South Windsor Cultural Arts concludes concert series

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Sat., Apr. 20, 2013
Italian pianist Mariangela Vacatello began the 2012-13 Sunday Concert Series on Oct. 14, at Wood Memorial Library. File photo by Christian Mysliwiec.
Italian pianist Mariangela Vacatello began the 2012-13 Sunday Concert Series on Oct. 14, at Wood Memorial Library. File photo by Christian Mysliwiec.

For lovers of the arts, a performance by a world-famous pianist is a rare treat that can be had only once in a while, and only at a metropolitan hub. South Windsor residents, however, have an incredibly unique opportunity. International performers regularly come to Wood Memorial Library, where they perform just a few feet away from a delighted audience.

It is all made possible by the South Windsor Cultural Arts, which produces the Sunday Concert Series every year. This year's final installment of the 2012-13 season, the organization's 32nd, will feature an April 21 piano performance by Russian pianist Alexander Guindin.

Sheryl O'Connor, president of Cultural Arts, had the opportunity to see Ghindin perform at the Springfield Symphony the week before. “People could not sit down. He did three encores,” she said. “That's almost unheard of after a concerto concert...he really is the best pianist I think I've ever heard in my life.”

The performance will cap what O'Connor said was one of the best seasons to date. Along with international musicians such as pianists Mariangela Vacatello and Thomas Pandolfi, cellist Sebastian Baverstam and violinist Yevgeny Kutik, acclaimed local musicians performed as well. “The Hartford Chorale Chamber Singers performed our Holiday concert this year, which was wonderful,” said O'Connor. “We had a string quartet made up mostly of people associated with Yale University, the Arabella String Quartet. They were fantastic.” The violinist, Sarita Kwok, a Yale professor who teaches violin and performs world-wide, will be returning next season for a solo performance.

Regrettably, the quartet KammerConnect had to be canceled due to the February snow storm. “Coincidentally, they were the only people who were actually flying in overseas for just our concert,” O'Connor said. Cultural Arts hopes to reschedule this concert next year.

O'Connor shared the sentiment of Ghindin, which sums up the feelings of many of the performers who play at Wood. “His manager told us that he said that if he could make a living doing concerts like ours, where he is sitting literally feet away from a very small audience in an intimate setting, it would be 100 percent of his performances,” said O'Connor. “He just absolutely loves our series.” A highly prolific performer, he has hundreds of performances scheduled for the remainder of the year around the world, and has multiple managers, one in New York, one in Russia, one in Paris. Ghindin himself runs a series at the concert hall in Moscow.

“I wish people understood how special this is,” said O'Connor. “It is such a unique series, and performers enjoy being in this venue so much and our audience enjoys being in such close contact with the performers.”

The SWCA has the entire 2013-14 season contracted already. Even though the internationally-acclaimed musicians perform at Wood for a fraction of the compensation they would receive at other venues, the Sunday Concert Series would not be possible without earnest contributions from the community. O'Connor urges companies and organizations to help make the upcoming series possible through their sponsorship. On behalf of Cultural Arts, she thanked all the current and past sponsors for their generosity.

O'Connor is looking forward to the upcoming series. “I think it's going to be one of our best yet,” she said. “We just keep getting increasingly wonderful performances.”

The lineup next year is as follows: pianist Christopher Atzinger on Oct 6; pianst Soyeon Lee on Oct. 27; Trio Latitude 41 on Nov 24; Yale University’s all-female a cappella chorus Something Extra for the Holiday Concert on Dec. 1; the Jasper Quartet Feb. 16, 2014; pianist Jason Cutmore on March 23, 2014; and Russian cellist Sergey Antonov on April 6, 2014.

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