Sunday’s season-opening concert of the NOVA Chamber Music Series features two threads that will run through the season: father-son composers and chamber concertos.
“Black Wind,” a new brass quintet by Nicolas Chuaqui, and “Interim Directions,” a piece for piano and flute by Miguel Chuaqui, will open the concert. Miguel Chuaqui is director of the University of Utah School of Music; Nicolas Chuaqui, his son, studies composition at the Eastman School of Music. The program also spotlights Utah Symphony concertmaster Madeline Adkins in Ernest Chausson’s Concerto for Violin, String Quartet and Piano. Series artistic director Jason Hardink and his wife, Kimi Kawashima, will perform the four-hands piano version of Maurice Ravel’s “La Valse.”
This season will be Hardink’s last at NOVA’s helm. He’s stepping back after nine seasons to concentrate on his full-time job as the Utah Symphony’s principal keyboardist, as well as a performing career and the family’s young sons.
“Nine seasons feels like a very healthy tenure,” said Hardink, who’s also commuting to Logan one day a week this year to teach piano at Utah State University during Gary Amano’s sabbatical.
“I’m also surprised at what the NOVA audience has taught me,” he said. “I knew they were open-minded coming in … but people really weren’t as enthusiastic about the programs that were just Brahms or Beethoven. It forced me to reconsider what I thought the standard chamber-music audience was hungry for in this day and age.”
The core chamber-music repertoire still has a place at NOVA, he said, but “hearing unexpected repertoire they don’t know, written by a composer who is in the audience sitting next to them, is a big part of our identity.”
During Hardink’s leadership, NOVA has added the Gallery Series, two tightly focused programs per season that take place in more intimate venues such as Salt Lake City’s Art Barn, the new Bountiful-Davis Art Center and the series’ former home, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. (Regular subscription concerts take place in Libby Gardner Concert Hall on the U. campus.)
When • Sunday, Oct. 29, 3 p.m.
Where • Libby Gardner Concert Hall, 1375 E. Presidents Circle, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $20; $18 for seniors and free for students; subscriptions also available; novaslc.org
Nov. 19 • “It’s all about Rainer Eudeikis,” Hardink said. The Utah Symphony’s principal cellist will perform a cello concerto by C.P.E. Bach and will join Kawashima, violinist Claude Halter and clarinetist Erin Svoboda in Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time.”
Jan. 21 • Utah Symphony principal trombonist Mark Davidson will be the soloist in Leopold Mozart’s Concerto for Alto Trombone, while the orchestra’s associate concertmaster, Kathryn Eberle, will be featured in Violin Concerto No. 1 by Leopold’s better-known son, Wolfgang.
Jan. 29 and 30 and Feb. 1 • A mini-festival dedicated to the works of Michael Hersch will include Hardink playing the 2 ½-hour solo cycle “The Vanishing Pavilions” and a performance of the chamber opera “On the Threshold of Winter.”
Feb. 25 • Utah Symphony principal percussionist Keith Carrick will be featured in Stephen Mackey’s “Microconcerto” on a program that also includes a new piece by Utah composer Morris Rosenzweig, supported by a coveted Chamber Music America grant.
March 25 • The Fry Street Quartet wraps up a survey of Bartók and Haydn quartets.
April 15 • Hardink’s final performances as NOVA artistic director: “a little concerto by J.C. Bach” and a new chamber concerto by U. visiting composer Inés Thiebaut. “I told her to write me something obnoxiously difficult,” Hardink said. J.C.’s more famous father, J.S. Bach, will also be on the program as Fry Street cellist Anne Francis Bayless tag-teams with her husband, Utah Symphony principal violist Brant Bayless: The couple will alternate playing movements from a Bach cello suite and viola music by György Kurtág.
May 6 • Utah Symphony music director Thierry Fischer will conduct the world premiere of a new “interdisciplinary work” by Augusta Read Thomas on the season closer, which also includes a performance of the Schubert Octet.