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Sunday series brings top talent at a bargain price

August 2, 2011

Columbia's wildly successful grassroots chamber music series, Sundays at Three, is marking its 15th year with an offer that classical music fans may find difficult to refuse.

Subscribers are getting the chance to buy season tickets at a 15 per cent discount if they mail in their order form before Aug. 15. (Order forms can can be found on the series' Web site).

Subscriptions for the eight-concert season run $85 before Aug. 15, and $100 thereafter.

The series has made its name by bringing many of the top musicians in this region to Columbia to perform in the intimate acoustics of Christ Episcopal Church, at 6800 Oakland Mills Road, opposite Dobbin Road.

The fact that it's letting subscribers in on a deal in hearing those musicians shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the series. Sundays at Three has always prided itself on being financially solvent, as longtime artistic director Ronald Mutchnik told this paper last year.

"We're actually doing reasonably well, because as a chamber music series it's not as expensive to run as a large choir or an orchestra," Mutchnik said.

"It's nowhere near as expensive as internationally renowned artists who have big fees with their manager's fees and other things that have to be taken into account," he continued. "So we're lucky in that way."

Over the past decade, Mutchnik has emerged as an important player in the region's classical music scene because of the artists he has brought to the series, which have included Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Jonathan Carney and award-winning BSO violist Peter Minkler.

Besides running the Sunday series, the University of Maryland and New England Conservatory graduate serves as a concertmaster himself for the Columbia Pro Cantare. He is also the founder of the Orchestra of St. John's, Howard County's first all-professional chamber orchestra, and teaches violin privately and atTowson University.

For the coming Sundays at Three season, Mutchnik and the board have planned eight program concerts designed to showcase the talents of a variety of regional classical talents.

The year's musical acts include the Mendelssohn Piano Trio, a Montgomery County-based ensemble which will perform Oct. 2. Columbia-bred pianist Brian Ganz, who graduated from Wilde Lake High School , will return Nov. 6 for a homecoming recital at which he'll perform works by Beethoven, Ravel and Chopin.

The Clipper Mill String Quartet, which features several musicians from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, closes out the year on Dec. 4.

Other acts booked to play the series in winter notably include the Gemini Piano Trio, which will visit Jan. 8. The group features Howard Community College music professor Hsiu-Hui Wang and Benjamin Myers.

Mutchnik himself will take the stage with his musical partner, pianist Daniel Wyneken, to perform romantic violin works by Beethoven, Dvorak, Elgar and Bernstein on Feb. 12.

Columbia pianist Eun Joo Chung, one of the series' most popular performers, makes a return engagement March 18.

The Schubert Octet, which also features BSO musicians, can be heard April 29. The season closes out with a performance by the Monarch Brass Quintet June 3. The group is composed of both members of the BSO and the Washington Brass.

All concerts take place Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. – which is how the series got its name. For a season order form and more details on tickets and programs, go to http://www.sundaysatthree.org.

Copyright © 2011, The Baltimore Sun

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