Weymouth Concert Honors Lena Brillhart
The internationally acclaimed Ciompi Quartet of Duke University will return to Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities Sunday, March 6, at 3 p.m. in the Great Room in a special concert to honor Lena Stewart Brillhart, one of the principal founders of the concerts in the early 1980s.
Works to be performed are Mozart's "String Quartet in B-flat," "Mozart Inland Ocean for String Quartet and Electro-Acoustic Sound" by John Supko, and Brahms' "String Quartet in a minor, Op. 51, No. 2."
The Ciompi Quartet was founded at Duke University in 1965 by the renowned Italian violinist Giorgio Ciompi. All its members are professors at Duke University and play a leading role in its cultural life, in addition to traveling widely throughout the year for performances.
In a career that includes hundreds of concerts and spans five continents, the Ciompi Quartet has developed a reputation for performances of real intelligence and musical sophistication, and for a warm, unified sound that is enhanced by each player's strong individual voice.
Eric Pritchard, who joined the Ciompi Quartet in 1995, was formerly the first violinist of the Alexander and Oxford Quartets. Pritchard has taught at Miami University, San Francisco State University, City University of New York and the North Carolina School of the Arts.
He was winner of the National Federation of Music Clubs Award in violin as well as the first prize winner at the Portsmouth (England) International String Quartet Competition and the Coleman and Fischoff national chamber music competitions. He has performed widely as a recitalist and as soloist with the Boston Pops and orchestras in Europe and South America.
His major teachers were Eric Rosenblith, Josef Gingold, Ivan Galamian and Isadore Tinkleman, and he holds degrees from Indiana University and the Juilliard School.
Hsiao-mei Ku has won merit as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher in the U.S. and her native China. She performed widely in China, where she gave her first live performance on national TV when she was 11 years old, and later won the Government Award of Best Performance. At Indiana University, she received her master's degree in music with distinction, and was awarded the Performer's Certificate by the School of Music, where she studied and worked with Franco Gulli, Rostislav Dubinsky, Gary Hoffman and Janos Starker.
Formerly associate concertmaster of the North Carolina Symphony, Ku joined the Ciompi Quartet in 1990. She is in demand as a teacher on two continents, serving on the faculty at Duke University and Guangzhou Xinghai Conservatory. She is a founding member of the Chirusca Trio; has taught master classes and appeared as a soloist with Eastern Music Festival; and has collaborated with pianist Ann Schein and cellist Steve Kates.
As a solo violist, Jonathan Bagg has an interest in bringing new and unfamiliar works to life. Solo appearances include the Phillips Gallery in Washington, D.C., Boston's Jordan Hall, and Manchester, N.H., Currier Gallery. Bagg has recorded the solo music for viola and piano by Robert Fuchs, and music for viola and piano by Robert and Clara Schumann, with pianist Jane Hawkins, on the Centaur label. Recordings of contemporary solo works by Arthur Levering, Malcolm Peyton and Donald Wheelock are on Bridge, Centaur and Gasparo.
In 2007 Bagg became an artistic director of the Monadnock Music Festival in New Hampshire. He directs the chamber music program at Duke University, where he served as director of undergraduate studies for seven years. He graduated with honors from both Yale University and the New England Conservatory, where he was a student of Walter Trampler.
In addition to his work with the Ciompi Quartet, Fred Raimi especially enjoys the opportunity to perform with his wife, Jane Hawkins. Hawkins has performed often with the Ciompi Quartet and its members, going back to recitals with Giorgio Ciompi in the 1970s.
Raimi began his studies as a youth in Detroit at Cass Technical High School. This season he and Jane Hawkins will join forces with an old Detroit friend, Richard Luby, for a concert of Beethoven and Brahms trios for the Mallarme Chamber Players.
Raimi joined the Duke faculty and the Ciompi Quartet in 1974, after graduating from the Juilliard School and receiving a master's degree from the State University of New York atBinghamton, where he performed as a member of the Amici Quartet.
Among his marks of distinction, Raimi has won the International Cello Competition in Portugal and was a participant in Pablo Casals' final master class. His instrument was made by Vincenzo Ruggieri in Cremona, Italy, in 1691.
This year the quartet tours in Germany and Austria as well as in the U.S. The Ciompi Quartet has appeared regularly at venues such as New York's Merkin and Weill Halls, Boston's Jordan Hall, and the National and Phillips Galleries in Washington, D.C. In the summer the quartet performs at Monadnock Music in New Hampshire, with recent appearances at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Michigan, North Carolina's Eastern Music Festival and Highlands Chamber Music Festival.
This concert will recognize Lena Stewart Brillhart, first chair of the Weymouth Music Committee, for her fine efforts in guiding the music programs during Weymouth's important formative years. As a graduate in music from Flora MacDonald Presbyterian College, native of Moore County and a friend of Katharine Boyd's, Brillhart's influence and high standards have influenced the concerts over the years.
The concerts have grown to include artists outside the state as Weymouth's reputation as an arts and humanities center has grown.
This concert is being sponsored in part by an anonymous donor and Ralph and Vivian Jacobson.
Admission for this concert is $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers. The money will be used to support great music programming at Weymouth while maintaining admission as membership benefits as much as possible.
The music committee is served by Patricia Dawes, Lyall Dawes, Ralph Jacobson, Jeffrey Mims, Sondra Nelson and Elaine Sills, chair.
Reservations are advised due to limited seating. Call (910) 692-6261 for additional information.
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