by Mike Telin
On Sunday October 4 at 3:00 pm in Pilgrim Congregational Church, Arts Renaissance Tremont (ART) will present its season opening concert with a performance by the award-winning Autana Trio, Yuri Noh, piano, Rubén Rengel, violin, and Anna Hurt, cello. The program will include Ludwig van Beethoven’s Trio in B-flat, Op. 97 (”Archduke”) and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Trio No. 2 in e, Op. 67.
The event will also mark ART’s twenty-fifth anniversary of presenting free concerts in the West Side Cleveland neighborhood. “Twenty five years, I can’t believe it,” ART’s founder and director Chris Haff- Paluck said during a telephone conversation. “It’s amazing how the series has grown and the neighborhood has changed. Many people don’t remember what Tremont was like back then.”
Even though the area back in 1991 was not as popular and trendy as it is today, Haff-Paluck said that she and the others who helped to found ART were not deterred. “We only knew that we wanted to create a concert series in an acoustically pleasing venue, where anybody in the neighborhood who appreciated great music could have an opportunity to hear it in a calm, beautiful, and peaceful setting free of charge.” Today ART concerts attract listeners from all areas of Northeast Ohio, and the pews are often filled to capacity.
In addition to presenting free concerts that have something to offer to a variety of musical tastes, an important part of ART’s mission is to provide performance opportunities for the area’s many young talented musicians. One example is violinist Jinjoo Cho, who first began performing on the series as a young student at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and last year was the Gold Medalist at the Ninth Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. The Autana Trio, who will perform on Sunday, were the Bronze Medalists in the senior string division of the 2015 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. On April 17, 2016 the Cleveland School of the Art’s R. Nathaniel Dett Choir, under the direction of William B. Woods, will make a return visit to the series. “That’s the nice thing about being here. I get to meet these really nice young people who are wonderful musicians,” Haff-Paluck said.
An example of an ensemble that Haff-Paluck presented soon after the group had formed is Burning River Brass. “It’s amazing to see what great things they have gone on to accomplish. I’m happy we can present them twice during the holidays because their concerts are always standing room only.” This year’s Burning River Brass performances will take place on December 20 and 21 at 7:00 pm.
ART’s 2015-2016 series will also include several performances featuring members of the Cleveland Orchestra, and faculty members at the Cleveland Institute of Music and their friends. On October 25, clarinetist Franklin Cohen will be joined by Kirsten Docter, viola, and pianists Sergei Babayan, Zsolt Bognár, and Rafael Skorka. The program will include the premiere of a new work by Lakewood native David Conte, who is head of the composition department at the San Francisco Conservatory.
The series continues on November 22 with a performance of Igor Stravinsky’s L’histoire du Soldat featuring members of The Cleveland Orchestra. The February 21 concert will include Beethoven’s Piano Quintet in E-flat, Op. 16, performed by Cicilia Yudha (piano), Mary Lynch (oboe), Robert Woolfrey (clarinet), Barrick Stees (bassoon) and Richard King (horn). The annual Bach Birthday Celebration will be held on March 20. And on May 1 the Amici String Quartet, Takako Masame, Miho Hashizume, violins, Lynne Ramsey, viola, and Ralph Curry, cello, will perform an all Beethoven concert. Guest speaker Donald Rosenberg will present a pre-concert lecture that day.
“The success of ART is because of all the people working behind the scenes to keep the series operating at such a high level,” Haff-Paluck said. “We operate solely on freewill donations and grants.” ART has received financial support from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture (CAC Grants), the Neighborhood Connection, and the Kulas Foundation. The organization also benefits greatly from the generous support of its performance venue, Pilgrim Congregational Church.
What has kept Chris Haff-Paluck going for twenty-five years? “The bottom line is that we just want to make something nice for people and musicians to enjoy. There’s nothing I would rather do than listen to a concert. I love music, and I love hearing people perform who are in love with what they do. That’s the turn-on for me.”
Published on ClevelandClassical.com September 28, 2015.
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