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We knew them when...


For 14 years now, the Buffalo Chamber Music Society has been offering, in addition to its traditional lineup of concerts, occasional free Sunday afternoon concerts, known as the Gift to the Community series. They feature up-and-coming artists.

Clementina Fleshler, the leader of the BCMS, chooses these musicians cannily, with a keen ear for talent. Often they perform in Buffalo right before their New York debuts, as a kind of warm-up.

Thirty-eight musicians have played on the series so far. Many of them, in addition to their concerts, have visited local schools, giving concerts and master classes and speaking with kids. 

Recently, Clem took time out to look at what a few of these musicians have achieved as of late. The results are inspiring:

22-year-old cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan (2009) won First Prize and the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow held in June 2011

Violinist Mayuko Kamio (2000)  performed on our series in 1999 at age 13.  She was awarded the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 2007.

Soprano Sasha Cooke (2007) starred in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2008 production of John Adams' opera Doctor Atomic. (That is Sasha in the picture up above, in that opera.)

Pianist Adam Nieman (1996) graduated from Juilliard in 1999 winning the Artur Rubinstein Award. That same year he won the Gina Bachauer Competition and was awarded a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.

The Claremont Piano Trio (1999) was awarded the first Kalichstein-Laredo- Robinson Award in 2007.

Violist Naoko Shimizu (1999) went from our stage to the Berlin Philharmonic as principal violist.

When you are through marveling at these artists -- and, with luck, savoring the memory of hearing them play -- mark your calendar for next season's Gift to the Community series. There are three concerts:

Sept. 25: Pianist Benjamin Moser ...


... winner of many honors including first prize in Berlin's Arthur Schnabel Piano Competition.

Nov. 13: Clarinetist Narek Arutyunian, a graduate of Moscow State Conservatory who will be making his recital debut in New York this season.

March 4, 2012: Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, who played one of the three Rhine Maidens in Wagner's "Das Rheingold" at the Metropolitan Opera and is also featured at the Chicago Opera Theater.

The Gift to the Community series is supported by a grant from the Cameron and Jane Baird Foundation. Concerts take place at 3 p.m. in the Mary Seaton Room of Kleinhans Music Hall. Admission is free.

Thank you, Buffalo Chamber Music Society!

-- Mary Kunz Goldman



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