Sundays at Three concert series opens with Swedish duo

Monday, October 1, 2012
Ulrika Edstrom, left, and Michael Tsalka introduce themselves before their chamber music performance Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012 at Shuck Recital on the River Campus of Southeast Missouri State University. (Laura Simon)

The 10th year of the Chamber Music Sundays at Three concert series kicked off with a performance by a duo from Sweden. The series is hosted by the River Campus and the Southeast Missouri State University Department of Music.

This is the series' sixth year at the River Campus.

Sundays at Three has hosted concerts from local and regional musicians to musicians celebrated worldwide. The theme for the 10th anniversary is "World Travelers," which will celebrate chamber music from musicians from all parts of the globe.

The first concert was performed by the Lilla Akademien Duo from Sweden, comprised of Ulrika Edstrom and Michael Tsalka.

The pieces performed included works from a variety of composers, such as Bach, Beethoven and Ingvar Lidholm. Most performances were duets of the cello and piano, but both Edstrom and Tsalka performed solo pieces.

"With chamber music, there is so much hidden treasure," Tsalka said. "There is so much marvelous music. We were so happy to bring it here."

Not only were attendees treated to the musical performances, but before each song, a history lesson was given to introduce each piece.

"It helps prepare you for what you're going to listen to," Edstrom said. "If it's something the audience has never heard before, it gives them something to relate to."

"It creates an emotional connection to the music when you learn the history," Tsalka said. "It's more like a very short introduction to the skeleton of the piece."

According to Edstrom, their performance at Sundays at Three is an exchange between Lilla Akademien and Southeast.

"We visit them now and some of the teachers will visit us to perform in the summer," she said.

Brandon Christensen, the artistic director and professor of violin and viola at Southeast who started the series, said between 50 and 60 people attended Sunday's concert.

Although Edstrom was born in Sweden, she is familiar with the area, moving to Quincy, Ill., at a young age and staying for several years before moving back home.

"Returning here felt like home," she said. "Seeing the Mississippi River, the sights, sounds and smells really brought back some memories."

In addition to teaching in Sweden, Edstrom is also the co-principal cellist with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Tsalka is a world-renowned musician, winning numerous awards across the globe. His 2012 engagements include tours in Asia, New Zealand and Europe.

Tsalka, who is visiting the area for the first time, said he is enjoying his stay.

"Cape Girardeau is a very beautiful city," he said. "The Shuck Music Recital Hall has wonderful acoustics. We are very much looking forward to returning."

Christensen started the series after coming to the university in 2002.

"There are great musicians in the region," he said, "but there wasn't a professional level of chamber music here."

Christensen, who graduated with a doctorate of musical arts from New York's Stony-Brook University in 2002, is happy that he can share his musical taste where there wasn't previously an outlet.

"There was nothing between St. Louis and Memphis that featured chamber music," he said. "I saw a wonderful opportunity to bring the music that I love to the region."

This season of Sundays at Three will put on concerts in October, November, March, April and May, and will feature musicians from Russia and Germany as well as Christensen himself.

Pertinent address:

River Campus, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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