Sundays at Three scores with winning combination

Not everybody is watching football games on Sunday afternoon. Thank goodness that's the case for the classical music series Sundays at Three, which, true to its name, stands a sporting chance of attracting a nonsporting audience for its season-opening concert on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, in Columbia.

The three performers on this concert are Bo Li, who is acting assistant principal cellist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Kuei-l Wu, who teaches piano at Howard Community College; and violinist Ronald Mutchnik, who is artistic director of the Sundays at Three series.

"It's always fun to play chamber music and it's a different challenge from playing with the BSO," says Li, an Ellicott City resident. There only will be two other musicians sharing the stage with him for the upcoming Sundays at Three concert, unlike the nearly 100 musicians packed onto the stage for BSO concerts at Baltimore's Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

This cellist, who has performed several times before with the Sundays at Three series, says that he's one of around 10 BSO members living in Howard County. In his own case, having two small children made the county's highly-regarded public schools a sound reason to call Ellicott City home.

A graduate of Illinois State University and the New England Conservatory, Li also was prize winner at the Tchaikovsky International Competition.

He was instrumental in putting together the upcoming concert program, which consists of cello sonatas by Pietro Locatelli and Sergei Rachmaninoff, as well as Antonin Dvorak's Trio in F minor, Op. 65.

"The Locatelli is really challenging technically, because it's all over the place. I chose the piece to challenge myself," he says of a Baroque-era composition that has not previously been heard on this particular concert series. "The Rachmaninoff is a very romantic piece with beautiful melodies, and the piano part is very hard for the pianist. It also has technically challenging passages."

Intense interplay between cello and piano characterize the Locatelli and Rachmaninoff sonatas, which comprise the first half of the upcoming concert. For the second half of the program, these two performers will be joined by violinist Ronald Mutchnik for the 40-minute-long piece by Dvorak.

"The Dvorak Trio is a substantial piece that runs the gamut of emotions from the saddest to the most spiritual. Some of it sounds almost heroic," observes Mutchnik, an Ellicott City resident who is active as a performer and teacher in Howard County.

Besides overseeing the Sundays at Three series, he is music director for the Orchestra of St. John's, which performs at St. John's Episcopal Church in Ellicott City.

Mutchnik's contributions were acknowledged when the Howard County Arts Council gave him a Howie Award in 2009. He also was named Teacher of the Year by the Maryland/DC chapter of the American String Teachers Association in 2010.

These three accomplished musicians are primed to classically score on Sunday afternoon.

Bo Li, Kuei-l Wu and Ronald Mutchnik perform Sunday, Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, 6800 Oakland Mills Road in Columbia. Tickets are $15; those 17 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Call 443-288-3179 or go to

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