The piano-wind trio promises a good show

There is a tendency to equate chamber music ensembles with the traditional string quartet, allowing for number and piano variations. Strictly a generalization. However, as the Chamber Music Society has shown us over the years, this genre is much more than that.

The upcoming program at the Regional Library Theater on October 18 is part of that, and in a big way. The Poulenc Trio arrives on stage and what a treat for all those who support this very popular series.

Formed in 2003, the group consists of an oboe, a bassoon and a piano, allowing wonderfully colorful sounds shaped on old works worked for the instruments as well as on new works, including around thirty commissioned for this band.

Individually, the members are highly talented musicians as soloists, chamber musicians and symphonic members – all with stellar national and international credentials. They are oboist Alexander Vvedenskiy, bassoonist Bryan Young and pianist Irina Kaplan Lande.

What is exciting and anticipatory in this combination is to hear two

frighteningly difficult wind instruments to play. Double reeds are really hard and really delicate are the most difficult wind instruments to tame.

The challenge for oboists and bassoonists is to make the air vibrate between two thin reeds. It’s not easy, and there’s no certainty that it will sound pretty. With certainty, these Trio reed players have a stellar reputation and are admired and acclaimed for their tremendous sound, mastery and musical acumen of the highest order.

The ensemble is considered the best-known American trio that has “rediscovered and redefined piano-wind chamber music for the 21st century”. In addition to the Poulencs’ efforts to expand the repertoire of these instruments through numerous commissions, they are committed to exploring and promoting music that reflects their individual African, Asian, Eastern European and Jewish roots.

The program should feature Schnittke “Suite in the Old Style”, Vasquez “Triptych”, Grant Still “Vignettes”, Previn “Jaunty” and Rossini “Fantaisie Concertante on themes from ‘Semiramide'”, the latter a total delight.

Praised for grace, lightness, elegance, polish and personality, this set should be a happy listening experience. The program starts at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit or email [email protected]

On October 20, the WSO performs its second program of the season, “Glory and Grandeur,” at the Williamsburg Community Chapel with a focus on guest artist, Rex Richardson, in Trumpet Concerto in A-flat Major from Alexander Arutiunian, of Armenian origin. (Note: This is a change from the previously announced work.) Richardson is considered one of the nation’s finest virtuoso trumpeters and acclaimed for his fluency between classical and jazz genres. He is Professor of Trumpet and Jazz Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, and was also an International Trumpet Tutor at England’s Royal Northern College of Music.

The Arutiunian is essentially new to our ears but, for trumpeters, it’s an important piece that apparently every great one plays live – for auditions or competitions. Written in 1950, it remains a virtuoso masterpiece, “an energetic powerhouse of Eastern European lyricism and rich harmonic textures…inspired by Armenian folk songs, spirit and rhythms.”

The program opens with Wagner’s “Prelude to ‘Die Meistersinger'” and continues with Tchaikovsky’s majestic and dancing “Polonaise from ‘Eugene Onegin'”. being called the “Ukrainian” due to the influence of Ukrainian folk songs. All in all, a fine program offering abundant listening dividends.

Michael Butterman directs. A pre-concert talk takes place at 6:30 p.m. followed by a 7:30 p.m. start.

On October 21, the VSO takes the stage at the Ferguson Center for its “Power and Promise” program, featuring soprano Katherine Jolly and principal guest conductor Thomas Wilkins, always a joy to see on the podium.

Jolly is an accomplished young opera singer who has toured with many prominent companies across the country, including several varying associations with the Metropolitan Opera. She was praised for her brilliant lyricism. In this event, she will be featured in Previn’s “Honey and Rue,” with poetry by Toni Morrison. Originally, Kathleen Battle read the poetry and commissioned Morrison and Previn to create a song cycle.

The concert opens with Berlioz’s “Roman Carnival”, a truly breathtaking piece. It ends with another wow, Nielsen’s thrilling Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable”. This is a big piece that has a sense of urgency throughout – one that keeps on giving and giving.

Start time is 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit or call 757-892-6366.

The Williamsburg Presbyterian Church’s Open Door Concert Series will feature Invoke in its next program on October 16 at 4 p.m. Austin-based Invoke defies definition, incorporating genres from across the country, including bluegrass, Appalachian fiddle tunes, jazz and minimalism. The quartet of violin, mandolin, cello and banjo offers a wide variety of sounds, from high-pitched foot tapping to reflective or introspective sound. Expect an entertaining affair. For information, visit or call 757-229-4235.

The Orchesis Modern Dance Co. will perform “Dancevent” October 27-30 at the Kimball Theater. It will feature original choreography from the dance faculty, Orchesis students and guest artists. These are always interesting events, showcasing the dance talent that takes place at the university. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available at the Kimball box office or online at

Do you have information on the arts in the Historical Triangle? Contact John Shulson at [email protected].

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