** The concert is ON, and will be held regardless of weather conditions -posted 2/1/2016**
Prokofiev: Sonata in C Major for 2 violins, Op. 56
Crusell: Clarinet Quartet
Brahms: Clarinet Quintet in b minor, Op. 115
Christ Church Lutheran has such a strong connection to Finland having been designed by Finnish father and son architects, Eliel and Eero Saarinen. I personally am proud that it is in Minnesota, reminding all about Finnish imagination, design and vision. Christ Church Lutheran not only serves as a church, but also as a beautiful setting for chamber music.
— Osmo Vänskä
About Friends of Christ Lutheran and the renovations
Friends of Christ Church Lutheran is a non-sectarian 501(3c) non-profit organization created in 2008 to ensure the preservation of Christ Lutheran Church, a National Historic Landmark designed by Finnish-American architects Eliel and Eero Saarinen.
Following extensive studies over the past several years, the church’s property and preservation committees, with the advice of professional preservation architects, have identified a number of urgent concerns that need to be addressed within the next five years.
Monies raised from this benefit concert will address several of these needs
The first is the courtyard, the centerpiece of the project as well as the focal point of the church complex. There are two tunnels running below the courtyard that currently leak water and are deteriorating as a result. To fix this, the church will excavate around the tunnels and install waterproof membranes. The courtyard will be restored by repairing and replacing broken concrete, updating the landscaping, and extending the repairs into the entrance plaza toward the sidewalk which will also create an opportunity to introduce a better means of access for persons with mobility issues and for parents with children in strollers.
The church also looks toward improving our stewardship of the environment by installing a high-efficiency boiler and investing in solar panels on the roof on the Education Wing or in a local solar garden.
About the artists
A native of Los Angeles, violinist Steven Copes joined the SPCO as concertmaster in 1998. Copes was co-founder of the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Colorado, and is a member of the Twin Cities chamber group Accordo, now in its seventh season. He has also performed at festivals and concert series such as Boston Chamber Music Society, Bridgehampton, Caramoor, Chamber Music Northwest, La Jolla Summerfest, Mainly Mozart, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, among others. A frequent guest concertmaster, Copes has recorded and toured extensively in Europe and Asia with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and has served as concertmaster with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and the Baltimore Symphony.
Violinist Erin Keefe became concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra in September 2011. A native of Northampton, Massachusetts, Keefe has established a reputation as an artist who combines exhilarating temperament and fierce integrity. She has been awarded many major distinctions, including the Silver Medal in the Carl Nielsen, Sendai (Japan), and Gyeongnam (Korea) International Violin Competitions, resulting in performances in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Among the leading chamber musicians of her generation, Keefe joined the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center as an Artist during the 2010-2011 season; previously, from 2006 to 2009, she had been a member of the Chamber Music Society Two program. She is currently a member of the Twin Cities group Accordo. Keefe earned a master of music degree from the Juilliard School and a bachelor of music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music.
Violist Maiya Papach is the recently named principal viola of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, having been a member of the orchestra since 2008 and serving as acting principal since 2009. She has made solo appearances with the SPCO in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with concertmaster Steven Copes, and as soloist in Benjamin Britten’s Lachrymae. Papach has made frequent national and international appearances as a chamber musician. She has toured extensively in the former Soviet Union with the Da Capo Chamber Players, across North America with Musicians from Marlboro, and has made appearances at Prussia Cove (UK), the Boston Chamber Music Society, the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, the Chattanooga Chamber Music Festival, and Chamber Music Quad Cities. She’s a member of the Twin Cities musical group Accordo, and was a 2013 recipient of the McKnight Fellowship of Performing Musicians.
Cellist Anthony Ross joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 1988, and became the orchestra’s principal cellist in 1991. He’s soloed many times with the Minnesota Orchestra, performing concertos by Robert Schumann, Antonin Dvorak, Victor Herbert, Beethoven and many others. An active chamber musician, he’s performed with his fellow Minnesota Orchestra members in the Chamber Music at MacPhail series, and in Orchestra Hall’s Target Atrium. In the Twin Cities, he is a member of Accordo and the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota. A person of many facets and talents, Mr. Ross engages with equal passion when he teaches young cellists. He has taught at many prestigious schools and festivals, including Eastman School of Music, Aspen and Grand Tetons Music Festivals, as well as Interlochen and Madeline Island Music Camps. Together with his wife Beth Rapier, the Minnesota Orchestra’s assistant principal cello, Ross produces the annual “Harmony for Habitats” benefit concert at St. John’s Episcopal Church in south Minneapolis.
Maestro Osmo Vänskä has led the Minnesota Orchestra since 2003. Under his baton the orchestra has drawn rave reviews for appearances in the US and Europe. Earlier this year, he led the Minnesota Orchestra on a tour of Cuba – the first major symphony orchestra to appear in that country since President Obama moved to normalize relations. He led the orchestra in acclaimed recordings including all of the Beethoven Symphonies. The Minnesota Orchestra’s recording of Sibelius’ 1st and 4th Symphonies won the 2014 Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance. Vänskä began his career as a clarinetist and played as principal chair the Turku Philharmonic and until 1982 as co-principal chair in the Helsinki Philharmonic. In 2005 he again picked up his clarinet and since then performed in chamber ensembles at Orchestra Hall and at music festivals around the country.
About the program
Sergei Prokofiev’s Sonata in C Major for two violins, Opus 56
Steven Copes and Erin Keefe, violins
Composed by a Russian composer known for his grand scale works for the ballet, screen, and orchestral performances, Sergei Prokofiev took time in 1932 to write a little 14 minute piece for two violins. This four movement work interweaves the sounds of two solo instruments in ways that will astound you. And you’ll have the pleasure of hearing a performance by two virtuoso concertmasters- Copes from the SPCO and Keefe from the MnOrch.
Bernhard Crusell’s Clarinet Quartet
Osmo Vänskä, clarinet; Steven Copes, violin; Maiya Papach, viola; Anthony Ross, cello
Bernhard Crusell was born in Finland in 1775. Although he spent most of the rest of his life in Sweden, he always considered himself a Finn. He studied clarinet in Stockholm, and was well known as a clarinet soloist. Crusell was also a skillful composer, and wrote numerous chamber works and concerti for performance by himself or his friends and colleagues. Clarinet quartets- scored for clarinet and string trio- were popular in the early 19th century, and these pieces reflect the influence of Mozart, and the advancing Romantic era.
Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet in b minor, Opus 115
Osmo Vänskä, clarinet; Steven Copes, violin; Erin Keefe, violin; Maiya Papach, viola; Anthony Ross, cello
At the age of 57, Johannes Brahms decided to end his long and fruitful career as a composer in 1890. Then he heard Richard Muhlfeld, a clarinetist with the Meiningen orchestra. Brahms declared Muhlfeld the greatest woodwind player he had ever heard, and then spent the summer of 1891 writing chamber music for him. Filled with warm and luscious Brahmsian melodies and harmonies this four movement work will hold you spellbound.