Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Artistic Directors' Message

"OUR 2015-2016 SEASON"


Hello, dear enthusiasts of fine music. We have a new season of masterpieces and great players to get excited about. If you've been to these concerts, you know what comes across in energy, narrative and dialogue. This season, we'll catch the rich cultural, intellectual and emotional expression of a half dozen cultures spanning the zeitgeist of the 18th century fin de siecle, to a new creation by Montreal's Tim Brady. What a wonderful time we live in, that such privileges can be imported to us like exotic fruit.

We begin on Oct 18th with sextets - two violins, two violas, two cellos - a violist and a cellist more than the string quartet. Great composers such as Brahms and Tchaikovsky wrote great works for this rich-textured yet agile genre, but these attributes also enable us to bring you a fascinating novelty: Beethoven's sixth symphony, co-arranged by Beethoven himself for sextet. It would seem, the only publication is two centuries old and I cannot say it has seen a professional performance in Canada.

On November 15th, the three Russians of the Hermitage Piano Trio bring us music of the home country with intuitive authenticity. It must be pointed out that the trio's cellist, Sergey Antonov, won the gold medal at the last Tchaikovsky Competition -the most prestigious and grueling test of instrumental sovereignty there is.

On February 7th, the very popular New Orford Quartet returns to us. They will play a hair raising new Canadian piece, and I will join to bring you the exquisite Brahms Op.88 quintet.

The expressive Ariel Quartet, fostered by Itzhak Perlman after immigrating from Israel, brings us a significant cross-cultural sampling from the dawn of modernity.

Finally, it took me years to succeed at booking the especially booked-up Pacifica Quartet. Based out of Bloomington, Indiana, they spend much of their time on tour. The Beethoven cycle is on their menu this season but I will never present the whole cycle as it would take up the whole season, or run across many seasons if done by them. They have, however, agreed to my request of a Beethoven cycle digest, as I am calling it; One work from each of his three compositional periods, finishing as I promised last year, with the unforgettable Op.131.

I look forward to seeing you at the concerts.

Michael Schulte


Director 2


Welcome to another season of great music and great players brought to our city from the world over.  This year we'll experience the sounds of ensembles from the reach of more continents than ever.  

It begins on October 2nd with the Chiara String Quartet. Based in Nebraska, its players hail from diverse parts of the world and found each other at Juilliard.  This is one of the world's very few string quartets that plays entirely from memory, or 'by heart' as they like to put it.  It's a substantial commitment, and a risky one but they feel musically liberated by it.  

Sunday November 13th brings us the New Zealand Quartet.  Never has a string quartet been based farther away (>14000 kilometers).  They will proudly present music of their home country as well as the ardent Grieg G minor quartet we don't often get to hear.  Also, the very effective yet not commonly heard Op.71, No.2 quartet from Haydn's tremendous output.

Speaking of rare treats, on February 12th, this season's Special Feature aggregates the string quartet with the singing voice. It's dynamite.  The lyrical capability, intimate nature and expressive flexibility makes this form a dark horse. Great Canadian soprano Carla Huhtanen and "standout" baritone, Stephen Hegedus, as international press most often calls him, join illustrious Canadian string players Aaron Schwebel, Keith Hamm and Paul Pulford along with me to bring you the masterworks for this form, as well as famous gems in this superior combination.        

On March 5th, the Trio Con Brio Copenhagen graces our stage, having descended upon us from Denmark the night before.  Some of you will remember their popular concert of seven years ago; the first and last visit of theirs I managed to arrange.  They will also bring something of their culture; a piece dedicated to them, which they will follow by two great classics of the nineteenth century.

On April 16th, we get to enjoy the Quatuor Danel from Belgium. Easter Sunday of this year was the only time I could have them. Experts of Russian music, they recorded the entire fifteen-quartet Shostakovich cycle and will play the hair-raising third one, along with a cross section of vignettes from that country's 19th century, Soviet and contemporary eras. Try not to miss this.

Michael Schulte

Copyright 2017 by Chamber Music Hamilton