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First Fridays at First! ~ fff
(Formerly, the
Bach's Lunch Recitals in Manhattan Beach)

2017-2018 Concert Series

First Lutheran Church of Torrance

The popular Bach's Lunch Recitals, a favorite in the South Bay community for two decades, are now First Fridays at First! ~ fff, graciously hosted as a gift to the community by FirstServe Community Services, the nonprofit community service partner organization of First Lutheran Church & School – Torrance. The finest artists from Southern California and around the World perform half-hour lunchtime recitals.

First Lutheran Church & School
2900 W. Carson Street, Torrance, CA 90503
(on the south side of Carson Street just east of Maple)
For a Google map, click here.

For information, call Classical Crossroads at (310) 316-5574 or click here.

Free admission - Donations Appreciated

Click to see "First Fridays at First! ~ fff" past seasons:
[2000-2013] [2013-2014] [2014-2015] [2015-2016]
[2016-2017] [2017-2018] [2018-2019] [2019-2020]
[2020-2021] [2021-2022]

Friday, September 8, 2017 at 12:15 p.m.
(Note this is a Second Friday)

Los Angeles Ensemble

Los Angeles Ensemble

 SUNG CHANG piano                              TANNER MENEES viola                 
BINGXIA LU cello                    JOANNA LEE violin

Formed in the fall of 2015, the Los Angeles Ensemble was awarded First Prize at the International Music Competition Grand Prize Virtuoso in London and Fourth Prize at the Schoenfeld International String Competition in Harbin, China. LAE is active in the greater Los Angeles area, performing regularly in concert series such as L'Ermitage and Classics Alive Presents as well as in intimate house concert settings.

Individually, Los Angeles Ensemble members are winners of international competitions and have trained in leading music schools worldwide. Two are currently in the USC Thornton School graduate program, where they study with its esteemed faculty: Jeffrey Kahane (Sung Chang) and Ralph Kirshbaum (Bingxia Lu). Joanna Lee recently earned her DMA at USC studying with Margaret Batjer. Tanner Menees is an Artist Diploma candidate studying with Paul Coletti at the Colburn School, where he also earned his Bachelor of Music.

Los Angeles Ensemble perform Andante cantabile
from Schumann's Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47

Friday, October 6, 2017 at 12:15 p.m.

One of the Most Respected Portuguese Musicians

Pianist Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro

Portuguese Pianist

Pianist Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro is regarded as one of the most respected Portuguese musicians. Besides performing as a recitalist and a chamber artist worldwide, he is in demand as a concerto soloist and has performed with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa, and the Orquestra Nacional do Porto, to name a few.

Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro studied in Portugal at the Superior School of Music in Porto and continued at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where he was awarded a Doctorate in Piano Performance. At the present, Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro is Professor at the Instituto Superior de Estudos Interculturais e Transdisciplinares, in Almada, and at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, in Porto.

Bach / Vivaldi : Allegro BWV972

Friday, November 3, 2017 at 12:15 p.m.

Hausmann Quartet

Hausmann Quartet

                            ALEX GREENBAUM cello    ISAAC ALLEN violin
BRAM GOLDSTEIN violin    ANGELA CHOONG viola                  

Now in its 11th season, the Hausmann Quartet has established itself an integral part of the cultural life of Southern California as faculty Artists-in-Residence at San Diego State University and Ensemble-in-Residence at Mainly Mozart. Winner of the Beverly Hills National Auditions, the Rotenburg International Chamber Music Competition, and the Morrison International Fellowship Award, the Hausmann Quartet was one of only two American quartets chosen to participate in both the Beijing International Quartet Competition and the Banff International Quartet Competition. The quartet is named after Robert Hausmann, the eminent 19th-century German cellist and founding member of the Joachim Quartet.

The Hausmann Quartet and the Maritime Museum of San Diego have partnered to present Haydn Voyages: Music at the Maritime, a quarterly concert series aboard Berkeley - an 1898 steam ferryboat that operated for 60 years on San Francisco Bay. Concerts aboard this National Historic Landmark, docked in downtown San Diego next to Star of India, explore the evolution of the string quartet through the lens of Joseph Haydn's quartet cycle.

Hausmann Quartet's innovative Haydn Voyages project

Friday, December 1, 2017 at 12:15 p.m.

Ensemble-in-Residence at the
Claire Trevor School of the Arts at UC Irvine


Trio Céleste

                              IRYNA KRECHKOVSKY violin
ROSS GASWORTH cello                                    

Based in Orange County, Trio Céleste was appointed Ensemble-in-Residence at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at UC Irvine. The Trio has already taken on several large-scale projects, including performances of the complete Beethoven Trios and performances of Beethoven's Triple Concerto with the UCI Symphony Orchestra in June of 2012. The Trio is a winner of the Beverly Hills National Auditions and the principal Ensemble-in-Residence at the new series, Chamber Music OC. A favorite on Classical Crossroads' concerts, this will be Trio Céleste's third appearance.

Trio Céleste performs 3rd movement of Beethoven's Archduke Trio

Friday, January 5, 2018 at 12:15 p.m.

The Organist at Westwood Presbyterian Church

Namhee Han, organ


Playing from the heart defines Namhee Han's approach to music making. Namhee holds Master's and Doctoral degrees in organ performance from UCLA. She has been a featured artist at National and Regional Conventions of the American Guild of Organists. A favorite on numerous Classical Crossroads' concerts when they resided in Manhattan Beach, Namhee Han is making her fourth appearance at the Torrance venue. She performs on Southern California's leading organs including the magnificent instruments at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and First Congregational Church of Los Angeles.

Friday, February 2, 2018 at 12:15 p.m.

Richard Strauss's Enoch Arden
A Melodrama for Narrator and Piano on the
1864 Poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Read a Synopsis

Reprise of Their Performance on New York City's Bargemusic

Pianist Pavid Kaplan            Actor €Sherman Howard€

         Pianist                                Actor          

American actor Sherman Howard enjoys an esteemed and wide-ranging career in theater, films, and television. In addition, he has a passion for classical music. He has appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Rachmaninoff's The Bells (inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's poem) and in the role of Prospero in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra's presentation of Sibelius' suite of incidental music to Shakespeare's The Tempest.

New York-based pianist David Kaplan is well known to aficionados in Southern California, where he grew up and attended UCLA. New York Times chief music critic Anthony Tommasini picked David's performance at Manhattan's (Le) Poisson Rouge of Schumann's Davidsbündlertänze, interspersed with commissioned compositions, as one of the Best Classical Music Performances of 2015. David was recently awarded the Doctorate of Musical Arts at Yale, where he studied with Claude Frank.

Friday, March 2, 2018 at 12:15 p.m.

Fast-Rising Soprano from the South Bay

Jessie Tisdale, soprano & Mark Salters, piano

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"The exquisite quality of Jessie's presentation made her selections, including some of the world's greatest melodies, seem freshly rediscovered."

Soprano Jessie Tisdale has performed numerous opera and oratorio-soloist roles. She holds a Bachelor's degree from Pepperdine University and a Master's degree in Opera Performance from Arizona State University. Jessie was named as a Recommended Artist at the Beverly Hills National Auditions.

Pianist Mark Salters is opera co-director, vocal coach, and pianist at California State University, Fullerton. He has accompanied master classes by noted artists including Frederica Von Stade, Roberta Alexander, Vladamir Chernov, Carlo Bergonzi, Sherill Milnes, Madame Régine Crespin, Richard Bonynge, Rodney Gilfry, George Shirley, Carol Neblett, Horst Günther, Marni Nixon, as well as many others.

Friday, April 6, 2018 at 12:15 p.m.

Beverly Hills National Auditions Winner

David Kaplan, piano


"Mr. Kaplan played Schumann's score and the new contributions to it with command, elegance and character." ~ Anthony Tommasini, Chief Music Critic, The New York Times

New York-based pianist David Kaplan is well known to aficionados in Southern California, where he grew up and attended UCLA. New York Times chief music critic Anthony Tommasini picked David's performance at Manhattan's (Le) Poisson Rouge of Schumann's Davidsbündlertänze, interspersed with commissioned compositions, as one of the Best Classical Music Performances of 2015. David was recently awarded the Doctorate of Musical Arts at Yale, where he studied with Claude Frank.

Friday, May 4, 2018 at 12:15 p.m.

Peninsula Symphony
2018 Knox Competition Winner

€Victor Shlyakhtenko€, piano


In cooperation with the Peninsula Symphony, Classical Crossroads presents the winner of the Knox Competition in recital on the First Fridays at First! ~  fff series. Sixteen-year-old Victor Shlyakhtenko has been studying piano at the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles under the direction of Teresa de Jong Pombo since the age of five. His most recent honors include winning the Music Center's Spotlight competition and First Place and a Special Prize for the best performance of a piece from Années de Pèlerinage in the 2016 Los Angeles International Liszt Competition. Victor has appeared as a piano soloist with the Orange County Symphony, Los Angeles Doctors Symphony, Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Huntington Beach Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Collective of Orange County, South Coast Symphony, as well as the Colburn Youth Orchestra and Colburn Concert Choir. Victor is a recipient of the Richard D. Colburn scholarship at the Colburn School.

Friday, June 1, 2018 at 12:15 p.m.

Oakwood Brass

Oakwood Brass

Founded in 2009, Oakwood Brass seeks to revitalize brass chamber music through lively, engaging performances of repertoire intentionally selected to attract new listeners to classical instrumentation. Its members trained at some of the finest schools locally and across the nation, including CalArts, The Colburn School, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, USC Thornton School of Music, Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin, Cleveland Institute of Music, and Northwestern University.

In a program sponsored by Classical Crossroads, Oakwood Brass also will perform outreach concerts in local schools.

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