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Schubert on the Bluff: Year Two

Guest Composer: Aaron Copland

CONCERT VII (Sat. 12/3/16) is SOLD OUT!

Duquesne University presents "Schubert on the Bluff", a three-year concert series featuring works of Franz Schubert, the great Viennese composer of some of the most purely beautiful music ever written. Initially famous in his brief lifetime for his over 600 songs, Schubert made enormously valuable contributions to the chamber music literature, masterpieces full of passionate melodies and rich harmonies. Each season will include many of these beloved chamber works, along with piano solos and duets. In addition, each season will feature a guest composer, whose music will be part of each program. Pre-concert conversations will bring personal insights from the artists to help prepare the audience for that afternoon's performance. Reserved seating will be available, so book your tickets early!

The second season of Schubert on the Bluff welcomes guest composer Aaron Copland, one of the most popular American classical composers. The season will include favorite Schubert works such as the String Quintet in C Major, the Arpeggione Sonata (on viola this season), the "little" Piano Sonata in A Major, Auf dem Strom with soprano and French horn, and several works for piano duet and violin/piano duo. Copland will be represented by the original chamber version of Appalachian Spring, the Duo for flute and piano, Old American Songs, Piano Variations, Danzon Cubano and the Sonata for Violin and Piano. Once again, members of the Mary Pappert School of Music faculty will be joined by members of the Pittsburgh Symphony, and guest artists violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley (Berlin Philharmonic) and pianist Cynthia Raim (Music from Marlboro).

Concert V

Appalachian Spring

Sunday, September 11, 2016
PNC Recital Hall, 3:00 p.m.

2:30 p.m. Pre-concert
Dr. Edward Kocher, William Patrick Power, C.S.Sp., Endowed Chair in Academic Leadership, will make a presentation on the history and background of Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man," culminating in a performance by Duquesne faculty and students.

3:00 p.m. Concert

Copland created the ballet "Appalachian Spring" for the great dancer Martha Graham and it has become one of the most beloved works in all of classical music. Though usually heard in Copland's later symphonic version for full orchestra, the original chamber version played at the premiere (for 13 players) reflects the music's beauty with greater intimacy and the extra personality of one player for each part. Copland's Duo for Flute and Piano was commissioned as a retirement gift by students of Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Flutist William Kincaid; Copland drew on sketches from earlier material to create a work which exploits the pastoral and lyrical qualities of the flute. In this season opener, Schubert is represented by the Arpeggione Sonata, performed by PSO Principal Violist Randolph Kelly, and by a selection of waltzes and German dances which Franz Liszt arranged and called "Soirées de Vienne", played by pianist Natasha Snitkovsky.


Schubert: Sonata in A Minor for Arpeggione and Piano, D. 821
Schubert-Liszt: Soirées de Vienne
Copland: Duo for Flute and Piano
Copland: Appalachian Spring


Marylène Gingras-Roy, viola
Randolph Kelly, viola
Rhian Kenny, flute
Adam Liu, cello
Laura Motchalov, violin
Philip Pandolfi, bassoon
David Premo, cello
Ron Samuels, clarinet
Natasha Snitkovsky, piano
Peter Snitkovsky, violin
Jennifer Anne Steele, flute
Charles Stegeman, violin
Rachel Stegeman, violin
Jeffrey Turner, conductor
Meng Wang, viola
David Allen Wehr, piano
Aaron White, bass

Concert VI

Sublime (String Quintet)

Sunday, October 23, 2016
PNC Recital Hall, 3:00 p.m.

2:30 p.m. Pre-concert
David Allen Wehr visits with cellist Anne Martindale Williams

3:00 p.m. Concert

One of the last works completed before his death, Schubert's String Quintet in C Major, with its unusual instrumentation of two violins, viola, and two cellos, holds an almost mythical place in the repertoire for its sublime intensity and astonishing beauty. Named by many music-lovers and professionals as their favorite piece of chamber music, it is presented here by members of the Mary Pappert School of Music faculty joined by guest Anne Martindale Williams, PSO Principal Cellist. It is preceded by Copland's Old American Songs, performed by several members of Duquesne's voice faculty, and two piano works performed by David Allen Wehr, Schubert "Little" A Major Sonata, known for its charm and melodic freshness and Copland's powerful and imposing Piano Variations, one of the very greatest works written by any American composer.


Copland: Old American Songs
Schubert: Sonata in A Major, D. 664
Copland: Piano Variations
Schubert: String Quintet in C Major, D. 956


Patricia Donohue Burns, mezzo-soprano
Caron Daley, soprano
Marylène Gingras-Roy, viola
Guenko Guechev, bass-baritone
Adam Liu, cello
Xiu-ru Liu, mezzo-soprano
Charles Stegeman, violin
Rachel Stegeman, violin
David Allen Wehr, piano
Anne Martindale Williams, cellos

Concert VII

Violin/Piano I (Brillante)

Saturday, December 3, 2016
PNC Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m

No Pre-concert event

7:30 p.m. Concert

Violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley, Berlin Philharmonic Concertmaster, returns to PNC Recital Hall for this first installment of the complete violin-piano works of Schubert, which will include the spectacular Rondeau brillante, the dark and melancholy Sonata in A Minor and the ebullient Sonata in D Major. Also on the program is Copland's introspective but uplifting Sonata, written in 1944 in memory of a dear friend of the composer's killed in World War II.

This will be Mr. Bendix-Balgley's only Pittsburgh recital this season.


Schubert: Sonata in A Minor, D. 385
Copland: Sonata
Schubert: Sonata in D Major, D. 384
Schubert: Rondeau brillante, D. 895


Noah Bendix-Balgley, violin
David Allen Wehr, piano

Concert VIII

Piano Duet I

Sunday, February 19, 2017
PNC Recital Hall, 3:00 p.m.

2:30 p.m. Pre-concert
David Allen Wehr visits with soprano Sari Gruber.

3:00 p.m. Concert

Schubert wrote an enormous amount of music for piano duet (four hands at one piano), much of it inspired and almost all of it rarely performed. Cynthia Raim and David Allen Wehr continue their exploration of this valuable corner of the repertoire in this program with three works: the symphonic Grand Duo, the graceful Rondo in A Major and the stormy Allegro in A Minor (Life's Torments). They also perform Copland's witty Danzon Cubano for two pianos, and the program is filled out with Schubert's lovely "By the Stream", a song with French horn and piano.


Schubert: Rondo on A Major for Piano Duet, D. 951
Schubert: Lebenssturme (Life's Storms) for Piano Duet, D. 947
Schubert: Auf dem Strom (By the Stream), D. 943
Copland: Danzon Cubano for two pianos
Schubert: Grand Duo in C Major for Piano Duet, D. 812


Benjamin Binder, piano
Sari Gruber, soprano
Cynthia Raim, piano
Zachary Smith, horn
David Allen Wehr, piano