Music News & Reviews

Young violinist is drawn back to Frankfort — with her quintet

FRANKFORT — Most of Molly Rogers' life was lived here.

It's an apartment on the second floor of the more than 100-year-old building, just a few blocks from the state Capitol, that houses the family business, Rogers Funeral Home. For 18 years, she lived and was home-schooled in the spacious abode.

Today, as she chats over tea and doughnuts, she's a bit of a visitor.

Rogers, 20, is a sophomore at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studies violin, the instrument that brought her renown as she was growing up in Central Kentucky.

In late 2008, she reunited with her string quartet from her days in the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras for a holiday concert. This year, she's bringing a little of her new home back to her hometown: The Cialde Piano Quintet, consisting of Rogers and four Cleveland classmates, will play Frankfort's Grand Theatre on Friday night.

"They are all amazing musicians," Rogers said Wednesday morning.

The quintet got together early last year, rehearsing Saturday mornings at violist Tim Mauthe's apartment, where he made them waffles.

"We would all sit around in waffle comas after that, and we didn't get much done," Rogers said.

So when they went looking for a name for the group, they picked cialde, Italian for waffle.

"It sounded professional, but underneath, it was weird and goofy like we are," Rogers said. "We're all real goofy and quirky, and we spend a lot of time together doing things that are funny to us that would probably just be weird to other people."

Spending a lot of time together was partially out of necessity, because of the inaugural piece that Cialde chose: Erich Korngold's Piano Quintet in E.

"Our coaches were a little surprised, like, 'You want to do this?'" Rogers says. "But we just had a blast with it. It's more difficult to put together because it's really busy, it's really modern."

Friday's concert will pair that piece, which Rogers says echoes Korngold's early 20th-century film music, with Johannes Brahms' Piano Quintet. There's a shtick to that piece, too, Rogers says. Mauthe, the violist, dresses up like Brahms and talks about playing chamber music for school concerts.

Rounding out the group are cellist Hannah Thomas-Hollands from the Washington, D.C., area; pianist Claire Black from Long Lake, N.Y.; and violinist Patrick Yim from Honolulu.

If you think Kentucky's current weather will be a shock to Yim's system, don't forget, he has spent more than a year in Cleveland.

"When it first started getting cold in Cleveland our freshman year, it was like negative 10 for a week, no joke," Rogers says. "It was miserable. And I remember one day we were walking, and Patrick just stopped with his hands over his face, and I said, 'Are you OK?' And he said, 'No! I am not OK!' I will never forget that."

Rogers was courted by several music schools, she says, but it was a local connection that got her to Cleveland.

Frankfort violinist Joanna Hay studied with the Cleveland Institute's string department head, David Updegraff, and Hay arranged for Rogers to audition for him.

"I liked best that he would ask me something and challenge me to answer it instead of telling me what to do," Rogers says. "It really makes me think for myself: 'How am I going to fix this problem, and what do I want to do with the music?'"

Since enrolling at the Cleveland Institute, Rogers has thought about what she wants to do, and she has revised her plans a bit.

Like many students, she came in thinking she wanted to land a gig with a symphony orchestra because of the stability and benefits such a job provides.

"I'm taking out what I don't want to do and seeing what is left," Rogers says of her current career planning. "I love doing music other than just strictly classical. I like sight reading and jamming. I've been thinking maybe I'd like to be a studio musician in Nashville or Los Angeles. That's kind of a tough job to get, but it's something I'm very interested in."

That is a few years down the road, though. For now, she likes coming home for the holidays, having her parents cook for her, and even helping around the funeral home. And this year, she likes bringing her musical worlds together.

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