Press

  • The Magnificent Journey of Tanja Bechtler on Clture.org

    A wonderful article written on Clture.org about Tanja Bechtler.

  • SoundCloud session

  • September 3, 2015 - WDAV Recording

    WDAV John Clark recording studio with pianist Cynthia Lawing on the Horowitz Steinway piano live recording.

    Listen now!

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  • 2013 - Charlotte Composer's Forum

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    The Bechtler Ensemble performs as part of the Charlotte Composer’s Forum.
    View photos of the event at the Bechtler Museum:


    Charlotte Composers Forum

  • January 25, 2015 - Concert commemorates the fifth anniversary of Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the Firebird

    In honor of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art’s fifth anniversary and the arrival of the iconic Firebird on Charlotte’s Tryon Street, the Bechtler Ensemble performed a concert of new works. Alan Yamamoto conducted the Bechtler Ensemble, which includes violinists Peter DeVries, Angela Story-Watson and Mila Gilbody, Matthew Darsey on viola, Tanja Bechtler on cello, Tom Hildreth on bass and Tomoko Deguchi on piano.

    http://www.axs.com/concert-commemorates-5th-anniversary-of-firebird-and-the-bechtler-37915

  • January 23-24, 2015 - NC Dance Festival: Shedding at Belk Theater

    Tanja Bechtler joined Kim Jones, choreographer and assistant professor of dance at UNC Charlotte, for a unique performance as part of UNC Charlotte’s 24th season of NC Dance Festival featuring the Martha Graham Dance Company. Shedding is an excerpt from a larger, interdisciplinary collaboration with professional artists exploring themes of loss, memory, shedding and renewal.

  • January 9, 2015 - Pulse Dome Project: Opening Reception

    Organized by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, Pulse Dome Project: Art & Design of Don ZanFagna presents paintings, drawings, sketchbooks, and 3-D models by Don ZanFagna that explicate the futuristic and metaphoric concept of “growing” your own house. An artist, architect, and designer, ZanFagna imagined a home created, constructed, and maintained by all-organic processes and in perfect harmony with nature.

    From roughly 1971 through 1995, ZanFagna researched world indigenous structures, insect architecture, wombs, and such natural forms as caves, tunnels, and volcanoes to learn what had been done already and what was still likely to be accomplished by others in relation to sustainable human architecture. At the same time he was deeply influenced by the writings and activities of Buckminster Fuller and was captivated by Fuller’s geodesic dome.

    Provocative and poetic, ZanFagna’s Pulse Dome Project was a cry in the dark, a proclamation to all people, especially those charged with shaping our built environment, to grasp the reality that our current system is at odds with nature—and therefore unsustainable. While this position is the accepted orthodoxy today, at the time ZanFagna was making these statements he was not following a trend, he was helping to establish one.

    At the opening on January 9, cellist Tanja Bechtler and pianist Dylan Savage will give a short performance of music with connections to the artist’s philosophy and work. Innovation, provocation, sustainability, and juxtaposition are a few of the many words that have characterized ZanFagna’s work. The musicians have chosen works by Astor Piazzolla (juxtaposition of classical and jazz tango forms); Olivier Messiaen (using his music written in a concentration camp to, in part, sustain life and sanity); Hildegard von Bingen (a woman musician/innovator from 12th century); and a music overlay (a process of over-laying two different pieces of music to provoke and question standard norms) of pieces by J.S. Bach and Arnold Schoenberg.

    The exhibition runs through March 11.

    http://coaa.uncc.edu/calendar/pulse-dome-project-opening-reception

  • March 31, 2014 - Appearance on WDAV 89.9FM Bachs and Biscuits Program

    WDAV 89.9 FM celebrates its 5th Anniversary Celebration by inviting  Tanja Bechtler and Cynthia Lawing to perform various pieces.

    Click here to listen to the interview and performance.

    https://m.soundcloud.com/wdav/biscuits-bach-and-bojangles

    WDAV 89.9, a public radio service of Davidson College and licensed to the Trustees of Davidson College, is a member-supported public radio service providing classical music and cultural arts programming 24 hours each day. 
    mote the activities of local arts organizations and artists of all disciplines

  • February 17, 2013

    Valentine’s Day Takes on New Meaning at Bechtler Ensemble ConcertBy Perry TannenbaumFebruary 17, 2013 – Charlotte, NC:In a couple of ways, the annual Chamber of Love concert is the granddaddy of musical programming at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Presented each year around Valentine’s Day, the 2010 Chamber of Love event was the very first concert at the trendy new museum. But this isn’t a Valentine’s Day celebration. When Tanja Bechtler and her Bechtler Ensemble re-gather each year, it’s to remember the birthday – on February 14, 1904 – of the cellist’s grandfather, Hans Bechtler, who started the collection of modern art that has blossomed into the museum bearing his family’s name.

    Remarks by VP of programming and research Christopher Lawing only lightly touched the music, dwelling more frequently on the elder Bechtler and the artworks that he loved. At one point in Lawing’s presentation, two images of the same work appeared on the same fourth-floor gallery wall, one of them a projection, the other an original. Yet in a program that included works by Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and Arensky the romantic element was certainly not ignored. Tanja Bechtler actually wasn’t onstage quite as constantly as the Ensemble’s pianist, Cynthia Lawing. Nor were violinists Peter deVries and Tatiana Karpova relegated to subsidiary roles when called upon to make their contributions.

    The music began amorously enough with Rachmaninoff’s Prelude for cello and piano, largely a showpiece for Bechtler, who lushly sang the melody line on her fine mellow instrument, with occasional touches of abrasion to hint at the composition’s anxiety and urgency. Lawing remained subdued throughout – but never monotonous – generating the waves of accompaniment until the sweet fadeout at the end. The pianist had far more say-so in the ensuing Suite Italienne by Stravinsky, a composer we don’t tend to think of by candlelight. DeVries played violin in this enchanting neo-classical potpourri, Stravinsky’s pocket Pulcinella, selecting the longer of the two suites I’ve seen on record, including a Gavotte with two variations and a Scherzino. When there was a sprinkle of lyrical romance in the Serenata, the second of the seven parts, deVries was an able advocate, mixing some rich double-bowing into the luxuriant exposition. The terrain grew noticeably trickier in the ensuing Tarantella, but deVries was nearly flawless in the ricochet bowing while Lawing made the piece dance with its recognizably Stravinskian flavor. While the Gavotte and its variations offered few difficulties, deVries and Lawing missed none of their mid-tempo charms, but there were moments of caution from deVries as the duo launched into the Scherzino, counterbalanced by some unmistakable flair. The Minuetto was not as light as I’d anticipated, deVries completely at home with its stately mood as Lawing chimed in with vigorous block chords, but it set up the brisk Finale perfectly. There was plenty of back-and-forth as Lawing and deVries leapt into the conclusion without pause, abruptly changing tempo and melody, but the frenetic pace brought the best out in the musicians, teaming perfectly without making eye contact.

    The Adagio for cello and piano by Shostakovich was aptly placed between two more substantial works, drawing sweeter sounds from Bechtler – and more throbbing vibrato – than we had heard in the Rachmaninoff. Lawing played with more enthusiasm in the introductory treble passages than the room could comfortably tolerate, but she mellowed beautifully in the accompaniment that followed. While Anton Arensky was the most obscure composer in the lineup, his Piano Trio in D minor merited its place of honor at the end of the evening. All three musicians – Bechtler, Lawing, and Karpova – responded to its vibrant synthesis of elements we find in the trios of Dvořák and Tchaikovsky, while the exquisitely balanced composition (originally dedicated to a cellist) offered ample opportunities for all the instrumentalists to shine. Lawing was able to play much of the turbulent Allegro moderato full-out in the bass clef, but everyone excelled when it was her turn to explore the proud melody. The force of Lawing’s treble was problematical at the outset of the ensuing Scherzo, but again she settled in behind the cello effectively, with charming fills that set the tone. Both Bechtler and Karpova sang their beguiling parts personably, if not to maximum harmonic effect, and the cute little pizzicato ending came off deliciously. Then Bechtler was very eloquent introducing the theme of the Elegia, and here the harmony was far sweeter when Karpova joined in. Lawing delivered her most moving work of the evening introducing the sparkling B theme, but Karpova was equally lovely in the treble. The entire trio pounced on the impassioned opening bars of the Allegro non troppo finale with head-snapping bravado. Between this brooding thunder and the thunder to come, Arensky inserts a beautifully placid section only slightly stained by foreboding that the trio embraced with admirable delicacy. Normally inscrutable as she plays, Lawing couldn’t help smiling as she helped bring back the storm clouds. She, Karpova, and finally Bechtler took turns caressing the last mournful quietude before the crashing finish. There were smiles all around at that point, with good reason.

  • November 20, 2011 - Bechtler Ensemble Keeps It Modern with Diamond, Copland, and Barber

    Bechtler Ensemble Keeps It Modern with Diamond, Copland, and Barber

    Event InformationCharlotte — ( Sun., Nov. 20, 2011 )Bechtler Museum of Modern Art: Bechtler Ensemble$20, museum members $15. — Bechtler Museum of Modern Art , 704/353-9200 , http://www.bechtler.org/ — 5:30 PM

    By Perry Tannenbaum

    November 20, 2011 – Charlotte, NC:

    In a city where stodgy bankers and NASCAR vulgarians often seem to hold sway over intellectuals and cultural sophisticates, the new Levine Center of the Arts has made a telling difference over the past two seasons. The Knight Theatre has become the performance venue of choice for the North Carolina Dance Theatre and edgier Broadway touring shows. The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture has anchored an impressive centennial celebration of Charlotte’s pre-eminent visual artist, Romare Bearden. The Mint Museum has magnified its stature and relevance by moving its estimable collection from the outskirts of town to the city center. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art has raised the playful work of Jean Tinguely and Nikki de Saint Phalle to a special legitimacy in a town that once balked embarrassingly at the prospect of including the modernism of sculptor Joel Shapiro in its cityscape. Moreover, the new center has become fertile ground for new synergies between the visual and performing arts. The exciting KnightSounds series has enabled the Charlotte Symphony to juxtapose NASA animations with Holst’s The Planets – and the music of Ellington with the jazzy collages of Bearden. On a smaller scale, via small jazz combos and its eponymous Bechtler Ensemble, the Bechtler Museum has been illuminating the connections between modern music and modern art. Led by Tanja Bechtler, who literally lived with the Museum’s collection as she was growing up, the ensemble provided a bridge between selected works by Sam Francis, Roy Lichtenstein, and Alexander Calder and three American musical masters, David Diamond, Aaron Copland, and Samuel Barber.

    Without the encumbrance of a piano, the series was free to adjourn from its previous lobby locale to the fourth floor for this latest concert. The Bechtler’s vice president for programming and research, Christopher Lawing, emceed the concert, amid an exhibit highlighting geometric art. Between pieces, Lawing gave way to emissaries from two event sponsors, WDAV-FM and Our State magazine, for brief greetings and remarks. It would be interesting to know whether the WDAV official would consider the acoustics worthy of a live or recorded broadcast – or if Lawing & Co. would be amenable to an invasion of the station’s electronics. Although the quartet perched on top of an area rug as they performed, the warm reverberant sound needed more cooling to relieve the audible echo enveloping the music. Joining Bechtler were Elina Lev on first violin, Ning Zhao on viola, and Tatiana Karpova on second violin. All of them were excellent on Diamond’s String Quartet No. 3 with the exception of Zhao, who brought too little vibrato to his part to complement Lev’s silvery sweet phrasing. Tempo on the Allegro vivo was more like an andante, yet it sounded perfectly apt. My biggest disappointment was that the Bechtlers only played the second movement of the 26-minute piece.

    Lawing drew a parallel between Lichtenstein’s embrace of pop art and Copland’s populism that was accurate enough, but the composer’s Two Pieces for String Quartet are from the beginning of his career, when the future populist was still content to give most of his work abstract titles. In fact, the two movements have all the adventurousness and dissonance of the piano music he wrote during the same decade, the 1920s. The lachrymose mood of the Lento molto certainly didn’t jibe with the nobility of the famed “Fanfare for the Common Man,” played by the Charlotte Symphony at their Bearden 100 concert at Knight Theater last month. It was an excellent intro to Copland’s more troubled, less familiar avant-garde writings, anchored by Bechtler’s cello with some eerie wide intervals nicely done by Zhao. For anyone exposed exclusively to Copland’s greatest hits, the astringent Rondino was nearly as atypical. Lev set off at a frisky pace over pizzicato accompaniment, with Zhao soon returning soulfully to his bow, particularly effective at the upper end of the viola’s range.

    A more direct and fascinating echo of the Bearden concert came as the Bechtler Ensemble culminated their program with Samuel Barber’s String Quartet in B. Of course, Lawing duly alerted us to the onset of the celebrated middle movement, which became the Adagio for Strings two years after the 1936 quartet premiered, at the behest of the great Toscanini, who wished to present an orchestral version. Even in the reverberant museum gallery, the quartet version recaptured all the sinewy agony that the orchestral version had surrendered to attain its mournful sublimity. Nor does the Molto adagio desperately need rescue from the remainder of the quartet, as amply proven by the Bechtler Ensemble performance. The harsh attack at the top of the opening Molto allegro e appassionato was endowed with perhaps a little too much trailing echo from the walls of the gallery, but Lev and Zhao seductively intertwined in presenting the lyrical second subject, returning a little more smoothly to the main theme for the final recap. Bechtler’s cello was the antiphonal voice in the familiar Adagio, steady and mournful opposite the tremulous anguish of Lev’s violin. Only Zhao’s viola, faintly echoed by Karpova’s second violin, seemed to bear the seeds of the balm that blossom so opulently in the orchestral version. The concluding Molto allegro hearkened back to the opening movement in its ferocity, with some thrilling interplay between Lev and Zhao in the closing Presto section.

    Compared with the Holst and Bearden extravaganzas staged across the hall at the Knight, the classical Bearden series is smaller in its musical and box office ambitions. Comprised entirely of musicians with current or past associations with the Charlotte Symphony, the Bechtler Ensemble’s dedication and artistry are on the same high level – with special appeal to listeners eager to venture off the beaten track in search of new concert experiences.

  • February 25, 2011 - Music and Museum Concert

    The Bechtler Ensemble is joined by special guest violinst Rosemary Furniss for the Bechtler’s Music and Museum presentation of Back to Brahms February 25 and 27 in the museum’s fourth-floor gallery.Furniss is one of the most respected violinists of her generation and is acclaimed for her solo performances and collaborations with renowned orchestras and conductors (including her husband, newly appointed Charlotte Symphony conductor Christopher Warren-Green who also leads the London Chamber Orchestra where Furniss shares the role of Artistic Director and Concertmaster).For this performance, Brahms’s String Quartet No. 3 will be paired with the artwork of Julius Bissier. Bissier is featured in the exhibition Four Artists in Ascona: Benazzi, Bissier, Nicholson and Valenti on view now through July 5 in the museum’s second-floor gallery.A cash bar reception begins at 5 p.m. and the performance at 5:30.

  • January 28, 2011 - Music and Museum Concert

    Modern chamber music meets modern art in the Bechtler’s Music and Museum series. Experience a fusion of sight and sound while gaining a new perspective on selected works. January’s concert theme, ¡Viva España!, celebrates Spanish and Argentinean music and features artwork by Joan Miro. The Bechtler Ensemble (Paul Nitsch on piano, David Russell on violin, Robert Teixeira on guitar and Tanja Bechtler on cello) will perform Circulo by Joaquin Turina, Oblivion by Astor Piazzolla and Granada by Isaac Albeniz as well as works by Manuel de Falla and Pablo Casals.A cash bar reception begins at 5 p.m. and the performance begins at 5:30.

  • May 7, 2010 - The Bechtler Museum Kicks Off Jazz at the Bechtler Summer Events

    The Bechtler Ensemble – cellist Tanja Bechtler and pianist Paul Nitsch – will help launch a new arts series called “Spirituality in the Arts” with a performance Sunday afternoon at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church.The program is Sunday, May 9, at 4 p.m. at the church, 301 Caldwell Lane, off Concord Road.The duo will perform Robert Schumann’s “Foreign Lands and People,” opus 15, no. 1, Samuel Barber’s “Sonata for cello and piano, Opus 6,” Franz Schubert’s “Litanei,” Claude Debussy’s “Sonata for violoncello and piano in D-minor,” and a transcription of Schumann’s “Traumerei.”Organizers say that through the new series, “our religious and artistic lives will interweave through quarterly offerings of drama, dance, literature, visual arts, and music.”Ms. Bechtler played with the Charlotte Symphony 1997-2009. She also has performed with storytellers, poets, dancers and rock bands. Mr. Nitsch is McMahon Professor of Music and artist in residence at Queens University in Charlotte. He also is artistic director of Queens’ Friends of Music and executive director of the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival.Sunday’s concert is free. Suggested donation is $10. Info: 704-892-0173.

    Read more

  • July 11, 2009 - The Bechtler Ensemble on Concentrix Music

    What happens when twelve enthusiastic high-school students undertake a journey tracing the early life and times of Eile Wiesel, Nobel Prize winning peace activist and author? The answer lies in the documentary, “In The Footsteps of Elie Wiesel.”Produced by the Echo Foundation, Fred Story is currently creating an original music score for the film, with sound design and mix duties being handled by Concentrix’s Anthony Fedele.Recently, the Bechtler Ensemble (string quartet) was in Concentrix Studio 1 to record for the project. In addition to recording Fred’s original themes, the musicians performed beautiful instrumental renditions of the Jewish prayer Ani Maamin. Also lending their talents to the score were violinist Peter de Vries and pianist Paul Nitsch performing Beethoven’s Spring Sonata.“In The Footsteps of Elie Wiesel” is currently in the final stages of post-production. Look for news about its forthcoming release here.

  • Opera Carolina, Mint Museum and ArtSi showcase Latino arts in Charlotte

    You can read the full article from the Charlotte Observer here.