MOCM Season 12
June 13, 2022 - June 15, 2022 - June 16, 2022 - June 18, 2022
Concert IV / TONES OF CLAY
June 18, 2022 @ 7 PM, First Congregational Church of Webster Groves, 10 West Lockwood Avenue, 63119
Ballade in C Minor, Op. 73 SAMUEL COLERIDGE-TAYLOR
Catherine French, violin
Hugh Hinton, piano
Piano Trio No. 3 "Tones of Clay* JAMES LEE III
I. From One Blood
II. Fiery Clay
III. Molded Clay
IV. Ransomed Blood
The Calyx Piano Trio
Catherine French, violin
Jennifer Lucht, cello
Nina Ferrigno, piano
*This commission has been made possible by the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with generous funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Piano Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 26 JOHANNES BRAHMS
Allegro non troppo
Scherzo: Poco Allegro
Catherine French, violin
Beth Guterman Chu, viola
Alvin McCall, cello
Hugh Hinton, piano
About "Tones of Clay:
PIANO TRIO No. 3 “Tones of Clay" uses the words "tones" and "clay" for two reasons. In my use of the word “tones", I was thinking about musical tones/vocal sounds and various shades of color in the human family. According to Genesis 2:7 man (humanity) was created from the dust of the ground and became a living being. The Hebrew word aphar, which is translated dust can also mean clay. Therefore, this piano trio is about the relationships between these clay beings. Movement one, From One Blood begins with an open fifth interval the notes A and E, which are symbolic for the first parents on earth, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The music then follows with a rising passage starting on A in the cello, which is answered on E in the violin. The music has a decidedly simple and humble beginning suggesting the loving harmony and relationships in the early human family. However, as the music continues to progress, there are moments of tension and a continued increase in textural density of sound in the violin, cello, and piano. The music suggests discontent and members of humanity start to negatively notice the various differences in tone colors of one another. This then leads to Fiery Clay, the second movement, which is partially inspired by the following words: “If clay is heated too quickly, the water will turn to steam right inside the clay body, expanding with an explosive effect on the pot." This movement has a highly aggressive nature and expresses the "masterclass" that the enemy of souls has taught and perpetrated against humanity with all kinds of prejudices,biases,and acts of violence because of skin color. The role of the piano, violin, and cello, is quite percussive, and juxtaposed with the melodic utterances of anguish that are played by the cello and, at times, the violin. When the heat of the action seems to almost bring the clay to an explosive end, the movement subsides, only to be interrupted by a crashing final chord. Movement three, Molded Clay seeks to express an atmosphere of music that comments on the formation of a change in character to one, of love, civility, and respect. A duo between the cello and violin prepares the way for the beautiful and warm entrance of the piano. Following this, are episodes of various maneuverings intending to resist change. However, pizzicato passages in the cello, calmly sustained chords in the piano, and a melody in the violin lead to a foreshadowed return to paradise. Finally, Ransomed Blood, the last movement is inspired by a desire of humanity to be liberated from unjust biases based on variations of the “Tones of Clay" and to be finally delivered from such destructive behavior against one another in the human family. Some of the deeply anguished musical passages expressed throughout the trio return at the beginning of this movement. Then the next large section seeks to exhibit a type of dance and celebration that looks forward to being ransomed by the Savior of souls instead of the enemy of souls and a final return to a place of paradise.
— James Lee III
CALYX PIANO TRIO
“Dynamic…virtuosic…refined…delightful…a composer’s dream come true…”
Through concerts and recordings, the Calyx Piano Trio has been exciting listeners with expressive, detailed ensemble playing and brilliant virtuosity since 2001. Each member of the trio—violinist Catherine French (Boston Symphony Orchestra), cellist Jennifer Lucht (Director, Carolina Chamber Music Festival) and pianist Nina Ferrigno (Director, Missouri Chamber Music Festival)—has been described as “a shining star in her own right.” With a repertoire combining classical masterworks with original pieces by living composers, the group’s commitment to expanding the trio repertoire includes commission funding by the Barlow Foundation and Chamber Music America and new piano trios by Derek Bermel, Beth Denisch, Amy Beth Kirsten, Lansing McLoskey, and James Lee III.
BETH GUTERMAN CHU, VIOLA
Beth Guterman Chu is one of the most sought after young violists of her generation. Before joining the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 2013 as principal, she was a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and enjoyed a varied career as a chamber musician and recitalist. Chu is still an avid chamber musician, and collaborates with many artists including Gil Shaham, Itzhak Perlman, Joseph Kalichstein, Menahem Pressler, Jaime Laredo, James Ehnes, and members of the Guarneri, Emerson, and Orion quartets. As a recording artist, she has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Tzadik, Naxos, and the CMS Studio Recordings. During the summer Chu performs and works with young musicians at the Aspen Music Festival and School, National Youth Orchestra-USA, and at the Marlboro Music Festival. In recent years, she has also performed at festivals in Seattle; Lake Champlain, Vermont; Portland, Maine; as well as Luzerne, Bridgehampton, and Skaneateles, New York. Chu has also performed as soloist with many distinguished conductors including Hannu Lintu, Bramwell Tovey, David Robertson, and James DePreist. Chu received her Artist Diploma at the New England Conservatory studying with Kim Kashkashian, and her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School studying with Masao Kawasaki and Misha Amory. She lives in St. Louis with her husband Jonathan, another violist, and their three children.
NINA FERRIGNO, PIANO
Nina Ferrigno, described by the St. Louis Post Dispatch as "a magnificent pianist," is a collaborative artist at home in a multitude of diverse musical settings. Her playing is said to be, “...always precise with superb accentuation and warmth of feeling...”. Nina is a founding member of the Boston-based Calyx Piano Trio which excites audiences throughout the United States with expressive ensemble playing and brilliant virtuosity. She has been a featured soloist with with such ensembles as the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP). Recent orchestral keyboard appearances include those with the Chicago Symphony and St. Louis Symphony. Her festival appearances include those at Tanglewood with members of the Boston Symphony, Banff, Norfolk, and the Skaneateles Festival. She also appears regularly at the Carolina Chamber Music Festival and Missouri Chamber Music Festival where the Calyx Piano Trio holds residencies. Ms. Ferrigno is a graduate of New England Conservatory of Music, where she received degrees with distinction. She is especially committed to bringing classical music to new audiences and expanding the repertoire by working with organizations including Chamber Music America and the Barlow Foundation to commission and perform new works in a variety of settings. The New Music Connoisseur has said of her, “pianist Nina Ferrigno [brings] out the inherent horizontal logic...all the while imparting sonic beauty from end to end.” Nina is a Founder and Director of the Missouri Chamber Music Festival, now in its 12th Season, in St. Louis. She is on the teaching faculty of Washington University and Webster University in St. Louis.
CATHERINE FRENCH, VIOLIN
Canadian violinist Catherine French, a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1994, has established herself as a versatile and accomplished soloist and chamber musician in addition to her distinguished orchestral career. Ms. French garnered the grand prize at the Canadian Music Competition, the CBC Radio Competition, and the National Competitive Festival of Music, Canada's three major music competitions. She has performed as soloist with many leading Canadian orchestras and given recitals throughout North America and Argentina. Ms. French was featured with the Juilliard Orchestra and James de Preist, the Boston Pops and John Williams, and at Carnegie Hall in her debut with David Gilbert. Lauded for her "superbly lyric" playing and her "amazing level of artistry" by Strad Magazine, Ms. French is a dedicated member of the Calyx Piano Trio and Collage New Music. Her avid interest in chamber music has led to performances at the Marlboro, Banff, Portland, and Carolina, and Missouri chamber music festivals, quartet tours of Germany and China and annual concerts as part of the Prelude series at Tanglewood and the Curtisville Consortium. Ms. French has recorded for Albany Records and is featured in Donald Sur's Berceuse for Violin and Piano with pianist Christopher Oldfather.
Catherine French began Suzuki violin at age four then continued her studies under the esteemed Canadian pedagogue Dr. Lise Elson. Ms. French graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor's of Music degree and a Performer's Certificate, then earned a Master's degree from the Juilliard School. Her teachers were Miriam Fried, Felix Galimir, and Joel Smirnoff.
HUGH HINTON, PIANO
Hailed for his “aristocratic approach to musicmaking” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) and called “an
exceptionally fine interpreter of contemporary music” (Boston Globe), pianist Hugh Hinton has
performed throughout the United States and abroad, as a soloist, chamber musician and
collaborative pianist. He has performed at Merkin Hall in New York City, Jordan Hall and
Gardner Museum in Boston, the Phillips Collection (Washington, DC) and the Flagler Museum
(Palm Beach, FL.) International appearances include Japan, Korea, Australia, Russia, Ukraine,
Moldova, England, Italy, and a tour of the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Syria)
sponsored by the United States Information Agency. Hinton has appeared at many summer
music festivals, including performances at Tanglewood’s Seiji Ozawa Hall, and at the
Monadnock Festival in New Hampshire, where he performed Elliott Carter’s Piano Quintet. He
frequently performs chamber music with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston
Symphony Orchestra Prelude and Community Chamber Concerts, and at the Missouri Chamber
Music Festival. An advocate of contemporary music, Hinton performed music by John Cage
under the supervision of the composer, and premiered compositions by Chinary Ung, Jeffrey
Mumford, Osvaldo Golijov, Augusta Read Thomas, and Pulitzer-winners Bernard Rands and
Donald Martino. A special project was Stockhausen’s Mantra, a landmark 70-minute work for
two pianos and electronics performed at the REDCAT recital hall in the Walt Disney Concert
Hall in Los Angeles. Hinton’s recordings of contemporary and chamber music have been
released by the Naxos, Etcetera, CRI, New World, Newport Classics, and MMC labels, and can
be found on YouTube and music streaming sites. A prizewinner in the Casadesus (Cleveland)
and Washington International Piano Competitions, Hinton has also received the Arthur W Foote
Award, the Samuel and Esther Chester Performance Award, and was selected to be a United
States Information Service Artistic Ambassador.
Hinton has performed with the imaginative contemporary music group Core Ensemble since its
founding in 1993, including appearances in all 50 US states. Core Ensemble has pioneered
programs that meld chamber music with theater, highlighting the experiences of African
American, Latino, Asian and women protagonists and composers. He has performed with Core
Ensemble with the Phoenix, Honolulu (Hawaii) and New Hampshire Symphonies, and with the
Florida Philharmonic, under the batons of conductors JoAnn Falletta, James Sedares, Derrick
Inouye and James Bolle, among others.
A native of Louisiana, Hinton earned a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and Master’s
and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from New England Conservatory. He studied piano with Lev
Vlassenko, Mykola Suk, Russell Sherman, Wha-Kyung Byun, Jeaneane Dowis, Jonathan
Woods, and Constance Carroll. Hinton began lessons at age six, performed in public at age eight,
and soon appeared with local orchestras. While in middle and high school, he performed in youth
concerts with the Boston and Dallas Symphonies and the New Orleans Philharmonic.
A committed educator, Hinton is Director of Campus Music Activities at Merrimack College
(North Andover, MA) and a member of the piano faculty at the Longy School of Music of Bard
College. In addition to his piano performances, Hinton is also a choral conductor, organist, and
church musician. He directs the choirs at Merrimack College and serves as music director at
Plymouth Congregational Church (UCC) in Belmont, MA. He has earned Colleague and Choir
Master certifications from the American Guild of Organists, and received the national 2021
Choir Master Prize, awarded by the AGO.
JAMES LEE III, COMPOSER
James Lee III, born 1975 in St. Joseph, Michigan cites as his major composition teachers Michael Daugherty, William Bolcom, Bright Sheng, Betsy Jolas, Susan Botti, Erik Santos and James Aikman. He graduated with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan in 2005. As a composition fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in the summer of 2002, he added Osvaldo Golijov, Michael Gandolfi, Steven Mackey and Kaija Saariaho to his roster of teachers, and studied conducting with Stefan Asbury.
During the 2021-2022 season, Sukkot Through Orion’s Nebula was performed by the New World Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in October. Also in October, world premieres of new works include Amer’ican, were premiered by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. Niiji Memories, a flute concerto was premiered by Julietta Curenton and the Columbia Orchestra. In November the Calyx Piano Trio premiered Dr. Lee’s Tones of Clay at Tanglewood. Later in November, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra performed his Emotive Transformations. Other world premieres in early 2022 included Freedom’s Genuine Dawn premiered by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in January, Arukah Symphony premiered by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra in February, Hold On, America, Hold On! premiered by the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra and Violin Concerto No. 2 “Teshuah” premiered by violinist Carla Trynchuk and the Andrews University Symphony Orchestra in March. In April, Tethered Voices was premiered by the University Symphony Orchestra at the University of Michigan and a new work for soprano and string quartet that will be premiered by Karen Slack and the Pacifica String Quartet at Carnegie Hall in New York and Shriver Hall in Baltimore in May. James Lee III is a Professor of Music at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD.
Recently Voyages, orchestral music by Dr. Lee, was recorded by Marin Alsop and the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and released on Avie Records https://www.avie-records.com/composers/james-lee-iii/
More about James Lee, III
JENNIFER LUCHT, CELLO
ennifer Lucht, cellist, is a native of North Carolina. As a chamber musician, she has been heard in chamber music performances at the Kennedy Center, Weill Recital Hall, Tanglewood, the Ravinia and Bravo! Vail Festivals, and on the Greater Philadelphia Performing Artists Series and NPR’s live broadcast “Performance Today." Praised for "superb" playing by the Boston Globe and "beautiful, finely detailed sound" by the Boston Herald, she has been concert soloist with orchestras including the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra and Vermont Symphony. Ms. Lucht is currently a member of the Calyx Piano Trio and performs with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in Boston and on tours throughout the US, Canada, and Japan. She is Co-Director and a founder of the Carolina Chamber Music Festival in New Bern, North Carolina, and can be heard in chamber music recordings on the New World, Albany, and Archetype labels. Ms. Lucht received her Bachelor and Masters degrees with a Performer's Certificate from Indiana University and continued her education with post-graduate studies at the New England Conservatory of Music. Her major teachers include Janos Starker, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Laurence Lesser, Colin Carr, and Carter Brey.
ALVIN MCCALL, CELLO
A member of the St. Louis Symphony since 1994, cellist Alvin McCall was previously Principal Cello with such ensembles as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Prism Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Virtuosi, Jupiter Symphony, and the Naumberg Orchestra. McCall also serves as Assistant Principal Cello with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra.
An accomplished recitalist and chamber musician as well, McCall is a founding member of the McCall-Deats Duo and has recorded both the Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich sonatas. The Duo’s second CD, “Meditations on Courage, Hope and Compassion” includes two of Maurice McCall’s “Four Short Pieces”. McCall has also performed chamber music with the Cardinal Quartet, Chamber Music Society of Saint Louis, ARDA and with fellow STL Symphony members at the Sheldon, Piper Palm House, Summerfest, Innsbrook, and on ARIEL Chamber Concerts as well as with the musicians of the MOCM. As a soloist, he has appeared with the Springfield (MO) Symphony, University City Symphony, Virginia Philharmonic, Moscow Academic Symphony Orchestra, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.