Dr. Alfred & D. Suzi Osher School of Music

FACULTY CONCERT SERIES: “Let’s Duet - Intimate Conversations for Two” Robert and Kimberly Lehmann, Violin and Viola

September 27, 2019
8:00 PM
Corthell Concert Hall, Gorham Campus
$15 for adults, $10 for seniors and USM alumni, and $5 for students.
Kimberly and Robert Lehmann

(Photo credit: Wohler & Co.)

It takes two. Two to tango, for tea, and for conversation. The Lehmann duo invite you to an evening featuring works written for this most 'distilled' form of chamber music, the duo. The conversational possibilities between the violin's soprano and the viola's alto voices have resulted in a wide array of exceptional works.

The Lehmann duo is joined by pianist Martin Perry for a performance of the rarely heard Trio for piano, violin and viola by the 11-year-old Mendelssohn, and Max Bruch’s rhapsodic concerto for violin, viola and orchestra. Also on the program, the quirky Capricci for violin and viola by Norwegian Bjarne Brustad, Emil Kreuz's first duo and Shostakovich’s Three Duets for violin, viola and piano. An evening of intimate and rarely-heard chamber music gems.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and USM alumni, and $5 for students. Purchase tickets online at www.usm.maine.edu/music/boxoffice, or by calling 207-780-5555. 

Thanks to Sue & Hank Schmitt for special arrangements. The evening also features a post-concert reception sponsored by Sodexo

Those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact Lori Arsenault, (207) 780-5142, loria@maine.edu. Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646.


About this very special concert, Robert Lehmann writes, "Playing chamber music with friends is one of life's greatest pleasures. The give and take, the exchange of opinions, and the search for an end result that is more than the sum of its parts, are all rewards for the hard work and sometimes chaotic and quarrelsome rehearsal process. Playing chamber music with your spouse intensifies the experience in a very singular way. Although the rehearsal process may require perhaps a greater deal of diplomacy, tact, and understanding than working with 'colleagues', the payoff is also greater because you know that your partner in this case, has your back 'til death do us part’!"

"We started our duo partnership long before we married. While in residence at the Heidelberg Opera Festival in Germany, we would often busk on the streets for extra spending money. Beer and Bratkartoffeln for one, ice cream for the other! After we married we often found ourselves playing through a great deal of duos we inherited from Robert's grandparents (amateur musicians themselves). Between violin/violin and violin/viola combinations, we spent many hours enjoying our unique pastime."

Over the years we have added to our repertory and enjoy creating programs that balance established violin/viola duos with new works and creative arrangements of everything from Bach's two-part inventions to tangos. The Lehmanns have performed duo programs all over Maine, Mexico, and Europe, most recently in Polenz and Mainz, Germany and have performed the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante multiple times with the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra, Maine ProMusica and others.


About the Program

Composed by Mendelssohn at the ripe-old-age of 11, the Trio in C minor already clearly displays the Wunderkind genius that certainly rivaled that of Mozart. Not only is it cast for the non-traditional instrumentation of piano, violin and viola (instead of the usual cello), it is also in four (not three) movements, and all of these are in minor keys (rather than a more usual alternation of both major and minor juxtapositions) giving the work great emotional intensity. Although composed in 1820, it was not published until 1970 and remains one of Mendelssohn’s least performed and recorded works.

Although born in Cologne, German, Emil Anton Joseph Friedrich Kreuz won a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music in London and settled in England for the rest of his life. After initial studies on the violin, he switched to viola, made his debut on that instrument with Berlioz’s Harold in Italy with the LSO in 1888. From 1888 to 1903 he was the violist of the Gompertz quartet with whom he performed the late Beethoven quartets. Eventually he turned to conducting and became an assistant musical director at Covent Garden. He studied composition most notably with Charles Villiers-Stanford and output naturally contains a great wealth of both pedagogical as well as concert music for violin and viola. The 4 Duos for violin and viola, Op. 39 (1895) are richly textured, Romantic style works that showcase both instruments beautifully.

The prolific Norwegian composer Bjarne Brustad, also a fine concert violist enjoyed playfully weaving Norwegian folk elements into his music. Of particular note is his depiction of the Hardanger fiddle, a traditional 7-9 string folk instrument. The four-movement Capricci of 1931 are virtuosic representations of Norwegian folk-music.

The Double Concerto (originally for clarinet and viola) by Max Bruch was written in 1911 for his son, the clarinetist Max Felix, who performed it in 1912 alongside Willi Hess on viola. This work is often heard with violin substituting for the clarinet. Considered rather old-fashioned in both harmony and concept by contemporary sources at its premiere, it nevertheless unabashedly harkens back to the rich, rhapsodic, romantic, virtuoso writing of the late 19th century. The work was first published in 1942, 22 years after the composer’s death and was not officially included in his list of works until 1991 when the autograph score was brought to light.

The three duets for two violins and piano are not what you might expect when you think of Shostakovich. Light, ne-classical and not too difficult, these are lovely musical bon-bons. Although we in the west know Shostakovich best for his symphonies and string quartets, he was a prolific film composer. These works are arrangements compiled in 1955 of some film scores. The 'Prelude' is the Introduction from The Gadfly, the Gavotte is from The Human Condition (or Human Comedy), and the Waltz from The Return of Maxim.




Kimberly Lehmann, originally from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, received her Bachelor of Music in violin performance from the University of Minnesota and her Master of Music in Violin Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music. Her principal teachers were Lea Foli, Harold Wippler, Catherine Tait and Camilla Wicks. About 10 years ago, after receiving a beautiful viola that belonged to her husband Robert’s grandmother, Kim fell in love with the viola and gradually grew to prefer the deep, mellow sound and the wonderful chamber music writing for the instrument.

She is a member of the Portland Symphony Orchestra and has been a member of the South Dakota Symphony, the Colorado Springs Symphony and the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. She has performed with the Eastman Philharmonia in residence at the Heidelberg Schlossfestspiele, at the National Orchestral Institute, and with the Boston Academy of Music. She regularly performs with PORT Opera, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Portland Ballet, and the Choral Arts Society and has appeared as guest violist with the DaPonte String Quartet, Venticordi and the Atlantic Piano Trio.

Ms. Lehmann has coached violin and viola sectionals and chamber music for the Longwood Symphony, Brandeis University, Wellesley College, the Greater Boston Youth Symphonies and the USM Youth Ensembles. She has adjudicated auditions for the New England Conservatory Youth Orchestras and for Maine District Festivals. Ms. Lehmann has also performed solo works with the Portland Chamber Orchestra, the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra, the Salem Philharmonic and the Longy School of Music. In addition, she has an interest in violin repair and completed a course at the Hans Nebel Violin Repair Workshop while she was manager of the rental department at Johnson String Instrument in Newton, MA. Kim plays a 2009 Benjamin Ruth viola, lives in Scarborough, Maine with her husband Robert and sons Eric and Alexander.


Robert Lehmann is Professor of Music and Director of Strings Studies and Orchestral Activities at the University of Southern Maine School of Music where he conducts the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra and the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his duties at USM, he is Music Director of the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra, and the White Mountain Bach Festival in New Hampshire. He holds degrees in Violin Performance from the University of the Pacific, the Eastman School and Boston University and has been a fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Festival and at the Conductors Institute at Bard College. Dr. Lehmann has concertized as violinist and conductor, in his native Mexico, throughout the US, Puerto Rico and in Europe and Ukraine. He has been of frequent guest conductor with the Portland Symphony, Portland Ballet, and has conducted All-State and Festival Orchestras from Maine to California and Hawaii. He has also been an adjudicator the National Orchestra Festival at the ASTA National Convention. 

Prior to his appointment at USM, he was Music Director of the Mozart Society Orchestra at Harvard, and on the conducting staff of the Greater Boston and the Empire State Youth Orchestras. He is first violinist of the Meliora Quartet and concertmaster of the Opera Maine and the Choral Art Society. He is in demand as a performer, conductor, teacher and adjudicator and is listed in Who's Who in American Music. His CD, “Chamber Music for String by Manuel M. Ponce” was issued by Centaur Records in 2009. He has given numerous word premieres including Elliot Schwartz's' "Concerto VI: Mr. Jefferson" and Portland Ballet’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. His 2012 performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 3, was named the top performance event of the Portland concert season by the Portland Press Herald. A recently completed sabbatical resulted in three performances of the Brahms Violin concerto as soloist, as well as guest conducting appearances with  the Greensboro, NC and Portland, ME symphonies, VentiCordi, and he will return for a third year conducting Portland Ballet’s Victorian Nutcracker. Dr. Lehmann plays primarily and 2013 violin made by Boston-area luthier Benjamin Ruth.


Martin Perry has distinguished himself as a consummate interpreter of contemporary classical piano music, with appearances across the United States and abroad from the Boston Pops to the Moscow Philharmonic. His three recent CDs on Bridge Records featuring the works of Carter, Bartók, Ives and Hindemith have drawn raves from the critics, calling his playing “supremely assured” (International Piano),  “commanding and virtuosic” (Clavier) and “quite dazzling!” (American Record Guide). In a lighter vein, as musical director and pianist for Stephen Sondheim’s musical Marry Me A Little, he can be heard on the best-selling RCA Red Seal cast recording. A native Californian and proud Armenian-American, Martin Perry is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where he studied with the renowned pedagogue Adele Marcus.





Contact Information

USM Music Box Office
(207) 780-5555