Berta Rosenohl, left, and Luis Grinhauz (Heather Solomon photo)
Married since the 1960s, Berta Rosenohl and Luis Grinhauz never thought the chamber group Musica Camerata they helped establish would still exist 50 years later, but it seems that couples that play together, stay together.
Their subscription audience is as loyal as ever, following them through changes of venue until finding their ideal home for the past six years at La Chapelle Historique du Bon-Pasteur.
The converted convent chapel with its intimate capacity of 110 raked seats boasts perfect acoustics, excellent sight lines and easy parking near its 100 Sherbrooke St. E. location.
The jewel in its crown is a superb Fazioli piano that Rosenohl plays for the Camerata concerts there. Violinist Grinhauz, former assistant concertmaster with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (OSM), is Camerata’s artistic director.
Though they have made many recordings, both agree that live performance is the best way to enjoy music. “Recorded music is always going to be the same. But at a live concert, you see how the music is made,” says Grinhauz.
Rosenohl adds that, “You see the musicians breathe, you feel for them, every facial expression, every movement, all the body language.”
There will be plenty of passion in their upcoming anniversary season, starting with a concert that includes a commissioned world premiere of a four-tango fantasy suite transcribed for violin and piano by Argentinian Juan Carlos Cirigliano, who has composed numerous other works for Camerata.
Grinhauz is from Argentina’s Entre Ríos Province, where Polish and Russian Jews found haven on farms and ranches after fleeing pogroms. Rosenohl is from Buenos Aires. Both chose to study in the United States, at Indiana University.
Also an alumnus is their son Leo, who joins them for the season’s last concert on cello, along with regular cellist Sylvain Murray, violinist Van Armenian, as well as viola players Sofia Gentile and Victor Fournelle-Blain.
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The Grinhauz family arrived in Montreal in 1970, when Luis joined the OSM. Leo Grinhauz made his solo debut with the OSM in 1989 and has often played with his parents’ ensemble, driving up from New York, where he lives, works with his own chamber group and plays on Broadway.
Camerata has nurtured young Quebec talent over the years and this anniversary season is no exception.
“We discovered the talented cellist Bruno Tobon in a competition. He’s playing Chopin’s ‘Sonata for Piano and Cello Op. 65’ in the April 4 concert,” says Grinhauz. “And our featured guest in our first concert on Sept. 7 is clarinetist Eric Abramovitz. He’s playing ‘Sonata for Clarinet and Piano’ by Argentinian composer Carlos Guastavino, who was called the Argentinian Schubert. It’s beautiful, great music.”
Pieces by Max Bruch and Bernard Hermann, who made the music for Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, round out the first program.
In recognition of the anniversary, as well as its Argentinian content, the opening concert is co-sponsored by the consul general of Argentina, who will hold a public vin d’honneur after the show.
Trios by Ludwig van Beethoven, Ernest Chausson and Robert Schumann are on the second concert’s agenda for Nov. 16.
Skipping over the winter months to accommodate snowbirds, the third concert, on April 4, features Gustav Mahler, Frédéric Chopin and Richard Strauss. The final show, on May 9, features a Beethoven sonata, along with Russian quintets by Alexander Borodin and Nikolai Medtner.
All programming follows the Camerata mandate of presenting rarely played or forgotten but exquisite pieces that deserve to be heard.
Camerata will also concertize in Hudson, Que., on Nov. 3, for the Hudson Chamber Music Society.
A 51st season is well into the planning. “We are doing fine. We still feel young at heart,” says Rosenohl.
For ticket information, go to cameratamontreal.com, or call 514-489-8713.