CCM students Jillian McGreen, Matthew Umphreys, Nave Graham, Michael Arbulu, Walter Park and Amy Pirtle rehearse Schoenberg's 'Pierrot Lunaire.'

CCM Students Bring ‘Pierrot Lunaire’ to Stages Across Cincinnati This March and April

A group of CCM students will revive Arnold Schoenberg’s 1912 melodrama masterpiece Pierrot Lunaire—both in excerpts and in its entirety—during several free performances across the city this March and April.

The CCM ensemble consists of Jillian McGreen, soprano; Matthew Umphreys, piano; Nave Graham, flute; Mikey Arbulu, clarinet; Walter Park, violin; and Amy Pirtle, cello.

The sextet will first perform excerpts of the work at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 8, at the Cincinnati Art Museum as part of their MUSE Concert Series.

The ensemble will next give a complete performance of Pierrot in CCM’s Albino Gorno Memorial Music Library as part of their “Music in the Library” series at 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 12.

A month later, the group will again perform the entire work at Northside Tavern during the monthly Classical Revolution Cincinnati event at 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 12. The performance will also be part of the annual Constella Festival and will occur alongside other featured musicians including Detroit Symphony Orchestra bassist Rick Robinson and his group CutTime and acclaimed local cellist (and CCM Preparatory Department instructor) Nathaniel Chaitkin.

Based on French poet Albert Giraud’s cycle about a deformed, lunar-obsessed harlequin and his misfit puppet companions, Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire still stands as a landmark in German Expressionist music. It is particularly noted both for its revolutionary atonal approaches to music as well as its employment of Sprechstimme, a “sing-speak” style in which vocalists aim for non-pitched, approximate notes often followed by a sudden fall to create an eerie type of rhythmic speaking. The combination of these two techniques—as well as the small, varied ensemble required—helps evoke an atmosphere that is scary and jarring but also beautiful and engaging, setting a world in which Pierrot explores various vices and decadences.

If you have the opportunity, don’t miss out on hearing these free performances by CCM students of one of the most acclaimed works of the twentieth century!

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