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Claremont Trio recital begs encore return

The Claremont Trio could be named “Dayton’s Piano Trio in Residence.”  Their debut in 2004 completely mesmerized the devoted and knowledgeable Vanguard Concerts audience. Marching “quick time” through Dayton’s arts schedules, the lovely Claremont ladies appeared with the Philharmonic the same year.  Three more Vanguard appearances led to this year’s Vanguard concert, their sixth visit in five years!  

The results are always the same.  Great recitals culminate with cheering audiences asking, “When are they coming back?”  

Impresaria Elana Bolling knows her music and relishes in her star discoveries.  This year, she chose the Claremont Trio to open her 47th season.  Again, the concert was a triumph.

The trio is composed of three virtuosi who met at Julliard. Twins Emily and Julia Bruskin joined their violin and cello to Donna Kwong’s piano. They have won every conceivable prize in trio competitions and, judging from their concert schedule and their reviews, they win the hearts of audiences nationally and internationally.  

They are devoted to expanding the repertory of works for piano trio.  They have played music of contemporary composers Bates, Zwilich, Novák and Schoenfield with stunning success.  They have introduced Dayton to the magnificent Arensky Trio so convincingly that they repeated the work the following year by popular demand.  

Their success has led other contemporary composers to write pieces for them.  This season they will present world premieres by composers Nico Muhly and Howard Frazin.

Their accomplishments bespeak those of veteran performers rather than three captivatingly beautiful young women.  They have the smiling enthusiasm of youth well mixed with the power of virtuosity.  

I have found that they bring to the great classics, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Dvorák and Shostakovich, an emotional power which both freshens and amplifies the effects of their great compositions.  

For this concert, the trio opened with Haydn’s Piano Trio in G Major. The richness of the string sounds was matched with the brilliant piano to bring a special lyricism to the work.  When the trio launched into a Hungarian Czardas in the final movement, the Art Institute’s Renaissance Auditorium rocked!

In keeping with the excitement of introducing new classics, the trio performed Bedrich Smetana’s G minor Piano Trio.  It was “new music” to most of the audience.  It left an indelible effect with its drama, tragic overtones and emotional expressiveness.  

Smetana wrote the piece as his personal expression of grief over the death of his daughter. From the first compelling notes of the violin, the stark themes passed from instrument to instrument with crystalline clarity and carefully articulated emotion.
Instead of creating an unrelieved depression, the music spun out a pattern of sympathy as well intensity mitigated by delicacy as if acceptance transcended his grief, and ours.

If I could have exercised a magic remote I would have pressed the “repeat” button after hearing the Smetana.  Instead, we were rewarded by a brilliant performance of Dvorák’s F minor Trio.  

Heard less often than the familiar “Dumky” Trio, this work explored the soaring sound of Bohemia in sweet melodies, grand themes and the spirit of dance with remarkable solos by each of these master musicians.

Again, I was looking for the “repeat” button.  In one way, the but ton will work as Impresaria Elana Bolling will certainly not deny her audiences another treat from the marvelous Claremont Trio.

DTC’s Outward Bound

There are times in theater when everything just works.  Such was the experience of Dayton Theatre Guild’s season opener, Sutton Vane’s Outward Bound.

The play, written as a thriller in the 1920s has had several revivals.  The Theatre Guild presented it in 1945, its initial season.  This “bridge” season, as the Guild moves to its new commodious home on Wayne Avenue, makes this link to the modest Guild beginnings meaningful.

Outward Bound, directed by Greg Smith, began this voyage into theater perfection by being played on a set which could have graced a New York theater.  The action is entirely on a ship and Greg’s evocation of the luxury liners of that age made the audience gasp in appreciation.

The cast was seamless.  Each of the characters, all quite different and cloaked with an enigmatic mystery, was played with such conviction that the action moved compellingly from the first words of dialogue.

Actors such as Blake Senseman, Danny Lipps,. Michael Boyd and, in a welcome debut, Ellen Finch, made the pivotal roles vibrate with authenticity.  Each carved his character into something believable, in the unbelievable ambience of the plot.

There were no minor characters.  Duante Beddingfield played the inscrutable servant with such dignity and meaningful force that he became, in essence, the chorus of the play.  Robb Willoughby, Angelé Price and Barbara Jorgensen each subtly prepared the audience for their moments of revelation and connection.  

Theater, and music, icon Gil Martin made his appearance as nothing less than God, or at least God’s designated inquisitor.  That’s no surprise to many who really know that Gil is godlike in some form.

The play runs through October 12th.  Don’t miss it!

DSPC Fall Show running through Oct. 26

The Dayton Society of Painters and Sculptors is presenting their annual Fall Member Show, a juried show of the best works of fine art and sculpture by its members, at its 48 High Street Gallery.Opening Sunday, Oct. 5, and running through Oct. 26, an opening reception will be on Sunday Oct. 5 from 1 to 5 p.m.

The gallery is located at 48 High Street, in Dayton’s St. Anne’s Hill Historic District. Gallery hours are: Thursdays and Fridays 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Free at all times. For more information call 937-258-4532.

Opera Overtures offered on Turandot

Dayton Opera’s 2008-2009 “Love Triumphant” season opener, Puccini’s Turandot, is one of the world’s most beloved operas as well as the composer’s final opera. To help audience members prepare for these exciting performances and celebrate Puccini’s 150th birthday, Dayton Opera is pleased to offer Opera Overtures, free-to-the-public talks about the opera’s story, history and other entertaining tidbits.

Talks are one-hour long and led by Luke Dennis, director of arts education for Muse Machine and opera guru extraordinaire.


TURANDOT (Puccini)
Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - 7:00 p.m. Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3211 Lakeview Ave., Dayton

Turandot is a romantic happy-ender opera with just a pinch of tragedy. Set in imperial China the love-struck exiled Prince Calaf risks his life answering 3 riddles in order to win the beautiful but icy Princess Turandot’s heart.  With Puccini’s transformative music and the powerful flame of love, even the coldest of hearts is warmed.  This grand and glorious opera features Pavorotti’s signature aria, “Nessun dorma.”

Performances are Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008 at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. and
Sunday, Oct. 26 at 3 p.m. Single tickets are on sale now and start at $15. To order by phone, call 937-228-3630. For more information about Dayton Opera visit

The Dayton Association of Chinese Americans (DACA) and the Dayton Opera are joining together to bring a Chinese Cultural Celebration to the Schuster Center prior to all three performances of the Dayton Opera’s production of Turandot.  The Celebration will take place in the Wintergarden and will feature demonstrations on calligraphy, paper cutting, paper knotting, Mah Jongg, table tennis, yo-yo spinning, story telling, singing and other traditional dances.

Youth piano competition seeks entries

The Dayton Chamber Music Society is calling for entries to the Eleanor McCann Piano Competition for Youth which will take place April 4, 2009 at Christ Episcopal Church, 20 W. First St. in Downtown Dayton.  First place prize is $1,000; second place prize is $500.

The competition is being held in memory of the late Ms. Eleanor McCann who “dedicated her life to the introduction of area young people to the excitement of music and its developmental effects,” according to the announcement received.

The number of finalists will be limited to a maximum of eight to ten and will be chosen from CD recordings. Each finalist will be allowed a total playing time of twenty minutes.

The competition is open to contestants between grades 9 and 12 as of the 2008-09 school year (no exceptions) and must reside in Montgomery, Miami, Greene, Clark, Warren, Clinton or Preble County.

To receive an application form and entrance procedure requirements, call 436-2603 or e mail a request to Materials must be postmarked no later than February 14.



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