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Inaugural concert at Odd Fellows 7 Stars Gallery features live chamber music

By Charles Atthill
Special to Prospector
Alexis Alrich, classical composer and pianist, plays in the Chamber Music Live! concert on Friday, November 18, at the 7 Stars Gallery with four fellow musicians including local pianist Lynn Schugren.
Submitted photo

Imagine you unexpectedly acquired a rather nice grand piano that you wanted to show off to your music-loving friends, what would you do? Why, mount a concert of course. Invite your circle of professional musicians to plan a program, secure an intimate venue, put the word out, and there you are.

And that’s exactly what Ralph Henson did when he obtained what he calls a “brand new, at least to me” 1904 Baldwin Hamilton Grand Piano. Henson is a veteran KVMR broadcaster, and one of the team of presenters of Classics Declassified, KVMR’s weekly classical music show. He was looking for a way to bring the piano to life and to promote live classical music concerts. He talked to Alexis Alrich, local classical composer, professional pianist and also a KVMR classical music broadcaster, who took the idea and ran with it.

Alrich’s idea was for a chamber music concert of the kind once common in people’s homes: musicians playing for each other and a small audience of music-loving friends. “Not unlike,” says Alrich, “gold miners of another age gathering round the hearth, playing the fiddle and singing.” At first the plan was for Alrich and Lynn Schugren, another local professional pianist, to play piano duets, piano-four-hands as it’s known in the classical music trade.

But the idea grew. Alrich contacted her classical musician friends, a violinist, a cellist, and a flutist, and together they brainstormed a program to highlight the piano and their own instruments. Henson had the venue: the Odd Fellows 7 Stars Gallery at 210 Spring Street in Nevada City. “This will be the inaugural concert”, says Henson, “and we hope it will be the first of regular concerts at the gallery. And maybe we will be able to broadcast concerts live on KVMR.”

The concert program will give the piano, and the performers, a work out: a Mozart Violin Sonata, played by violinist Miriana Cota with Alexis Alrich on the piano; a Duo for Flute and Piano by Aaron Copland, played by flutist Martha Stoddard, also with Alrich on the piano; a locally inspired piano-four-hands piece by Alrich called “Red Dog Road”, played by Alrich and Lynn Schugren; another Alrich work, “Voice of the Forest”, commissioned and played by Lynn Schugren; a Beethoven Cello Sonata played by cellist Alexandra Roedder with Lynn Schugren on the piano; and to end, and with the help of the vocal talents of the audience, an arrangement of the traditional folk song “The Water is Wide” with all five performers.

“All musicians love chamber music,” says Alrich, “where they’re not swallowed up in a big group or alone in the spotlight. It’s more like chatting with delightfully like-minded friends. And what could be more fun than to gather with friends around our local hearth in Nevada City and share music with each other.”

Charles Atthill is a KVMR broadcaster and Producer of KVMR’s Classics Declassified weekly classical music show.


WHAT: Chamber Music Live! Mozart, Beethoven, Copland, and more

WHO: Martha Stoddard, flute; Miriana Cota, violin, Alexandra Roedder, cello, and Alexis Alrich and Lynn Schugren, piano

WHERE: Odd Fellows 7 Stars Gallery, 210 Spring Street, Nevada City

WHEN: Friday November 18, 7 p.m., doors open at 6:30

TICKETS: $20 at the door

MORE INFO: 530-648-4714


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