Monmouth Conservatory of Music exec director Vladislav Kovalsky (right) is the special guest, as Dr. Ryan Brandau and the Monmouth Civic Chorus celebrate MCM’s golden anniversary with a Saturday afternoon concert on Tower Hill.
The name of Felix Molzer, while perhaps not a household word in millennial Red Bank, is a significant one in the cultural history of a little borough that’s cast a giant profile on the area’s music scene. It was the European-born educator, composer and arranger — a former conductor of the Vienna Boys Choir in his native Austria — who established what became the Monmouth Conservatory Of Music upon relocating to the Red Bank green in the early 1960s. Before retiring as the MCM’s director in 1992, Molzer, who passed away in 2005 at age 83, also served as director of another source of local pride among serious music buffs: the venerable Monmouth Civic Chorus.
This Saturday afternoon, November 8, the MCC and its assembled voices (now under the baton of Dr. Ryan Brandau) pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Conservatory’s founding, in a concert dedicated to Molzer’s memory — and featuring the guest talents of his successor, the internationally renowned pianist Vladislav Kovalsky.
Opening a new season of Civic Chorus events at First Presbyterian (Tower Hill) Church of Red Bank, the 4 pm concert “Over There” shines a spotlight on sacred and secular English music written “at the start of World War I, in the Downton Abbey era” — including “Loch Lomond,” as performed by the members of the Chorus. Kovalsky, the Russian-born Steinway artist who presides as executive director of the MCM in its present facility on White Street, will perform the Ralph Vaughan Williams composition “The Lark Ascending” — and the program further features selections by Gustav Holst and others.
Tickets for the Saturday concert are $30 adults ($27 seniors, $25 groups of 10 or more, $5 students) and can be reserved right here. The Monmouth Conservatory’s free concert series continues on November 16 with an encore appearance by the celebrated piano team Duo Petrof — and the Monmouth Civic Chorus takes the Count Basie stage on December 7 with its annual holiday program “Messiah and More.”