Trio players teach as well as perform during concerts

Music: The Raphael Trio will play Thursday in the county's central library

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Howard Live

Arts and entertainment in Howard County

September 09, 2005|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The musical performance scheduled for Thursday at the central library ought to appeal to anyone curious about the difference between a sonata and a scherzo -- as well as people who have never even heard the term scherzo.

The Raphael Trio, made up of flutist Elaine Newhall, violinist Bruce Myers and cellist Fay Rosinsky, will lead the audience through a brief tour of classical music history, explaining the meanings of musical words as they go.

"People go and hear music and there are all these words associated with it," Newhall said. "For people who are not really schooled in classical music, you might not really understand what those words are."

(By the way, a sonata is a composition for one or more solo instruments; a scherzo is a lively movement, usually in three-quarter time.)

"I think it's going to attract people who actually want the educational component," said Jeanie Pfefferkorn, who runs the concert series for the library. The series offers a musical performance each month, free and open to the public.

The Raphael Trio, based in Howard County, performed at the library for the first time in February, Pfefferkorn said. For that performance, Pfefferkorn asked the trio to use the theme of romance. So they played segments from various operas and discussed the meanings of the pieces.

"People learned a lot," Rosinsky said. "They enjoyed the music, but they also learned a lot."

Pfefferkorn told the trio that this time they could do whatever they want.

Newhall said the musicians chose four pieces that demonstrate specific musical eras and styles. "We want to be able to not only play the music, but explain something about who wrote it," she said.

The pieces will be performed in chronological order, and were chosen because they will give the musicians a chance to talk about various musical concepts, Rosinsky said.

The first will be a baroque piece by a French composer, Jean Marie Leclair, from the 1700s. Next will be a scherzo from Beethoven, followed by a sonata from Franz Danzi and a rag from Scott Joplin.

The show is expected to take an hour, but the audience can linger with questions, which is what happened after the February show, Rosinsky said.

The trio has been together about 15 years and plays mostly at weddings and parties, Rosinsky said. The three musicians also give educational performances at public schools and other venues, and they have performed together at Symphony Woods in Columbia and at Coolfont, a resort in West Virginia.

Myers, the violinist, is former concertmaster of the U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra, the official orchestra of the White House, and the U.S. Air Force Symphony Orchestra. He has performed with the National Symphony and Baltimore Opera Orchestra.

Newhall, winner of the Howard County Outstanding Artist Award in 2001, gives private lessons and is principal flute of the Columbia Orchestra. Rosinsky, a former member of the Maryland Cello Ensemble, has performed in ensembles at the Kennedy Center and National Press Club.

The three met through their children and through mutual musical friends, said Rosinsky, who moved to Howard County from Virginia in 1988. "I guess you find when you're in music it's a small world," she said.

Though they do not advertise and are just now setting up a Web site, the musicians have developed a steady flow of work through word of mouth, Rosinsky said.

"We play together quite often," Newhall said. But she added that she is particularly looking forward to the library performance because "it's really nice for us to be able to play exactly what we want to play."

The concert, "What's in a Name: Sonatas, Scherzos and More," is to begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the meeting room of the central library, 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. Information: 410-313-7860.

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