Friday, February 04, 2011

Kim Kashkashian at SFCM

Thursday evening I was at the SF Conservatory of Music for a chamber music recital featuring violist Kim Kashkashian performing with Conservatory students & faculty. Students performed the opening Haydn Quartet, Op. 54, No. 2. 1st violinist Joseph Maile had a slightly restless style that contrasted nicely with the more blended sound of the others, especially in the free-form slow movement. Ms. Kashkashian was warm, even & expansive in the Brahms Viola Sonata in E-flat Major. Her sound was mellow & aged, always distinctly like a viola & not a violin. All the movements had the same not-too-slow, not-too-fast tempo, like a gentle seesaw motion. Ms. Kashkashian had a calm demeanor & seemed to be enjoying the piece from moment to moment. Her accompanist, Paul Hersh, sounded muted, always staying in the background.

The 2nd half of the program brought faculty & students together in the Dvorak Sextet. Ms. Kashkashian sat across from the 1st violin. Everyone played with involvement. The audience laughed at the mordant humor of the speedy 3rd movement. The bright & intense sound of 1st violin Axel Strauss stood out. The violin looks like a small toy in his hands.

The event was well-attended by a mix of students & older music lovers. The appreciative audience cheered the performers after each piece. I bought my ticket when I got there, but I arrived with a friend who had purchased his in advance. When a woman at the box office saw that we were together, she accommodatingly switched our tickets so that we could sit together.

§ Chamber Music Masters
Kim Kashkashian, viola

with Faculty Members:
Jennifer Culp, cello
Paul Hersh, piano
Axel Strauss, violin

and Conservatory Students:
Gretchen Claassen, cello
Mac Kim, violin
Pei-Ling Lin, viola
Joseph Maile, violin
Emily Nenniger, violin
Sebastian Plano, cello

String Quartet in C Major, Op. 54

Viola Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 120, No. 2

String Sextet in A Major, Op. 48

Thursday, February 3, 8:00 PM
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall

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