Five from BSO on deck for Sundays at Three

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra plays in suitably large concert halls, but its individual members often pop up in smaller halls around the region. A favorite spot is the Sundays at Three chamber music series, for which five Baltimore Symphony Orchestra woodwind and string section leaders perform on Sunday, April 6, at 3 p.m., at Christ Episcopal Church in Columbia.

Sundays at Three lists 33 Baltimore Symphony Orchestra members as being among its regular performers. That means around one-third of the BSO's total membership has played for this Columbia-based music series.

For orchestral members, Sundays at Three is an opportunity to play intimately scaled chamber music repertory that's rarely done in a hall as big as the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

The upcoming program features the five BSO members in duo, trio and quartet configurations.

Certainly well-known to local audiences through her BSO membership and other activities, Katherine Needleman plays the oboe. This Baltimore native attended the Baltimore School for the Arts, but left early in order to attend the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, from which she received her Bachelor's of Music degree.

Needleman joined the BSO in 2003, and also teaches at Peabody Institute. Among her chamber music activities is as a founding member of the oboe trio called Trio La Milpa, which has the distinction of being the first American chamber ensemble to perform in Greenland.

Another performer at the upcoming concert, Karin Brown, plays viola. Having received her Bachelor's of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Master's of Music degree from the Juilliard School, Brown is a busy soloist and chamber musician in Baltimore and Washington.

The other three performers are all originally from China.

Fei Xie, who plays bassoon, has parents who are Peking Opera musicians and an uncle who is a composer. Qing Li, who plays a Nicole Gagliano violin made in Naples in 1736, has performed in such distant places as the Iceland Symphony in Reykjavik. And Bo Li, who plays cello, enjoyed a solo debut at age 17 with the Shanghai Symphony.

The upcoming concert features these musicians performing Franz Schubert's String Trio in F-flat major, D. 581; Francois Devienne's Bassoon Quartet, Op. 73, No. 1; Heitor Villa-Lobos' Duo for Oboe and Bassoon; and David Ludwig's Oboe Quartet.

A contemporary American composer, Ludwig may attend this concert in order to hear these BSO-affiliated musicians perform the 2002 piece he wrote for oboe and string trio.

Ludwig, who is on the composition faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music, is a prolific composer whose other works include a choral composition, "The New Colossus," that was performed at President Barack Obama's second presidential inauguration.

This composer's familiarity with the musical life certainly owes a lot to his personal background. Ludwig's musically blessed family includes an uncle, Peter Serkin, who is an esteemed classical pianist, and a grandfather, the late Rudolf Serkin, who was one of this country's most famous classical pianists.

The Sundays at Three series has its next chamber music concert Sunday, April 6, at 3 p.m., at Christ Episcopal Church, 6800 Oakland Mills Road in Columbia. Tickets are $15, free for those under 18 accompanied by a paying adult. Call 443-288-3179 or go to

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