Gaston College celebrates Women’s History Month with a musical performance of composer Ruth Schonthal’s ‘Love Letters’

Dr. Jessica Lindsey and Dr. Mira Frisch will perform “Love Letters: for clarinet and cello” by Ruth Schonthal on Monday, March 15 at 10 a.m. The pre-recorded performance is sponsored by the Gaston College Multicultural Affairs Committee in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Composer Ruth Schonthal (1924 -2006) was born in Germany, to Viennese parents. In 1938, to escape Hitler, her family moved to Sweden, and eventually to Mexico City.

She wrote “Love Letters” in 1979 to convey the different emotions one might experience in a romantic relationship.  Schonthal says, “Each musical variation [is] like a letter describing the various stages and moods of love: exasperation; romantic yearning; passion; humor and contentment.” This work has nine movements, all challenging and charming, each one outlining a phase of a romantic relationship.

The first movement of the composition begins with a cello solo by Dr. Mira Frisch and Dr. Jessica Lindsey will play the clarinet later in the movement. The second movement presents the main love theme. In movement three, a playful dialogue finds the cello echoing the short notes of the clarinet. In movement four, the music builds to tension until suddenly one character erupts in a fiery rant. The middle movements continue with alterations to the main love theme: varying rhythms, conversationally sharing the theme, or exploring dissonances in supporting harmonies. The entire work ends with the clarinetist holding the final note alone, implying that the clarinetist’s character is telling the story.

“Dr. Mira Frisch and I selected Love Letters to perform because we enjoy collaborating together to play music like this piece which we consider to be an “unknown gem” — meaning it is not well-known but is a great musical work, “ said Dr. Lindsey.

“We choose to play the music of composers who are not found in great numbers in the classical music realm. A majority of classical music was written by men of European descent who are no longer living. However, composer Ruth Schonthal, a woman of Jewish descent, was extraordinarily talented, and had a strong work ethic. Her connections to master teacher and composer, Paul Hindesmith, allowed her to build a successful career in the United States and compose numerous musical works for keyboard, chamber music, orchestra, and opera,” she added.

Dr. Jessica Lindsey has earned the reputation as an electrifying performer and phenomenal educator. She is an admired clarinetist who has performed in both chamber and orchestral settings throughout the United States, China, and New Zealand. As an orchestral player, she currently performs with the Nebraska Chamber Orchestra as bass clarinetist and as substitute clarinet with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and she is regularly featured at the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest. In 2018, Dr. Lindsey released “Set No Limits” with Albany Records, an album of music for clarinet and piano by women composers. She is the Associate Professor of Clarinet at UNC Charlotte.

Dr. Mira Frisch is a dynamic cellist and accomplished educator. She has performed as a chamber musician throughout the United States and in Bermuda, Italy, and France. In the Carolinas, Dr. Frisch has performed as guest principal cellist with the Charleston Symphony, as a section cellist with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, and with the Madison Park String Quartet. Her recordings as a member of Duo XXI, with violinist Anna Cromwell, were released on the Albany Records label in 2010 and 2014. She can also be heard on the album “There Lies the Home,” produced by Cantus, and on multiple other chamber music recordings by Albany recordings. She is Professor of Cello and Director of String Chamber Music at UNC Charlotte.

The performance will be available through a link on You Tube and on the Gaston College website, posted under GC News,, starting at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 15. The presentation will also be aired daily the week of March 29 – April 4 at 10:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. and the week of April 5-11 at 2:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on Spectrum Cable Channel 21 in Gaston County.

For additional information about the presentation, contact Judith Porter at







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