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Like Halcyon Barques to Portsmouth’s Shores


Heng-Jin Park

“What sorts of images and associations does the term ‘halcyon’ bring to mind,” our writer Mike Rocha wondered three years back. Honey-colored light and dappled shade? Warm summer zephyrs? Nostalgic yearnings? For its fifth season, the Halcyon Music Festival will offer six exuberant chamber music concerts at the sumptuously decorative and acoustically rich confines of Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s St. John’s Episcopal Church and two at Bratton Recital Hall at the University of New Hampshire Durham, its “summer camp for its musicians.” The festivities run from June 21st to the 30th. Having attended a number of these events, we can attest to the accuracy of Founder and Artistic Director Heng-Jin Park evocation of blissful ‘halcyon’ days’ immersions. The complete calendar is HERE.

Park and her high-octane artists live and work together for the duration of the festival, producing a series of concerts that generate quite a collaborative vibe. This season’s roster, in addition to pianist Park includes well known soloists and orchestra section leaders: violinists Robyn Bollinger, Gabriela Diaz, Ben Sayevich, Emma Frucht, Solomiya Ivakhiv, Zenas Hsu, Irina Muresanu, and Monica Pegis; violists Tim Deighton, Jason Fisher, Carol Rodland, Jessica Thompson, and Robert Meyer; cellists Karen Ouzounian, Peter Stumpf, Loewi Lin, Jonah Ellsworth, Alexei Gonzales, and David Hardy; along with Erik Higgins, double bass; Paul Cigan, clarinet; and pianist Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich.

The mostly 19th –century repertoire includes some delectable rarities, palatable 20th-century inevitables, and a satisfying number of all time faves, including the second piano quartet of Brahms, L’Histoire du soldat of Stravinsky, Ravel’s string quartet and Dvořák’s second piano quintet. The concerts will cost $25 for general admission and $5 for students.

Beware of summer weekend traffic, though, and plan to arrive very earl, perhaps to dine at one of Portsmouth’s many fine restaurants; our favorite, Cava, is but a block away from St. John’s Church. Don’t tell anyone.

St. John’s Church Portsmouth, NH

The Facts:

Thursday, 21 June 2018 . 7.30 pm :: Souvenirs
Bratton Recital Hall, University of New Hampshire at Durham

Bedřich Smetana   |  Piano Trio in g minor, Op. 15
Irina Muresanu, violin ~ Jonah Ellsworth, cello ~ Heng-Jin Park, piano
Dmitri Shostakovich   |  Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 67
Ben Sayevich, violin ~ David Hardy, cello ~ Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich, piano
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky   |  Souvenir de Florence
Solomiya Ivakhiv, Robyn Bollinger, violins ~ Carol Rodland, Robert Meyer, violas ~ Peter Stumpf, Alexei Gonzales, cellos

 Friday . 22 June 2018 . 7.30 pm :: Nocturne and Tango
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Portsmouth . NH
Franz Schubert   |  Notturno
Solomiya Ivakhiv, violin ~ Alexei Gonzales, cello ~ Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich, piano
Astor Piazzolla   |  Le Grand Tango
Karen Ouzounian, cello ~ Heng-Jin Park, piano
Antonín Dvořák   |  Terzetto, Op. 74
Robyn Bollinger, Monica Pegis, violins ~ Robert Meyer, viola
Johannes Brahms   |  String Quintet No. 2, Op. 111
Irina Muresanu, Emma Frucht, violins ~ Carol Rodland, Tim Deighton, violas ~ David Hardy, cello

Saturday . 23 June 2018 . 7.30 pm :: Accord and Contrast
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Robert Schumann   |  Piano Quartet in Eb Major, Op. 47
Ben Sayevich, violin ~ Carol Rodland, viola ~ Peter Stumpf, cello ~ Heng-Jin Park, piano
Leoš Janáček   |  String Quartet No. 1, ‘Kreutzer Sonata’
Robyn Bollinger, Emma Frucht, violins ~ Robert Meyer, viola ~ Peter Stumpf, cello
Ludwig van Beethoven   |  Violin Sonata No. 9, Op. 47, ‘Kreutzer’ (arr. for string quintet)
Irina Muresanu, Monica Pegis, violins ~ Tim Deighton, viola ~ Alexei Gonzales, Karen Ouzounian, cellos

 Wednesday . 27 June 2018 . 7.30 pm :: Flowers in the Ruins
Bratton Recital Hall
Edgar Meyer   |  Concert Duo for Violin and Bass
Emma Frucht, violin ~ Erik Higgins, bass
Edgar Meyer   |  Duet for Cello and Bass
Jonah Ellsworth, cello ~ Erik Higgins, bass
Maurice Ravel   |  String Quartet
Gabriela Diaz, Zenas Hsu, violins ~ Jessica Thompson, viola ~ Jonah Ellsworth, cello
Antonín Dvořák   |  Piano Quintet No. 2, Op. 81
Solomiya Ivakhiv, Monica Pegis, violins ~ Jason Fisher, viola ~ Loewi Lin, cello ~ Heng-Jin Park, piano

Thursday . 28 June 2018 . 7.30 pm :: Lark Ascending
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Franz Joseph Haydn   |  String Quartet in D Major, Hob.III:63, ‘Lark’
Gabriela Diaz, Emma Frucht, violins ~ Jason Fisher, viola ~ Loewi Lin, cello
Johannes Brahms   |  Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano
Paul Cigan, clarinet ~ Jonah Ellsworth, cello ~ Heng-Jin Park, piano
Felix Mendelssohn   |  Sextet in D Major, Op. 110
Zenas Hsu, Solomiya Ivakhiv, violins ~ Jessica Thompson, viola ~ Karen Ouzounian, cello ~ Erik Higgins, bass ~ Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich, piano

Friday . 29 June 2018 . 7.30 pm :: Gravities
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Max Bruch   |  Eight Pieces for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano
Paul Cigan, clarinet ~ Tim Deighton, viola ~ Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich, piano
Béla Bartók   |  String Quartet No. 2
Monica Pegis, Gabriela Diaz, violins ~ Tim Deighton, viola ~ Loewi Lin, cello
Johannes Brahms   |  Piano Quartet No. 2, Op. 26
Ben Sayevich, violin ~ Jessica Thompson, viola ~ David Hardy, cello ~ Heng-Jin Park, piano
Saturday . 30 June 2018 . 7.30 pm :: Things that Matter Most
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Igor Stravinsky   |  ‘L’Histoire du soldat’ Concert Suite
Paul Cigan, clarinet ~ Zenas Hsu, violin ~ Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich, piano
Georg Philipp Telemann   |  Concerto for Four Violins in D Major
Gabriela Diaz, Ji Hyun Park-Heath, Mark Ptashne, Emma Frucht, violins
Igor Stravinsky   |  Suite Italienne (arr. for four cellos)
David Hardy, Jonah Ellsworth, Loewi Lin, Karen Ouzounian, cellos
Felix Mendelssohn   |  Octet in Eb Major, Op. 20
Ben Sayevich, Solomiya Ivakhiv, Emma Frucht, Monica Pegis, violins ~ Tim Deighton, Jason Fisher, violas ~ David Hardy, cello ~ Erik Higgins, bass

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