Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January concerts in the Midlands

The blanket of ice coating the Midlands after this latest storm should melt away just in time for the beginning of a very busy concert schedule in the second half of January, as the season really resumes in earnest. For the insatiable music-lover, an appealing fortnight awaits:

Saturday, January 15, Koger Center, Columbia: The South Carolina Philharmonic resumes their season, and they're not tiptoeing back into it either: a season of heavy-hitting masterworks continues with Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, the "Eroica," the symphony that blew the lid off Classical form and proportion, declared the 18th century definitively dead and pointed the way musically for much of the century to come. The orchestra sounded really impressive at the last concert in November; if you have not heard the work Morihiko Nakahara and this group have been doing lately, you definitely owe it to yourself to check them out. This is not only not your father's SC Philharmonic, it's not even your 4-years-younger-version-of-yourself's SC Phil.

Tuesday, January 18, USC School of Music Recital Hall: Charles Fugo, Columbia's poet laureate of the piano, does his annual solo recital at the university; this year's installment includes Chopin and Ravel among others. Here is an account of mine from 2007 of just one of the several memorable performances of Fugo's that I've managed to catch.

Thursday, January 20, Camden (Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County): SC native Claire Bryant, an up-and-coming cellist on the New York scene, has launched her own Charles Wadsworth-like series in Camden and Aiken, bringing other rising stars of the chamber music realm to our area for a chance to hear masterworks of the genre live. These are always integrated into extensive educational-outreach activities by the musicians. Bryant, who could be recently heard with the ACJW ensemble at Carnegie Hall led by Simon Rattle, is bringing a program this time around that will include works by Ravel, Bartok, Poulenc, and Paul Schoenfield.

Tuesday, January 25, USC School of Music Recital Hall: Serena Hill, who was heard last November in Dominick Argento's one-woman monodrama "Miss Havisham's Wedding Night" with USC Opera, will be doing a faculty recital at the School of Music, where she is currently adjunct faculty. Ms. Hill is also on the faculty at Coker College as well.

Friday, January 28, Arts at Shandon: Peter Kolkay and Friends at 7:30 p.m. at Shandon Presbyterian Church at the corner of Woodrow and Devine streets in Columbia, more or less catty-corner from the Whitney Hotel. The renowned bassoonist (a regular with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and associate prof at USC) gives his take on Bach's 3rd Cello Suite in C Major; that alone is a not-to-be-missed proposition. But the "Friends" in this concert also are powerhouses in their own right: the aforementioned Charles Fugo, and USC oboe prof and SC Phil principal oboist Rebecca Nagel. The justly-famous Poulenc trio for these instruments is also on tap, works for bassoon and piano by Weber and Bourdeau; and most intriguingly, the premiere of a new work for bassoon and oboe by Reginald Bain of the USC faculty. It's titled "A Mathematical Offering," in 10 very short movements.

Sunday, January 30, Richland Co. Public Library: This show is for the wee ones in your family...Opera for Kids, operated by FBN Productions, under the leadership of Ellen Douglas Schlaefer (Opera at USC's director for several years now) has been bringing live opera into classrooms all over this state and into neighboring ones as well, for quite a few years now. Often they present a well-known children's tale using famous opera music adapted for the purpose; last year they did a Pinocchio which delighted our then-2-year-old; this time around it's the Three Little Pigs. Performers are mostly twenty-somethings, enthusiastic aspiring opera artists on the front end of promising careers; if past performances are any indication, grownups will be tickled by the show nearly as much as their giggling offspring. This free show for the general public is at 3 PM in the Bostick Auditorium of the downtown public library on Assembly Street.

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