Adu-Gilmore, Tchaikovsky and Debussy

Eleanor Kirk, harp

Eleanor Bartsch and Paul Hauer, violin

Amy Hess, viola

Nomin Zolzaya, cello

June 22, 2021

Rush Hour Concerts

Kristina Lynn, pre-concert talk host

Program:

Leila Adu-Gilmore – Alyssum (13′)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Adagio Molto in E-flat Major (6′)

Claude Debussy – Danse sacrée et danse profane, L. 103* (12′)

I. Danse sacrée

II. Danse profane

*movements performed without pause

Eleanor Kirk is an experienced orchestral, chamber, and solo musician from Evanston, Illinois. She currently serves as the Principal Harpist with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and has also performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Harp Quartet and at the Ravinia Festival. Season highlights from the past year include appearances on the Rush Hour, Musicians Club of Women Artists in Recital, and Dame Myra Hess concert series. Eleanor performed as a featured soloist with the Bach Week Festival Orchestra and the Illinois Symphony Orchestra in their 2021 seasons. 

Eleanor holds degrees from Columbia University, and Chicago College of Performing Arts, and is a dedicated educator, serving as harp faculty at the Peoples Music School and the Young Artists Harp Seminar. Her students have received top honors at the Greater Chicago Chapter of the American Harp Society Competition, the Illinois American String Teachers Association Concerto Competition, and the Midwest Harp Festival Competition.

Eleanor is a founding member of 5th Wave Collective, a Chicago-based classical music ensemble dedicated to the performance and promotion of music by womxn, non-binary, and gender-non conforming persons, where she works as development director.

 

Chicago-based violinist Eleanor Bartsch is Associate Concertmaster of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Concertmaster of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, and first violinist of the critically acclaimed Kontras Quartet. Bartsch enjoys a vibrant freelance career as an orchestral, chamber, and solo musician, and is at home in many different musical styles. She has recently served as Concertmaster of the Chicago Philharmonic and Chicago Opera Theater Orchestras, has appeared regularly with the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, and, along with the rest of the Kontras Quartet, maintains an ongoing collaboration with the popular bluegrass trio, the Kruger Brothers. As Co-Founder of Madison, Wisconsin’s Willy Street Chamber Players, she maintains a love for chamber music and community. A passionate educator, she is on the faculty of the Barrington Music Academy and serves as an Artist-in-Residence and Chamber Coach at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Originally hailing from the Twin Cities in Minnesota, she holds Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees in music from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied with David Perry.

Violinist Paul Hauer joined the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 2016. Solo concerts have brought Mr. Hauer to the countries of Germany, Greece, France, the Czech Republic, and the Philippines. Chamber music and orchestral concerts have brought him to Italy, San Marino, Singapore, Mexico, and China. Before moving to Milwaukee, he was Principal Second Violin of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and performed regularly with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Louisville Orchestra. 

Mr. Hauer traveled to Athens in May of 2015 to participate in the 4th Leonidas Kavakos International Masterclass. One month earlier, he performed the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. Other honors include winning the Indianapolis Matinée Musicale Collegiate Competition in 2013, which resulted in a performance at the Indiana Landmarks Center with pianist David Keep. In the summer of 2011, he toured Europe with the Denver Young Artists Orchestra as the soloist for the Barber Violin Concerto. While serving as teaching assistant to Addison Teng, he performed and taught lessons with the Teng Studio on their international tours. 

Mr. Hauer’s first violin lessons were with Gloria Schroeder and Ferenc Fenyő, and he also studied with Stéphane Tran Ngoc, Carol Leybourn, and Catherine Walby through the Lawrence Academy of Music. Hauer received his degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and his principal teachers include David Bowlin, Alex Kerr, and Addison Teng. As a teacher, Mr. Hauer is on faculty at the Fulton Summer Music Academy, coaches strings at the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and Maranatha Baptist University, and is a founding member of the 414 Quartet. Mr. Hauer is a native of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and performs with the Peninsula Music Festival each summer.

Amy Hess is a member of the viola sections of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Grant Park Orchestra, and on the faculty of the Fulton Summer Music Academy. She was formerly principal viola of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and a member of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, and she has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Philharmonic, and Music of the Baroque. Amy has recently performed the Stamitz viola concerto with Sinfonietta DuPage and collaborated in concert with bassist Edgar Meyer as part of the Aspen Salida concert series in Colorado. She also was part of the Chicago premiere of Joel Puckett’s string quartet concerto Short Stories with the Northwestern Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and performed the solo viola role in Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote with cellist Joseph Johnson and the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra.

Amy received her Master of Music in viola from Northwestern University and is a Phi Beta Kappa alumna of Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, where she earned degrees in French and violin. While at Oberlin, she spent a semester in Paris, studying violin with David Rivière of the CNSM and musicology at the Sorbonne. Her interest in French music continued with a collaboration with Ravel scholar Sigrun Heinzelmann on a presentation at the Music Theory Midwest Conference and several lectures at Oberlin. Amy’s principal teachers and mentors have included Karen Ritscher, Roland Vamos, David Bowlin, and Addison Teng, but it all began thanks to her mother, a Suzuki violin teacher in Lancaster, PA.

 

Nomin Zolzaya was born in Tsetserleg, Arkhangai, Mongolia. At age six, she was enrolled in the Music and Dance College to study cello, piano, and academics. She studied cello there with Dariimaa H. and graduated with highest honors in 2010. Nomin competed in the Mongolian International Music Competition in both 2005 and 2008, where she took fourth and second prizes, respectively. In 2008, she also competed in the International Heran Violoncello Competition in Usti-nad-Orlicí (Czech Republic), where she took fourth prize. She came to the States in 2010 and studied with Ken Kulosa. During that time, she was a prize winner in the second annual Rising Star Concerto Competition, held at Southeast Missouri State University. Her string quartet, the Camerton String Quartet, was the Open Division Overall Winner of the 2012 Discover National Chamber Music Competition. After Winning the Competition, The Camerton Quartet featured on “From the Top” radio broadcast on National Public Radio. In the fall of 2012, she pursued a Performer’s Diploma at Southern Methodist University, where she studied with Andrés Díaz. After finishing her Performer’s Diploma, she went to Eastman School of Music for her Bachelor’s Degree in 2014 where she studied with Steven Doane and Rosemary Elliot. In the summer of 2017, she moved to Chicago to pursue her studies for a Master’s Degree with Brant Taylor at the DePaul School of Music. During her studies she was a member of Civic Orchestra of Chicago. In 2019, Nomin won the Principal Cello position in the Illinois Symphony. Currently she’s growing her private studio and lives with her husband and two siberian cats in Evanston IL.

Leila Adu-Gilmore 

Alyssum (2014) (13′)

Leila Adu is an astonishing force in the space where electropop, avant-classical and singer-songwriter meet. Exploring her roots in New Zealand, Britain and Ghana, Adu is an international artist who has performed at festivals and venues across the world. Compared to Nina Simone and Joanna Newsome by WNYC, Adu has released five acclaimed albums, and has given visionary solo BBC and WQXR performances. Adu’s credits include Ojai Music Festival, Bang on a Can, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Late Night with David Letterman, and composing for a Billboard charted album. Adu holds a Princeton University music composition PhD.

“If anyone was ever deserving of a piece being written in their honour, it is my Mum. Of course, like most mothers, she took care of my needs and went through, in our case, a particularly horrid birth process. Aside from that, my mother seems to have befallen many a tragedy; her spirit, however, rather than being dampened by this, has remained strong, calm and relatively light-hearted! Of late, since an earthquake destroyed the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, in which she still lives by the sea, we found recently that she has had increasing brain damage, possibly due to Alzheimer’s. Mum’s darkly sharp wit interpreted me writing this piece for her now, as being whilst she was still “compus mentus.” In fact, she is right—I wanted to write this while she could fully appreciate it, though she loves music and new arts so much that I imagine she will get a good bit of life enjoyment out of it yet. “Alyssum” is the plant that grows in rocky beds and is often added as a starry, white filler to a store bought bouquet: it sounds like her name and hardy and beautiful are qualities that suit her.

Mum sent me an email with a YouTube video of a scene from Pedro Almadóvar’s film Talk to Her where Caetano Veloso sings ‘Cucurrucucú Paloma’: at the same time, I had been really getting into Antonio Jobim.

Therefore, upon finding our shared love of bossanova, I decided to add the theme of common tones to my cantus firmus, as well as harmonies descending by semi-tone and bossa rhythms, especially in the final section. The high A could show my mother’s enduring spirit. You can hear her initials, Alison Barbara Gilmore, as a theme. There are also themes of waves, pools and waterfalls, as she loves nature, especially the sea. Thanks to Sivan Magen and Mivos String Quartet for indulging me in this gift to my Mum!”

—Leila Adu-Gilmore, 2014

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) 

Adagio Molto in E-flat Major (1864) (6′)

Born in Kamsko-Votkinsk, Vyatka, Russia in 1840,  Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was the second eldest of six surviving children. At 21, Tchaikovsky decided to take music lessons at the Russian Musical Society, and only a few months later would enroll at the newly founded St. Petersburg Conservatory. He was among the first composition students, studying with Anton Rubinstein. It was a few years later in 1863, that the Adagio molto in E-flat Major for string quartet and Harp would be written for a composition class with Anton Rubinstein. 

Though short in length and early in his career, this piece shows characteristics of future Tchaikovsky. You can hear the stillness and maturity of his Sixth Symphony, and his obvious preference of the harp throughout. Much more simply written than his future harp writing, this piece is serene and calm, a lullaby written by a mature 23 year-old.

 

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) 

Danse sacrée et danse profane, L. 103 (1904) (12′)

The question of how instruments advanced and evolved is an interesting one. Did the instrument evolve because the composers writing for it, wrote things the instruments could not achieve in their present state? Or did the instruments evolve and then the composers wrote for the new advanced instruments? Well in 1903 the Pleyel Company, makers of pianos and harps, introduced a new harp that was such a departure from the standard of the time that Pleyel decided to commission Claude Debussy to compose a piece utilizing this new instrument in order to promote the new harp. 

This new harp would quickly be abandoned for various reasons but commissioned composition still lives on, performed widely and regularly. The piece is, of course, Debussy’s Danses sacrée et profane, consisting of two short works, to be played seamlessly. The first, Danse sacrée is solemn, atmospheric and graceful. The Danse profane, is quite the opposite, being more extroverted and rhythmic, a graceful and lovely waltz. 

 

Program Notes by Ashley Ertz

The Clare is the exclusive media sponsor for Rush Hour Concerts.

The Rush Hour Concerts series is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Rush Hour Concerts are produced in partnership with St. James Cathedral and WFMT.

Don’t miss the Lincoln Trio next week on

Rush Hour Concerts!

Tuesday June 29, 5:45pm

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