Board Profile: Leslie Tolbert
AFCM is managed by volunteers who, in addition to having outstanding experience and qualifications, are passionate about chamber music. This season they tell us about their relationship to music.
Q: What would you tell your younger self about music?
Leslie Tolbert: A wide range of classical music can be completely engrossing, transporting you from the busiest or most frustrating moment into a world of sheer beauty. Chamber music feels especially personal.
Q: What piece do you find yourself returning to again and again?
LT: Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major and Dvorak’s Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major are my favorite pieces right now, for their rich, intertwining melodies. Each time I listen, I hear more. We have been lucky to hear both played in AFCM concerts in recent years.
Q: You’re headed to a deserted island, what album would you take?
LT: I’d cheat here. Instead of taking one commercially available album, I’d make a CD that included the Schubert and Dvorak pieces I just mentioned, played by the Pacifica and Prazak quartets, and at least one of Beethoven’s cello concertos (have Sharon Robinson and Anita Pontremoli recorded them?), and YoYo Ma and Isaac Stern playing the slow movement of Brahms’ double concerto.
Q: Where do you come down on the debate within chamber music: “new” music vs. classical era?
LT: I like the “classical era” mode of chamber music most of the time – but I don’t see it as either/or. I also enjoy new pieces that have some tonal depth and shake us up a bit.
Q: Tell us about one of this season’s concerts that looks particularly appealing to you.
LT: With so many Beethoven pieces being played this year in celebration of his 250th birthday, all of the evening concerts are appealing, but as always I’m also looking forward to the mix of pieces and performers we’ll get to see and hear during the Festival in March.
Q: Beside the AFCM concerts, what other fine art events do you plan to attend this season?
LT: I look forward to hearing the Chicago Symphony on their home turf in October, going to Met HD movies, and attending various classical-music concerts in TSO’s series and UA Presents, as well as by UA’s School of Music faculty and students and by True Concord.
Q: What composer would you play for someone who’s never listened to chamber music before?
LT: I’d play almost any quartet or quintet by Beethoven or Schubert. I daresay it’d be hard not to be transfixed!