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La Musica International Chamber Music Festival Is Underway In Sarasota

Apr 8, 2019

This year marks the 33rd season for La Musica International Chamber Music Festival at the Sarasota Opera House, and for about the same price as a movie ticket, audiences can get admission to a series of open rehearsals on the campus of New College of Florida.

Derek Han, the Associate Artistic Director of the festival says the rehearsals for La Musica offer an opportunity to hear how a concert performance comes together.

“Sometimes members of the public come with the music score,” he said. “Sometimes they're sitting up front and looking a little shocked like, ‘how are you going to play this in concert in three days?’ But it's part of seeing how we actually put a performance together."

Ruth Lenz, Derek Han and Dmitri Atapine play Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Trio in E-Flat major, Op.70 No.2
Credit Cathy Carter

Chamber music is a form of classical music composed for a small group of musicians, each with their own part to play. The name comes from centuries ago when musicians were hired to fit a palace chamber. Some of the notable composers of chamber music include Beethoven and Mozart.

Han says chamber music has been called the most accessible form of classical music.

"So it is possible even if you don't know the piece and are not particularly familiar with the music, you can hear sort of the tunes passing from one instrument to the next, he said. “And then there are parts where we're actually playing together, and your ear can actually follow it."

Han is also a renowned concert pianist and will be performing at the festival. He says as a musician, his role is to act as medium between the composer and the audience.

"We sit down at our instruments and we have pieces of paper with lines and dots, little indications that somebody wrote 100, 200, 300 years ago that we as performers transmit to the public today, while we're playing,” he said.

And he says, somehow those transmissions, can still convey an emotional story that was composed long ago.

Rehearsals at the Mildred Sainer Pavilion at New College of Florida run through April 16th and are open to the public. Concerts take place at the Sarasota Opera House.