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An Austin Classical Music Calendar II


Week of September 13-19

This week features a notable guest to the Austin area as well as offerings from local ensembles.  All in all, it’s an exciting week to be a classical music enthusiast in Austin.

Joseph Alessi appears in concert at UT on September 16th
If you cornered a classical brass enthusiast and demanded to know the names of the top five trombonists in the United States, the list would probably be headed by Joseph Alessi.  Principal trombonist of the New York Philharmonic, on faculty at the Juilliard School, a busy arranger/author/clinician, Alessi is a whirlwind of constant activity, none of which detracts from his glorious playing.  He is one of the only trombonists I’ve heard who can make that unwieldy instrument sound like the human voice.  There are none of those blatty, backfiring car noises you might remember from the trombone section of your high school marching band; Alessi’s sound is always rounded and warm, with an Italianate lyricism to his phrasing that makes his work irresistible.  On Thursday, Alessi presents a recital in Jessen Auditorium (in Homer Rainey Hall on campus) at 7:30 PM; I don’t have the particulars of the program, but if you’re a fan of the brass section, I would strongly suggest you attend.  For those who want to see Alessi’s pedagogical side, he’s giving masterclasses in the UT music building (Recital Studio, MRH 2.608) at 6:00 PM on Monday and Wednesday, and 4:00 PM on Tuesday.

UT has committed something of a blunder by pitting Mr. Alessi against their resident Miró Quartet; at the exact same time as the trombone recital on the west side of campus, the Miró is presenting their annual “Miró Quartet and Friends” concert in the music building.  To be fair, these guest events are often arranged long after the Faculty Series events have been set in stone, but perhaps Mr. Alessi’s concert could have been arranged for Wednesday night, allowing Austin music lovers to take in both the trombone recital AND the quartet concert.  As it is, UT has done Mr. Alessi a disservice, potentially removing some of his audience.

Regarding the “Miró and Friends” concert, there is some confusion over who exactly the friends are, as well as what they are playing.  Posters (and the Miró website) advertise a Baroque evening, with Vivaldi and Bach concerti with guests including the Aeolus Quartet, Marianne Gedigian, Chuck Dillard and Daxun Zhang.  The UT events website tells a different story, updating the program by a century or two; with Christopher Luther and Samuel Johnson, the quartet will allegedly be presenting Schubert and Brahms, including the latter’s monumental String Sextet, op. 36.  Though I love Vivaldi and Bach, I truly hope the second program is the correct one.  The Brahms first Quartet is a good piece of music; the second Sextet is a great piece of music.  It exemplifies all that is unique about chamber music, providing moments of heightened emotion while maintaining the special intimacy of small ensemble.  It’s a waste of words to attempt to describe the work, so go to the concert.

I confess: I have not yet heard the Miró.  With any luck, their sound in the concert hall is more individualistic than in the clips offered on their website.  Those clips give the impression of a tight ensemble armed with a generically warm, yet bland timbre, and an interpretive outlook that changes little from piece to piece.  I look forward to having those impressions dashed by their live performance this week.

If the Miró does end up offering a Romantic program, I shall do my Baroque penance by attending the La Follia “Art of the Baroque Trumpet,” featuring guest baroque trumpeter Nathaniel Mayfield.  The program includes works by Giuseppe Torelli, J.S. Bach, and Handel.

A note to those who wish to attend UT Faculty Series concerts without leaving the comfort of their own homes: you can listen to live, streaming audio by finding the event at the UT Music Calendar and at the appropriate moment, listening via Quicktime.

As always, if there is an event you want advertised/reviewed, email me at

Thursday, September 16
Steve Wilson, bassoonist

Jessen Auditorium – 4:30 PM – FREE ADMISSION
Program Info Not Available

Joseph Alessi, trombonist
Jessen Auditorium – 7:30 PM – FREE ADMISSION
Program Info Not Available

Miró Quartet and Friends
Bates Recital Hall – 7:30 PM – General Admission $15/UT personnel & seniors $10
Miró: Sandy Yamamoto, Joshua Gindele, Daniel Ching, John Largess
Friends: Christopher Luther, violist ; Samuel Johnson, cellist
Works of Brahms and Schubert

Saturday, September 18
La Follia: The Art of the Baroque Trumpet
First English Lutheran Church (Whitis Avenue) – 8:00 PM – Tickets from $8-18
Artists include Nathaniel Mayfield, Ryland Angel and Annette Bauer
Works of Torelli, Alessandro Scarlatti, Bach and Handel

Sunday, September 19
La Follia: The Art of the Baroque Trumpet
First Presbyterian Church (Mesa Drive) – 3:00 PM – Tickets from $8-18
Artists include Nathaniel Mayfield, Ryland Angel and Annette Bauer
Works of Torelli, Alessandro Scarlatti, Bach and Handel