GV Piano Chamber series returns for 2022-23 season


Courtesy / GVSU Music Department

Omari Seaberry, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University hosted the first program of their second annual GV Piano Chamber Series. The series consists of five different programs that will be performed throughout the school year.

Last year the piano chamber series was called “BrahmsFest.” This year, the series is titled “FrenchFest,” and features 12 French composers and 18 different artists that will perform classical French music.

The idea for the series began with associate professor of piano Dr. Sookkyung Cho’s interest in all of the classical music in the community that surrounds GVSU.

She said because of the Grand Rapids Symphony there seems to be a plethora of influences and interest in orchestral and chamber music, but not as much of them include the piano. Cho said she wanted to find a way to feature the instrument and started the GVSU Piano Chamber Series.

Chamber music is a form of classical music that is composed of a small group of instruments. It’s traditionally performed by a small number of artists that each have an individual role in the performance.

Now, Cho is the director of the series and will also perform for all of the programs. In her role as the director of the chamber series, Cho makes sure that the events are planned and programs are prepared. Over the course of the series, thirteen concerts will take place at eight locations in the greater Grand Rapids and GVSU area.

In order to execute the performance, many factors went into setting up the event.

“I choose all of the repertoires and contact all of the performers,” Cho said. “I was also in contact and worked with organizations that we have partnerships with. I also had help from the school offices and student assistants prepping the programs and brochures for the events.”

Cho also received financial assistance from the Michigan Arts and Cultural Council after she applied for their grant in May. She learned the series had been awarded the grant in mid-September which created provided funding for the program. 

“It has helped immensely,” Cho said. “I feel that it is a testament to what a positive impact that we are making in the community and the students.”

Another performer in the series, Dr. Pablo Mahave-Veglia, has been a professor at GVSU since 2003. Throughout Mahave-Veglia’s career, he has appeared as a soloist with concerti by Tchaikovsky Boccherini and Saunt-Saёns and has been a guest chamber musician with the Tesla Quartet, Magisterra Soloists and The Harlem Chamber Players. 

As an experienced cello player, Mahave-Veglia said he is delighted to perform at “FrenchFest” as typically classical chamber music is not as accessible to the public.

“I feel that classical chamber music is a loose commodity in today’s age,” Mahave-Veglia said. “That is why I have worked with the GVSU Music, Theatre and Dance Department so extensively to give the genre a wider audience.”

More information on “FrenchFest” musical artists, programs and event times can be found on the GV Piano Chamber series website.