Muskegon – West Michigan Symphony Principal Violist Arturo Ziraldo and two of his colleagues, principal cellist Alicia Gregorian Sawyers and assistant principal second violin Mark Portolese, will team up for a program including works by Schubert and Beethoven.  The concert will take place at The Block, the WMS’s intimate alternative performance venue located in the heart of downtown Muskegon, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4th.  Joining them will be pianist Sookkyung Cho, a faculty member at Grand Valley State University and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.  Selections will include Beethoven’s Piano Quartet Op. 16 and Schubert’s String Trio D. 471, among other works.

 Beethoven is usually pictured as the wild-haired, scowling master of classical music, a genius of unassailed reputation and unbridled arrogance.  Whether or not this stereotype accurately reflects his personality at any age is open to question. Certainly as a young man of 27—when Beethoven first introduced the Piano Quartet—he still felt keenly overshadowed by his exalted musical forebears, Haydn and Mozart.  As a result, he had yet to venture into the symphonic realm—but the Piano Quartet represented an initial foray in that direction.  Schubert’s String Trio is a lesser-known work that, like his famous “Unfinished” Symphony, he never completed.  It consists of a fully-formed first movement and a few scant bars of a second movement.  Musicologist Blair Johnston calls it music of “sparkle and no little wit, to be played with a smile… and a wink.”

Arturo Ziraldo has performed with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Chicago Philharmonic, among many others, and as a chamber musician at the Kent/Blossom, Spoleto USA, Casalmaggiore, Nançy and Deer Valley festivals. He maintains a private studio and gives frequent masterclasses and clinics.  Mark Portolese is Associate Concertmaster of the South Bend Symphony and teaches both violin and piano at Crescendo Academy of Music. He runs the Vicksburg String Program, a beginner group class for violinists, violists, and cellists.   Alicia Gregorian Sawyers has performed at Jordan Hall, Sanders Theater, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall for the Mostly Mozart Festival. She teaches for the String Academy of Grand Rapids and maintains a private studio.  Korean-born pianist Sookkyung Cho has appeared in venues such as Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and Zijingang Theater in China, among others.  A founding member of the Almava trio, Ms. Cho has participated in festivals including Yellow Barn, Norfolk, and Sarasota, and was a Performing Associate at Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine.

Ticket prices are $20, $10 for students with ID. Tickets and information can be obtained by calling 231.726.3231 or at www.TheBlockWestMichigan.org. The Block is located at 360 W. Western Ave. in Muskegon.

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