Uncommonly Studio presents Brahms Horn Trio, a series of performances by the violinist Samuel Gray, pianist Mika Chang and horn player Erik Hyman. The trio will perform the world premiere of Estuaire, a new commission from young composer Pyam Pendleton, and will conclude each evening with a poignant and deeply introspective rendition of Johannes Brahms’ Eb Horn Trio. Performances will take place at 8:00 p.m. on May 13, 15, 20 and 21.
Chamber music for horn, violin and piano was virtually unknown before Johannes Brahms wrote his Trio for horn in Ea?? in 1865. Even more unusual, Brahms wrote the horn part for an instrument that quickly became an anachronism: the Waldhorn, or woodwind horn, more commonly called natural horn without valve. Brahms may have chosen to write for horn, violin and piano because each instrument evoked memories of his childhood: he studied all three as a child and his father, a professional horn player who played with the Bürgerwehr (municipal militia ) from Hamburg for 36 years. -had taught Brahms to play the Waldhorn.
Brahms wrote the piece as a tribute to his mother, Christiane, who died earlier that year. He was deeply affected by his mother’s death, and the impact of her passing is felt throughout the play. The carefree andante tempo that opens the first movement evokes Brahms’ slow walks through the Black Forest near Baden-Baden, where his melancholy reflections on the loss of his mother led to his idea for a horn trio. The joyous scherzo of the second movement begins in the classic hunting horn style, characterized by double meter and German folk melodies, before giving way to a poignant trio. The Adagio mesto (“slowly and joylessly”) is one of Brahms’ most emotionally tumultuous slow movements, marked by moments of grief and anguish that dissolve into resignation. The finale features what could have been a folk melody that Brahms learned from his mother as a child. The melody first appears briefly in the third movement as a heavenly call, and in the finale it suggests his mother’s triumphal ascent to heaven.
The impetus behind commissioning Estuary was Pyam Pendleton’s recent work on Untended Anchor with Junction Trio in November 2021. Knowing that Estuary would be paired with the Brahms, Pendleton chose an array of contrasting genres as inspiration for the room. The central theme is derived from lullabies and evolves from a medieval ballad to a modern cinematic score. Unlike Brahms, Estuaire is not intended to be introspective, but rather retrospective: a look at human progress and the many paths we can take.
Pyam Pendleton (b. 2004) is a New York-based composer and sound designer, creating music in a variety of genres from contemporary orchestral and chamber works to pop and rock production. Pyam’s musical experience began at an early age when he received music therapy under the guidance of Grammy-winning artist Jon Samson, which led to his interest in piano improvisation. and music production, influenced by film and video game soundtracks rather than classical study. He is now studying with composer Dr. Max Grafe at Kaufman Music Center Special Music School High School. Performances of Pyam’s work include Opening Light, performed by JACK Quartet in 2020, and Untended Anchor, performed by Junction Trio in 2021. Now a member of the Technology and Applied Composition program at the San Francisco Conservatory, Pyam intends to pursue a professional career composing for video. game and film industries.
Samuel Gray, violin, is an experienced orchestral, chamber and solo artist who resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He performs in several musical organizations around New York, including the Greenwich Village Orchestra, the Regina Opera Company and the Rendez-Vous Orchestra. In the fall of 2021, Sam accepted Maestro Scott Wiley’s invitation to be concertmaster at the Center Symphony Orchestra. He notably performed in a string ensemble at the palm beach wedding of Brooklyn and Nicola Beckham. He also works as an artist-producer, specializing in intimate and relaxed chamber music experiences.
Aurelia Mika Chang, piano, is a Steinway artist based in New York. She has performed as a soloist with the Tokyo City Philharmonic, Tokyo Memorial Orchestra, Gunma Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Symphonic Ensemble, Shanghai Television & Broadcasting Orchestra, Shanghai Theater Orchestra, Keihanna Festival Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and many more. She has performed across Japan, China, Austria, Germany, Poland and made her New York debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. She has also performed at the Kimmel Center, Onassis Foundation, South Orange Performing Arts Center, UCLA, Columbia University, Princeton University, and has been featured on WQXR’s Young Artist’s Showcase and WNET -TV’s State of the Arts. Mika graduated from the Juilliard School where she studied with Abbey Simon, Olegna Fuschi and Felix Galimir.
Mika performs with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchester de la Suisse Romande. She is a member and co-founder of the Mondrian Ensemble and is also a member of the Arioso Piano Trio, Tokyo/Vienna. Most recent performances have been at the GGAC Chamber Music Festival in Seoul and the La Fête de la Musique festival in Geneva. The next concerts with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Costa Rica are scheduled for the 2022/2023 season.
Erik Hyman, horn, works in the arts and recently joined The public theater as a Major Gifts Officer. Outside of work, Erik is principal horn of the Greenwich Village Orchestra and frequently performs volunteer and paid gigs with orchestras throughout New York, most recently the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra. Erik studies with Dr Jeffrey Forden and his former teachers are Anne Howarth, Arthur Green and Jean Rife.
Tickets are on sale now for the performances at a cost of $30 for general admission. Drinks are included with every purchase. The May 21 series finale will be streamed virtually live in HD and 360° via the Musae streaming platform. Tickets to access the stream are based on what the viewer is willing and able to donate, from $15 to $100.
Tickets in person: http://brahmshorntrio.eventbrite.com
Virtual tickets: https://www.musae.me/samgray/experiences/1282/brahms-horn