Candlelight Concert Society artistic director takes the stage at Howard Community College’s Smith Theatre

Members of Poulenc Trio, from left, Irina Kaplan Lande, piano; Bryan Young, bassoon; and Alexander Vvedenskiy, oboe.
Members of Poulenc Trio, from left, Irina Kaplan Lande, piano; Bryan Young, bassoon; and Alexander Vvedenskiy, oboe. (Courtesy photo / HANDOUT)

In her five years in charge, Candlelight Concert Society artistic director Irina Kaplan Lande has presented many chamber music groups, and now she’s finally going to appear on stage as a pianist with her own group when the Poulenc Trio performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Howard Community College’s Smith Theatre.

Asked how she felt about her local debut, Lande replied, “On the one hand, I know the place and its acoustics and the piano. On the other hand, it’s always hard to play for your people. You feel the stakes are higher.”


Lande received her training at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia. She teaches at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore and has taught at Notre Dame of Maryland University and Towson University. She is a winner of the Baltimore Chamber Music Award.

The other members of the Poulenc Trio are Candlelight Concert Society vice president Bryan Young on bassoon and Alexander Vvedenskiy on oboe. Young is the principal bassoonist with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and is also a member of the Iris Orchestra in Germantown, Tennessee. Vvedenskiy is principal oboist for the Louisville Orchestra.

For the upcoming program, the Poulenc Trio will be joined by decorated clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein.

Surveying the concert bill, Lande said it’s “a terrific way to start our musical new year. It’s an interesting, fun and educational program.”

The group is named after French composer and pianist Francis Poulence. It will play his Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, written in 1926, and also his Sonata for Clarinet and Piano. Incidentally, that sonata was first commissioned by Benny Goodman and conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

Lande explained that when her group formed in 2003 “we wondered how shall we call ourselves. We were working on a piece by Poulenc at the time and so that became our name.”

Also, Poulenc’s versatility included composing chamber music pieces for oboe, bassoon and piano. Moreover, Lande noted that Poulenc was not the only French composer producing such music.

“The French repertory really paid attention to woodwind instruments,” she said.

The Poulenc Trio’s repertoire, however, extends beyond its namesake.

“This is our first time at Candlelight, and we felt we should try to do something that represents us. But we do all kinds of programs," Lande said.

The Candlelight program also will include the East Coast premiere of composer Viet Cuong’s “Explain Yourself!” Lande said that the piece “pays homage to Poulenc. It’s thematically connected to him. It’s witty and humorous.”

Composer in residence at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, the Vietnamese-American Cuong will give a pre-concert lecture at 6:30 p.m.

The Poulenc Trio loves to commission such works and give them their first performances, Lande said. In fact, an imposing total of 22 compositions were given their premiere performances by the group.

That musically adventurous spirit extends to other activities as well. The Poulenc Trio has done mixed media collaborations with filmmakers and musical performances that were paired with museum exhibits at venues including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, Baltimore Museum of Art and Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and the Hermitage State Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.


In short, there is a lot more to the Poulenc Trio than Poulenc.

The Poulenc Trio performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Howard Community College’s Smith Theatre, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia. Tickets are $40, $10 for students. There is also a “One Buy One” program through which each paying adult may receive a free ticket for one child ages 9 to 17. Call 410-997-2324 or go to candlelightconcerts.org.