FARMINGTON — Maine Mountain Chamber Music will celebrate its 17th year of concerts in Nordica Auditorium at the University of Maine at Farmington on Saturday, June 1. The concert features Gianluca Pane, violin, and Katie Kennedy, cello, with Maine Mountain Chamber Music co-directors Laurie Kennedy, viola, and Yuri Funahashi, piano.  The program will include Ernő Dohnányi’s “Serenade for String Trio in C major,” and Johannes Brahms’ “Piano Quartet in C minor.”

Brahms completed the opening movement and the Andante movement of the piano quartet in 1855/56, the Scherzo somewhere between 1857 and 1861, and the finale in 1874.  The quartet is known for its thrilling intensity, its relentless rhythms and its delicious severity. Suspense and surprise attack characterize much of the music, beginning with the opening movement’s brooding introduction and the startling crash of the main theme pounding with thunder and ominous rumblings.

After a madly driving scherzo, the third movement Andante brings some soothing relief as the cello sings a limpid, long-limbed melody.  In the finale, suspense and latent tension continually undermine even the most flowing lyricism of passing chorales while muscular scoring for piano and string trio ratchets the sound into epic proportions. The conclusion presents a magical transformation of texture, color and mood that keeps the audience hanging until the last, unexpected note, according to program notes by Kai Christiansen.

Ernő Dohnányi produced a fine body of chamber music, including his most famous works now part of the standard repertoire: the “Piano Quintet No. 1 in C minor” and the “Serenade for String Trio, Op. 10,” composed in 1902. The serenade begins with a lively march that soon features a rustic tune full of Hungarian flavor.  A slow movement romanze follows, evoking the traditional serenade once again with guitar-like pizzicato a lyrical song in the violin part interrupted briefly by a passionate outburst. The third movement scherzo flexes more modern muscles with a bristling fugue and a tuneful trio that combine simultaneously in the scherzo reprise. A melancholy, hymn-like theme provides the basis for a brooding set of variations as another slow movement leading to rollicking rondo finale that suggests the influence of Beethoven’s string trios as models, according to program notes by Christiansen.

About the performers:

Katie Kennedy

Katie Kennedy, daughter of Laurie Kennedy, enjoys an active and varied performing and teaching career. She performs with the Hartford Symphony, New Hampshire Music Festival, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, the New Haven Symphony and has performed in numerous chamber music and new music recitals, including performances at Brown University, Dartmouth College and the Hartt College of Music, where she teaches cello and chamber music. She received a BM in cello performance from Oberlin College Conservatory where she studied with Peter Rejto, and continued her studies at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary, with Csaba Onczay.

Gianluca (Luke) Pane

Gianluca (Luke) Pane, son of Yuri Funahashi, was twice concertmaster of the Maine All-State Orchestra, and while still in high school, performed the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the UMF Orchestra. At Brown University, he was co-concert master in the University Orchestra, where he performed as a featured soloist in the Gemini Concerto by Willian Perry and was the soloist in Prokofiev’s G minor violin concerto. Now working as a software engineer in San Francisco, Pane has played with the Symphony Parnassus and has attended and performed with various music festivals.

Laurie Kennedy

Laurie Kennedy and Yuri Funahashi, founders (in 2002) and co-directors of Maine Mountain Chamber Music, have been providing the community and the ArtsFarmington with the best of chamber music. Kennedy has been principal violist and concerto soloist with the Portland Symphony Orchestra since 1981, and has performed at chamber music festivals throughout the northeast.  She received her masters and the performers certificate from Indiana University School of Music.

Yuri Funahashi

Yuri Funahashi has performed in Japan, Australia, Canada, throughout Europe and in many of the major halls in the U.S. She is a performing member of the Festival Chamber Music Society in New York City, and has collaborated with the Verdehr Trio and the Brentano and Cassatt String Quartets. She received her doctor of musical arts degree from the Juilliard School.

The concert, sponsored by ArtsFarmington, will start at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15;  free for 18 and under and for students with UMF ID. For more information, visit artsfarmington.org or call 207-778-5074.

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