Friday, January 3, 2014

A Busy January- and a Fruitful December

Phew! My Christmas trip ended yesterday as I was able to fly out of a snowy Manchester, NH airport, connect at a dry and snow-free Philadelphia airport and land at a snowy McGhee-Tyson Field. I had the distinct (?) honor of driving in snow in both New Hampshire and Tennessee in the same day. It was great to see family, play in the snow, and ring in the new year in frigid Portland, Maine with a very good old friend who used to live in Knoxville. Now, of course, it is time to hit the ground running, with a busier-than-ever January offering SEVEN different performances with wildly varied content. 

The first concerts, less than a week away, will be at Remedy Coffee in the Old City next Wednesday and Thursday nights at 7:00. Concertmaster Gabe Lefkowitz and friends will perform an all-French program, with two timeless solo violin works (Chausson’s Poème and Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso) followed by a staple of the piano quartet literature, Fauré’s C-minor piano quartet. Saturday night the KSO will host the music of ABBA as performed by Arrival at the Civic Auditorium.

Our January Masterworks series on January 16 and 17 at the Tennessee Theatre will call to mind New Year’s Waltzin’ Eve in Vienna with guest conductor Sean Newhouse leading us through music by Tchaikovsky (Sleeping Beauty Suite), a Mozart piano concerto (K. 488 in A, with guest pianist Louis Schwizgebel), and a selection of Strauss waltzes and his Overture to Die Fledermaus. That Sunday, the 19th, the FREE concert in Celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Will take place at the Bijou Theatre at 6:00, featuring fine local gospel voices.

Carrying on without a comma, the new Q Series featuring the Woodwind Quintet and the Principal String Quartet will occur at American Piano Gallery in Turkey Creek, on Thursday January 23. The Principal Quartet’s offering will be Schumann’s timeless Piano Quintet, op. 44, with pianist Emi Kagawa. I regret that I don’t at this writing know the Woodwind Quintet’s repertoire, but one of them is going to “send me an owl” with that information. 

Are we done yet? Heck no! On Sunday the 26th at the Bijou, the Chamber Classics series will resume with an all-Mozart show, featuring principal flutist Ebonee Thomas as soloist in Mozart’s Flute Concerto in G. January’s last performance will be a new venture, again in the Old City, as the Principal Quartet will be featured at Boyd’s Jig and Reel in a special event called “Scotch and Strings,” with Gabe Lefkowitz emceeing.


We knew that this season’s Clayton Holiday Concerts were something special, but only when the smoke cleared did we know just how special. A Facebook post by the KSO’s Director of Finance, Mike Greiner, alerted me to the fact that this year’s Claytons were the “highest-selling single-ticket event in the KSO’s history.” I was a little concerned beforehand, since the News-Sentinel write-up for these concerts was not on page 1 of their Living section like usual, but way inside on page 6. My concerns were obviously unfounded. Again, thanks to the community for such wonderful support!

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