Themed Mitchelmore concert to celebrate Brahms, honor alumna

This year’s Mitchelmore Master Series: the Brilliance of Brahms Sonatas for Strings and Pianos , the first thematic concert in the series, plans to focus on four works by the composer Brahms.

“We rarely do thematic concerts like this in general,” Misha Galaganov, musician and associate professor in viola and chamber music, said.

Janet Pummill, TCU faculty coordinator for this year’s Mitchelmore Master Series, said the series takes place every two years at TCU. It was created by a donor to honor Laurana Mitchelmore, a TCU alumna. Mitchelmore is a famous collaborative pianist, Pummill said. She has accompanied many well-known singers, including Frederica von Stade who performed with Mitchelmore in the first Mitchelmore Master Series. 

This would be the third year for the series, Pummill said.

Harold Martina, musician and professor of piano, said this year’s Mitchelmore Master Series is unique because it focuses on the works of one composer, Brahms. Four of Brahms’ Sonatas for Strings and Pianos will be played by Mitchelmore, a few musicians she will bring with her and several TCU staff members. 

Galaganov said Richard Gipson, director of the School of Music, thought of the idea of a thematic Brahms concert.

“He was the one who was instrumental in envisioning what would be interesting for the audience and for Laurana Mitchelmore to do this year,” he said.

Each piece is designed to be played by one instrument and the piano, Galaganov said. The instruments that will be used in this Mitchelmore Master Series include piano, violin, viola and cello. 

In the past Mitchelmore Master Series, TCU invited Mitchelmore, guest artists and famous ensembles to participate in concerts, Galaganov said. He said this is the first year TCU faculty performances have been included.

The faculty performing in the concert include Jose Feghali, Curt Thompson, Jesus Castro-Balbi, Martina, John Owings and himself, Galaganov said. 

Pummill said there was a lot of planning that went into an event like this. He had to coordinate with the artists, set a date, send out invitations and plan other events that are scheduled to take place during the series.

Martina, who is scheduled to do a piece with Castro-Balbi, said the musicians also spent a lot of time preparing for the event. 

“I have to practice my part, and he has to practice his part. Then we both have to practice together,” he said.

Galaganov said Mitchelmore would be in the area a week before the concert to rehearse with the musicians involved in this year’s series. 

Martina said the series is open to all of Fort Worth.

“We want students and faculty to come, as well,” he said.