Center Stage Strings returns to Three Rivers


Center Stage Strings will be in Three Rivers for its ninth annual Spring Music Festival from May 11 to 13, featuring faculty artists and current students. Artistic director and violinist Danielle Belen has arranged two concerts with the type of dynamic programming Three Rivers audiences have come to expect.
“We look forward to these performances all year round,” she said. “Getting together with the original CSS crew — Jennie, Lauren, and Elbert — to play concerts and have fun on and off the stage is such a blast. I think the audience feels that.” 
Opening night — Friday, May 11, at 7 p.m. — is the “String Showcase,” featuring CSS faculty colleagues Danielle Belen and Elbert Tsai, violins; cellist Vardan Gasparyan; and pianist Jennie Jung. CSS student alum violinists Harry Rayner and Corina Santos will also perform on this concert. 
“Last year, we invited Los Angeles-based cellist Vardan Gasparyan to join us and his beautiful playing won us over, so we are thrilled to have him back as well,” said Danielle.  
The opening night concert will feature works for strings and piano, ranging from Mozart to Sarasate, Kreisler and Brahms.  This is a chance for the performers to show off the wide range of what their instruments are capable of. 
For those who would like a behind-the-scenes experience, there will be an Open Rehearsal, which is free to the public, on Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. till noon. The musicians will be rehearsing their chamber music repertoire that is the core of the Sunday performance.
On Sunday, May 13, at 4 p.m., the “Chamber Music Extravaganza” concert will include three chamber works: a string quartet by Philip Glass, movements from Dvor├ík’s piano quartet in E flat major, and a unique work by French composer Ernest Chausson.   
Chausson’s Concerto for violin and piano and string quartet is like a chameleon in that it constantly changes its appearance.  At times it feels like a chamber work with equal voices, other times it is a concerto for piano with string accompaniment, and sometimes it appears to be a
sonata for violin and piano alone.   At all times, it is full of musical colors and a wide range of emotions. And it has a notoriously different piano part. 
In the spirit of the educational component that makes the real magic of Center Stage Strings, violinists Harry Rayner and Corina Santos will join with the pros to perform on the Chausson. 
Everyone is invited to join these fantastic musicians for a weekend of beautiful music and friendship. All concerts will be held at the St. Anthony Retreat Chapel (43816 Sierra Drive) in Three Rivers. 
Tickets are available online for $15 ( or $20 at the door.

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