Musical Club of Hartford

Music by Members: Piano Ensemble Day

Piano Ensemble Concert on Sunday, March 20 at 3 pm in Millard Auditorium at the Hartt School of Music

The Musical Club of Hartford will present a concert of music for two pianos at 3:00 pm on Sunday, March 20th, 2016, in Millard Auditorium at The Hartt School of Music on the campus of the University of Hartford.

Music by J.S. Bach, Samuel Barber, Reinhold Gliere, Alexander Arensky, Witold Lutoslawski and George Auric will be performed by Elizabeth Carabillo, Juliane Port, Jane Bugbee, Linda Pezzullo, Stacy Cahoon, Diane Day, Colette Switaj, Lean-Cheng Tan. Dorothy Bognar and Connie Hegarty 

Admission to this event is free.

In celebration of the 125th Anniversary Year of the Musical Club of Hartford, the Piano Ensemble program commemorates a concert presented in 1941 during the club's 50th anniversary year by pianists Josef and Rosina Lhevinne.  For that concert, held January 21, 1941 at the Horace Bushnell Memorial Hall, a second grand piano, a Baldwin, was provided by Gallup and Alfred of Hartford.

For this performance, the Hartt School generously invites the Musical Club of Hartford to use Millard Auditorium and will provide two nine-foot concert grand pianos, one of which has been partially funded through donations from the Musical Club of Hartford.

Jane Bugbee and Linda Pezzullo will perform a two-piano arrangement of J.S. Bach’s Concerto in C minor for Two Harpsichords. The concerto begins with a majestic Allegro, continues with a lyrical Adagio and concludes with a dance-like Allegro.

Originally thought to have been composed for two solo instruments, (probably violin and oboe) accompanied by strings and continuo, the Concerto in C minor was transcribed by Bach himself for two keyboard instruments and published in 1730.  It may have been performed in the early 1730’s by his sons, C.P.E. Bach and W. F. Bach, who were still living at home at the time.

Variations on a Theme by Paganini, composed by Witold Lutoslawski, will be performed by Stacy Cahoon and Diane Day, who will also perform Vocalise, composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff, and arranged for two pianos by Victor Babin.


Witold Lutoslawski was born in Warsaw in 1913. He studied violin before turning to composition as a student in the Warsaw Conservatory, where he earned his diploma in 1937.  Within a couple of years he had begun doing signal work for the military, but still managed to complete his Symphonic Variations.


In 1941, the year that both Germany and Russia invaded Poland, Lutoslawski had begun composing a piece based on Paganini’s 24th Caprice for solo violin, using the violin melody as the bass line for each of the variations.


Life in Warsaw became increasingly difficult during the German occupation. Along with his duet partner, Andrezj Panufnik, Lutoslawski continued to play in cafés in Warsaw although musicians were not allowed to perform music by Polish composers.

Lutosławski was mobilised with the radio unit for the Kraków Army. He was soon captured by German soldiers, but he escaped while being marched to prison camp, and walked 250 miles (400 km) back to Warsaw. Most of his compositions were left behind when he and his mother fled the city in 1944. His Variations on a Theme by Paganini was the only piece that survived.  (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14, by Rachmaninoff, was written in 1915, for a high voice, either soprano or tenor, with no text for the singer.  It is sung using any vowel that the singer wishes to use and also in the key that fits the range of the singer.   It was dedicated to soprano Antonina Nezhdanova.  Babin and his wife were good friends with Rachmaninoff and played and recorded much of Rachmaninoff's music.

In addition, Musical Club member Elizabeth Carabillo and her niece, Julianne Port, will perform Six Pieces, Op. 41 by Reinhold Gliere.

Reinhold Gliere was born in Kiev and lived in Moscow.  He was taught by Tanayev, Ippolitov-Ivanov, and Arensky, among others, and in turn taught many other Russian musicians.  He was strongly influenced by Russian nationalism, and received many awards in Russia, writing operas, symphonies, ballets, chamber music, and vocal works.

Dorothy Bognar and Connie Hegarty will perform Souvenirs, Op. 28 by Samuel Barber, arranged for two pianos by Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale.

Barber composed "Souvenirs" in 1951 as a Ballet Suite for piano duet. The six pieces in the suite are lighthearted dances which depict cherished reminiscences which Barber associated with New York City around 1914 and have been characterized as being humorous, delightful, passionate and splashy.

Colette Switaj and Lean-Cheng Tan will perform a Waltz and a Fugue on a Russian Theme from Alexander Arensky’s Six Children’s Pieces, Op. 34, followed by Five Bagatelles For Piano Four Hands by George Auric.

Alexander Arensky was born in in Novgorod, Russia in 1861. He studied composition with Rimsky-Korsakov at the St. Petersburg conservatory before taking a position at the Moscow Conservatory, where he taught Scriabin and Rachmaninoff.  A spiritual heir of Tchaikovsky, and a friend of Glazunov, Arensky has been called a  “watercolorist in his music with an 18th century refinement.”

Georges Auric, a French composer born in 1899, received a diploma from the Paris Conservatoire, where he was influenced by the music of Satie and the philosophy of Cocteau, with whom he collaborated on eleven films before taking the position of Director of the Paris Opera in 1962.  A champion of avant-garde music, Auric followed Cocteau's manifesto of hostility toward Wagnerism and Impressionism. He cultivated a witty sharp-edged style opposed to all Romanticism. Later in his life he wrote music in more popular styles, drawing on the idioms of the music hall and jazz.


More on the Performers

Dorothy Bognar holds music degrees from the University of California (Santa Barbara and Berkeley) and an MLS from UC Berkeley. Since retiring from UConn as Head of the Music Library in 1997 she has been teaching piano, playing keyboard in the swing band Flamingo, and performing both solo and ensemble music. She belongs to the Music Teachers National Association, the Connecticut State Music Teachers Association and the Musical Club of Hartford.  She lives in Tolland.

Jane Bugbee is a graduate of Ithaca College, and a former school teacher, accompanist and choir director. She lives in Old Lyme teaching piano in her studio and enjoying making music with her partner, Linda.

Stacy Cahoon holds performance degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and a Master of Music Degree from the Hartt School of Music in Accompanying. She is an active accompanist in the area working with singers and instrumentalists. In addition, she is the accompanist for the Travelers Chorale and the CitySingers of Hartford.  As a composer, she has had vocal compositions premiered at Bushnell Hall, and the Women Composers Festival of Hartford.  She is an independent piano teacher in West Hartford teaching students of all ages.

Elizabeth Carabillo was the director of the Whitechapel Handbell Choir at First Church of Christ in West Hartford Center for 17 years, currently rings in that very same choir, and accompanies the Connecticut Women's Chorale.  She lives in West Hartford.

Diane  Day, a native of Simsbury, started studying piano at age 7.  She graduated from the 4-year program at the Hartford Conservatory with an artist’s diploma in Piano and a minor in Theory & Composition.  Having taught piano privately for over 40 years, she also performed chamber music, accompanied soloists and groups, including dance, and has performed many solo concerts over her career.  She studied with Juan Nazarian, Maria Luisa Faini, and Howard Parsons.  She lives in West Hartford with her husband.

Constance Hegarty began work as Music Director/Organist at age 15, a position she held at many churches in MA, RI and ME for over 45 years. Connie did her graduate study in organ with Alessandro Esposito in Florence, Italy, on full scholarship.  She studied piano with Donald Rankin at URI and taught piano and organ privately.  In the last 15 years, she performed numerous duo-piano concerts in FL and ME.  She recently moved to Windsor Locks.

 Lean-Cheng Tan, piano, was born in Penang, Malaysia. She began her piano studies at age eleven with the Royal School Of Music of England. She was a music school teacher before she moved to the United States. In 2006-2008 she served as the Co-President of the Hartford Chapter, Connecticut State Music Teacher Association. She volunteered for the Position of Recording Secretary of the Connecticut State Music Teacher Association in 2000-2005. Lean-Cheng has taught piano for 25 years and has accompanied school choirs and the Chinese community choir. She sings in the Musical Club’s Vocal Ensemble and she is also an active performer in an 8 hands piano ensemble for the Musical Club. Lean-Cheng lives in Rocky Hill with her husband and the youngest of her 3 sons.

Collette Switaj, a graduate of the Hartt School of Music, is currently teaching piano. Having served as the organist and choir director at Broad Brook Congregational Church for seven years, she is presently the organist at First Church of Christ Scientist in Hartford.  She lives in Newington.

Linda Pezzullo began formal classical piano studies at age 5.  She received a BA and an MM in piano performance and pedagogy, with several years of studies at Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.  Her primary mentor is Dr. Pawel Checinski, a Fulbright scholar to Julliard and student of Claudio Arrau.  Students from her studio have consistently rated highly in festivals and competitions, including winning Connecticut State Awards of Excellence and invitations to perform in Carnegie Hall from performance assessments with the Music Development Program, the American branch of the Canadian Royal Conservatory of Music. In addition to her degree recitals, Linda has performed at Brown University, Connecticut College, Providence College, Jamestown (RI) Community Piano Association, Courthouse Performing Arts Center in Kingston, RI, and Bozeman (MT) Public Library artist series.  She has worked as a collaborative artist for University of Rhode Island, Connecticut College, and Rhode Island National Association of Teachers of Singing (RI-NATS).  Active in Connecticut State Music Teachers Association (CSMTA), Linda served as interim president of the Middlesex-New London Chapter of MTNA.