Flutist Maquette Kuper of Davis has two upcoming concerts this month:
* An appearance as a soloist with the Auburn Symphony at the Mondavi Center at 3 p.m. Sunday, and
* An appearance with a group of other Davis musicians at 7 p.m. Friday, March 18, as part of the Bravo Bach festival at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Sacramento.
The Auburn Symphony rents the Mondavi Center each spring to showcase the orchestra in a proper concert hall. (Mondavi’s Jackson Hall offers better acoustics than any venue available in Placer County, where the orchestra is based.) Typically, the spring symphony concert at Mondavi draws about 900 to 1,000 people.
With the Auburn Symphony, Kuper will play the “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” by Claude Debussy, one of the favorite orchestral showpieces for the flute.
“It’s a very beautiful French Impressionist classic,” Kuper said. “It’s very sensuous and free-seeming, although the structure of Debussy’s music is that you actually have to play rather strictly in his time. The end result is lush sounds and cascading lines that he intentionally wrote to follow the architecture of arabesques (the elaborate decorative design featured in Spanish/Moorish architecture).
“The piece has these gorgeous cascading lines created by the flute, followed by the oboe, the clarinet and a little violin. What makes the piece most haunting is that it opens with a solo flute — nobody else is playing. That draws the audience into this very small sound, as if you’re being pulled into another world.”
The Auburn Symphony concert also will feature the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Franz Liszt, with pianist Richard Cionco, and the Symphony No. 5 by Dmitri Shostakovich, which was famously written after Soviet strongman Josef Stalin had severely criticized an opera by Shostakovich. The composer feared for his life at the time. Maestro Michael Goodwin will conduct.
Tickets are $40 general, available at http://www.mondaviarts.org or (530) 754-2787.
For the March 18 concert on the Bravo Bach series, Kuper will play with violinist Robert Bloch, a retired member of the UC Davis music faculty; cellist Julie Hochman; and harpsichordist Susan Erickson. All are from Davis. They’ll be joined by vocalists and an oboe on several selections.
Naturally, the program will feature music by J.S. Bach, including movements from Bach’s “Musical Offering,” including an example of a Canon and Ricercar as well as the famous Trio Sonata. There also will be some music by composers who were Bach’s students and contemporaries.
Tickets for the Bravo Bach recital are $15 general and $10 for students. St. Mark’s United Methodist Church is at 2391 St. Mark’s Way, Sacramento (east of Watt Avenue, near Country Club Plaza). For information, go to http://www.stmarksumc.com/st-marks-presents or call (916) 483-7848, ext. 12.
The Bravo Bach series continues with concerts featuring various artists on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7 p.m. through March 27.
Kuper has been a Davis resident since 1980. She is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and spent two summers as a fellowship student at Tanglewood, and studied in Paris on a Fulbright scholarship. She has been a performing participant in master classes by the late Julius Baker, who served as principal flute with the Chicago Symphony and the New York Philharmonic.
Kuper is a founding member of Sacramento’s Capitol Chamber Players, and she is founder and director of the Davis Youth Flute Choir. She led that group on a tour of Japan in 2008, performing in Inuyama, a sister city of Davis, and elsewhere. In August 2010, Kuper took the flute choir to Anaheim, performing at the National Flute Association convention.
Kuper and the Davis Youth Flute Choir will welcome a group of Noh flute players from Inuyama when they visit Davis in November, the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the sister-city relationship. Kuper and the Davis Youth Flute Choir also are planning a trip to another sister city of Davis — Sangju, South Korea — in June 2012.