Music for all at The Schubert Club

By Barry Kempton

Those of you who follow and attend Schubert Club activities will know that the past ten days have been busy ones.  In addition to Hilary Hahn’s sold-out recital at the Ordway and the St Lawrence String Quartet’s Music in the Park Series concert and residency activities, we’ve presented Accordo, the Florestan Recital Project’s Samuel Barber song recital, pianist Stephen Prutsman’s Bach and Forth recital as part of Schubert Club Mix and the culmination of our Composer Mentorship Program, which featured the first performances of horn trios written by all four high school composers who have been working with Composer-in-Residence Edie Hill for the past eight months.

Lots of great music-making going on, but I thought I’d focus a little more on two experiences I had this past Saturday.  First, on Saturday morning, we presented our first family concert for families with children on the autism spectrum.  In partnership with Landmark Center and the Autism Society of Minnesota, we were glad to take up Stephen Prutsman’s offer to add this free family concert.  Stephen has first-hand experience of autism in his family and is keen to include an Azure family concert whenever his touring schedule allows.  Friend Steven Copes (concertmaster of the SPCO) willingly joined in the music-making in a short program of classical and jazz.  It was fine music-making (unsurprisingly), but the memorable part of the event was how families were made to feel at ease, how the children and young adults were warmly encouraged to participate in whatever ways they could – including sitting at the keyboard with Stephen to create music together.  For a flavor of the concert, we were fortunate to have Channel 9 attend and put together a short news report.  You can check it out here:

That same Saturday afternoon, Cheryl and I drove out to Stillwater, MN to visit a temporary keyboard exhibit Keeping Time put together by piano technician, collector and great enthusiast Steve Misener.  Some 20 or so pianos, organs and other musical instruments are beautifully displayed in a farm building at the Loome Theological Booksellers (2270 Neal Ave. North).  What made the visit and tour so worthwhile was both Steve’s knowledge of his instruments and his wildly enthusiastic delivery of the stories associated with each instrument.  If you have the chance to go, I would encourage you to do so.  The exhibition is open through May 8 and Steve hosts tours at 10:00, 1:00 and 3:00 (Mon-Sat).  Admission is free and donations welcomed.  If you’ve enjoyed visiting The Schubert Club Museum, you will certainly enjoy this.  If you have the opportunity, I recommend it.


Photo above from Saturday’s Azure concert.