Arts Center welcomes Inalare ensemble

Staff report

April 30, 2013

The Ashe County Arts Council welcomes Inalare to the Ashe Arts Center Saturday May 4 for a concert entitled “Dreams of Love.”

Kay Borkowski, Linda Larson, and Bair Shagdaron join forces for this program of pieces for flute, voice, and piano. The concert starts at 7:30 pm.

Soprano Linda Larson, flutist Kay Borkowski, and pianist Bair Shagdaron gave their first concert together as “Inalare” in February of 2010. The ensemble was established to explore the surprisingly large repertoire of chamber music suitable for this instrumentation.

Composers through the ages have realized that the “voices” of soprano and flute are beautifully suited for each other and share the trait that breath, quite literally, brings their music alive. In Bair Shagdaron, Larson and Borkowski have found an able partner who also brings “breath” to his music-making at the keyboard.

Borkowski and Shagdaron have long been members of the High Country musical community as well as faculty members at Appalachian State University. Larson has moved to the area after many years as a performer and teacher in the New York area.

The music illustrates dreams, reveries, hopes, and even a little madness, all inspired by the great power of love. In Handel’s Nel dolce dell’oblio poor Phyllis enjoys her dreams of her beloved, even if they bring her deception as well as delight.

Lush sensualism of the night pervades songs of French composers Hue, and Gounod, and Caplet’s Reverie and Petite Valse for flute and piano. American composers Andre Previn and David Diamond present contrasting dreams and nightmares of love.

Flute and voice alone are partnered in John Corigliano’s Irish Folksong settings, while pianist Bair Shagdaron presents Liszt’s image of love in his Sposalizio. As Leonard Bernstein has Wendy sing to Peter Pan “wherever you may chance to be, close your lovely eyes and Dream With Me.”

Kay Borkowski has been principal flutist with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Ft. Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Indiana Chamber Orchestra, the South Carolina Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras, and the Augusta Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Borkowski has taught at West Virginia University, Ohio University, Indiana University-Fort Wayne, Columbia College, Augusta College, the University of South Florida, and Appalachian State University; she has participated in faculty chamber music groups at each of those universities. She holds the Bachelor of Music degree in Performance at Indiana University and the Master of Arts degree in Music Theory from the Ohio State University.

Soprano Linda Larson’s operatic experiences bring a dramatic element to all of her performances: she has sung leading operatic roles throughout the United States with companies including New York City Opera National Company, Opera Illinois, Syracuse Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Indianapolis Opera, and Opera Memphis. Dr. Larson has enacted tragic death onstage as Gilda, Violetta, and Hoffmann’s Antonia; her characters on the lighter side include Musetta, Susanna, Fiordiligi, Gretel, Mabel in Pirates of Penzance, both Rosalinda and Adele in Die Fledermaus, and others.

Dr. Larson holds degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Texas at Austin. She is a graduate of the Tri-Cities Opera Resident Artist Training Program, and participated in the Twentieth Century Opera and Song program at the Banff Centre for the Arts. She has taught at New York University and Ithaca College and served as coordinator of the Vocal Coaching Program at Cornell University, and is now conductor of the Appalachian Chorale.

Pianist Bair Shagdaron was born in Moscow, Russia and began studying music at age four. He studied with Esther Fedorchenko and Valeria Polunina at the prestigious Moscow Gnesins Music School for Gifted Children, graduating in 1976.

Mr. Shagdaron then studied at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory under the renowned Tatiana Nikolaeva, obtaining the Doctorate degree in piano performance and then assuming the position of Assistant Professor at the Conservatory. He served as assistant to Tatiana Nikolaeva for six years. In 1990, Dr. Shagdaron graduated from the Conservatory with his second degree, in composition, studying under Albert Leman.

After coming to the United States in 1996, Dr. Shagdaron taught at Ottawa University in Kansas. In the fall of 2000, he joined the faculty of Appalachian State University where he currently serves as Professor of Piano.

Dr. Shagdaron continues to actively participate in the music world of today, premiering Edward Bullock’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. He has been guest artist for An Appalachian Summer Festival and others.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students and are available in advance at the Ashe Arts Center or at the door. For more information or tickets please call 336-846-2787.