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Photo Flash: PREFORMANCES WITH ALLISON CHARNEY at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center

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PREFORMANCES with Allison Charney delivered again with its triumphant "Chamber Music Celebration" Thursday afternoon to a full house at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center. Host and series founder, soprano Allison Charney, hosted the afternoon with disarming charm and a profound love of classical music that cleverly masked her creativity in infusing the expertly-performed concert with lessons in music history, theory and practice - along with her signature "un-Google-able" insights.

The concert, overbrimming with chamber music, began with the Neave Trio's rhapsodic rendition of Rachmaninoff's plaintive "Trio Élégiaque" and continued with violinist Miranda Cuckson's virtuosic rendition of Dave Soldier's "Hammer and Anvil." Cuckson together with cellist Sophie Shao played Xenakis' early work, "Dhipli Zyia" with thrilling aplomb. Later joined by violist Daniel Panner, the trio gave true meaning to the concert's title of celebration. Their seamless give-and-take and palpable joy during Kodaly's rarely heard "Intermezzo for String Trio" was a delight; and their rousing finale of Beethoven's "String Trio, op. 3" drew prolonged applause from the enthusiastic audience.

Cellist Susan Salm and violinist Lisa Tipton challenged with their exquisite reading of Wolfgang Florey's impossibly quiet "Farbenhaut"; Sophie Shao, with pianist Craig Ketter, played the Debussy "Cello Sonata" with an intensity and drama matched only by soprano Allison Charney's showstopping performance of Verdi's masterful "Morró ma prima in grazia" from the opera Un Ballo in Maschera.

The emotional highpoint of the afternoon, however, was the revelation of Marianna Rosett's haunting "Kaddish", performed with heartbreaking beauty by Allison Charney, Craig Ketter and Susan Salm. Part of a longer cycle, this piece examines the undertold story of the lives of Holocaust survivors' children, born after the war, as they navigate life surrounded by the whispers of secrets and the ghosts of siblings they had never known. Rosett has created new melodies that immediately feel like old friends, poignantly underlined by Brooke Johnson's deft interweaving of these stories with the traditional Jewish memorial prayer. Particularly timely in this week commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, there was not a dry eye in the house.

Photo Flash: PREFORMANCES WITH ALLISON CHARNEY at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center

Photo Flash: PREFORMANCES WITH ALLISON CHARNEY at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center
The Neave Trio playing Rachmaninoff''s Trio l giaque in advance of their upcoming recording on the Chandos label.

Photo Flash: PREFORMANCES WITH ALLISON CHARNEY at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center
Series host, soprano Allison Charney, engaging the PREformances audience in her signature style

Photo Flash: PREFORMANCES WITH ALLISON CHARNEY at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center

Photo Flash: PREFORMANCES WITH ALLISON CHARNEY at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center
Allison Charney, Susan Salm and Craig Ketter acknowledging composer Marianna Rosett and lyricist Brooke Johnson after performing Kaddish from their new song cycle, GHOST BROTHERS

Photo Flash: PREFORMANCES WITH ALLISON CHARNEY at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center
Miranda Cuckson, Daniel Panner and Sophie Shao perform Beethoven''s String Trio, op. 3 in anticipation of their upcoming concert at the Library of Congress

Photo Flash: PREFORMANCES WITH ALLISON CHARNEY at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center
Miranda Cuckson and Sophie Shao after Xenakis'' Dhipli Zhiya

Photo Flash: PREFORMANCES WITH ALLISON CHARNEY at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center
Allison Charney and Daniel Panner discuss the art of playing chamber music with Miranda Cuckson, Sophie Shao and the audience

Photo Flash: PREFORMANCES WITH ALLISON CHARNEY at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center
Allison Charney and the Neave Trio explaining the challenges of Rachmaninoff''s one movement-long piece

Photo Flash: PREFORMANCES WITH ALLISON CHARNEY at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center
Violinist Anna William of the Neave Trio

Photo Flash: PREFORMANCES WITH ALLISON CHARNEY at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center
A full house at Merkin Hall for PREFORMANCES


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