By Geoffrey Maingart
Los Angeles, CA(Hollywood Today)12/12/12/–The Colburn School Chamber Music Society and Zipper Hall was the place to be on Sunday afternoon December 9th. Faculty members and students of the Colburn School of Music in a brilliant and demanding program of great works from the chamber music literature joined one of the true legends of chamber music, Arnold Steinhardt, first violinist of the Guarneri Quartet. Steinhardt, originally from Los Angeles, has enjoyed one of the great careers in classical music. Besides being a brilliant violinist, he has also written two books: his memoir, Indivisible by Four: A String Quartet in Pursuit of Harmony, and Violin Dreams.
Mr. Steinhardt is now on the faculty of the school and this program gave a chosen few of the best students a chance to perform in concert with this legendary violinist. The program opened with the String Sextet from “Capriccio” by Richard Strauss. Violinist, Pasha Tseitlin, an artist diploma candidate, with Steinhardt playing 2nd violin, performed the 1st violin part beautifully and lyrically. Ron Leonard, the brilliant cellist and faculty member at the school, joined them along with viola students Yi Zhou and Matthew Cohen and cellist Suyeon Kim. The music is from the last opera that Strauss wrote. It was originally premiered in 1942 during the height of WW2. This rarely heard sextet is lush throughout and the ensemble gave a heartfelt performance.
Second on the program was the String Quintet in C major by Mozart with Arnold playing 1st violin with Simone Porter playing 2nd violin. The brilliant violist and faculty member Paul Coletti joined them with students Arianna Smith playing 2nd viola and Allan Steele playing cello. Steinhardt set the style and it could not be interpreted better. The playing throughout was heavenly and the three students in the ensemble will certainly remember the experience for the rest of their lives. It is wonderful that the series of concerts joins both students and faculty in the performances. The passion and technical brilliance shines in all of the ensembles and the appreciation by the audience is justified.
Last on the program was the rarely heard and very demanding String Quintet in G major, Op. 77 by Antonin Dvorak. The 5th artist in the ensemble was the brilliant double bass player, Peter Lloyd. Again, three new students joined the ensemble, violinist, Melody Lee, violist Anna Kototylina and cellist Vardan Gasparyan. This is a very demanding piece for all and the performance was brilliant. This is one of the rare pieces of chamber music to incorporate bass instead of the usual 2nd viola or cello. The tempos in the quick movements were exciting and the beautiful 3rd movement Andante was absolutely gorgeous. The energetic finale was brilliantly played.
It is always a treat to hear Arnold Steinhardt in concert. He and the Guarneri Quartet defined the literature for years and he plays now as great as ever. This series at the Colburn will continue February 10th with Richie Hawley, clarinetist and April 7th with Edger Meyer, double bassist. The three violin students in the program all study with the brilliant teacher Robert Lipsett and the viola and cello students study respectively with Coletti and Leonard. Bravo to a wonderful performance and deserved full house in attendance.