Trio Solisti players: Maria Bachman, Fabio Bidini & Alexis Pia Gerlach
Last night at the Universalist Unitarian Church in Carmel, the three members of Trio Solisti (violinist Maria Bachman, cellist Alexis Pia Gerlach and pianist Fabio Bidini) treated us to a brief open rehearsal plus a master class with several young performing musicians from Youth Monterey Music’s Chamber Players. Although we will be hearing Trio Solisti this evening at Sunset Center in a formal concert presented by CMMB, this informal event gave us an opportunity to see the players interacting with each other and mentoring some talented young musicians from our community.
The open rehearsal portion of the program consisted of the members of Trio Solisti performing and discussing with each other the finer points of some details in the first movement of Dvorak’s Piano Trio No. 2. It was apparent that the three performers occasionally had different ideas about how to play certain significant passages, and it was interesting to see how they discussed their differences and came to mutually satisfying resolutions.
This synergistic collaboration of visiting professional musicians and young YMMC players is a continuation of a tradition that started in CMMBs 2013-2014 season with the Juilliard String Quartet, in the 2014-2015 season with the Escher String Quartet and in the 2015-2016 season with the Jasper String Quartet. This is the first time CMMB & YMMC have injected a piano trio into the mix.
The two people who organized this event are Douglas Ambort, Executive Director of CMMB, and Erica Horn, Coordinator of YMMC’s Chamber Players. As you can imagine arranging rehearsals for seven young musicians living in varied locations, attending different schools and studying with separate teachers involved a lot of phone calls, emails, and texts, but everything came together very nicely for this master class.
Olive De Luca, Jasmine Mitchell & Kim Kistler
The first YMMC Chamber Players ensemble group performed the Moderato Second Movement of Lowell Liebermann’s Piano Trio No. 1, Op. 83. The young players were flutist Olive de Luca (a pupil of Ursi Frei), cellist Kim Kistler (a pupil of Margie Dally) and pianist Jasmine Mitchell (a pupil of Adam Petrocelli). After complimenting the young musicians, each of the Trio Solisti players contributed some new ideas. Maria Bachman suggested that the 6/8 time rhythmic patterns might be better served with one count per measure rather than two dotted quarter notes. Pianist Bidini showed Jasmine some overlapping pedal effects and Bachman suggested that flutist De Luca’s phrases were too even and needed more attention to the subtle crescendos and diminuendos. She also suggested that De Luca sneak in more softly at the beginning of phrases.
The second ensemble group performed the Scherzo – Intermezzo movement of Debussy’s Piano Trio in G Major. The players were violinist Rafael Vasquez (a pupil of Farkhad Khudyev), cellist Kim Kistler and pianist Jasmine Mitchell. After some well deserved praise, Maria Bachman suggested that the movement needed more tension and drama. Bidini showed pianist Jasmine how to make her little finger on her right hand work harder to bring out the top notes of chords. Cellist Gerlach demonstrated to Kim some different possible shaping of phrases.
Rafael Vasquez, Megan Tang, Anton de la Fuente, Kim Kistler & Benjamen Sterwerf
The evening ended with a performance of the exposition of the first movement of the great Brahms Piano Quintet. The players were violinists Rafael Vasquez and Megan Tang (pupils of Farkhad Khudyev), violist Benjamin Sterwerf (a pupil of Rose Marie Dunsford), cellist Kim Kistler and pianist Antón de la Fuente ( a pupil of Lyn Bronson). After some nice compliments, pianist Bidini lead the comments with praise for players and commented that this Piano Quintet is a bear of a piece, and that Brahms later regretted assigning the tempo “Allegro non troppo” and said it would be better served marked “Maestoso,” a slower and more majestic tempo. Bachman suggested that the performance was a bit skinny and “and needed more meat between the bones. Bachman illustrated how to use more arm weight so the violinists could get a richer tone. The members of the Trio admitted that performing Brahms is often a struggle.
So ended an interesting evening that was an enriching experience for all of us, and we will be looking forward to hearing the concert at Sunset Center tonight.