Published On: Wed, Aug 6th, 2014

Garth Newel students perform at NRAO

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Garth Newel Music Center students performing “Trio (1998) for violin, cello and piano,” composed by Pierre Jalbert, are the Meadowlark Piano Trio, from left: Janny Joo, April Sun and Timothy Paek. Jason Mooney, center, assisted Sun by turning the pages of her music during the performance. S. Stewart photo

Garth Newel Music Center students performing “Trio (1998) for violin, cello and piano,” composed by Pierre Jalbert, are the Meadowlark Piano Trio, from left: Janny Joo, April Sun and Timothy Paek. Jason Mooney, center, assisted Sun by turning the pages of her music during the performance. S. Stewart photo

The annual Garth Newel Music Center Youth Artist Fellowship Concert was held at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank July 30.

Students from all over the U.S. attend Garth Newel to hone their orchestral talents. The Garth Newel Music Center is located in Warm Springs, Virginia.

Four ensembles performed pieces by Franz Schubert, Joseph Haydn, Pierre Jalbert and Joaquin Turina. The scores included inspiration from several styles of music, including groove, gypsy music and flamenco music.

Instructor Robbie Merfeld introduced the groups and explained how the program was selected.

“It’s always a highlight of the summer to be here and it’s great playing for an audience that’s predominately not musicians because a lot of us musicians can be a little closed minded,” Merfeld said. “Jay [Lockman] and I were talking about the way things might unfold tonight, and he said, ‘well experiment, that’s what we do as scientists.’ We always love programming something adventurous here because we’ve figured out of all the audiences that we play for at Garth Newel, this is the audience that is most responsive to adventurous music.”

The first piece was Piano Trio in E-flat Major, D. 929 by Franz Schubert, featuring Johnathan Spence on violin, Jacob Wunsch on Cello and Haeshin Shin on piano.

“It was performed right before his death in 1828,” Wunsch said of the piece. “It’s one of the only works [Schubert] was able to hear before he died. This piece is fifty minutes long but we’re only playing two movements. The theme from the second movement is very famous. It’s been featured in movies. It’s very tragic and somber and it reflects one of Schubert’s techniques of bringing music back into pieces.”

The Meadowlark Piano Trio – Janny Joo on violin, Timothy Paek on cello and April Sun on piano, performed Trio (1998) for violin, cello and piano by Pierre Jalbert.

“He has another trio coming out later in November,” Sun said of Jalbert. “I say it’s coming out because he’s still alive. He’s a composer in residence at Rice University where Janny [Joo] went to school. This piece was written in 1998. I was thinking about the significance of that date and the fact that that makes this piece basically as young as some of you in this audience, which is pretty cool.”

The piece has two movements – Life Cycle and Agnus Dei – which are complete opposites of one another.

“It’s driven by this really crazy rhythmic energy and it goes through several phases,” Sun said. “Some of the phases are titled raspy and aggressive, and others are raw and aggressive. There are some that are timeless musical drones and there’s also a section called funky accented. It kind of gets groovy. Throughout the piece, there’s one constant pulse, so even though it goes through several different phases, like our heartbeat it’s unified by one pulse.”

The second movement, as Sun explained, is the polar opposite with a much more spiritual, mystical and mysterious flow.

A quartet consisting of Johnathan Spence on violin, Rachael Schlosberg on violin, Rebecca Gu on viola and Jason Mooney on cello, performed “String Quartet in D major, Op. 76, No. 5, composed by Joseph Haydn.

The program was closed by the quartet of Arpine Arzatyan on violin, Anna Shemetyeva on viola, Yi-Wen Ho on cello and Haeshin Shin on piano, performing “Piano Quartet in A Minor, Op. 67,” composed by Joaquin Turina.

For more information on the Garth Newel Music Center, visit www.Garth Newel. org or call 1-540-839-5018 or 1-877-558-1689.

The next concert in the NRAO summer concert series will be Wednesday, August 20, at 7:30 p.m. and will feature Seth Maynard Osmosis Jazz Quartet. Tickets are $10.

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at sastewart@pocahontastimes.com

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