The Classical Revolution RVA quartet playing at The Broadberry includes (from left) Ellen Cockerham Riccio, Elizabeth Polek Gopal, Schuyler Slack and Adrian Pintea. (Photo courtesy Ellen Cockerham Riccio)
This won’t be your standard classical music concert — or your typical show at The Broadberry.
Classical Revolution RVA is following up its Valentine’s Day showing of “Immortal Beloved” at The Byrd Theatre this Thursday (Feb. 25) with “Beethoven at The Broadberry,” featuring musical selections from the movie.
During the group’s first event in what is usually a rock concert venue, excerpts from Beethoven’s letters will be read aloud and linked to each piece on the program, which includes the “Pathétique” and “Moonlight” piano sonatas, “Ghost” trio, “Kreutzer” sonata for violin and piano, and string quartets.
“We’re hoping to portray [Beethoven] as a person and show that this music that he wrote came out of a very relatable human experience,” says Ellen Cockerham Riccio, founder and executive director of Classical Revolution RVA.
Classical Revolution is an international organization, founded in 2006, whose philosophy is that classical music is universal and should be made more easily accessible to everyone. The Richmond chapter, founded in 2012, is one of more than 30 across the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Argentina and Indonesia.
Riccio will be playing the violin at The Broadberry alongside Adrian Pintea, also on the violin, Elizabeth Polek Gopal on the viola, Schuyler Slack on the cello and Daniel Stipe on the piano. All four of them are also members of the Richmond Symphony.
Stipe will play a Yamaha grand piano provided specifically for this event by Rhapsody Piano and Guitar.
“CRRVA is often limited to using portable digital pianos or whatever the pianist can personally provide and transport to the venue,” says Wesley Pollard, co-owner of Rhapsody Piano and Guitar. “Once Ellen told me what she had in mind for ‘Beethoven at The Broadberry,’ it was clear that an acoustic grand piano was the only way to do justice to the masterworks on the program.”
Both Pollard and Lucas Fritz, co-owner and general manager of The Broadberry, are excited for the opportunity to help Classical Revolution RVA broaden the audience for classical music in Richmond.
“I expect it to be a great event with a crowd of people that are new to The Broadberry as well as a style of music new to The Broadberry,” Fritz says.
As for the crowd, Riccio is expecting a larger audience than usual. Approximately 150 people came to the screening of “Immortal Beloved” on Valentine’s Day, all of whom were invited to attend Thursday’s event. It was not the usual CRRVA audience, Riccio says.
Regardless of who shows up, Pintea is just glad to be playing in a nontraditional setting. “My favorite part is engaging a very different type of audience than we usually do through regular means like the symphony.”
Gopal agrees, and says that playing with four people is much different than playing as part of an entire orchestra.
“What I’m most looking forward to is just playing with some other symphony colleagues whom we see every day at work but we don’t necessarily get to collaborate on a such a small scale. … We get to really work together and that makes it a lot more personal and fun.”
CRRVA will also host its third annual “Baroque Incarnations” at Balliceaux on Feb. 28 at 8 p.m., featuring music by composers such as Bach, Handel, Corelli and Vivaldi. The first half will be solos and chamber music, and the second half will include a small string orchestra to accompany concerto soloists.