Here are some of my favorite things:
- Chamber music
- Female composers
- the Minnesota Orchestra
- Minnesota history
- the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of St. Paul
- Post-concert refreshments
Lucky for me, all of those passions are combining in a single project this season. The Hill House Chamber Players are devoting their 2016/2017 season to spotlighting works by women, and they invited me to give a pre-concert talk before every show.
The Hill House Chamber Players consist of some of the area’s most talented musicians, including some Minnesota Orchestra players. Together they perform in the James J. Hill House gallery, which used to be lined with art now at Mia. (I once heard a rumor that Jules Breton’s painting The Song of the Lark – which Willa Cather featured in her novel by the same name – hung in the Hill House gallery for a while, but I’ve never been able to prove or disprove that…) It’s a very cozy and intimate venue, and I’m really looking forward to chatting with audiences there.
Here’s the schedule:
October 10 & 17, 2016
- Amy Beach: Quintet for Piano and Strings in F-sharp minor, Op 67
- Judith Lang Zaimont: Calendar Collection for Solo Piano (excerpts)
- Robert Schumann: Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Opus 44
March 6 & 13, 2017
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, K.493
- Rebecca Clarke: Viola Sonata
- Clara Wieck Schumann: Piano Trio in G minor, Op 17
May 1 & 8, 2017
- Lili Boulanger: Two Morceaux: Nocturne and Cortege
- Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel: Piano Trio in D minor, Op 11
- Gabriel Faure: Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op 15
I want to thank the HHCP for having the guts to commit so wholeheartedly to their theme. When was the last time you heard of a chamber music series season that consists of two-thirds female composers?
It’s a little early to know for sure, but it feels like works by women are gaining ground locally this year. Not only are the HHCPs committing wholeheartedly, but The Musical Offering is presenting works by Elsa Barraine and Lili Boulanger as part of their broader 2016/2017 theme of “Emigrés and Mentors.” If you have more examples of recent or upcoming local concerts featuring the work of women, please post in the comments!
I’m optimistic that one of these decades, works by women might even show up in a meaningful way at a big-budget organization like the Minnesota Orchestra. But until they do, support your local chamber music scene. Inevitably, chamber music is where innovation starts.
I look forward to seeing you guys at the Hill House!