Martin & Ronen join for a musical collaboration

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Featuring the Ronen Chamber Ensemble with guest cellist Caroline Saltzman, the music department of the University of Indianapolis presented the Faculty Artist Concert Series performance “Youthful Exuberance” on Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall of the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center.

The featured faculty members during the performance were Assistant Professors of Music Gregory Martin on piano and Austin Hartman on violin as well as Adjunct Music Faculty Member David Bellman on clarinet.

Pieces performed during this concert included “Trio for Piano, Clarinet and Cello, Op. 11,” by German composer Ludwig van Beethoven; “Three Pieces, Op. 28,” and “Quartet in A Minor, Op. 21,” by English composer Herbert Howells; and “Sonata” for clarinet and piano, by French composer Francis Poulenc.

Junior music performance major Allison Vickery attended the performance and saw some of her professors perform together.

“As always, I think Dr. Martin showed some pretty incredible playing. His program that he put together, including the  “Howells,” [Op. 28 and Op. 21] and being a pretty unusual composer, was a really unique thing to feature two of his works,” Vickery said. “I think that’s really neat that Dr. Martin put that much emphasis on a really obscure composer.”

Martin enjoyed all of the pieces by the variety of composers that were incorporated into the program for the evening.

“I thought the whole program was a good balance of heavy stuff and light stuff. I think it worked. The violin pieces were not initially a part of the program, but when we had to made adjustments, really last-minute for the program, I thought of adding those in because of the fact that the one chosen was the one that the quartet was about…. It was a nice little filler in the first half,” Martin said.

Featured in the first piece of the program was 16-year-old cellist from Evansville, Ind. Caroline Saltzman. The young cellist served as principal cellist of the Evansville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and later began her studies with Co-Director of the Indiana Jacobs School of Music Pre-College String Academy Susan Moses. She also has worked with notable cellists such as Csaba Onczay, Helga Winold, Richard Aaron, Amir Eldan, Peter Opie and UIndy graduate and brother to Allison, Nathan Vickery.

Although Vickery does not know Saltzman personally, she does know some of her study history.

“She actually takes lessons with the same person my older brother took from when he was in high school, so that’s kind of a fun connection,” Vickery said. “I thought her playing was really expressive and just very beautifully shaped and very mature in music.”

Vickery’s purpose in attending the performance included supporting both Martin and the Ronen Ensemble.

“I always enjoy chamber music concerts. It’s a very different feel from, say, a solo performance or an orchestra. A solo performance is all about that one person, but for a lot of audience members, maybe their attention span  for solo performances is a little bit lower. For classical music, perhaps you’re getting someone off the street [to listen to] orchestra music. The person off the street is thinking, ‘There is so much going on, almost more than what I can pay attention to.’  However, in chamber music, with groupings of two or three or four, you have a lot of the personality of the individuals coming through, and there’s a collaboration that makes a really neat experience [for people] to be able to see the individual personalities come together,” Vickery said. “I’ve always appreciated Greg’s playing, and he’s a great person in general. The fact that he wants to bring to the public’s attention more of these obscure works is really neat.”

Like Vickery, Martin thinks that unknown and unique music brings a different feeling to the audience.

“I think people not knowing the music brings it [the music] some kind of freshness that it might not have had if were…. a piece that everyone had heard over a thousand times,” Martin said. “I always have thought that your job when performing is to do everything like a world premiere.

Directed by Director of Jazz Studies, Mark O’Connor, the Jazz Combo will take place on Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall. The concert is free to the public and offers L/P credit for UIndy students.

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