Richard and Peter John Stoltzman—Clarinet and Piano

Chamber Concert
Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church

Here’s a musical duo with an unusually close bond.

Richard Stoltzman, a two-time Grammy winner, is one of the best-known clarinetists in the world. He’s at home playing classical music, pop, or jazz.

His son, Peter John Stoltzman, is a jazz pianist who leads the piano department for the University of Colorado-Denver’s music program.

They will present a program celebrating Leonard Bernstein and also featuring the music of Ives and Gershwin.

There will be a catered dinner before the concert. There will be wine and light snacks at 5:30; Dinner starting at 5:45.  Dinner will be catered by Birdwell Catering and will cost $50.  Make reservations by calling 483-5569; e-mailing or by calling Lois McKeever, 483-7208 or emailing her at

New England composer Charles Ives was modern America’s first prominent composer.  After graduating from Yale, he moved to New York where he sold insurance and took organist jobs. A composer at heart, he was way ahead of his time, and introduced some radical dissonance as well as complex rhythms, experimental polytonality, and strange tone clusters.  Just for the heck of it, he wrote music in several keys at once or in none at all. Critic Kurt List declared Ives’ dissonance and polyphony the best America had to offer, and Lawrence Gilman of the New York Herald Tribune admired Ives’s genuine indifference to any sort of assistance: ”Ives made terrific use of favorite hymns and  borrowed songs such as Turkey in the Straw, London Bridge is Falling Down, and Dixie.”

Jim Svejda of The Record Shelf Guide credits Leonard Bernstein’s famous Columbia recording of Ives’ Second Symphony for sparking the Ives revival of the 1960s and, shortly after, his becoming a cult phenomenon. My favorite description of him also came from Bernstein: “Ives was the Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln of our music.” Does that not conjure up Saturday mornings at the park listening to community brass bands play patriotic music in the style of Sousa; Ives grew up in this environment because his father was a band director.

Elizabeth Lunday of “Secret Lives of Composers” tells us how Ives refused to court the approval of the U.S. music establishment, which he characterized as “a bunch of lily-livered wusses.” U.S. music, oftenheaded by women and effeminate men,” was not the sort of audience he strove to impress.

Our reaction to songs “sung” tonight by our instrumentalists may be varied, but you can bet your hearing aid it will not be wimpy, especially for “The Cage.”

BONUS FACT – Charles “dissonant” Ives was married to a woman named Harmony.


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