The Maui Classical Music Festival, opening Friday, May 4, at 7 p.m. at Makawao Union Church, will offer two concerts at Keawala'i Congregational Church in Makena and one in at Wananalua Congregational Church in Hana this season.
The opening concert in Makawao on Friday is titled "Blockbuster Beethoven." In Makena on Monday, May 7, beginning at 7 p.m., special guest Joan Canfield, host of Hawai'i Public Radio's "Evening Concert," will narrate a program based on the musical love triangle between Robert and Clara Schumann, and Johannes Brahms. The Wednesday, May 9, Hana concert is built around a Beethoven quartet and Dvorak quintet. Then on Friday, May 11, Bernstein, Gershwin and Dvorak are the featured composers.
A string quartet praised for "high-voltage brilliance" will join the festival this year for performances ranging from Beethoven to Bernstein.
2012 Maui Classical Music Festival
Music Directors Katherine Collier and Yizhak Schotten
"We are introducing a new dynamic and acclaimed group to the festival--the
Amernet String Quartet--first-prize winner of the prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition," said pianist Katherine Collier. She and her husband, violist Yizhak Schotten, have been the festival's music directors since it began in 1982.
Collier has won both the National Young Artist's Competition and the Cliburn Scholarship Competition. Schotten won the Concert Artists Guild International Competition and has performed in many of the country's prestigious concert series. Both he and Collier are on the University of Michigan faculty.
The quartet's recent performance in Florida led to this assessment by a reviewer: "The Amernet's rich corporate sonority was polished to a level of high-voltage brilliance, producing a performance of glowing incandescence."
Another reviewer said a performance by the quartet's violist, Michael Klotz, "squelched all viola jokes, now and forever."
Aside from its Banff honors in 1995, Amernet also won the gold medal at the 1992 Tokyo International Music Competition. For violinist Misha Vitenson, the most recent in a series of top prizes was earned at the 2000 National Society of Arts and Letters violin competition.
Violinist Marcia Lilley has garnered many chamber music prizes, and the quartet's cellist, Jason Calloway, has performed with leading ensembles around the world.
"Also joining us," Collier added, "are a past favorite, clarinetist Daniel Gilbert, and his brilliant pianist wife, Donna Lee, who will debut at the festival."
Lee, whose musicianship has been praised as elegant and refined, has played in halls including the Kennedy and Lincoln Centers. Gilbert, who teaches clarinet at the University of Michigan, has been a soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra and Aspen Mozart Orchestra, among others.
"It is always a thrill and honor to return to Maui each year and present great classical music to the wonderful Maui audiences," said Collier. "What a pleasure it is to perform around the island in historical churches with their warm acoustics and glorious settings.
"This year, we have improved the sight-lines of the musicians in the Keawala'i Congregational Church in Makena, where we have two programs, and this will enhance the concert experience for the audience," she added.
To make reservations, call (808) 878-2312 or email MCMFest@gmail.com. Organizers suggest a donation of $25 for adults and $10 for students.
For more information, visit www.Mauiclassicalmusicfestival.org.