Last Thursday’s "Jacques Offenbach, the Cellist" was a major success and a great way to end the first season of Abendmusik Alexandria. Cellists Paul Christopher and Milovan Paz presented an excellent recital, introducing many of us to music that is far too undervalued considering its memorable tunes and resourcefulness. Because so many listeners have enjoyed the concerts and shown their support for Abendmusik this season, my colleagues and I at the Arts Council of Central Louisiana are already making plans for next season – expect more great chamber music when season two of Abendmusik Alexandria starts in September!
Until then, there are of course a wide variety of other opportunities to hear great music locally. Here are several highlights just this week. Tomorrow evening (Wednesday, April 8), St. James Episcopal Church will present the final concert of their 2014-15 season. Sure to be another win, the Canterbury Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys will give a concert April 8 at 7:30 PM at St. James Episcopal at the corner of Murray and Bolton near downtown Alexandria. Admission is free, and you certainly won’t want to miss this special opportunity to hear this world famous choir. Canterbury Cathedral is the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and their choir draws from only the best. This, in fact, will be the renowned choir’s only appearance in Louisiana on their worldwide tour.
Saturday, April 11, pianists Nikita Fitenko and Katerina Zaitseva will return to Louisiana for a recital in Natchitoches at Northwestern State University’s Magale Recital Hall. Nikita Fitenko, you might recall, was the driving force behind the Louisiana International Piano Competition (LIPC) in its early days. Additionally, Fitenko was on the music faculty at NSU, while his frequent collaborator Zaitseva was an artist in residence at Louisiana College in Pineville. Both pianists now live in the Washington, D.C. area, but they will be back this Saturday to treat us to music by Debussy, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, and others. Plus, they will be joined by Trio de Llano – the wind trio made-up of current NSU faculty members flutist Dennette McDermott, clarinetist Malena McLaren, and bassoonist Douglas Bakenhus who played at Abendmusik this February. Saturday’s concert is free and open to the public, and begins at 3 PM at Magale Hall on the NSU campus in Natchitoches.
Saturday evening, opera fans in Central Louisiana are also encouraged to make the drive north to Shreveport to catch La Cenerentola with the Shreveport Opera. La Cenerentola is Italian composer Gioachino Rossini’s retelling of the familiar Cinderella fairy tale, and includes plenty of his trademarked light, witty music. For those who enjoyed the Shreveport Opera’s visit to Central Louisiana this February, this will be your last chance this season to hear their fabulous singers once more. Ironically, our twin beauties soprano Sarah Bauer and mezzo-soprano Gillian Lynn Cotter play the ugly stepsisters! La Cenerentola begins at 7:30 PM on Saturday, April 11 at the RiverView Theater in downtown Shreveport.
Not a bad start to April so far, and there’s still plenty more to come… Guys and Dolls (April 15-19), a visit by the Air Force Band of the West (April 16), Jazz on the River (April 18), and much more!
About Jackson. Jackson Harmeyer is a music historian and composer. He is a graduate of the Louisiana Scholars’ College – Louisiana’s designated honors college – where he completed an undergraduate thesis entitled “Learning from the Past: The Influence of Johann Sebastian Bach upon the Soviet Composers.” He has followed classical music around the world, attending the BachFest Leipzig in Germany, Colorado’s Aspen Music Festival, and many concerts across Louisiana and Texas. Resident in Alexandria, Jackson works with the Arts Council of Central Louisiana as Series Director of the Abendmusik Alexandria chamber music series. He also writes the program notes for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra. As his day job, Jackson serves as Operations Manager of TicketCentral.