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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

If you enjoy public radio and television in Buffalo, you’ve probably heard or seen Peter Hall asking you for money. He’s the co-host of “Theater Talk” with Anthony Chase (Friday mornings at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on WBFO, 88.7 FM) and is the afternoon drive host on Classical 94.5 / WNED where he also produces and hosts “Buffalo Philharmonic Live” (Sundays at 5 p.m. repeating Tuesdays at 11 p.m.) broadcasting BPO performances conducted by JoAnn Falletta. Around town he’s the emcee for Buffalo Chamber Music Society concerts, the Falletta competition, and the Camerata di Sant’Antonio concerts. If you see him at a play or musical with a pen in his hand, he’s probably writing a review for

In past lives he has been a Director of Membership for Western New York Public Broadcasting (PBS and NPR), a Director of Marketing for Canisius College, and before that was a Director of Marketing for Fisher-Price. He feels fortunate to have worked for some of the most trusted brands in Western New York.

Growing up in the Amherst school system, music, the arts, literature, outdoor activities, and teaching were important in his family. His grandfather, the painter W.J. Schwanekamp, has works on display at the Burchfield-Penney. His father was a high school English teacher and his mother was a public librarian. In high school, in addition to running track and cross country and being in the ski club, Peter played various instruments in the orchestra, had leading roles in the plays, and was an editor of the high school newspaper. Peter holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from SUNY at Buffalo. For over twenty years he has taught undergraduate and graduate classes at Canisius College’s Richard J. Wehle School of Business.

Depending on the season, on weekends he can be seen riding with the Niagara Frontier Bicycle Club or teaching downhill skiing at Kissing Bridge.

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