Kandinsky Trio to Give Masterclass and Present Recital with Connie Regan-Blake

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fairmont State University will host the West Virginia Music Teachers Association State Conference on Friday, Oct. 30. Guest artists are the Kandinsky Trio and storyteller Connie Regan-Blake. 

The Trio will give a chamber music masterclass in Wallman Hall Auditorium from 3to 5 p.m. Oct. 30. The masterclass is open to conference registrants, competitors and their families, and Fairmont State and Pierpont Community & Technical College students.

The Trio and Storyteller will present a recital, co-sponsored by Fairmont State University, the West Virginia Music Teachers Association, the Fairmont Chamber Music Society and Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies, Inc. at 7:30 p.m. at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church in Fairmont. The program will include the Haydn Trio in Eb Minor, Hob. XV: 31, the Schumann Trio in D Minor, Op. 63 and Tales of Appalachia: The Cantankerous Blacksmith, commissioned for the Trio and Storyteller by composer Mike Reid. Tickets are $10, available at the door. Student tickets may be obtained by contacting the School of Fine Arts at FSU, located in Room 304 Wallman Hall, at (304) 367-4219. 

Now in its 22nd season, the Kandinsky Trio is celebrating one of the longest and most successful artist residencies in the United States: over a thousand concerts of high caliber chamber music in the U.S., Europe and Canada, including New York (Miller Theater and Merkin Hall), Washington (The Kennedy Center), Atlanta (Spivey Hall), Oklahoma City, Tampa (Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center), Portland, Charleston, San Francisco, Banff, Bratislava, Budapest, Vienna, and Zagreb. The Kandinsky Trio has also been heard at such venues as the Interlochen Festival, the Concert Society at Maryland, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville, Cincinnati's Aronoff Center and the Center for the Arts at Penn State. Its recordings are aired regularly on Boston's WGBH, Chicago's WFMT and the Maine, Georgia, Nevada, Wisconsin and Minnesota Public Radio Networks. Live performances have been broadcast on the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, numerous times on National Public Radio's Performance Today and WNYC's Around New York. 

Their CD, In Foreign Lands (Brioso), released in 2003, was selected by WNED (Buffalo and Toronto) as one of the best CDs of the year, and London's Music and Vision dubbed it "one of the year's best chamber music recordings." The Charleston Post and Courier named the Kandinskys "a trio of stunning talent" after their appearance on the 2008 Spotlight Series at Piccolo Spoleto.

Described as "spirited and persuasive," American Record Guide, and "virtuosity, with spine-tingling precision," Cincinnati Enquirer, the Trio draws in new audiences with both its passionate performances of masterworks and innovative ideas in re-defining chamber music. In 2002, the Trio was in residence at the European/American Masterclasses at the Hindemith Center in Blonay, Switzerland, and continues one of this country's most enduring chamber music residencies at historic Roanoke College.

The Trio is one of only six piano trios ever to win the prestigious Chamber Music America Residency Award. In 1999, the Kandinsky Trio was chosen by Sen. Charles Robb as the representative of the Commonwealth of Virginia at Kennedy Center's State Days series. In addition the ensemble has received awards from the Theodore Presser and Carpenter foundations to extend its artistry and visionary residency ideas to under-served communities.

The Kandinsky Trio regularly collaborates with such diverse artists as bassist James VanDemark, violinist/violist Ida Kavafian, cellist Steven Doane, soprano Dawn Upshaw, composer Gunther Schuller, storyteller Connie Regan-Blake and jazz legend Larry Coryell.  Their innovative projects have included Mike Reid's "Tales of Appalachia" for Trio and storyteller, commissioned for the Trio by nine presenting organizations and performed on over 100 concert series and John D'earth's "Natural Bridge" for Trio, jazz bass and guitar with jazz great Kurt Rosenwinkel. Their newest project, with storyteller/whistler Andy Offutt Irwin, features unique arrangements of jazz standards and folk music to create a totally original musical experience.

Connie Regan-Blake is one of America's most celebrated storytellers. She has captivated the hearts and imaginations of people around the globe with her powerful performances and workshops. Entertaining audiences in 47 states and 16 countries, she brings the wisdom, humor and drama of stories to main stage concert halls, libraries and into the corporate world.

Both as a solo artist and a member of the acclaimed Folktellers duo, she has been featured on seven award-winning recordings - five audio and two videos produced by PBS. New Age Magazine, School Library Journal, and Southern Living have praised her work. She has been a guest on NPR's "All Things Considered," ABC's "Good Morning America" and CNN.

When Regan-Blake takes the stage she generates a brightness and warmth, drawing in listeners with her engaging humor and Southern charm. Her stories range from hilarious traditional Appalachian Mountain tales to poignant true-life drama. A consummate professional, her rare talent can transform a convention hall into a wondrous landscape and turn a packed theater into an intimate circle of friends.

Regan-Blake has performed at the nation's top folk music and storytelling festivals in Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco, as well as the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. Her groundbreaking collaboration with the Kandinsky Trio - an innovative blend of storytelling and chamber music - has been hailed as a "new art form."

As a founding board member of the National Storytelling Association (formerly NAPPS), and a frequent host and featured performer at the National Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn., she helped ignite and shape the American storytelling revival.


The Kandinsky Trio

Storyteller Connie Regan-Blake