Fresno State faculty trio readies for Phi Kappa Phi concert

In heart-thundering anticipation, curtains will be drawn up today, to debut a trio formed by three distinguished professors at Fresno State.

Completing this trio are Andreas Werz (piano), Thomas Loewenheim (cello) and Limor Toren-Immerman (violin).

The idea to start a trio has lingered in Loewenheim’s mind since he began teaching at Fresno State.

“The dream in my head was always to have a piano trio here in our department because one of the things that people on our campus, in our town, in our region, do not know is how amazing the faculty at Fresno State really is,” Loewenheim said.

“The music department – the faculty all over the campus are very, very, very amazing people. However, the music department, which is our department, the people just don’t know. They know they are great teachers and great professors but they don’t know how wonderful they are as performers.”

All three professors have performed recitals on their own, but have never collaborated until now.

For their debut at Fresno State’s Concert Hall, they will perform Haydn, “Trio in A major, Hob. XV:18”; Schubert, “Trio on B-flat major, Op. 99”; and Brahms, “Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8.” All three pieces represent the few hardest and most intricate pieces of music, Loewenheim said.

This debut concert is part of the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts. It is co-hosted by Phi Kappa Phi. The Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts, which Werz is the president and artistic director, features distinguished keyboard musicians performing for the community. Phi Kappa Phi is a renowned Honor Society at Fresno State, with Loewenheim currently as its ‘member spotlight.’

Having to deal with such difficult pieces and having the event hosted by two important organizations, Lowenstein said immense pressure falls on the shoulders of the trio.

“For us to be able to offer this, this year, middle of the semester, during teaching, during our regular schedule, this is just something special and something incredible that takes a lot of effort,” Loewenheim said.

With the idea in mind, everything turned into a mission made true. Loewenheim, Werz and Toren-Immerman wanted to increase the prestige of the music department. Having a piano trio or string quartet take up residence in a school immensely boosts the school’s prestige, Loewenheim said.

They were also determined, through this concert, to open the eyes of the community to the wonders of the department. They wanted “to show our community, show our university, show our students how incredible our professors are,” Loewenheim said.

He believes that although a music professor can teach a class well, students would not be able to fully comprehend the professor’s teachings unless the professor shows and performs for his or her students.

Loewenheim hopes that through their debut performance, audiences will gain a spiritual experience.

“They sit there and look – we’re the artists in music,” he said. “We are tools. We are like the brush of a painter. We are there to present the pieces by Haydn, Schubert and Brahms and we hope that the audiences get the spiritual experience that the composers tried to deliver to the audience.”

Similar to Loewenheim’s goal for being part of this trio, Toren-Immerman hopes that people will realize the capabilities of the music department after watching their performance.

“I hope they realize that they [the music department] have the talent here and be proud of the university,” she said. “And by having this great experience, [they] would come to more concerts and by their interest and participation, support the school because it’s very important for us to share. We don’t do it for ourselves, so as tools, we want to bring it to the community.”