Paetsch family violinist, Michaela, returns for concert

click to enlarge (From left to right) The Paetsch family in 1980, when they lived in Colorado Springs (back row): Michaela, Brigitte, Phebe, Priscilla, Gnther and (front row) Christian, Engelbert, Siegmund and Johann.
  • (From left to right) The Paetsch family in 1980, when they lived in Colorado Springs (back row): Michaela, Brigitte, Phebe, Priscilla, Gnther and (front row) Christian, Engelbert, Siegmund and Johann.

Lon Chaney and Elvira? Please step aside. Another famous native with an international career is coming home. And this time it's musical.

The aforementioned spooky entertainers may have once hailed from our humble burg, but neither boasts as impressive an international rsum as this performer. Colorado Springs virtuoso violinist Michaela Paetsch returns to the stage this month as part of the Colorado Springs School's Thursday Night Recital Series.

If a classical music aristocracy existed in Colorado Springs, the Paetsch family would certainly be part of it. The senior Paetsches, Gnther and Priscilla, played with the Colorado Springs Symphony for more than 30 years, Gnther on cello and Pricilla on violin (Mrs. Paetsch is a member of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic; Mr. Paetsch is retired). Their seven children are all musicians, five of whom currently make their living from music.

Michaela, the second eldest, joined the first violin section of the CS Symphony at age 10, won numerous solo competitions and eventually won a full scholarship to Yale University. Her bio lists performances at just about every prestigious festival and concert hall in the classical music world, including the Marlboro, Banff, and Mostly Mozart festivals and appearances at Carnegie and Avery Fisher Halls.

Eric LeVan, who will join Paetsch in concert, is no musical slouch himself. After a daunting debut performance of Brahms' sonatas at age 16, LeVan studied at the University of Southern California, in Switzerland, and on a Fulbright scholarship. These days he performs regularly as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe and the United States, and has many acclaimed recordings to his name.

The Colorado Springs School Thursday Night Recital Series, now in its third season, is fast becoming an invaluable outlet for music performances. The series focuses on local and native musicians and raises money for the art department at the school. In this concert, the duo will explore Brahms' Sonata in G major, a Schubert serenade arranged by Paetsch, and the world premiere of "Blue Reflections," written especially for LeVan and Paetsch by American chamber music composer Robert Kritz.

click to enlarge Eric LeVan and Michaela Paetsch.
  • Eric LeVan and Michaela Paetsch.

"[It] is openly sentimental," said Kritz in his notes about the piece. "The title is meant to resonate through the fragments which repeat or insinuate themselves within each melody -- these are reflections, in both meanings of the word -- as visual images which we see through another medium; and as a pensive pondering of stored memories. The climax comes in the coda, when variations of both melodies are heard against each other, in a lyrical plea for intimate communication between people ... for a personal and intimate human connection.

Paetsch will be writing an original cadenza for the premiere.

-- Bettina Swigger

capsule Thursday Night Recital Series

Michaela Paetsch Neftel, violin, and Eric LaVan, piano

Thursday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Lousia Performing Arts Center, The Colorado Springs School, 21 Broadmoor Ave.

$15; $10 for students and seniors; 475-9747 ext. 110.

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