Emma Gerstein, Alexander Love and Winston Choi 

Emma Gerstein, flute

Alexander Love, horn

Winston Choi, piano

March 3, 2021

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts

David Schwan, host


Mel Bonis – Scènes de la foret, Op. 123 (15′)

I. Nocturne

II. À l’aube

III. Invocation

IV. Pour Artemis

Carl Reinecke – Trio in A Minor, Op. 188 (23′)

I. Allegro

II. Scherzo

III. Adagio

IV. Finale: Allegro ma non troppo

The concert is sponsored in memory of Bertram Lipman by his family.

Bertram was a long time Myra Hess concert attendee.

Emma Gerstein is second flute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She was appointed to the post in 2017 by Music Director Riccardo Muti. Before her appointment to the CSO, she appeared with the Orchestra as a guest several times, including performances during the Asia 2016 tour with Riccardo Muti. Prior to joining the CSO, Gerstein most recently served as Principal Flute of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in New Zealand. Gerstein was a Flute Fellow at the New World Symphony, and Principal Flute of the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra in Kentucky. She has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as the Milwaukee and Seattle Symphony Orchestras. A native of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, Gerstein began her flute studies at age 8 with Susan Levitin and was a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Alexander Love is an Australian Horn player currently living and working in the USA. He served as Acting Associate Principal Horn of the Utah Symphony from 2016-2019. Prior to this position, Alex was a horn fellow at the New World Symphony and played second horn in the Princeton Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, he has played with the Chicago, Sydney, West Australian, and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras, as well as guest principal with the Melbourne Symphony and with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Winner of the 2002 Orléans Concours International and Laureate of the 2003 Honens International Piano Competition, Canadian pianist Winston Choi is an inquisitive performer whose fresh approach to standard repertory, and masterful understanding, performance and commitment to works by living composers, make him one of today’s most dynamic concert artists.

Known for his colorful approach to programming and insightful commentary from the stage, Choi has recently appeared in recitals at the National Arts Centre of Canada, the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, New York’s Carnegie‐Weill Recital Hall and Merkin Recital Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Kravis Center in Florida, and the “Cicle Grans Solistes” in Spain. Choi performs extensively in France, having played venues such as the Salle Cortot, Lille’s Festival Rencontre Robert Casadesus, the Messiaen Festival, and Festival Musica in Strasbourg. An accomplished chamber musician, he tours regularly with his wife, MingHuan Xu as Duo Diorama, and with the Civitas Ensemble.

As a dedicated champion of contemporary music, Choi has premiered and commissioned over 100 works by young composers as well as established masters. He regularly appears in concert at IRCAM, the world’s most renowned institution for contemporary music. Already a prolific recording artist, Choi’s debut CD, the complete piano works of Elliott Carter (l’Empreinte Digitale in France) was given 5 stars by BBC Music Magazine. He is also a member of Ensemble Dal Niente, one of the most active contemporary music groups today.

Choi is Associate Professor and Head of Piano at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Mel Bonis (1858-1937)

Scènes de la foret, Op. 123 (1928) 

French composer Melanie Bonis, known as Mel, (1858 – 1937) was a contemporary of such composers as Claude Debussy and Gabriel Pierne and studied alongside them at the Paris Conservatoire with famed composer and pedagogue César Franck.

Her self proclaimed nickname, “Mel”, was not accidental, but born of necessity. There were so few female composers at the time, so she chose to use “Mel” in an effort to sound masculine, or at least androgynous.

Bonis must have loved the flute, as she wrote many chamber works for the instrument, including Scenes de la foret Op, 123. It is believed that this piece is a reworked version of two other works by Bonis, one for the same ensemble and another for flute, horn, and harp. It has since been arranged for this combination. Not unlike her colleagues at the Conservatoire, Bonis uses the whole tone and pentatonic scales liberally throughout to create sounds and harmonies that we now easily associate with impressionist composers.

As the title suggests, the work is programmatic, with each movement invoking scenes of nature from dusk to dawn. The first movement, Nocturne, takes the listener into a tranquil evening, with repetitive figures from both the piano and the horn, followed by a soft but sweeping melody played on the flute. Next, we wake at dawn in À l’aube. The opening horn figure seems to suggest an alarm or bell, and the flute follows. You will also hear some bird-like gestures from the flute. The slow third movement, Invocation is a prayer to the Goddess Artemis, the goddess of the hunt and the subject of the final movement. There are question and response elements between the flute and horn parts. The lively final movement, Pour Artemis pays homage to the goddess with the use of horn calls throughout.

Carl Reinecke (1824-1910)

Trio in A Minor, Op. 188 (1887) 

Born in Hamburg in 1824, Carl Reinecke might be better known for his students and his teachers, than for his own works. He studied with the likes of Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann, and his students include Edvward Grieg and Max Bruch. Also a conductor and a pianist, Reinecke gave the premiere of Brahms’ German Requiem, and directed Leipzig’s Gewandhaus Orchestra for more than 30 years. As a touring pianist, Reinecke’s playing was some of the first to be preserved in recorded piano rolls.

This trio is written for oboe, horn, and piano, however it is occasionally played with flute in place of the oboe. The range of the oboe and the flute are similar, with the oboe top end being considerably smaller than the flute’s. It was composed in Reinecke’s later years, around 1886-87, and was written for him to play alongside his colleagues in Leipzig. During this time chamber music repertoire for these instruments was still in short supply. Still today, this work offers wind players a rare chamber work with piano from the romantic era.

The first movement, Allegro Moderato, opens with a piano introduction, followed by a dotted figure in the flute that is reminiscent of a march. Throughout the movement this theme is woven into all three voices as they exchange melodic and harmonic material. The second movement, Scherzo, as the title suggests, is light and energetic, with the flute and horn passing around a bubbling eighth note passage. The Adagio third movement features beautiful singing melodies on all instruments. The final movement, a Rondo, Allegro ma non Troppo, features a repeated melody in the piano, followed by the winds.

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts are made possible through the generosity of the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council and the Union League Club of Chicago.
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts are presented in partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and 98.7 WFMT

Don’t miss Sonia Mantell and Victor Asuncion

next week on the

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts!

Wednesday March 10, 12:15pm

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