For four years, the Missouri Chamber Music Festival has offered a series of chamber music concerts in the month of June at the First Congregational Church of Webster Groves. But for the first time, the festival will conclude with a grand finale at The Sheldon Concert Hall in Grand Center.
The festival is directed by the husband and wife team of St. Louis Symphony Principal Clarinetist Scott Andrews and pianist Nina Ferrigno who is a member of the Calyx Piano Trio. They draw on instrumentalists from organizations such as the Boston Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Dallas Symphony and Arianna String Quartet to present a variety of chamber music in four concerts.
Andrews explained to Cityscape host Steve Potter the role that the Missouri Chamber Music Festival plays in the musical landscape of the region. “We feel that we have weaved very nicely into the fabric of what’s happening. We’re based in Webster where Opera Theatre is happening and our concerts are designed to fit nicely into peoples’ schedule around the opera. Our concert last night was at 5 o’clock. It’s an hour long concert and gives time to enjoy a little chamber music and go on about their plans.” Andrews continued, “And we’re creating some really fantastic chamber music, world class music, because we bring people in from all over the country to collaborate with our local stars and create the kind of concerts that it’s hard to come by other times during the year.”
Ferrigno commented on how she and Andrews select the musicians for the festival. “Chamber music I think at its core and its essence is friendly, so one of the things that Scott and I were really looking forward to with developing the idea of the chamber music festival was being able to play with our friends and colleagues. So a lot of the musicians that come from out of town to come and play with us we have known for years. Amadi Azikiwe who is our incredible violist from New York, we were in school with. And of course my trio mates in the Calyx Piano Trio, Catherine French and Jennifer Lucht, we’ve obviously played together for many years. Then we look forward to being able to bring those people into musical environment residency with the amazing musicians we work with every day here in St. Louis.”
The opening event was a Coffee Concert on Wednesday morning, another first for the festival, which featured music for violin and piano. Thursday afternoon brought “A Light in Sound,” a concert highlighted by Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet and String Quartet.
“Fairy Tale” on Saturday afternoon at 7:00 will feature Ravel’s “Mother Goose” Suite, Schumann’s “Fairy Tales” and Brahms’ Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 60.
The festival concludes Sunday afternoon at 2:00 with the Grand Finale at The Sheldon. On the program is Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet and Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenir de Florence." Ferrigno and Andrews are pleased to move to The Sheldon for this concert. “The intimacy of that hall,” Andrews said, “fits right into what we are trying to present but it gives us a concert experience which I think will have better sight lines for people.” Commenting on the renowned acoustics of the Sheldon he said, “I was just listening to the Shostakovich Piano Quintet rehearsal over there this morning and it just sounds fantastic.”
The Missouri Chamber Music Festival Presents "Fairy Tale"
Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
First Congregational Church of Webster Groves, 10 W. Lockwood Ave.
(314) 882-0053 or Missouri Chamber Music Festival Website
The Missouri Chamber Music Festival Presents "Souvenir at the Sheldon"
Sunday, June 22, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.
Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Blvd.
(314) 533-9900 or Missouri Chamber Music Festival Website