Mountain Chamber will honor Schumann


FARMINGTON — On Saturday, May 29, Maine Mountain Chamber Music will celebrate the 200th birthday of Robert Schumann with a concert at the University of Maine at Farmington.

The concert will open with Clara Schumann’s Three Romances for Violin and Piano, Op. 22. This will be followed by Robert Schumann’s String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 41, No. 1, and Piano Quintet in E Flat Major, Op. 44.

Clara Schumann was considered one of the most distinguished pianists of her day. In 1827, at age 8, she gave a performance where she met Robert Schumann, then 17. Schumann admired Clara’s playing so much that he discontinued his law studies and started to take music lessons from Clara’s father. By the time Clara was 17, the two had fallen in love. Her Three Romances for Violin and Piano was published in 1853. (“Romance” was a title favored by both Robert and Clara for an instrumental piece that is lyrical in character and tender or even sentimental in mood.)

Robert Schumann’s piano quintet was first performed in public in 1843, in Leipzig, Germany, with Clara at the piano. Today, the quintet is regarded as the greatest of Schumann’s chamber music works. In a sense, it is really a piano concerto with a string quartet rather than an orchestral accompaniment.

For the May 29 concert, Maine Mountain Chamber Music directors Laurie Kennedy and Yuri Funahashi invited three performers to join them: violinists Jasmine Lin and Jennifer Elowitch and cellist Elizabeth Anderson.

Lin has soloed with the Chicago Symphony, is currently a member of the Chicago Chamber Musicians and is also a founding member of the Formosa Quartet, which won first prize in the London International String Quartet Competition in 2006.

A Portland native, Elowitch is co-founder of the Portland Chamber Music Festival and assistant principal second violinist of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. She performs frequently with the Boston Symphony and Emmanuel Music, with whom she toured Europe. Anderson, who has performed in the world’s most prestigious chamber music series, has studied with Jacqueline Du Pre, Yo-Yo Ma and Leonard Rose. She currently performs as cellist of the Carolina Trio and at Lincoln Center as a member of the New York City Opera Orchestra.

The concert put on by the Arts Institute of Western Maine will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Nordica Auditorium. Tickets are $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and free for children under 16. For more information, call 645-2157.