The Violin Channel recently caught up with Don Buxton, executive director, and Susan Koh, Rising Stars committee chair/board member of the Chesapeake Music Festival in Easton, Maryland. This weekend, the festival is presenting a virtual concert featuring four young talented artists.
Tell us about Chesapeake Music. When was it founded and what is its mission?
For 37 years, Chesapeake Music, based at the Prager Family Auditorium in historic Easton, MD, has enriched the musical life of the Chesapeake region by presenting classical and jazz concerts.
In particular, we offer an annual two-week chamber music festival in June which brings to our region renowned musicians, under the Co-Artistic Direction of Marcy Rosen, cellist and a founder of the Mendelssohn String Quartet, and Catherine Cho, violinist, member of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, and teacher at The Juilliard School of Music. We also organize bi-annually an International Competition for Professional Young Chamber Music Ensembles in April. The prizes are among the largest offered today.
Our mission is to bring renowned musicians to delight, engage, and surprise today’s audiences — and to educate, inspire and develop tomorrow’s.
Tell us about the Rising Stars concert that will take place on February 13. Who can we expect to see?
Like our Founding Executive Director of Chesapeake Music, Don Buxton has said, “Viewers of this virtual concert are going to be treated to a technically flawless and inspired musical evening by these rising star-artists. Chesapeake Music anticipates this concert will serve to inaugurate future rising star programs as Chesapeake Music pursues its mission to spread the joy of music throughout the year in the region.”
Randall Goosby, who grew up in Memphis, was the youngest-ever winner, at age thirteen, of the prestigious Sphinx Concerto Competition — the national contest for young Black and Latinx classical musicians. Among other awards, he was a first prize winner at the 2018 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. He earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music from The Juilliard School. Currently, he is pursuing an Artist Diploma at Juilliard, where he studies with Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho.
Zhu Wang was born in Hunan Province, China, and began studying piano at age five. He pursued a baccalaureate degree at The Juilliard School and is continuing his study at the Curtis Institute of Music. Zhu is a first prize winner of the 2020 Young Concert Artists International Auditions.
The American violist Molly Carr and the Bulgarian pianist Anna Petrova began playing together in 2005 during their years at The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music. Since then, the Carr-Petrova Duo has performed in world-renowned venues and music festivals across Europe, the Middle East, and North America. Their debut album, “Novel Voices,” was released on Melos Records in October 2019 to critical acclaim.
Your programming for the Rising Stars concert is highlighting African American and female composers. Can you tell us about the repertoire?
Violinist Randall Goosby and pianist Zhu Wang, both in their mid-20s, will perform Brahms' Sonata No. 3 and works by Florence Price and William Grant Still. At the end of the concert, violinist Catherine Cho, artistic co-director of the annual Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival and Randall Goosby’s teacher at The Juilliard School, will interview Randall.
Following the Goosby/Wang concert, violist Molly Carr and pianist Anna Petrova will perform an exciting program of works by the “American Visionary” composers Florence Price, George Gershwin, and Amy Beach. The artists will briefly introduce and discuss each selection.
If we want to tune in, how can we watch the concert?
Chesapeake Music is pleased to host this virtual concert for free on Saturday, February 13 at 7:30 p.m., to be streamed at www.chesapeakemusic.org. The concert will be available online, following the concert, for one week.
What other initiatives have you put into place this year to support young artists during the pandemic?
We hope that the Rising Stars concert will be the first of a series of three concerts during the year that we will produce moving forward. This will add a new dimension to what we are currently doing with the Chesapeake Chamber Music competition and our YouthReach program — both of which are programs geared to young artists at the beginning of their professional careers and children not yet exposed to the wonders of classical music.