Sundays at Three series brings chamber music to Cape Girardeau

Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Dr. Brandon Christensen

When violinist Dr. Brandon Christensen joined the faculty of Southeast Missouri State University, there was something missing in his eyes: a professional concert series.

"I saw that the university was offering a tremendous number of concerts," Christensen says, "but everything tended to be student-related. There was a niche to be filled."

So, in 2003 Christensen set about filling that niche with the Sundays at Three chamber music concert series.

Originally held at Old St. Vincent's church before moving to Shuck Recital Hall in 2007, the series has become a staple of the area's entertainment calendar with about six concerts a year.

The next installment in the Sundays at Three series, featuring Christensen on violin and Jennifer Lim-Judd on piano, will be at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 28.

Jennifer Lim-Judd

"This is essentially good, old-fashioned, in a sense, major repertoire for violin and piano," Christensen says of the recital.

Lim-Judd was the first pianist to perform on the Sundays at Three series and Christensen says she's familiar to Cape Girardeau audiences. She has also collaborated with the Arianna string quartet and the St. Louis Symphony.

For the highlight of the recital, the pair will perform Beethoven's "Kreutzer Sonata."

"It's a big, big piece," Christensen says. "We have been talking about doing it for years and are finally buckling down."

A Mozart sonata and piece by Nino Rota will also be on the program. Christensen says the Rota piece, which he performed in Italy, is a nod to the international work he's been doing.

A percussion and strings concert, featuring Christensen and Shane Mizicko, and the completion of Bach's Cello Suites will round out the 2011-2012 series this spring.

Christensen is in the planning stages of the 2012-2013 season, the series' 10th. "Next year will be a pretty fantastic year," he says.

He's got two internationally known musicians lined up. Israeli pianist Michael Tsalka, professor of keyboards at Lilla Akademien in Stockholm, Sweden, has won numerous prizes and awards and tours worldwide. Cellist Michael Flaksman of the Mannheim Musikhochschule in Germany is also set to return for another Sundays at Three appearance.

"The biggest thing for the 10th anniversary is to reach out to the community and bring in some community sponsorships," says Christensen.

The series is funded entirely by patrons and sponsorships, and the occasional grant -- a National Endowment for the Arts grant brought the American Chamber Players to town for a Sundays at Three performance last year.

"It is time for the series to expand beyond my immediate circle of artistic friends and to do that we need to increase our budget," he says. "The series works in collaboration with the music department, which recognizes the importance of presenting live, professional chamber music to it's students and the community, but we receive no direct funding from the university."

Christensen hopes more community sponsorships will lead to more international musicians playing in Cape Girardeau.

For more information on the series, visit www.chambermusicsundays.com.

Sundays at Three concert series

All concerts are in the Shuck Recital Hall at the River Campus. Tickets are $15 or $10 for seniors and can be purchased at the River Campus box office by calling 573-651-2265 or online at rivercampusevents.com.

Violin and Piano Recital

A full recital of music for violin and piano performed by Brandon Christensen on violin and Jennifer Judd on piano. 7:30 p.m., Jan. 28, Shuck Recital Hall*

Percussion and Strings

Shane Mizicko joins Brandon Christensen for a concert of music for the unexpectedly delightful combination of percussion and strings. 3 p.m. Feb. 19, Shuck Recital Hall

Bach Cello Suites, Part II

Ken Kulosa returns to complete Bach's cycle of Cello Suites. 3 p.m., April 1

*Note special day and time

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