Struggles of musical genius makes for lovely music

By Winter Dorval - Staff Reporter

Enjoy the musical benefits of the struggle of genius with the Auburn Symphony's chamber concert.

The chamber concert will be at St. Mathew Episcopal church on March 11 at 4 p.m.

"One of our musicians will not be able to perform, so another is subbing in and we have had to switch out one of the pieces as a result. There will now be a performance of Beethoven instead of Ravel," said Natalie Deford, Communications Manager for the Auburn symphony.The two works that will be performed in this concert are Beethoven's String Quartet in D Major, Op. 18, No. 3, and Shostakovich's Piano Quintet.

The concert's title, Struggle of the Genius, came from both featured musicians facing challenges throughout their lives, she said.

"Beethoven and Shostakovich faced tremendous roadblocks, both physical and circumstantial, including intense criticism and persecution. It was through hard work and perseverance that they were able to make their way to success," said DeFord.

Beethoven's String Quartet in D Major, Op. 18, No. 3 was written between 1798 and 1800. It was published in 1801.

Shostakovich's Piano Quintet was written in 1940 for the Beethoven Quartet.

Despite their struggle, "their works are beautiful and stunning," said DeFord.

Brina Wharton, principal cellist and head of the chamber concert series, chooses the songs after working with the musicians involved, said DeFord."Typically material chosen is interesting, new to our audience, beautiful, and matched well with our musicians. Additionally, we try to pick pieces that have something in common to draw a theme from," DeFord said.

Each year the Auburn Symphony has a symphony series, a chamber series, and a summer concert series.

St. Matthew / San Mateo Episcopal church is usually where the chamber concert series is held, she said.

"Traditionally, way back when, chamber concerts would be held in rich people's homes, like palaces and mansions," said DeFord.

"People privately hired several musicians, such as string quartets for example, to come and do a fancy, private, intimate performance for them and their friends."

Chamber concerts are supposed to be in smaller spaces where the audience is closer to the musicians, and "the church space is great for us to provide this type of experience," she said.The Auburn Symphony performed their first Chamber concert in 2006."This concert serves as a reminder that we can get through tough times in life and we are all capable of greatness through hard work and perseverance. Talent alone is not always enough to get by. You have to put in the time and be ready to face doubt, skepticism, and more," DeFord said.

This will be the Symphony's twelfth chamber concert performed by the Auburn Symphony.

"These chamber concerts are fun because there's a more personal connection with the musicians. I'm excited to share such an experience with our community," said Lee Valenta, General Manager for the Auburn Symphony Orchestra.

Performing in this concert is Brian Wharton on cello, Sue Jane Bryant on viola, Tanya Stambuk on piano, and Artur Girsky and Joy Rhee on violin.

"The music is emotional and uplifting. It also offers a great escape from the troubling times of today and soothes the soul. It's truly enjoyable," said DeFord.

The show will be on March, 11 at 4 p.m. 

The address for the St. Mathew Episcopal Church is 123 L. St. N.E., Auburn.

Tickets are $20 for general admission, and $10 for students.

To purchase tickets visit, or call 253-887-7777.

They will also be available to purchase at the door.

For more information also visit

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