End of Season Concert - Summit Music Festival

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Donald Isler
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End of Season Concert - Summit Music Festival

Post by Donald Isler » Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:39 pm

End of Season Concert – Summit Music Festival at Manhattanville College
Purchase, New York
August 10th, 2015

Festival Orchestra Concert
Yoram Youngerman, Conductor

Grieg: Suite For Strings, From Holberg’s Times
Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 11, first movement
Aleksandr Bolotin, Piano
Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major, K. 218, first movement
Ihao Cheng, Violin
Beethoven: String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 95, arranged for Orchestra

The Summit Music Festival concluded last night in grand fashion with performances by two string orchestras and two fine young soloists, the presentation of awards and plaques, and much talk of the history, as well as the future of the Festival on this, the 25th anniversary of the Festival. This event took place in the large and elegant Reid Castle before a packed house.

Robert Sherman, of WQXR, introduced the program.

In honor of their leadership for 25 years, plaques were given to Festival founders, pianist and Artistic Director, Efrem Briskin, and cellist and Executive Director, David Krieger. Both said they were touched and grateful, and that they could not imagine that the Festival would expand to its current size, with a large faculty teaching 180 students from over 20 countries.

Much was said about the Summit “family.” Vice Chairman of the Board, Jeffrey Shah, said he was a student the very first summer of the Festival, and became close friends with fellow student, pianist Massimilano Mainolfi, now the Festival’s Program Director.

The 2015 Mary Smart Awards were presented by Ms. Smart, an important benefactor of the Festival. The two soloists who performed at this concert were the winners of last year’s awards.

The two halves of the program were played by two different string orchestras, both led by the very fine conductor, Yoram Youngerman. Ensemble was excellent, and it was impressive that these student groups, in addition to their lessons, and solo and chamber performances, could play the Grieg Holberg Suite and the Beethoven Quartet, in addition to the concerto accompaniments, on this high level with just a few weeks of rehearsal.

Sixteen year old violinist Ihao Cheng played the Mozart Concerto at a brisk speed, and produced a big sound. In the familiar cadenza, written by Brahms’ friend, Joseph Joachim, his control of double stops and fast passagework was impressive.

The first movement of the Chopin Concerto is marked Allegro Maestoso, though in this performance, fourteen year old pianist Aleksandr Bolotin played a bit more “Maestoso” than “Allegro.” But this approach worked well. Bolotin is a solid, elegant player, who produced some lovely shadings. His technique is certainly up to the demands of this difficult work. Among other things, he handled the tricky runs in the development well, and played the return of the second theme in the recapitulation quite beautifully.

This was a fine, and fitting end to a Festival whose international reputation is increasing as it continues to grow in size and quality.

Donald Isler
Donald Isler

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