Sun, Mar 21 | Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

Stasera Duo

International prize-winning flutist Stephanie Jutt and Russian accordion (bayan) virtuoso Stas Venglevski combine to present Eastern European and Latin American music, among other classic gems. A pre-concert Zoom meeting with the artists begins at 3:15 ET on March 21.
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Stasera Duo

Time & Location

Mar 21, 4:00 PM
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 50 N Prospect St, Akron, OH 44304, USA

About the Event

PRE-CONCERT Q&A WITH THE ARTISTS

Q: What part or parts of the tradition of performing world music are the hardest traditions to hold onto — to help keep them from disappearing?

Stephanie: We musicians pride ourselves on learning to play a lot of different styles. And certainly playing music in the style of the country in which you were born is the most natural.  Stas has really learned the style of the Argentina tango. And he plays a different kind of instrument than accordionists in Argentina use, but he has made it almost impossible to tell because his ear for style is so good. He can absorb that style in a really, really authentic way. It’s been wonderful to work with him on that music because he sounds like an Argentine!

Stas: I grew up in Russia, learning lots of Russian folk music. Over the last 20 years, I’ve been playing so many different styles of music. For me, the biggest challenge of learning different tunes is the style of music. You have to listen carefully.

Q: Who, besides your family and dearest colleagues, knows you -- your sacrifices, your willingness to work alone, to practice, to arrange, to compose at such a high level all of these many decades?

Stephanie: I’ve been making my living as a musician since I was about 18 years old, so it’s never something that I thought about not doing.  My friend Jeff and I have been playing together since 1991. Another pianist in Boston, who I worked with back in 1973 — these friendships go on and on. I’m still playing with friends from my days in San Francisco, when I was a student in the early '70s. I still have friends from my street musician days. If you’re lucky, you have lifetime friends.

Stas:  I moved here in 1992, and since then I’ve been traveling all over.  I’ve been to Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, France, Switzerland, and my colleagues now live all over the globe. I have lots of colleagues worldwide. This internet thing is good. Communication is not an issue.

Q: When did the two of you start playing together? And how did you find one another?

Stephanie: I met Stas through Frank Almond, a violinist in Milwaukee, and the Concert Master of the symphony orchestra there. He played with Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society several times, and we’re friends. Stas played a fundraiser for the Milwaukee Symphony, so I went to see him play. Joe Johnson was also a mutual friend. I just went crazy when I heard Stas playing. It was so fantastic, and I’d never heard of him before. As soon as I heard him, I wanted to invite him to our festival.

Stas: That’s the great thing about being a musician. Your travel, meet people, you click, and boom! You’ve got it! It’s a mystery sometimes.

Q: Is there a living performer with whom you would like to perform a concert or a recording who has yet to accept your invitation to collaborate?

Stas: I’ve been fortunate to play with some great musicians. It's tough to say during COVID times.

Stephanie: There is a great Ukrainian pianist from San Francisco – Inna Faliks. She’s absolutely phenomenal.  I’ve heard her play a number of times, and she also does this wonderful concert called "Story of a Pianist." It’s the story of her family, and how she left the Ukraine, and how she came to the United States, and she plays all these pieces inbetween telling the stories. It’s really marvelous. Stas would love this girl! She is a professor at UCLA.

Q: As an instrumentalist, I know that there are certain things I do with my hand when I’m playing. I was watching your hand position, Stas, and I was wondering if your thumb is your guide or if you have any guide on your instrument that helps you keep track of where all the buttons are?

Stas:  There are 120 buttons on the left side and 106 buttons on the right side. I started playing when I was five years old. I know the instrument so well by now, that it’s like a part of my body.  Of course, I don’t see the buttons. Every note C & F is marked with a little diamond that I can feel. I feel the notes and know exactly where they are.

Q: Stephanie, will you please tell us a little about what you will share at Kent State tomorrow, and also how you will mentor Professor Rechner in her hospice outreach?

Stephanie: I think I can help Diane Rechner set up a hospice program. Stas has also been a part of this in Madison. He started at the beginning of the pandemic. We launched a program through Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, where we are playing one-on-one concerts for people. So, if you were in a hospital, I would be playing for you right now - a whole concert, and we go just to you. So it was created for people in isolation. Now it’s branched out to hospice and memory care units, and other people who are in ICUs. Make a partnership with a facility. You’ve got to have some doctors and nurses on your side. They’re so grateful to have the music, and it’s been so well-received. Diane Rechner (KSU flute instructor) got really excited about this and she wants to try to do something like this with her musicians at Kent State. I think I’ll be talking about running a music festival, and I hope we get to do some flute playing. One of the pieces on this program that you’re about to hear is by a Venezuelan composer named Raimundo Pineda.  I sent the music so that her students can try playing it, hoping that one or two of them will be willing to play it tomorrow. And of course, they’ll see this performance as well, so they can refer to it. I hope they do that!

Q: Stas, How seriously is your instrument taken by listeners? Is it difficult to impress upon them the skill, experience and finesse required to reach your level of artistry?

Stas: When I moved to America, I learned many many things about how people react to an accordion. My first impression: People ask, "What do you do?"  "I play the accordion." It makes them laugh. Accordion has an advantage over all instruments. Every time an accordion goes on stage, people get a different reaction. Last January, I played with the Seattle Symphony. The accordion was part of the orchestra. I walked on the stage and I hear lots of noise. There was a vibe that captured peoples' attention. An accordion! In this country, I play mostly pop music and polka music. In Russia and Europe, the accordion is taken very seriously. There is no joke about the accordion. When I started playing in this country and people heard what the accordion can do, I got great appreciation and attention. When you play well something that people have never heard before, it’s taken well. You just do your job, and it’s always appreciated.

Q: What are some tips for instrumentalists after their bachelors level study?

Stephanie: That’s such a broad question, so it’s difficult to answer.  Ask yourself, “What kind of life do you want to have?" Are you willing to be a gypsy like Stas and me? We have homes - we don’t live under a bridge - but we get up and go all the time to play concerts. It’s not for everybody. And I think you also have to embrace the insecurity of the life. Stas is a freelance accordion virtuoso. He travels all over the world playing. But, he only is going to make the money that he is able to make on his own. He doesn’t get a weekly/monthly paycheck from anyone. We have an expression: “Eat what you kill." That’s pretty much where it’s at. I was lucky for many years to have a university position, and it was part of what I did. But I had like six different jobs. So that’s not for everybody. And if you really, really, really, really, really, really, really want to be a musician, and that’s the only thing you want to do, and you won’t be happy unless you do that, then you should probably go to grad school. Take lessons with the potential teachers, travel to that city, see if you can stand to live in that city, and then figure out how you can get the money to pay for it. If you’re from a wealthy family, no sweat. But most people aren’t. You’ve got to have a number of different income streams. Where do you want to live? What kind of life do you want to have? And how are you going to make money while you’re doing it -- that’s going to be steady enough to sustain you even through a pandemic?

Q: Who or what inspired you to take up your instrument?

Stas: As I mentioned, I started playing the accordion when I was five years old. This instrument is very, very popular in Russia. I heard the sound since I was a very young age. My older brother played it, and I just fell in love. Since then, I’ve never given up even one day of practicing. It’s hard to tell who inspired me. My father used to play one song. The sound blew me away. I couldn’t go to bed at night until I played. My father would tell me, "Go to sleep, it’s late, the neighbors are trying to sleep, too." So that just led me to naturally want to become a musician. My father’s best friend was a music teacher, and he used to come to our house. He saw my interest. He was a great teacher. My older brother went to music school also. When he came home, I played a song for him and he asked me how I knew it. I had learned that song by ear, but he didn’t believe me. It just came naturally.

Stephanie: My parents picked out my instrument for me. Everybody could play in the band when they were in fifth grade, and they give you an instrument in the school's music system. My parents picked it out because it was easy to carry. It was that simple. But I loved it from the very first time I remember opening the case -- the way it looked, the way it smelled, everything about it. I loved the instrument right away. I don’t think I ever really thought about it. It was just part of my life. I started a little bit later than Stas. It’s something I’ve wanted to do all the time. I still do.

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Flutist Stephanie Jutt’s elegant artistry and passionate intellect have inspired musicians and audiences around the world. Her groundbreaking performances of new music, transcriptions, and traditional repertoire have made her a model for adventurous flutists everywhere. Stephanie Jutt’s recordings are available on Albany, Centaur, and GM Records. Her recent recordings, “Latin American and Spanish Masterpieces for flute and piano” and “Seducción” have recently been released on Albany Records, a result of extensive travels in South America.

Stephanie Jutt received first prize at the Concert Artist Guild and Pro Musicis International Soloist competitions, and was a finalist in the International Walter W. Naumburg Competition. She has performed in recital throughout the United States, Europe, South America and Asia. She received Bachelor and Master’s degrees at the New England Conservatory of Music, where her teachers were James Pappoutsakis and Paula Robison. She completed an additional year of study with Marcel Moyse.

Stephanie Jutt works closely as a music editor and arranger with International Music Publishing, where she has created new transcriptions of three Brahms sonatas, new editions of the Reineke Sonata, Mozart Violin Sonatas, and the Karg-Elert Caprices, among others.

Ms. Jutt is a board member and former Program Chair for the National Flute Association.

A dedicated teacher, Ms. Jutt was the Professor of Flute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1990-2017. She also was Associate Professor of Flute at Florida State University. A lifelong arts entrepreneur, she is the creator of UW-Madison Arts Enterprise, which provides career guidance, viable life strategies and support for emerging artists.  Ms. Jutt is principal flute of the Madison Symphony the Madison Opera in Madison, Wisconsin.

Stephanie Jutt is co-founder and artistic director, with pianist Jeffrey Sykes, of the critically acclaimed three week chamber music festival, the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society: www.bachdancinganddynamite.org.  Their YouTube channel contains many performances from their yearly June season, which began in 1992.

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His artistry, dazzling technical command, and sensitivity have brought Stanislav, "Stas," Venglevski, a native of the Republic of Moldova, part of the former Soviet Union, increasing acclaim as a virtuoso of the Bayan. 

A two-time first prize winner of Bayan competition in the Republic of Moldova, Stas is a graduate of the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow where he received his Masters Degree in Music under the tutelage of the famed Russian Bayanist, Friedrich Lips. 

In 1992 he immigrated to the United States. Stas is an Accordionist, a Musician, an Arranger, an Entertainer and a Teacher. Stas' repertoire includes his original compositions, a broad range of classical, contemporary and ethnic music. He has toured extensively as a soloist throughout the former Soviet Union, Canada, Europe, and the United States, including numerous performances with Doc Severinsen, Steve Allen and with Garrison Keillor on the Prairie Home Companion Show. Additionally, he has performed with symphony orchestras throughout the United States. He performed the world premiere of Concerto No. 2 by Anthony Galla-Rini and also the world premiere of Bayan and Beyond, composed for Stas by Dan Lawitts. He is a regular participant the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's Arts in Community Education Program (ACE); has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra; has done television commercials and performed in theater productions; produced 15 acclaimed albums including a transcription of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite for Bayan as well as one of original compositions. 

He has published several books of original compositions. Stas founded Accordion XXI Century Series in 2010 so that the Midwest audiences can experience the amazing range of the Accordion and Bayan by bringing gifted artists from all over the world. In a concert setting, these gifted musicians share their skills and cultures to provide the audience with a unique musical experience. The performances feature the Accordion or Bayan in solo presentation and, when possible, in concert with other instruments. 

The brilliant artistry and musical virtuosity of Stas afford an expanded dimension in music and an innovative musical adventure to the audience. Beyond his artistry he is a consummate entertainer capable of engaging any audience.

Streets of Madrid by Stas Venglevski:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wdj4jK55duk

On the program - Selections chosen from the following:

DUOS

1. Gypsy Invention - J.S. Bach, arr. A. Golski

2. Not a Clue - Stas Venglevski

3. Suite in the Old Style - Alfred Schnittke: Minuet and Fugue

3. Invention in C – Stas Venglevski

4. Two-Step – Alexander Tzigankov

5. Chit-Chat Duet – Stas Venglevski

6. “Hey” Polka – Stas Venglevski

7. Stasera – Stas Venglevski

8. Musette Caprice – Stas Venglevski (bayan solo)

9. Love and Pigeons Polka - Stas Venglevski

10. Ave Maria - Astor Piazzolla

11. Octobler Rondo - Stas Venglevski

12. Spring Dance - Diniky

SOLOS

1. Carnival of the Animals - Stas Venglevski (bayan solo)

2. Sonata in A minor - J.S. Bach (solo flute)

3. Asturias - Isaac Albéniz (bayan solo)

4. Syrinx - Claude Debussy

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