Perlman Alumni Concert Is May 11

Perlman Music Program alumni Christine Lamprea and Hannah Shields return to Shelter Island this Saturday, May 11, to present an exciting program of music spanning from Bach to Prokofiev. The concert will take place in the beautiful new Kristy and James H. Clark Arts Center at the Perlman Program’s Shelter Island campus starting at 7:30. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door and $10 for ages 18 and under. Admission includes an invitation to a “Meet the Artists” wine and cheese reception following the performance.

Now in its 19th year, the Perlman Music Program was founded by Toby Perlman to identify talented young musicians and provide them with support in the form of instruction, coaching and mentoring. The top-flight faculty of the Shelter Island-based program, led by renowned violinist and concert artist Itzhak Perlman, are dedicated to training the next generation of classical musicians. Music lovers on the East End have benefitted mightily from the program’s efforts, with a season of affordable summer concerts right on their doorstep.

Cellist Christine Lamprea, who attended the Perlman Chamber Music Workshop for two summers, is a 2011 graduate of Juilliard and is now completing a Master’s degree in cello performance at the New England Conservatory. Still in her early ’20s, Lamprea is already a rising star in the classical music world. She recently took First Place in the 16th annual Sphinx Competition and has joined the Sphinx Virtuosi, a touring ensemble comprised of winners of this coveted prize. Lamprea’s upcoming concert season will feature appearances with world-class orchestras, including the New Jersey Symphony and the Houston Symphony, while the Sphinx Virtuosi tour will bring her to Carnegie Hall.

Lamprea’s playing has been noted for its charm and supreme panache—characteristics that come through in her conversation, as well. I recently got a chance to speak with Lamprea to discuss her experiences with the Perlman Music Program, her budding career and the upcoming Shelter Island concert. Like everyone who has been connected to the Perlman program, Lamprea notes the way the camp’s serene Shelter Island setting seems to bring out new levels of musical artistry.

“It’s a great place to be as creative as possible,” Lamprea says. “It’s a respite from the busy life of a student, and a place to try new ideas. I felt very productive and inspired there.”

Indeed, practicing and rehearsing are doubtlessly more energized by the fresh sea breeze and deep blue views of the Shelter Island Sound than they are by the stale air and blank walls of the conservatory practice room—never underestimate the importance of place. But the Perlman program is about much more than setting, of course.

“The Perlman’s have created a wonderful fellowship among the musicians. I continue to be in touch with other alumni.  They’re a network—people available to talk about issues that come up in the music world. And of course the Perlmans are very supportive.”

Lamprea is excited about the upcoming Shelter Island concert. It will feature the 3rd Suite for Bach Solo Cello, Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise for cello and piano, as well as late-period works by Beethoven and Prokofiev.

“Prokofiev wrote his Cello Sonata toward the end of his life,” Lamprea explains, “during a time when there was a great deal of oppression against composers from the Soviet regime. Prokofiev had to watch his step. The piece is very rich—beautiful, sad, but also poking fun at things with humor and irony. It is a complete piece—it kind of has to go at the end of the program. It just blows you away.”

Similarly, Beethoven’s end-of-life music is some of his most challenging, and the 5th Sonata for Cello and Piano is no exception.

“Like Beethoven’s late quartets, this sonata has a lot of short sections—the music varies sharply and dramatically, and it’s hard to make it all feel grounded.” In a nod to her piano accompanist Hannah Shields, Lamprea acknowledges that Beethoven’s piano writing here is often more devilishly difficult than the cello part.

With the foundation of the Perlman Music Program and a very promising lineup of performances already in place, Christine Lamprea looks headed for great things. Catch her right here on Shelter Island, and thank the Perlmans for all they do for young musicians and musical culture on the East End.


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