February 8, 2024

From the Ellsworth American: Lysander Piano Trio will bring music from around the world to Blue Hill on Feb. 18

BLUE HILL – On Feb. 18, the Lysander Piano Trio, whose name is inspired by the character in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” will perform for the first time on the Blue Hill Peninsula.

The trio of Itamar Zorman (violin), Michael Katz (cello), and Liza Stepanova (piano), have been together for more than 10 years. The trio has been applauded by The Strad for its “incredible ensemble, passionate playing, articulate and imaginative ideas and a wide palette …”.

The Lysander Piano Trio has performed at venues throughout the United States, including the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles’ Da Camera Society, San Francisco’s Music at Kohl Mansion, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In the 20232024 season Lysander will perform throughout the world, including the U.S., Canada and Israel.

For the concert at Blue Hill Congregational Church on Feb. 18, the Trio will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff, Trio, élégiaque, No. 1 in G minor, a work written by Rachmaninoff for his final exam at the Moscow Conservatory.

“Two Nguni Dances” by Bongani Ndodana-Breen, a Xhosa clan member born in Queenstown, South Africa, who currently is a fellow at Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music, creates his works in an effort to reach the African aesthetic.

“Nostos,” the third piece, is a work commissioned by The Lysander Trio, and composed by Israeli-born composer Udi Perlman whose music is a composite of Perlman’s upbringing melded with classical music.

Finally, Lysander will perform Beethoven’s Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 97, “Archduke,” one of Beethoven’s most beloved works, distinguished by its serenity and lyric breath. Beethoven dedicated the work to his friend Archduke Rudolph, the youngest son of the Austrian emperor, Leopold II.

Tickets are available on the Blue Hill Concert Association website, blueh illconcertassocation. org. The concert begins at 3 p.m.

January 24, 2024

From the Ellsworth American: Jazz guitarist and Chinese lutes to be featured in Feb. 4 concert in Blue Hill

BLUE HILL – At 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 4, at the Blue Hill Congregational Church (22 Tenney Hill), the Blue Hill Concert Association will present a unique musical performance by Min Xiao-Fen and Rez Abbasi.

Min Xiao-Fen has been described by NPR as “one of the world’s greatest virtuosos.” She plays the pipa, a four-stringed Chinese lute, as well as a sanxian (threestringed lute), ruan (another plucked Chinese instrument) and guqin (a seven-stringed instrument). Min will be joined by Pakistani guitarist Rez Abbasi, considered to be one of the foremost modern jazz guitar players.

The second half of the concert will be the screening of the classic 1934 silent film “The Goddess,” accompanied by an original score composed by Min Xiao-Fen titled “White Lotus” and performed by the two artists.

Please note that due to the inclusion of the film “The Goddess,” this program (and this program only) will start one hour later than usual, at 4 p.m.

For tickets in advance ($35 each), visit bluehillconcertassociation. org/tickets. Admission is free for young people (21 and under) and area music teachers.

March 10, 2022

From the Bangor Daily News: Blue Hill Concert Association presents the Verona Quartet

BLUE HILL – The Blue Hill Concert Association is excited to announce the final concert of their annual winter season. The Verona Quartet will perform at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 20 at The First Congregational Church in Blue Hill. This acclaimed ensemble has firmly established itself among the most distinguished quartets on the music scene today. Jonathan Ong- violin, Dorothy Ro-violin, Abigail Rojansky-viola, and Jonathan Dormond-cello, will be performing Franz Schubert’s Quartettsatz, Gabriela Lena-Frank’s 2001 Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout, and one of Ludwig van Beethoven’s last string quartets, No.14, Op. 131. A fitting conclusion to an almost sold out season.

The Verona Quartet recently earned Chamber Music America’s coveted Cleveland Quartet award. They are also top prize winners at Wigmore Hall (UK), the Melbourne M-Prize, and the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition. The New York Times called them “an outstanding ensemble … cohesive, yet full of temperament, vibrant and intelligent.” The Quartet serves on the faculty of the Oberlin College and Conservatory as Quartet-in-Residence.

In keeping with the Concert Association’s long time commitment to education, The Verona Quartet will be performing at George Stevens Academy on Monday, March 21.

Tickets for this outstanding concert are $30, available online. All those 21 and under are admitted free of charge. For more information go to

February 22, 2022

The Blue Hill Concert Association will bring the TRIO CON BRIO COPENHAGEN to The First Congregational Church of Blue Hill for the third concert in their winter series. The concert will take place on Sunday, March 6, 2022 at 3:00pm. Sisters, Soo-Kyung, cello, and Soo-Jin Hong, violin, will be joined by Jens Elvekjaer, piano. They are acknowledged as one of the finest piano trios in the world. The Trio was founded in 1999 at The University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. Family ties, cultural blending and musical connections converge together in the programs they present. Based in Copenhagen, Trio Con Brio plays a central role in Scandinavia’s vibrant music scene while also touring worldwide. They appear regularly at leading venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall and the Concertgebouw. They are the winners of several international competitions including the prestigious ARD Prize in Munich and Denmark’s Carl Neilsen Award.

Their latest album featuring piano trios by Arensky and Shostakovich (Orchid Classics) won Gramophone’s “Editors Choice” award. This recording was also singled out by BBC Music Magazine as their “Chamber Choice,” calling it “radiant … with unforgettable playing.” “Worthy successors to the legendary Beaux Arts Trio” is how they were described by the French magazine, Diapason.

Mr. Elvekjaer is a professor of piano and chamber music at The Royal Danish Academy of Music and the Trio members have lead masterclasses at Yale University and Rice University in Houston.

On their March 6th program will be Haydn’s Piano Trio in E minor, Dmitri Shostakovich Piano Trio No.2 in E minor Op.67 and the piano trio No.1 in B-flat major Op. 99 of Franz Schubert.

Tickets for this concert at The First Congregational Church of Blue Hill are $30, available online. As an ongoing commitment to education, all those 21 and under are free of charge. Concert goers must wear masks and show proof of vaccination. For more information, please visit our website

December 1, 2021

The Blue Hill Concert Association is excited to announce the opening of the 44th live and in-person season. The first concert on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022 will feature the KENARI QUARTET. They are a saxophone quartet who will be performing a repertoire drawing on transcriptions of classical and jazz standards as well as new music composed explicitly for the instrument in a program they call “The Untapped Sonorities of the Saxophone.”

Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022 will bring the ARIEL QUARTET to Blue Hill. They are four musicians who met as teenagers in Israel. They all have advanced degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music and are artist in residence at the University of Cincinnati. Their program consists of a new work by Lera Auerbach, Quartet No. 10, “Frozen Dreams” (2020); Bela Bartok’s Quartet No. 5 in B-flat major; and Antonin Dvorak’s Quartet in F, Op. 96, “American”.

TRIO CON BRIO – translates as trio with panache. This piano trio from Copenhagen, Denmark will warm and brighten the winter on Sunday, March 6, 2022. Sisters, Soo-Jin Hong-violin and Soo Kyung Hong-cello and Jens Elvekjaer-piano, have been performing together throughout Europe since 1996. Haydn’s Piano Trio in E minor; Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67; and Schubert’s Trio in B-flat, Op.99 make up their exciting program.

The fourth concert on Sunday, March 20, 2022 brings the VERONA QUARTET, winners of the 2020 Cleveland Quartet Award. They are Quartet in Residence at Oberlin College and Conservatory and play a repertoire of classical and contemporary works, many commissioned especially for them. Franz Schubert’s Quartettsatz in C minor; Gabriel Lena Frank’s Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout (2001); and Beethoven’s String Quartet No.14, Op.131 will be a fitting finale for this season.

In keeping with the Concert Association’s commitment to education, all those 21 and under are invited to attend the concerts free of charge. And in addition, each ensemble will provide an educational program in the local schools.

The concerts take place in the First Congregational Church of Blue Hill. All audience members must be masked and provide proof of vaccination. Tickets are $30 and now can be purchased online. Two free tickets will be available before each concert at local libraries. Please visit our website for more information.

May 13, 2021

The Blue Hill Concert Association is happy to announce that on May 24th they will sponsor two outdoor educational outreach programs for students at the Blue Hill Consolidated School.

Matt Consul, viola, and Katherine Liccardo, violin, will present a program that is sure to excite and inspire the kids, especially after such a long hiatus without live music. Matt and Katherine, who met at Kneisel Hall in 2014, have performed throughout the Northeast in venues ranging from living rooms to concert halls. While living in New York City, they founded and co-directed educational initiatives that provided workshops and performances for kids. They are committed to direct their knowledge and skills as musicians toward joyful musical encounters. Matt is a member of the Portland and Cape Symphonies and Katherine is on the faculty at Queens College Prep Division and the co-director of Kneisel Hall’s program for Maine students. In 2018 Matt and Katherine were married at Kneisel and now live in Portland.

The Concert Association also has plans in the works for outdoor programs at Parker Ridge featuring local artists, Heidi Powell, violin, and Max Trexler, cello, in the late spring and Richard Hsu, violin, and Marisa Solomon, cello, will be performing at the Island Nursing Home on July 2nd.

While this has been a challenging time, the Blue Hill Concert Association has taken advantage of the pandemic to work on developing a more specific policy regarding Diversity, Equality and Inclusion using guide lines from other non-profits and Chamber Music America. The board is committed to bringing about these changes through selection of artists and choice of repertoire.

The commitment and mission of the Blue Hill Concert Association remains stronger than ever to bring chamber ensembles from around the world for live concerts each winter and to provide the youth in local schools an opportunity to hear and learn from these same talented musicians.

January 15, 2021

Blue Hill Concert Association: Music for the Future

For the first time in their 43yr. history, the Blue Hill Concert Association (BHCA) has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2021 season of winter chamber music concerts. The well- being of audience members and musicians alike shaped this decision. However, the board is pleased to announce that all four groups originally planned for this winter have been rescheduled, and the community can look ahead to a wonderful season in 2022 featuring Verona Quartet, Trio con Brio, Kenari Quartet, and Ariel Quartet.

BHCA is pleased to announce the award of a $5,000. grant from the Auburn based Onion Foundation. When the decision was made to postpone this season’s concerts, the board simultaneously realized that educational engagement with the schools could still happen if funding could be found. The grant will be used specifically to develop and implement a series of special remote and interactive chamber music programs for local schools, with a focus on hiring musicians based in Maine. The goal is to provide something hopeful and meaningful during this challenging time and to provide local students the chance to hear and learn from incredibly talented musicians. The 45-60 minute programs will each offer a distinct and enriching musical experience, as well as creating opportunity and income for professional musicians.

On January 27th & 28, the Axiom Brass will provide an online Master Class and Clinic for students studying brass instruments. A quintet of tuba, trumpets, trombone and horn, Axiom Brass has performed in Blue Hill twice before, exciting the audiences with their “high level of musicality and technical ability.” In February, the dynamic Akropolis Reed Quintet who performed with BHCA last winter, will provide an online program for the schools. In the spring of 2021, when warmer temperatures allow, the plan is to offer live outdoor socially-distanced events for schools and in the community. A generous grant from Chuck and Belinda Lawrence of Tradewinds Marketplace will also help to underwrite this educational programing, and the support of many donors will allow BHCA to survive through this difficult time. Until live concerts resume, news and updates can be found on the organization’s website:

A special message to Ron Stegall and the Blue Hill Concert Association from Štěpán Ježek

Here is our quartet’s new video. You can access it from this link:

It may happen that you see some advertisement first. You can skip it by clicking the bar right on the top of the screen, or you can simply sit it out. Takes a minute or so.

The story is the following:

On 16th October 1941 the very first transport left the very train station where this video is filmed. The transport carried 1000 Jews into the ghetto in Lodz in Poland. Four more such transports followed before the new ghetto was built in Theresienstadt where throughout the war tens of thousands Jews were transported, most of them never to return. We filmed the video featuring Hans Krasa’s Theme and Variations, Erwin Schulhoff’s Five Pieces for String Quartet and Antonin Dvorak’s last string quartet G major, op.106 on the 16th October 2020 as a part of the commemoration of this tragic event.

Please, share it with your friends and with the Blue Hill Concert Association.