Heights Arts unveils ninth season of 'Close Encounters' chamber music concerts

"Close Encounters" musicians (from left) Jeffrey Zehngut, Katherine Bormann, Amy Lee, Tanya Ell, Isabel Trautwein, Yu Jin and Sonja Braaten Molloy.

Image credit: Kalman & Pabst Photo Group

Heights Arts has announced the 2014–15 lineup for its “Close Encounters chamber music series, held in a distinctive array of locations in Cleveland Heights, Midtown, and downtown Cleveland.

The four Sunday afternoon concerts present classical music performed by arguably the world’s most renowned local musicians—members of the Cleveland Orchestra. Isabel Trautwein, a Cleveland Orchestra violinist and “Close Encounters artistic director, engages her colleagues and other professional musicians to design their own programs, ranging this year from baroque to bluegrass. Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate and Cleveland Arts Prize recipient Kathleen Cerveny will recite poems created in response to select musical offerings during the series.

In collaboration with The Music Settlement, area public schools and private teachers, Heights Arts also presents two master classes in its gallery at 2175 Lee Road on Feb. 8 and April 12, led by musicians from the “Close Encounters music series. Master classes are free and open to the public, and feature students of various levels who have been recommended by their teachers. Students and one parent are given complimentary tickets to the “Close Encountersconcert the following week. 

“These concerts are an opportunity to experience chamber music as it is meant to be: up close and in spectacular chambers,” said Trautwein. “I am especially pleased with this year’s lineup. From baroque to bluegrass, from an old warehouse to a shiny glass pavilion, these concerts will be a special Cleveland experience. Adding the free gallery master classes, which provide talented students an opportunity to perform for top professionals, further demonstrates how Heights Arts connects artists to their community and makes life richer and better for all.”

The series opens on Sunday, Nov. 2, with the Factory Seconds Brass Trio presenting “Second to None.” Cleveland Orchestra musicians who serve as second players in their sections bring the sonorous sounds of brass music from several centuries to an elegant Tudor mansion in Cleveland Heights.

Works by Bach, Bartók, and the Beatles inspire the Sunday, Feb. 15, “Break it Down” concert, featuring violins, viola and cello. Using words and music, the artists explore how the basic elements of rhythm, harmony and color can describe the full range of human emotion. “Break it Down” takes place at a state-of-the-art photography studio located in historic Midtown.

On Sunday, April 19, Sextets of All Sizes performs in a renovated stable in Cleveland Heights’ Herrick Mews. Concert highlights include “Transfigured Night,” an early romantic work by Schönberg, and Dvořák’s “G-major String Quintet,” featuring the string bass.

Academy of Bluegrass in the Fields presents “Cleveland Orchestra Members in Disguise” for the finale to the “Close Encounters series on Sunday, May 17. Five musicians of the Cleveland Orchestra, with extreme but little-known bluegrass talents, perform a program of light classical and traditional bluegrass favorites on fiddle, mandolin, saxophone, guitar, string bass, viola and cello—all on a downtown Cleveland rooftop with 360-degree views. 

Subscriptions for the “Close Encounters series, as well as single concert tickets, are available for purchase through Heights Arts or online beginning Monday, Sept. 22.  Discounted student tickets are available, with proof of enrollment, in person at Heights Arts gallery.

Pre-season series subscriptions are $180, general public; $140, Heights Arts members. Individual concert tickets are $50, general public; $40, members. Advance ticket purchase is necessary, as seating is limited. All concert venues are wheelchair accessible.

Heights Arts is funded through the AHS Foundation; Cuyahoga Arts & Culture; the Jean, Harry, and Brenda Fuchs Foundation; and the Ohio Arts Council. Funding for free and discounted tickets is provided by the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation. 

Mary Ryan

Mary Ryan is a staff member of Heights Arts.

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 10:38 AM, 09.30.2014