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Gerald Carpenter: Music Academy of the West Opens ‘Festival Artists Series’

Glenn Dicterow, "the longest-serving concertmaster in the history of the New York Philharmonic," will be one-third of a Brahms trio at the Lobero Theatre on Tuesday night.

At the Music Academy of the West, the popular series of faculty concerts known as Tuesdays @ 8 has been renamed the "Festival Artists Series," and the first one of 2015 takes place at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Lobero Theatre.

The concert opens with a piece by a former Music Academy fellow (1968), Anthony Plog, his Music for Brass Octet (performed by Barbara Butler on trumpet, Charles Geyer on trumpet, Mark Lawrence on trombone and five Academy Brass fellows), followed by Carl Reinecke's Trio in A-Minor for Piano, Oboe and Horn, Opus 188 (1886) (Eugene Izotov on oboe, Julie Landsman on horn and Margaret McDonald on piano), and Johannes Brahms' Trio in B-Major for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Opus 8 (1854) (Glenn Dicterow on violin, Alan Stepansky on cello and Jonathan Feldman on piano).

Plog's work reminds me, somewhat distantly, of Michael Tilson Thomas' Street Song (1988), but since I have so far been unable — even on Plog's own website — to discover when the Octet was written, I can't tell if any influence was involved, or which way it flowed (Thomas is 3 years older than Plog). The Octet is reputedly devilish hard to play, though I found it quite easy to listen to.

The oboe gives a touch of the exotic to the Reinecke work, which is sweet and lyrical all the way through.

The chamber music of Brahms was one of the great discoveries of my middle age, and this early piano trio was the key. I heard it performed live by the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, and the second movement scherzo and trio just flew me to heaven and left me there. May you have the same experience.

Tickets to the Festival Artists concert are $10 and $42, with those ages 7 to 17 admitted free. For tickets and other information, call 805.969.8787 or click here.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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