CCM professor emeritus Walter Levin. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

In Memoriam: Emeritus Faculty Member and LaSalle Quartet Violinist Walter Levin

CCM professor emeritus Walter Levin. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

CCM professor emeritus Walter Levin. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

It is with great sadness that we share news of the passing of emeritus faculty member Walter Levin, founding member and first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet and a CCM faculty member from 1953 until 1986. Levin passed away in Chicago on Aug. 4, 2017, at the age of 92. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Evi, and two sons, David and Tom.

Born in Berlin on December 6, 1924, Levin and his family emigrated to Tel Aviv in 1938. Levin was accepted to Juilliard in 1946, where he studied with Ivan Galamian and Hans Letz. The LaSalle Quartet was formed during this period, taking its name from the nearby LaSalle Street where the Quartet members rehearsed. Upon graduation, the Quartet comprised of Levin, Henry Meyer, Peter Kamnitzer and Jack Kirstein became quartet-in-residence at Colorado College.

In 1953, the LaSalle Quartet came to what was then known as the College of Music in Cincinnati (the College of Music would merge with the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in 1955 before again merging with UC to become the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 1962). The Quartet served as CCM’s string quartet-in-residence for over 30 years, while also touring the world.

The LaSalle Quartet in the late 1970s: Peter Kamnitzer, Lee Fiser, Walter Levin and Henry Meyer.

The LaSalle Quartet in the late 1970s: Peter Kamnitzer, Lee Fiser, Walter Levin and Henry Meyer.

After making its European debut in 1954, the LaSalle Quartet won international recognition for its masterful interpretations of the major works in the chamber music repertory. The Quartet’s programs offered a remarkable spectrum of music from all periods, including premieres of major works by 20th century composers.

The Quartet became particularly well regarded as the leading interpreters of “The Second Viennese School,” performing complete cycles of the quartets of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern throughout the United States and Europe. The LaSalle Quartet’s Deutsche Grammophon recording of these complete cycles created a sensation in the music world, winning the Grand Prix du Disque in 1972. TIME Magazine called the album “a landmark in recorded music.” In 1978, the LaSalle again won the Grand Prix du Disque, this time for its recording of the Five Late Quartets by Beethoven. The following year, the Quartet won the Edison Prize for the first recording of Alexander Zemlinsky’s Second String Quartet.

During his 33-year tenure at CCM, Levin greatly enhanced CCM’s reputation on the international stage. He also served on the faculty at Basel’s Musik-Akademie der Stadt and the Musikhochschule Lübeck. His students included the conductor James Levine, violinist Christian Tetzlaff, pianist Stefan Litwin, and members of the Alban Berg Quartet, the Arditti Quartet and the Ariel Quartet.

CCM Professor Emeritus Lee Fiser, the LaSalle Quartet’s cellist from 1975 to 1987, writes: “Walter was the last of my three colleagues who brought me to LaSalle and CCM. His passing is a great loss to the String Quartet world.”

The Strad has published a complete obituary at www.thestrad.com/walter-levin-founder-and-first-violin-of-the-lasalle-quartet-has-died/7006.article. The Chicago Sun-Times has also published an obituary at chicago.suntimes.com/news/renowned-violinist-music-teacher-walter-levin-dead-at-92/.

An upcoming performance by CCM’s current string quartet-in-residence, the Ariel Quartet, will be presented in honor of Walter Levin. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this time.

CCM News
Old 'Thinking About Music' lecture logo.

CCM’s Thinking About Music Lecture Series Resumes On Friday, Jan. 27

Each semester, CCM welcomes distinguished experts for a series of free Friday afternoon musical discussions. This spring, the Thinking About Music lecture series will present four free public talks, beginning with a presentation on Arnold Schoenberg and the 1913 Scandal Concert by Vanderbilt University Professor of Musicology Joy H. Calico on Friday, Jan. 27.

Schoenberg caricature originally published in 'Die Zeit' on April 6, 1913.

Schoenberg caricature originally published in ‘Die Zeit’ on April 6, 1913.

Sponsored by the Joseph and Frances Jones Poetker Fund of the Cambridge Charitable Foundation, these music theory and history discussions feature diverse topics presented by distinguished experts from all over the United States and are designed to engage participants’ imaginations and to consider music in new ways.

This semester’s guest lecturers also include University of Kentucky Professor Donna Kwon (Feb. 10), Case Western Reserve University Professor Francesca Brittan (March 3) and Bowling Green State University Professor Per Broman (April 7). See the listings below for more information on this semester’s presentation topics.

Since its inception in 1997, the Thinking About Music Series has presented over 130 lectures and one symposium by guests from a number of different colleges, universities, schools of music, foundations, institutes, museums and publications.

The subjects of the lectures have covered historical musicology, music theory and ethnomusicology, along with the ancillary fields of organology, dance, music business and law, cognitive psychology, and the philosophy, theology and sociology of music.
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2017 SPRING JOSEPH AND FRANCES JONES POETKER THINKING ABOUT MUSIC LECTURE SERIES

TAM guest lecturer Joy Calico.2:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27
ARNOLD SCHOENBERG AND THE 1913 SCANDAL CONCERT
Joy H. Calico, Vanderbilt University

On March 31 of 1913, Arnold Schoenberg conducted a concert in the Great Hall of Vienna’s Musikverein, which became known as the city’s most notorious scandal concert. The event was broken up by a melee, charges were filed and the subsequent court proceedings were reported in the press. This lecture analyzes the ways in which both the scandal and Schoenberg’s response to it sit at the nexus of fin-de-siècle anxieties about Central European concert life, the anti-noise movement and emerging copyright law.
Location: Baur Room
Admission: FREE
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TAM guest lecturer Donna Kwon.2:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10
STEPPING IN THE MADANG: SITE-SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE IN KOREAN DRUMMING AND DANCE
Donna Kwon, University of Kentucky

In Korean folk expressive culture, the outdoor village courtyard or madang is often conceived in opposition to the concert stage or mudae. In this presentation, Donna Kwon will discuss how the madang became central to the promotion of site-specific Korean drumming and dance. She will first discuss how this contributes to the expressive ecology of a place-based tradition in shamanist ritual forms of Korean drumming or p’ungmul. Then she will explore how the madang and site-specific performance concepts are applied by contemporary ch’angjak yeonhui groups. These groups consist of performers who are trained in Korean drumming and other traditional performing arts but who combine them into new works.
Location: Baur Room
Admission: FREE
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TAM guest lecturer Francesca Brittan.2:30 p.m. Friday, March 3
ELECTRIC BATON: SOUND, SCIENCE AND THE BIRTH OF THE PODIUM CONDUCTOR
Francesca Brittan, Case Western Reserve University

Hector Berlioz, among the first of the modern conductors, was a larger-than-life figure, at once magisterial, quasi-magical and military. Among the formative moments of his conducting career was a concert given at the height of the Exposition universelle (Paris, 1855), which established him as a musical leader of formidable power. Here he relied on a new wedding of music and technology — an “electric baton” — to wield the massive forces under his command. This talk examines the nature of his device and, more broadly, the ways in which telegraphy and electricity (both artificial and nervous) emerged as central to romantic notions of conducting.
Location: Baur Room
Admission: FREE
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TAM guest lecturer Per Broman.2:30 p.m. Friday, Apr. 7
BERGMAN’S MUSIC(IANS): MIRROR AND MEANING
Per Broman, Bowling Green State University

Ingmar Bergman’s love of classical music, especially that of J.S. Bach, is well known and is exhibited frequently in his films. Many films also feature musicians. In this presentation, Broman will analyze the role of these characters — who they are, what they do, how they behave and what they talk about — and argue that they are essential for understanding Bergman’s aesthetics.
Location: Baur Room
Admission: FREE
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Event Information
Unless otherwise indicated, all Thinking About Music lectures take place on Fridays at 2:30 p.m. in the Baur Room of CCM’s Corbett Center for the Performing Arts, which is located on the campus of the University of Cincinnati.

These events are free and open to the public. All event dates and programs are subject to change. Visit ccm.uc.edu for the most current event information.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

CCM’s Thinking About Music Series is sponsored by the Joseph and Frances Jones Poetker Fund of the Cambridge Charitable Foundation, Ritter & Randolph, LLC, Corporate Counsel; along with support from Interim Dean mcclung’s Office, the Graduate Student Association and the Division of Composition, Musicology and Theory at CCM.

 

 

CCM News
The LaSalle Quartet, CCM string quartet-in-residence from 1953 to 1988.

In Memoriam: Emeritus Faculty Member and LaSalle Quartet Violist Peter Kamnitzer

It is with great sadness that we share news of the passing of emeritus faculty member Peter Kamnitzer, who served as violist for the legendary LaSalle Quartet from 1949 until the ensemble’s retirement in 1988. Kamnitzer passed away in Israel on Feb. 23, 2016, at the age of 93. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Neora “Sophy” Kamnitzer.

CCM professor emeritus Peter Kamnitzer. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

CCM professor emeritus Peter Kamnitzer. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Born in Berlin on November 27, 1922, Kamnitzer began studying the violin at the age of six. As a teenager, he performed in the orchestra of the Jewish Cultural Society in the Free City of Danzig.

Kamnitzer moved to the US in 1941 and began studying the viola at the Manhattan School of Music. He joined the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra in 1944 and became principal viola and a member of the Symphony String Quartet in 1945.

In 1947, Kamnitzer entered the Juilliard School to study the viola with Milton Katims. It was here that he joined the newly formed LaSalle String Quartet.

The LaSalle Quartet held a residency at Colorado College in Colorado Springs from 1949-53, making the ensemble one of the first quartets-in-residence in the United States.

In 1953, the LaSalle Quartet came to what was then known as the College of Music in Cincinnati (the College of Music would merge with the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in 1955 before again merging with UC to become the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 1962). The Quartet served as CCM’s string quartet-in-residence for the next 35 years, while also touring the world.

After making its European debut in 1954, the LaSalle Quartet won international recognition for its masterful interpretations of the major works in the chamber music repertory. The Quartet’s programs offered a remarkable spectrum of music from all periods, including premieres of major works by 20th century composers.

The Quartet became particularly well regarded as the leading interpreters of “The Second Viennese School,” performing complete cycles of the quartets of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern throughout the United States and Europe. The LaSalle Quartet’s Deutsche Grammophon recording of these complete cycles created a sensation in the music world, winning the Grand Prix du Disque in 1972. TIME Magazine called the album “a landmark in recorded music.” In 1978, the LaSalle again won the Grand Prix du Disque, this time for its recording of the Five Late Quartets by Beethoven. The following year, the Quartet won the Edison Prize for the first recording of Alexander Zemlinsky’s Second String Quartet.

As a member of the LaSalle Quartet, Kamnitzer helped to cement CCM’s reputation on the international stage. He retired in 1988 and spent the following years coaching chamber music in Austria and Israel, while also serving as judge for prestigious competitions like the Borciani Quartet Competition in Italy and others throughout the world.

The March 1 performance of CCM’s current string quartet-in-residence, the Ariel Quartet, will be presented in honor of Peter Kamnitzer. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this time.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare
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!

CCM News Student Salutes