Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
December 17, 1996
By Mark Kanny

Familiar favorites were banished in favor of new hopes at last night's Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society concert.
The concert opened with an impressive performance of Bartok's "Contrasts." Clarinetist Marianne Gythfeldt was a master of color and sharp phrasing, while violinist Sunghae Anna Lim was nicely expressive, especially in the contrast section of the last dance.
Margaret Kampmeier was a master of the keyboard in every piece, with perfect poise and sonorous variety.

Pierre Boulez was represented by Derive, a short and appealing study in texture written to honor Sir William Glock on his retirement in 1984.

The concert concluded with Schoenberg's early masterpiece, Chamber Symphony No. 1, in Webern's chamber music arrangement. It opened impressively, with well nuanced lines at tempos the composer intended. It is usually much too slow.

Pittsburgh Tribune
Tuesday, December. 17, 1996
New Millennium offers contemporary tour-de-force
By Todd Gutnick


The New Millennium Ensemble has no qualms about an evening jaunt through the 20th Century's diverse musical idiom.
In their performance Monday night for the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society at Carnegie Hall in Oakland, the six-member ensemble proved not only capable but worthy of their roles.

The evening's offerings found members of Millennium and famed mezzo soprano Mimi Lerner in a wide array of configurations: a clarinet-violin-piano trio, a flute-cello-piano-percussion quartet, and a flute-clarinet-violin-cello-piano-vibraphone sextet, among others.

And all — like it or not — was the music of red-blooded contemporary composers, from Bela Bartok to Pierre Boulez, Donald Martino and Arnold Schoenberg.

If you have the stomach for nearly two hours of the stuff, the unabashedly modern New Millennium certainly delivers the passionate, the powerful, the abrasive and even contemptible with humor and panache.

There are few chamber music ensembles that could lay claim to embracing such a diversity of new music. And so ably.
Consider the variety of their roles. Percussionist John Ferrari. In Martino 's From the Other Side," dashes to and fro, from xylophone to vibraphone, to a drum set and even a cardboard box to deliver the work's percussive demands.
Violinist Sunghae Anna Lim and clarinetist Marianne Gythfeldt. in Bartok's "Contrasts," take off on soaring virtuosic trails against the unforgiving backdrop of piano dissonance (Margaret Kampmeier, the pianist).

Flutist Tara Helen O'Connor and cellist Gregory Hesselink become percussionists themselves in "from the Other Side" — tapping their instruments to produce unusual, hollow sounds.

And then the part where all stood up in the middle of Martino's rambling quartet and counted to 12 before resuming the music. It's in the score!
Lerner offered the most riveting moment in a series of Emily Dickinson poems in song form by former Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh associate director Ronald Leich.

If all this sounds extraordinary, that's because it was. Safe to say that even if these 20th Century works don't end up in that narrow box labeled "masterpiece." at least they were performed just once with a modicum of mastery.