Showing off the violin
Yamach and friends to demonstrate instrument's versatility
Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 06:00 am
Alissa Cheung, Neda Yamach and Michael Massey
Friday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Muttart Hall, Alberta College
10050 Macdonald Dr.
Tickets: $25/adults; $20/students, seniors; available at the door; call 780-420-1757 or online at: www.tixonthesquare.ca
First violinist of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Alissa Cheung is slowly cementing her place in the concerto repertoire.
In addition to her extensive ESO commitments, she has lined up a concert with two of her peers on Friday at Muttart Hall in Alberta College.
ESO first violinist Neda Yamach and pianist Michael Massey, both with an extensive St. Albert residency, help Cheung pay tribute to local music programs and the mentors who helped launch their careers.
“Alissa and I grew up playing together in the Edmonton Youth Orchestra under Michael Massey. We’re good friends and we thought it would be fun to do this concert together,” said Yamach, another bright hope of the younger generation.
With the exception of one of Cheung’s compositions, the concert features a diverse body of substantial contemporary classical works from Slavic composers of the 20th and 21st century.
Cheung, presently working on a masters from the Yale School of Music, has also been studying composition privately with one of Edmonton’s finest, Piotr Grella-Mozejko.
Under his tutelage, she composed the wonderfully distinctive Double Silk scored for two violins that uses a 12-tone technique and pays homage to dance forms.
“It’s really neat. It really shows off the capability of the violin,” Yamach said. She also performs with The Vif String Quartet and The Obsessions Octet, one of Edmonton’s premiere jazz ensembles.
“The first movement is slow. It’s kind of ethereal sounding. It’s very soft and creates a mysterious mood. The second movement comes quickly and the metre changes quickly.”
The duo also flies across the notes with Moritz Moszkowski’s four-movement Suite for Two Violins and Piano, a sonata that ends with a bang.
“It’s not well known in the violin repertoire. It’s very lyrical, very romantic, very lush. The two violins complement each other with playful conversations.”
Cheung solos in Sergei Prokofiev’s deeply moving Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano with Massey marshalling a crisp accompaniment. The duo pairs up once more for Karol Szymanowski’s lively Notturno e Tarantella for Violin and Piano.
For Yamach, there is definitely a different feel for the performer when playing in a small ensemble as opposed to being part of the 52-musician ESO.
“There is definitely more pressure, more eyes on you and this is why I took up the challenge to playing with Alissa. This was a chance to be heard musically and not hide with 60 people, but to be more exposed.”
As for spinning sweet melodies once more with Massey, she said: “I adore him. He conducted both of us in the youth orchestra. He was such a wonderful conductor and mentor. It’s kind of a treat to play with him and Alissa. It brings back old memories.”
Massey is an inductee of the Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame and is the orchestral pianist for the ESO.