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De Chambre

by Gerald Carpenter

UNDER THE RADAR: Today (July 27) at 2 p.m., the
Music Academy Young Artists present a free
Community Concert in the auditorium of the Santa Barbara
Museum of Art. I don’t know the program — indeed, I don’t know the
programs for any of the events I will discuss today — but I would
guess that it will resemble those of the Picnic Concerts.

Both Jerome Lowenthal and Donald
McInnes
 — masters, if the word has any meaning — will lead
master classes in Lehmann Hall this afternoon (July 27); Lowenthal
(piano chamber) at 1 p.m., McInnes (viola) at 3:15 p.m. These two
musicians, along with violinist Zvi Zeitlin,
remain, for me, the embodiment of the Music Academy. They were here
when I came to town, just before Ronald Reagan was
reelected, in 1984, and I fully expect them to be here when I move
on, as writers must invariably do.

Musicians in America tend to take on the protective coloration
of being just plain folks. The men profess to be sports fans; the
women talk about their kids and fabric stores. I understand their
motives, but it often makes even the greatest musicians rather
uninteresting conversationalists. So, I was joyful, during my first
interview with Lowenthal, when, in the middle of a discussion of
the prevalence of “prestigious” prizes in today’s music scene, he
reminded me: “You know, Proust himself campaigned for the Prix
Goncourt.” That is what I call a civilized man.

McInnes I have been encountering sporadically and
insignificantly over the last 44 years. The first time was when I
was in high school and one of my closest friends was the son of
Professor Abraham Keller of the University of Washington. McInnes,
who was then playing in the Seattle Symphony, was a friend of the
Keller family. One night, when I was dining at the Kellers, McInnes
came in wearing a tuxedo. “Sorry to barge in in my work clothes,”
he said.

When my friend went away to college, I stopped going over to the
Kellers. I assumed that was the last time I had seen McInnes before
moving to Santa Barbara. But a few years ago, idly turning the
pages of my copy of Boswell’s Life of Johnson, I came across the
program of a concert I had managed when working on a stage crew at
the University of Washington, and it was a Don McInnes recital.
When I mentioned it to Don, he said, “What was the date?” I told
him, and he cited the entire program from memory, 30-some years
after the fact.

Other master classes in the coming week will be led by the
Takács Quartet (string chamber), Paul
Merkelo
(trumpet), Lowenthal again (solo piano), Zvi
Zeitlin (violin), Edward Atkatz (percussion),
Dennis Michel (bassoon), Nico
Abondolo
(double bass), Jeanne Baxtresser
(flute), Anne Epperson (collaborative piano),
Eli Epstein (horn), David Weiss
(oboe), David Geber (cello), Peter
Ellefson
(trombone/tuba), and Marilyn
Horne
(vocal). For time, place, and admission charge,
consult your program booklet, call the Academy at 969-8787, or
visit the Web site at musicacademy.org.

THE JOURNEY BEGINS: There’ll be another of
those fabulous Picnic Concerts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July
28, in Abravanel Hall, programmed and performed by the Academy
Young Artists.

If this week’s column has a theme, I suppose it is chamber
music. We will get a lot of it this Saturday, July 29, starting at
10 a.m., when the Chamber Music Marathon begins in
Abravanel Hall. It ends around 4 p.m., but a single ticket lets you
go in and out all day.

The 2006 Summer Festival opera, Rossini’s
The Journey to Reims, will open next Friday, August 4, but
there will be a dress rehearsal of the show in the Lobero at 7:30
p.m. Wednesday, August 2, conducted by Christopher
Larkin
and directed by Christopher
Mattaliano
, for less than half the admission charge of the
performance itself.

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