In The Press

Praise for the Taos Chamber Music Group!

"One of the great treasures of Taos" -The Taos News
"Big magic...silken ensemble playing"
-Albuquerque Journal
“A remarkable concert of juxtaposed styles”
-Horse Fly
“Depth, vitality and inventiveness”
-Spencer Beckwith, KUNM
Taos Chamber Music Group presents a Russian Music Weekend, December 13, 14 & 15 at the Harwood Museum of Art!

The Taos Chamber Music Group celebrates the holidays with a weekend of Russian music at the Harwood Museum of Art on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, December 13 through 15. All performances are at 5:30 and feature virtuoso Russian pianist Gleb Ivanov, beginning with a solo recital of Prokofiev “Piano Sonatas” on Friday, December 13. On Saturday and Sunday, December 14 and 15, he joins TCMG members, LP How , violin, Sally Guenther, cello, Nancy Laupheimer, flute, and Samantha Brenner, bassoon, for chamber music by Alexander Borodin (“Piano Trio in D Major”), Mikhail Glinka (“Trio pathétique in D minor”) and Anton Arensky (“Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor”). This program is titled “Return to Russia” as the group has done Russian music before with Ianvov who will be in Taos for his eighth year with TCMG.

Called “a young super-virtuoso with musical sensitivity and an appreciation of style to go with the thunder and lightning” by the New York Times, Ivanov came to the US from Moscow after winning the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 2005. He was presented at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, as well as Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. He has been the recipient of numerous other awards and has traveled extensively as a recital and concerto soloist. As a protégé of Mstislav Rostropovich, Ivanov played under the maestro with the Nizhny Novgorod Philharmonic, and also performed as soloist with the Moscow State Orchestra, the Kremlin Orchestra, and at the Pushkin, Glinka, and Scriabin Museums in Moscow. He also First Prizes at the 1994 and 1996 International “Classical Legacy” Competition and at the First Vladimir Horowitz Competition in Kiev.

Most recently Ivanov has performed the herculean feat of playing all of Sergei Prokofiev’s piano sonatas (there are nine) in consecutive weekends at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and at Bargemusic in New York City. TCMG Director, Nancy Laupheimer, thought “it would be a wonderful and rare opportunity for audiences in New Mexico to hear such a program. The intensity of Prokofiev’s music combined with Ivanov’s prodigious talent will make for an incredibly powerful live performance.”

Ivanov has chosen the first three of Prokofiev’s piano sonatas, which are imbued with brilliance (and even a particular Russian fairy-tale quality in the second) for the first half of the program. The eighth sonata, one of Prokofiev’s “War Sonatas,” will be on the second half. Its mood and style shift dramatically, at times underlining the chaos of World War II, but returning to a pronounced Romanticism and optimistic vision for the future that may have been informed by his affair with Mira Abramovna Mendelson, whom he would leave his wife to marry.

The chamber music on Saturday and Sunday is by older nineteenth century Russian composers, bringing attention to less performed gems of the repertoire. Alexander Borodin, best known for orchestral music such as the evocative “Steppes of Central Asia,” was an accomplished research scientist and lecturer by profession, composing on the side even though he was considered one of Russia’s greatest natural talents. Perhaps demands for time were why his youthful “Piano Trio in D Major” went unfinished. It was his first composition effort, beginning in 1850 and not completed until 1860 when he was on a scientific and cultural tour of Western Europe. The first three movements follow a Classical format, but the Trio lacks a finale.

Another gem is Glinka’s “Trio pathétique,” in which bassoonist Samantha Brenner makes her TCMG debut. Before moving to Taos recently, Brenner was principal bassoonist of the Mexico City Philharmonic and Mineria Symphony Orchestra. This past year she was acting principal bassoonist with the Auckland Philharmonic in New Zealand, a position she held previously with the National Philharmonic in the Washington D.C. area. While there Brenner performed with several groups including the Baltimore Symphony, Alexandria Symphony and Fairfax Symphony. Since moving to New Mexico, she has played with the New Mexico Philharmonic, Chatter, Colorado Springs Philharmonic and Las Cruces Symphony.

Glinka’s “Trio” was written in 1832 for the unusual combination of clarinet, bassoon and piano, but for these performances flutist Laupheimer will take on the clarinet part. There is a quote at the beginning of the piece in French, which translates “I have known love only through the unhappiness it causes.” Glinka as an ardent 28-year-old had not been happy in relationships when he composed the work, which is probably why “pathétique” is part of the title.

The program will conclude with Anton Arensky’s elegiac “First Piano Trio in D minor,” written at the end of the nineteenth century. Carrying on the Russian tradition started by Tchaikovsky, the piece was composed as a memorial to his (and Tchaikovsky’s) friend, the cellist Karl Davidoff who died in 1889. Davidoff had been director of the St Petersburg Conservatory when Arensky was a student there, and was recognized as the founder of the Russian school of cello playing. The prominent role of the cello in the piece is a tribute to that. For this work (and the Borodin), Ivanov, LP How and Sally Guenther will unite for the sixth time as a now finely tuned piano trio.

For tickets and concert information, visit or call the Harwood Museum, 238 Ledoux Street, 575-758-9826, where there is a discount for Museum members. A dinner discount is being offered to concert goers after the performances from Doc Martin’s, Martyrs, the Gorge Bar & Grill and Lambert’s restaurants. TCMG’s 27th season continues through May, 2020.


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