Monday, May 14, 2012

Final Cello Fellowship Recital (5/15) for MSO's Resident Torchbearer

Laura Usiskin, who holds the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra's cello fellowship, will give her final recital starting at 7:30 Tuesday night (5/15) in the Wilson Auditorium at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. I will be coaching my son's final soccer game, or else this is one for which I would have made the trip. Below is a recording made at a recent lunch-music performance with pianist Jeremy Samolesky at the museum.

III. Allegro - Brahms Cello Sonata No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 38

For me, Laura is the first of I hope many MSO fellows that I will hear and get to know. She has made the trip over to our community several times to perform and instruct, and we are better for it. She has a spirit that infects those around her, me at least, to dig in and make some real music. And she founded the Montgomery Music Project which has the potential to carry this spinning intention forward indefinitely after she's moved on.

She also happens to play the cello richly well, approaching the instrument both with what seems sometimes to be the fierceness of a jealous love while making music like the perfect skip of a rock across a pond. There's truth in there somewhere for me even if it sounds a little silly.

I love the diversity of the recital program for Tuesday. Cello music will include a Britten sonata and a piece called Elfentanz by David Popper (1843-1913). She'll open with a viola da gamba sonata by Bach, for whose period she has a particular penchant--it will be authentically Baroque--and will world-premier a new work by Matthew Scott Phillips (b. 1977). Filling in the spaces will be two of three Robert Schumann Oboe Romances and a song by Strauss that will feature her newly fiancéed trombonist Jason Robins playing a French horn part.

I am grateful to Maestro Hinds and the staff and board of the Montgomery Symphony for doing the endless fundraising and administration it takes to keep all of its far-reaching outreach programs up and running (give them some money). Specifically at this moment I am grateful to them for choosing Laura and for giving her a place to hang her lamp. Godspeed, Laura.

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