Music News & Reviews

Summer selections for classical music lovers

Duo Soleo, Minna Sungmin Han on piano and Joo-in Lee on violin, will play Crocker Art Museum June 10.
Duo Soleo, Minna Sungmin Han on piano and Joo-in Lee on violin, will play Crocker Art Museum June 10. Crocker Art Museum

“Tosca,” “Carmina Burana,” and the West Coast premiere of Forrest’s “Jubilate Deo” are all behind us. Both the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera and the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra have wrapped up their seasons. The Mondavi Center has rung down the curtain on its concert series. What is a music lover to do? Take heart: The long, hot summer months are not a cultural desert for the capital region.

The Crocker Art Museum provides a particularly notable oasis. On the second Sunday of each month, the Crocker hosts an afternoon concert at highly attractive prices (from $6 to $12 per ticket). First up, on June 10, is Duo Soleo, featuring Joo-in Lee on violin and Minna Sungmin Han on piano. The musicians have chosen compositions inspired by the museum’s collection of American Impressionist art, and they will play selections by Debussy, Fauré, and other musical impressionists.

The Crocker’s July 8 concert will give Sacramento music lovers a rare opportunity to hear works by insufficiently celebrated female composers. The North Star Trio (violinist Kristen Autry, cellist Alexandra Roedder, and pianist Lynn Schugren) will present compositions by notable women, including Dora Pejacevic’s romantic Piano Trio in C Major, and Laura Netzel’s “Serenade.”

The theme continues into the August 12 performance of the Felix-Graber Duo. Anita Felix on violin and Miles Graber on piano will present works by women overshadowed in their own day by more famous male counterparts: Fanny Mendelssohn, the sister of Felix, and Clara Schumann, wife of Robert. Compositions by French romantic composer Clémence de Grandval will also be on the program, which may give pause to those who recognize Clémence as a man’s name. But don’t be so surprised. In the tradition of George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) and George Sand (Amantine Dupin), Marie Félicie Clémence (the Vicomtesse de Grandval) sought success in the arts by adopting a masculine pseudonym. In the hope that such subterfuges are consigned to the past, her name on the program is cited as Maria Grandval.

Another downtown Sacramento institution offers classical music performances for an even better bargain – Westminster Presbyterian Church’s “Music at Noon” series is free. The one-hour programs include three events already announced for June: cellist Christine Zdunkiewicz and friends on June 13, violinist Christine Choi and cellist Jia-mo Chen on June 20, and The Black Cedar Trio (flute, guitar, cello) on June 27. Plans for July will include chamber music with the Sacramento Youth Symphony. Check the church’s website to stay abreast of developments.

For music aficionados willing to travel, Grass Valley’s robust Music in the Mountains program provides some powerful incentives to lure people up into the foothills.

Its concert calendar boasts such events as the Brahms “Serenade No. 1” (together with Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in C Minor, June 24), Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony under the baton of conductor Daniel Stewart (with soprano Carrie Hennessey singing Strauss’s poignant “Four Last Songs,” June 28), and a concert devoted to the works of Bernstein and Gershwin (Pete Nowlen conducting, with pianist Richard Glazier as the soloist in Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” June 30).

If you go

Crocker Art Museum Classical Concerts

Sunday, June 10: Duo Soleo

July 8: North Star Piano Trio

Aug. 12: Felix-Graber Duo

More information:

“Music at Noon”

Wednesdays at Westminster Presbyterian Church

June 13: Cellist Christine Zdunkiewicz and Friends

June 20: Violinist Christine Choi; Cellist Jia-mo Chen

June 27: The Black Cedar Trio (flute, guitar, cello)

More information:

Music in the Mountains: