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Pro Musica Masterwork Concerts: Tzavras and Aizawa Play Cello and Piano Sonatas

By Mittie Roger

World-renowned cellist Nicholas Tzavras and the pianist Rieko Aizawa, a Steinway artist, will join forces for two Pro Musica concerts on Saturday and Sunday, December 3 and 4, at 5pm at St. Paul’s Church on Calle Cardo. The two concerts will include works by Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Fauré, and others. These international chamber music celebrities are not to be missed on their San Miguel debut and will delight audiences with their stunning intonation and technique.

Pro Musica Concert Series
By Nicholas Tzavras, cello; Rieko Aizawa, piano
Sat and Sun, Dec 3–4, 5pm
St. Paul’s Church, Calle Cardo 6
150, 250, 350 pesos

Tzavras is a cello master with more than 20 albums and is guest principal cellist of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, as well as the internationally renowned Shanghai Orchestra. Japanese child prodigy Rieko Aizawa, on the other hand, has flowered into one of the great Steinway artists of our time, receiving extensive praise in the media.

On Saturday, the duo will perform works by Beethoven, Debussy, and Brahms. Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 102 for piano and cello was one of the first pieces of its kind as previously only Vivaldi, Boccherini, and violinist Geminiani had written sonatas for cello and keyboard. In contrast, Beethoven completely composed the piano parts, instead of using only a bass line with improvised harmonies, similar to modern jazz works.

Claude Debussy’s Cello Sonata is renowned for its ethereal depth and is part of the way he radically affected music by bringing impressionism into music, particularly with his Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune for orchestra. Impressionism is indelibly connected to Debussy’s legacy, although he criticized its use in reference to his works. The sonata is dedicated to his wife, Emma, petite mienne (my little one).

On Sunday, compositions by Beethoven, Cassadó, Brahms, and Fauré will be featured. Beethoven’s Seven Variations are based on the aria “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen” (men who feel love) from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute. Beethoven had a particular weakness for matters of the heart; his assistant, Ferdinand Ries, once said that the master had been in unrequited love for seven months!

The program also includes Cassado’s Requiebos and Fauré’s sonata. Cassado was a gifted cellist from age nine and studied with Ravel. The first time that Pablo Casals heard Cassado in Barcelona, he offered him free lessons. Cassado went on to premiere six unpublished cello sonatas of Boccherini on Boccherini’s own Stradivarius cello. Fauré’s famous sonata for cello and piano was composed during World War I and reflects the tragedy of the times although the work is actually based on an unpublished symphonic movement of 1884.

Tickets for the concerts at St. Paul’s are 150, 250 and 350 pesos donation each and are on sale at La Tienda in the Biblioteca Pública; La Conexión, only at Aldama 3; the School of Arts at the Instituto Allende, Ancha de San Antonio 22; and at the concert half an hour before performance time.

Details of all Pro Musica’s concerts and Patron Membership are on our web site,, or contact us at


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