The Academy Chamber Ensemble to perform at Central Presbyterian Church |
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The Academy Chamber Ensemble to perform at Central Presbyterian Church

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
Central Presbyterian Church
The Academy Chamber Ensemble is made up of Warren Davidson, violin; Leah Givelber, violin; Paige Riggs, cello; and David Sinclair, viola. Joining the group for a performance March 17 at Central Presbyterian Church in Tarentum is bassoonist Amy Baker (below).
Amy Baker
Amy Baker, a bassoonist, will join the Academy Chamber Ensemble for a performance March 17 at Central Presbyterian Church in Tarentum.
Alisa Garin Photography
The Academy Chamber Ensemble includes Warren Davidson on violin. He serves on the faculty of Slippery Rock University. He is concertmaster of the Westmoreland Symphony, artistic director of the Academy Chamber Orchestra, and music director of the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra.

A church is the perfect setting for this performance.

Central Presbyterian Church in Tarentum presents its third concert for this season — “A Bassoon Runs Through It.” It’s set for 4 p.m. March 17 with the Academy Chamber Ensemble.

The event will feature the music of Mozart, Beethoven and the Quintet for Contra­bassoon and Strings by Willy Hess.

The Academy Chamber Ensemble is made up of Warren Davidson on violin, Leah Givelber on violin, David Sinclair on viola and Paige Riggs on cello. Joining the group is Amy Baker, a bassoonist.

“These more intimate concerts are even more rewarding because the communication with the audience is more direct and personal,” says artistic director Davidson, who holds a doctorate in musical arts. “On a large stage, in a big hall, the audience is a little bit anonymous, but in a smaller venue you see the expressions on the faces of the people there as you play and speak. And that’s a really nice feeling.”

Of all the places he’s performed, these concerts are special because he knows the other musicians well — they are more than colleagues.

“Part of the fun is making music with your friends and sharing that with the audience,” Davidson says. “You know each other, and that connection comes through in the music, and is communicated to the audience.”

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the musicians after the show. “We look forward to meeting those who attend the concert,” Davidson says. “We don’t always get to meet the people we perform for, so this adds another dimension to the event.”

Joining in

Baker says she is excited to play with the group.

“We will be playing music (the audience members) don’t normally hear,” she says. “And I love doing that and making music with all these great musicians.

“The church is the perfect concert to bring someone who has never heard this music before,” Baker says. “We can’t wait to perform.”

About the ensemble

The Academy Chamber Ensemble consists of leading players from the Pittsburgh area, many of whom are faculty members at colleges and universities.

The programs focus on the great classical chamber music tradition but sometimes include musical rarities and contemporary works. This performance is part of the fifth season of concerts at the church, which offers these programs as part of its mission outreach to the community.

“To hear this caliber of music, you would have to go into the city of Pittsburgh,” says Dave Rankin of Natrona Heights, a lifelong member of the church, who is handling publicity for the concert.

Meet the musicians

Warren Davidson: He serves on the faculty of Slippery Rock University and is concertmaster of the Westmoreland Symphony, artistic director of the Academy Chamber Orchestra and music director of the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra. A native of Western Pennsylvania, Davidson grew up on American folk music and jazz, and has extensive experience in folk music of Eastern Europe. He holds graduate degrees from Duquesne University, the University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University.

David Sinclair: The Western Pennsylvania native was largely self-taught before beginning his undergraduate work. He received a bachelor of music with distinction in viola performance from the Eastman School of Music and holds a master of music and artist diploma in viola performance from Duquesne University. Sinclair is currently the principal violist with the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra in Greensburg, in addition to his work as a chamber musician. He has been on the faculty of Seton Hill University since 2000.

Paige Riggs: A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, she currently serves on the music faculty of Slippery Rock University and is principal cello of the Westmoreland Symphony and the Academy Chamber Orchestra. For the past 15 summers, she has been principal cellist of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival in Harrisonburg, Va., and more recently has been performing with the Music From Land’s End Festival in Wareham, Mass.

Leah Givelber: A performing violinist in the Pittsburgh area, she is also a Suzuki violin teacher and vice president of academic affairs at the Center for Young Musicians. She began playing the violin at age 5 and holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., and New England Conservatory in Boston.

Amy Baker: She began her study on the bassoon while in high school . Baker earned her bachelor of music degree in performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She continued her musical education at Cleveland State University. Baker graduated with a masters of music degree with a concentration in music education in 2017 from Eastern Kentucky University. She is a member of the woodwind quintet Cincopation. She is the second bassoonist/contrabassoonist for both the Westmoreland Symphony and the Academy Chamber Orchestra and was recently appointed 3rd bassoonist/contrabassoonist with the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra. Baker is an adjunct bassoon instructor at Slippery Rock University.

What you will hear

Franz Krommer, “Quartet for Bassoon in Bb major, Op 46 No 1”

Willy Hess “Quintet for Contrabassoon and Strings”

W. A. Mozart “Sonata in Bb for Bassoon and Cello K 292”

L. van Beethoven “String Quartet Op 18 No 2”

L. van Beethoven “Praeludium and Fugue in F Major”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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