The next chamber concert by the Music Academy of the West faculty (“Tuesdays at Eight”) will feature performances by Baroque specialist and guest conductor Nicholas McGegan and a string quartet of Fellows, participants in the intensive, pre-festival quartet program run by the Takács Quartet.


Nicholas McGegan

The concert, at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Hahn Hall, will of course also include star turns by several faculty artists. Tickets are $40.

The program consists of Antonio Vivaldi’s Chamber Concerto in G-Minor for Flute, Oboe, Bassoon & Continuo, RV 103 (Timothy Day on flute, David Weiss on oboe, Benjamin Kamins on bassoon and McGegan on harpsichord); Dmitri Shostakovich’s Sonata for Viola and Piano, Opus 147 (1975) (Roger Miles on viola and Natasha Kislenko on piano); Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in D-Major, Opus 3, No. 9 (RV-230) as transcribed by Johann Sebastian Bach into the Concerto in D-Major for Trumpet, Strings, and Continuo, BWV-972 (Josef Burgstaller on trumpet, McGegan on harpsichord, String Quartet of Fellows and Nico Abondolo on double bass); and Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D-Minor, Opus 49 (1839) (Kathleen Winkler on violin, David Geber on cello and Jonathan Feldman on piano).

Except for the two by Vivaldi, the pieces on this program have little in common — except that each, by itself, is worth the price of admission.

They say there are more than 600 concertos by Vivaldi. I haven’t heard more than a small fraction of them, but what I have heard leaves me eager to hear more, and I very much doubt that I would ever find one that didn’t please and delight me.

It would be absurd to claim that Vivaldi is a “greater” composer than Bach, yet I do confess to a strong preference for the Italian over the German. There is no pressure on one to understand Vivaldi, to find profundity in his music. One just listens and smiles. It is astonishing that he could find so much new, gorgeous music to make with the limited colors on his pallet. Venice is truly a special place.

The Viola Sonata is the last composition by Shostakovich. He finished it in mid-July and died Aug. 9. Dedicated to Fyodor Druzhinin, violist in the Beethoven Quartet — who gave the first public performance that October and made the premiere recording two years later — the work is mysterious, mostly indescribable, and very, very cool. It quickly was taken up by violists all over the world and has received more than 60 recordings to date.

The Mendelssohn, of course, is one of the brightest gems in the glittering treasure trove that is the chamber music oeuvre of this miraculous composer.

There may be tickets left by show time, which can be purchased at the door. Reserved seats can be purchased by phone at 805.969.8787 or online by clicking here.

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