Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art’s Picasso Collection to Inspire HSO Sunday Serenades Program of Prokofiev, Stravinsky, De Falla, and Schulhoff January 26

Concert to Feature Performances by HSO Musicians: Leonid Sigal, Greig Shearer, Heather Taylor, Curt Blood, Eric Dahlin, Robert Groff and Margreet Francis


Pablo Picasso, The Painter, 1934
Oil on canvas
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection, 1953.215

HARTFORD, January 14, 2014 – The Hartford Symphony Orchestra will present Picasso and Prokofiev, the second concert of the 2013-2014 Sunday Serenades Chamber Music Series, on January 26, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.  This exciting program is inspired by the Wadsworth’s collection of works by Picasso and will feature performances of works by Prokofiev, Stravinsky, de Falla, and Schulhoff.  Sunday Serenades Artistic Director and HSO Concertmaster Leonid Sigal will be joined by HSO Principal Violist  Michael Wheeler, HSO Principal Flutist Greig Shearer, HSO Principal Oboist Heather Taylor, HSO Principal Clarinetist Curt Blood, HSO Assistant Principal Cellist Eric Dahlin, HSO Assistant Principal Bassist Robert Groff, and HSO Keyboardist Margreet Francis for this performance.

There will be a Pre-Concert Talk at 1 p.m. in the Aetna Theater led by Oliver Tostmann, the Wadsworth Atheneum’s Susan Morse Hilles Curator of European Art.  Tostmann will briefly introduce the life and work of Pablo Picasso with an emphasis on the works in the museum’s collection.

The Wadsworth’s collection of paintings by Picasso highlights and represents his evolving creativity and artistry. Taking its inspiration directly from four paintings: The Painter, Still Life with Fish, The Artist, The Women of Algiers (after Delacroix), the concert will begin with Schulhoff’s Concertino for Flute, Viola, and Double Bass, a complex piece that evolves into an edgy distressed dialogue between the bass and flute.  The second piece on the program, Manuel De Falla’s Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin and Cello, takes its inspiration from the busy, clattering sonatas of eighteenth-century Spanish-based composers Domenico Scarlatti and Antonio Soler, in the same way that Picasso painted canvases inspired by Eugène Delacroix’s renowned painting of 1834, The Algerian Women.

The third piece on the program, Pour Picasso by Igor Stravinsky, was written as a miniature clarinet piece.  Stravinsky was alcoholically elevated while writing this piece; thus “Pablo” becomes “Paolo” and the lines of the staff weave across the page.  This colorful and eclectic concert will come to a close with a modern Quintet written by Sergei Prokofiev.

Sunday Serenades Artistic Director Leonid Sigal (photo credit: Matt Fried)

Sunday Serenades Artistic Director Leonid Sigal (photo credit: Matt Fried)

HSO Concertmaster and Sunday Serenades Artistic Director Leonid Sigal has enjoyed a multi-faceted career as recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestra leader.  Born in Moscow, Russia, he began violin studies at age five. He moved to the US in 1995 when he was awarded a prestigious fellowship with the New World Symphony. A devoted chamber musician, Mr. Sigal frequently appears with the Miami Friends of Chamber Music and the Avery Ensemble, and has served as Artistic Director of the Miami Chamber Symphony.

Michael Wheeler, currently the HSO Principal Viola, has performed with the New World Symphony, Portland Symphony, Boston Classical Orchestra, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and San Antonio Symphony. Mr. Wheeler has been a recitalist and chamber music player throughout New England performing with the Island Chamber Players and Karas String Quartet. He is on faculty at The Hartt School Community Division and lives in West Hartford with his wife, pianist, Ruriko Kagiyama, and their three daughters.

Greig Shearer has been principal flutist with the Hartford Symphony since 1991, and has given recitals in Hartford, New York and Boston, performed as a soloist with the Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler, and recorded for CRI Records.  He is on the faculty of The Hartt School, where he is chair of the Winds and Brass department in the Community Division.  He received a Bachelor’s Degree from the New England Conservatory and a Master’s Degree from the Manhattan School.   He has been a participant at the Ambler, Yale at Norfolk, Mozarteum (Salzburg), and Boxwood summer festivals.

Heather Taylor has performed as Principal Oboist with the HSO since 1993. She has also performed as principal oboe with the St. Louis, San Diego, Richmond, and Florida Symphony Orchestra, among others.  She received a Bachelor’s Degree from The Juilliard School and a Master’s Degree from The Cleveland Institute of Music. She is on faculty at The Hartt School and Trinity College.

One of the Northeast’s pre-eminent teachers and performers, clarinetist Curt Blood has held the Principal Clarinet chair in the Hartford Symphony Orchestra since 1982. With the HSO, he has performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Boston’s Symphony Hall. He has performed at the International Music Festival at Santander, Spain and serves as principal clarinetist with Buzzards Bay Musicfest in Marion, Massachusetts. Mr. Blood holds teaching positions at the University of Connecticut in Storrs and The Hartt School of the University of Hartford.

Eric Dahlin, assistant principal cellist of the HSO, has performed extensively in the US and Europe. Locally, he can be heard playing with Hop River Chamber Players, Wall Street Chamber Players, and Island Chamber Players. He performs frequently on the Trinity College Summer Series and Sundays at the Parlor on Park with pianist Gary Chapman. Eric spent five summers at the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival in Vermont. Mr. Dahlin lives in Tariffville with his girlfriend, Katie (also a cellist), two sons, Martin and Elias, and dog, Max.

Robert Groff, who grew up in West Hartford, studied double bass with Bertram Turetzky, Leland Tolo, Gary Karr, and Leslie Martin.  Bob became a member of the HSO in the Fall of 1970, and has been the Assistant Principal bassist since 1977. Bob is retired from his position as orchestra director at King Philip MS, in West Hartford. His wife, violinist Diane Frederickson, is also a long-time member of the HSO.

Margreet Francis is a member of the Hartford Symphony where she plays piano, harpsichord, and celesta.  Her performances have been recorded for the Centaur label and regularly broadcast over radio and T.V. Ms. Francis performs on a regular basis with members of the Miami String Quartet and the Hartford Symphony. She also spent several years playing piano with the New World Chamber Ensemble, Chamber Music Plus, the Soni Fidelis Woodwind Quintet and Trio ARIOSO.

with Leonid Sigal, artistic director and violin; Michael Wheeler, HSO principal viola; Greig Shearer, HSO principal flute; Heather Taylor, HSO principal oboe; Curt Blood, HSO principal clarinet; Eric Dahlin, HSO principal cello; Robert Groff, assistant principal bass; Margreet Francis, HSO principal keyboard
Sunday, January 26, 2014 ?2:00 p.m. Concert?1:00 p.m. Pre-Concert Talk?Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Program: Erwin Schulhoff: Concertino for Flute, Viola, & Double Bass; Manuel de Falla: Concerto for Harpsichord & Chamber Ensemble in D Major; Igor Stravinsky: Pour Pablo Picasso for Clarinet; Sergei Prokofiev: Quintet for Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Viola and Double Bass in G minor, Op. 39
Ticket Information: Tickets are $30 ($25 for HSO Subscribers and Atheneum Members). Ticket price includes general admission to the Wadsworth Atheneum on the days of the concerts and admission to the pre-concert lecture. To purchase tickets or for more information, please contact HSO ticket services at (860) 244-2999 or visit www.hartfordsymphony.org.

The HSO 2013-2014 Sunday Serenades Series is sponsored in part by the Saunders Foundation Music Endowment at the Wadsworth Atheneum. Generous support for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra is provided by the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and with support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is located at 600 Main St. in Hartford, Connecticut. The Museum is open Wednesdays to Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please visit www.wadsworthatheneum.org for more information.

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