ROMANTIC RUSSIA: Rhapsodies of Spring

David Allen WehrPiano
Lorna McGheeFlute
Anne Martindale WilliamsCello

Join us for some of the most beautiful and romantic Russia music ever written on Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 2:00 PM, as ARCA favorite, pianist and program host David Allen Wehr, brings ROMANTIC RUSSIA:  Rhapsodies of Spring, a concert from Duquesne University’s celebrated “Moscow on the Bluff” series.  Joined by world class soloists and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Principals – Lorna McGhee, Principal Flute and Anne Martindale Williams, Principal Cello, the program features glorious piano works of Rachmaninov as well as master works of the chamber music literature – the Rachmaninov Sonata in G minor for cello and piano and Prokofiev Sonata in D major for Flute and Piano.

Tickets are Adults $25, ARCA Members $20 and Students $5.  Call to reserve 724-659-3153 or buy online here.  Immediately following the concert, the audience is invited to meet the artists at a post concert reception in the Red Brick Gallery and Gift Shop from 4 to 6 PM.

PSO Principal Flute Lorna McGhee, Pianist David Allen Wehr, PSO Principal Cello Anne Martindale Williams

A favorite of Foxburg audiences, international competition winner, pianist David Allen Wehr will serve as the program host for the concert, providing enlightening insights on the music and composers sure to delight and charm the audience. In recent years David has brought to Lincoln Hall two concerts from the “Schubert on the Bluff” series, including PSO Principal Flute Lorna McGhee’s brilliant and virtuosic Flute Variations on “Trockne Blumen” from “Die Schöne Müllerin”.

Pianist David Allen Wehr and PSO Principal Flute Lorna McGhee bowing after Schubert in Lincoln Hall 2017

This also is a return to Lincoln Hall for Pittsburgh Symphony’s celebrated Principal Cellist, Anne Martindale Williams, who has collaborated with guest artists such as Yehudi Menuhin, André Previn, the Emerson Quartet, Lynn Harrell, Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham and Pinchas Zukerman in numerous chamber music performances and made her London debut performing Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic, Andre Previn conducting.  In 2013, Ms. Williams performed an ARCA summer concert in Lincoln Hall with PSO Concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley and PSO Principal Harp Gretchen Van Hoesen.

PSO Concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley, PSO Principal Harp Gretchen Van Hoesen & PSO Principal Cello Anne Martindale Williams

Driving over for the concert?  Plan to make a full spring day of it in FOXBURG on the beautiful banks of the Allegheny River – arriving early to walk or bicycle along the Allegheny or have lunch in The Allegheny Grille or Foxburg Pizza, wine tasting at Foxburg Wine Cellars, and gourmet coffee, ice cream and a handmade chocolate dessert at Divani Chocolatier and Barrista.

David Allen Wehr & Lorna McGhee PSO Principal Flute – Flute Variations on “Trockne Blumen” from “Die Schöne Müllerin”

Romantic Russia:  Rhapsodies of Spring
As Duquesne University’s “Moscow on the Bluff” comes to Foxburg

Lorna McGhee, Principal Flute, PSO
Anne Martindale William, Principal Cello, PSO
David Allen Wehr, piano

Sergei Rachmaninov  – Fantasy-Pieces for Piano, op. 3 (including the famous Prelude in C-Sharp Minor)

Sergei Prokofieff  – Sonata in D Major for Flute and Piano, op. 94

—-  Intermission  —-

Sergei Rachmaninov  – Sonata in G Minor for Cello and Piano, op. 19

Sergei Rachmaninov’s set of character pieces, which he called “Fantasy-pieces,” were premiered just after the composer’s graduation from the Moscow Conservatory in 1982 with double Gold Medals in piano and composition.They abound with the composer’s youthful passion and exuberance, beginning with a dark and somber Elegy. The following Prelude in C-Sharp Minor quickly became extremely popular and its enthusiastic reception lay the foundation for Rachmaninov’s international career over the next half-century. Publishers graced it with such dubious titles as “The Bells of Moscow,” “Day of Judgment,” and “The Moscow Waltz.” It has been a staple of pop culture, movies, TV shows and rock music, its undeniable charisma still compelling. The set concludes with the gorgeous Melody, the playful Polichinelle (inspired by the clowns of the Italian commedia dell’arte) and the lovelorn Serenade.

Sergei Prokofieff composed his Sonata for Flute and Piano during World War II, having been evacuated during the Siege of Leningrad to the safety of the Kazakhstan capital of Alma-Ata. Despite the grim circumstances, the sonata is unfailingly sunny, charming and deeply optimistic. Written in the composer’s later, audience-friendly style, it recalls “Peter and the Wolf” in its broad appeal. Though a cornerstone of the flute repertoire, the work is even better known in its later transcription for violin and piano by the great Soviet violinist David Oistrakh.

Rachmaninov’s early career ascent was abruptly derailed by the disastrous premiere of his First Symphony in 1897. The composer was plunged into a paralyzing depression until his friends intervened to get him into the new therapy called psychoanalysis with a famous hypnotist in Moscow. The treatments worked and resulted in perhaps the greatest flowering of Rachmaninoff’s lyric genius, producing some of his very greatest music. This definitely includes Rachmaninov’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, a work overflowing with melodic generosity and dazzling virtuosity for both instruments.

David Allen Wehr, holder of the Jack W. Geltz Distinguished Piano Chair at Duquesne University, will be joined by Principal players of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Lorna McGhee, Principal Flute and Anne Martindale Williams, Principal Cello, in a program of some of the most memorable and moving music ever written – treasures of the romantic Russian chamber music repertoire.

ARCA’s “Romantic Russia:  Rhapsodies of Spring” presents repertoire from a concert in the sold-out “Moscow on the Bluff” series at Duquesne University, for which David Allen Wehr is the Artistic Director. In 2018-19, “Moscow on the Bluff” is presenting music by Russia’s greatest composers which runs a huge emotional gamut from joyful comedy to dark tragedy in the unusually intense Russian style.

Program Host – David Allen Wehr

David Allen Wehr’s international career was launched when he won the Gold Medal at the 1987 Santander International Piano Competition in Spain. The resulting tours have taken him to over 30 countries in Europe, North and South America, and the Far East, including performances in the world musical capitals of New York, London, Paris, Vienna, Washington, Madrid and Buenos Aires

It was David’s thirteen seasons touring the United States and Canada for Community concerts as a soloist and in chamber music partnerships that honed his unique ability to make great works of music accessible to the public.  Known for his ability as a “Living Program Note”, David Allen Wehr has a warm personality that welcomes an audience member into the emotion of the music and makes imaginative and simple the intricacies of great works of master composers.  The audience will certainly be charmed by this wonderful program made more enjoyable by the rich program commentary by David Allen Wehr.

David Allen Wehr

David Allen WehrDavid Allen Wehr holds the Jack W. Geltz Distinguished Piano Chair at the Mary Pappert School of Music. His international career was launched when he won the Gold Medal at the 1987 Santander International Piano Competition in Spain. The resulting tours have taken him to over 30 countries in Europe, North and South America, and the Far East, including performances in the world musical capitals of New York, London, Paris, Vienna, Washington, Madrid and Buenos Aires. Over 1,000 concerts include 13 seasons of touring the United States and Canada for Community Concerts as soloist, pianist with the Sartory Trio, and duo-recital partner with violinist Linda Wang and cellist Zuill Bailey. Wehr has been soloist with the London Symphony, National Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony, Houston Symphony, New Zealand Symphony and all the major Spanish and Latin American orchestras.

Born in Princeton, New Jersey, Wehr grew up in Boise, Idaho, where his parents, graduates of Westminster Choir College, were ministers of music at the Methodist Cathedral of the Rockies. Piano lessons began on his fourth birthday with his mother and continued with his father. Later teachers were Peggy Erwin, Edward Zolas and Sequeira Costa. Wehr studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Taos School of Music, the Dartington Summer Music School in England, and holds degrees from the University of Kansas. He coached extensively with Leon Fleisher, Jorge Bolet and Malcolm Frager. Early in his career, Wehr won the 1975 Kosciuszko Chopin Prize in New York City, the 1983 National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Award, and Second Prizes in the 1983 Naumburg International Piano Competition at New York’s Carnegie Hall, and the 1986 Kapell Competition at the Kennedy Center.

David Allen Wehr has amassed a large and critically acclaimed discography with Connoisseur Society, Inc., with programs by Chopin, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Mussorgsky, Schumann, Delius, Czerny, Gershwin, Brahms, Griffes, Wagner-Liszt, Dvoř-k and Joe Utterback. The complete Beethoven Sonata Cycle has been released in four double-CD albums. His CDs are available through the Mary Pappert School of Music by calling (412) 396-6082 and at amazon.com. Since 2007, Wehr has served each summer as Principal Keyboard at the Sunflower Music Festival in Topeka, Kansas and the Buzzards Bay Musicfest in Marion, Massachusetts.

Wehr was first associated with Duquesne from 1991-1994, when the Sartory Trio was chamber ensemble-in-residence, and his current tenure began in 2001, when he was named the first Hillman Distinguished Chair. His previous performance projects here include the complete Beethoven Sonata Cycle (2002-2004), Beethoven’s “Dynamic Duos”: the complete violin-piano sonatas with Charles Stegeman, the complete works for cello and piano with Anne Martindale Williams, and the Ninth Symphony in Liszt’s two-piano transcription with Helene Wickett (2004), “Brahms on the Bluff”, (Brahms’ complete instrumental chamber music, 2005-2008), “Musique on the Bluff” (French music, 2008-2010), “Bicentennials on the Bluff” (Chopin and Schumann, 2010), “Dvořák at Duquesne” (2011), and “Budapest on the Bluff” (2012) and “Beethoven on the Bluff” (2013-14) presenting the major piano chamber works of Beethoven.

Lorna McGhee

Scottish-born Lorna McGhee is principal flute with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and has performed as guest principal with Chicago Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Academy of St-Martin-in-the-Fields and Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Before emigrating to North America in 1998, McGhee was co-principal flute of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in England. As a soloist, she has given concerto performances with the London Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in the UK; Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Philharmonia and Victoria Symphony in Canada; and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra and  Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra in the United States. A career highlight was a performance of Penderecki’s flute concerto with the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra under the baton of the composer in 2004.

As a chamber musician and recitalist, she has performed throughout Europe and North America in such venues as London’s Wigmore Hall, Barge Music in New York, the Louvre, Paris and the Schubertsaal of Vienna’s Konzerthaus. McGhee is often featured in chamber music festivals in Canada, the United States and Australia. Her performances have been broadcast on CBC Radio in Canada, BBC Radio, NPR (USA), Netherlands Radio and ABC (Australia). She has made chamber music recordings for EMI, Decca ASV, Naxos and Meridian. Along with Duo partner Heidi Krutzen, McGhee has released two CDs on Skylark Music: Taheke, 20th century Masterpieces for flute and harp and Canada, New Works for flute and harp. As a member of Trio Verlaine (with Heidi Krutzen, harp and David Harding, viola) McGhee has most recently recorded Fin de Siècle, a CD of music by Debussy and Ravel for Skylark Music. Both the Trio and Duo are committed to broadening the repertoire and have contributed six new commissions to date.

Having taught at the University of Michigan and the University of British Columbia, McGhee has given master classes at universities and conservatoires in the UK, United States and Canada, including the Julliard School, the Royal Academy of Music and the Banff International Centre for the Arts. She is now an honorary “Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.”

Anne Martindale Williams

Anne Martindale Williams has enjoyed a successful career as principal cellist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since 1979. Throughout her tenure with the orchestra, she has often been featured as soloist both in Pittsburgh and on tour in New York at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall. Williams was soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony in the Pittsburgh premier of The Giving Tree conducted by the composer, Lorin Maazel. She has also collaborated with guest artists such as Yehudi Menuhin, André Previn, the Emerson Quartet, Lynn Harrell, Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham and Pinchas Zukerman in numerous chamber music performances. She made her London debut performing Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic, Andre Previn conducting. Her solo in The Swan on the Pittsburgh Symphony’s recording of Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saëns was described by Grammophon critic Edward Greenfield as “…the most memorable performance of all.”

Williams divides her time between the orchestra, teaching at Carnegie Mellon University, and solo and chamber music performances in America, Europe and the Far East. She has appeared in several nationally televised productions including Concertos, produced by the BBC and Previn and the Pittsburgh, produced by WQED. She has given master classes at many universities and festivals throughout the country, including The Curtis Institute of Music, SUNY at Stony Brook, Manhattan School of Music, the New World Symphony in Miami, the National Orchestral Institute, Aspen, Credo at Oberlin College and the Masterworks Festival. She also has performed at many of America’s prestigious summer music festivals including Aspen, Caramoor, Skaneateles, Maui, Rockport Festivals in Massachusetts and Maine, Grand Teton, Strings Festival in Steamboat Springs, Orcas Island, and Mainly Mozart in San Diego. For many years she has enjoyed performing throughout the country with her Piano Trio, which includes her good friends Andrés Cárdenes and David Deveau.

Williams has performed numerous times as soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, performing Schumann’s Concerto in A minor, Tippett’s Triple Concerto, Previn’s Reflections, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 3 and 6, Strauss’s Don Quixote, Bloch’s Schelomo, Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, Dutilleux’s Tout un mondelointain, Saint-Saëns’ Concerto No. 1 and Brahms’ Double Concerto, as well as Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro for String Quartet. In recent seasons, she was featured in Haydn’s Concerto in C, Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, Elgar’s Cello Concerto, and Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Cello, Oboe, Bassoon and Orchestra, and Walton’s Cello Concerto.

Williams is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Orlando Cole. Her Tecchler cello was made in Rome in 1701. Her husband, Joe, is the director of student ministries at Beverly Heights Presbyterian Church in Mount Lebanon. They reside in Pittsburgh.