Scottsdale Center to present two-part series

Two epic works by Brahms and Dvořák open the Close Encounters With Music two-part series at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in January and February, 2016 — Johannes Brahms’ G minor Piano Quartet Op. 25, with its animated Hungarian idioms and whirlwind coda; and the Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-flat Major Op. 87, one of Dvořák’s most sublime works.

Both are symphonic in scope, with unbuttoned, folksy finales.

The two composers, friends and fellow admirers during their lifetime, stand side by side with these powerful masterpieces that display the seemingly endless inventiveness of both in architecture, melody, instrumental interplay, and sheer sonic beauty, according to a press release.

Brahms’s friendship with Dvořák is unparalleled in music history.

Their mutual admiration helped bring an obscure Czech composer into the international limelight and allowed an aging and socially gruff master to display his generosity and pass the torch to a worthy successor.

“It is pure love, and on hearing it, your heart melts with you,” stated Dvořák in the release.

Joining artistic director, Yehuda Hanani, to play some of the most vivacious and appealing music in the repertoire are pianist Soyeon Kate Lee, hailed by The New York Times as a pianist with “a huge, richly varied sound, a lively imagination and a firm sense of style”; violinist Ara Gregorian, who made his orchestra debut with the Boston Pops; and violinist/violist Xiao-Dong Wang, who has appeared as soloist with the Royal Philharmonic in London and the London Mozart Players.

Close Encounters With Music is an enriching concert experience that brings together sublime chamber music, distinguished performers and insightful commentary. An esteemed cellist is his own right, Hanani introduces each program from the stage, putting the composers and their times in perspective.

Grand Piano Quartets — Brahms and Dvořák

  • 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 13
  • Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
  • Tickets: $19/$29/$39

Grand Piano Trios: Schubert, Mendelssohn and Arensky

  • 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3
  • Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
  • Tickets: $19/$29/$39

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