Clockwise from top left: Manhattan Chamber Players; Ilya Yakushev; Horszowski Trio; Quartet San Francisco; New Esterhazy Quartet; and
Marin Music Chest Young Artists’ Concert. Photos courtesy Mill Valley Chamber Music Society.
After an almost two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 shutdown, the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society (MVCMS) returns for the 49th season of their annual Chamber Music Concert Series. Under the Artistic Direction of longtime board member and classical music enthusiast Bill Horne, MVCMS is set to present an all-new season of world-renowned musicians in an intimate setting at an affordable ticket price.
“I’m so delighted that we are back with live performances for our 2021-2022 season,” Horne says. “The board and I have been working for over a year to create an incredible season of world-class musicians that we are thrilled to present right here in Marin.” “We have missed our patrons a great deal and we’ve all worked so hard to not only present an exciting season, but most importantly a safe environment for our performers and patrons,” says Board President Jane Rogers.
The series consists of five shows in a season spanning seven months – Sundays, November 14th through May 15th, all at 5pm – and features local and internationally known classical musicians. Each group performs without a conductor, which Horne says makes MVCMS different from other chamber music organizations.
“I think it’s exciting for musicians to play chamber music without a conductor because every musician can interpret the music differently and in their own unique way,” he says. “This shared experience with your fellow musicians is so important and when it all comes together it is simply incredible.”
Here’s the lineup (clockwise from top left in photos above):
Manhattan Chamber Players – Sunday, Nov. 14, 5pm
The New York-based Manhattan Chamber Players , featuring Adam Golka, piano; Emily Daggett Smith, violin; Luke Fleming, viola; Andrea Casarrubios, cello; and Nicholas Cathcart, double bass, share the common aim of performing the greatest works in the chamber repertoire at the highest level. Former students of the Curtis Institute, Juilliard School, Colburn School, New England Conservatory, and Yale School of Music, respectively, they were formed by Founding Artistic Director Fleming. The members of the ensemble have impressive independent careers – as soloists, members of professional string quartets, piano trios, or other chamber groups, and even two world-renowned composers who write music for MCP – but they all share a desire to come together and perform the great chamber repertoire as often as they have the opportunity. Program: Franz Schubert – Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667, “Trout,” and Ralph Vaughan Williams – Piano Quintet in C minor.
Ilya Yakushev – Sunday, Jan. 23, 5pm
Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev, with many awards and honors to his credit, continues to astound and mesmerize audiences at major venues on three continents, with the San Francisco Chronicle reporting that “…the big news was the astonishing tripartite debut of pianist Ilya Yakushev, who single-handedly turned the end of the festival into something unforgettable.” Winner of the 2005 World Piano Competition in Cincinnati, Ohio, Yakushev received his first award at age 12 as a prizewinner of the Young Artists Concerto Competition in his native St. Petersburg. Yakushev attended the Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music in St. Petersburg, and later the Mannes College of Music in New York City. He has performed at some of the world’s most illustrious venues, including Glinka Philharmonic Hall in St. Petersburg, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, and Carnegie Hall in New York. Program: Franz Joseph Haydn – Sonata in D major: Hob: XVI/37; Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonata No 17, op. 31, no. 2 in d minor : “Tempest”; Alexandr Scriabin – Nocturne for the Left Hand, op 9,no 2; Sergei Prokofiev – Piano Sonata No, 7, op. 83.
Horszowski Trio – Sunday, Feb. 27, 5pm
Founded in 2011 and based in New York City, the Horszowski Trio – Jesse Mills, violin, Ole Akahoshi, cello and Rieko Aizawa, piano – has been called “the most compelling American group to come on the scene” by The New Yorker, and has become renowned as one of the pre-eminent piano trio ensembles and a vital force in the international chamber music world. Since their debut performance in New York City in 2011, they have toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, the Far East, and India, traversing the extensive oeuvre of traditional piano trio repertoire and introducing audiences to new music that they have commissioned and premiered. The Trio takes its inspiration from the musicianship, integrity, and humanity of the pre-eminent pianist Mieczysław Horszowski (1892–1993). The concert will focus on ethnic character in piano trios. The performance is produced by the Bay Area Music Consortium, a partnership between three distinct organizations dedicated to presenting the finest in chamber music experiences: Berkeley Chamber Performances, Gold Coast Chamber Players (Lafayette) and MVCMS. Program: Program “Crisis, Creativity, & Culture”; Bedřich Smetana – Piano Trio in G minor, op. 15; Rebecca Clarke – Piano Trio in E-flat minor; Arno Babajanian – Piano Trio in F-sharp minor.
Quartet San Francisco – Sunday, March 27, 5pm
Quartet San Francisco plays standing, not seated, (yes, even the cellist!), and have garnered three Grammy nominations for their brilliant performances in a variety of styles. This three-time Grammy-nominated quartet features Jeremy Cohen and Joseph Christianson on violin, Chad Kaltinger on viola and Andrés Vera on cello. The Washington Post raved about the quartet’s “breezy wit, fine technical finish and a genuine feeling for musical idiom.” Program: Tango concert in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Astor Piazzola, the tango maestro, the program includes his works, other tango composers, and similar Latin-inspired works.
New Esterhazy Quartet – Sunday, April 10, 5pm
Founded in 2006 and voted “Best Chamber Ensemble” in 2014/15 by SF Classical Voice, New Esterhazy specializes in the ground-breaking quartets of Franz Josef Haydn. They play on period instruments to reproduce the original unique sound Haydn intended. These four Bay Area musicians – Lisa Weiss and Kati Kyme on violin, Anthony Martinon viola and Willaim Skeen on violoncello – have enjoyed decades of friendship and shared experience. Their history as both colleagues and friends endows the quartet with an unusual commonality of musical language and gesture and provides a strong foundation for a unique and original ensemble voice. The program will illustrate Haydn’s invention and development of the string quartet through early, middle and late quartets. Program: String Quartet, op. 9 no. 4 in D minor, Hob. III:22; String Quartet, op. 20 no. 2 in C major, Hob. III:32; String Quartet, op. 76 no. 1 in G major, Hob. III:75.
Marin Music Chest Young Artists’ Concert – Sunday, May 15, 5pm
Subscribers receive a free ticket to the Young Artists’ Concert of the Marin Music Chest with their subscription in an effort to showcase young musicians. The Mill Valley Chamber Music Society, a non-profit, all volunteer organization, was founded in 1973 with the goal of presenting exceptional classical musicians at affordable ticket prices.
All performances are set for Sundays, November 14th through May 15th at 5pm at Mt. Tamalpais United Methodist Church, 410 Sycamore Ave. Tickets are $40 general admission, $105 for three-concert subscription (any 3 concerts), or $145 for the entire season subscription (five concerts). Youths 18 and under are free. Subscribers receive a free ticket to the Young Artists’ Concert of the Marin Music Chest.
GO HERE to buy tickets or email firstname.lastname@example.org. NOTE: MVCMS policy requires ticketholders to wear masks during the entire concert and to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Patrons will be asked for proof of vaccination to enter the church. Unvaccinated adults and unvaccinated children 12 and under will not be admitted at this time. Visit the Covid updates page on the MVCMS website for full details.