On Stage: Schumann and Brahms at the Italian Academy

Magdalena Baczewska, director of Columbia’s Music Performance Program, performs chamber music with the Cassatt String Quartet.

Rick Whitaker
November 27, 2019

On November 20, hundreds of people filled the theatre in Columbia's Italian Academy to hear a special performance. While several people had to be turned away because of the overwhelming turn-out, those lucky enough to attend were clearly moved by the music and offered standing ovations.

Magdalena Baczewska: woman with short blond hair, dressed in black and wearing a silver-colored necklace singing into a mic.

The roster included Polish-born pianist and harpsichordist Magdalena Baczewska, who serves as director of the Music Performance Program and teaches full-time at Columbia, and the Cassatt String Quartet, the first quartet chosen for Juilliard’s Young Artists Quartet Program. They played R. Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44 and Johannes Brahms’ Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34.

A brief video from a rehearsal of the concert.

Baczewska is also a visiting professor at Accademia Europea Villa Bossi in Varese, Italy, and has conducted masterclasses at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, the Beijing Central Conservatory, Grassland International Music Festival, the International Keyboard Institute and Festival, the New York Piano Festival, New Music School and Charleston Southern University, among others.

Five women, one dressed in black, on stage.

The Quartet, named for the celebrated American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt, have performed at New York’s Alice Tully Hall, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood Music Theater, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Library of Congress, Theatre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and the Beijing Central Conservatory in China. They have 30 recordings, and were named three times to Alex Ross’ 10 best classical recordings of the year in The New Yorker magazine.