Basically Beethoven Festival 2016: free concerts, diverse programming

Fine Arts Chamber Players will present the FREE 36th Basically Beethoven Festival on Sunday afternoons in July. Held at the Dallas City Performance Hall in the Dallas Arts District (2520 Flora Street, Dallas 75201), every program boasts a Rising Star Recital at 2:30 pm and a Feature Performance at 3 pm. Doors open at 2 pm. Rising Star Recitals present local, gifted young musicians; Feature Performances showcase professional musicians from the area. All concerts are FREE TO THE PUBLIC. Paid parking is available in surface lots and garages in the Dallas Arts District. Families with children are welcome.

Basically Beethoven Festival 2016

  • Sundays in July: July 10, 17, 24, and 31
  • Doors open at 2 pm; Rising Star Recital at 2:30 pm; Feature Performance at 3 pm
  • Dallas City Performance Hall: 2520 Flora Street, Dallas 75201

July 10, Westerly Winds

  • Rising Star: Quinlan Facey, piano. Performing Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, and Prokofiev, Mr. Facey will demonstrate why the Texas Cultural Trust and the Texas Commission on the Arts chose him for the 2016 Class of Texas Young Masters. Named one of the state’s 15 most gifted young artists, he was awarded a two-year scholarship. This clip shows his rendition of Ravel’s Ondine, which is on the July 10 program.
  • Feature Performance: a sextet from across the Dallas-Forth Worth area performs Beethoven, Francaix, and Ligeti. Featuring Molly Norcross, French horn and Peter Unterstein, bassoon, from the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra; Stephen Ahearn, clarinet, from the Dallas Symphony; Sarah Tran, flute; Paul Lueders, oboe; and pianist John Owings, faculty at Texas Christian University.


July 17, Menagerie: Two Pianos, Six Hands, and a Herd of Animals

  • Rising Star: Alexander Davis-Pegis, cello, plays Debussy’s Cello Sonata. Though not part of the BBF afternoon, this video shows Mr. Davis-Pegis recently tackling Dvorak.
  • Feature Performance: Three pianists, Andre Ponochevny, Cathy Lysinger, and Guest Festival Director and previous BBF artist Alex McDonald, bring to life Copland’s The Cat and the Mouse, Bolcom’s The Serpent’s Kiss, Ravel’s Sad Birds, Saint-Saens’s The Swan, Schubert’s The Crow, Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee, Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, and Stravinsky. The afternoon will close with a new arrangement by McDonald of Stravinsky’s Firebird for three pianists.


July 24, Let’s Dance!

  • Rising Star: Jay Appaji offers a traditional Indian percussion program on mridangam. His sister Varsha, singing raga, joins him; violinist Mark Landson accompanies.
  • Feature Performance: Ensemble75, a chamber music group from Dallas, presents pieces by Bragato, Brahms, and Faure. Ensemble member Jonathan Tsay, shown with other members at this 2014 performance, performs with violinist Sercan Danis and cellist Kyeung Seu Na for the July 24 BBF audience.


July 31, Nocturnal Scenes

  • Rising Star: Pianists Jason Zhu and Jason Lin come together to play duets by Ravel, Debussy, Schubert, and Brahms.
  • Feature Performance: A string quintet (Shu Lee, violin; Kaori Yoshida, violin; Valerie Dimond, viola; Nan Zhang, cello; Shuyi Wang, cello) closes the Festival with Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and Schubert’s Cello Quintet.

Now Hear This: An Interview with Sai Sai Ding

Sai Sai Ding is already quite an accomplished cellist, having won several local and international competitions before completing his first year in high school. Sai Sai and pianist Yurie Iwasaki perform at the 10th Annual Charles Barr Memorial Concert on Saturday, May 14, at the Dallas Museum of Art’s Horchow Auditorium. Doors open at 2:30 for the 3:00 concert. As always, the concert is free. The program includes works by Locatelli, Crumb, and Brahms, and also features an update on some of the Barr Memorial Concert alumni.

Ding, Sai Sai 2016

What is your favorite piece on the May 14 program, and why? I like the Brahms sonata the best because the transitions between movements are written in such a special way that it feels like the audience is being lifted half an inch from the seats.

What do you love about chamber music? How is it different from playing as part of an orchestra? I love to play chamber music because you get to play it with friends as a group. It is different from playing in an orchestra because you get to express the music more passionately as an individual than playing as a section member in an orchestra.

How old were you when you started playing cello? Why did you choose that instrument? I started playing cello when I was 6. I choose to play the cello because I love how the cello sounds, plus my mother encouraged me to play it.

 How many hours a day do you practice? I usually practice four hours a day.

How do you spend your time when you’re not doing schoolwork or playing cello? I love to play basketball! When I’m not busy with cello or schoolwork, I like to play basketball or hang out and have a movie night.

What types of music do you listen to? Who are some of your favorite recording artists? I listen to hip-hop, classical, and rap. My favorite artist is Yo-Yo Ma.

Who’s your favorite composer? My favorite composer is Dvorak. I just love his Cello Concerto in B Minor – it is one of THE best cello concertos ever written.

What’s your dream piece to play? What do you like about that piece? My dream piece to play is the Schumann concerto [Cello Concerto in A Minor]. I like it because the music is so touchable, and it requires a high level of musical understanding.

If you could see any concert by any artist living or dead, what would it be? I would go to every single concert by Rostropovich, especially to watch his Dvorak cello concerto performance.

Fine Arts Chamber Players