Amy Lee and Friends to perform, promote classical music

Photo submitted by Ricardo Sepulveda.

Photo submitted by Ricardo Sepulveda.

Lily Martis

Amy Lee has friends in high places. Some of her friends have been called the “greatest musicians of their generation,” some are respected members of the Cleveland Orchestra and some are professors of music at colleges and universities around the country.

Amy Lee and Friends will perform in the Carl F.W. Ludwig Recital Hall March 31 at 8 p.m., playing compositions from the contemporary repertoire, as well as a trio for violin, horn and piano by György Ligeti.

Lee is the associate concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra and a member of the faculty of the Hugh A. Glaser School of Music at Kent State. Lee plays violin and has performed in a variety of settings around the world.

She is also a member of Ensemble HD, a group of friends and musicians in the Cleveland Orchestra. The group will perform musical compositions in the first half of the program.

“The group was initially created to play classical sets at the Happy Dog bar in Cleveland with the mission to promote classical music in unlikely settings and to create unique performance experiences,” Lee said.

The second half of the program will focus on the featured trio for violin, horn and piano by Ligeti. The trio is comprised of Richard King, the principal horn of the Cleveland Orchestra; Randall Fusco, a music professor at Hiram College; and Lee.

As indicated in the score of this piece, the trio pays homage to Brahms, a German pianist who composed a major work for this same combination of instruments, which is made up of four movements.

“The four movements for the piece are really strikingly difficult,” said Frank Wiley, director of both the New Music Ensemble and the Kent State Orchestra. “They’re very demanding, which is the case for a lot of Ligeti’s music.”

Ligeti wrote the trio piece after a four-year hiatus and combined the use of tonal and atonal elements in this composition.

“In all three instruments, he goes to the extreme,” Fusco said. “The piano is played in the highest and lowest registers, and the same goes for the horn and violin. The challenge is trying to get these three instruments to blend in a convincing way but to realize there are also pieces in the repertoire where they do not blend.”

In the piece, King, who has been called “one of the greatest horn players of his generation,” explores the out-of-tune complexities available on the horn.

“My role with the horn is asked to do a lot of strange things,” King said. “I’m asked to use techniques that are not common to the horn, such as play out of tune intentionally, to create a really haunting and beautiful sound.”

The Ligeti trio was originally set to be performed this past summer at the Kent/Blossom Music Festival but was canceled due to weather conditions. Lee, however, saw this as “an opportunity to bring some of the most inspiring artist I know to KSU.”

After waiting several months, “We now have a chance where it’s going to happen, and that’s exciting,” Fusco said. “It’s like coming back to an old friend.”

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Contact Lily Martis at [email protected]