Today’s concert by the inimitable Felici Piano Trio at The Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts, Whittier College was nothing short of inspiring.

Violinist Rebecca Hang, her husband cellist Brian Schuldt, and international award-winning pianist, Steven Vanhauwaert treated us to three riveting performances.

The program opened with Grammy-winning contemporary American composer Joan Tower‘s “Big Sky” for Piano Trio. Steven and Rebecca took turns introducing the 7-minute piece, informing the audience on how its untraditional form flowed rather than pulsed to a beat. The composer’s childhood memory of riding her horse in the peaceful and beautiful Andes range was the inspiration for this piece. Its atonality created a moody, intense atmosphere.


Brian and Steven then brightened the mood with the joyful, energetic “Sonata for Cello and Piano in D Major, Opus 58” by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Brian introduced the work, mentioning the influence of Franz Schubert and Johann Sebastian Bach in the composer’s work. The first movement is my favorite, calling to mind a vision of galloping horses or children running playfully at full speed.


After a brief intermission, the trio closed the program with the passionate “Piano Trio in F Minor, Opus 65” by Antonîn Dvorák. Rebecca introduced the work, sharing with us how Dvorák’s music reflects his character and amiable personality as much as if not more than his musicality.


I can’t think of a better way to spend a cold, rainy February afternoon than immersed in beautiful music performed by these extraordinary, dedicated, talented and warm musicians. Truly inspiring. I highly recommend attending their concerts at this lovely venue.

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Pastimes For a Lifetime Art and Piano School is located in Valley Glen, California. 818-766-0614. School is open Tuesday – Saturday year round, except for major holidays.

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