beethoven on the bluff

David Allen Wehr, Artistic Director

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Beethoven on the Bluff

Beethoven on the Bluff is a two-year concert series exploring the piano chamber music of one of the greatest classical composers, Ludwig van Beethoven. Over the 2013-2015 span, repertoire planned includes six piano trios (featuring the newly-formed Duquesne Piano Trio), ten sonatas for violin and piano, five sonatas for cello and piano, the Septet, the Ninth Symphony in Liszt's two-piano transcription, the Quintet for Piano and Winds, and the monumental Diabelli Variations for piano solo. The series will be under the artistic direction of David Allen Wehr, holder of the Jack W. Geltz Distinguished Piano Chair at the Mary Pappert School of Music.

Season One: The Early Years

The first season of a two-year concert series presenting the major piano chamber works of Ludwig van Beethoven will focus on music written between 1793-1801, when the composer was in his twenties. These include such popular works as the "Spring" Sonata for violin and piano and the Septet for strings and winds. Four concerts will cover the first five piano trios, the first three sonatas for cello and piano and five sonatas for violin and piano. Performers will include members of the Mary Pappert School of Music faculty and members of the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Concert I - 9/22/13

Concert I: Septet/Piano Trios I

Sunday, September 22, 2013, 3 p.m.

Septet for Strings and Winds, op. 20
Piano Trio, op. 70, no. 1 "Ghost Trio"
Piano Trio, op. 70, no. 2

The season-opener features the Septet, one of Beethoven's most popular works during his lifetime, music filled with tunefulness and youthful enthusiasm. The program opens with the "Ghost" Piano Trio, said to be inspired by the Witches' Scene from "Macbeth", and its companion, the elegant Piano Trio op. 70, no. 2. This concert marks the formal debut of the Duquesne Piano Trio, made up of David Allen Wehr, Charles Stegeman and Adam Liu.

Mary Pappert School of Music Faculty:

The Duquesne Piano Trio:

David Allen Wehr, piano, Jack W. Geltz Distinguished Piano Chair
Charles Stegeman, violin, Concertmaster, Pittsburgh Opera/Ballet Orchestra
Adam Liu, cello, Assistant Principal Cello, PSO

Jeffrey Turner, bass, Principal Bass, PSO
Ron Samuels, clarinet, PSO
Philip Pandolfi, bassoon, PSO
Zachary Smith, horn, Assistant Principal, PSO

Guest Artist:

Randolph Kelly, Principal Viola, PSO
David Premo
, Associate Principal, PSO

Concert II - 10/14/13

Concert II: Piano Trios II

Monday, October 14, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

Three Piano Trios, op. 1

These three piano trios were first performed in 1793, but Beethoven polished them for another two years before officially publishing them as his "Opus One". He had written a great deal of music already, but he wanted to save this important designation for the music he considered the best he had written up to that time. The three trios show a remarkable diversity and depth of emotion and many strokes of genius. The Duquesne Piano Trio will present them as a whole, the way Beethoven originally intended.

Mary Pappert School of Music Faculty:

The Duquesne Piano Trio:

David Allen Wehr, piano
Charles Stegeman, violn
Adam Liu, cello

Concert III - 1/12/14

Concert III: Violin/Cello I

Sunday, January 12, 2014, 3:00 p.m.

Sonata #4 for Violin and Piano, op. 23
Sonata #5 for Violin and Piano, op. 24 "Spring"
Two Sonatas for Cello and Piano, op. 5 (#1 and 2)

Beethoven wrote sonatas as true duos for two star soloists and contain some of his most entertaining and profound writing. The "Spring" Sonata for violin and piano is a perennial favorite because of its lyricism and unforgettable melodies. Beethoven was the first composer to write duo sonatas for cello and piano, and they balance ambition and playfulness in unexpected ways.

Mary Pappert School of Music Faculty:

David Allen Wehr, piano

Guest Artists:

Noah Bendix-Balgley, violin, Concertmaster, PSO
Anne Martindale Williams, cello, Principal Cello, PSO

Concert IV - 2/16/14

Concert IV: Violin/Cello II

Sunday, February 16, 2014, 3:00 p.m.

Three Sonatas for Violin and Piano, op. 30 (#6-8)
Sonata #3 for Cello and Piano, op. 69

The Beethoven duo cycle continues with the beloved 3rd Sonata for cello and piano, one the composer's most spacious and melodically appealing works. The violin sonatas op. 30 were written at a time when Beethoven was facing the personal crisis of his increasing deafness and the professional challenge of breaking out of his extremely successful early music to create a style that was even more dramatic and poetic.

Mary Pappert School of Music Faculty:

David Allen Wehr, piano

Guest Artists:

Noah Bendix-Balgley, violin, Concertmaster, PSO
Anne Martindale Williams, cello, Principal Cello, PSO