Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

Tuesdays at 7pm through August 13
SFCMF2024_Man-in-hat_From-back-of-St-Francis_(Photo-by-Mark-Holm)

Photo: Mark Holm

Join us for a sampling of the best performances from the the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s 2023 summer concert season. You’ll hear beloved core works by well-known composers alongside less familiar discoveries, and new commissions, too. Every piece comes to life through virtuosic performances by both veteran and emerging musicians. The series host is eminent WFMT announcer Kerry Frumkin. Composer Marc Neikrug, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s artistic director, provides insightful commentary. Many of the players also share thoughts about their experiences at this remarkable Festival and the music they perform here.

Highlights from the upcoming season include:

• The positively electrifying pianist Juho Pohjonen marks his Festival return with a spotlight on 19th-century composer and cello virtuoso David Popper – whose exquisitely tender Requiem features the unusual scoring of three cellos and a piano. We will then hear Beethoven’s sophisticated and innovative Septet – an early composition that remained an inescapable hit throughout the composer’s lifetime.

• Grammy Award-winning soprano Ana María Martínez and pianist Craig Terry perform a work from Manuel de Falla that reveals the richness of the Spanish-language art song tradition. Then, a showcase of the virtuosic violin playing of Daniel Phillips in Bach’s Violin Concerto in E Major. This broadcast also includes the world premiere of Oboe Quartet in Ten Parts composed by long-time Festival Artistic Director and pianist Mark Neikrug.

• Two of today’s most electrifying classical musicians – violinist Paul Huang and pianist Zoltán Fejérvári – join the Miami String Quartet for Ernest Chausson’s lyrical and bravura Concerto in D Major. In this broadcast, we will also hear Poulenc’s delightful Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano.

• Kirill Gerstein, one of the world’s most acclaimed pianists, joins forces with conductor Alan Gilbert and 21 other musicians to give the festival’s first-ever performance of Ligeti’s magnificent Piano Concerto, a masterpiece of originality as witnessed in the composer’s treatment of rhythm and harmony. The dynamic Miami String Quartet plays one of the most beloved works for string quartet, Dvořák’s American, which the composer wrote while living in the US.

• Inon Barnatan – hailed by the New York Times as “one of the most admired pianists of his generation” plays Moments musicaux by Four longtime friends of the Festival – Benny Kim, Daniel Phillips, Ida Kavafian, and Jennifer Gilbert – perform together in a selection from of one the most beloved and well-known works of the classical music repertoire: Vivaldi’s sparkling, infectious, and brilliantly evocative The Four Seasons. This broadcast also includes the wonderfully rich (thanks to its two cellos) String Quintet in F Sharp by the early 20th-century German composer Walter Braunfels.

• Renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine performs Passacaglia from Mystery Sonatas, a work that is a revelation of early-Baroque virtuosity. In his Festival debut, cellist Zlatomir Fung, the youngest musician to win first prize in the cello division of the international Tchaikovsky competition, joins Zoltán Fejérvári to play a Bach sonata that takes the listeners on an expansive journey through the composer’s boundless creativity. Rounding out the program is a lush, 19th-century Sextet for Piano and Winds by Ludwig Thuille.

• The dynamic Miami String Quartet plays a Czech delight: Erwin Schulhoff’s Five Pieces for String Quartet, a lively suite of international dance miniatures that span the waltz to the tango. This program continues with pianists Gilles Vonsattel and Inon Barnatan playing a work for two pianos by Debussy. This season of broadcasts ends with Moritz Moszkowski’s spirited early 20th-century Suite in G Minor for Two Violins and Piano.

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2024 Schedule

  • June 11
    Neikrug, Bach, and de Falla

    This week, we explore a sampling of musical influences – a mother sings her child to sleep; a composer creates a new work for an ideal instrumentalist; and a baroque master writes a beautiful and virtuosic concerto inspired by a contemporary. The program begins with Manuel de Falla’s sumptuous lullaby, “Nana” from Seven Popular Spanish Songs, in a hypnotizing performance by soprano Ana Maria Martinez. Then, the world premiere of Festival artistic director Marc Neikrug’s Oboe Quartet in Ten Parts, music he composed especially for the New York Philharmonic’s principal oboe, Liang Wang. And to close, Daniel Phillips is the soloist in Bach’s Violin Concerto in E Major, a work influenced by Bach’s fascination with Vivaldi.

    Manuel de Falla

    “Nana” from Siete canciones populares españolas
    Ana María Martínez, soprano; Craig Terry, piano

    Marc Neikrug

    Oboe Quartet in Ten Parts (World Premiere)
    Liang Wang, oboe; Adam Barnett-Hart, violin; Pierre Lapointe, viola; Brook Speltz, cello

    Johann Sebastian Bach

    Violin Concerto in E Major, BWV 1042
    Daniel Phillips soloist; Daniel Jordan, Ashley Vandiver, violin; Margaret Dyer Harris, viola; Joseph Johnson, cello; Mark Tatum, double bass; Kathleen McIntosh, harpsichord

  • June 18
    Brahms Sextet

    Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen channels Mozart’s free-flowing creativity as he performs the Fantasia, K. 475 from 1784. And six veteran chamber musicians deliver the lush and massive String Sextet, Op. 18, music the youthful Brahms finished in 1860.

    Wolfgang A. Mozart

    Fantasia in C Minor, K. 475
    Juho Pohjonen, piano

    Johannes Brahms

    String Sextet in B-flat Major, Op. 18
    Ida Kavafian, Benny Kim, violin; Steven Tenenbom, Toby Appel, viola; Eric Kim, Peter Stumpf, cello

  • June 25
    Mozart & Chopin

    In Mozart’s time, a divertimento implied a kind of pleasant background music, something to divert one’s attention when you were really doing something else. And yet, Mozart’s monumental Divertimento, K. 563 stands as one of the most profound, substantial pieces of his lifetime. We’ll hear that music performed by Cho-Liang Lin, Yura Lee, and Mark Kosower. Pianist Garrick Ohlsson opens the program with Chopin’s Venice-infused Barcarolle, Op. 60.

    Frédéric Chopin

    Barcarolle in F-sharp Major, Op. 60
    Garrick Ohlsson, piano

    Wolfgang A. Mozart

    Divertimento in E-flat Major, K. 563
    Cho-Liang Lin, violin; Yura Lee, viola; Mark Kosower, cello

  • July 2
    France: Modern & Romantic

    This week, we present a pair of very different works from two French composers. First, two principals from the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra collaborate with Festival first-timer Katia Skanavi. They’ll play Francis Poulenc’s Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano, a work written in 1926 and dedicated to Manuel de Falla. After that, Paul Huang and Zoltán Fejérvári join forces with the Miami String Quartet, performing Ernest Chausson’s late 19th century Concerto in D Major for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet.

    Francis Poulenc

    Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano, FP 43
    Robert Ingliss, oboe; Julia Harguindey, bassoon; Katia Skanavi, piano

    Ernest Chausson

    Concerto in D Major for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet, Op. 21
    Paul Huang, violin; Zoltán Fejérvári, piano; Miami String Quartet (Benny Kim, Cathy Meng Robinson, violin; Scott Lee, viola; Keith Robinson, cello)

  • July 9
    Schumann Piano Quartet

    Robert Schuman’s iconic Piano Quartet, Op. 47 anchors this week’s program. Schuman wrote this music in 1842 during his stunningly prolific “year of chamber music,” and it reigns as one of the best-loved works of the Romantic era. Before that, Jennifer Frautschi, Jessica Lee, Joseph Johnson, and harpsichordist Paolo Bordignon present the Baroque-era Trio Sonata in G Major by Handel. Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano opens the hour with two selections from her recital with husband Christopher Cano. She’ll sing music by Bellini, and Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, the hauntingly beautiful song without words.

    Vincenzo Bellini

    “Per pieta, bell’idol mio”
    Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano; Christopher Cano, piano

    Sergei Rachmaninoff

    Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14
    Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano; Christopher Cano, piano

    George Frederic Handel

    Trio Sonata in G Major, Op. 5, No. 4, HWV 399
    Jennifer Frautschi, Jessica Lee, violin; Joseph Johnson, cello; Paolo Bordignon, harpsichord

    Robert Schumann

    Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47
    Inon Barnatan, piano; William Hagen, violin; Yura Lee, viola; Mark Kosower, cello

  • July 16
    Kirill Gerstein & Alan Gilbert perform Ligeti

    Opposites attract in this iconic coupling. First, conductor Alan Gilbert leads the magnificent pianist Kirill Gerstein and an ensemble of all-star Festival musicians in a spectacular performance of the Ligeti Piano Concerto. The Miami String Quartet closes the program with one of the sparkling gems of the chamber repertoire, and the gorgeous melodies of Dvořák’s “American” String Quartet.

    György Ligeti

    Piano Concerto
    Soloist Kirill Gerstein, piano solo; Jessica Lee, Jennifer Frautschi, Alejandro Valdepeñas, L.P. How, Jennifer Best, Kathleen Brauer, violin; Margaret Dyer Harris, Theresa Rudolph, Ashley Vandiver, viola; Kajsa William-Olsson, Joseph Johnson, cello; Leigh Mesh, bass; Chelsea Knox, flute; Liang Wang, oboe; Todd Levy, clarinet; Julia Harguindey, bassoon; Stefan Dohr, horn; William Leathers, trumpet; Jonathan Randazzo, trombone; Greg Zuber, percussion; Alan Gilbert, conductor

    Antonín Dvořák

    String Quartet in F Major, Op. 96, “American”
    Miami String Quartet (Benny Kim, Cathy Meng Robinson, violin; Scott Lee, viola; Keith Robinson, cello)

  • July 23
    Ravel & Schoenberg: A Little Night Music

    This week we showcase two approaches to music of the night. Pianist Juho Pohjonen skillfully conveys the macabre and atmospheric moods of Ravel’s fiendishly difficult Gaspard de la nuit. And the Dover Quartet, in collaboration with Ida Kavafian and Peter Stumpf, performs Schoenberg’s lush and programmatic string sextet from 1899, Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night).

    Maurice Ravel

    Gaspard de la nuit
    Juho Pohjonen, piano

    Arnold Schoenberg

    Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Op. 4
    Joel Link, Bryan Lee, violin; Hezekiah Leung, Ida Kavafian, viola; Camden Shaw, Peter Stumpf, cello

  • July 30
    Braunfels String Quintet

    In 1828, Franz Schubert published Moments musicaux, a set of six jewel-like pieces of varying difficulty. Inon Barnatan opens the hour with the third and perhaps best-known from the series, the Allegro moderato in F Minor. After that, Jennifer Gilbert is the featured soloist in the Concerto in F Minor, Op. 8, No. 4, “Winter,” from Antonio Vivaldi’s eternally appealing The Four Seasons. We bring the hour to a close with a rarely performed work of great depth and emotional power, Walter Braunfels’s 1944 String Quintet, featuring dual cellos.

    Franz Schubert

    Moments musicaux, D. 780
    Inon Barnatan, piano

    Antonio Vivaldi

    Concerto in F Minor, Op. 8, No. 4, RV 297, “L’inverno” (“Winter”) from The Four Seasons, Op. 8
    Jennifer Gilbert, violin solo; Ida Kavafian, Daniel Phillips, Benny Kim, L.P. How, Daniel Jordan, Alejandro Valdepeñas, violin; Steven Tenenbom, Toby Appel, Theresa Rudolph, viola; Peter Stumpf, Alastair En, cello; Edgar Meyer, bass; Kathleen McIntosh, harpsichord

    Walter Braunfels

    String Quintet in F-sharp Minor, Op. 63
    Jennifer Frautschi, L.P. How, violin; Choong-Jin Chang, viola; Eric Kim, Zlatomir Fung, cello

  • August 6
    Biber, Bach, and the Thuille Sextet

    Rachel Barton Pine has a specialty—she loves music for unaccompanied violin, especially pieces that are not well known. She opens this week’s program with the remarkable Passacaglia from Biber’s Mystery Sonatas, a virtuosic work performed with incredible dexterity. After that, we have music Bach originally wrote for viola da gamba and harpsichord, performed here by cellist Zlatomir Fung and pianist Zoltán Fejérvári. Lastly, in contrast, an outstanding ensemble of musicians delivers a completely different sound world with Ludwig Thuille’s late 19th century Sextet for Piano & Winds.

    Heinrich Ignaz Franz
    von Biber

    Passacaglia from Mystery Sonatas
    Rachel Barton Pine, violin

    Johann Sebastian Bach

    Sonata in G Minor for Cello and Piano, BWV 1029
    Zlatomir Fung cello; Zoltán Fejérvári, piano

    Ludwig Thuille

    Sextet for Piano & Winds in B-flat Major, Op. 6
    Nicolas Namoradze, piano; Chelsea Knox, flute; Liang Wang, oboe; Anthony McGill, clarinet; Julia Harguindey, bassoon; Mark Almond, horn

  • August 13
    Schulhoff, Debussy, & Moszkowski

    Musical diversity of the very early 20th century is on display in this final week of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival radio series. The Miami String Quartet presents Five Pieces for String Quartet, a suite of (mostly) dance movements that Erwin Schulhoff wrote in 1923 and dedicated to the French composer Darius Milhaud. Then Gilles Vonsattel and Inon Barnatan present En Blanc et Noir (In White and Black), an abstract name that belies the fury beneath this 1915 work by Debussy. And to close, Jennifer Gilbert, Daniel Phillips, and pianist Katia Skanavi play the Suite in G Minor for Two Violins and Piano, Moritz Moszkowski’s charming composition from 1903.

    Erwin Schulhoff

    Five Pieces for String Quartet
    Miami String Quartet (Benny Kim, Cathy Meng Robinson, violin; Scott Lee, viola; Keith Robinson, cello)

    Claude Debussy

    En Blanc et Noir (In White and Black) for Two Pianos
    Gilles Vonsattel, Inon Barnatan, piano

    Moritz Moszkowski

    Suite in G Minor for Two Violins and Piano, Op. 71
    Jennifer Gilbert, Daniel Phillips, violin; Katia Skanavi, piano