Santa Maria Sun / Music
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 33
Playing from the heartThe San Luis Chamber Orchestra and pianist Ann Lucas awaken the music of the romantic era in Santa Maria
BY JOE PAYNE
The music of history’s great composers only lives on in the ears of those who care to listen. And those who care to listen will be delighted to know that an upcoming collaboration will feature works by two of the heavy hitters of the Romantic Era.
The San Luis Chamber Orchestra will be coming to Santa Maria and Los Osos to perform two mammoth pieces: Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major and Robert Schumann’s Concerto for the Piano and Orchestra in A minor—all with help from local pianist Ann Lucas.
The San Luis Chamber Orchestra is directed by Keith Waibel and James Riccardo, and is an organization of area musicians who get together to perform music mostly from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras of music. Some ensemble members can be seen in other local orchestras, such as the SLO Symphony or the Santa Maria Philharmonic.
“Keith Waibel, who is a classically trained clarinetist and professionally trained conductor, has been directing the San Luis Chamber Orchestra for about three years now,” Lucas said. “He was the one who suggested we do the Schumann piano concerto.”
Lucas currently teaches music at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, where she lectures on music appreciation and history and directs the choir. She received her doctor of musical arts in piano performance from the Peabody Institute at John Hopkins University, a degree only earned by those who display a true virtuosic skill on their instrument.
But even with her classic piano chops, Schumann’s piano concerto hasn’t come easy to Lucas.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever played, hands down,” she said. “I intend to play the Schumann very well, and it has cost me dearly to get to this point.”
Sometimes practicing up to six hours a day, Lucas has been working on the piece essentially nonstop since June. She’ll be performing the entire piece, which is nearly a half hour long, completely from memory. The type of discipline and focus it takes to play a work of this size and caliber can only be gained through a career of hard work. And Lucas can not only play the piece, but tell you just as much about the composer who wrote it.
“By the time he finished his Concerto in A minor, he had already hurt his hand,” she said. “His wife Clara performed the piece for him, and his dear friend Hiller directed the orchestra at the premier in 1846.”
Schumann, who came not long after Beethoven, is well known for his composition, writing, and support of a young Johannes Brahms. He also battled with depression and other mental health issues. The concerto is set in the minor key, usually associated with sorrow.
“What the minor does in this piece is not sadness as much as it is passionate,” Lucas said. “This piece is incredibly vigorous and muscular, but it’s very passionate as opposed to tragic.
“I really love collaborating with the San Luis Chamber Orchestra,” she said. “I feel it has caused me to become a better pianist.”
Lucas has played as a piano soloist with the orchestra for three other performances, including works by Gershwin, Beethoven, and Grieg. She’s also directed the choir for performances of Vivaldi and Beethoven with the San Luis Chamber Orchestra. The Beethoven symphony and the Schumann concerto will be performed in Santa Maria and Los Osos and are surely celebrations of past and future creations and collaborations.
“There are some people that would say there is no reason to keep performing music from the dead irrelevant past,” Lucas said. “But there is so much in this piece that sounds prescient. It still sounds so fresh to me.”
The Addamo Tasting Room and Bistro presents “ROCKtober” Wednesdays in October, featuring live music, and a themed costume party from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 31 is “Fright Night.” The Addamo Tasting Room and Bistro is at 400 E. Clark, Old Orcutt. Admission is free. More info: 937-6400 or Bethany@addamovineyards.com.
Get down at the 510
The 510 Event Center presents a live blues jam featuring local musicians led by Juan Marquez and Sangria Wednesdays from 7 to 10 p.m. DJ Orlando entertains Thursday nights starting at 10 p.m. (dress code enforced). DJ Orlando also spins for “Margarita Night” every Monday from 9 p.m. to midnight. Saturdays feature an open mic from 4 to 7 p.m., and Saturday nights are Latin night featuring live norteño and banda music. Call for times. The 510 Event Center is at 510 South Broadway, Santa Maria. More info: 928-5510, firstname.lastname@example.org, facebook.com/510eventcenter, or 510eventcenter.com.
The Chumash Casino and Resort presents country singer Josh Turner in concert on Oct. 25. The resort is at 3400 E. Highway 246, Santa Ynez. More info: 1-800-CHUMASH or chumashcasino.com.
Served with a twist
The Santa Maria Inn presents “A New Twist on an Old Favorite” in the Tap Room, featuring performances by Mezcal on Fridays, Mofongo the first Saturday of each month, the Sammy Labastida Jazz and Blues Band the second Saturday of each month, Louie Ortega the third Saturday of each month, and Lawless and Dean the fourth Saturday of each month. The shows take place in the inn’s Tap Room at 801 S. Broadway, Santa Maria. More info: 928-7777 or santamariainn.com.
The Maverick Saloon offers live entertainment, including the country music of the Little Big Band on Oct. 26 at 8:45 p.m., followed by “Late Night with guest DJs” at 11:30 p.m. “Concert on the Deck” featuring Lawless and Dean is Oct. 27 at 3 p.m. The Coastal Kings perform for the Halloween Party on Oct. 27 at 8:45 p.m., followed by “Late Night with guest DJs” at the saloon, 3687 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez. More info: 686-4785 or email@example.com.
Contact Calendar Editor Joe Payne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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