Review: ‘Valentine’s Day Concert: Armenian Musical Treasures’ at National Chamber Ensemble

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Whenever I need a ‘pick-me-up’ I head down to the Rosslyn Spectrum to see a National Chamber Ensemble (‘NCE’) concert.

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This year’s Valentine’s Day Concert filled the air with L-O-V-E and wonderful music written by Armenian composers Arno Babajanian, Aram Khachaturian, Komitas Vardapet, and Alexander Arutiunian. NBC4 chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer was the guest host.

Also included in the Valentine’s Day concert was the uplifitng, athletic, and exciting performance from members of Bowen McCauley Dance. What a winning combination! And we have video highlights for you to enjoy!

First take a look at Lucy Bowen McCauley’s choreography for the Spartacus Ballet by Aram Khachaturian, with Leonid Sushansky, NCE’s Artistic Director, on violin, Carlos César Rodríguez on piano, and danced by Alicia Curtis, Samuel Horning, Alexandra Keen, and Brook Urquhart. The lovely lighting is by Martha Mountain.

Next, Clarinetist Julian Milkis and Pianist Carlos César Rodríguez teamed up on Vocalise by Alexander Arutiunian, and on Kormitas Vardapet’s The Apricot Tree. As you will hear below, there are some simply spine-tingling gorgeous tones coming out of Milkis’ clarinet.

Next, is my favorite of the concert, Alexander Arutiunian’s gorgeous
Suite for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano played gloriously by Violinist Leonid Sushansky, Pianist Carlos César Rodríguez, and Clarinetist Julian Milkis. The excitement in their playing delighted me and the appreciative audience.

After the well-deserved standing ovations ended, a reception followed where scrumptious desserts awaited the audience, where they had the chance to congratulate and schmooze with the musicians.

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The next National Chamber Ensemble performance, on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 7:30 PM, is American Landscape. It features three works by great American Romantic composer Amy Marcy Beach (1867-1944):  3 Compositions for Violin and Piano Op.40 and Piano Trio Op. 150. Purchase tickets online.

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.