Five concerts on Sunday, most of them at the same time but in venues scattered across the Capital Region, can make life confusing. Here’s some background on each one to help make choosing a bit easier.
“This was the only date available all fall at Proctors,” said Schenectady Symphony Orchestra music director Charles Schneider.
The symphony’s theme this season is to spotlight local talent that has gone on to the professional stage. For Sunday, the featured soloist is Delmar pianist Ryan Reilly, who is currently pursuing a graduate degree at The Juilliard School. He’ll be playing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2.
“Ryan has the chops,” Schneider said. “The Brahms is a monumental work and it’s one he should have in his repertoire. We’ve given him concertos over the last few years. It’s a way to foster his career.”
The program will focus on composers who lived in Vienna, including Brahms. Opening the concert will be Johann Strauss’ “Emperor Waltzes” and “Frühlingsstimmen” (“Voices of Spring”), both of which the orchestra has played before and which the audience will know.
“They have high energy, a lot of good tunes and spirit and a lot of humor,” Schneider said.
WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday except where noted.
— Schenectady Symphony Orchestra, Proctors, Schenectady. $20-$12, free for those under 18.
— Tessa Lark, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy. $35, $25.
— Saratoga Chamber Players, United Methodist Church, Saratoga Springs. $20-$15.
— Musicians of Ma’alwyck, Schuyler House, Albany, 2 and 4 p.m. $25, $10.
— Fedak gala, Westminster Church, Albany. $25.
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 follows. Schneider said the work is wonderful and one of his most lyrical. Local audiences haven’t heard this orchestra perform it in a long time.
The Brahms, which is the entire second half, will test Reilly and the orchestra as it’s the first time either has performed it. It will be a workout for everyone, Schneider said. 3 p.m. Sunday, Proctors. $20, $12, free for 18 and under. 346-6204, www.proctors.org
Troy Chromatic Concerts likes to stay ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to featuring up-and-coming artists. Violinist Tessa Lark, a winner of international competitions since she was 17, including being the silver medalist at the 2014 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, is also a sensational bluegrass fiddler.
“My dad had a bluegrass band and I thought I would go into jazz or bluegrass,” said Lark, who is from Kentucky.
So, at age 10 in 2000, she attended Mark O’Connor’s Fiddle Camp, the first of four visits she made over the next six years.
“It changed my life,” she said. “I’d started on mandolin and brought it to kindergarten to show and tell and play it at recess. Then I started on violin at 6 in the Suzuki method. I loved playing and practicing. It was my toy.”
That zest for practicing helped her do well in competitions, but she learned that how she prepared was the key to success.
“There’s no point of going to a competition to not win and not represent myself well,” she said. “I expect more from myself now and want to convey more aspects of the music. Four full hours of practice is ideal, but if I have an entire day open, I like to practice.”
Although her focus now is on being a soloist, she plays fiddle whenever she can, including with Narrow Road, a Kentucky-based bluegrass band.
“Appalachian music is stunning. I’m so thrilled that the promoters in Troy will let me play some of the fiddle tunes. They work really well with the rest of the program,” she said.
The program will include Bartok’s “Romanian Folk Dances,” Grieg’s Sonata No. 3, which Lark calls “epic,” Ysaye’s Sonata No. 5 for solo violin; and an arrangement of Cyril Scott’s piano piece “Lotus Land.” Her frequent accompanist is Ellen Hwangbo.
3 p.m. Sunday, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. “$35, $25. 273-0038; www.troymusichall.org
Saratoga Chamber Players is opening its season with a fall surprise.
“The audience will have a chance to guess the composer. I don’t want to spill the beans,” said violinist/artistic director Jill Levy in an email. “People will be very surprised.”
The program also includes Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello, which Levy said is a “substantial duo.” Levy and cellist Eric Bartlett will play. Also scheduled is Verdi’s only string quartet, which Levy said is “a big romantic piece” that is rarely performed.
Violinist Cyrus Beroukhim, a member of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, and violist Lois Martin will join Levy and Bartlett. 3 p.m. Sunday, United Methodist Church, Henning Road, Saratoga Springs. $20, $18, $15. 584-1427; www.saratogachamberplayers.org
Musicians of Ma’alwyck will showcase chamber music for flute, violin and guitar that composers of the 18th and early 19th century wrote and is now mostly forgotten. Composers include Pietro Locatelli, Mauro Giuliani and Ferdinando Carulli.
Concerts will be at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Schuyler Mansion, 32 Catherine St., Albany. $25, $10. 377-3623; www.musiciansofmaalwyck.org
Organist Alfred Fedak and his wife, mezzo-soprano Susan, have provided musical services for almost 25 years at the Westminster Church in Albany.
They will celebrate that milestone with a gala that features their family: percussionist Ben, dancer Anna, and composer Peter. Works will be by Graun, Messiaen, Palmgren, Goldman and some premiere performances by Peter Fedak and Iteke Prins. Proceeds will go toward the continuation of the church’s well-known organ concert series.
Westminster Church, 262 State St., Albany. $25. 436-8544; www.wpcalany.org