December 6, 2019


The Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra will perform two major works; the Brahms Concerto for Violin and Cello and Haydn’s Symphony No. 103, entitled the Drum Roll Symphony on May 12th at 4:00 pm.  The soloists for the Brahms concerto  are the  newly appointed Concertmaster of the orchestra, Blanka Bednarz, and her husband, cellist Cheung Chau. The concert is free and open to the public, and will be held at the Chapel at United Lutheran Seminary, 147 Seminary Ridge, Gettysburg.

Both works were written towards the end of each composers’ life. With Brahms, this unique concerto was the last symphonic work composed by this 19th century giant. It is unique because it is one of a few concertos written for these instruments together—there are many violin concertos, and a few cello concertos, but very few “Double Concertos!”’  In the case of Haydn, when he went into “semi-retirement” after working for the famous Hungarian Esterhazy family  for over 30 years, and after the death of Mozart in 1791, Haydn assumed the role of the greatest living composer in the Western world. It was at this time that he made two trips to London, writing six symphonies for each trip. In 1795, his last set of symphonies was complete and performed in London, and among this set is the Drum Roll Symphony, in Eb major.

Ms. Bednarz was born and raised in Poland and is a graduate of the Poznan Conservatory. After emigrating to the United States, she continued her studies at the University of Kansas and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. She has performed with many orchestras throughout the US and in Europe she has played in the United Kingdom, Poland, Germany, Sweden, Finland, China, the Netherlands and Lithuania. She is currently an Associate Professor of Music at Dickinson College in Carlisle and continues to pursue many activities in chamber music.In 2008 she was the First Violin in the Vega Quartet in residence at Emory University in Atlanta and has worked with many prominent musicians such as pianist Brian Ganz and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman. She has given many Master Classes in the US, Poland and China and is also Concertmaster of the Sinfonietta Polonia in her native Poland.

Cellist Cheung Chau is Director of Orchestral Studies at Utah Valley University and is also Music Director of the Utah Valley Youth Symphony and the Sinfonietta Polonia. Previously he was Director of the central Pennsylvania Symphony, Manchester Symphony, and Assistant Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He was on the faculty at Haverford College and the University of Connecticut as director of orchestra studies and has conducted extensively throughout many countries in Europe and Asia. Cheung has also collaborated with musicians associated with world renowned organizations such as the Berlin Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He is the first person to receive two Doctoral degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music in conducting and cello performance.

The Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra,a fully professional ensemble, is currently in its 23rd year of operation, and was founded by Norman and Carolyn Nunamaker. Norman is Emeritus Professor of Music at Gettysburg College where he taught for 33 years and Carolyn is the former Principal of the Gettysburg Area Middle School.  For more information about the Chamber Orchestra, call 717-334-5508.

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