Morrison Artists Series continues free concert season with the Calyx Piano Trio

Sunday, October 06, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — The Morrison Artists Series of the San Francisco State University (SFSU) College of Liberal and Creative Arts will continue its 2013-2014 season with a concert by the Calyx Piano Trio on Sunday, October 20, at 3pm on campus in the McKenna Theatre. A pre-concert talk by Artistic Director Richard Festinger will be presented at 2pm. The program will feature Beethoven’s Piano Trio in Eb, Op. 70 No. 2 (1808), and Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 49 (1839), as well as Tapestries (1997) by Bay Area composer Richard Festinger. All Morrison Artists Series concerts are presented free of admission.

Boston-based ensemble to make Bay Area debut

Formed in 2001, the Calyx Piano Trio takes its name from the botanical term meaning the sepals of a flower, often in multiples of three, which encase a flower bud. Enjoying this organic and protective imagery and its application to chamber music, the critically acclaimed Calyx Piano Trio features Catherine French, violin; Jennifer Lucht, cello; and Nina Ferrigno, piano. Each member of the Calyx Trio is a seasoned chamber musicians, each having been described as “a shining star in her own right.” The group’s bright, accomplished musicians have earned Calyx the reputation of defying stereotypes with a repertoire that combines classical masterworks with pieces by living composers.

The Trio has performed extensively in the United States, exciting audiences with expressive ensemble playing and brilliant virtuosity. They have been featured at the Sheldon Concert Hall and the Kranzberg Arts Center (St. Louis), and on series at the Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music (New York), Pamlico Musical Society (North Carolina), Newton Free Library (Massachusetts), Curtisville Consortium (Massachusetts) and James Library Center for the Arts (Massachusetts). Calyx has presented concerts and educational programs at Washington University (St. Louis), Webster University (St. Louis) as well as East Carolina University (Greenville). Festival residencies include the Carolina Chamber Music Festival (North Carolina) in 2008, 2009 and 2013 as well as the Missouri Chamber Music Festival in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Committed to illuminating the piano trio genre through the juxtaposition of master works and fresh pieces by living composers, the Calyx Piano Trio is dedicated to new music, earning them the moniker “a composer’s dream come true.” Calyx Trio’s keen intelligence, expert ensemble playing, detailed sound, and passionate expression bring new works to life providing deeper insight into the traditions of chamber music, while helping to establish new traditions and standards for the genre. They have premiered many pieces written specifically for their trio including kiss to the earth by composer Amy Beth Kirsten, premiered at the 2013 Missouri Chamber Music Festival (St. Louis), made possible by a grant from Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program.

Composer Richard Festinger has achieved international recognition for his extensive catalogue of chamber, vocal and orchestral music. Since 1990 he has been a professor of composition at San Francisco State University where he is also Artistic Director of the Morrison Artists Series. Before turning to composing he led his own groups as a jazz performer. Festinger received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in composition from the University of California, Berkeley, and in the mid 1980s co-founded and directed the San Francisco-based modern music ensemble Earplay. His music is published by C.F. Peters and Wildcat Canyon Press, and his works have been recorded for the Centaur, Bridge, CRI and CRS labels. A new CD will be released in 2014 on the Naxos International label. He has received major awards and commissions from the Jerome, Fromm, Koussevitzky, Barlow, and Argosy foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the American Composers Forum and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Richard Festinger’s Tapestries (1997) was co-commissioned by the Laurel Trio and the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress. The composition is structured in three movements, which are connected by transitions and played without pause. The composer writes, “The juxtaposition of divergent musical ideas is a tool that I utilize in Tapestries to create a striking tableau. Glissandi, laser-like crescendos, and dynamic rhythmic energy are contrasted by richly lyrical counterpoint and expressive instrumental recitative. Following a dramatic first movement, the second movement is marked by poignant, tender expression, which—in turn—gives ways to a passionate third movement that charges via a perpetuum mobile to a climactic conclusion.”

In addition to the concert, the Calyx Piano Trio will present a master class under the auspices of the Morrison Chamber Music Center on Monday, October 21, from noon to 2pm in Knuth Hall of the San Francisco State University, Creative Arts Building.

As the longest running chamber music series in San Francisco, the Morrison Artists Series has presented more than 350 admission-free concerts, attended by more than 100,000 people. Established in 1956 through an endowed fund from the May Treat Morrison Trust, the series features innovative chamber music programming, offering a wide variety of new, young, and established artists.

Advance tickets for the concert may be reserved through the Morrison Artists Series website or by calling the San Francisco State University Box Office at 415-338-2467. Reserved tickets will be available for pick-up at the Box Office beginning five days prior to the event. No tickets are required for the master class.

Media Contact: 

Richard Aldag, 415-290-4174,

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