The audience at the July 14 concert of the Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival had a surprise guest. In the front row, listening to Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet op. 44, was Robert Schumann’s great-great-grandson. Robert Personius and his wife, Doris, live in Elmira, and were thrilled to find his ancestor’s music being performed at Norton Chapel, Keuka College. To the delight of the musicians, he brought along Clara Schumann’s watch, engraved “CS”, and a letter she had written to Brahms.
The final concert in this year’s season will be at 7:30 p.m. July 27 at Hunt Country Vineyards. The six string musicians will be playing Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence. Who will surprise them?
Richard Auldon Clark, artistic director for the Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival, has created a final 2019 program to be performed at Hunt Country Vineyards that brings together everyone’s favorite Festival and Manhattan Chamber Orchestra string players.
That took doubling up on violin (Urara Mogi and Blanca Gonzalez), viola (Richard Auldon Clark and Joe Rudin), and cello (Peter Prosser and Ani Kalayjian).
The centerpiece of the program is Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, a love letter to the city and its people that is considered the greatest romantic chamber composition of the 19th century. A rarely heard Serenade by Czech composer Martinu draws on beautiful folk tunes in the way that Dvorak is known to have composed. Finally, Maestro Clark signs off for the season with his Life is Suite.
A special reception at the concert allows everyone present to celebrate the conclusion of an outstanding 17th year and the anticipation of a somewhat new direction in future. The winery is accessible. Tickets are $25 for adults and free for students. To purchase tickets in advance, visit FingerLakes-Music.org Tickets are also available at the door.