Schoolhouse in Winter

Music on Monhegan

is a group of musicians dedicated to bringing professional performance of adventurous chamber music programs to Monhegan Island, ten miles out to sea off the Maine coast.

Music on Monhegan- celebrating our seventh year of chamber music in one of the Earth's very most special places.
SUMMER 2011 MONHEGAN SCHOOLHOUSE CONCERT:    7:30 pm, Friday evening, August 12, 2011.

Watch this space for the program!

As usual, the evening will be a benefit event for the Monhegan School

This summer we will be rehearsing during the week of August 8-12 at the schoolhouse.


Schoolhouse concert Our visits to Monhegan over as much as thirty years have inspired and energized us to bring our love for music-making to a place we love, and to make a contribution to an island society that we value ever more highly as we begin to know its people.

Sylvia and John first came together to give concerts on Monhegan in August 2005, with our original collaborators Susan and Frank Seligman, cellist and violinist. Using the famous Monhegan rope shed bulletin board as our primary advertising medium, we had two wonderful audiences in the Monhegan Schoolhouse.   The experience of making music in this intimate setting in such a remote and beautiful place was exhilarating, and we came away already looking forward to our return.   This year is now our fifth, and we look forward to another wonderful week on the island.

The Painting:  "Monhegan School in Winter" is used by kind permission of the artist, Theodore Tihansky.

About the Artists:

Sylvia Buccelli, pianist, is a founding member of several chamber music ensembles in the Northeast as well as a frequent partner of instrumentalists and vocalists.  She has performed as Weill Recital Hall and extensively throughout New England,  where she appeared at the New England Conservatory and in radio concerts at WGBH, WICN and WCNU.  She appears with cellist Susan Seligman on the recording "She Walks in Beauty", a CD of the vocal and piano music of Otto Luening issued by Parnassus, and with the piano trio Innisfree on a new CD release from Albany Records of the string and piano chamber music of Henry Martin.  She is on the faculty of SUNY at New Paltz and also maintains an active private studio.  In the summer, Sylvia is on the faculty of the Bel Canto Institute.  Sylvia enjoys running, hiking and mountain biking, and has a long history of Maine seacoast summers with Monhegan a favorite destination.

John Bowdoin Greenly is a clarinetist in chamber music, orchestras and wind ensembles in the Ithaca, NY area.  He has played clarinet, bass clarinet and E flat clarinet with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes.  His principal teacher was Leon Lester of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  John produces, writes and performs in programs for the Ithaca chamber music group Music's Recreation, whose family-friendly concerts introduce people of all ages to the delights of chamber music.  John is an avid student of the music of birdsong, and helps to teach birders in the Spring Field Ornithology class at Cornell.   Here is a recording of John playing a duet with a Hermit Thrush (recording produced by Lang Elliott, NatureSound Studio, with William Cowdery, piano).   In January 2007 John co-wrote and performed in the final concert of the 2007 Light in Winter Festival in Ithaca NY.   The program, called "The Birds That Roar", was devoted to natural sounds and music inspired by them, and explored also the use of sounds for communication by insects and birds, and finally, how natural sounds were transformed by the Oscar-winning movie sound designer Gary Rydstrom to make the voices of dinosaurs in the "Jurassic Park" movies.    John had the great pleasure to play with the piano trio Innisfree on the faculty concert series at SUNY New Paltz in February 2007, and again for the Newburgh chamber music series in May 2008.   John has been a research physicist at Cornell University for twenty-five years.  He first sailed to Monhegan thirty years ago, and has visited every year since his son Tony was born, heeding the irresistible call of Maine to their Bowdoin family genes.

In Music on Monhegan's inaugural summer of 2005, we played two concerts in the Monhegan Schoolhouse, which has excellent acoustics as well as a spectacular view from its big windows facing Manana and the outer islands of Muscongus Bay.  The programs included the wonderful quartet for our instrumentation by Peter Schickele,  The Beethoven Opus 11 trio for clarinet, cello and piano,  and the Mendelssohn D minor piano trio, as well as Bartok Folk melodies for string duet, the Hungarian Rhapsody of Popper, for Cello and piano, the Saint-Saens clarinet sonata, and two of the set of eight pieces by Max Bruch for clarinet, cello and piano.

Summer 2006 included:
Claude Debussy, Premiere Rhapsodie for clarinet and piano,
Igor Stravinsky, L'Histoire du Soldat, or The Soldier's Tale, Three pieces from the trio version for violin, clarinet, piano,
Reinhold Gliere, Duos for violin and cello,
Olivier Messiaen, Abyss of the Birds and Intermezzo from the Quartet for the End of Time,
Johannes Brahms, Trio for clarinet, cello and piano, third movement, andantino grazioso,
Walter Rabl, Quartet for clarinet, violin, cello and piano

The Brahms served to introduce the Rabl quartet, a lovely, but little-known late romantic work that won a competition judged by Brahms, who championed the young composer Rabl and his work.

In 2007, the program included:
Robert Schumann, Phantasiestucke. Op. 73 for clarinet and piano,
Peter Schickele, Elegies (1976) for clarinet and piano,

Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonata No. 5, "Spring Sonata", first movement, for Clarinet and piano

(Yes, the crown jewel of the violin literature, stolen!),
Adolf Hoffmann, Alborada, from a Basque mountain song, for bass clarinet and piano,
Francis Poulenc, Sonata for clarinet and piano.

In 2008, we welcomed Barbara Oren, violin. The program included:
Robert Schumann: Romances, Op. 94, for clarinet and piano. Lyrically beautiful, delicate and introspective late work.
Gabriel Faure: Violin Sonata. A greatly loved masterpiece of the violin repertoire.
Bela Bartok: duos for violin and clarinet
Peter Sculthorpe: Dream Tracks, for clarinet, violin and piano. Sculthorpe is Australia's best known and loved composer, and this piece is a beautiful and fascinating evocation of the Australian natural environment and the spirit of aboriginal dreamtime.
George Gershwin: a medley of classic tunes arranged for the trio by John Greenly
Peter Schickele: Serenade for Three, for clarinet, violin and piano. Schickele in two of his moods: lovely, quiet, wistful; and cowboy-rock-and-roll-boogie-woogie hoedown!

in 2009: Music on Monhegan founders Sylvia Buccelli, piano, and John Greenly, clarinet, were thrilled to present our new member, Cornelia McGiver, bassoon, for a program of beautiful, fascinating and very rarely-heard works.
The Program included:
Felix Mendelssohn, Concertpiece No. 2, Op. 114 for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano. To celebrate Felix's 200th birthday, a typically Mendelssohn-ially lively and delightful piece.
Francis Poulenc, Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon. A jazzy, rhythmically scintillating example of Poulenc's wit and Gallic grace.
Ludwig van Beethoven, Adagio from the Septet, Op. 38. Beethoven's own trio arrangement of his lovely slow movement from the Septet.
William Bolcom, Little Suite of Dances for E flat Clarinet and Piano. A deliciously suave and sophisticated set of short pieces- rag, waltz and soft-shoe- for the baby of the clarinet family.
William Hurlstone (1876-1906) Trio in G Minor for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano. This we believe was the North American premiere of the recently reconstructed and corrected full score of this excellent, tuneful and romantic piece by a nearly unknown English composer, a brilliant contemporary of Vaughan Williams and Holst, who died very young and left only a few, very high-quality works.

Instead of a formal concert this year, 2010, we explored connections between visual art and music in an informal conversation. We presented visual/musical creations by visiting artist Bror Hultgren. John played two of the Three Pieces for Clarinet by Igor Stravinsky and presented a visual interpretation of the first piece in oil pastels. John improvised musical interpretations of two art works, a portrait by Alison Hill, and a watercolor of the Monhegan lighthouse buildings by Sharlie Sudduth. Monhegan artist Phyllis Purves-Smith showed a new painting and discussed musical influences in her work. Sylvia played Shostakovitch preludes, and Janacek miniatures from the collection "On the Overgrown Path." John and Sylvia played the first two movements of the Saint-Saens clarinet sonata, and the first two of the Romances Op. 94 of Robert Schumann to close the evening.

In summer '06 we also played a benefit open house at the Tihansky/Hill studio for MERS (Monhegan emergency rescue service). Thank you so much to all who donated so generously!! We may be able to repeat this year, watch for posters on the Island!

In February 2006, John Greenly and his son Tony came to visit their friends on Monhegan.  John spent a delightful afternoon in the school, talking with the kids about bird songs, listening to bird sound recordings and playing transcriptions like the Hermit Thrush songs from the "Field Book of Wild Birds and their Music" by F. Schuyler Matthews.  John helped the students to compose a musical birdsong portrait of Monhegan in the winter.

In February, 2008 John and Tony returned, and spent a day in the school talking about the Vikings, who may have visited Monhegan almost a thousand years ago, and building models of Viking boats.  Story