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Musicians stage a homecoming for Catonsville concert series

Pianist Andrew Gerle, left, joins cellist Jennifer Kloetzel for a Catonsville Concerts at 3 show Nov. 20 at Catonsville Presbyterian Church.
Pianist Andrew Gerle, left, joins cellist Jennifer Kloetzel for a Catonsville Concerts at 3 show Nov. 20 at Catonsville Presbyterian Church.

Two Catonsville natives will return home to perform in this month's Catonsville Concerts at 3, a 17-year-old program that provides free community concerts.

The musicians — cellist Jennifer Kloetzel and pianist Andrew Gerle — are scheduled perform together Sunday, Nov. 20, at Catonsville Presbyterian Church.

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Both musicians have performed as part of Catonsville Concerts at 3 separately — Kloetzel with her recently disbanded quartet, Cypress String Quartet, and Gerle with his mother and a program featuring his original compositions. In the last year and a half, they've been performing together.

"We come out of slightly different performing worlds," Kloetzel said, referring to her classical background and his Broadway experience. "It's a great meeting of the minds."

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"I think it's a great variety," he said about the program. "It really showcases what we do."

David Hutton, chairman of Catonsville Concerts at 3, said the two natives are incredible musicians, well known in their fields.

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"I was fascinated by it because I knew them both when they were kids," Hutton said.

A graduate of The Juilliard School and a Fulbright Scholar, Kloetzel, 48, has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, including at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, the Chautauqua Institute and the Ravinia Festival, the Lobkowicz Palaces in both Vienna and Prague, as well as colleges and conservatories nationwide.

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In September 2016, Kloetzel was named adjunct professor of cello and chamber music at University of California, Santa Barbara.

Gerle, 44, is the son of the late classical pianist Marilyn Neeley and the late classical violinist Robert Gerle. His works for musical theater include "Meet John Doe," "The Tutor," "Gloryana" and "La Tempesta." His opera, "The Beach" was selected for New York City Opera's VOX series and was heard in excerpt at the Fort Worth Opera in April 2016.

Gerle is on the faculty of Yale University, where he teaches musical theater performance and songwriting, and he joined the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music this fall.

In the upcoming show, they will perform a variety of pieces, including ones by Ludwig van Beethoven, Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera and an original composition Gerle wrote that will be presented to the public for the first time in Catonsville. .

Gerle describes his piece, "Embarcadero," as one that explores what the cello does best, writing in long lines of lyrical melodies.

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The vision of Catonsville Concerts at 3, which started in 1999, is twofold, Hutton said: To provide a place for performers to play and to provide free public performances.

"There are a lot of opportunities to see music in the Baltimore area but virtually all of them offer cost of admission," he said. "We thought it was important to present high quality music that didn't have an admission charge."

There's value in offering free access to the arts to the community, according to Randi Vega, director of cultural affairs at the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts. She said it helps build communities and make them more vibrant.

"Sometimes ticket prices are a barrier to people coming out," Vega said. "Free activities are a way to include as many members of the community as possible."

The season, which typically has six shows and costs between $10,000 and $12,000 to operate, is funded by donations from supporters and grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Baltimore County Commission of Arts and Sciences, Hutton said. A new source of funding — a grant from the Catonsville Women's Giving Circle — increased the budget to allow for a seventh concert this year.

Artists are paid prevailing fees, whatever the rate is for their level of credentials and notoriety, he said. At the high end of the budget are artists from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, while the lower end of the spectrum would be a string trio of college music students. The nonprofit also tries to arrange to have a military service group perform.

This year's season kicked off Oct. 9 with a performance from pianist Solomon Eichner. The series continues Jan. 8, with a performance by chamber music group Elysian Camerata, and runs monthly through May.

IF YOU GO

Catonsville Concerts at 3 with Jennifer Kloetzel and Andrew Gerle

When: 3 p.m. Nov. 20

Where: Catonsville Presbyterian Church, 1400 Frederick Road, Catonsville

Web: CatonsvilleConcerts.org

Cost: Free



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