Bay Area-raised pianist Audrey Vardanega returns to give three chamber music concerts with friends she met at Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute outside of Chicago this past summer. Violist Gonzalo Martin Rodriguez and cellist Chase Park join her at Old First Concerts Friday night, the Berkeley Hillside Club on Saturday, and then on the afternoon of the 13th, the Maybeck Studio in Berkeley.
“The three of us met at the Ravinia Steans Festival over the summer, which is a six-week long chamber music festival where you get to know a lot of string players and pianists, and the three of us really clicked,” Vardanega says. Despite the fact that she’s going to school in New York, Park is a student in Philadelphia, and Rodriguez lives in Germany, she wanted to have a chance to play with them in concert, and so invited them to the Bay Area. She’s more used to performing as a soloist, and has had to get used to using the brief rehearsal time they’ve had together efficiently. “It’s a lot of music to learn. And it’s one thing to learn your part as a soloist, and deliver it… and it’s another thing entirely to learn your part, and then rehearse with someone else and then debate ideas, and debate how you’re going to figure out challenging parts of the piece, and then put it together as a group… When I’ve played solo recitals it’s been so easy, because you’re dealing with yourself. If you don’t know something entirely, you can gloss over it and fake it, but when you’re playing with someone else, it’s going to affect them. And it’s a huge learning experience. So I’m very grateful for these two to have that.” At the center of each performance is Brahms’ Trio op. 114, originally for clarinet, cello and piano. They’ll be performing different additional repertoire on each program, including works by Beethoven, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, and Bach.