By Elaine Hauptman
It may not be Valentine chocolate, but Janet Birchfield, our Special Trips Coordinator, has filled the February Special Trips Calendar with delicious treats.
On Friday, February 8, the University of Maryland School of Music will be presenting “At the Feet of the Master: Eugène Ysaÿe.” Ysaÿe, who began his musical journey at age five, has been called the “king of the violin” or the “czar.” Graduate and undergraduate students will perform all six of his solo sonatas for violin as part of a total immersion learning project. The students will share their direct lineage to the Belgian composer, and explanations will be offered to the audience telling how Ysaÿe revolutionized his craft. Students will link the repertoire to some of the most prominent twentieth-century composers. The highlight of the program will be a tag-team style of counterpoint. Perhaps it will challenge J.S. Bach’s model two hundred years earlier!
A special Sunday trip is being offered on February 10, entitled “Gilded Age to the Jazz Age.” The Symphony of the Potomac will be offering Chadwick’s “Jubilee,” Gershwin’s “An American in Paris,” and Walker’s “Lyric for Strings.” What a delightful way to spend a lovely Sunday afternoon.
Another memorable trip is to the National Cryptologic Museum on Tuesday, February 12. This guided tour will lead us through the heritage of cryptology, from the Venona Project and Cuban Missile Crisis to the extreme importance for cybersecurity in our turbulent world today. The cryptology experts support our government agencies, from the Department of Defense and into academia. Cryptologists have made significant contributions to the defense of our nation. Certainly, secure communication capabilities, code making, and code-breaking all make for an outstanding experience into the world of espionage.
On February 21, an extraordinary opportunity presents itself to music lovers. The International Piano Archives at Maryland is a resource for the preservation of the classical piano repertoire of many great keyboard artists. This collection is an audio treasure chest, and an opportunity to hear great artists performing beautiful music. The keyboards move by themselves, playing the actual performance of great artists of the past.
In 1977 the International Piano Archives was given to the University of Maryland, College Park, where it serves students, faculty and an international community of musicians, researchers, and enthusiasts of piano performance. These collections have grown and flourished at the University, and this is a truly unique opportunity to enrich our own musical experience.
In addition to these wonderful programs, Janet Birchfield is offering four outstanding Saturday concerts at Strathmore Music Hall: two performances by the National Philharmonic and two by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
If your interests lean to the theater, you may be interested in the matinee performance of “Once” which will be offered at the Olney Theater Center on Wednesday, February 13. This show is a Tony award winner with romantic folk-rock ballads performed by the ensemble using their own instruments.
Set in modern day Dublin, a street guitarist is about to give up his dreams of becoming a professional musician. He meets a woman who is interested in him, who is interesting, and an optimist. She encourages him to believe in himself and to have hope for the future. The fabulous cast includes immigrants, eccentric, and interesting people, and lonely hearts. It is a mixture of lovely music and pure love.
These are just a few of the “treats” awaiting you in February. If you have not picked up your calendar, be sure to ask for one at your front desk. Don’t delay — trips can fill up quickly.