Candlelight Concert season launches with marquee musician

You don't need much of an excuse to stay outdoors during the summer, but as the season winds down you need to come indoors at some point. Among the concert hall options to consider for the months ahead, the Candlelight Concert Society is gearing up for its 42nd season of presenting classical music in Howard County.

Its season-opening concert qualifies as a prestigious event on the 2014-2015 cultural calendar. The pianist Menahem Pressler gives a recital on Saturday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m., in Howard Community College's Smith Theatre. Although the program has yet to be announced, this performer's name is enough to draw a crowd.

Born in Germany in 1923, Pressler was there when Hitler became its leader in the 1930s. Fleeing the Nazis, his family went to Israel in 1939.

Pressler's training as a pianist soon paid off, because he won first prize at the Debussy International Piano Competition in San Francisco in 1946. His American orchestral debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy also brought him to the public's attention.

What really cemented Pressler's reputation with the concert-going public was his crucial role with a famous chamber music group. Pressler co-founded the Beaux Arts Trio along with Daniel Guillet and Bernard Greenhouse in 1955. This group really helped widen public awareness of the piano trio repertory in the many years that followed. Besides its many concerts, the group made over 50 recordings. The Beaux Arts Trio gave its last concert in 2008.

That was Pressler's regular chamber music affiliation, but hardly his only opportunity to play this repertory. He also performed concerts with the Juilliard, American, Emerson, Guarneri, Cleveland and Pacifica Quartets. And he has 30 solo recordings to his credit.

A Distinguished Professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, Pressler has remained an active performer into his 90s. Last concert season his appearances included Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Orchestre de Paris.

Pressler's upcoming concert in Columbia kicks off a Candlelight season that promises to have additional highlights. All concerts are on Saturday nights at 8 p.m. in HCC's Smith Theatre.

Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han perform on Nov. 15; Momenta String Quartet on Jan. 10; Curtis on Tour: Aizuri Quartet is joined by Peter Wiley, principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, on Jan. 24; Hermes Quartet on Feb. 21; violinist Rachel Barton Pine on March 21; and Dali Quartet is joined by Ricardo Morales, principal clarinetist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, on April 11.

Also, Candlelight has its annual gala on Saturday, April 25, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Vantage House's Wintergarden in Columbia.

Candlelight also has a children's series on Sunday afternoons, which, unless otherwise noted, gives concerts at 2:30 p.m. with a repeat performance at 4:30 p.m.

The upcoming kids' programs are Snow White on Nov. 9, Quartetto Gelato on Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Quintango on Jan. 11, Percussion Power on Feb. 22, and Beauty and the Beast on March 22.

Candlelight Concert Society's concerts are in Howard Community College's Smith Theatre, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia. There are various season subscription options. Individual tickets for its concerts are $32, $30 for seniors, $12 for students ages 18- 24. Individual tickets for the children's concerts are $11. Call 410-997-2324 or go to

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