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March 26, 2013

Classical music to fill Unitarian church at benefit

(Continued)

MEADVILLE — A whole new language...

Warner went on to attend junior and senior high in Meadville before graduating from Strong Vincent High School in Erie. He attended Edinboro University of Pennsylvania for three semesters as a pre-med student before moving to Washington, D.C., where he completed an internship before going to work at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.

When he traveled to Paris in 1985 on a foreign exchange program, everything changed. In 1987, Warner joined the U.S. Air Force, studying Russian and Italian at the Defense Language Institute in California. Eventually he would become fluent in French, German, Italian, Russian and American Sign Language. After continuing his military training in cryptology, he served as a Russian-speaking cryptologic linguist in Italy before being selected for a special duty assignment involving advanced interpreter training and then a 10-year assignment in Germany, which included studies at the University of Moscow and work in the American Embassy in Moscow. In 2001, after 15 years of active service, he moved to Italy, where he is the Russian-speaking arms control treaty compliance officer at Aviano Air Base.

Thirty-two years after they went their separate ways, the connection between student and mentor was re-established when Warner found a reference to Holter in a story about the summer music festival at Allegheny College. The annual festival was organized by Beth Etter, a classmate of Holter during their undergraduate days at Allegheny.

Connection with his long-ago mentor firmly re-established, Warner has become managing director and host of the international Holter Music Festival, which got its start following the demise of the Allegheny festival, was performed in Holter’s home in North Carolina for several years and has taken place in Italy for the past two years. In 2012, a total of 13 musicians, including Holter, Etter, and violinist Gayane Grigoryan, who will also perform Friday, performed concerts in four Italian cities.

Cellist and soprano Cristina Nadal has traveled from Trieste to be the fourth member of the ensemble.

The festival’s 2013 American tour began in Greenville’s Peace Presbyterian Church, where Holter has served as pianist for more than 20 years. From there, Holter, Nadal and her audio engineer, Paulo Carrer, will travel to Erie, Holter’s home town, where they’ll be joined by Etter and Grigoryan for a series of performances preceding Friday’s concert.

Etter returned to Meadville from her Italian tour eager to establish a Meadville connection. Knowing about Warner’s connection to Second District, she called long-time friend Jan Hyatt, founder of the Creating Landscapes program. Hyatt promptly put her in touch with Joyce Klasen, who heads Creating Landscapes for Families, which got its start at Second District.

“When we talked, I had goose-bumps for a day,” Klasen recalled. “They didn’t go away, because I felt the hope — and the inspiration — that can come out of this.”

 “It just feels like a beautiful big circle of connection, which is precisely what goes on in chamber music,” Etter agreed. “It’s somebody’s turn to have a solo and everyone else’s role is to buoy them up and support it— and provide the most glorious atmosphere for them to shine. And then it gets passed around to the next member of the trio. It can’t be done without every member of the troupe — and that’s what we’re doing here.”

As Holter sees it, “Music glues us all together, over time, over continents and over our age differences. Anthony’s generosity grew out of his gratitude for the joy of music. The famous cellist, Palo Casals, expressed a similar insight when he said, ‘Perhaps it is music that will save the world.’”

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