5th annual Mayfest: Cornell's international chamber music festival

May 8, 2012

Click above to hear WSKG's Gregory Keeler interview Xak Bjerken, professor of piano at Cornell University... and co-artistic Director of the Mayfest chamber music festival.

Cornell’s 5th Annual International Chamber Music Festival
May 20–23, 2012
Sunday, May 20, 3pm, Millstein hall
Monday, May 21, 8pm, Barnes Hall
Tuesday, May 22, 8pm, Barnes Hall
Wednesday, May 23, 8pm, Barnes Hall


website: http://mayfest-cornell.org

Cornell University’s Department of Music, under the artistic direction of pianists Xak Bjerken and Miri Yampolsky, presents its fifth annual international chamber music festival May 20–23.  Mayfest offers intimate concerts in Cornell’s Barnes Hall Auditorium, with the opening event in the spectacular new Milstein Hall.  The directors have invited back violinist Xiao-Dong Wang and cellist Zvi Plesser—favorite guests from two seasons ago—as well as violist Katherine Murdock (former Ithacan, Los Angeles Piano Quartet), and welcome the arrival of Cornell’s new faculty violinist Ariana Kim.  In addition to three chamber music concerts, Mayfest will offer an evening celebrating three generations of Cornell pianists:  Malcolm Bilson, Miri Yampolsky, and Andrew Zhou.  The offerings range from J. S. Bach’s great D-Minor Keyboard Concerto to Shostakovich’s Second Piano Trio, from Brahms’s epic A-Major Piano Quartet to a new work for violin and pre-recorded sounds by composer Christopher Stark.  All of the participating artists’ biographies and repertoire for each concert are available on the Mayfest website at

Admission will be charged for each concert:  $15 for adults and $8 for students.  Tickets are available on line at Ticketbud (http://mayfest.ticketbud.com/mayfest-2012) and at the door.

Arranged with Cornell’s Commuter and Parking Services, parking restrictions in the Sage South lot (corner of Campus Rd. and Sage Ave., near Barnes Hall) will be suspended one hour before each Barnes Hall event (May 21–23).  Parking at the lot in front of Sibley Hall (attached to Milstein Hall) is unrestricted on Sundays.  Full details of the festival, including a map of the two venues, can be found at http://mayfest-cornell.org.

Tickets ($15 general, $8 students, for each concert) available on line at Ticketbud (http://mayfest.ticketbud.com/mayfest-2012) and at the door.

Sunday, May 20, 3:00 pm Milstein Hall
Gideon Klein’s String Trio (Ariana Kim, Xiao-Dong Wang, Zvi Plesser), Christopher Stark’s Red Ochre for violin and pre-recorded sounds (Ariana Kim), J. S. Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052 (Mike Lee with Susan Waterbury, Ariana Kim, Xiao-Dong Wang, Zvi Plesser), and selections from Rachmaninoff’s “Vespers,” conducted by Scott Tucker with the Chorus and Glee Club.

Monday, May 21, 8:00 pm Barnes Hall
“Three Generations of Cornell Pianists” features Malcolm Bilson (F-Minor Sonatas by Hummel, op. 20, and Schubert, D. 625), Miri Yampolsky (Schuman Sonata in G Minor, op. 22), and Andrew Zhou (Thomas Adès’ Traced Overhead, op. 15).

Tuesday, May 22,  8:00 pm Barnes Hall
Ives’ Largo for clarinet, violin and piano (Richard Faria, Ariana Kim, Andrew Zhou), Beethoven’s String Trio in C Minor, op. 9, no. 3 (Xiao-Dong Wang, Katherine Murdock, Zvi Plesser), Bizet’s Jeux d’Enfants for piano four-hands (Xak Bjerken and Roger Moseley), and Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2 (Xiao-Dong Wang, Zvi Plesser, Miri Yampolsky).

Wednesday, May 23,  8:00 pm Barnes Hall
Janácek’s Violin Sonata (Ariana Kim, Miri Yampolsky), Bartók’s Contrasts for clarinet, violin, and piano (Richard Faria, Xiao-Dong Wang, Xak Bjerken), and Brahms’ Piano Quartet in A Major, op. 26 (Xiao-Dong Wang, Katherine Murdock, Zvi Plesser, Xak Bjerken).