Andreas Ioannides: I'm Andreas Ioannides. I'm a concert pianist and educator, and I'm Artistic Director of Chamberfest Brown County.
Aaron Cain: And this is the third year of Chamberfest Brown County.
Andreas Ioannides: Yes, it is.
Aaron Cain: What's the festival going to be like this year in August?
Andreas Ioannides: It's going to be a week long, like last year, and it's going to involve some really great musicians. We have some returning musicians from last summer and some new ones. Some members of the IU Jacobs faculty and some people coming from all of the United States. So we're really excited about the program.
Aaron Cain: Since this is year number three, what are you planning to do the same or differently from the first two years? Since you have two festivals under your belt now.
Andreas Ioannides: Well, I think we're improving, every year, certain logistical things, and we're taking care of more things. But what we do want to continue is our commitment to bringing the best quality of classical music to rural Indiana, Brown County specifically. So we have really wonderful musicians coming from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. We have the Verona Quartet coming. We have a flamenco group coming from Chicago. And we're also excited to be presenting an event for children. We're doing his L'Histoire de Babar, which I think translates to “The Story of Babar” by Poulenc. So, he set the children's book to music and it's set for piano and for narrator. So we're doing that in one of our concerts to honor our little ones in the community. So we're excited about that as well.
Aaron Cain: And also there in Brown County you have some unique venues, as well, for this festival.
Andreas Ioannides: We have the United Methodist Church, which was our first venue, that's really helped us out, hosting three concerts of that week. Then we have the Presbyterian Fellowship Church hosting the children's concert that I just mentioned. Saint Agnes Catholic Church is hosting two of our concerts. And then we have one more venue, which is a beautiful venue on the larger side, around 200 seats, and they're hosting the Verona Quartet.
Aaron Cain: As artistic director of the festival, before, during, and after any given festival, you're speaking with the community a lot about these concerts and about how they're being received, people's reactions to them. What sorts of things have you remembered from last year that get you excited about this year?
Andreas Ioannides: We're just thrilled at how receptive the audience has been. I think they appreciate the fact that we're very down-to-Earth people and our artists also are very keen on speaking to the audience before playing, and also afterwards. And we're trying to improve on this myth that classical music is an elitist genre. We're not that at all. We really want to just show them that this is incredibly expressive and meaningful music, if you give it a chance. A lot of people who come are well versed in classical music, but a lot of them haven't had a chance to hear it at all, especially chamber music. So it's always very humbling and inspiring to hear them react positively to what we're offering.
Aaron Cain: Well, we've talked about chamber music and we've talked about venues. You have an event coming right up, here…
Andreas Ioannides: Yes.
Aaron Cain: …which is also in an interesting venue. And it's also chamber music. It's going to be occurring in Columbus Indiana. Is that right?
Andreas Ioannides: Correct. Yes. We're trying to branch out a little bit. And we're very happy to be playing in the Helen Haddad Hall, which is this beautiful space that is closely linked to the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic. The musicians include Sammy Johnson-Helms, who is principal clarinetist of that orchestra. We also have violist Yang Guo coming from the Indianapolis Symphony. And I will be joining alongside Futaba Niekawa, who is on the collaborative faculty of Jacobs, and she is a founding member of Chamberfest Brown County. So we're really, really excited about the program. We're starting off with the “Kegelstatt” clarinet trio of Mozart, and then I'll be playing six Chopin studies. Then, after intermission, we're starting with the “Lebensturme” duo for four hands by Schubert, and we're closing with Brahms’ First Sonata for clarinet or viola, which we're doing it in the viola version, so that should be a very thrilling conclusion to the program.
Aaron Cain: And if anything goes wrong, you'll have a clarinet on site who could do it.
Andreas Ioannides: [laughter] That's true. That's true, yeah.
Aaron Cain: You're all set. You covered your bases nicely.
Andreas Ioannides: Yeah, I told Yang he’d better not miss any notes. We should also mention that the concert is admission free. That's sort of a foundational principle of Chamberfest. We don't want to have any financial barriers between the audience and the event.
Aaron Cain: I hope that the festival goes swimmingly when it starts up in August and I hope that that event goes swimmingly as well.
Andreas Ioannides: Thank You.
Aaron Cain: And thank you very much, Andreas, for joining me today.
Andreas Ioannides: My pleasure.
Aaron Cain: Andreas Ioannides. Pianist, educator, and Artistic Director of Chamberfest Brown County. The festival enters its third year this August and there will be a preview of sorts for the festival: A Benefit Concert. Saturday, April 15th at 7:30 PM at the Helen Haddad Hall in Columbus, Indiana, featuring chamber music by Mozart, Chopin, Schubert, and Brahms. Information at chamberfestbrowncounty.com. For WFIU Arts, I'm Aaron Cain.