MICHELLE DJOKIC, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
ALEXI KENNEY, VIOLIN
MICHELLE DJOKIC, CELLO
MICHAEL BROWN, PIANO
The Concordia Chamber Players perform to acclaim throughout our region. The group has given a concert to open The Princeton Festival since our very first year. For its 15th program at the Festival, Artistic Director Michelle Djokic has selected three enjoyable works by Beethoven, Kodály, and Mendelssohn.
This performance is underwritten by J.P. Morgan
Beethoven’s charming set of variations for cello and piano, a relatively early work (1801), is based on an aria from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). The aria, sung in the opera by Pamina and Papageno, is a paean to love between husband and wife. Beethoven’s music brings out the sweetness of that sentiment, with the piano leading the way.
Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály’s duo for violin and cello was composed in 1914, but not performed until 1924. Along with Ravel’s sonata of 1920-22, it is a landmark of the small repertoire for this unusual but beautiful combination of instruments. Folkloric elements give the first movement a rhapsodic feeling, while the second movement is a passionate Adagio. The work concludes with a sparkling Presto.
The first movement of Felix Mendelssohn’s fiery and moving Op. 66 piano trio was written in 1845, two years before his untimely death. It has tension and passion are that may surprise those who think they know this composer’s musical personality. There are glorious melodies, of course, along with echoes of his brilliant Midsummer Night’s Dream, written nearly 20 years earlier. Yet the piece also looks forward to the architectural power of Brahms.
Alexi Kenney, recipient of a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, has been named “a talent to watch” by the New York Times, which also noted his “architect’s eye for structure and space and a tone that ranges from the achingly fragile to full-bodied robustness.” The 2018/19 season sees Alexi returning as soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony, debuting with the Asheville, Omaha, Wheeling, and Bay Atlantic symphonies, the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, and the Gulf Coast Sinfonia, and in recital at Wigmore Hall, Union College, Portland ‘Ovations,’ and the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern festival, among others. He also appears as guest concertmaster of both the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Chamber music continues to be a major focus, performing at festivals including Marlboro, Bridgehampton, ChamberFest Cleveland, Festival Napa Valley, Kronberg, the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, [email protected], Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove (UK), Ravinia, and Yellow Barn
Michelle Djokic is Founder and Artistic Director of the Concordia Chamber Players. Since its inception in 1995 Concordia has become known for thoughtful and adventurous programming, with its performances broadcast regularly on WWFM in Princeton, NJ. Her recording with Quartet San Francisco entitled “QSF Plays Brubeck” earned a 2010 Grammy Nomination in Best Classical Crossover. Active as a chamber musician, Ms. Djokic has been invited to collaborate with Emanuel Ax, Menahem Pressler, Lynn Harrell, Toby Appel and Cho-Liang Lin, among others, as well as the Boston Chamber Players. In 2007 she became a member of the New Century Chamber Orchestra. Upon moving to Northern California from the East Coast in 2005 Michelle served as Assistant Principal Cellist of the San Francisco Symphony for two seasons. Her greatest passion is chamber music collaborations with her colleagues around the world and sharing in the development of young musicians.
Michael Brown has been described as “one of the leading figures in the current renaissance of performer-composers” (The New York Times). Mr. Brown regularly makes solo appearances with orchestras such as the Seattle, North Carolina, New Haven, and Albany Symphonies. During the 2016-17 season he was selected by pianist Sir András Schiff to perform across the US and Europe. He has performed at Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall in NYC, the Kennedy Center in DC, Wigmore Hall in London, DeSingel in Antwerp, and the Louvre in Paris; and appeared in festivals such as Marlboro, [email protected], Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Ravinia, Bard, Chamber Music Sedona, and Moab. He can be heard on recordings as soloist with the Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot in the music of Messiaen, and as soloist with the Brandenburg State Symphony in Samuel Adler’s First Piano Concerto for LINN Records, among others.