The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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October 12, 2012

MSO starts season with chamber music, cold beer

MANKATO — The Mankato Symphony Orchestra presents the first of four chamber performances as Music on the Hill kicks off its third year at 2 p.m. Sunday.

When violinist Lydia Miller became concertmaster of the Mankato Symphony Orchestra, she asked herself how the orchestra could reach out more to the community. It was then that Miller realized the Mankato area did not have any professional chamber music performances. Miller said she finds these performances are a great way to get to know audiences, something that is not easy when playing with a full orchestra.  

Instead, Chamber music allows a musician to play intimately for audiences. Each written part for instruments has only one musician playing.

“I started recognizing the audience,” Miller said about the intimate nature of the performances. “Playing chamber music makes the musical life complete.”

Top-of-the-line musicians are helping to kick off the Music on the Hill chamber series.

Grammy-winning violinist Karen Kim will join Miller, cellist Kirsten Whitson, pianist Mary Jo Gothmann and violist David Auerbach to play the music of such composers as Aaron Copland, Jennifer Higdon and Antonin Dvorak.  

Miller said the Good Counsel chapel will offer a warm atmosphere for listeners. She credited the School Sisters of Notre Dame for their generosity in hosting the concerts.

“People can come into this beautiful chapel and forget everything else,” Miller said.

The performances will not follow a regular concert repertoire. There is no standard program for audiences to read. Instead, the musicians will explain and illustrate the songs themselves before each piece is played.

After the concert, there will also be a question-and-answer session, followed by a reception in which the musicians will mingle with the crowd.

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