Aaron Cain: I'm Aaron Cain for WIU Arts. ChamberFest Brown County is in full swing, featuring musicians from near and far, and three of them have joined me over Zoom to talk about this year’s festival.
Andreas Ioannides: I'm Andreas Ioannides. I'm a pianist. I'm also the Artistic Director of ChamberFest Brown County. I actually graduated from IU in 2019 with my Doctorate, studying with Mr. Pressler, and now I reside full time in Ireland where I'm teaching at the Cork School of Music.
Larry Neuman: My name is Larry Neuman, I play Viola. I'm a member of the Chicago Symphony along with my colleagues in the Lincoln String Quartet. We're all here at the festival this week.
John Sharp: John Sharp. And I also play in the Chicago Symphony, I'm principal cello.
Aaron Cain: This is the second year this is happening, correct?
Andreas Ioannides: That is correct. It's basically a classical music festival focusing on chamber music, so this year it's August 14 through 20, and we have six concerts and one poetry event. The schedule you can find in detail on our website.
So on Wednesday, August 17th, we have a performance which we're naming Clarinet Transformations, and that's going to be centered around the clarinet. That's happening at the National United Methodist Church in Nashville, IN. Then on Thursday, August 18th, then we have a concert for larger ensembles. We're playing the Piano Quartet by Brahms in g minor. And that will be with Pianist Elisabeth Pridonoff, who used to teach at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music for many years. And she'll be joining the Lincoln String Quartet members. And then finally in the second half, we're having the Franck Piano Quintet—I will be playing the piano part for that—and the same string ensemble. Then, on Friday, we have a piano trio concert which involves me but not the Lincoln String Quartet. I'm playing a piano trio with the Jacobs Professor Mark Kaplan and Peter Stumpf, violin and cello. Very excited about that. And finally, on Saturday, August 20th, the Lincoln String Quartet. They're starting off with the “American” String Quartet by Dvořák. And then, after intermission, they're doing the glorious Brahms String Sextet in G—the second one—and they're going to be joined by two members of the Pacifica Quartet, Brandon Vamos on cello and Mark Holloway on Viola. So that's going to be at the Brown County Playhouse at 7:00 PM.
Aaron Cain: So how has it been preparing the works for these performances?
John Sharp: We just got out of the rehearsal; first rehearsal for the Franck Quintet—just a wonderful piece—and it was really a joy to work on it and to discover what's happening in it.
Larry Neuman: Yeah. Stimulating and refreshing to play with new people, to meet Andreas and play with a new musician, and hearing his thoughts on how we play it.
Aaron Cain: Have you had a chance to rehearse and perform in the venues yet, and what do you think of them?
Andreas Ioannides: We're using three churches in Nashville. The Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday concerts are at the National United Methodist Church, which is a beautiful, beautiful space. And, on top of that, we're in Brown County, which is one of the most beautiful areas in Indiana. It really a the destination for any kind of tourist, and also music lover. So I think that we're onto something there in terms of bringing music and nature together.
Larry Neuman: Music is consumed so much and heard so much today through electric amplification of some sort. There's no end to the ways that people can hear music: online, or stereo, or radio, or whatever, headphones, et cetera. But I feel strongly that acoustic music, in particular, and older styles of music, like so-called classical music, It's a different kind of experience that so many people today don't get to have; they don't get to very often hear music—acoustic music—uunamplified, no electricity, with these instruments that were designed, sometimes, hundreds of years ago. And these people that lived so long ago, and they saw life differently because those times were different.
John Sharp: I completely agree with what Larry said. You can't put into words, maybe, a certain moment, or the whole piece, but you go, “I know what that composer was feeling.” You understand what they felt. And I think that's why music is so amazing, and so great, and there's really no substitute for it. I mean, you can't really say in words what these things are saying, but you…you recognize it.
Aaron Cain: John Sharp, Larry Newman, and Andreas Ioannides. Thank you so much for speaking with me about ChamberFest, Brown County 2022.
Larry Neuman: Thank you.
John Sharp: Thank you for having us.Aaron Cain: More information at the festival website, chamberfestbrowncounty.com. I'm Aaron Cain for WFIU Arts.