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Professor’s series brings world performers to Tempe

Thomas Landschoot, left, and Martin Katz, right, rehearse for the last performance of the Sonoran Chamber Music Series at the Tempe Center for the Arts. (Photo by Marissa Krings)
Thomas Landschoot, left, and Martin Katz, right, rehearse for the last performance of the Sonoran Chamber Music Series at the Tempe Center for the Arts. (Photo by Marissa Krings)

Rehearsing for the last performance of the 2011-2012 Sonoran Chamber Music Series, ASU associate professor of cello Thomas Landschoot and his nearly 14-year mentor and colleague, pianist Martin Katz, filled the Tempe Center for the Arts concert hall with classical music.

Sunday’s performance was the 2011-2012 series finale, but the first to be held in the hall. It was previously hosted in the gallery, said Landschoot, artistic director of the series.

The venue change was to make a lasting impression and accommodate a growing audience, which has become too big to fit comfortably in the gallery. Each concert has a larger turnout than the one before, he said.

Landschoot started the series in 2010 with the help of Catherine Hayden, a Tempe resident who took cello lessons from Landschoot.

“It started at a very down market,” Hayden said.

Hayden and Landschoot partnered with Friends of the Tempe Center for the Arts, which gave them nonprofit status. After spending $65 on promotional bookmarks, the word was out and the series took off, bringing “fabulous” musicians to the Valley, Hayden said.

“The idea has always been to have first-rate artists, wonderful music, a great audience,” Landschoot said. “It’s really just building a society.”

The series partnered with the School of Music to build that society. A master class series, sponsored by Frances E. Fisher, accompanies the series to bring several of the performing artists to teach at ASU.

“I consider this a bit of a partnership,” Landschoot said. “At this time, the budget is very tight. There’s not a lot of money for guest artists (to teach at ASU).”

Landschoot often travels to perform and scouts performers to bring to Tempe, he said.

“When I meet people that strike me as such good players, I invite them here,” Landschoot said.

Having high-caliber performers in Tempe gives students the opportunity to learn from the best, Landschoot said.

“They don’t have to travel, they can just stay here and have people from all over play here,” Landschoot said.

Tempe was fortunate to host University of Michigan professor of collaborative piano Martin Katz, an award-winning musician, Landschoot said.

With Katz at TCA, people don’t have to go to Carnegie Hall in New York to hear him, which is a great honor, Landschoot said.

Katz met the future ASU professor at UM while he was teaching during Landschoot’s post-graduate, Katz said.

“(Landschoot) was more experienced and advanced than any other student at our school,” Katz said.

They have performed together five times, he said.

Cello performance sophomore Beth Weser has attended five series performances in the last two years and usually attends the performances that include Landschoot, her cello professor.

Weser likely wouldn’t be exposed to the performers without Landschoot’s promotion, she said.

“It makes you really realize what you can do with music,” Weser said. “I want to influence others in the way my teachers have influenced me (someday).”

The 2012-2013 Sonoran Chamber Music Series will begin in November at the TCA.


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