‘Trio of Trios’ concert in Dillon highlights special composer relationships | SummitDaily.com

‘Trio of Trios’ concert in Dillon highlights special composer relationships

Karen Bentley Pollick, violin.
Special to the Daily |

If you go

What: “Trio of Trios,” part of the Summit Music and Arts 2014-15 concer season

When: Sunday, Nov. 2; pre-concert discussion begins at 3 p.m., concert at 4

Where: Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church, 56 U.S. Highway 6, Dillon

Cost: Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door; children younger than 17 are free

More information: Visit http://www.summitmusicandarts.org for information and tickets

Summit Music and Arts welcomes Colorado-based and internationally renowned composer Ofer Ben-Amots, one of the three composers whose work is highlighted in the concert “A Trio of Trios.” The concert will feature piano trios by composers Dmitri Shostakovich, Joseph Dorfman and Ben-Amots, each written in memory of a great friendship and mentorship.

Ben-Amots will present a pre-concert discussion about his composition “The Odessa Trio” at 3 p.m., with the concert beginning at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2, at Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church in Dillon.


“The Odessa Trio” began as a commissioned work through the Colorado State Music Teachers Association in 2008. Summit Music and Arts artistic director Len Rhodes was the commissioned composer chairperson for the association at the time. After reviewing applications from many Colorado-based composers, Ben-Amots was commissioned to write a new piece for piano trio. The Sunday, Nov. 2, performance is the world premiere of the completed work, and from the initial commissioning of “The Odessa Trio” in 2008, this piece has come full circle with this upcoming performance.

The three generations theme of “A Trio of Trios” begins with Shostakovich’s Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67, and was written in memory of Ivan Sollertinsky, a Jewish friend who died at the age of 41. Shostakovich wrote to Sollertinsky’s widow, “Ivan was my closest friend. I owe all my education to him. It will be unbelievably hard for me to live without him.” With its famous “dance of death” finale, Piano Trio No. 2 (1944) was dedicated to Sollertinsky’s memory. The trio is filled with Jewish themes and Klezmer dances, styles that were very risky in the Stalinist era.

Dorfman’s Trio was written in memory of Shostakovich, whom he knew well and occasionally studied with in Moscow and St. Petersburg. It’s a strong, impressive and very energetic work, which often “quotes” some typical Shostakovich motifs or themes.

Ben-Amots’s trio, titled “The Odessa Trio,” is dedicated to Joseph Dorfman, his composition teacher in Tel Aviv and later a dear colleague and close friend. Dorfman passed unexpectedly during a piano concert in Los Angeles in 2006 at the age of 65. The most remarkable motive used in “The Odessa Trio” is the “musical cryptogram” of Dorfman’s name, Do-Re-Fa-Mi-La (C-D-F-E-A), which can be heard throughout the piece. While some of the Trio’s movements have been performed on various occasions, this concert will mark the first performance of “The Odessa Trio” in its entirety.


Born in Haifa, Israel, Ben-Amots gave his first piano concert at age 9 and, at age 16, was awarded first prize in the Chet Piano Competition. Later, following composition studies with Dorfman at Tel Aviv University, he studied at the Conservatoire de Musique in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, Germany, where he graduated with degrees in composition, music theory, and piano.

Upon his arrival in the United States in 1987, Ben-Amots studied with George Crumb at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his Ph.D. in music composition.

Currently chairman of the music department at Colorado College, Ben-Amots teaches composition and theory.

Ben-Amots’ compositions are performed regularly in concert halls and festivals worldwide. His works have been repeatedly recognized for their emotional and highly personal expression. The interweaving of folk elements with contemporary textures, along with his unique, imaginative orchestration, creates the haunting dynamic tension that permeates and defines Ben-Amots’ musical language. Baerenreiter, Kallisti Music Press, Muramatsu Inc., Dorn, and The Composer’s Own Press have published his music. It can be heard on Naxos, Vantage, Plæne, and Stylton.


Featured artists in “Trio of Trios” will be Karen Bentley Pollick (violin), Jeffrey Watson (cello) and Debra Ayers (piano), of Montage Music Society, along with Ben-Amots.

Karen Bentley Pollick joined the Paul Dresher Ensemble in 1999 and champions a wide range of solo repertoire and styles on violin, viola, piano and Norwegian hardangerfele. She studied with Camilla Wicks in San Francisco and attended Indiana University, where she received Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees and studied with Yuval Yaron and Josef Gingold.

Serving as concertmaster of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie Kammerorchester, Palo Alto Chamber and New York String Orchestras, Bentley Pollick has performed at the June in Buffalo and Wellesley Composers Conferences, the Olympic Music, Tanglewood, Amelia Island, Next Generation, American Spring, Canberra and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festivals.

Watson grew up in Tucson, Arizona. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut and a maters’ degree from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. His teachers have included Raya Garbousova, David Finckel, Gabor Rejto and Eleanor Schoenfeld.

Watson spent three years with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. He joined the New Century Chamber Orchestra in 1995. During his tenure with the NCCO, the orchestra recorded four CDs one of which, an all Shostakovich CD, was nominated for a Grammy award in 2000.

In September 2008, Watson joined the Colorado Springs Philharmonic as principal cellist. He is also a member of the Colorado Ballet Orchestra, Opera Colorado Orchestra and the Ivy St. Ensemble.

Ayers performs internationally as a recitalist with singers, instrumentalists and chamber music ensembles.

She is a founding member of Montage Music Society and also performs regularly with Breckenridge Music Festival, Serenata of Santa Fe, Taos Chamber Music Group and Taos Trio.

Ayers and cellist Marc Moskovitz presented the North American premiere of the rediscovered Zemlinsky Cello Sonata at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. An alumna of the University of Southern California and the University of Wisconsin, her teachers include Gwendolyn Koldofsky, Jean Barr, André-Michel Schub,

Brooks Smith, Martin Katz and John Barrows.

Ayers, Watson and Pollick are all members of the Montage Music Society, which displays a passion for combining a healthy mix of acknowledged masterpieces with music of today.

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