Daniel Katzen’s first encounter with the magnificent Brahms Horn Trio – the composer’s only chamber work for natural horn, violin and piano and a jewel of the chamber-music literature – was not auspicious.

He essayed it as a high-schooler – years before he would make music his profession, as both an orchestral musician (he was second horn in the Boston Symphony, among other positions); and a teacher (he heads the horn studio at the University of Arizona).

“I was reading it with some bad violinist in high school, and I had no idea what Brahms was supposed to sound like,” he recalled in a recent phone conversation. He remembers, with embarrassment, declaring dismissively to his band teacher, “It doesn’t even sound like Brahms.”

Maybe it didn’t then, but having more than 35 performances of the trio under his belt by now – “I’ve made it something of a specialty,”  he said – Katzen knows and adores every Brahmsian bend and turn in this difficult, exhilarating piece.

Along with pianist Elena Miraztchiyska and violinist Benjamin Nisbet, he brings this major work to life once more at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday (Aug. 7) in a concert at the Arizona Senior Academy at Academy Village. The performance will also include a movement from Mozart’s E Minor Violin Sonata.

Academy Village is an active adult community located off Old Spanish Trail, six miles southeast of the entrance to Saguaro National Park East. The concert is free and open to the general public, though reservations are advised due to limited seating.

With colleagues like Miraztchiyska and Nisbet,  Katzen is keeping good company for this performance.

Currently a first-year doctoral candidate at UA, Miraztchiyska made her solo debut with the Bulgarian Chamber Orchestra at age 12. She has been a concerto soloist with several orchestras worldwide and has won several national and international competitions.  The Brahms Horn Trio is already firmly in her repertoire, since it was featured on one of her doctoral recitals.

Nisbet, who holds music degrees from Oberlin and UA, is currently in his sixth season as a member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. He is a founding member and musical director of Artifact Dance Project, a newly established dance company in the Tucson Community, and he serves as concertmaster of the Bella Carita Chamber Orchestra and principal second violin of the Tucson Chamber Artists. He is a founding member of the Kingfisher Quartet and artistic director of the St. Andrew’s Bach Society.

Submitted by Susan Isaacs Nisbett, Academy Village Volunteer

[box] Learn more about the Katzen Horn Studio at http://web.cfa.arizona.edu/horn/index.html[/box]
Learning to Love the Brahms Horn Trio: Aug. 2012
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