Classical music meshes with art at Cascadia Art Museum

The next Music in the Museum concert will feature the works of Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert.

Violinist Pamela Liu returns to the Cascadia Art Museum March 31 to perform the works of Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert. (Christopher Neir)

Violinist Pamela Liu returns to the Cascadia Art Museum March 31 to perform the works of Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert. (Christopher Neir)

Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert, two great composers from the Romantic era (1780–1910), shared something in common all those years ago: a love of nature.

That fondness shows in two of their works, Schumann’s “Violin Sonata Op. 105” and Schubert’s “Sonatina Op. 137, No. 2,” which will be performed by violinist Pamela Liu and pianist Annie Chang-Center on March 31 at Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds.

With spring’s recent arrival, it seemed like the perfect time to pay homage to the composers’ works, Liu said.

“This music really evokes a lot of love for the outdoors and nature,” she said. “It just really makes you long for being outdoors, and right now is such a beautiful time of year for walking and wandering around and getting lost in the forest.”

The concert is part of Cascadia’s Music in the Museum series, in which the museum hosts one classical concert per month. Past performances have included string and wind ensembles, classical guitarists, an opera recital and a music lecture by Grammy Award-winning orchestra conductor Adam Stern.

Cascadia Art Museum, which opened in 2015, exhibits the artwork of Pacific Northwest artists from the 1880s to the 1960s.The music series, the idea of museum volunteer Cal Lewin, was launched two years ago.

“I just felt like it was the perfect space for it,” said Cal Lewin, who makes promotional videos for the museum. “We’re trying to produce that idea of being in someone’s parlor hearing music.”

The concerts take place in the art museum’s main gallery. Two exhibits, “Painters of the Northwest: Impressionism to Modernism, 1900-1940” and “Portraits and Self-Portraits by Northwest Artists: 1910-2018” are on display there.

The museum’s Music Committee, for which Lewin serves as chairman, selects which musicians to feature each month.

Liu is concertmaster for the Cascade Symphony Orchestra and a violin, viola and chamber music instructor at Edmonds Community College.

Chang-Center made her professional debut with the San Francisco Symphony when she was 18. She performs with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and also has performed with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Cincinnati Symphony orchestras.

They say the two sonatas featuring violin and piano that Lui and Chang-Center will perform Sunday are technically demanding, even for a pair of experienced musicians.

“Sonatina Op. 137, No. 2” debuted after Schubert’s death in 1828. The piece gained a reputation for its intricate and exquisite harmonies.

Schumann’s piece, however, premiered five years before he died in 1856. It is known for its passionate and driven rhythms, which build to a number of small climaxes. It concludes with a slowed-down version of the main theme.

“First of all, it’s beautiful,” Chang-Center said. “His music is incredibly intricate. There are times where it feels very spontaneous.”

Liu said the violin sontana will sound even better inside the art museum’s main gallery, which has “very warm” acoustics.

“It has really high ceilings and the echo of the walls is really helpful for the sound,” she said.

“It’s also very inspiring to play with beautiful art on the walls. I love the idea of interdisciplinary arts.”

Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.

If you go

The Music in the Museum series continues at 6 p.m. March 31 at Cascadia Art Museum, 190 Sunset Ave., Edmonds. Pamela Liu, violinist, and Annie Chang-Center, pianist, will perform works by Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert.

Cost is $12 for museum members, $18 for non-members and includes museum admission. Call 425-336-4809 or go to

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