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The Beethoven Project

01/02/13 3:00PM By Joe Goetz

 On September 17, 2012, cellist Benjamin Capps and pianist David Kaplan arrived at VPR's studio in Colchester to begin a recording odyssey: all five of Beethoven's monumental sonatas for cello and piano.  These works represent all parts of Beethoven's life as a composer, from his early days trying to make a name for himself in Vienna, to the avant-garde works he wrote late in his life that challenged listeners at the time and still challenge our musical ideals to this day.

Ben and David performed all five works on Saturday, January 5th at College Street Congregational Church in Burlington, under the auspices of Burlington Ensemble.  Ben and David have graciously allowed a limited free download re-release of the project through the month of April in celebration of Public Radio Music Month.  VPR Classical is proud to present this project in collaboration with Burlington Ensemble.  



Benjamin Capps, cello Exciting young American cellist Benjamin Elton Capps enjoys an extraordinarily versatile performing career as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral principal. His recently released recording of Andrew Violette´s Songs and Dances (Innova) won raves from the Holland Times which hailed Benjamin as a "young cello phenomenon from New York" with "dazzling technique and a fearsomely meaty tone", and his playing has been praised as "most appealing" by the New York Times and "rich…and human" by the New York Sun. He has performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall´s Stern Auditorium, Weill Hall and Zankel Hall, Lincoln Center´s Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Rose Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., Mann Hall in Tel Aviv, Meyerson Hall in Dallas, and the Auditorio Nacional, the Palace of Fine Arts and Sala Nezahualcoytl in Mexico City. He has appeared as soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, the Juilliard Pre-College Symphony, the Manhattan School of Music Composer´s Orchestra, New York Concerti Sinfonietta, and his performance of the Schumann Cello Concerto at the 2010 Music Festival of the Americas in Vermont was hailed as "virtuosic and impassioned" (Barre Montpelier Times). Performance highlights in 2010 include recital tours, by invitation, to the Peoples´ Republic of China, with performances in Xiamin, Fouzhou and Gulangyu, and recital appearances in New York, Athens, Greece and Burgos, Spain.

Mr. Capps is the principal cellist of Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, a dynamic symphony orchestra founded by conductor Alondra de la Parra dedicated to performing the music of the American Continent. Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas´ double CD on Sony Classics, Mi Alma Mexicana, was released in August 2010 and recently went gold. An avid chamber musician, he has participated in the Bowdoin, Schlern Int´l (Italy), Burgos Int´l (Spain) and Summit Summer Festivals, the Perlman Music Program, and the ChamberFest and FOCUS! Festivals in Lincoln Center. Mr. Capps has made numerous appearances on Manhattan´s Tactus Series, and has performed on Trinity Church´s Music at One series, and at Bargemusic, and founded the Capanglia Trio, the Sonar Players, and the New York Chamber Collective.

David Kaplan, piano First appearing in recital at the Bard Festival in 1994, pianist David Kaplan has been lauded for his “grace and fire” at the keyboard, and by The New York Times for “striking imagination and creativity.” Recent seasons have brought him as a recitalist to Los Angeles, Berlin, Barcelona, Chicago, and New York, and as a chamber musician in the US, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Denmark. Highlights this season include performances at Miami’s Arscht Center with Itzhak Perlman, a live broadcast on WQXR’s Beethoven Sonata Marathon (performing alongside such artists as Jonathan Biss and Jeremy Denk), and Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto with conductor Eli Spindel. David is a veteran of many distinguished chamber music festivals and series: he has appeared at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Chamber Music Northwest, Barge Music, and the Canadian festivals of Banff and Orford. In addition, he has been a guest at Ravinia, Tanglewood, and the Mostly Mozart Festival, where he performed in Avery Fisher Hall. As a member of Carnegie Hall’s high profile young artist troupe, the Ensemble ACJW, David performs regularly in New York’s most exciting venues, from Zankel Hall to Le Poisson Rouge.

Kaplan´s enthusiasm for contemporary music has led him to premiere dozens of works, and this season includes the premiere of Alex Weston’s Piano Concerto. David also drew critical praise from The Boston Globe and The New York Times for his 2006 performances of the Abrahamsen Piano Concerto at the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music. An ongoing collaboration with the composer Timothy Andres has also resulted in a concerto, Home Stretch (2008), and in a 2010 Nonesuch Records release of his work for two pianos, Shy and Mighty. The disc earned top spots in both Alex Ross’s and The New York Times’ CD Picks for the year, and The New Haven Advocate wrote that Kaplan and Andres “dazzle on the ivories.” This Spring, the Metropolis Ensemble presents the duo in the premiere of Andres’s newest work for four-hands, Retro Music.

In addition, he has had the opportunity to learn from many other distinguished pianists, including Emanuel Ax, Alfred Brendel, Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, Murray Perahia, and Manahem Pressler. He also worked extensively with renowned new music performers, Gilbert Kalish, Ursula Oppens and Charles Rosen. Under the auspices of a Fulbright Grant, he studied conducting in Berlin with Lutz Köhler at the Universität der Künste. Away from the piano, he is a passionate cook, an accomplished cartoonist, and mildly obsessed with classic cars.

Burlington Ensemble is a Vermont based innovative professional chamber music group organizing collaboration between professional musicians, non-profit beneficiaries and business sponsors serving to create high quality chamber music concerts while helping local community.  "be" concerts serve to fundraise for local non-profit organizations that benefit families, while simultaneously building new audience for classical music, supporting local musicians, and building community.



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