May 7



Mother’s Day is a day to make your mom feel special and there’s nothing more special than sharing an afternoon filled with the classical virtuosity of Maestro John Covelli, violinist Elmar Oliveira, and friends performing Franck’s Piano Quintet in F minor and Schubert’s Wanderer-Fantasy, on Sunday, May 12 at 2 pm at the Schorr Family Firehouse Stage in Johnson City. Friends Janey Choi (violin), Sandra Robbins (viola) and Stephen Stalker (cello) join Covelli and Oliveira for the Franck Quintet. The Mother’s Day concert is part of the Classical Plus! Concert Series and proudly sponsored by NBT Bank.

Ultra-expressive and filled with passion and emotional impact, Franck’s Piano Quintet in F minor is said to be one of his earliest masterpieces which marked his return to chamber music after more than 35 years. Employing a cyclical form with the recurrence of the theme throughout its three movements, listeners will feel the dramatic introduction, gentle replies, wistfulness and sentiment of this “king of Piano Quintets”. Equally pleasing to audiences and considered to be one of his most technically demanding pieces, Schubert’s Wanderer-Fantasy became a milestone in music history because it was the first time when a composer “integrated a four-movement sonata into a single movement.” From its opening fanfare to its thundering conclusion audience goers will revel in its poetic melody. And, with pieces of this magnitude it takes sheer brilliance and deft musicianship to deliver the dramatic contrasts of these classical works.

“This program is special in so many ways and on many levels,” says Maestro John Covelli, “While the Schubert Fantasia is energetic, technically exhilarating — holding the listener totally captive, fully surrounded and embraced by beautiful melodies; the Franck Quintet is a template for emotionally passionate, and sensuous French melodies. It offers me a supersonic opportunity to share with brilliant colleagues who contribute to the joy of making music. Elmar Oliveira is a formidable musical genius and inspiring partner, and we’re grateful to have him here. What a generous gift his presence will be! Think of this concert as giving, (offering) you some precious moments with the ‘mother’ of your higher soul. That’s surely what it means to me, and it’s my pleasure to share with you!”

Elmar-Oliveira-1_LR.jpgUnsurpassed in his combination of elegance and impeccable artistry, Elmar Oliveira is one of the most distinguished violinists in the world today. His commitment to a wide spectrum of the violin world manifests itself in numerous ways, such as consistently expanding repertoire boundaries as a champion of both contemporary music and rarely-heard works of the past, devoting considerable energy to the development of younger artists, and enthusiastically supporting the efforts and art of modern violin makers.

Mr. Oliveira has become a familiar and much-admired figure at the world’s foremost concert venues. His rigorous international itinerary includes appearances with many of the world’s great orchestras, including the Boston Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, London Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Saint Louis Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and the Zurich Tonhalle, to name a few. He has also made extensive recital tours of North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and the Far East.

Mr. Oliveira’s repertoire is among the most diverse of any of today’s preeminent artists. Hailed for his performances of the standard violin literature, he is also a much sought-after interpreter of the music of our time. He has premiered works by such distinguished composers as Morton Gould, Aaron Kernis, Ezra Laderman, Benjamin Lees, Andrzej Panufnik, Krysztof Penderecki, Joan Tower and Charles Wuorinen.

Because of his great affection for this area (a former Binghamton resident) and his support for the arts, Mr. Oliveira’s performance this weekend is his gift to the community and the Goodwill Theatre. He has generously waived his performance fee. Mr. Oliveira will perform a solo in Ernest Chausson’s Poeme Opus 25 and Chopin’s Scherzo No. 1 in B minor Opus 20.

Most local audiences remember Maestro John Covelli as the conductor of the Binghamton Philharmonic. Many do not realize he was a piano prodigy, pleasing audiences since the age of four. The Chicago-born, John Covelli was credited in his youth with numerous concerts, broadcast recitals and special musical awards. He performed at the Chicago Music Festival with the Chicago Symphony at age 9. As a teenager, John was the only concert pianist ever to win the famous Godfrey Talent Scout Program and appeared in a series of nationwide CBS-TV performances. His New York debut drew rave notices from every newspaper and major publication present including the Times stating “This is one of the best debut recitals in our recollection.” While conductor and soloist of the famed Seventh Army Symphony, he was selected special musical ambassador for USIS gleaning accolades as featured touring soloist throughout Europe.

Canadian violinist, Janey Choi gave her Carnegie Hall recital debut in 1997 as a winner of the Artists International Auditions and continues an active career performing on recital and chamber series, on Broadway, and with such groups as the Ardelia Trio, Ensemble X, New York City Ballet, and the Teaching Artists Ensemble of the New York Philharmonic. The recipient of numerous awards including the Chalmers Performing Arts Grant from the Ontario Arts Council (Canada) and National First Prize in the Canadian Music Competition, she has participated in such festivals as Mostly Mozart, Norfolk, Taos, the Spoleto Festivals in the U.S. and Italy, Festival Musical de Santo Domingo, the Santa Fe Opera and the Sarasota Opera.

An avid inter-arts and cross-genre collaborator, she is the Music Director of Thomas/Ortiz Dance, and has performed numerous times with the Parsons Dance Co., most notably at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and at the New Victory Theater in Times Square. She also initiated a continuing collaboration with the Paul Taylor Dance Company and the Binghamton University Music Department. Her other interests have taken her to the visual arts world, developing and presenting an annual “Music + Art” show commissioning artwork based on chamber works. She has recorded and appeared with such mainstream performers as Bono (U2) and Quincy Jones, Adele, Beyoncé, Aretha Franklin, Enya, Elton John, Jay-Z, Sarah McLachlan, Lenny Kravitz, and Kanye West, on the Grammys, MTV, Saturday Night Live, the Today Show, at Live 8, Radio City Music Hall and Royal Albert Hall in London, England.

Sandra Robbins graduated from the Manhattan School of Music after studying viola in both the preparatory and college divisions with Lillian Fuchs. At an early age, her love and special interest in chamber music was fostered by studies with the Budapest String Quartet and with such renowned musicians as Artur Balsam, Sascha Jacobsen, Lillian Fuchs, and Raphael Bronstein at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School in Blue Hill, Maine.

Ms. Robbins has been a member of the Ysaye Quartet, the Paganini Trio, and the Bronx Arts Ensemble, and has performed in chamber music concerts with such prominent artists as Nathaniel Rosen, Julius Baker, Elmar Oliveira, Zara Nelsova, Laszlo Varga, Carol Wincenc and Paul Doktor. She has participated in the festivals of Aspen, Amelia Island, Caramoor, Grand Teton, Vermont Mozart, Seattle Chamber Music, Bard Festival, Festival Musicades in Lyon, France, Kneisel Hall and Bowdoin Summer Musical, Maine, and Park City, Utah. Ms. Robbins is currently principal violist of the Atlantic Classical Orchestra and a member of the American Composers Orchestra, The Westchester Philharmonic, and freelances in New York City.

Stephen Stalker (cello) – teaches at Binghamton University. He formerly taught at Colgate University, Mansfield University, Ithaca College and the Binghamton City School District. He was the principal cellist of the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra in Ithaca, NY, and has performed extensively with the Catskill Chamber Players of Oneonta, NY, and in concerts at Binghamton University. Performing with the Catskill Chamber Players he has presented Meet the Composer concerts with prominent American composers including John Cage, Virgil Thomson, Lou Harrison and George Crumb. The Chamber Players appeared at Weill Recital Hall, premiering a set of four string quartets by Henry Brant. With violinist, Janet Brady, and pianist, Walter Ponce, he performed the complete Beethoven Trio cycle at SUNY-Binghamton. He performed with Solisti New York on their Alaskan cruise of the Inner Passage from Vancouver to Juneau. As a member of the Madison String Quartet, he was a finalist in the Naumberg Chamber Music Competition in New York City and the Evian International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France. He has performed in many recital appearances with pianist, Michael Salmirs. He performs regularly with Trio Appassionata, Trilogy, Early On and in concerts at Binghamton University. He is a past president of the New York State Chapter of the American String Teachers Association and was Strings Chair for the New York State School Music Association. He is a founder of the Southern Tier Music Teachers Association and the Binghamton Cello Festival. He is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

Tickets for the Mother’s Day Concert with John Covelli and Elmar Oliveira are $25 for adults and $22 for seniors/students and children, and may be purchased online at or by calling the theatre Box Office at 607-772-2404, ext. 301. The Mother’s Day Concert normally sells out, so early response is suggested.

The Schorr Family Firehouse Stage, located at 46-48 Willow Street in Johnson City, accepts cash, checks and all major credit cards. Doors open one hour before show time. General Seating is based on a first-come; first-served policy. Refreshments will be available for sale.

The Schorr Family Firehouse Stage is the first performance venue of the Goodwill Theatre Performing Arts Complex & Professional Training Facility. It is located on the corner of Corliss Avenue and Willow Street in Johnson City. Patrons are advised to enter the facility through the parking lot on Corliss Avenue. Parking is available in a small lot at the theatre, and a new lot along the side of the building, on-street, and in various Village municipal lots within two blocks of the theatre.