've presented several hundred outstanding performers for the Cincinnati community. I feel rewarded that I've been able to do that for the people,” Father Heim says. “We look forward to a rosy future, especially when we get back into our new hall.”

        The series has been displaced for the past two years while its former home, Xavier University Center, was torn down to be rebuilt as the Charles P. Gallagher Student Center. Because the complex is still under construction, next year's concerts will be divided between two venues: the classical piano series will be in the Bethesda Foundation Auditorium in Avondale; the classical guitar series will take place at Cincinnati Art Museum.

        The jazz series, which has suffered low attendance in the last two years, may have fallen victim to the displacement from its XU home. That series, the longest-running jazz series in Greater Cincinnati, will take a hiatus next year, Father Heim says.

        “The numbers have fallen off so dramatically, but not the donations,” he says. He hopes the audience will return when the new hall is completed, slated for sometime in the coming season.

        The organizers will likely wait until they are in their new digs for a big anniversary celebration. For now, the important thing is that people come. “The biggest thing right now is having an audience,” Father Heim says.

        The piano series is divided into five concerts (A or B series, $55-$60) or all 10 concerts (C, $100-$110). Single tickets are $17 and $19; there is a $3 senior citizen discount. The guitar series is $45, or $12 for single tickets.

        Did you know this: The series admits all students with I.D. — grade school through undergraduate college — free to concerts.

        Concerts are at 2:30 p.m. 745-3161.

        Duncanson Artist in Residence named: Soprano La-Vaune Henry, 28, a graduate student in voice at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, has been named Duncanson Artist-in-Residence at the Taft Museum of Art.

        Ms. Henry will be the museum's 16th Duncanson Artist-in-Residence. She came to Cincinnati last year to study at CCM after a chance meeting years ago with Cincinnatians Paul and Carolyn Flory in her native St. Maarten in the West Indies.

        The residency showcases the talent of contemporary African-American artists. Ms. Henry will spend two weeks with the staff, giving public performances, workshops, lectures and demonstrations.

        The residency is supported by the Robert S. Duncanson Society, named for the 19th-century artist whose murals adorn the foyer of the Taft Museum. Recent artists have included the Dayton Contemporary Dance Second Company, storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston, author and educator Sharon M. Draper and jazz violinist John Blake Jr.

        Opening Day record sales: Opera season was off and running on June 1, when single tickets went on sale. On the first day, the company sold a record 1,448 tickets, up from 856 last year.

        “The phones started to ring when we opened the box office at 10 a.m. and the lines were HOT until we closed at 6 p.m.,” says Julie Maslov, public relations director. For tickets to the 2001 Summer Festival opening Thursday, call 241-2742.

        New York Bound: Clarinetist Pascual Martinez Forteza, second clarinetist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra since 1998, is leaving to become second clarinet of the New York Philharmonic. He played with his new orchestra on Memorial Day for the first time in his new position.

        “As a small child in Spain, I saw the New York Philharmonic on television when Leonard Bernstein conducted the Young People's Concerts,” Mr. Martinez Forteza says. “To now be joining the orchestra is unbelievable.”

        Down under: They won't have to eat bugs, fight over rice or worry about getting voted out of the tribe. Cincinnati Junior Strings, a group of 57 talented kids in grades nine and under, is packing up violins, violas, cellos and basses for an 18-day tour of Australia and Tasmania, June 23-July 10. The CCM youth orchestra, directed by Gerald Doan for 22 years, will perform in the Sydney Opera House and the Newcastle Conservatoriaum of Music, as well as in several joint concerts with young Australians.

        They may be young, but their program is hardly kids' stuff: Mahler's Symphony No. 1, Prokofiev's Classical Symphony, Mascagni's Intermezzo and Strauss' Die Fledermaus Waltzes.

        A farewell concert is planned at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Church of the Saviour United Methodist Church, Montgomery. Information: 791-7815.

        Classical kudos: “Classical Quest,” the educational video featuring the CCM-based Starling Chamber Orchestra has been nominated for three Emmy Awards by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The video was produced by On Location Multimedia Inc., of Cincinnati, in collaboration with the Starling Project Foundation and CCM.

        Update on podium searches: Finnish conductor Osmo Vanska, 48, the music director designate of the Minnesota Orchestra, is the latest maestro named to a major American orchestra during an unprecedented time of music director searches.

        Mr. Vanska will become the Minnesota orchestra's 10th music director, succeeding Eiji Oue, who completes his seven-year tenure next season, the orchestra announced last month. He is a protege of the famous Jorma Panula, who has launched several conducting careers, including that of Esa-Pekka Salonen (who heads the Los Angeles Philharmonic).

        In the past two years, Paavo Jarvi has been named to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Franz Welser-Most to the Cleveland Orchestra, Lorin Maazel to the New York Philharmonic, Robert Spano to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Hans Graf to the Houston Symphony and Andreas Delfs will take the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

        Vacancies remain at the Indianapolis, Boston, New Jersey and Toronto symphonies. In Boston, speculation is hot and heavy that Cincinnatian James Levine is the top choice.

        A woman's place is on the podium: More news on the conductor front: Marin Alsop has been appointed principal conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in England, to start with the 2002-03 season. Ms. Alsop, a popular guest conductor of the CSO and a candidate for the music directorship of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, will conduct the Bournemouth Symphony for 12 weeks a season.

        The native New Yorker who studied with Leonard Bernstein will leave her post as music director of the Colorado Symphony in 2003, when she will become Conductor Laureate.

        The Bournemouth Symphony was founded in 1893 and its roster of former principal conductors includes Sir Charles Grove, Paavo Berglund, Andrew Litton and Yakov Kreizberg.

        In the money: The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has received a grant of $10.4 million from Lilly Endowment Inc., the orchestra announced last week. It is the largest grant ever received by the orchestra in its 71-year history.

        The money will be used for its School Partnership Program, audience development, acoustical enhancement of its concert hall and to help launch a fund-raising campaign.

        Eli Lilly & Co. is an Indianapolis-based drug development and testing company with a budget that will top $2 billion this year.

        Top flutes: Some heavy-hitting flutists will be in town soon for the Cincinnati Flute Symposium, June 25-July 1 at CCM. The events include nightly concerts, all free and open to the public.

        Concerts are at 7 p.m. in Werner Recital Hall, unless stated otherwise. Here's the schedule:

        June 25, Timothy Hutchins, principal flute of the Montreal Symphony; June 26, Randy Bowman, principal flute of the Cincinnati Symphony; June 27, Jill Felber, professor of flute at the University of California, Santa Barbara; June 28, Jean-Michel Tanguy, professor of flute at the Mannheim and Brussels Conservatories; June 29, Bradley Garner, CCM professor of flute; 7:30 p.m. June 30, Tap Room at the Kingsgate Conference Center, Jim Walker, faculty at University of Southern California, former Los Angeles Philharmonic principal flutist.

        The symposium will end at 2 p.m. July 1 with a gala closing concert in Werner Recital Hall, featuring symposium faculty and competition winners. For information call 556-4183.
       Contact Janelle Gelfand at 768-8382; fax: 768-8330;


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