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This intimate recital program celebrates the deep friendship and professional relationships shared by Clara and Robert Schumann, Brahms, and the renowned violinist Joachim. 1853 was an auspicious year for the four musicians, bringing them together in a bond that continued to the end of their lives. Clara and Joachim would give hundreds of performances together in the course of their careers, and that summer she wrote for him her beautiful and charming Three Romances. October of the same year saw the composition of the FAE Sonata, a collaborative work written as a gift for Joachim, incorporating the violin-virtuoso’s motto “frei aber einsam” (free but lonely), its FAE cipher threaded through each of the four movements in the manner of a leitmotif. Schumann’s friend and student Dietrich contributed the first movement, Schumann the second and fourth movements, and Brahms a Scherzo which remains the most famous movement of the sonata. Other works include Robert Schumann’s haunting first sonata for piano and violin, his elegiac Romances performed on trombone, and Joachim’s tender and impassioned Romance Op.2 No.1.

Gabrielle Wunsch is equally at home on period and modern violins, and enjoys a varied and active performance schedule in North America and Europe. She has performed chamber and solo programs at the Utrecht, Barcelona, Göttingen, and Carmel Bach festivals, and was a prize winner in the 2010 Premio Bonporti International Baroque Violin Competition held in Rovereto, Italy. In the summer she can be found at the Carmel Bach Festival, where she has played for 16 years. On her modern violin she is a member of the Fresno Philharmonic, and plays regularly with the Marin, Oakland, Sacramento, and Santa Rosa Symphonies. Baroque affiliations include Göttingen Händel-Festspiele, Philharmonia Baroque, and Voices of Music. Her video of the Biber Passacaglia on YouTube, recorded and released by Voices of Music, has now passed 100,000 views. She holds Bachelor and Masters degrees in both classical and period violin from Eastman School of Music, SUNY Stony Brook, and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.

Bobby Mitchell, described as a “multi-faceted and passionate talent” by the NRC Handelsblad (Amsterdam), is an American pianist based in Freiburg, Germany. He is active as a solo and collaborative concert pianist on modern and historical instruments and is also experienced in the fields of improvisation, composition, and conducting. He has performed extensively in the Americas, across Europe, South Africa, and the Middle East, and this upcoming season includes concerto performances with the Vallejo Symphony in California, and numerous solo appearances with the San Francisco Piano Festival. He has performed as concerto soloist with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century under Philippe Herreweghe in the Netherlands, Noord Nederlands Orkest, Amman Symphony Orchestra, Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, Concerto Armonico Freiburg, and the new-music ensemble OSSIA, among others.

Bruce Chrisp has been performing trombone professionally in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1989. He is principal trombone of the Santa Rosa Symphony, Marin Symphony, Vallejo Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, Oakland Symphony, Carmel Bach Festival and Fresno Philharmonic, and is a member of Opera San Jose. He plays regularly with the San Francisco and San Diego Symphonies, as well as the San Francisco Ballet and Opera orchestras. He is in demand as a recording artist, and is on the faculty of UC Davis. In addition to playing modern trombone, Bruce also enjoys performing renaissance and baroque works on a replica of a 1595 instrument from Nuremberg. He is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the University of Michigan. 

Arts Council’s Classical Music Festival, Eighth Blackbird

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