The symphony was a complete disaster.
In 1897, a few days before his 24th birthday, Sergei Rachmaninov debuted his First Symphony in St. Petersburg, Russia. The reception was savage. One critic compared it to Biblical plagues. Rachmaninov fell into deep, years-long depression.
But by late 1901, the composer was regaining confidence. His Second Piano Concerto debuted to great acclaim and, basking in the glow, Rachmaninov began writing what would become his final chamber work — the grand, lyrical and technically demanding Sonata in G minor for Cello and Piano.
On Tuesday, Sept. 23, cellist Kenneth Kulosa and pianist Patti Wolf will perform the Sonata in G minor as well as Igor Stravinsky’s “Suite Italienne” (1932). The free concert, which will launch the fall Danforth University Center Chamber Music Series at Washington University in St. Louis, takes place at 7:30 p.m. in Goldberg Formal Lounge.
A native of Albuquerque, N.M., Kulosa moved to St. Louis in 1997 at the invitation of the St. Louis Symphony. He previously played with the Chicago Symphony and the Grant Park Symphony, and held the posts of principal cellist for both the South Bend and Northwest Indiana Symphonies. He is currently a member of the Kingsbury Early Music Ensemble and teaches cello in the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences, and in private studio.
Wolf trained at the St. Louis Conservatory before earning degrees at the Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music. She performs regularly with the St. Louis Symphony, the Chamber Music Society of St. Louis and the Chautauqua Symphony in New York. A former visiting professor in the university’s Department of Music, Wolf maintains an active private studio.
DUC Chamber Music Series
The Chamber Music Series will continue Wednesday, Oct. 8, with soprano Kelly Daniel-Decker and pianist Todd Decker performing “Songs of Sondheim.” The Ilex Piano Trio will perform music of Mozart, Schumann and Shostakovich on Monday, Nov. 3. The 442’s — comprising violinist Shawn Weil, cellist Bjorn Ranheim, bassist Syd Rodway and pianist Adam Maness — will conclude the fall series Tuesday, Dec. 2.
All performances are free and open to the public. The Danforth University Center is located at 6475 Forsyth Blvd. For more information, call 314-935-5566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.