László Veres leads the volunteer Arizona Symphonic Winds, which closes its spring parks concert series on Saturday.

Bach Society opens with three of a kind

St. Andrew’s Bach Society kicks off its 2014 summer season Sunday with a piano trio playing a pair of trio works.

Pianist Tannis Gibson joins violinist Ben Nisbet and cellist Ian Jones to perform a program of Mendelssohn’s C minor Trio and Beethoven’s Trio in E-flat, opus 70, in a concert that opens the Bach Society’s 26th season.

In keeping with the trio theme, here are three reasons you should make plans to be at Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St., Sunday.

  • The weather outside is frightful, and we’re not talking the snuggle-up-with-hot-cocoa-in-the-winter kind of frightful. We’re talking 106 degrees about the time the concert starts at 2 p.m. What better way to escape the brutal heat than in the air conditioning at Grace St. Paul’s.
  • You get to hear Beethoven and Mendelssohn on one program. Mendelssoh’s trio is simply sublime. It unfolds with taut and gorgeous interplay between the violin, cello and piano that carries throughout the 30-minute piece, casting all three in starring roles. The Beethoven ... well, it’s Beethoven. He wrote serious music for serious musicians; works that were virtuosic showpieces for every player.
  • And the three players sharing the stage Sunday are keenly up to the task. Gibson, an in-demand chamber musician, has performed solo and in ensembles at some of the country’s most storied halls (Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center, New York’s Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall).
    Jones is the newcomer of the group; he joined the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s cello section in 2011. His Tucson ties, though, include studying with University of Arizona cello prof
  • Mark Votapek
  • .
  • Nisbet, a Tucson native who has played for the TSO since 2006, is a bonafide star in Tucson’s music scene. In addition to the orchestra, Nisbet is a founding member of the acclaimed Kingfisher String Quartet and a founding member and musical director of Artifact Dance Project with his dancer wife, Ashley Bowman. Nisbet also is the Bach Society’s artistic director.

Tickets are $12, $6 for students  at the door or online at standrewsbach.org

Last call: Pops, Winds in parks series close

The Tucson Pops Orchestra and Arizona Symphonic Winds wrap up their 2014 spring parks series this weekend.

First up Saturday is the volunteer Winds, which close their Music in the Park series with “Sweet Sound of Cello.” Ann Gratz, principal cellist for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, is the special guest. 

The volunteer Winds performs at 7 p.m. at László Veres Amphitheatre in Udall Park, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road, at Sabino Canyon Road. The amphitheater is named after the Winds conductor László Veres.

The Pops closes its Music Under the Stars series Sunday the way it ends each parks series — with Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” Veres also leads the Pops, comprised of professional players from the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and the University of Arizona.

Sunday’s concert opens with T. Rendall and W. Homas’s “The Chicken Dance” — yes, that “Chicken Dance” — and includes selections from the Broadway musical “Show Boat” and “Porgy and Bess”; Vaughan Williams’ English Folk Song Suite; and Strauss’ “Perpetuum Mobile.”

The concert begins at 7 p.m. at Reid Park’s DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center, South Country Club Road and East 22nd Street.

Admission is free to both concerts, although donations are accepted.

Cathalena E. Burch

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.