Professional Development Concert Lecture Series

Whether you are a professional musician, a student, or a lover of fine music, this concert series will not only entertain you, but these world class musicians, many of whom are also university professors, will enlighten you about the pieces they perform. The performances are on Friday mornings throughout the year at the First Congregational Church, at 14 Brookside Road in Darien, CT

9:45 Coffee, 10:00 Concert/Lecture

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Professional Development Series

All concert/lectures will take place at the First Congregational Church - 14 Brookside Road- Darien, CT
Please RSVP to Shari Weisz - gro.z1568643388siewf1568643388s@ira1568643388hs1568643388
9:45 Refreshments
10:00 Lectures

October 4, 2019 - Dr. Pavel Gintov

November 15, 2019 - Itay Gore

March 6, 2020 - The Cassatt String Quartet

April 24, 2020 - Yael Weiss - Beethoven Then and Now: 32 Bright Clouds

October 4, 2019 - Dr. Pavel Gintov will present a lecture-recital on Sergei Bortkiewicz, one of the most unjustly overlooked composers. During his life, Bortkiewicz was oppressed and persecuted by both Soviet and Nazi regimes. A brilliant pianist and composer, he was also a refugee and a survivor of two world wars and a civil war. The style of Bortkiewicz’s music derives from the great Romantic composers of the 19th century. He adopted Liszt’s rich and brilliant piano writing, Chopin’s lyricism and humanness, imagery of Schumann’s character pieces, Wagner’s imaginative harmony.

Pavel Gintov’s CD of piano works by Bortkiewicz has been praised as “the major release” by the Fanfare Magazine and as a “true discovery” by radio France Musique. Pianist Pavel Gintov has been described as “a poet of the keyboard” by Marty Lash of the Illinois Entertainer, and as a “musical storyteller” by the Japanese publication Shikoku News. Dr. Gintov won a First Prize in the Premiere Takamatsu International Piano Competition in Japan, First Prize in the 2010 Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition. Dr. Gintov is also an avid chamber music performer. He was also awarded the prize for best collaborative pianist in the International Paganini Violin Competition in Moscow. Dr. Gintov graduated with honors from Moscow State Conservatory. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Nina Svetlanova.

November 15, 2019 - Itay Gore - In his program Image & Sound, pianist Itay Gore explores music inspired by pictures, real or imaginary. Focusing on Schumann’s Carnival Scenes from Vienna, Debussy’s Images and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Mr. Gore will discuss the parallels in these composers’ creative sensibilities, their compositional techniques and their own thoughts about music. The presentation will culminate with a performance of Pictures at an Exhibition.

 Described as "an evocative journey from shimmering excitement to calm contemplation" (Classical New Jersey), pianist Itay Gore's performances touch the heart and magically transport the imagination of the listener. He has performed in Europe, Asia, the Pacific and the US and maintains a busy concert schedule. Following a recent performance at a summer festival in France, a French newspaper singled out his interpretation of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition as “dazzling”. This season highlights include chamber music concerts in Vienna and Germany, a premiere of a piano sonata which was written for him by American composer Randall Svane, and performances of Brahms 2nd Piano Concerto with the Tübingen Academic Orchestra in Germany.

March 6, 2020 - The Cassatt String Quartet - Join the Cassatt String Quartet for a world-wide celebration of Beethoven’s 250th Birthday: Beethoven, Before and Beyond! The Cassatt String Quartet shares their inside experience of the interpretation of string quartets through the exploration of the joyful Mozart Hunt Quartet K. 458, the angst of the c minor Beethoven Opus 18#4, and the intensely passionate Mendelssohn Opus 13 String Quartet.

Acclaimed as one of America's outstanding ensembles, the Manhattan based Cassatt String Quartet has performed throughout North America, Europe, and the Far East, with appearances in London for the Sapphire Jubilee Celebration of Queen Elizabeth II, the Beijing Modern Music Festival, New York's Alice Tully Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Tanglewood Music Theater, the Kennedy Center and Library of Congress in Washington, DC, the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris and Maeda Hall in Tokyo. The Quartet has been presented on major radio stations such as National Public Radio's Performance Today, Boston's WGBH, New York's WQXR and WNYC, and on Canada's CBC Radio and Radio France.

Formed in 1985, recent reviews state "Wherever one encounters the Cassatt is astonished both at their prowess and their unfailing inspiration.” (Concerto Net) and "... a wonderful performance, with a beautifully integrated sound..." (Jeffrey James for SoundWordSight). Highlights include a concert and recording to celebrate pianist, Ursula Oppens’s 75th birthday with Laura Kaminsky's new Piano Quintet, a world-premiere with Eliot Fisk of Daniel S. Godfrey’s guitar quintet at the Boston GuitarFest and a recording of Godfrey’s Cello Quintet with Nicole Johnson. New collaborations this season will occur with pianist, Frederic Chiu, trombonist, Haim Avitsur and several world-premieres will be performed at the Clark Art Institute and at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts. The Cassatt returns to Treetops Chamber Music Society with clarinetist, Oskar Ruiz and pianist, Magdalena Baczewska and this year marks their 13th annual Cassatt in the Basin! educational chamber music residency in Texas with guest, Benjamin Zander.

Summer highlights include their residency at the innovative Seal Bay Festival of Contemporary American Chamber Music in Maine with pianist , Ursula Oppens and a return to the Music Mountain Festival and Summer Academy with cellist, Paul Katz and pianist, Pei-Shan Lee.

Named three times by The New Yorker magazine's Best Of...CD Selection, the Cassatt's discography includes eclectic new quartets by Pulitzer Prize-winner Steven Stucky and Julia Wolfe (Cantaloupe), by Daniel S. Godfrey (Koch International Classics) and by Grawemeyer and Rome Prize-winner Sebastian Currier (New World) as critiqued in The New York Times (Quartetset) was written for the Cassatt... which plays it strongly here."

The Cassatt has recorded over thirty CD's for the Koch, Naxos, New World, Point, CRI, Tzadik and Albany labels and is named for the celebrated American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt.

April 24, 2020 - Yael Weiss - Beethoven Then and Now: 32 Bright Clouds

In celebration of Beethoven’s 250th Anniversary, pianist Yael Weiss will be discussing what makes Beethoven and his music relevant to performers and audiences today. How has Beethoven been perceived through the past generations, and how have musical interpretations of his music evolved? What are some innovative ways of programming Beethoven’s music? The discussion will center around Yael’s project “32 Bright Clouds: Beethoven Conversations Around the World”, a global music-commissioning and performing project that includes works influenced by Beethoven from countries of conflict spanning the globe. All the new works are unified through musical themes from Beethoven, and highlight his message of inner and outer peace through music. More about the project at

Israeli-American pianist Yael Weiss has appeared internationally in major venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall and the Bolshoi Hall as recitalist, soloist with orchestra, and as a member of the Weiss-Kaplan-Stumpf Piano Trio.  Her discography includes solo and chamber works by over a dozen composers on the Koch International Classics and Bridge Records labels, with a new CD set of the complete Beethoven Piano Trios to be released in 2020.

She has been honored with distinguished prizes from the Naumburg International Piano Competition and the Kosciusko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition, and is a regular participant at festivals such as Marlboro, Caramoor and Ravinia. Ms. Weiss has appeared on NPR’s “Performance Today”, St. Paul Sunday, the BBC in London, New York’s WQXR and WNYC and in live concerts for Israeli Television and NHK in Japan. She presents masterclasses worldwide and has served on the faculties of Indiana University and UCSB. Her own teachers included Leon Fleisher and Richard Goode.

Ms. Weiss’ current performances feature tours of “32 Bright Clouds”, a project combining the complete cycle of Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas with 32 newly commissioned works from around the world.