July 30, 2012. Summer is upon us, and with it, all kinds of festivals and special programs. One of them is the Steans Institute, Ravinia Festival’s music conservatory. The Steans brings young talented musicians from all over the world to study and perform. This year’s program for piano and string has just finished, and the vocal program will follow (the Steans has an interesting jazz program as well). The Piano and Strings program featured master classes with such musicians as Menahem Pressler (piano), Gary Hoffman (cello), Ida Kavafian (violin), and the pianist and conductor Christoph Eschenbach. Also on the faculty were the pianists Leon Fleisher, Gilbert Kalish and John O’Conor; Ralph Kirshbaum and Lawrence Lesser taught the cello.
The students gave twelve concerts, and those were programmed to present both solo and chamber playing. All kind of music could be heard, from J.S. Bach to György Kurtág. And as is the tradition at the Steans, some teachers participated in music making alongside the students. We hope to bring to you this year’s concerts in the near future.
While we’re waiting for the audio files to be processed, we can offer you some recordings from the previous seasons. We start with last season. The English pianist Sam Armstrong plays Capriccio in b minor, from Eight piano pieces, Op. 76 by Johannes Brahms (here). We’ll follow with recording from 2008, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Trio No. 5 in D Major "Ghost" for violin, cello and piano Op. 70, No. 1 (here). It’s performed by Sean Lee, violin, the cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan, and David Kaplan, piano. Narek went on to win the prestigious Tchaikovsky competition in 2011. We’ll follow with Antonin Dvořák’s Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81, from the 2007 season. It’s performed by the violinists Tessa Lark (the 2012 Naumburg winner) and Yoon-Jung Yang, Yiyin Li, viola, Sébastien Gingras, cello, and Helen Huang, piano (here). And finally,, you can listen to Felix Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings in E-flat Major, Op. 20 (also from the 2007 season, here). The performers are: Robin Scott, violin, Tessa Lark, violin, David McCarroll, violin, Miriam Fried, violin (she was teaching that year at the Steans), Yoonji Kang, viola, Yura Lee, viola, Blaise Déjardin, cello, Michael Nicolas, cello. Enjoy!
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