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David and Mark Kaplan to honor families in music with The Da Camera Society

Herb Alpert School of Music assistant professor David Kaplan (left) and his father Mark Kaplan (right) pose together with their instruments. The chamber musician duo will perform together Sunday as part of the 50th anniversary season opener of the Da Camera Society of Mount Saint Mary’s University. (Courtesy of Dario Acosta)

“Clara & Robert Schumann - works for violin & piano”

The Da Camera Society

Mount Saint Mary’s University

Sept. 10

4 p.m.

By Catherine Hamilton

Sept. 9, 2023 4:41 p.m.

This father-son duo will hit new notes in September.

David Kaplan, an assistant professor in the Herb Alpert School of Music, and his father Mark Kaplan, a previous UCLA professor with distinction, will play in The Da Camera Society of Mount Saint Mary’s University’s 50th anniversary season opener Sept. 10. During the show, titled “Clara & Robert Schumann – works for violin & piano,” the pair will perform pieces composed by Clara and Robert Schumann, Mark Kaplan said. Like the Schumanns and Kaplans, music allows families to connect as many do through different sports or activities, David Kaplan said.

“Music is like a language and also an athletic pursuit, and also a way of expressing feelings and ideas,” David Kaplan said. “It can be a form of play like a game. It can be a form of argument. Music can channel lots of things.”

[Related: Isabel Folkers advocates for diversity in music through Kennedy Center debut]

Currently a professor of music at Indiana University Bloomington’s Jacobs School of Music, Mark Kaplan said he began playing the piano like his older sister, but because of sibling rivalry, his parents switched him to the violin. Coming from a musically inclined family, David Kaplan said his parents and siblings all play instruments or sing.

“One day we went ice skating, and we came home and he (David Kaplan) started playing the music from the ice skating rink,” Mark Kaplan said. “And we thought, ‘Oh, no, there’s another musician.’”

David Kaplan said his father was his first chamber music partner when he was young, playing sonatas by Mozart and Beethoven. They toured around to different locations throughout David Kaplan’s childhood, Mark Kaplan said, including the Seattle Chamber Music Society’s festival. In recent years, the duo started playing together again, he said, fueled by the desire to play the three Brahms sonatas. David Kaplan added that this will be the first time the pair is playing in Los Angeles in around 20 years.

David Kaplan said they came to be performers for The Da Camera Society’s 50th season through a serendipitous conversation with the society’s artistic director, Julius Reder Carlson. While he had previously planned to perform in a recital series for the society, David Kaplan said it was eventually canceled partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Carlson, an Herb Alpert School of Music alumnus, said he wanted a family to perform, since the evening will focus on the Schumann couple.

“It was a nice overlap as well to be able to collaborate with a UCLA professor,” Carlson said. “When David mentioned, ‘Oh, you know, I play with my father,’ it just seemed perfect. What could be better?”

The Da Camera Society’s mission is to perform in culturally significant locations in LA, Carlson said, with this performance taking place in the Doheny Mansion’s Pompeian Room. David Kaplan said it is special that the society showcases old architecture and allows it to be resonant with music. This season’s performances will have a special focus on women composers and musicians to celebrate the society’s history with Mount Saint Mary’s University, a primarily all-women school, Carlson said.

[Related: Q&A: Artist Regina Spektor discusses fiction writing, capturing the spirit of songs]

Mark Kaplan said “Clara & Robert Schumann – works for violin & piano” will feature music by Clara Schumann, written during a time when women were discouraged from composing. Robert Schumann had not wanted his wife to compose in order for her to focus on her lucrative and successful pianist career, David Kaplan said. The Kaplan duo will play two long sonatas by Robert Schumann, he said, accompanied by romances by Clara Schumann to balance out the sonatas.

“They (Clara Schumann’s romances) are short pieces that have a single emotional affect, … whereas the sonatas are, by nature, these very complex pieces that try to reconcile lots of different ideas,” David Kaplan said.

David Kaplan said he is excited that The Da Camera Society is performing again, and that Carlson is great to collaborate with to produce the concept of the society. As music played a pivotal role within their household, Mark Kaplan said it has ultimately allowed for opportunities to travel and learn about different cultures.

“It’s a wonderful thing to get to be able to play music with your children when they’re not children,” Mark Kaplan said.

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Catherine Hamilton | News editor
Hamilton is the 2023-2024 News editor and a Copy staff member. She was previously the 2022-2023 national news and higher education beat editor and a national news contributor. She is also a third-year gender studies and political science student minoring in professional writing.
Hamilton is the 2023-2024 News editor and a Copy staff member. She was previously the 2022-2023 national news and higher education beat editor and a national news contributor. She is also a third-year gender studies and political science student minoring in professional writing.
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