Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Blade Chamber Series finale features brass quintet


The Toledo Symphony Brass Quintet -- from left, David Saltzman, Dan Harris, Lauraine Carpenter, Mel Harsh, and Alan Taplin -- will perform Sunday at the last concert of the season in the Blade Chamber Series.


The Toledo premiere of an amusing French work for brass quintet will kick off Sunday's Toledo Symphony Blade Chamber Series concert at 7 p.m. in the Toledo Club. It's the fourth and final concert of this popular series for the season.

"Chansonnerie," which is a play on the French word for song, by composer Georges Barboteu (1924-2006) is chock-a-block with traditional folk songs and tunes from France, the adopted homeland of the composer.

It's almost a sing-along, except the Toledo Symphony Brass Quintet -- Lauraine Carpenter and Mel Harsh, trumpets; Alan Taplin, horn; Dan Harris, trombone, and David Saltzman, tuba -- won't need any help as they perform this charming work.

After the Barboteu will be a quartet for bassoon and strings by Francois Devienne (1759-1803), another French composer known for amusing chamber music.

Associate principal bassoonist Joan Weiler will play the solo part with accompaniment by string players Merwin Siu, Valentine Ragusitu, and Amy Chang.

The concert offers one of the most wind-instrument-centric music of the season. (Sort of like last weekend's Classics concerts: is it windy March that inspires these programs?)

Closing the first half of the program will be Reinecke's Trio for Oboe, Horn, and Piano, a four-movement work performed by oboist Michele Smith, hornist Emily Price Dietz, and pianist Rachel Zeithamel. (It will be lovely to hear Smith; she has been subbing with the Cleveland Orchestra this season.)

The grand finale of the evening will be the Shostakovich Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor, a major dramatic piece written during World War II by the Russian composer. Siu will return to play, joined by cellist Damon Coleman and pianist Michael Boyd.

Tickets are $30-$35 at 419-246-8000 or

Volunteers for the symphony's first Pro-Am Concert, set for April 20, are lining up to perform with symphony musicians and music director Stefan Sanderling in the Peristyle. Open to all amateurs, the inaugural event will be a sort of side-by-side production for the community. No audition is necessary. A $10 administrative fee is required. For more information, contact the symphony at 419-246-8000 or and start practicing.

University of Michigan organ professor James Kibbie will offer an early 327th birthday greeting to Johann Sebastian Bach (born March 21, 1685) with an all-Bach recital at 4 p.m. Sunday in St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 313 Evans St., Tecumseh, Mich.

Joining Kibbie will be students Andrew Lang, Richard Newman, and Stephanie Yu, playing the 1963 Beckerath tracker organ (a tracker is an organ with a strictly mechanical operating system). The program is free.

Silent film buffs who prefer live organ accompaniment will want to mark calendars for 6:30 p.m. March 16, when organist Scott F. Foppiano will provide music for the 1925 epic, Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ, at Angelica Lutheran Church, 8400 Park Ave., Allen Park, Mich.

Foppiano is a Detroit-area church musician who also has established a strong reputation as a theater organist. He was named Organist of the Year in 2007 by the American Theatre Organ Society. His performance on March 16 will be an improvisation in the style of 1920s music.

The instrument started its life as a Casavant Freres in 1952, but has received renovations and expansions by the Renaissance Pipe Organ Co. of Ann Arbor. Today, it comprises 2,014 pipes organized into 32 ranks. The church is close to exit 204 on I-94 and exits 37 and 41 on I-75. The event is free.

Ellen Kent, former soloist with the Cincinnati Ballet, will be in Holland for master classes at Ballet Theatre of Toledo in mid-March. Founder-artistic director Nigel Burgoine says the likely date is March 18. Kent will work with intermediate and advanced ballet students. For more information, contact Ballet Theatre of Toledo at 419-861-0895.

As a new step in its ongoing reorganization and repositioning, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has announced that 24-year-old conductor, composer, performer Teddy Abrams will join its staff as assistant conductor, effective in September.

Abrams, a clarinetist, is resident conductor for the MAV Orchestra in Budapest, but will relocate to Detroit. As assistant to Detroit Symphony music director Leonard Slatkin, Abrams will shepherd educational projects and events, pops concerts, and neighborhood performances. He'll also serve as part of the artistic planning team led by Slatkin.

Items for News of Music should be sent to at least two weeks ahead of the event.

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