World-class music festival returns

ChamberFest's David McCarroll on violin, Julie Albers on cello, Orion Weiss on piano and Franklin Cohen on clarinet.

ChamberFest Cleveland (CFC), the acclaimed and successful chamber music festival that was born in Cleveland Heights and remains headquartered here, is ready to launch its third season, titled "Three!"

"Cleveland concertgoers have shown incredible support for the idea of a true festival that offers two concentrated weeks filled with glorious chamber music," said Diana Cohen, CFC’s co-founder and co-artistic director.

Having played to sold-out houses for its first two years, CFC is tuning up for a 10-day, 10-concert season, running June 19–29 and featuring world-class musicians, a world-premiere performance, and unusual programming. CFC's concerts are presented in a variety of special venues, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Dunham Tavern's renovated barn, Mixon and Kulas halls at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Fairmount Presbyterian Church and Harkness Chapel on the campus of Case Western Reserve University. One of this year’s concerts takes place in Cleveland Heights, at The Wine Spot, on June 25.

Franklin Cohen, CFC's co-founder and co-artistic director, is the Cleveland Orchestra’s principal clarinetist and a Cleveland Heights resident. His daughter Diana is a Cleveland Heights native and concertmaster of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they have assembled a lineup of instrumentalists that this year includes the acclaimed pianist and Heights-area native Orion Weiss; violinist/violist Yura Lee, winner of the 2013 Munich Competition; Noah Bendix-Balgley, newly named concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic; and highly regarded Chinese pipa player Gao Hong.

Three!” presents music from four centuries, inventively arranged in programs inspired by the magic and mystery of the number three. Programs such as Harmony in Numbers, Snap! Crackle! Pluck! and Three Bouncing Czechs explore the humor, whimsy and mathematics in music. A new afternoon family concert, Triple Scoop, is intended to delight young attendees and their adults with musical fun, followed by an ice cream social.

"We look for pieces that are vibrant, exciting and engaging, and illuminate an overall theme,” Diana Cohen said. “ChamberFest is building a wonderful audience of people who are connected both to the music and to the musicians; a real personal and family feeling that joyfully goes both ways."

A particular treat for concertgoers will be a world premiere: the first-ever choreographed version of renowned Chinese composer Tan Dun’s “Ghost Opera” for string quartet and Chinese pipa (a stringed instrument). ChamberFest is collaborating with GroundWorks DanceTheater and its artistic director, David Shimotakahara, to perform this original interpretation of Dun's famous piece, a transcendent exploration of human spirituality.

Audiences can attend informative pre-concert talks and entertaining after-concert events.  To see the schedule and order tickets, go to, or call 216-785-9977.

Gayle Gathercole

Gayle Gathercole is a public relations volunteer for ChamberFest Cleveland.

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 12:38 PM, 06.02.2014