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Published: Thursday, 3/29/2012

Violinist, cellist join symphony for Brahms


Two rising stars in the string firmament, violinist Karen Gomyo and cellist Christian Poltera, will take their first Toledo bows at Toledo Symphony Classics VII concerts at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle. Principal conductor Stefan Sanderling will be on the podium.

Gomyo and Poltera -- who also happen to be a romantic duo who became engaged last year -- represent the new generation of artists: prodigious early promise with intense traditional training and accomplishment, diverse musical interests, and early strong international reputations.

Gomyo, 29, is Tokyo-born and Montreal-bred, trilingual, and widely praised for her lyrical sound and dramatic performance style. After a preschool start in the Suzuki teaching method -- rote memorization followed by traditional sight-reading -- Gomyo first began performing at the age of 5.

She was recruited by the late, great violin pedagogue Dorothy Delay, who worked with her from age 10 at the Juilliard School in New York. Gomyo says Delay's immersion process introduced her to a new violin concerto every three weeks. Further study at Indiana University and the New England Conservatory of Music brought her diplomas and a budding main stage performance career.

Since appearing in 2007 with the New York Philharmonic, Gomyo has made debuts with major orchestras in the United States and abroad. In 2008 she won the Avery Fisher Career Award and began playing her Stradivarius instrument for benefits to help survivors of the earthquake in Japan.

Swiss cellist Poltera will join Gomyo onstage for the Brahms Double Concerto. Born in Zurich in 1977, the cellist studied in his home town, later moving to Salzburg and Vienna for further instruction. He received the Borletti-Buitoni Award for performance in 2004 and was named a Rising Star by the European Concert Hall Organization in 2006.

Poltera's big break came when, at age 17, he filled in for cellist Yo-Yo Ma in a Zurich concert conducted by David Zinman. His solo U.S. debut was in 2006 with the American Symphony Orchestra.

An avid chamber musician, Poltera has worked with performers Gidon Kremer, Christian Tetzlaff, and Lleif Ove Andsnes, among others, as well as performing with Mitsuko Uchida, and a variety of top string quartet throughout Europe. The cellist records on the BIS label and already has an impressive discography of solo and chamber works.

Also on the program this weekend will be "Voices of Spring" by waltz king Johann Strauss, and Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 1 "Spring."

Tickets are $20-$50 at 419-246-8000 or www.toledosymphony.com. Student rush tickets at $5 are available both nights one hour before the concert.

The final concert of this year's Dorothy MacKenzie Price Piano Series at the University of Toledo will bring Christian Harding to town for a free performance at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall. A public master class is slated for 10 a.m. Saturday in the hall.

Sunday's program will include music by Schumann ("Kreisleriana') and Claude Debussy ("L'Isle Joyeuse"), among other works.

Harding is on the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, where he works with undergraduates and graduate students in piano performance and chamber music.

He is on the Indiana University Summer Piano Academy faculty and maintains a busy international performance career.

The pianist has degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University, where he earned an Artist Diploma.

The weekend receives additional support from the Toledo Piano Teachers Association.

The Bowling Green State University Opera Theater will present Handel's Hercules at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Donnell Theater of the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Admission is free.

Winners of the BGSU Chamber Music Competition will perform in the Toledo Museum of Art's Great Music in the Great Gallery at 3 p.m. Sunday. The performance will be free.

More opportunities to hear the competition winners will come at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Wildwood Preserve Metropark Manor House, a free, public performance.

The Musical Arts Series at Firelands will present the BGSU Collegiate Chorale in concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, at Firelands Presbyterian Church, 2626 East Harbor Rd., Port Clinton.

Director Timothy Cloeter will lead the 33-voice choir, comprisong upperclassmen and graduate students in the BGSU College of Musical Arts. The choir tours regularly in the United States and Canada.

On the program will be sacred works by Byrd and Brahms, opera, madrigals spirituals, and jazz. and from opera chorus to vocal jazz music.

A reception will follow the concert. Tickets are $15 at the door, with free admission for students. WGTE Public Broadcasting and Port Clinton law firm Roth & Bacon are sponsoring the concert.

Monday Musicale will present its monthly performance at 1 p.m. Monday in Epworth United Methodist church, 3077 Valleyview Dr. Performers will be oboist Ed Bloedow, pianists Anne Doerfler and Melanie Bandera, and the Silver Essence Flute Trio. The event is free.

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

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