King of Glory Lutheran Church/Dallas, Texas is recognized for its quality music programs. As part of the KOG Generosity Celebration, Mr. Kyle Rosenquist (Cello) and Ms. Monica Csausz (Piano) performed a recital featuring Sonatas by Brahms and Prokofiev on August 15 of this year. These two gifted musicians have kindly given the NT-NL Mission Endowment Board permission to offer our audience the Allegra movement of Johannes Brahms’ Sonata, No. 1, Op. 38.
Kyle Rosenquist’s love of music began at an early age. He grew up listening to the King of Glory choir and organ music every Sunday morning, and began studying piano at age four. On entering sixth grade, he wanted to join band and play the trumpet, however he was overruled and picked up the cello instead — a decision he’s grateful for today! While completing his college degree in mechanical engineering, he played in the Texas Tech and University of Oklahoma symphony orchestras as a non-music major. Today, he remains active and performs with local symphony orchestras, community orchestras, church choirs, and more. He finds music an excellent stress reliever from his day job as a program manager for a defense contractor, and is grateful for every opportunity to share music with others.
A true rising star among young classical musicians, Monica Czausz, KOG Director of Music and Artistic Ministries, has quickly made a name for herself as one of the finest young American organists on the scene today. She has received first prize in numerous competitions, including the 2015 American Guild of Organists (AGO) Regional Competition for Young Organists (Region VII: Southwest), the 2015 Schweitzer Competition, the 2013 William C. Hall Competition, the 2012 L. Cameron Johnson Competition, and the 2011 Oklahoma City University Competition. Monica has performed widely across the United States, including headlining at numerous organ conventions; this summer (2021) she was the featured Young Organist at the online AGO Convention, OrganFest. She previously was featured at the National AGO Convention in 2016, the National Organ Historical Society Conventions in 2017, 2016 and 2015, and the Regional AGO Conventions in 2019, 2017 (performances in two different regions), and 2015. She has also performed in various other festivals, including the Philip Lorenz International Keyboard Festival in 2020, the Helsinki International Organ Festival in 2019, the Eccles Organ Festival in 2018, and the East Texas Organ Festival in 2015. Monica graduated from The Curtis Institute of Music in 2019 with an Artist Diploma in Organ Performance and a Performer’s Certificate in Harpsichord Performance. In 2017, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Rice University in Houston, Texas, where she completed a five-year combined Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degree program in Organ Performance. At Rice she studied with renowned professor Ken Cowan and, upon graduation, was awarded the coveted Distinction in Research and Creative Work. From September 2015 through July 2017, she served as full-time Cathedral Organist at Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal) in Houston, Texas, under the leadership of acclaimed director Robert Simpson. Splitting her time in Philadelphia and New York City during 2018-2019, she worked with director James Wetzel at The Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena (Upper East Side). Upon graduation from Curtis, she moved to Dallas, Texas, where she currently serves as Director of Music and Artistic Ministries at King of Glory Lutheran Church.
The final movement of Brahms’ Sonata, No. 1, Op. 38, Allegro, possesses a fugal structure unusual for Brahms. The subject was likely based on part of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Art of Fugue, and bristles with neat counterpoint and fullness of texture from the piano. The intense opening episode becomes tranquil for a time, finally being interrupted by the reappearance of the fugal opening. After building to an even greater climax, the listener comes to expect a quiet ending, but is surprised by a (pìu presto) coda which drives to a restless finish. Brahms lived an extraordinarily disciplined life – each morning began with his routine of writing a canon. He feared becoming too happy in his personal relationships, believing happiness would stifle his creativity and make him complacent. His own creation of structure allowed him to compose some of the most beloved music of all time, but it was not without great self-criticism and insecurity.