Archive For January 22, 2014

Vadim Repin, violinist – portrait of the artist

Vadim Repin

‘The violin came to me by chance’ … Vadim Repin. Photograph: Harald Hoffman

Vadim Repin, violinist – portrait of the artist

Violinist Vadim Repin talks about giving his first concert aged nine, how special things happen on stage – and why he’s promiscuous with his artistic affections

Interview by The Guardian,

What got you started?

Asking my mother for music toys when I was three. She bought me a little accordion and a flute, and I concentrated on making as much noise as possible. But the violin came to me by chance: when I was five, she took me to a music school to study the accordion, but the only place left was on the violin course. So the violin became my favourite toy.

What was your big breakthrough?

The first concert I gave, aged nine. I’d started studying with my first teacher, Zakhar Bron (1), when I was seven. His method was to have his students perform on stage, in front of other people, as soon as possible. I was still a child, but I began to think of myself as a musician.

Is it important to get children interested in classical music from such a young age?

Absolutely. You don’t need to set them career goals: the experience of playing classical music is a broad one. Like anything beautiful, it should be in the arsenal of education.

Your wife (2) is a ballerina. Does watching her dance influence your understanding of your own art form?

I believe music and movement are very much connected. Last year, we performed together for the first time, at a festival in Switzerland. It was a very special experience to create a dialogue not with a musician, but with somebody telling a story through movement. Both music and dance are about storytelling, really.

Do you suffer for your art?

Yes – and it doesn’t get any easier. I’m constantly thinking about whatever piece of music I’m performing, day and night. I never switch off.

Which artists do you most admire?

I love everything, but am particularly interested in architecture. Classical music is founded, really, on creating an architectural structure with sound. Pieces are very logical, governed by strict rules.

What work of art would you like to own?

I don’t really believe in owning art: it’s like owning a person. But for me, the greatest work of art is the violin, so the fact I’m able to play one of the most beautiful Guarneri violins on the planet (3) is overwhelming. I don’t own it, but it’s enough to just have the chance to play it and look at it.

Is there an art form you don’t relate to?

I haven’t yet met an art form I wasn’t attracted to. I even consider chess an art form. I do play, though I’m not very good. One of my oldest friends, Vladimir Kramnik, is a world champion (4).

What piece of music would work as the soundtrack to your life?

Brahms’s first violin sonata. It’s as if it was dictated by God.

What’s the biggest myth about being a violinist?

That we have some kind of special, innate charisma. Special things do happen on stage, but that’s usually the product of a particular concert and a particular moment. Recently, I played a concert in Paris with Ashkenazy (5). It felt like time had stopped. For 35 minutes, it was as if nobody in the room dared to breathe.

• Vadim Repin performs with the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio at the Symphony Hall, Birmingham, on 22 February, and the Royal Festival Hall, London, on 24 February.

In short

Born: Novosibirsk, Siberia, 1971.

Career: Has performed with many of the world’s greatest orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra, and released several acclaimed recordings.

Low point: “The times when I haven’t felt right physically.”

High point: “Every time the stars are aligned and I give a successful concert.”


(1) The violinist and teacheris, originally from Kazakhstan, now runs an academy in Switzerland. His method seems to work: his pupils also include Maxim Vengerov and Daniel Hope. Back to article

(2) Svetlana Zakharova, a principal dancer with the Bolshoi famed for her high extensions. Back to article

(3) The 1743 Bonjour violin. Back to article

(4) The Russian grandmaster held various world-champion titles from 2000 to 2007. Back to article

(5) Vladimir, the pianist and conductor. Back to article

A Gifted Cellist Sails Beyond Sweden, Across ‘Fields Of Love’

A Gifted Cellist Sails Beyond Sweden, Across ‘Fields Of Love’

The daughter of two musicians, Linnea Olsson started playing the cello at age 6. She was born in a small city on Sweden’s west coast, and grew up listening to ABBA and Bjork, as well as more eclectic artists like the Dutch singer-songwriter Anouk and the British rock band Skunk Anansie.

But her debut album, Ah!, is a creation all her own, with music largely based in improvisation and lyrics that resemble fanciful fairy tales. For example, “Giddy Up!” finds her picturing herself as she rides a horse across “fields of love.”)

Olsson recently spoke with All Things Considered about channeling heartbreak and restlessness into her music. Click the audio link to hear more.

Linnea Olsson’s debut album is called Ah! Tammy Karlsson / Courtesy of the artist

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

Winter Olympics 2014: violinist Vanessa-Mae to ski for Thailand at the Sochi Games

Violinist Vanessa-Mae

British violinist Vanessa-Mae has fulfilled her long-term ambiltion to qualify for the Winter Olympics. She will be racing for Thailand, where her father was born

Winter Olympics 2014: violinist Vanessa-Mae to ski for Thailand at the Sochi Games

By Sarah Knapton 7:00AM GMT 20 Jan 2014

Vanessa-Mae, the violinist, is to put her musical career on ice after being selected to ski for Thailand in the Winter Olympics.

Mae, who has skied since childhood, will be competing as Vanessa Vanakorn using her Thai father’s surname.

Her manager told the BBC that she made the team “by a whisker”.

She has been training since 2010, when she told The Telegraph: “I am taking a plunge. It has been my dream, and I am hoping people will accept I just want to give it my best.”

Under current Olympic qualification rules, countries with no skier ranked in the world’s top 500 may send one man and one woman to the Games, to compete in slalom and giant slalom.

Vanessa, had to compete in at least five internationally recognised events in order to qualify for several slalom races at the Games next month.

“People are surprised when they see me skiing,” she said.

“But it has been my dream to be a ski bum since I was 14. This is something I am determined to do. I wanted to compete for Thailand because there is a part of me which I have never celebrated – being Thai.

“I have no delusions about a podium or even being in the top 100 in the world,” she said.

She is only the second Thai to compete at a Winter Olympics.

Vanessa, whose full name is Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn Nicholson was born in Singapore to a Chinese mother and a Thai father but was brought up in the UK when her mother remarried a Briton. She is a British citizen but she also has a Thai passport.

Vanessa started skiing aged four but her violin playing took precedence.

She sold 10 million albums and was nicknamed ‘Teeny Paganini’ when, at just eight, she became the youngest pupil at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. At 13, she was the youngest soloist to record both Beethoven and Tchaikovsky concertos.

“I started skiing around the same time as I began playing the piano, at around four, before moving to the violin at five,” she said.

“And I’m lucky that having begun my musical career so young, it’s rather wonderful that I can now focus on my hobby. Not that I’m putting my day job on hold.

“Music will always be my greatest passion. There are still the concerts. To be honest, that became a treadmill. The endless touring, the promotions. By the time I got to 20, I was no longer enjoying it.”

Last year she announced she was taking a year off her music to qualify for the games. But she has previously said that she intends to return to music.

“Living my dream of being a ski bum is great but the best job in the world is being on stage, making music.”

Italian violinist strikes a chord with street children

Italian violinist

Italian violinist strikes a chord with street children

A leading Italian violinist has swapped gilded concert halls for audiences of street children around the world, using music therapy to help those less fortunate.

Sara Michieletto has performed with top orchestras across Europe during an illustrious career and since 1998 has played in the first violins of the orchestra of the Fenice opera house in Venice.
But more recently the 41-year-old has played for children across the Palestinian territory of the West Bank, in Indian slums and helping street kids and orphans in Indonesia.
Soothing, classical music helps angry, traumatized youths become “emotionally aware,” she said, helping them to better channel their anger and frustration.
“In the case of children from disadvantaged backgrounds, this is so important because they have faced a lot of difficult things in the past and trauma,” she said.
“Music is a very powerful means of conveying emotions.”
Since 2010 the violinist has been working with street children in and around the Indonesian capital Jakarta, a seething metropolis of 10 million people where many live in grinding poverty, as well as other parts of the country.
At a recent workshop at a center for rescued street children on the outskirts of Jakarta, a group of youngsters raced up to Michieletto and embraced her as she entered with her violin case slung over her shoulder.
A small group looked on as she drew the bow over the violin strings, playing a concerto from Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.”
As well as performing for the youngsters, she organizes workshops in drama, singing, photography and dance.
Among the children at the recent workshop was Suharti, a 14-year-old girl who spent years living on the streets, busking on overcrowded, sweltering trains or buses to make a living.
The youngster, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, was rescued and brought to the Kampus Diakonia Modern center — which has living quarters and a school — along with her younger brother and sister.
“Everything feels very unpleasant when you are on the streets,” she said. “I always felt ashamed of myself every time I was busking.”
But she has found a new, more peaceful life and feels that Michieletto’s music has been a great help to her and the other children.
“We used to fight each other in class but since Ms. Sara started coming here, we are a lot calmer and more keen to study,” she said.
Sotar Sinaga, in charge of organizing music programs at the center, said the music had made a substantial contribution to helping Suharti.
“The way she (Suharti) expresses her emotions is much better now — she is no longer mean to her friends,” he said.
Michieletto started playing for underprivileged children in 2004 when she toured schools around the West Bank for several weeks, and in the decade since she has played for thousands of children around the world.
Under a special arrangement with the Fenice Foundation she is able to carry out her charitable work and continue playing with the opera house’s orchestra for a short period each year.
And while playing for underprivileged children is a world away from sold-out performances at world-famous venues, she says it brings her just as much happiness.

“When I play for the children, for me it’s like playing in an important concert,” she said

The future of classical music: CSO concert aims to appeal to young people

The future of classical music: CSO concert aims to appeal to young people

Adam Parker
Posted: Saturday, January 11, 2014 5:00 p.m.

Reese Moore    Charleston Symphony Orcehstra concertmaster Yuriy Bekker (from left), cellist Amy Goto and violinist Seth Gilliard will perform in the Boeing-sponsored “Classical Fusion” concert at the Sottile Theatre.

Classical music is boring. Classical music is elitist. It’s for old fogies. It’s hard to understand. It’s expensive. It’s not relevant to most people preoccupied with other matters. It belongs in a museum.

Young people in particular are more interested in Maroon 5, Lorde, One Direction, Beyonce. Millions tune in to watch “The Voice” or “American Idol.” Few watch “Live From Lincoln Center.”

Amy Goto is a 9-year-old cellist from Columbia. She studies with College of Charleston professor Natalia Khoma. Amy Goto is a 9-year-old cellist from Columbia. She studies with College of Charleston professor Natalia Khoma.
Dancer Satya Tranfield is 10. Dancer Satya Tranfield is 10.
Satya Tranfield performed at the 2013 Youth America Grand Prix finals in New York City. Satya Tranfield performed at the 2013 Youth America Grand Prix finals in New York City.
Seth Gilliard has specialized lately in violin arrangements of popular tunes. Seth Gilliard has specialized lately in violin arrangements of popular tunes.

Who’s kidding who? Classical music is dying, right?

Driving home from work recently, I listened to a terrific jazz tune, a live recording that aired on the local public radio station. After the performance, the band leader explained the tune’s origins and paid tribute to his musician-uncle who had showed the classically trained younger man that “playing the piano could be fun.”

The implication, of course, was that playing classical music was not fun.

At about the same time, someone posted to Facebook a video of 3-year-old Jonathan in his living room “conducting” Brahms’ Symphony No. 1. The kid was no stranger to the piece; he was accurately cueing entrances, dynamics and phrasing. He was definitely having fun.

Watching the video provoked deja vu: I, too, used to conduct big orchestral pieces in my living room as a tot, using a makeshift baton: an extendable car antenna, provided by my father. I was no prodigy, that’s for sure. Unlike young Jonathan, I was merely reacting to what I heard. But it excited me nonetheless: those big brass blasts, flurrying strings and sweeping melodies found in the Romantic orchestral repertoire.

Classical music was a great early discovery. It was surely not boring, not to me.

And it’s clearly not boring to Seth Gilliard, the 23-year-old violinist soon to play a concert with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

Nor is it boring to 10-year-old ballet dancer Satya Tranfield, part of the Jan. 25 “Classical Fusion” concert.

Nor is it boring to 9-year-old cellist Amy Goto, also to be featured.

These three young artists grew up listening to classical music, and regular exposure instilled in them a profound attachment. And now the Charleston Symphony will employ them as willing bait. Thanks to a grant from Boeing, the symphony is presenting a daytime program designed to appeal to families.

CSO Concertmaster and Acting Artistic Director Yuriy Bekker said the concert is a showcase of innovation and achievement he hopes will inspire young people, regardless of their interests.

The “Classical Fusion” concert will combine musical styles. Gilliard will play Bach’s Double Violin Concerto with Bekker, as well as a classical-pop mash-up.

“It’s a very interesting approach to a young audience that’s never been exposed to classical music,” Bekker said. “It’s a friendly way to lure them in.”

Seth Gilliard

Gilliard attended Furman University, where he was concertmaster of the school’s orchestra and earned a bachelor’s degree in music performance in 2012. His music education began years earlier, in the strings program at Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School. His mother played viola, and the 5-year-old Gilliard liked to experiment on the instrument, much too large for his diminutive stature.

“I chose violin because it was smaller,” Gilliard said.

His sister studied piano. His parents loved music, played recordings at home and encouraged their children to excel.

“They started us down that road; they always were involved,” he said.

In recent years, Gilliard has taken an interest in improvisation and hybridization, he said. “I’ve always listened to everything. I love pop music. I’m a big hip-hop fan. I listen to the radio. I keep up with the Billboard charts. I also play jazz; I was a member of two jazz combos in college. … What I do now is arrange contemporary pop tunes for violin.”

Now he’s making a name for himself as a crossover artist.

“Undoubtedly, I wouldn’t be able to do the things I want to do … if it wasn’t for classical music,” he said.

But he’s not giving up on the classics. At the last MOJA Festival, he presented a recital of music by William Grant Still, Bach and others. He’s been flirting with Prokofiev’s very difficult violin concerto.

“I’m just having fun,” he said.

Amy Goto

Amy lives in Columbia, attends a Montessori school and travels to Charleston for lessons with her teacher, Natalia Khoma. She will play the first movement of Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major at the “Classical Fusion” concert.

Amy’s parents, Shingo and Chinami Goto, are Yo-Yo Ma enthusiasts. “When Amy was born, we played Yo-Yo Ma all the time at home,” Shingo Goto said. “Therefore it was very natural for her. We asked her if she wants to play like Yo-Yo Ma.”

That was when she was 2½ years old. She started with the Suzuki method, soon graduating to private lessons. Discipline has helped a lot, her parents said. Amy practices four to five hours a day. She’s working on Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 (the six suites are difficult, unaccompanied and obligatory for all serious cellists).

She’s familiar with the name “Justin Bieber,” but not his music, she said. She prefers to listen to classical music. Sometimes The Beatles. She also likes to watch ballet.

Amy’s musical education has rubbed off on her parents. It’s given them reason to pay closer attention to classical music, they said.

“Before, we couldn’t tell the difference between conductors and players,” Shingo Goto said.

Now, they have fun comparing interpretations, discerning styles and approaches, forming opinions.

Satya Tranfield

Satya is an emerging young star of ballet who recently performed the lead role in CBT Center for Dance Education’s ” ‘Twas the Night Before Nutcracker” and won the Hope Award at the regional Youth American Grand Prix in Atlanta.

For the “Classical Fusion” concert, she will dance to selections from Bizet’s Carmen Suite, choreographed by Jill Eathorne-Bahr.

Her mother, Lilly Wilkins, a trained flutist, has exposed Satya and her brother, Michael, to classical music since Day One. She knew that proximity would almost certainly lead to appreciation, she said.

“I was exposed (as a very young child),” Wilkins said, “and I’ll tell you, that was the key.” Classical music “was next to me; it was just like eating breakfast.”

It never occurred to Wilkins that classical music wasn’t “fun,” she said. And it hasn’t occurred to her kids either. In fact, it’s helped them emotionally. Wilkins, who homeschooled Satya and Michael until last year, encourages them to associate images and stories with the music they hear. Satya will draw pictures; Michael will make up tales. In so doing, they forge a connection to the music.

When Satya dances, then, the imagery she created informs her movement, which is an expression of her emotions, Wilkins explained.

Although they listen to all kinds of music, they get bored with commercial pop, preferring classical music. “The kids gravitate toward something naturally good,” Wilkins said.

But isn’t she encouraging a form of elitism? Yes and no, she said.

Undoubtedly, classical music, like many cultural endeavors, is supported by wealthy donors and appreciated best by educated patrons, she said. On the other hand, how much money do people who prefer Hollywood blockbusters spend? Lots.

If elitism is a way to maintain high standards, then isn’t it necessary? Or is it pretentious to assume that some forms of art are not meant for the masses?

In the end, Wilkins dismisses this debate in favor of a more fundamental claim: Classical music is an intrinsic part of her family’s life. It informs the way they experience and interact with the world.

“For us – for my kids and me – music has played this big role. It’s vitamins.”

The future

For my part, I latched onto classical music early, and my love for it increased in direct proportion to my exposure to it. The more I listened, or performed, the more I appreciated what it was all about.

My interests only grew over time. As a college student, I got a job at a terrific old record store whose proprietor and his right-hand man were up to speed on the latest great classical music recordings. With their help, I established a respectable collection of LPs that served (and still serve) as my frame of reference.

It is great fun to compare different recordings, to force oneself to articulate why a particular performance is better than another. It’s one way a budding musician or music-lover comes of age.

Now, when I watch on YouTube little Jonathan conducting Brahms, I know that he will almost certainly grow up with a lasting passion for classical music. When I hear people such as Bela Fleck or Chris Thile play Bach, I know that it’s because those musicians think classical music is totally cool.

And when I learn about someone like Amy Goto, who is more interested in Yo-Yo Ma than Justin Bieber, I know that the future of classical music is secure.

Classical music cannot be dying if Amy and others like her continue to appear, armed with interest, talent and determination. She’s no old fogey. She’s no elitist. She just loves good music.

Renowned conductor Aram Gharabekian passed away aged 58

Renowned conductor Aram Gharabekian passed away aged 58

aram gharabekian
aram gharabekian


Renowned conductor Aram Gharabekian passed away in the US today at the age of 58,  the Armenian Ministry of Culture informs.

Aram Gharabekian was born in 1955 in Boston. He graduated from the New England Conservatory with a Master’s degree in Composition, and continued his postgraduate studies in Musical Phenomenology at Mainz University in Germany.  He studied conducting with Franco Ferrara in Italy, and was one of a few pupils of the legendary conductor Sergiu Celibidache.  He was also granted a fellowship to study composition and conducting under Jacob Druckman and Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood Music Center.

From 1997 until 2010 Mr. Gharabekian served as Music Director of the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia, leading this acclaimed ensemble on tours to Greece, the United Arab Emirates, Cyprus, Switzerland, England, Russia, Lebanon, Georgia, Germany, France, Canada and the U.S

Mr. Aram Gharabekian was formerly the Principal Guest Conductor of the Ukrainian Radio & Television Symphony Orchestra in Kiev. Following a critically acclaimed guest appearance with the Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra in 1991, Mr. Gharabekian was invited by the Ukrainian Minister of Culture to assume the position of Artistic Advisor and Conductor.

During his tenure with that orchestra he conducted performances in Kiev and on tour throughout Ukraine, and successfully regenerated its artistic and organizational capacity. During his eight years as Music Director of Boston’s SinfoNova Orchestra, Mr. Gharabekian won national recognition for his innovative and enterprising programming, as well as his critically acclaimed performances in major American venues, including Carnegie Hall, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Boston’s Symphony Hall and Jordan Hall.

As a guest conductor, Mr. Gharabekian has been the Principal Guest Conductor of the Zagreb Philharmonic, and appeared with the Sinfonietta München in Germany and Italy.  He has also led the Ukrainian National Symphony, the Ukrainian State Opera and Ballet of Kiev, the West Ukrainian Philharmonic in Lvov, the Armenian Philharmonic, and returned to America to conduct the Shreveport Symphony and the Fresno Philharmonic.

Mr. Gharabekian’s concert recordings have been broadcast on National Public Radio, and he has made numerous recordings for Ukrainian, Croatian and Armenian Radio and Television, Boston’s WBZ-Television, WBUR, WGBH and WCRB FM radio stations in Boston, WNYC FM in New York, the Voice of America in Washington, and Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich. The recipient of the 1989 Lucien Wulsin Performance Award for the best concert performance aired on America’s National Public Radio, Mr. Gharabekian was also awarded the 1988 American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Award for Adventuresome Programming.  He was twice honored by the Harvard Musical Association’s “Best Performance Award” and his performances have been singled out as “Best of 1985, 1989, 1990 and 1991″ by the Boston Globe.  He is the recipient of the Presidential Medal for his contributions to the arts in Armenia.

My struggle in cut-throat world of classical music, by violin prodigy Nicola Benedetti

My struggle in cut-throat world of classical music, by violin prodigy Nicola Benedetti

  • Nicola Benedetti won BBC Young Musician of the Year aged 16
  • Faced relentless demands – including 110 concerts in a year
  • Now 26, she says senior figures in the industry failed to help her

By Chris Hastings

PUBLISHED: 17:38 EST, 11 January 2014 | UPDATED: 17:38 EST, 11 January 2014

Shot to fame: Violinist Nicola Benedetti
Shot to fame: Violinist Nicola Benedetti

The violinist who became an overnight sensation when named BBC Young Musician of the Year today reveals how she struggled when plunged into an ‘extremely cut-throat’ world, writes Chris Hastings.

Speaking on today’s Desert Island Discs, Nicola Benedetti tells of the relentless demands placed on her at 16 – including 110 concerts in a year. She adds: ‘By the age of 17 or 18 I was going through a very tough time.’

Nicola, now 26, won the contest in 2004 and tells interviewer Kirsty Young that senior figures in the industry failed to help her even as it was clear she was riddled with anxiety and self-doubt.

She says: ‘I look back on it and I am slightly disappointed with a couple of experiences where  I felt someone could have been more advisory.

‘I think I did feel that some of that support wasn’t necessarily there within the profession. It is extremely cut-throat.’

Nicola signed a £1 million deal after winning the BBC prize and immediately embarked on a punishing performance schedule.

She says: ‘The Young Musician of the Year final happened and I think the next day my photo was on the front page of The Times and a practically full concert diary materialised within a very very short space of time.’

She was made an MBE in 2013, but says the workload hampered her progress as a musician.
‘It was actually far too much for that age and for the stage that I was at in my violinistic development… I actually wasn’t ready for that.

‘I knew I wasn’t fulfilling my potential at all. I knew I was going on stage underprepared, extremely nervous. I was trying to make sense of, “Why I am here? Why do I have all this opportunity? Do I deserve it?”.’

Despite her glamorous image, she says she and her boyfriend, German cellist Leonard Elschenbroich, have no interest in being the Brad and Angelina of the classical music world.

She says: ‘Glamorous is definitely not a word that I would associate with my life.’

Nicola had a 'tough time' after winning the BBC Young Musician Of The Year aged 16Nicola had a ‘tough time’ after winning the BBC Young Musician Of The Year aged 16

Gifted violinist Laura Mozena and accomplished pianist Luanne Dwyer to honor Mrs. Helen Berlin in Palm City

Laura Mozena
Laura Mozena
Photo by Mariza Brussolo
By Mariza Brusolo


Gifted violinist Laura Mozena and accomplished pianist Luanne Dwyer have been working next door to each other for 5 years and always had the intention of putting a concert together. Both had been busy teaching at the Stuart School of Music and, even though playing together was something they really wanted to do, there was never enough time to plan it.

“We recently suffered a terrible loss, Mrs. Helen Berlin passed away on October 12th, 2013. She was a giving lady who together with her husband, Mr. Ernie Berlin, brought musicians from all over the world to Stuart, Florida. We were very sad when we learned Mrs. Berlin had passed and so Luanne and I wanted to honor her in some way,” said Ms. Mozena.

“We decided to really take the time to prepare something special, something that will honor Mrs. Berlin and bring some joy to the community, a gift to the children and the adults,” said Mrs. Dwyer.

“Mrs. Helen Berlin touched many lives, she was passionate about the arts and made many cultural events in Martin County possible. She and her husband, Ernie, helped host the Ovation Concert Series at The Lyric Theatre in Stuart for many years,” said Ms. Mozena.

Laura Mozena expressed how excited she was to finally be able to offer a high quality concert in collaboration with talented pianist Luanne Dwyer.

Luanne Dwyer
Luanne Dwyer Courtesy Photo

Luanne Dwyer is an accomplished pianist who graduated from Wellesley College.  In 1975 she was awarded a Ford Foundation Grant to study music in Berlin, Germany. She worked on Wall Street for two years and then moved to Florida in 1998.  Luanne also performed as an accompanist in classical vocal concerts in New York with Michael Douglas Jones.  Luanne is an active member of Treasure Coast Music Teachers Association.

Laura Mozena earned a Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from Northern Arizona University where she studied violin with Louise Scott and Karin Hallberg. She participated in the long-term Suzuki Teacher Training Program at NAU with Louise Scott, Karen Hallberg, and Susan Baer. Laura completed additional Suzuki Teacher Training with Linda Steig, Roger Steig, John Kendall and Kimberly Meyer-Sims.

Laura Mozena is a registered Suzuki Teacher and has performed with such orchestras as The Flagstaff Symphony, The Palm Beach Pops, Treasure Coast Opera Orchestra and The Wheeling Symphony.  She is the Vice President of Your Music Supply and enjoys playing fiddle music as well as classical.  Currently, Laura teaches Suzuki violin with Cynthia Hinkelman of Lighthouse Suzuki Strings.  She teaches at Jupiter Academy of Music and the Stuart School of Music.

For this tribute concert Luanne Dwyer and Laura Mozena will captivate the audience with their outstanding music, performing pieces like Sonata No. 25 for Piano and Violin by Mozart, Embraceable You by Gershwin, Hoe-Down from Rodeo by Copland, Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Part, Sonata in D Major for Violin and Piano by Schubert, and many more!

Please join them to honor Mrs. Helen Berlin and to enjoy the gift of music on Saturday, January 18th at 4:00pm at the Episcopal Church of the Advent 4484 SW Citrus Blvd. Palm City, FL 34990.

This concert is absolutely FREE and children and adults are invited.

Laura Mozena is available for questions or directions by calling (928) 699-4707.

One Violinist. Two Singers. One Beast Of A World of Warcraft Medley.

Violinist Taylor Davis

One Violinist. Two Singers. One Beast Of A World of Warcraft Medley.

What’s better than one violinist and two singers performing epic World of Warcraft music? A whole fleet of digitally cloned singers and violinists performing epic World of Warcraft music, of course.

In this case, those musicians include violinist (and YouTube stalwart) Taylor Davis along with singer Peter Hollens and his wife Evynne. With the help of some creative multitracking, the trio performs a medley of iconic WoW anthems. If you dig it, you can download it here.

The Hollenses have also released their own vocals-only version of the medley, which you can check out below and download here.

Intimate, thrilling concert from violinist Pekka Kuusisto and composer-pianist Nico Muhly

Pekka Kuusisto

Kaapo Kamu/Handout – Pekka Kuusisto

Nico Muhly

(Matthew Murphy/Handout) – Nico Muhly

Intimate, thrilling concert from violinist Pekka Kuusisto and composer-pianist Nico Muhly

By , Monday, January 6, 6:57 PM E-mail the writer

The Phillips Collection was once a private home. On Sunday afternoon, the violinist Pekka Kuusisto and the composer-pianist Nico Muhly used it to offer a world-class house concert.

Technically speaking, it wasn’t a house concert. It was the usual Phillips Collection Sunday afternoon performance. But the two musicians brought a sense of such intimacy and spontaneity that a listener felt more a participant than a passive recipient. Each movement of Bach’s second partita, for instance, began as if it were a completely fresh idea that happened to have struck Kuusisto as he stood by the piano. Each progressed as if he were thinking his way through it, musing on what might come next. This music felt every bit as new as the two works by Muhly, one a four-movement essay (“Drones & Violin”), one a shorter sally (“Drones & Piano”).

And it’s a rare performer who can polish off the Chaconne, the final movement of the second partita and one of the towering monuments of the violin repertory, and then flip his Guadagnini around and start strumming it like a banjo as he sings Finnish folk songs. Indeed, it’s a rare performer who can make you want to listen to a Finnish folk song after you’ve heard the Bach — something of which Kuusisto was perfectly aware. “It’s worth staying for,” he told the audience, drawing a laugh.

It was an exquisitely balanced program. Each Bach movement was answered with a work by a living composer, all presented as flip sides of the same coin — so that the end of the Bach Gigue, an exhalation, was immediately followed by the inhalation of the start of Muhly’s second “Drones” piece, in a seamless continuum.

Kuusisto got the attention of Washington audiences with his performances of the Lindberg violin concerto last year with the National Symphony Orchestra. But he didn’t play like a soloist here — more like a poet. The initial movements of the Bach were free of preconceptions about beauty or evenness of sound; they were, instead, an expressive sequence of meditations. They were thus perfectly calibrated to Arvo Pärt’s “Fratres” — one of many versions of this quiet, intricate work, which drifts and tangles a sequence of variations around a six-bar theme. And it yielded naturally to Philip Glass’s “The Orchard,” in which Muhly’s buoyant, elastic playing lent an extra urgency to the repeated three-note skipping figure in the piano.

Muhly is well known as a composer, having most recently made waves when the Metropolitan Opera opened his “Two Boys” last fall. Both of his pieces here were excellent — and they brought his arresting pianism, a less-known arrow in his quiver, to the fore. In a program that had been characterized by repeating patterns, drifting notes and a sense of restraint, the piano suddenly thundered out in a fortissimo, tearing open the mood of the afternoon, revealing a Romantic heart within the afternoon’s patterned, shifting, gentle musical idiom. After the outbursts, Muhly scaled back down, promptly — nothing to see here, folks — but his playing was still all bright colors and high contrasts, albeit hidden in the shades of the dappled musical landscape of the performance as a whole.

Kuusisto, too, couldn’t help showing his hand as a brilliant player, even if the afternoon — by his admission to the audience — was not designed to showcase virtuosity. In the Bach Gigue, between the two Muhly pieces, the quick fingerwork unsheathed a clean, firm sound, like a swordblade, gleaming with light. And the Chaconne partook of both the brilliance and the subtlety.

Often, the final pieces on a program, particularly if they’re in a performer’s own language, convey a sense of relaxation, a look behind the curtain. But the two improvisations on Finnish folk songs that ended this performance seemed rather a seamless extension of an eclectic yet perfectly organic collection of music. The curtain had been down all along. So if Kuusisto chose to strum on his violin and burst into song while Muhly wandered along the edge of a precipice on the keyboard beside him, it was the most reasonable thing in the world. More concerts should end this way — and start this way, and continue this way. If only more musicians were able to pull it off.

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