OSWEGO — A piano soloist, respected bassist, sisterly strings duo and husband-wife vocal team will highlight a six-performance season of SUNY Oswego’s Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series.
“Our goal is to forge connections among artists, students and the community,” said series coordinator Trevor Jorgensen of the college’s music department. “It’s that ‘Ke-Nektion’ that we’re looking for.”
All of the concerts for the Ke-Nekt series are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays in Sheldon Hall ballroom. Performers meet with and coach students, often in SUNY Oswego classrooms and occasionally in area high schools.
London-based pianist Helen Yorke, who also has an international reputation as a vocal coach, will launch the series on Oct. 28. Her music department host, accomplished vocals specialist Mihoko Tsutsumi, “always wanted to work with Helen,” said Jorgensen.
While Yorke has worked with such vocalists as Renee Fleming, serving as her exclusive recital pianist for 10 years, the Ke-Nekt performance will feature pieces from the solo piano literature.
On Nov. 11, award-winning saxophonist Robert Young of SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music will lead a relatively rare saxophone quartet, joining Dan and Marilee Blumenthal and faculty host Jorgensen. The players will perform on soprano, alto, tenor and baritone sax, Jorgensen said.
“The goal is to replicate the music of strings,” Jorgensen said. “Composers have written for it. We’re going to try some different world music, including a Piazzolla tango.”
The world-renowned Afiara Quartet, described as “a revelation” by La Presse, will perform on Feb. 24. After residencies at the Juilliard School and San Francisco State University, the strings ensemble was named Fellowship Quartet at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, embracing a role as ambassadors for the genre. Faculty host Ahreum Kim will join on violin for one piece.
Basses and duos
Jazz bassist Larry Grenadier, who has played with the likes of guitarist Pat Metheny and pianist Brad Mehldau, will appear March 9 with the music department’s own Oswego Jazz Project, featuring Jorgensen, Eric Schmitz and Robert Auler.
Music faculty member Danny Ziemann, who has studied with Grenadier and recently won second prize in the jazz division of an international double bass competition, will join the headliner for a duet and the entire ensemble for “a couple of tunes,” Jorgensen said. Grenadier plans to work with the Oswego High School jazz ensemble and other student and faculty musicians during his visit.
On April 6, sisters Madalyn, on violin, and cellist Cicely Parnas — each of whom also has a solo career — will appear in concert, with host Auler, who will play a trio with them. Duo Parnas has won the International Chamber Music Competition at Carnegie Hall and earned rave reviews in the New York Times, which cited their “electrifying reading,” “lush tone” and “pinpoint precision.”
To top off the season on April 27, baritone Kyle Pfortmiller, who has sung roles with Oswego Opera and currently works with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, will appear with his wife, soprano Laura Pfortmiller. Faculty host Juan La Manna will accompany them on piano for vocal duets and arias from favorite grand opera composers.
Tickets for performances in the Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series are $15 ($5 for SUNY Oswego students), available at the college’s box offices, online at tickets.oswego.edu or by calling 315-312-2141.
Parking is included in the price of a ticket in employee and commuter lots adjacent to and across Washington Boulevard from Sheldon Hall.