Violin-piano duo wins gold in the hearts of Grand County concert-goers |

Violin-piano duo wins gold in the hearts of Grand County concert-goers

Joan Shaw
Music review
Grand County, CO Colorado

TABERNASH, COLORADO – If there were gold medals awarded for stellar musicians, Ashley Buckley and BJ Miller would be the winners for an outstanding performance in the Grand County Concert Series.

Our county suffers from the lack of a classical violinist since Sue Walker Taylor moved east. Yes, we have fine fiddlers but last Friday night gave us an exceptional violin performance. B.J. Miller was the splendid pianist that did more than accompany Ashley on the piano. The young women played as a duo with equal interpretation, commitment and beauty.

Ashley and BJ are both prominent musicians in the Pittsburg area, but thanks to Jerry and Barbara Nissen of Fraser, Ashley’s uncle and aunt, the women were lured to our area.

Ashley enjoyed choosing and practicing the music especially for our audience. Everyone appreciated not only the music but also her technique. She chose difficult music by Fritz Kreisler, a beautiful sonata by Brahms, 4 preludes by Shostakovich, a Bolcom rag, Bartok folk dances, four pieces by Joseph Suk and concluded with the dazzling Banjo and Fiddle by Kroll.

BJ’s talents were outstanding with her fluid fast passages, good use of dynamics and perfect synchronization with Ashley. They received a standing ovation even before their final notes were played.

The Shostakovich piece was played with such fire and good use of the bow that one could almost see sparks. The Suk selections were new to most attendees and well received for their lovely melody lines. Brahms is a complex composition and the women met every challenge in his writing and played the sonata with extreme care and interpretation.

The Ragtime piece however, left many wondering where the rag was in the composition since they played it with too much grace. 1929 ragtime is consistently ragged. One other issue: This listener felt that the visual presentation would have been significantly better if Ashley had stood in the curve of the piano rather than directly in front of BJ.

Their encore was “Songs That My Mother Taught Me.” Ashley dedicated it to her family who were all in the audience. Many shed tears as they reminisced over this old melody and the significance of its words. The song was played with great emotion reminding us of the songs of yore. One felt connected to the pioneer’s music.

The word heard consistently at the reception was “Unbelievable.” Ideally we want these women to live in Grand County and continue to play for us. We wish them continued success in their careers, but does anyone know of a violinist that wants to move here?

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