at the
Leiser Opera Center

Cello & Piano two April 22 2007 at 3 pm

Iris van Eck & Kemal Gekic


Louis Andriessen
Elegie for cello & piano
For Rene van Ast

Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata for Cello and Piano in A major, Op.69

Allegro ma non tanto
SCHERZO, Allegro Molto
Adagio cantabile/ Allegro vivace

Boris Papandopulo
Rapsodia Concertante

Introduzione (tempo libero, quasi improvisato)
Arioso (andante sostenuto)
Danza (allegro non troppo)


Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sonata for Cello and Piano in g minor, Op.19

I Lento, Allegro moderato
II Allegro scherzando
III Andante
IV Allegro mosso

2 encores, Scherzo by van Goens and The Swan bySaint Saens

Program notes

Louis Andriessen b. 1939 The Elegie for cello and piano is dated March 12 1957. It was written for my former cello teacher Rene van Ast while they both studied at The Hague conservatory. When I studied at the same conservatory decades later Rene van Ast gave me a copy of his original manuscript and he and I explored this beautiful piece together.
Louis Andriessen was born in Utrecht in 1939 into a musical family: his father Hendrik, and his brother Juriaan were established composers in their own right. Andriessen studied with his father and Kees van Baaren at The Hague Conservatory, and between 1962 and 1964 undertook further studies in Milan and Berlin with Luciano Berio. Since 1974 he has combined teaching with his work as a composer and pianist. He is widely regarded as the leading composer working in the Netherlands today and is a central figure in the international new music scene as one of Europe's most eminent and influential composers. Works by Louis Andriessen include:Hoketus(1977) De Stijl(1985 Writing to Vermeer (1997-98)  an Opera in six scenes, Miserere, a new string quartet (played by the Schoenberg Quartet played on Dutch tour (16-25 Apr) La Commedia commissioned by Netherlands Opera, for premiere at the 2008 Holland Festival.

Ludwig van Beethoven  (1770-1827) Born in Bonn in 1770, the eldest son of a singer in the Kapelle of the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne and grandson of the Archbishop's Kapellmeister, Beethoven moved in 1792 to Vienna, where he had some lessons from Haydn and others, quickly establishing himself as a remarkable keyboard-player and original composer. By 1815 increasing deafness made public performance impossible and accentuated existing eccentricities of character, patiently tolerated by a series of rich patrons and his royal pupil the Archduke Rudolph. Beethoven did much to enlarge the possibilities of music and widen the horizons of later generations of composers. To his contemporaries he was sometimes a controversial figure, making heavy demands on listeners both by the length and by the complexity of his writing, as he explored new fields of music.

Boris Papandopulo (1906-1989) One of the most prolific of Croatian composers was the colorful personage of maestro Papandopulo, who began as a choir master and conductor in Split, Rijeka, Sarajevo and Zagreb.  He wrote over 200 compositions including stage works, orchestral pieces, chamber music and various works which feature solo instruments.  In his piano compositions one finds many of the characteristic features of his musical style: use of folk music elements, extended tonalities (twelve tone), and an emphasis on virtuosity.  Papandopulo wrote many types of vocal pieces: the short solo song to the cantata, oratorio, and one full-scale mass.  His Rapsodia Concertante for Cello and Piano features characteristic scales and modes similar to the Roma (Gypsy) scales (augmented intervals), and in a rubato musical style linked to the gypsy mode of performance.  The Danza movement is in the feel of a kolo or village dance interrupted by moments of repose heard in lyrically written passages in the cello...

Sergei Rachmaninoff was born on April 1, 1873, on a large estate near the ancient city of Novgorod, Russia. His father was an army officer and his mother was a wealthy heiress. His father gambled, drank, and squandered his wife's money. He deserted his family when Sergei was nine years old.

Young Sergei was a problem child, but had an extraordinary talent at the piano and entered the College of Music in St. Petersburg at age nine. Rachmaninoff graduated from the conservatory with high honors.
Rachmaninoff wrote very little chamber music: two piano trios, various fragments for string quartet, and some short pieces for strings and keyboard. But for one chamber ensemble he felt a continuing affection–the combination of cello and piano.  Among his earliest works were the Romance in F Minor for cello and piano and Two Pieces for Cello and Piano, Opus 2, and to that combination he returned in his final chamber work, the Sonata for Piano and Cello in G Minor. Rachmaninoff wrote his this sonata in the summer of 1901, when he was 28.  Several years earlier, harsh critical attacks had so damaged his self confidence that he stopped composing altogether.  Under the care of the psychologist Dr. Nikolay Dahl, who treated him with hypnosis, Rachmaninoff regained his confidence and composed his Second Piano Concerto, which had a triumphant premiere. 
It was in the afterglow of this success that Rachmaninoff wrote the Cello Sonata, and perhaps it should come as no surprise that the sonata shows some of the grand, extroverted manner of the piano concerto. Rachmaninoff and Anatoly Brandoukoff gave the premiere in Moscow on December 2 of that year.  The manuscript itself is dated December 12, 1901–apparently Rachmaninoff went back and made some revisions after the first performance.
Like Chopin’s sonata for cello & piano, Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata has been criticized for favoring the piano at the expense of the cello. Rachmaninoff was one of the greatest piano virtuosos of all time, and some critics have felt that he  naturally wrote best for the instrument he knew best.  While the piano does have a prominent role in this sonata, this was by design rather than by default. In my opinion he writes for both cello and piano in a way that brings out their strongest points. The cello has the beautiful lyrical melodies which bring out it’s character, while the piano has more passage work. Especially when the pianist is a wonderful one, both instruments can shine. The cello sound should be carried within the texture and sound of the piano, so that they become one….
After hearing a radio performance of the sonata in 1942, Rachmaninoff phoned the cellist to offer congratulations on her playing but also to complain about the balance of the broadcast: the engineers had set the piano well in the background (which was a common practiced in that time & maybe even now). Rachmaninoff wanted to specify that this was a Sonata for Piano and Cello and not simply a Cello Sonata with an accompaniment.

Music is enough for a lifetime ,
but a lifetime is not enough for Music


Iris van Eck, the founder of “Chameleon Chamber Music Series at the Leiser Opera Center” is principal cellist for the Florida Grand Opera and the Florida Classical Orchestra. She has appeared as soloist with various orchestras in the United States & in Europe, including the Florida classical Orchestra and is frequently heard on the chamber music circuit in South Florida and abroad. She was born in the Netherlands to an artist painter (father) and a piano teacher (mother). She studied at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague with Jean Decroos (principal cellist in the Concertgebouw orchestra) & Rene van Ast before moving to the United States where she studied with madame Raya Garbousova. She is a winner of the Edith Stein Concours in the Netherlands (on flute) and the Concerto Competition at Northern Illinois University (on cello).
Ms van Eck participated in master classes with Paul and Maude Tortellier and at the Piattigorsky Seminar in Los Angeles she studied with William Pleeth, Lyn Harrell and Jeffrey Solow and at the Cleveland Chamber music Seminar with Joseph Gingold and the Guarneri Quartet.  
Iris van Eck’s first recording “Works for cello & Piano by Women Composers” (Henriette Bosmans, Louise Farrenc and Rebecca Clarke) was released last December by Eroica Classical Recordings (www.eroica,com)
She plays a beautiful French cello made by Bernardel Pere in 1831. 

Kemal Gekic Flamboyant, daring, provocative, exciting, seductive and sensitive are some of the words used to describe one of today’s most formidable pianists, Kemal Gekic, whose playing has been acclaimed worldwide by public and critics alike.
Born in Split, Croatia in 1962, Gekic amazed his family by accurately picking out melodies on the piano at age one and a half. The young prodigy received all his early musical training from his aunt, Lorenza Batturina.
He created a sensation at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Although panned by the jury he won the hearts of audience and critics alike, and began receiving many invitations to perform abroad. The Warsaw Philharmonic invited Gekic to perform the Chopin E minor Piano Concerto in Philharmonic Hall in their regular series that season. In the same hall, with the same orchestra as he would have done in the competition finals, Gekic wowed the Warsaw audience once more, and for an encore gave Chopin’s Third Sonata in B minor in its entirety!
In 1999 he was invited to perform at the Miami International Piano Festival. Minutes before he was to walk on stage, a chance glance at a television showed houses burning in his hometown of Novi Sad. It was March 24th; the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia had begun. Instead of canceling, he went out on stage and played what many consider to be the best recital he ever gave, one that launched his current re-emergence as one of the major pianists of our century.
Gekic sees the process of musical communication as the transmission of spiritual material. In this as well he is sure to give you an unforgettable experience.
Mr. Gekic is presently the Artist in Residence at Florida International University. Faure’s complete works for cello and piano were (taped in February 2006 at Florida International University’s Werthheim Auditorium