In its ongoing efforts to get a performing arts center for the Weehawken Waterfront, the Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center, with conjunction with main sponsor UBS Financial Services, Inc., will begin a series of monthly lunchtime concerts in the atrium of the UBS-Lincoln Harbor Wednesday afternoon.
The renowned classical group the Claremont Trio has been selected to begin the series, with Wednesday's concert set to begin at 12:30 p.m.
The Claremont Trio, featuring twin sisters Emily (violin) and Julia Bruskin (cello), as well as Donna Kwong (piano), were the winners of the 2001 Young Concert Artists International Competition and have been traveling the world performing ever since, making stops in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia last year as part of a cultural exchange program co-sponsored by the U.S. State Department and Carnegie Hall.
The Claremont Trio has also performed at the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston, the Young Concert Artists Series at Carnegie Hall, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.
"We're really excited to be kicking off this series," said Julia Bruskin. "It's a neat new series started to help get a performing arts center in Weehawken. It's great that they got something going, and we're hoping that many people will take the time to come hear us play."
Bruskin was asked if playing in an open setting like that during the hustle and bustle of a lunch-eating audience was an obstacle.
"Well, we've done it before," Bruskin said. "It is a little different, but we like to play in different settings. We're hoping that the music attracts enough people to want to stay and watch us."
HRPAC executive director Bruce Sherman was excited that the Young Concert Artists group recommended the Claremont Trio to kick off the UBS Atrium Series.
"We're bringing the best available artists over as a way to get more people interested in what we're doing," Sherman said. "We want to build an arts center."
Sherman said that the lunchtime setting should be perfect to listen to top-flight classical music.
"There are a lot of people working in that building," Sherman said. "They're going through the lobby and they can stop and listen, even though it's during the work day. They can take time out and enjoy the music. Other people, like retired people, can enjoy it as well. We're taking advantage of an opportunity to present great music in a great venue."
Sherman said that he has attended similar lunchtime concerts that were well attended and accepted in other areas.
"We're trying to find an audience wherever it may be," Sherman said. "I think people will find it to be a pleasing place to see and hear music. The idea is gaining momentum and I truly expect the art center to be built, thanks to the support we have received from people like Hartz Mountain Industries and UBS."
Julia Bruskin said that she loves playing classical music, especially with her twin sister.
"My sister and I always had a great relationship," Bruskin said. "We're the best of friends, so it makes it more pleasurable to be with her. Both of our parents play classical music and we all used to play together, even before we could read. So it is a natural extension of my parents. We've always enjoyed classical music. It was our parents' taste first, but I've always found it to be my favorite. As a cellist, it's the best fit."
The Claremont Trio plans to play Beethoven's "Trio in E-Flat Major," as well as a Bedrich Smetana "Trio in G-Minor for Piano, Violin and Cello" as part of Wednesday's concert.
Tim Willis, the senior vice president at UBS, is ecstatic to be able to sponsor the Atrium Series.
"UBS is pleased to continue our longstanding commitment to the arts through investing in our communities," Willis said. "This outstanding concert series is only a preview of the multitude of cultural and educational opportunities that we look forward to with the Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center in our region."
Wednesday's concert is just the first of the planned monthly concerts. The November concert will feature jazz harpist Edmar Castaneda and the Edmar Castaneda Quartet on Nov. 6, also at 12:30 p.m.
The third concert will be on Dec. 2 at 12:30, with the Manhattan Brass Quintet doing a special holiday program. The series is also sponsored in part by the Hudson Reporter.
There will also be a special benefit concert featuring Metropolitan Opera performer Maureen O'Flynn on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 4 p.m.
"We want to present as many different concerts as possible," Sherman said. "We got tremendous response from the Paquito D'Rivera concert (in August) and we're looking forward to seeing whatever we can come up with in the future. The future definitely looks bright."
It continues with the sweet sounds of classical music at lunch time Wednesday, courtesy of the Claremont Trio.