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Noteworthy performers in concert series


A pianist's pianist, a violinist's violinist and one of the world's most famous string quartets will visit Columbia in the coming months under the auspices of the Candlelight Concert Society.

The society's 28th season will include several of the most gifted young performers on the classical music scene today.

Pianist Richard Goode - whose aristocratic, impeccably conceived Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert make him one of the world's most admired keyboard virtuosos - returns to Candlelight on May 6 after a two-year absence.

Preceding him April 21 will be violinist Elmar Oliveira, the only American to win a Gold Medal at Moscow's Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition.

Like Goode, Oliveira is not one of the "glamour boys" on the international concert circuit. He fills concert halls the world over - not with flash and dash, but with the expressive depth of his playing. Indeed, his recordings of the concertos of Johannes Brahms and Samuel Barber are among the most satisfying of all.

Violinists Arnold Steinhardt and John Dalley, violist Michael Tree and cellist David Soyer have stayed together for 36 years as the venerable Guarneri String Quartet. Still lauded as the sine qua non of string chamber music, the group will play quartets by Bartok, Brahms and Ravel at its Smith Theatre concert Dec. 2.

Devotees of string chamber music will be pleased with the inclusion of two young up-and-coming string ensembles; the Ying String Quartet on Jan. 6 and the Skampa String Quartet on April 6. The Skampa is the latest in a line of accomplished Czech quartets.

A third such ensemble, the St. Lawrence Quartet, will combine with the piano, violin and cello of the Eroica Trio for an evening of chamber fare at the Jim Rouse Theatre on Feb. 3.

Rounding out the string portion of Candlelight's slate of concerts will be Alisa Weilerstein, the teen-age cellist recently chosen as one of Carnegie Hall's "Rising Stars" and the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant. This young artist, who opens the season at the Smith Theatre on Oct. 14, has made her recording debut with EMI.

Chamber music of a brassier sort comes to Columbia on Oct. 27 when the American Brass Quintet takes the stage of Jim Rouse Theatre to present musical styles ranging from Renaissance to contemporary.

This group has been named ensemble in residence at New York's Juilliard School and the Aspen, Colo., Music Festival.

The Zephyros Wind Quintet will come to that same setting in January to play chamber fare for oboe, flute, bassoon, clarinet and French horn.

Two period-performance ensembles will round out the season.

The delightful "noyse" of a Renaissance violin band will fill the Rouse Theatre in November when "The King's Noyse" and harpist Andrew Lawrence King present an evening of 16th- and 17th-century music.

Four centuries ago, the European citizenry delighted in these same sounds.

For an authentic touch of Americana at its liveliest, try Joel Cohen's Boston Camerata on March 3, which will present a "Liberty Tree" program of songs, marches and ballads from the nation's formative years.

If the Camerata's "Liberty Tree" recording is any indication of what is in store, listeners can expect salutes to the heroes of the French and Indian War, zippy Revolutionary War marches, odes to the glory of women, 18th-century minstrel songs and maybe the authentic "Yankee Doodle" - all five verses worth.

Candlelight Concerts for 2000-2001

Oct. 14: Smith Theatre, Alisa Weilerstein, cello

Oct. 27: Jim Rouse Theatre, American Brass Quintet

Nov. 11: Jim Rouse Theatre, The King's Noyse and Andrew Lawrence King, harp

Dec. 2: Smith Theatre, Guarneri String Quartet

Jan. 6: Smith Theatre, Ying String Quartet

Jan. 20: Jim Rouse Theatre, Zephyros Wind Quintet

Feb. 3: Jim Rouse Theatre, Eroica Trio and St. Lawrence String Quartet

March 3: Smith Theatre, Boston Camerata; Joel Cohen, conductor

April 6: Smith Theatre, Skampa String Quartet

April 21: Smith Theatre, Elmar Oliveira, violin

May 6: Smith Theatre (3 p.m.), Richard Goode, piano

All performances begin at 8 p.m. except when noted. Subscription information: 410-715-0034.

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