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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Mid-week music retreat

Room 3400 of the Music Building was quickly packed to capacity and beyond as soon as the doors opened on Thursday afternoon to reveal the trio that would be putting on a free concert for anyone with a listening ear.

Pianist Danny Holt, Violist Molly Gebrian and clarinetist Benjamin Mitchell brought their instruments together with an ease that would have an audience believing they had been playing together for years rather than the month they have played together in actuality.

The trio played five classical pieces together and each one showed their skill individually with solos as well for a total of eight pieces that lasted just under an hour, leaving time for the audience to ask some questions.

Most questions were directed to Gebrian, who had played a piece by Garth Knox called Nine Fingers. Ironically, Gebrian had sliced her finger in the kitchen a few days before and had to have four stitches in her thumb, but she still had the nine fingers necessary to play the piece.

Instead of using her bow, Gebrian plucked the strings of her viola in a wildly impressive manner that was delightful to see as well as hear. Her fingers were in constant motion, moving nimbly up and down the neck of the viola with a comfort and ease that gave the impression that the piece might be simple to learn.

An audience member questioned the difficulty level of the piece at the end of the concert and Gebrian once again played the beginning, but at one-quarter speed so the spectators could see each finger’s individual role in the piece. The time she had to take to learn the piece is impressive and she plays it beautifully.

Mitchell’s clarinet solo was one by Bela Kovacs titled Hommage a Manuel de Falla. The piece ranged in volume, going from loud to soft in such a way that a listener with closed eyes might think the piece was performed by two players.

For Holt’s solo, he played a song by Mike Garson, a modern classical composer who has played for David Bowie. While beautiful at times, the piece incorporated dissonance throughout, and played by Holt with passion and extraordinary skill, the cacophony that arose from the piano keys was different than an audience member might expect. Something more demure would be better-suited to the average classical music enthusiast.

The five pieces shared by the trio were all beautiful and well-played, but the most fun was a piece by Max Bruch that artfully displayed the story of an angry viola and a soothing clarinet, both backed by a neutral piano. The two instruments communicate with one another and gradually, the clarinet is able to calm the viola down. The piece ends with both instruments softly holding the same note in unison.

Thursday concerts at Pierce will continue throughout the semester in the Music Building, showcasing the talents of many professional musicians while displaying different classical sounds. The concerts are an hour long with doors closing at 12:45 p.m and begin at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

Kate Noah
Staff Photographer - Spring 2013 Copy Editor - Fall 2014, Spring 2014

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