(Detroit Free Press) – It
has been a long time since sisters Ani and Ida Kavafian performed
together in their hometown. The Detroit-raised violinists, who have
enjoyed major careers as chamber musicians, soloists and teachers, bring
a special chemistry and energy to their local appearances, but the
intensity always seems a little more amplified when they play together.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Armenian genocide, the
Kavafians are performing in St. John Armenian Church in Southfield, the
church where as kids they attended services for major holidays and
witnessed other Armenian cultural events.
The diverse program
includes “A Tale for Two Violins” (2014) written for the Kavafians
by Kristapor Najarian, a 24-year-old Los Angeles-based composer.
Judging by the premiere performance that’s available on YouTube,
it’s a compelling 21-minute piece for unaccompanied violins, structured
in six episodes ripe with folk-inflected melodies, bent pitches,
animated rhythms and a nod early on to Ravel’s String Quartet in F.
Accessible without mortgaging a sense of mystery, the music moves
between prayerful movements and those rooted in dance. The balance of
feeling, virtuosity and teamwork plays to the Kavafians’ strengths.
on the program is music by Bach, Prokofiev, Bohuslav Martinu and
Moritz Moszkowski. Pianist Jonathan Feldman joins the violinists on
about half the program, and young cellist Anna Mamassian also appears. 7
p.m. Saturday, St. John Armenian Church, 22001 Northwestern Highway,
Southfield. 586-242-3821. www.stjohnsarmenianchurch.org. $20, $10 students and children under 18.
Richard Stoltzman: Back
in the ‘70s, Ida Kavafian formed one-fourth of the
pioneering contemporary ensemble Tashi with cellist Fred Sherry, pianist
Peter Serkin and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman. As it happens,
Stoltzman also is performing in metro Detroit this weekend for the
Chamber Music Society of Detroit. He’s a charismatic musician who was
gleefully following his curiosity and imagination across genres and into
nontraditional corners of the repertoire long before today’s
millennials. This time out, his program is fairly traditional, including
music by Schubert and Brahms, along with Leonard Bernstein’s terrific
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano and Australian composer Peter
Sculthorpe’s “Songs of Sea and Sky” (1987), which is based on a
traditional song from Saibai Island of the coast of New Guinea.
3 p.m. Sunday, Varner Recital Hall, Oakland University, 2200 N. Squirrel Road, Auburn Hills. 248-855-6070. www.ChamberMusicDetroit.org. $30 adults, $15 students.
Photo Caption (L-R): Violinists and sisters Ani and Ida Kavafian (Photo: Bernard Mindich)