Music series

Laguna Woods hosts chamber music series again after pandemic hiatus – Orange County Register

As the village of Laguna Woods returns to public life despite COVID caution, a much-loved institution has made its return to the Performing Arts Center: chamber music series Community Concerts opened the season Jan. 30 with the Minetti Quartett from Vienna.

The young quartet, all of whose members appeared in their thirties, consisted of violinists Bojidara Kouzmanova-Vladar and Anna Knopp, violist Milan Milojicic and cellist Leonhard Roczek.

Although they arrived in the United States only the day before, they defied all definitions of jet lag and delivered a spirited performance. Still, COVID had hit the quartet’s first violinist, and Kouzmanova-Vladar replaced him at the last minute, according to Roczek, who spoke on behalf of the group.

The Minetti Quartet opened with the String Quartet in four movements in F major, Op. 77, No. 2 by Joseph Haydn and concluded with the String Quartet D. 804 in A minor “Rosamunde” by Franz Schubert.

  • The Minetti Quartett, live from Vienna, performed on January 30 at the Performing Arts Center, during the opening concert of the 2022 season of the Community Concerts series. (Courtesy of Ian Samson)

  • The Minetti Quartett salute Jan. 30 at the Laguna Woods Performing Arts Center. The quartet opened the Community Concerts series after a two-year hiatus. (Photo by Daniella Walsh)

  • Violinist Bojidara Kouzmanova-Vladar performs with the Minetti Quartett January 30 at the Laguna Woods Performing Arts Center. (Photo by Daniella Walsh)

  • Viola player Milan Milojicic, left, and cellist Leonhard Roczek of the Minetti Quartett talk to the public about their music January 30 at the Laguna Woods Performing Arts Center.(Photo by Daniella Walsh)

  • Eric Lu is scheduled to perform March 27 at the Laguna Woods Performing Arts Center as part of the Community Concerts chamber music series. (Courtesy picture)

  • Community concerts co-chairs Evette Glauber, left, and Carol Coppage, along with Dennis Glauber check in guests Jan. 30 at the Laguna Woods Performing Arts Center. (Photo by Daniella Walsh)

But what we heard between these two songs was the undeniable superstar:

The Community Concerts Board of Directors makes it a point to combine what might be called “ancient” classical music with the music of contemporary classical composers, most of them young.

This time, the contemporary piece was String Quartet No. 1 “New Gifts of the Night”, by Angela Tröndle, born in 1983.

“Schubert died younger than her age when she composed this piece,” Roczek said.

Tröndle had dedicated the piece, based on a song by German Romantic poet Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff titled “Mondnacht” (“Moonlit Night”) to the Minetti Quartett.

The composition began with silence, and when the music started softly, one could relate to the beginning of the poem, “It was as if the sky had gently kissed the earth.” The play ended with the same silence with which it had begun.

The concert program quotes the young composer as saying: “I feel the silence as fertile ground for my creativity. Silence as an inner state of consciousness that I let come back again and again before the audible and the visible appear and grow.

Ahead of the concert, the Community Concerts board and members were on pins and needles over whether it could even take place, after the pandemic put the concert series on hiatus for two years.

The Globe recently spoke with Community Concerts Co-Chair Carol Coppage and other board members about the concert series’ mission, how it operates and how it selects programs and musicians. Along the way, they talked a bit about themselves and their love for the many streaks of classical music.

“Thank goodness for the internet,” Coppage said. “We can reach out to people; agents and musicians contact us.

She added that over time, the board has established lasting contacts with agents and musicians, and communications come and go.

Coppage explained how the 15-member board ultimately selects artists: “We get a lot of feedback from people who would like to play for us. We narrow down the choices to 12-14 groups, and the final six groups or individuals are chosen by the CC Board of Directors.

Board members visit musicians’ websites and watch their videos on YouTube. They also listen to CDs and recordings to make their selection.

The interpreters come from all over the world, so some degree of English proficiency is required, Coppage said. That’s because what sets community concerts apart is that the musicians tell the audience about their instruments and the music they’re about to perform, she said.

Coppage, 83, a resident of the Village since 2007, brings her experience in fine arts management to her role as Co-Chair of Community Concerts. This includes running a fine arts center in Midland, Michigan.

She shares the presidency with Evette Glauber, whom Coppage praises for her acumen in finding music and musicians that are sure to appeal to audiences with a wide range of classical music interests.

“I have the managerial skills and Evette has the musical knowledge,” Coppage said. “We make a good team.”

She said her greatest joy was bringing high-quality music to people at low cost. The concerts are not sold as individual tickets but as annual subscriptions, with six concerts for $60.

However, paying all the expenses — musician and technician fees, venue rental, ASCAP (copyright) fees, among others — is a challenge, Coppage said. In total, Community Concerts’ $50,000 budget for the entire series includes $10,000 for overhead and $40,000 for performer compensation.

This year the Board has given members of the public the option to include a donation (non-deductible) and is looking for volunteer ushers.

“We operate with few resources,” Coppage said.

Dennis Glauber, speaking on behalf of his wife, Evette, who was unavailable for comment, said the couple served on the Seattle Chamber Music Society’s board of directors before arriving at The Village in 2013.

“We arrived first as snowbirds from Seattle and immediately joined Community Concerts,” he said.

Glauber, 95, said that with more than 30 years of involvement in classical music, he and his wife direct a lot of the music that is presented to the board.

“I know a lot of musicians well,” he said. “We are looking for [music] that Laguna Woods audiences would love, which includes Haydn and Schubert but also 20th century music. I am very happy with the program. »

Unlike his wife, who plays cello and piano, Glauber does not make music. “Well, I play two instruments, the CD player and the DVD player,” he joked.

Myron Singer, 94, was president of Community Concerts from 2013 to 2018. He and his wife, Mimi, 92, have lived in the Village permanently since 2003. Classical music lovers, they immediately joined Community Concerts and volunteers as ushers.

The couple, along with Coppage, shared a bit of the organization’s history. Founded in 1965, Community Concerts had a boom some 15 years ago, but has been revitalized through the efforts of aficionados.

“We really needed a classical music organization in addition to all popular music,” the Singers said on a conference call.

They pointed out that classical music now thrives here, and membership in the organization has fluctuated between 800 and 900 people.

“What makes us successful is knowing what kind of music and composers would appeal to our audience,” said Myron Singer.

He said he would divide the members into two separate groups: One group has about 300 members who are serious lovers of classical music and composers who need concentration – Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, for example. The other group has about 600 members whose tastes are more eclectic.

“The importance of a board chairman is having a keen ear for what would appeal to a broad audience of classical music lovers,” Singer said.

Next concerts at the PAC

February 27: Prima Trio, pianist, violinist and clarinetist who won the 2007 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, winning the coveted Grand Prix.

March 27: Eric Lu, a young phenomenon who won first prize and the gold medal at the Leeds International Piano Competition.

April 24; Delirium Musicum, a 12-piece string orchestra in California.

May 22: Simone Porter, one of the best young violinists of her generation.

June 19: Israel Chamber Project, a group of world-class soloists with the technical perfection of Heifetz.

Memberships are available and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center on February 27. Residents can call 949-454-0468 or 206-304-0816 with questions about club membership. Proof of vaccination and masks are required at the February 27 concert.