Merc Playhouse, February 17 at 7:00 pm

Kevin Krentz, Artistic Director

2018 Valentine Concert: "Romantic Strings"

Kevin Krentz has something to say...

It is my pleasure to welcome you to our Valentine Concert!

I invited one of my favorite violinists, Mischa Schmidt, to perform tonight. His warmth, leadership, and generosity, coupled with a fantastic knowledge of the repertoire and a sharp mind make him a joy to work with onstage. We will also hear from Mischa's dear friend, the fabulous pianist, Alexei Eremine, founding member of the Moscow Piano Quartet.

Throughout history, composers have felt increasing pressure to produce "original" and "new" works. Composers like Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns, and Brahms rank among the best at resisting such pressure, believing that when one is not trying to reinvent the wheel, one can focus on making it the most beautiful wheel ever. That was their genius.

What about Piazzolla? His music was certainly new, but, having coming from a different tradition, he focused on expanding the Tango he loved into something larger and grander, rather than simply attracting attention for its novelty.

That thread of musical genius connects all the pieces of our concert! Enjoy, my friends, and we'll see you this summer!


—Kevin Krentz, Artistic Director

SATURDAYMerc Playhouse 2/17

Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, "Winter"

  Astor Piazzolla (1921–1992)

Piano Trio no. 2, Op. 92

  Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921)

  • Allegro non troppo
  • Allegretto
  • Andante con moto
  • Grazioso, poco allegro
  • Allegro


Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, "Spring"

  Astor Piazzolla (1921–1992)

Piano Trio in D minor no .1, Op. 49

  Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847)

  • Molto allegro agitato
  • Andante con molto tranquillo
  • Scherzo. Leggiero e vivace
  • Finale. Allegro assai appassionato



Alexei Eremine, piano | Kevin Krentz, cello | Mikhail Shmidt, violin


Summer concerts coming July 26–August 4, 2018

2018 Valentine Artists

Saturday, February 17

Alexei Eremine, piano | Artistic Director Kevin Krentz, cello | Mikhail Shmidt, violin | and your host, Verne Windham.

Alexei Eremine, pianoAlexei Eremine

Alexei Eremine, piano

Alexei Eremine was born in Moscow in 1964. He began his piano studies at the age of 6 at the Gnessin School of Music, graduating cum laude at the Gnessin School of Education. While studying at this Institute he formed the Gnessin Trio, and toured through the cities of former Soviet Union.

He is a founding member of the Moscow Piano Quartet (1989), the first of its kind in Russia. The Quartet has performed frequently in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities, and toured internationally to Latvia, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Greece and Japan.

He participates in International Music Festivals, both as a member of the Moscow Piano Quartet and as a solo performer.  Since the mid-90’s, he has competed in Festivals in over a dozen countries.

Alexei combined his artistic and pedagogical skills to teach Piano and Chamber Music at the Gnessin Institute. At the time of his appointment, he was the youngest professor of musical superior education in Moscow.

Since 2000 he has been teaching Piano and Chamber Music at the National Superior Orchestra Academy in Lisbon, Portugal. | Back to Artists

Kevin Krentz, celloKevin Krentz

Kevin Krentz, cello

Kevin Krentz is the Artistic Director of the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival. He enjoys a multi-faceted career as a performer, teacher, inventor, and artistic director. A devoted chamber musician, Kevin has been a winner in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition with his trio In Flight 3 and a winner in the Zinetti International Chamber Music Competition in Verona, Italy, and the Greenlake National Chamber Music Competition with Finisterra Trio.

With Finisterra Trio, Kevin is devoted to performing contemporary works as well as the standard repertoire. The trio has commissioned new works by modern composers.  Finisterra Trio are artists-in-residence at the Phoenix Series in New York.

Kevin's teachers have included Florian Kitt and Jontscho Bayrov in Vienna, and Gary Hardie, Owen Carman, and Toby Saks in the U.S. Master-class performances include Janos Starker, Matt Haimovitz, Paul Katz, and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi. Chamber music studies include the Florestan Trio, Elsa Verdehr, Stephen Shipps, Ron Patterson, and Ralph Votapek.

Kevin is also founder of Krentz String Works, which primarily develops and sells his inventions, including the Krentz Modulator, which can be found in virtually every major symphony in the world since its launch in 2013. Other innovations involve aspects of instrument tone enhancement and designs for cases and other accessories. For more information, visit KrentzStringWorks.com. | Back to Artists

Mikhail Shmidt, violinMikhail Shmidt

Mikhail Shmidt, violin

Mikhail Shmidt was born in Moscow. He began his musical education at the age of five and at fourteen became the winner of the International Chamber Music Competition "Concertino Prague." He graduated cum laude from Gnessin Institute of Music in 1987. His major teachers were Halida Akhtiamova and Valentin Berlinsky of the celebrated Borodin Quartet. While still at college, Mikhail participated in the Gnessin String Quartet, winner of several national competitions. He also played in the State Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Radio String Quartet and was concertmaster of "Camerata Boccherini" Baroque Orchestra. One of the highlights of Mikhail's Russian career was collaborating with the illustrious composer Alfred Schnittke.

Since immigrating to the United States in 1989, Mikhail has established himself as a leading chamber musician. He was a founding member of the Bridge Ensemble, which recorded and toured successfully in the U.S. and Europe. As a guest violinist of the Moscow Piano Quartet, he tours Europe annually, and his "remarkable musicianship" was hailed by Lisbon newspaper Tempo. Among the highlights of Mikhail's chamber music activities are his collaborations with such diverse and distinguished composers and musicians as Steve Reich, John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Wayne Horvitz, Giya Kancheli, Paul Schoenfield, Dmitri Sitkovetsky, Vadim Repin, and many others. Mikhail has recorded on Melodia, Delos, ECM, Tzadik, Six Degrees and Inova labels. | Back to Artists

Verne Windham, hostVerne Windham

Verne Windham, host

Verne Windham arrived in Spokane in 1971 to become Principal Horn of the Spokane Symphony, having played in the orchestra while in high school in the 1960s. At the same time he became French horn instructor at Washington State University.

While in the symphony, Verne founded many music groups, which played everything from baroque to modern music. Two highlights were RSVP, a trio that played classical music in Henny’s bar, and the Spokane Falls Brass Band, famous for ragtime and other American music.

In the 1980s Verne began announcing for the fledgling public radio station KPBX, becoming its music director in the early 1990s and, more recently, its program director.

In 1996 Verne found his dream job, as conductor of the freshest, most exciting and second-best orchestra in the region, the Spokane Youth Orchestra. Verne had previously conducted the Spokane Symphony on educational tours and at the Festival at Sandpoint. He has also conducted for Spokane Opera and Spokane Ballet.

Verne is married to the soprano Susan Windham. Their children sing and play drums and tuba. | Back to Artists

Board of Directors

  • Jane Orme, President
    Lynn Swan, Vice President
  • Anne Peck, Sec. Treasurer
    Howard Johnson
  • Carolanne Steinebach
    Robin Nelson Wicks
  • Harry Grant
    Kevin Krentz, Artistic Director
  • Liz Johnson, Executive Director
    Rebecca Thomson, Summer Festival Director
  • Jennifer Stephens, Outreach Coordinator

Our Sponsors

For the 2017 season.

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