By Danielle Bettendorf Staff writer
Susquehanna hosted a guest recital involving musician Ronald Carbone and professors Naomi Niskala and Jeffrey Fahnestock on Sept. 28 in Stretansky Concert Hall.
The recital included Carbone on viola, Niskala on piano and Fahnestock singing tenor on some of the pieces.
The recital’s repertoire included music from Russian composer Mikhail Glinka, German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, French composer Vincent D’Indy and German composer Johannes Brahms.
Susquehanna holds many recitals throughout the year, but this one differed in having a violist play prominently.
“I play viola in the university orchestra, so it’s really cool to hear a violist come to Susquehanna and play,” senior Rachel Snyder said. “We don’t usually hear a violist as a soloist, so I’m learning a lot just from hearing him play. It’s really nice to have the piano accompanying as well.”
Other audience members noted Niskala’s accompaniment with Carbone and appreciated seeing a familiar face on stage.
“I took some [classes] with Dr. Niskala, so it’s cool to see her perform,” junior Shawn Khanna said.
That sentiment extended to audience members who were unfamiliar with Niskala’s musical work prior to her involvement in the guest recital and saw her perform for the first time on Sept. 28.
“I’m a freshman, so this is my first time actually seeing [Niskala] play,” first-year Vanessa Llyod said. “I’m just amazed at everything.”
According to the program, the trio anticipated that the audience would recognize some of the works performed but as different versions. Both of the pieces by Brahms as well as D’Indy’s “Lied, Op. 19 for Viola and Piano” were originally written for other instruments. Brahms’ works were written for clarinet and piano, but he later altered the pieces for viola and piano. “Lied” was originally composed for cello and orchestra, but was later arranged for viola and orchestra or piano.
The program also noted that Glinka’s “Sonata in D Minor for Viola and Piano” was written between 1825 and 1828 but remained unfinished; only the first and part of the second movements were completed. Parts of the opening of the second movement, the final 40 bars of the piano part and a final movement are unwritten. The version of the second movement performed at the recital was completed by Russian violist “Vadim Borisovsky.”
Carbone is an acclaimed violist and won the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music award and two Artists International awards. He has been involved with the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Omni Piano Quartet, the New York Piano Quartet, Spectrum Concerts Berlin, the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, Composers String Quartet, the Portsmouth Chamber Ensemble, the Lexington Trio and the Griffes String Quartet.
Niskala is an associate professor of music at Susquehanna and an internationally recognized musician. She has played in Europe, North America, Russia, Israel, Thailand and Japan. Her recent performances include the San Francisco Symphony Chamber Series at Davies Symphony Hall, the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic of Russia, Spectrum Concerts Berlin in the Philharmonie Kammermusiksaal of Berlin and Carnegie’s Weill Hall