The Kandinsky Trio wants people to get a clue.
Or at least, the 31-year-old chamber music group based at Roanoke College hopes people will get chuckles out of their newest season flier, inspired by the “Clue” board game.
There’s pianist Elizabeth Bachelder dressed in red as Miss Scarlet, wielding a lead pipe. Cellist Alan Weinstein, clad in corresponding colors as Mr. Green, hangs his instrument by a rope. And violinist Bendy Goodfriend, in character as Colonel Mustard, brandishes . . . well, a bottle of mustard. “Murdering the classics,” the flier proudly proclaims.
The trio’s tongue-in-cheek bravado has been a feature, not a bug, since 1988, when the year-old Olin Trio took the name “Kandinsky.”
“Words with three syllables go well with the word trio,” Bachelder told The Roanoke Times back then.
Their humor garnishes a passionate, adventurous approach to music. Their season-opening concert on Sept. 15 will feature the world premiere of a new work, “Hyperion,” commissioned by the trio from Virginia Tech professor, computer music researcher and composer Eric Lyon.
The trio will be accompanied by music from a computer. “It’s fairly user friendly in that he based a lot of the rhythms on funk lines,” Weinstein wrote. “I’ve yet to hear the computer part but his [Lyon’s] music is always exciting and often tongue-in-cheek funny.”
Lyon received a Guggenheim Fellowship Award in Music Composition this year for compositions intended to be played on speakers that surround the audience, not unlike the way sound systems in movie theaters work. “Hyperion” is one of the pieces he’s created to fulfill the grant.
The concert also includes works by Hadyn and Mendelssohn.
Further concerts take place in December, January and March in the college’s Olin Theater, with an addition free concert in May in the Olin Recital Hall.
On Dec. 1, tenor Brian Thorsett will join the trio for a performance of works by Monteverdi and Handel. “He’s become an audience favorite and this will be the third season we’ve featured him,” Weinstein wrote. “He’s really an amazing singer and ornaments early music like a great jazz musician.”
On Jan. 19, the trio will reprise an unusual piece that has been a staple in their repertoire for more than 20 years, “Quartet for the End of Time” by French composer Olivier Messiaen. In 1940, imprisoned by the Nazis, Messiaen wrote the piece for the instruments available in the prison camp: piano, cello, violin and clarinet. “It’s a massive, seminal work and the first time I played it was my first year in Roanoke straight out of grad school,” Weinstein wrote. “It has some of the slowest and fastest music ever written in it.”
During the performance, paintings by Roanoke artist Bill Rutherfoord will be projected in the background. Rutherfoord’s art and Messiaen’s music both have apocalyptic themes, Weinstein wrote. Virginia Tech theater professor and actor Patricia Raun, Weinstein’s wife, will read from the H.G. Wells short story “A Vision of Judgement” during breaks in the music.
2018 Kendig Award nominees
Roanoke College and Hollins University will present the 2018 Perry F. Kendig Awards on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Wyndham Robertson Library on the Hollins campus.
Founded in 1985, the Kendig Awards honor the memory of the late Perry Kendig, a Roanoke College president and arts patron. Awards are given for three categories: individual artist, arts organization and arts supporter (individual or business).
The schools recently announced this year’s nominees. They include Nancy Agee, president and CEO of Carilion Clinic, for her support of the arts; Artemis Journal, publishers of art and poetry and organizers of workshops and festivals; Roanoke City Public Schools superintendent Rita Bishop, for forging partnerships with arts organizations; arts nonprofit volunteer Dotsy Clifton; award-winning author, arts supporter and former Roanoke Arts Commission member Doug Jackson; music venue and theater venue Jefferson Center; arts organization volunteers Cynthia and Mark Lawrence; Roanoke theater actress and nonprofit administrator Amanda Mansfield; arts philanthropist Maury Strauss; and Roanoke artist and arts advocate Margaret Sue Turner Wright.
For more information, visit http://kendig.press.hollins.edu.