A New World of Music



On Sunday, September 27 at 3:30 p.m., the halls of the Colgate Memorial Chapel were filled with the beautiful and emotional music of violinist Professor of Music and Africana & Latin American Studies Laura Klugherz on the violin and pianist Steven Heyman. The concert consisted of four different combinations of Czech composers from the middle to late 19th and early 20th centuries, including Antonin Dvorak, Josef Suk, Leos Janacek and Bedrich Smetana. Klugherz herself artfully designed the powerful sequence with which each piece led to the next. In addition to her position as a professor at Colgate, Klugherz is also the Director of the Colgate Chamber Players. A wide-traveling and extremely renowned violinist throughout the world, Klugherz has played for various groups such as the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Munich Bach Orchestra, the Trio Ciudad de Sevilla, the Morrison String Quartet and several others. Klugherz commanded the center of the stage as she became one with each piece and played almost as if the violin was naturally attached to her body. It was a true privilege to hear such an amazing talent play at Colgate. In addition, Steven Heyman complemented Klugherz on the piano as they worked seamlessly with the flow of the music.

As a first-time observer of a classical music concert, I was initially struck by the effect that Klugherz’ music had on the listeners. The Chapel was filled with both Hamilton residents and Colgate students. Many sat alone, in an almost trance-like state as the music transported them to a different time and place. The pieces could be compared to a lively dream or a narrative story, which included an introduction, rising action, a climaxing crescendo of notes, followed by falling action and a conclusion. The observers seemed to be at peace with the notes as they listened and imagined what the music may have been trying to say. The dimly lit Chapel also added to the calm and quiet ambiance of the concert.

Immediately following the concert, I was lucky enough to have a few words with Klugherz in the basement of the chapel. In asking about the nature of the concert, namely why she focused on Czech composers specifically, I discovered that these pieces were all composed during a time of Czech pride. The tumultuous history between the Czech people and their Austro-Hungarian and Slovakian neighbors was one that caused intense distress to various peoples. These pieces served as a commentary for the respect and dignity that Czech people had for their homeland.

“I wanted to focus on a time when Czech people were celebrating their culture and were able to express themselves,” Klugherz said. Furthermore, Klugherz teaches a first-year seminar on Music of Latin America and I was able to speak with one student who was particularly affected by the music.

First-year Demitri Diamond said he thought the compositions were absolutely beautiful.

“It was the most intense music you will hear from the Czech composers,” Diamond said.

The concert was indeed a compelling experience because of the mixture of the slow and passionate notes with the faster and more dramatic sections.

“Czech, Please!” was truly an honor and a privilege to attend, especially to students like myself with little knowledge of classical music. The rainy weather on Sunday perfectly complemented the dark and emotional mood of the music in the Chapel and I was fortunate enough to hear the talents of Klugherz and Heyman.

Contact Allie Rahill at [email protected].