Upcoming Events

Renowned Piano Trio to Perform in Cavendish Hall!


The Sianburg Piano Trio, made up of Susan Lamb-Cook, Ian Jessee, and Gayle Blankenburg, (and you can easily figure out how they came up with the name) is to play a chamber music concert at Cavendish Hall.


Explore the evolution of the piano trio through the lens of the great Viennese masters. Join the Sianburg Piano Trio in an exciting evening concert featuring a night of  firsts “1’s Upon A Time". The number represents a signal point in a composer’s development, marks the transition from juvenile and student works to music that the composer considers mature and worthy of publication. Haydn’s “Gypsy” trio is an example of the composer at the true height of his powers as a master of the genre and was the first well known composer to use music based on Hungarian tunes in his compositions, which became something of a fad a few decades later. Also, on the program is the first work to which Beethoven gave an opus number Piano Trio in E-flat major No.1, Op. 1, where Beethoven reveals complete assimilation of the high-classical style, as well as his use of the style in a very personal way.  The program will end with the monumental B Major Trio, No. 1 of Johannes Brahms, the first chamber piece published of the composer when he was only 20 years old.

The concert will be Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 7:30 PM, and as usual, and as demanded and now expected, there will be a reception after the concert with goodies and wine and cheese.  This is now a tradition.


Susan Lamb Cook is an active performer and educator both nationally and internationally, and is sought after as soloist and chamber musician with performances throughout Europe, the Far East, and the United States.  She has served on the artistic staff for the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, the Vianden Festival, Luxembourg, and the Saarburg Festival, Germany.  Susan is currently Lecturer in cello and chamber music at the University of California, Davis.

Her tours of China have included performances and master classes at the prestigious Shanghai Conservatory and in the cities of Jinan, Liaosheng, Dezhou, Qilu, Hangzhou and Xiamen.  She has performed and given master classes at San Francisco State University, Scripps College and Harvey Mudd College, and has been featured on Austrian National Television.  Susan Lamb Cook has performed as soloist with the UC Davis Symphony, the Sacramento Philharmonic, the Camellia Symphony, and the Folsom Symphony, and was featured as soloist with the Classical Music Festival Orchestra for the 2015 Gala Concert in the beautiful Haydn Concert Hall of the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt.

Susan Lamb Cook is a member of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers, Music Teachers’ Association of California, and the American String Teachers Association, and is co-author of Guide to Teaching Strings by Norman Lamb.  She is director of the Sacramento Youth Symphony’s Chamber Music Workshop, and her students perform regularly for competitions and public concerts. 

Ms. Lamb Cook studied with Angelica May at the Academy of Music in Vienna, Austria, and Charles Wendt at the University of Iowa.

Gayle Blankenburg has performed extensively to great critical acclaim as a solo pianist, chamber musician, and vocal accompanist.  She was a roster artist with Southwest Chamber Music from 1996 to 2003, with whom she regularly performed and recorded. Among nearly a dozen award-winning CDs recorded for Southwest Chamber Music on Cambria Records are her performances of Elliot Carter's song cycle Of Challenge and of Love (with soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson) and the Carlos Chavez Invencion for solo piano. She has also performed with Phyllis Bryn-Julson at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, at Cooper Union in New York City, and in Vienna, Austria. Her recording of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with the LA-based ensemble “inauthentica” has received the highest critical acclaim from Gramophone Mazazine, Opera News, and The American Record Guide. Released last fall was a CD of solo piano and chamber music works of composer Richard Cameron-Wolfe, including Labyrinths with soprano Lucy Shelton. In March, 2016 she returned to New York City to again perform and record more newly-written works.

The Los Angeles Times has reviewed her playing on numerous occasions, saying, “Blankenburg played with elegant power and poise… Her crisp touch and light pedaling produced crystalline, pensive, haunting sequences… This is a gratefully idiomatic piece for a pianist with both power and a palette, requirements Blankenburg met easily.” She has performed much of the standard chamber music repertoire with members of major orchestras across the country, including members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and is currently on the piano faculties of the Claremont Colleges, teaching at Pomona College and at Scripps College, where she is a recent recipient of the Mary Wig Johnson Faculty Achievement Award, and where she is a member of the faculty ensemble Trio Lykos. In the summer of 2015 she made her sixth trip to China to perform and give master classes in piano and chamber music.

Gayle was a student of the distinguished pianists Menahem Pressler (of the Beaux Arts Trio) and Abbey Simon at Indiana University, where she received the Bachelor's and Master's degrees in piano performance, and where she was also awarded the coveted Performer's Certificate.

Ian Jessee, Artist-in Residence for String Education and Acting Assistant Principal Second Violin at the West Virginia Symphony, is an active chamber musician, orchestral player and teacher throughout the United States and Europe. As an educator and pedagogue, his programs have consistently received superior ratings and highest honors in regional and state competitions, including a first-place prize at the National Orchestra Festival (2011 and 2006) at the American String Teachers Association National Conference. He also serves as the music director of the West Virginia Youth Symphony Youth Strings Ensemble and helped led the orchestra on a European tour last summer to Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. 

Active in his profession, Mr. Jessee served two years as President of the West Virginia Chapter of ASTA (2006-2008), the American String Teacher Association, and currently serves as President for the state chapter of the National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC), where he organizes competitions and festivals throughout the state. Additionally, Ian serves as 1st Vice President for the state chapter of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), where he acts as Competition Chair and Young Artist/Chamber Music Competition Coordinator for West Virginia. He is also a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the West Virginia Music Educators Association (WVMEA), the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA), and the Conductors’ Guild. His dedication to his private violin and viola studio in Charleston is evident, with many of his students pursuing their musical studies at prestigious institutions such as Indiana University and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. 

Mr. Jessee earned his bachelor’s degree in violin performance from the Ohio State University where he studied with Michael Davis. Other principal teachers include Myron Kartman, Yfrah Neaman, and Charles Castleman and chamber music studies with Kronos Quartet and Cavani Quartet. 

An avid performer, Mr. Jessee performs with the West Virginia Symphony (assistant principal second), River Cities Symphony Orchestra (concertmaster), and serves as assistant concertmaster of the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria each summer. He has also performed with The Charleston Symphony Orchestra (SC), Seneca Chamber Orchestra (WV), The Chicago Chamber Orchestra (IL), The Roanoke Symphony (VA), South Florida Symphony (FL), New Hampshire Music Festival, and the Bach and Beyond Baroque Music Festival (NY).

In addition to his many playing engagements he has served on the faculty of the international music festival Akademi Datça and Klasik Keyifler in Turkey, and currently is on the artist Faculty of The Saarburger Serenaden, an International Music Festival and School in Saarburg, Germany in July.

His passion for music is not limited to just classical. Mr. Jessee’s keen interest in electronic music gained the attention of international DJ and producer Titonton Duvante leading to performances at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival and recordings for Residual Records. 

He plays a Thomaso Eberle violin made in 1771. 

Previous Events

Ching-Wen Hsiao Piano Recital

On Tuesday, March 28, 2017 we welcomed the newest member of the faculty at the College of Creative Arts at West Virginia University, Ching-Wen Hsiao for an evening of luscious piano music. 

Ching-Wen received her bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in applied piano from the Juilliard School in New York City. She won numerous awards there and elsewhere and has concertized extensively. She  played the giant piano work, Pictures at an Exhibition by the Russian composer, Mussorgsky.  This colossal piece is one of the staples of the concert piano repertoire.      

As an added bonus to the evening, we  heard from Charleston resident Jacob Bumgarner, who is her student and is studying for a bachelor’s degree in applied piano at the University. In addition to a beautiful Mozart Sonata, he played some other 20th-century music that was well received.

Partrick Carfizzi, Bass-Baritone

 Patrick Carfizzi, Bass-Baritone, a regular performer of major roles with the Metropolitan Opera in New York since 1999, sang a spectacular program of opera, German lieder and Broadway favorites on November 21, 2017 at Cavendish Hall.  He was accompanied by Vicki Cavendish, and also his step-father, Mark Caldwell, a Dunbar native and long time educator and performer of music in the New York area.  The concert was well attended and well received.  What a treat for everyone to hear a truly Met Opera star in our town!!

Paulo Steinberg, Piano


Paulo Steinberg, an international touring pianist, and professor of piano at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA played  his third appearance at Cavendish Hall  Sunday, October 22, 2017 with a brilliant concert of Brazilian music of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.  He has performed this concert on three continents, and it was stunning.  

Those of you who have been to our concerts may remember that we had Paulo and Eric Ruple, both on the JMU faculty, last year for Gershwin's American in Paris, and before that Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.  This concert was no less dazzling that either of those two duo piano recitals.

Gerald Lee, Piano

 Gerald Lee, who has a doctorate in piano performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, and is currently a professor of piano at West Liberty University in WV's northern panhandle,  played a recital at Cavendish Hall on Friday, May 5, 2017. The program consisted of Schmann's Kreisleriana, Chopin's Ballade #3 and Beethoven's Sonata No. 109.  A large crowd really enjoyed this master of the keyboard.

GERALD LEE is Professor of Piano at West Liberty University (West Liberty, West Virginia), where he has been a full-time faculty member since 2002. He won the 2007-08 Excellence in Professional Activity Award at WLU. He earned three piano performance degrees: Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts from Illinois Wesleyan University, Indiana University, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, respectively.