September 10th, 2022
Christ United Methodist Church
September 10th, 2022
Christ United Methodist Church
Ora Itkin, pianist
David Townsend, clarinetist
Laura Sewell, cellist
Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc (1899-1963)
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 184
Allegro tristamente: Allegretto
Romanza: Très calme
Allegro con fuoco: Très animé
Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967)
Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 4
Fantasia: Allegro di molto
Allegro con spirito
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Trio in A Minor, Op. 114
Our program “Onward” will feature a new guest artist in pianist Ora Itkin. She will be joined by our own clarinetist David Townsend and returning guest cellist Laura Sewell for a program of works by Poulenc, Kodály and Brahms.
Russian-born pianist Ora Itkin began her piano studies at age four under the guidance of her father, Igor Itkin, who became known as one of the pioneers of subversive Russian jazz. She is a graduate of the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow, Tel-Aviv University, and Rubin Academy of Music at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. As an active concert pianist and chamber musician, Ms. Itkin performs in the Twin Cities as well as internationally in Eastern and Central Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. She is a faculty member at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul and the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, and is a founder of Reprise School of Piano and Musicianship. She is artistic director of a multi-disciplinary music series entitled Muse Salon, and served as the curator of a multilingual festival entitled Worlds between Words at the University of Minnesota. As an educator and a life-long advocate of a holistic approach to learning, Ms. Itkin seeks to promote an interconnectedness of music with the arts, humanities, and sciences through her cultural ambassadorship initiatives, interdisciplinary seminars and presentations, individual work with students of all ages, and especially in her original multimedia productions, ArtAffects.
David Townsend is a clarinetist, educator, and woodwind repair technician. He was the principal clarinetist of the Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale for 32 years, and is a founding member of the Rochester Chamber Music Society, which began in 2003. His concerto performances include works of Mozart, Weber, Spohr, Bruch, Krommer, Molter, Hindemith, and Copland. His quintet performances include works by Mozart, Brahms, Reger, Reicha, and Hindemith. He has earned degrees from Indiana University, Michigan State University, and the University of Arizona, and has also studied chamber music at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. His primary teachers include John Denman, Rudolf Jettel, Keith Stein, Elsa Ludwig-Verdher, and Lawrence Maxey. After serving three years as a clarinetist and recitalist with the U.S. Army Band at West Point, New York, he subsequently taught at the college level for 13 years before turning to woodwind repair and restoration, a second career he persued for 35 years. He is now retired and recognized as a master of restoration and repair that served musicians internationally. Also, he has continued as a free-lance musician and resides in Rochester, MN, with his wife, Jane.
Minnesota native Laura Sewell was the founder and cellist of the award-winning Lark Quartet. During her tenure in the Lark, the quartet was a top prize winner in the Banff International String Quartet Competition and performed nearly 100 concerts a year in Europe, Asia, Canada, and throughout the United States. Later in her career, she was the cellist of the Artaria String Quartet from 2007-2016. As both a soloist and chamber musician, Ms. Sewell has premiered works by such distinguished composers as Libby Larsen, Stephen Paulus, Paul Schoenfield, Peter Schickele, Steve Heitzeg, Jon Deak, Andrew Waggoner, and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. She has been featured as a soloist and chamber musician on Minnesota Public Radio and in recital on the “Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series” on WFMT in Chicago. Other radio appearances include American Public Media’s “Saint Paul Sunday” and “A Prairie Home Companion.” As a recording artist, Ms. Sewell can be heard on the Centaur, Bridge, and Innova labels. During the past thirty years Ms. Sewell has performed with many prominent Twin Cities arts organizations including the Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Beethoven Festival, Dale Warland Singers, Cantus, and the Guthrie Theatre. She has been a guest chamber musician with the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota, the Bakken Trio, and the Musical Offering, and since 2007 has been a member of the Minneapolis-based, Isles Ensemble. She currently serves as Associate Director of the International Cello Institute, a year-round training program based in Minnesota for serious young cellists from around the world. Ms. Sewell received her Bachelor’s Degree from the Juilliard School where she was a student of Leonard Rose, and her Master’s Degree from the Cleveland institute of Music where she studied with Alan Harris. She also had the unique opportunity, at the age of 17, to study with legendary cellist, Jacqueline du Pré.