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Friends of Vienna concert series kicks off with Dennis Kim today

One of the many benefits of having a world class Philharmonic Orchestra in town is that so many of the players enjoy stepping away from the large orchestral sound to play what is known as “chamber music.” In the world of classical, that’s like small jazz combos where we hear the individual players in a new, more personal way.  If you’ve never experienced the highest caliber performers play for you “up close and personal” this is an affordable musical treat (Adults $12, Students $5).

Violinist Dennis Kim became the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s concertmaster (think #1 violin) last year, and today (at 3pm), September 25, he’s going to step away from his “boss” role and make his chamber music debut at the Friends of Vienna concert. You can hear Dennis talk about this concert here. The Friends of Vienna have booked a larger venue than usual because they anticipate that many will want to hear Dennis play his multi-million dollar Stradivarius violin.

The Friends of Vienna have booked a larger venue than usual because they anticipate that many will want to hear Dennis play his multi-million dollar Stradivarius violin.

You’ll get to hear that Strad as Dennis plays a work for solo violin by contemporary Canadian composer Richard Mascall. Then with pianist David Fung, Dennis will play the mysterious, haunting, spiritual piece called “Fratres” by Estonian composer Arvo Part, who has a world-wide, almost cult-like following. And finally, with his wife, cellist Soojin Han, the three will play Beethoven’s Piano Trio, Opus 1, Number 1. Now, it’s not the first thing Beethoven ever composed, but when he was a young man and wanted to make the statement “Okay, world, Beethoven has arrived on the scene and I’m here to kick some musical butt” (or whatever) this is the piece he chose to announce himself to the musical world.

All Friends of Vienna concerts are at 3:30pm on Sunday afternoons and, as noted, their opening concert on September 25 will be held at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 1080 Main Street in Buffalo (across Main Street from the Anchor Bar). Ample free parking is available behind the church.

The rest of the Friends of Vienna 2016-2017 Season will take place at 3:30 pm at the Unity Church, 1243 Delaware Ave, in Buffalo, as follows:

Sunday October 14: Fredonia School of Music faculty members Natasha Farny, cello, and Mikying Kim, piano, perform music for cello and piano by Beethoven, Faure, Debussy, Villa-Lobos and Bohuslav Martinu.

Sunday November 6: An all-Schubert program, featuring the beloved Trout Quintet performed by BPO principal second violinist Antoine Lefebvre, violist Donna Lorenzo, UB professor of cello Jonathan Golove, BPO staff pianist Claudia Hoca and BPO associate principal bass Brett Shurtliffe.

Sunday March 5: Boléo, a tango string quartet, featuring Miranda Scoma, violin, Lázara Nelson, violin, Moshe Shulman, violist and bandoneón player, and Natasha Farny, cello.

Sunday April 2: The internationally touring Shtrykov-Tanaka Duo, featuring a pair of dynamic young artists, Russian clarinetist Maksim Shtrykov and Japanese pianist Misuzu Tanaka in works by four 20th Century giants: Serge Prokofiev, Mieczysław Weinberg, Arvo Pärt and Francis Poulenc.

Sunday April 23: Susan Yondt, professor of piano, Royal College of Music, Stockholm returns for an all-Schumann piano recital.

Tickets: $12; $5 students. Season tickets for all 6 concerts: $50.  Information:

Written by Peter Hall

Peter Hall

Peter Hall continues trying to figure out how "it" all works. For Classical 94.5 WNED and on-stage with the Buffalo Chamber Music Society he's conducted over 1,000 interviews with artists to get at answers. On “Theater Talk” his favorite question of co-host Anthony Chase is simply "What's goin' on?" In every situation he's in Peter wonders: "What's the big picture here?" And, "if I had to teach this, how would I break it down to explain it?"

That's why he loves writing reviews. A show with a strong message that makes him laugh and cry and think about life is a good show. Heard Friday mornings at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on WBFO 88.7 FM "Theater Talk" repeats Saturday afternoons at 5:55 p.m. on Classical 94.5 WNED, the radio station where Peter is currently the afternoon drive host as well as producer and host of “Buffalo Philharmonic Live” (Sundays at 5 p.m. repeating Fridays at 10 p.m. on WNED). For the Buffalo Chamber Music Society he moderates on-stage pre-concert chats with the artists and is on-stage host of the Falletta (classical guitar) Competition.

Peter holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from SUNY at Buffalo. For twenty-five years he has been an adjunct professor for Canisius College’s Richard J. Wehle School of Business. He is currently a member of the "Artie Awards Committee."

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