Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra’s Summer Music at Ravisloe series
By Don Snider July 3, 2012 1:57PM
Oboe player Naomi Bensdorf Frisch is among the performers booked for Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra's Summer Music at Ravisloe series.
SUMMER MUSIC AT RAVISLOE
◆ 7 p.m. July 11 and 25 and Aug. 8 and 22
◆ Ravisloe Country Club,
18231 Park Ave., Homewood
◆ Tickets, $25 for each of the first three concerts, $30 for the final concert, $15 for student tickets, $100 for all four concerts
◆ (708) 481-7774; ipomusic.org
◆ Cash bar available
Updated: August 7, 2012 6:10AM
Imagine a warm summer evening with stars in the sky while glorious melodies float above the courtyard of a Spanish villa.
It’s summer, and that’s the ambience the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra will offer as a contrast to its fall, winter and spring concerts.
Besides the beautiful setting, “this is the best of our best musicians and a chance to see and hear them up close,” IPO executive director Donica Van Voorhees said.
For the third season, the IPO will present its Summer Music at Ravisloe series.
The four concerts are each two weeks apart on Wednesday evenings at the historic 111-year-old Ravisloe Country Club in Homewood.
The first two concerts will be inside the Spanish-style clubhouse and highlight the IPO’s best string players — plus its principal oboist — as chamber quartets.
Then the programs move outside on the patio for the final concerts.
The third concert will feature a brass quintet.
The fourth program will include the widely acclaimed Southland Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Valerie Nicholson.
“These concerts have been very well-received,” Van Voorhees said.
“We’ve had close to sellouts with the open seating for about 270 patrons. The indoor concerts have beautiful sunset views through wide windows. There’s a cash bar at intermission.”
“I’m really excited to be taking part in the series,” said Naomi Bensdorf Frisch, the principal oboist who will help open the series July 11.
Frisch, who has been an IPO member for 13 years, is often featured with the full orchestra in the regular subscription concert programs.
But because she is only one instrument among 70-some in the orchestra — and seated behind the string sections — Frisch is one of musicians the typical audience hears but does not see well on stage.
That will be no problem at Ravisloe. She will join IPO stalwarts Matt and Emily Mantell and Elizabeth Huffman to form the chamber quartet.
Matt Mantell is the IPO’s principal viola player, Emily Mantell is the principal cellist and Huffman is the second principal violinist.
“We’re really putting a lot of energy into this,” Frisch said. “We want it to be something to remember.”
Frisch, of Chicago, has been playing the oboe for 24 years.
“I wanted to play the flute starting in sixth grade,” she said. “But there were too many flute players, so my teacher talked me into taking up the oboe.”
The oboe is not only a difficult instrument to play, but unlike all other wind instruments but the bassoon, the players have to make their own reeds.
“There’s actually a science to it,” Frisch said. “And I was always interested in math and science.
“Making your reed gives your oboe a distinctive sound. I really like that sound. The oboist gets to be the hero and the heroine in many pieces.”
Frisch, typical of IPO members, also plays in several other organizations.
She performs with the Elmhurst and the Madison (Wis.) symphony orchestras.
Frisch is also a coach for the Midwest Young Artists in the north suburbs and teaches at North Park University in Chicago.
She said she is excited to play for the IPO’s new director, David Danzmayr, who was named to the position in June, succeeding Carmon DeLeone, who was the chief conductor 25 years.
“Danzmayr was an excellent choice,” she said. “He’s very professional, friendly, easy to work with and will be a great leader.”
Don Snider is a local freelance writer.
JULY 11: Strings and Friends: The indoor program will feature Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola in D major, Op. 25,” Benjamin Britten’s “Phantasy Quartet for Oboe, Violin, Viola and Cello, Op. 2” and Wolfgang Amazeus Mozart’s “Oboe Quartet in F Major, K. 370.”
JULY 25: A Gathering of Strings: Also indoors, this “1-2-3-4” program will feature Sergei Prokofiev’s “Solo Violin Sonata in D major, Op. 115,” Gaetano Pugnani’s Sonata No. 2 in D major for Two Violins,” a Franz Schubert “String Trio” and Joseph Haydn’s “String Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 64, No. 6.”
AUG. 8: IPO Brass Quintet: Outdoor seating will be provided for this popular group featuring Matt Lee on trumpet and performing classics from across the musical spectrum.
AUG. 22: Southland Jazz Ensemble: Prairie State College’s Valerie Nicholson will direct the ensemble of about 20 performers plus a vocalist in an evening of hard-driving swing, intricate Latin grooves and tender ballads. The program will conclude with the rousing “The Stars & Stripes Forever.”