The Daily Gamecock

The Chamber Music on Main series makes classical music accessible to students

For the 13th year in a row, the Columbia Museum of Art will open its doors to Main Street and will welcome the community to an intimate evening of chamber music performed by world renowned musicians. The first concert of this year’s Chamber Music on Main series will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10 in the CMA’s DuBose-Poston Reception Hall.

The program will feature a selection of pieces by Beethoven, Stravinsky, Debussy and Weber. Returning performers, pianist Gilles Vonsattel and clarinetist Todd Palmer, will accompany Edward Arron, the artistic director and cellist, in Tuesday's performance. The concert will also feature Bella Hristova, a young and innovative violinist who is new to Columbia.

“We are all old friends, but we haven’t played in this exact combination before,” Arron said. “It is both fresh and familiar.”

Arron has curated five programs for this year’s series and each one has a life of its own. He likes to have as much variety in both the cast of characters that join him to play as well as the pieces of music he selects.

“This program, when I decided on the combination of people, I just started to think of pieces that would be really fun to put together,” he said. “It is kind of a program of four incredible innovators.”

Arron and Vonsattel especially enjoy the ensemble’s work on Beethoven’s piano trio. The piece brings Arron back to a flood of memories and childhood inspiration.

 “[Beethoven's piano trio] is an incredibly powerful statement from a very young composer,” Vonsattel said.

While these artists come from all over the world, they are not new to South Carolina. Arron has been the artistic director of Chamber Music on Main for six years. His relationship with the South began in 1999 when he performed in a piccolo group at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston. Arron then joined Charles Wadsworth, director of the Spoleto Festival’s chamber music concert series, who began putting together chamber music performances around South Carolina. When Wadsworth decided to retire he selected Arron as his successor.

“I am following in his footsteps,” Aaron said. “I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world, playing chamber music in such a great museum.”

Hristova will make her Columbia debut in Tuesday's performance. Although this is Hristova’s first concert at the Columbia Museum of Art, it is her second visit to South Carolina. She performed at Clemson University in 2011 and plans to return in January 2016 to play with the Charleston Symphony. Hristova graduated in 2010 from Indiana University and has received numerous awards for her musical prowess including the prestigious 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant. Hristova loves South Carolina’s quaint towns and inviting atmosphere.

The performance will begin at 7 p.m. but doors will open at 6 p.m. for a pre-performance happy hour. Thanks to the contributions of a generous donor, student tickets to concerts in the series will be $5. Non-member tickets will be $40.

“Classical music is one of the great wonders of humanity,” Arron said. “Music is an art form that inspires, soothes, and makes people creative. It makes people cooperate. It opens channels in the mind. Classical music is much more than cool — it is glorious.”