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St. Cecilia Music Center brings back the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center on Thursday, January 23 performing a program entitled French Enchantment featuring inspiring works by Saint-Saëns, Fauré and Ravel

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“French Enchantment” begins and ends with early works by Saint-Saëns and Fauré that recreate the elegant atmosphere of 19-century Parisian salons.
Pianist Wu Han, cellist Clive Greensmith, violist Matthew Lipman, and violinist Paul Huang performing "French Enchantment"

Pianist Wu Han, cellist Clive Greensmith, violist Matthew Lipman, and violinist Paul Huang performing "French Enchantment" /Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center


Tickets for the January 23 CMS of Lincoln Center concert are $45 and $40 and can be purchased by calling St. Cecilia Music Center at 616-459-2224 or visiting the box office at 24 Ransom Ave. NE. Tickets can also be purchased online at  Ticket-holders are invited to a pre-concert artist talk at 7 p.m. prior to the 7:30 p.m. concert. A post-concert “Meet-the-artist” party, with complimentary wine will also be offered to all ticket-holders giving the audience the opportunity to meet the artists in person and to obtain signed CDs of their releases


Single Tickets

Single tickets to chamber, jazz, and folk concerts are also on sale now and can be purchased by phone at 616-459-2224 or online at www.scmc-online.orgFor each concert,a post-concert party is open to all ticket-holders giving the audience the opportunity to possibly meet the artists and obtain signed CDs of their releases Ticket prices: There is a $2.50 fee for all single tickets. All concerts start at 7:30pm. All concerts include a post-concert party for concert ticket holders. 

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center single tickets for remaining concerts 

French Enchantment

Thursday, January 23, 2020
A section $45  
B section $40

From Prague to Vienna
Thursday, April 30, 2020
A section $45  
B section $40

Jazz Series single tickets for remaining concerts 

Emmet Cohen’s Master Legacy Series featuring Benny Golson
Thursday, January 16, 2020
A section $45  
B section $40

Luciana Souza
Thursday, March 5, 2020
A section $45  
B section $40

The Clayton Brothers
Thursday, April 16, 2020
A section $45  
B section $40

Folk Series single tickets for remaining concerts

The Infamous Stringdusters
Thursday, February 6, 2020
A section $35
B section $30

Rosanne Cash with John Leventhal (Sold Out)
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
A section $55  
B section $50

Chris Thile (Sold Out)
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
A section $55  
B section $50

Raul Midón
Thursday, February 27, 2020
A section $45  
B section $40

Marc Cohen
Thursday, March 19, 2019
A section $45  
B section $40

Shawn Colvin
Tuesday, May 19, 2019
A section $45  

Co-Artistic Director and Pianist Wu Han Appearing in Concert on January 23, 2020

Co-Artistic Director and Pianist Wu Han Appearing in Concert on January 23, 2020 /Lisa Marie Mazzucco

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will return to St. Cecilia Music Center for their second appearance this season on January 23, 2020 with a program of beautiful French music entitled “French Enchantment”The program begins and ends with early works by Saint-Saëns and Fauré that recreate the elegant atmosphere of 19-century Parisian salons. In between the two works will be Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello, written soon after World War I, where he used just two string instruments to produce a composition of unique, austere beauty. Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center artists performing will be pianist and co-artistic director Wu Han, violinist Paul Huang, violist Matthew Lipman, and cellist Clive Greensmith.

Executive Director Cathy Holbrook exclaims, “We are truly excited about this unique concert, ‘French Enchantment’, with the Chamber Music Society as they communicate, through music, the beauty of French history and culture. It will be a delight to see and hear from Artistic Director Wu Han, who is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about every concert that she performs, this time with her colleagues violinist Paul Huang, violist Matthew Lipman and cellist Clive Greensmith. On January 23rd, the audience will experience four amazing artists performing French music within our intimate world-class Royce Auditorium Performance Hall.”

Tickets for the January 23 CMS of Lincoln Center concert are $45 and $40 and can be purchased by calling St. Cecilia Music Center at 616-459-2224 or visiting the box office at 24 Ransom Ave. NE. Tickets can also be purchased online at  Ticket-holders are invited to a pre-concert artist talk at 7 p.m. prior to the 7:30 p.m. concert. A post-concert “Meet-the-artist” party, with complimentary wine will also be offered to all ticket-holders giving the audience the opportunity to meet the artists in person and to obtain signed CDs of their releases  

The final Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center concert of the season will take place on April 30, 2020. CMS Co-Artistic Directors Wu Han (piano) and David Finckel (cello) will both return to Grand Rapids to perform with violinist Arnaud Sussman and violist Paul Neubauer on a program entitled From Prague to Vienna featuring three composers who mentored and inspired each other: Brahms, Dvořák and Suk. Brahms discovered Dvořák through a composition competition and helped him rise to international stardom, and became his lifelong friend and mentor. In turn, Suk was one of Dvořák’s favorite students and eventually became his son-in-law. 

About “French Enchantment” on January 23

Selections will include:

Trio No. 1 in F major for Piano, Violin, and Cello, Op. 18 – Written 1863-1864 - Camille Saint-Saëns, composer

Camille Saint-Saëns was the Renaissance man among the great composers. His interests extended well beyond music to include the sciences (especially astronomy), theater, drawing and caricature, archeology, poetry, mathematics, and literature. [He was] a man that knew the world and sparkled in conversation; fond of society; at ease and on equal terms with leaders in art, literature, fashion.”

In his compositions, Saint-Saëns always sought simplicity and clarity of form realized with appealing sonority, harmony, and melody but devoid of excess pathos. Saint-Saëns’s compositions are an art of beauty, of precision, of formal perfection, a flawless realization by a master craftsman.

Among the earliest characteristic expressions of Saint-Saëns’s distinctive art is the F major Piano Trio, which he is said to have sketched during a holiday in the Pyrenees in 1863. “This conjecture is borne out by the character of the music,” wrote the composer’s biographer Arthur Hervey. “The work is the evident outcome of youthful spontaneity, suggesting the lightheartedness of one who has for the time being thrown cares to the wind and whose inspiration has been stimulated by the wonders of nature.” 

Sonata for Violin and Cello – Written 1920-1922 - Maurice Ravel, composer

The First World War drained Maurice Ravel, physically, spiritually, and creatively. Through a determined effort inspired by his patriotic zeal, he was accepted into the armed forces despite his small stature and delicate health, but his constitution was not nearly robust enough to withstand the rigors of combat and he was quickly discharged for medical reasons. No sooner had he reached home to recuperate than his beloved mother lapsed into her final illness, and the shock of her death prostrated him for some time. With the brilliant iconoclasms of Schoenberg, Bartók, Prokofiev, Milhaud, Satie, and a whole brigade of eager avant-gardists on three continents appearing immediately after the war, the language of music was undergoing seismic changes such as it had not known for 300 years. Ravel lived in Paris, the self-proclaimed (and de facto) cultural center of the world at that time, and he followed these advances in compositional techniques with great interest. It is therefore not surprising that when he returned to composition around 1920 with the Sonata for Violin and Cello, his music exhibited a modernism fueled by his study of these path-breaking composers.

The sonata was occasioned by a commission from Henry Prunières, editor of the periodical Le Revue musicale. Early in 1920, Prunières requested short pieces from some of the day’s most important composers—Bartók, Dukas, Falla, Goossens, Malipiero, Roussel, Satie, Schmitt, Stravinsky, and Ravel—to be published in the December issue of the Revuedevoted to the memory of Claude Debussy, who had died two years before. The Sonata for Violin and Cello, as the duo was renamed upon its publication by Durand in 1922, remains one of the most challenging, enigmatic, least-known, and fascinating of Ravel’s compositions. “I believe that the sonata marks a turning point in my career,” Ravel said. “Bareness is here driven to the extreme: restraint from harmonic charm; more and more emphatic reversion to the spirit of melody.” 

Quartet No. 1 in C minor for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello, Op. 15 – Written 1876-1879; Revised in 1883 - Gabriel Fauré, composer

In 1872, Gabriel Fauré was introduced to the Viardot family by his teacher and mentor, Camille Saint-Saëns. The Viardots were among Europe’s most prominent 19th-century musical families: Pauline, head of the clan, was one of the day’s leading mezzo-sopranos (her sister, Maria Malibran, was an equally celebrated singer); her daughter Louise enjoyed a successful career as a singer, teacher, and composer in Russia and Germany; her son, Paul, was a noted violinist and conductor. Fauré, then organist at St.-Sulpice and composer of a growing number of finely crafted songs and choral works, became friendly with the Viardots, and he conceived a special fondness for Pauline’s younger daughter, Marianne. Love blossomed sufficiently during the following years that their engagement was announced in July 1877—only to be suddenly broken off in October. Fauré was deeply wounded by the affair, and he never revealed the exact cause of the falling out, except to say in later years that “perhaps it was not a bad thing for me. The Viardot family might have deflected me from my proper path.” 

The creation of the Piano Quartet No. 1, begun in the summer of 1876 but not completed until 1879, wrapped around this affair of the heart; the finale was thoroughly revised four years later. The quartet, dedicated to the acclaimed Belgian violinist Hubert Léonard, a friend of the composer and an early champion of the Violin Sonata, has been Fauré’s most popular chamber creation since its premiere in Paris on February 14, 1880. For an early work for chamber ensemble, the quartet is a remarkable achievement in instrumental color, formal clarity, harmonic sophistication, and melodic richness. 

CMS of Lincoln Center Artist Bios

Wu Han, piano and co-artist director
Co-artistic director of the Chamber Music Society, pianist Wu Han is among the most esteemed and influential classical musicians in the world today. She is a recipient of Musical America’s Musician of the Year award and has risen to international prominence through her wide-ranging activities as a concert performer, recording artist, educator, arts administrator, and cultural entrepreneur. In high demand as a recitalist, soloist, and chamber musician, Wu Han appears at many of the world’s most prestigious venues, and performs extensively as duo partner with cellist David Finckel. Together, they co-founded ArtistLed, classical music’s first musician-directed and Internet-based recording company, whose catalogue has won widespread critical praise. Recent recordings include a set of three Wu Han LIVE albums, a collaborative production between the ArtistLed and Music@Menlo LIVE labels. The latest captures Wu Han's live performances of Fauré's piano quartets from the festival. Complementing her work as a performing artist, Wu Han’s artistic partnerships bring her in contact with new audiences in the US and abroad: she is Artistic Advisor of The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts’ Chamber Music at the Barns series, co-founder and artistic director of Music@Menlo Chamber Music Festival and Institute in Silicon Valley. In recognition of her passionate commitment to music education, Montclair State University has appointed her a special artist-in-residence.

Paul Huang, violin
Recipient of a prestigious 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant and a 2017 Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists, violinist Paul Huang’s recent and forthcoming appearances include those with the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev, the Detroit Symphony with Leonard Slatkin, the Houston Symphony with Andres Orozco-Estrada, the Baltimore Symphony with Markus Stenz, the Taipei Symphony with Gilbert Varga, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan under Shao-Chia Lü. This season he will also give the German premiere of Tan Dun’s Violin Concerto “Fire Ritual” with the Nuremberg Symphony. A frequent guest artist at music festivals worldwide, he recently stepped in for Anne-Sophie Mutter at Bravo! Vail Music Festival playing Mozart Violin Concerto No. 4 with Chamber Orchestra Vienna-Berlin, gave a recital debut at the Lucerne Festival, and gave his Aspen Music Festival debut this past summer, all to critical acclaim. His chamber music collaborators have included Gil Shaham, Nobuko Imai, Mischa Maisky, Lynn Harrell, Yefim Bronfman, and Marc-André Hamelin. Winner of the 2011 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Mr. Huang earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at The Juilliard School. He plays on the 1742 ex-Wieniawski Guarneri del Gesù on loan through the Stradivari Society of Chicago and is an alum of The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two) and a principal artist for Camerata Pacifica.

Matthew Lipman, viola
American violist Matthew Lipman, praised by the New York Times for his “rich tone and elegant phrasing,” is one of the leading instrumentalists of his generation. He has appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Grand Rapids Symphony, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Montgomery Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra, and at Chicago’s Symphony Center. Recent solo appearances include the Aspen Music Festival, Carnegie Hall, New World Symphony, Seoul’s Kumho Art Hall, and CMS’s Rose Studio. The Stradpraised his “most impressive” debut album Ascent, released by Cedille Records in February 2019, and his recording of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with violinist Rachel Barton Pine and Sir Neville Marriner on the Avie label topped the Billboard Charts. He was featured on WFMT Chicago’s list of “30 Under 30” of the world’s top classical musicians and has been published in The Strad, Strings, and BBC Musicmagazines. He performs regularly with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and at renowned chamber music festivals including Music@Menlo, Marlboro, Ravinia, Bridgehampton, and Seattle. The recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a winner of the Primrose, Tertis, Washington, Johansen, and Stulberg International Viola Competitions, he studied at The Juilliard School with Heidi Castleman, and was further mentored by Tabea Zimmermann at the Kronberg Academy. A native of Chicago and an alum of CMS’s Bowers Program, Mr. Lipman is on faculty at Stony Brook University and performs on a 1700 Matteo Goffriller viola on generous loan from the RBP Foundation.

Clive Greensmith, cello
Clive Greensmith has a distinguished career as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. From 1999 until 2013 he was a member of the world-renowned Tokyo String Quartet, giving over one hundred performances each year in the most prestigious international venues, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, London’s Southbank Centre, Paris Châtelet, Berlin Philharmonie, Vienna Musikverein, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. As a soloist, he has performed with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, and the RAI Orchestra of Rome. He has also performed at Marlboro Music Festival, La Jolla Summerfest, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Ravinia Festival, the Salzburg Festival, Edinburgh Festival, and the Pacific Music Festival in Japan. Over 25 years, he has built up a catalogue of landmark recordings, most notably the complete Beethoven string quartet cycle for Harmonia Mundi with the Tokyo String Quartet. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in England with American cellist Donald McCall. He continued his studies at the Cologne Musikhochschule in Germany with Boris Pergamenschikow. After his 15-year residency with the Tokyo String Quartet at Yale University, he was appointed Professor of Cello at the Colburn School in Los Angeles in 2014. In 2019, he became the artistic director of the Nevada Chamber Music Festival and was appointed director of chamber music master classes at the Chigiana International Summer Academy in Siena, Italy. Mr. Greensmith is a founding member of the Montrose Trio with pianist Jon Kimura Parker and violinist Martin Beaver.

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