Another Concert at Cavendish hall!

Visiting artists, locals to perform! this weekend!


THIS SUNDAY, October 7, 2018, at 7:30 PM, we kick off the 2018-2019 musical season with a chamber music concert featuring Charleston's own Ian Jessee, violin, along with two other string players, Susan Lamb Cook, cello and Istvan Polonyi, viola, of Budapest, Hungary.  Susan is from southern California. Also on the program is Vicki Berneking-Cavendish, piano, co-proprietor of Cavendish Hall, and Isabella Lee, violin, one of Ian's students. They will be playing three chamber works from Austrian and Hungarian composers.

Here's the  program:


Kismarton String Trio with Guests

“The Empire Strikes Back”

Music of composers from the Austro-Hungarian Empire area

Ian Jessee, violin

István Polónyi, viola

Susan Lamb Cook, cello

With special guest Vicki Berneking-Cavendish, piano & Isabella Yee, violin

Serenade in C major, Op. 10 by Ernö Dohnányi (1877-1960)

           I. Marcia: Allegro

           II.Romanza: Adagio non troppo

           III.Scherzo: Vivace

           IV. Tema con variazioni: Andante con mot

           V. Rondo (Finale): Allegro vivace

Quartet for Strings and Piano by Rezsö Sugár (1919-1998)

           I. Allegro

           II. Andante

           III. Vivo


String Trio in E-flat major, Op. 3 by Ludwig Von Beethoven (1770-1827)

           I. Allegro con brio

           II. Andante

           III. Menuetto: Allegretto

           IV. Adagio

           V. Menuetto: Moderato

           VI. Finale: Allegro

Here are the performers.  Pretty impressive credentials!!!  

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 the 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.

István Polónyi was born in Szolnok, Hungary in 1965. He graduated from the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in 1989, where his teachers included Mária Vermes and Mária Zs. Szabó. Between 1986 and 1989 he played violin in the Budapest Strings Chamber Orchestra, while between 1989-92 he was a member of the Regie Cooperativa International Symphony Orchestra in Portugal. He has been teaching violin and viola since 1992, and since 2010 he has been the head of the violin department at the Szent István Király Conservatory of Music in Budapest. Between 1997 and 2002 he was principal in the Hungarian Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, and he has held the same position in the Weiner-Szász Chamber Symphony since then. István Polónyi frequently appears in productions by the Budapest Festival Orchestra.

Ian Jessee, 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 serves as the music director of the West Virginia Youth Symphony Youth Strings Ensemble. 

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 served as 1st Vice President for the state chapter of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), where he acted 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. 

Victoria Berneking-Cavendish is Professor of Music Emerita at James Madison University, where she taught piano, music theory, music honors seminars and directed the Accompanying Program for 21 years. Her principal teachers were John Wustman, Dalton Baldwin, Thomas Mastroianni, and Wesley True. She has also participated in masterclasses by such major artists as Menahem Pressler, Samuel Sanders, and Joan Dornemann. Ms. Berneking –Cavendish has performed extensively as a collaborative pianist in the United States, Europe and the Virgin Islands. Her pianism and highly sensitive chamber playing have earned her much critical acclaim. The Staunton News Leader often referred to Ms. Berneking-Cavendish as a “cultural treasure”. She has performed with such notable musical artists as Jean-Pierre Rampal, Michel DeBost, Harold Robinson, Joseph Robinson, Pablo Elvira and Sharon Christman. Ms. Berneking-Cavendish served as accompanist for the annual Peter Lloyd Flute Masterclasses for twelve years and has premiered a number of compositions, including runningtheEdge, by Jennifer Higdon, and San Antonio, by John Harbison. She also collaborated with Rostropovitch and the National Symphony in the premier of the concerto for double bass, Jack and the Beanstalk, by Jon Deak. She has recorded for the Golden Crest and Roncorp labels, and has recordings with Steven Seward, Harold Robinson, and Sonya Baker. Ms. Berneking-Cavendish also maintains a private studio in her home. 

Isabella Yee, a fourteen-year-old native of Beckley, WV, began playing violin at the age of four under the guidance of Mary Wilson. She is currently under the instruction of Ian Jessee and is enjoying her studies immensely. Isabella has received several honors and rewards including first place winner of the Mountain ASTA Solo String Competition, first place winner of the Mountain State Junior String Competition, and second place winner of the Young People's Concert Competition. She traveled to Germany last summer to study chamber music in the Saarburg Music Festival, being one of the youngest violinists selected to participate. She is a member of the West Virginia Youth Symphony and an active chamber music participant. In addition to her violin, Isabella studies piano under the direction of Vicki Cavendish. She is the eldest of six children and enjoys reading, horseback riding, biking, and being with family and friends.

Some artists who have performed recently...

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 played his second annual (and we hope perennial!) piano concert on March 30, 2018. 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. 

He currently is Professor of Piano at West Liberty University in WV's northern panhandle.  His program of Debussy, Schubert and Ginastera was very well received by an enthusiastic crowd, who lingered for two hours at the reception  Surprisingly, noboday left.  I finally said, "Vicki, let's go to bed...these folks may want to go home!!"

Sianburg Trio Thrills Audience!

On Saturday night, February 24, the Sianburg Trio opened the 2018 season of concerts at Cavendish Hall  and thrilled the capacity audience of 85 by playing three beautiful piano trios-one each by Haydn, Beethoven and Brahms.  The pianist, Gayle Blankenburg,  and cellist, Susan Lamb Cook were from California, while the violinist was Charleston's own Ian Jessee, a regular performer with a number of local groups, including the WV Symphony.  The concert was extremely well played, and the enthusiastic audience gave them a much deserved standing ovation. As usual, the reception lasted longer than the concert!  A good time was had by all. These folks were rally fabulous.  You would not have heard a better concert at Carnegie Hall in New York than this one!

What was amazing about this concert was the crowd to hear it.  We had 70 chairs set up and every one of them was occupied.  There were five people in the balcony, four sitting on the stairs leading up, and six standing. In addition to the two of us and  the performers, that means that there were 90 people in the hall!  That's our idea of a good crowd.  Boy, they really liked the music, too!



On Wednesday, June 20, 2018, at Cavendish Hall, we welcomed Marsha Palmer, Ian Jessee, Bob Turizziani and Sandra Groce, all members of the West Virginia Symphony orchestra; along with Adam Stranavsky, a concert touring pianist from the Czech Republic for an afternoon concert of chamber music for viola, clarinet, horn, violin and piano. Adam came here last about six years ago when he peformed with the Kanawha Valley Youth orchestra. He came back, as we all enjoyed having him then, and invited him to return.

The music was Brahms and Bruch sonatas and trios for those instruments, and was well enjoyed by the crowd.

As usual, we had a reception following the 3PM concert and everyone is invited to stay. Punch and cookies, wine and cheese and assorted goodies!

This was  a FestivAll sponsored event. There was no charge, however, donations are always accepted.