St. Cecilia Music Center will feature The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center begins their eight season at St. Cecilia Music Center on Thursday, November 21, 2019 in a program entitled: Great Innovators featuring the powerful works of brilliant composers Beethoven, Stravinsky, Mendelssohn and Smetana. Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center artists who will perform include Anne Marie McDermott, piano; Ida Klavafian, violin; Gary Hoffman, cello; and José Franch-Ballester, clarinet. The program features Beethoven’s innovative Trio in B-flat major for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano, Op. 11, the first of its kind to include the clarinet in a trio; Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du sold (The Soldier’s Tale), Trio Version for Violin, Clarinet, and Pianoa piece that introduced the composer’s wildly controversial music extremism to the chamber music stage in the early 1920’s; Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words for Piano, an invention all his own; and Smetana’s Trio in G minor for Piano, Violin, and Cello, Op. 15, the first major chamber work from the Bohemian region.

Executive Director Cathy Holbrook remarks, “It is truly a special experience to see the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center perform at St. Cecilia Music Center. These artists are amazing to watch with incredible artistry that is flawless. To hear the works of four powerful and brilliant composers – Beethoven, Stravinsky, Mendelssohn and Smetana – with these incredible artists in our world-class hall will be a memorable experience.”

Tickets for the November 21 CMS of Lincoln Center concert are $45 and $40 and can be purchased by calling St. Cecilia Music Center at 616-459-2224 or visiting the box office at 24 Ransom Ave. NE. Tickets can also be purchased online at A pre-concert reception for $15 will take place at 6:30 p.m. with wine and dos d’oeuvres, is available by reservation in advance (by Friday, November 15). A post-concert reception with dessert, coffee and wine is open to all ticket-holders to meet the artists and to obtain signed CDs of their releases.

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Series 2019/2020

  • The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Series begins on November 21 with the program Great Innovatorsfeaturing the works of composers – Beethoven, Stravinsky, Mendelssohn and Smetana.
  • CMS will return on January 23, 2020 with a program entitled French Enchantment where the audience will experience the grace, wit, and charm of French music.The program begins and ends with early works by Saint-Saëns and Fauré that recreate the elegant atmosphere of 19-century Parisian salons. In between the two works will be Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello, written soon after World War I, where he used just two string instruments to produce a composition of unique, austere beauty. CMS artists performing include Pianist and Co-Artistic Director Wu Han, violinist Paul Huang, violist Matthew Lipman, and cellist Clive Greensmith.
  • On April 30, 2020, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Co-Artistic Directors Wu Han (piano) and David Finckel (cello) will perform with violinist Arnaud Sussman and violist Paul Neubauer on a program entitled From Prague to Vienna. This concert celebrates friendship and family with three composers who mentored and inspired each other: Brahms, Dvořák and Suk. Brahms discovered Dvořák through a composition competition and helped him rise to international stardom, and became his lifelong friend and mentor. In turn, Suk was one of Dvořák’s favorite students and eventually became his son-in-law.  

About the Music on November 21

Selections will include:

Trio in B-flat major for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano, Op. 11 – written 1797 – Ludwig van Beethoven, composer

Beethoven first made his reputation as a pianist after arriving in Vienna in 1792, a flamboyant young musician of untamed spirit particularly noted for the power and invention of his improvisations. It was with the premieres of his first two piano concertos in 1795 that his fame as a composer began to flourish. Some of the compositions from the years immediately following show his eagerness to stretch the boundaries of the conventional forms and modes of expression, but most of his music of the 1790s still pays eager obeisance to the traditions and taste established by Haydn and Mozart such as the Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano, Op. 11, composed in 1797 the first composition to be performed on November 21.

L’Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale), Trio Version for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano – written 1919 – Igor Stravinsky, composer

After soaring to international fame in 1910 with The Firebird, Igor Stravinsky became a citizen of the world, living in Switzerland during the autumn and winter months, returning to Russia for the summers, and descending on Paris to oversee the productions of PetrushkaThe Rite of Spring, and The Nightingale. With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, his travel became restricted and he settled full-time in Switzerland, near Lausanne, where he remained until moving to France in 1920. In 1919, Stravinsky arranged a concert suite from The Soldier’s Talefor violin, clarinet, and piano, which was first performed in Lausanne on November 8, 1919. The suite for trio includes The Soldier’s MarchThe Soldier’s ViolinThe Little Concert(accompaniment to the card-playing scene), Three Dances: Tango, Waltz, Ragtime, and The Devil’s Dance.

Selected Lieder Ohne Worte for Piano, Op. 19b – written 1829 – 1830 – Felix Mendelssohn, composer

Mendelssohn seems to have been the first to call a piano piece a “Song Without Words,” indicating both this music’s small scale and its essential lyricism. He gave evocative titles to a few—Venetian Gondola SongSpinning SongDuetto,Spring Song—and later music lovers tacked on many more of less relevance, but he seems to have been wary of too much specificity in attaching words to music. Had Mendelssohn appended a title to the ruminative, gently rippling Op. 19b, No. 1 in E major it might well have been “Nocturne.”Op. 19b, No. 2 in A minor is wistful and gently flowing and sweetly melancholic.The third number of Op. 19b in A major is a bracing “hunting” piece, with galloping rhythms, horns calls, and incessant motion.

Trio in G minor for Piano, Violin, and Cello, Op. 15 – written 1885 – Bedřich Smetana, composer

In the Czech town of Pilzen, Smetana won local fame as a talented composer (of polkas and other piano pieces in the popular vein), a gifted pianist, and an organizer of concerts. He fell in love there with Kateřina Kolářová, a childhood acquaintance and also a fine pianist, and followed her to Prague when she moved there with her family in 1843. In 1848, Smetana opened a school in Prague that met the demand for instruction in the graceful art of piano playing, then expected of every cultivated young lady, and found sufficient success to marry Kateřina on August 27, 1849. His family expanded rapidly with the births of three daughters: Bedřiška (born January 1851, named after her father); Gabriela (February 1852); and Zofie (May 1853). The composer found much joy in his young brood, and he was deeply wounded by the death of Gabriela in 1854 and by the unmistakable signs of the tuberculosis that increasingly affected his wife. The cruelest blow, however, came in September of the following year, when Bedřiška, his first-born and his favorite child, died of scarlet fever at the age of four-and-a-half.

It was during this tragic time that Smetana wrote Trio in G minor for Piano, Violin, and Cello, Op. 15. The dramatic moods and changes throughout the three movements create opposing and powerful feelings of tragedy, warmth, melancholy and finally acceptance and victory. The final chapter of the work begins with a somber funeral march, but the mood changes from tragedy to acceptance and even victory with the major-key transformation of the movement’s principal themes. 

CMS of Lincoln Center Artist Bios

Anne Marie McDermott, piano

For over 25 years Anne-Marie McDermott has played concertos, recitals, and chamber music in hundreds of cities throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. She also serves as artistic director of the Bravo! Vail Music and Ocean Reef Music festivals, as well as Curator for Chamber Music for the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego. Recent performance highlights include appearances with the Colorado Symphony, Florida Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, New World Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Tucson Symphony, Mexico National Symphony, and Taipei Symphony. She also returned to play Mozart with the Chamber Orchestra Vienna-Berlin at the Bravo! Vail Festival. She has performed with leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Seattle Symphony, National Symphony, and Houston Symphony. Her recordings include the complete Prokofiev piano sonatas, Bach’s English Suites and partitas (Editor’s Choice, Gramophone magazine), Gershwin’s complete works for piano and orchestra with the Dallas Symphony (Editor’s Choice, Gramophone magazine), and, most recently, the Haydn piano sonatas and concertos with the Odense Philharmonic in Denmark. She tours each season with the Chamber Music Society, as a member of the piano quartet OPUS ONE, with violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and as part of a trio with her sisters Kerry and Maureen McDermott. Ms. McDermott studied at the Manhattan School of Music, has been awarded the Mortimer Levitt Career Development Award for Women and an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and won the Young Concert Artists auditions.

Ida Kavafian, violin

Violinist Ani Kavafian enjoys a prolific career as a soloist, chamber musician, and professor. She has performed with many of America’s leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony. In the 2019-20 season, she continues her longtime association as an artist of the Chamber Music Society with appearances in New York and on tour. Last summer she participated in several music festivals including the Heifetz International Institute and the Sarasota Chamber Music, Bridgehampton, Meadowmount, Norfolk, and Angel Fire festivals. She and her sister, violinist and violist Ida Kavafian, have performed with the symphonies of Detroit, Colorado, Tucson, San Antonio, and Cincinnati, and have recorded the music of Mozart and Sarasate on the Nonesuch label. She is a Full Professor at Yale University and has appeared at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall numerous times with colleagues and students from Yale. She has received an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions award, and has appeared at the White House on three occasions. Her recordings can be heard on the Nonesuch, RCA, Columbia, Arabesque, and Delos labels. Born in Istanbul of Armenian heritage, Ms. Kavafian studied violin in the US with Ara Zerounian and Mischa Mischakoff. She received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School under Ivan Galamian. She plays the 1736 Muir McKenzie Stradivarius violin.

Gary Hoffman, cello

Gary Hoffman is one of the outstanding cellists of our time, combining instrumental mastery, great beauty of sound, and a poetic sensibility. He gained international renown upon his victory as the first North American to win the Rostropovich International Competition in Paris in 1986. A frequent soloist with the world’s most noted orchestras, he has appeared with the Chicago, London, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco, Baltimore, and National symphony orchestras as well as the English, Moscow, and Los Angeles chamber orchestras, the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Netherlands and Rotterdam philharmonics, the Cleveland Orchestra for the Blossom Festival, and The Philadelphia Orchestra. He has collaborated with such celebrated conductors as André Previn, Charles Dutoit, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pinchas Zukerman, Andrew Davis, Herbert Blomstedt, Kent Nagano, Jesús López-Cobos, and James Levine. He performs in major recital and chamber music series throughout the world, as well as at such prestigious festivals as Ravinia, Marlboro, Aspen, Bath, Evian, Helsinki, Verbier, Mostly Mozart, Schleswig-Holstein, Stresa, Festival International de Colmar, and Festival de Toulon. He is a frequent guest of string quartets including the Emerson, Tokyo, Borromeo, Brentano, and Ysaye. In 2011, Mr. Hoffman was appointed Maître en Résidence for cello at the prestigious Chapelle de Musique Reine Elisabeth in Brussels. He has a new release of Elgar’s Cello Concerto and Bloch’s Schelomo on the La Dolce Volta label with Orchestre de Liège and Christian Arming. He performs on a 1662 Nicolo Amati, the “ex-Leonard Rose.”

José Franch-Ballester, clarinet

Clarinetist Jose Franch-Ballester is a captivating performer of “poetic eloquence” (The New York Sun) and “technical wizardry” (The New York Times). He plays regularly at the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, the Skaneateles Festival, Camerata Pacifica, and Music from Angel Fire. He has also appeared at the Usedomer Musikfestival in Germany, the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, the Cartagena Festival Internacional de Música in Colombia, and the Young Concert Artists Festival in Tokyo, Japan. As a soloist, he has appeared with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Santa Barbara Orchestra, and numerous Spanish orchestras. Winner of the 2004 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, he was presented in debut recitals in New York and in Washington, DC at the Kennedy Center. In 2008, he won a coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant. He was awarded the Cannes’ Midem Prize, which aims to introduce artists to the classical recording industry. With the Chamber Music Society, he has recorded Bartók’s Contrasts on the Deutsche Grammophon label. Born in Moncofa, Spain into a family of clarinetists and Zarzuela singers, Mr. Franch-Ballester graduated from the Joaquin Rodrigo Music Conservatory. He earned a bachelor’s degree from The Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Donald Montanaro and Pamela Frank. He is an alum of The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two).

Tickets for all Concerts

Single tickets for all 2019/2020 season concerts – jazz, chamber and folk concerts and subscription tickets for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Series and the Spectacular Jazz series – are available and can be purchased by phone at 616-459-2224 or online at All concerts start at 7:30pm and include a post-concert party for concert ticket holders. 

Detailed information about all upcoming 2019/2020 season concerts are online at

Series Subscribers are offered with great benefits including:

  • 15-20% discount off single ticket prices
  • A discounted rate on pre-concert reception ticket price ($10 per person per reception in the Jazz or Chamber Music series – discounted from $15 per person per reception)



Spectacular Jazz Series 

4-concert subscription

15% discount off single ticket prices

A Sec. Subscription $153

A Sec. Subscription with Pre-Concert Reception $193

B Sec. Subscription $136

B Sec. Subscription with Pre-Concert Reception $176

Chamber Music Society Series

3-concert subscription

15% discount off single ticket prices

A Sec. Subscription $115

A Sec. Subscription with Pre-Concert Reception $145

B Sec. Subscription $102

B Sec. Subscription with Pre-Concert Reception $132

Chamber + Jazz Subscription package

20% discount off single ticket prices

7-concert combination series 

A Sec. Subscription $252

A Sec. Subscription with Pre-Concert Reception $322

B Sec. Subscription $224

B Sec. Subscription with Pre-Concert Reception $294

Single Tickets

Single tickets to chamber, jazz, and folk concerts are also on sale now and can be purchased by phone at 616-459-2224 or online at www.scmc-online.orgFor each concert,a post-concert party is open to all ticket-holders giving the audience the opportunity to possibly meet the artists and obtain signed CDs of their releases Ticket prices: There is a $2.50 fee for all single tickets. All concerts start at 7:30pm. All concerts include a post-concert party for concert ticket holders. 


Folk Series single tickets for remaining concerts

Judy Collins

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A section $55

B section $50 

The Infamous Stringdusters

Thursday, February 6, 2020

A section $30

B section $25

Rosanne Cash with John Leventhal

Wednesday, February 20, 2020

A section $55

B section $50

Chris Thile

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

A section $55

B section $50

Raul Midón

Thursday, February 27, 2020

A section $45

B section $40

Additional Folk Series Concerts will be announced soon for the 2019/2020 season!

Jazz Series single tickets 

Fred Hersch featuring special guest Julian Lage

Thursday, October 17

A section $45

B Section $40

Emmet Cohen’s Master Legacy Series featuring Benny Golson

Thursday, January 16, 2020

A section $45

B section $40

Luciana Souza

Thursday, March 5, 2020

A section $45

B section $40

The Clayton Brothers

Thursday, April 16, 2020

A section $45

B section $40


Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center single tickets 

Great Innovators

Thursday, November 21, 2019

A section $45

B section $40

French Enchantment

Thursday, January 23, 2020

A section $45

B section $40

From Prague to Vienna

Thursday, April 30, 2020

A section $45

B section $40