Ken Hardin Trio kicks off TCCA’s exciting 62nd season |

Ken Hardin Trio kicks off TCCA’s exciting 62nd season

Fall is in the air. My classical music calendar, sadly empty after the busy summer season, is filling up again with the start of the Twin Cities Concert Association (TCCA) 2008-09 season.

Now in its 62nd season, TCCA has grown to a seven-concert program covering a wide range of musical styles, periods, and performers.

The season opens with a benefit concert by the popular Ken Hardin Jazz Trio, with Mickey Bennett, bass, and Kit Bailey, percussion, reunited for the occasion, Expect jazz standards – “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Ain’t Misbehavin,'” for example – in tight arrangements showing Ken, better known as a classical pianist and chorus director, in a less familiar role.

It’s a way to introduce the community to TCCA, its informal style (no tuxes here), and intimate environment, great acoustics and closeness to the performers. This year the benefit concert is in the beautiful outdoor setting of the gardens and pond of Lance and Joan Goddard in Chicago Park.

“How do you plan a season?” I asked Ken, also the artistic director of TCCA. “The Artist Selection Committee of the board listens to a lot of music! Ideas come from all manner of sources including our audience members.” “What’s your programming philosophy?” I probed. “We try to offer a wide range of music to open our audience’s ears to the wonderful possibilities of different voices, instruments, and musical styles. We also want to open doors to new performers who may not be marquee names on the concert circuit but who are nonetheless first class musicians.”

How does a small arts organization, especially a classical music one, build itself and thrive?

The answer is in the quality, variety and value for money of its programs, and the growing base of supporters for whom a TCCA concert is just what they do on the third Sunday of the month from September till May.

Like all performing arts organizations TCCA’s budget can rely only so far on ticket sales. There are contributions from an increasingly large and generous group of donors for whom the musical life of the community is a key part of its vitality.

There are fundraisers – wine-tasting anyone? And there is giving back to the community, not just in the intriguing programming and outstanding performers, but in the Youth and Teen Scholarship programs, and in the free Benefit Concert which traditionally opens the season.

The 2008-9 season includes American Pianist Association Competition Winner, Michael Sheppard, described as “one of the real Titans of the keyboard”, followed by the MGQ, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, rightly regarded as one of the world’s leading guitar ensembles. Petite Panache returns once again: local artists in small ensembles; Russian violinist, Larissa Shahmatova, comes back following her TCCA debut in 2002 with an exciting and virtuoso program including the premiere of a work by local composer Mark Vance for violin and piano duet.

The ensemble of Ebony and Ivory follows with a fascinating variety of instrumental music including jazz, ragtime, folk, pop, Gershwin and Goodman. A newcomer to TCCA will be the Bel Canto Quartet, an operatic quartet, including local mezzo-soprano Brielle Morgan, featuring favorite operatic arias.

The season ends with another pianist, Joel Fan. Noted for his work with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project, Joel will perform his “World Keys” program of piano works from all over the globe.

With a single orchestra ticket for the SF Symphony now costing $81, TCCA’s season ticket priced at $96, seven concerts for the price of six, is a great musical bargain. Individual tickets are $18 of which $1 goes to TCCA’s youth programs.

I for one can hardly wait for the fall music season, even though I fear that whatever event I go to I will miss something equally attractive.


Charles Atthill lives in Alta Sierra. He sings in more than one Nevada County chorus but never in the shower.

TCCA’s 2008-2009 program

Concerts are on the third Sunday of the month at 2 p.m. at the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Osborne Hill Drive off Highway 174, unless otherwise shown.

Concerts are preceded by a free talk about the performers and the program at 1:15 p.m., and are followed by a “Meet-the-Artist” reception.


Oct. 19: Michael Sheppard, piano

Nov. 16: Minneapolis Guitar Quartet


Jan. 18: Petite Panache

Feb. 15: Larissa Shahmatova, violin

March 15: Ebony and Ivory (Peace Lutheran Church)

April 19: The Bel Canto Quartet

May 17: Joel Fan, piano

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