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First Fridays at First! ~ fff
2023-2024 Concert Series
The Second Sundays at Two concert series, graciously hosted as a gift to the community by Rolling Hills United Methodist Church, sprang to life in January 2009. The near-perfect acoustics and excellent sight lines of the church's sanctuary soon made the series a favorite of aficionados and performing artists alike. Word spread on the classical music scene, and the series now draws leading artists from across the nation and around the world. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the concerts have been streamed over the internet since March 2020, and the series was brought under the nonprofit umbrella of Classical Crossroads, Inc. The concerts will continue to be simultaneously livestreamed even as Covid recedes.
For information, call Classical Crossroads at (310) 316-5574 or click here.
Free admission - Donations Appreciated
Are Performed in Front of a Live Audience
Advance Reservations Requested to Attend in Person
With consent of the artists, the concerts may be made available for on-demand streaming from Classical Crossroads' Vimeo Showcase for about a month, beginning a few days following the concert.
To appreciate the livestreamed concerts, you are encouraged to set aside time as you would for a live-audience concert, get comfortable, and watch on a large-screen TV with a high-quality soundbar. Alternatively, watch on an iPad or other quality computer screen with headphones.
Click here to sign up above for e-mail concert reminders, which will have the internet links to the Vimeo livestreams of the concerts, or check back here shortly before concert time.
Hailed as "a first-class ensemble" (Orange County Register), "unfailingly stylish" (The Strad), "technically dazzling" (Long Beach Gazette), "flawless" (New York Concert Review), and "the epitome of what chamber musicians should be" (Palm Beach Daily News), Trio Céleste has firmly established itself as one of the most dynamic chamber music ensembles on the classical music scene today. Trio Céleste has performed hundreds of concerts worldwide including at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, New York's Carnegie Hall, and the Seoul Art Center in South Korea. In 2014, the ensemble was selected from over 500 applicants to be Artists-in-Residence at The Grand Canyon National Park.
Part II of a Concert in Two Parts*
Cellist/Conductor Cellist Pianist
Acclaimed as a passionate and virtuosic performer, Emilio Colón is highly sought after as a solo cellist, chamber musician, conductor, composer, and pedagogue. In 2017, Emilio was named Artist of the Year by the New York Classical Music Society. Notable appearances as soloist include the National Symphony of Ukraine, Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony of Istanbul, Reno Chamber Orchestra, and Guayaquil Symphony Orchestra. Emilio is on the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.
Cellist Cara Elise Colón has performed in chamber music collaborations throughout the world. Most recently she was invited to perform with the Perak Society of Performing Arts (PSPA) International Ensemble on tour in Malaysia, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Chamber Series and the Ware Center Concert Series in Pennsylvania, the Mammoth Lakes Music Festival, the Killington Music Festival in Vermont, and the Fundación Musical Chamber Series in Puerto Rico. Cara has held positions on the faculty of the Indiana University String Academy and the Indianapolis Academy of Music.
Hailed by the Los Angeles Times for his "impressive clarity, sense of structure and monster technique," Steven Vanhauwaert made his solo debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and has appeared in some of the world's leading venues, including the National Center of the Performing Arts, the Forbidden City Theatre in Beijing, the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, the Concertgebouw in Brugge, the Great Hall of the Budapest Liszt Conservatory, Segerstrom Hall, and the National Philharmonic Hall in Kiev. Mr. Vanhauwaert is a Steinway Artist.
* This Part II of a concert in two parts followed Part I presented on Classical Crossroads' "First Fridays at First! ~ fff" series.
. imagination and exceptionally vivid playing . . . Sense
of immense majesty, tempered by gentleness and quiet
rapture . . . ingenious humor"
Pianist Einav Yarden is praised for
her “...imagination and exceptionally vivid playing... Sense of
immense majesty, tempered by gentleness and quiet grace” (The
Washington Post), and “glistening rapture...ingenious
humor” (Tagesspiegel, Germany). She appeared as a soloist
with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra,
Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Beethoven Orchester Bonn,
Calgary Philharmonic, and others. As a recitalist she performed
at renowned festivals as La Roque d’Anthéron, Ruhr
Festival, and in the Berlin Philharmonie, the Berlin
Konzerthaus, Lincoln Center, Phillips Collection,
Bayreuth's Markgräfliches Opernhaus, and other halls.
a Reprise of the Livestream
pianist of unerring warm-toned refinement, revealing
Pianist Robert Thies's solo recitals are highly regarded by aficionados for his consummate musicianship and his sensitive artistic interpretations. Thies first captured worldwide attention in 1995 when he won the Gold Medal at the Second International Prokofiev Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia. Robert Thies enjoys a diverse career as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, and collaborative artist.
Advance Reservations Are Requested to Attend in Person
Watch the Livestream
Stars of Tomorrow
Winner of USC's 2023 Ofiesh Quartet Competition
from Their Soon-To-Be-Recorded Album
Violinist Pianist Flutist
AMBROISE AUBRUN STEVEN JOCELYN AUBRUN VANHAUWAERT
Hailed as a "marvelous violinist" (France Musique) with "sensitive tone" (Pizzicato Magazine) and "tremendous ease, suppleness and beauty of sound" (Nice-Matin), French violinist Ambroise Aubrun has performed extensively in Europe and North America in halls such as Salzburg Haus Für Mozart, Yerevan Khachaturian Grand Hall, Los Angeles Broad Stage, Zipper Hall, Chicago Bradley Hall, and Paris Hotel des Invalides. He has shared the stage with Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Scott St. John, Martin Chalifour, FredSherry, Clive Greensmith, Carrie Dennis, Richard O'Neill, Rohan de Saram, Steven Vanhauwaert, and the Borroméo and Ebène string quartets, among others.
Hailed by the Los Angeles Times for his "impressive clarity, sense of structure and monster technique," Steven Vanhauwaert has garnered a wide array of accolades, including the First Prize at the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition. Mr. Vanhauwaert made his solo debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and has appeared in some of the world's leading venues, including the National Center of the Performing Artsin Beijing, the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, the Concertgebouw in Brugge, the Great Hall of the Budapest Liszt Conservatory, the Forbidden City Theatre in Beijing,Segerstrom Hall, and the National Philharmonic Hall in Kiev. Artistic Director of Classical Crossroads' Second Sundays at Two series, Mr. Vanhauwaert is a Steinway Artist.
Winner of three international competitions, French flutist Jocelyn Aubrun is principal flute at the Orchester National de Lyon. He has played concertos as a soloist with National d'Ile de France (Reinecke), Krakow Orchestra (Penderecki), Cannes Orchestra (Mozart), and Lyon Orchestra (Bach, Mozart). Jocelyn shares the stage in chamber music with noted artists such as Alasdair Beaston, Guillaume Sutre, Vincent Warnier, Kyunghee Kim, Lise Berthaud, Nora Gubisch, Ton Koopman, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Emmanuel Rossfelder, Lorenzo Gatto, Vardan Mamikomian. He studied at the Nice Conservatory, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de danse de Lyon, and the Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève, where he earned a Master's degree.
Gregory and Mr. Kaplan . . . played . . . with heroic
abandon . . .
Australian flutist Catherine Gregory, winner of the Pro Musicis International Award, has performed around the globe in some of the world's foremost venues -- from Alice Tully Hall in New York, to London's Milton Court, Hamburg's new Elbphilharmonie, and the Sydney Opera House. The New York Times has called her playing "magically mysterious," also writing that "Ms. Gregory left a deep impression, her sound rich and fully present." She has been a guest of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Philadelphia CMS, Caramoor, Bay Chamber Festival, and the Southern Cross Soloists, as well as on tour with the Australian and Orpheus Chamber Orchestras. She made her Carnegie Hall recital debut in 2019.
A member of the UCLA piano faculty and a Yamaha/Bösendorfer Artist, David Kaplan has been called "excellent and adventurous" by The New York Times, and praised by the Boston Globe for "grace and fire" at the keyboard. He has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Britten Sinfonia and Das Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, and has performed recitals at the Ravinia Festival, Sarasota Opera House, Washington's National Gallery, Music on Main in Vancouver, and Strathmore. Kaplan's New Dances of the League of David, a recital infusing Schumann's Davidsbündlertänze with 16 new works was cited among the "Best Classical Music Performances of 2015" by The New York Times.
The cello quintet Sakura's name honors the great mentor and artist Ralph Kirshbaum, with whom all five members studied at the USC Thornton School of Music. Sakura (Japanese) and Kirschbaum (German) have the same meaning: "cherry tree," whose blossoms each have five petals. Hailed as "brilliant" and "superb" by Mark Swed in the Los Angeles Times, the Sakura Cello Quintet is built on the artistry and virtuosity of its members.
Part II of a Concert in Two Parts*
Acclaimed cellist Dmitri Atapine has been described as an artist with "brilliant technical chops" (Gramophone), whose playing is "highly impressive throughout" (The Strad). He has appeared on some of the world's foremost stages, including Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Zankel and Weill halls at Carnegie Hall, Forbidden City Concert Hall, National Taipei Concert Hall, and the National Auditorium of Spain. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Atapine frequently performs with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He is Professor of Cello at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Described as "a pianist with power, precision, and tremendous glee" (Gramophone Magazine) and praised as "very sensitive" (Washington Post), Hyeyeon Park has appeared on leading concert stages throughout the world, including on the Dame Myra Hess Recital Series in Chicago; the Trinity Wall Street Series, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, and Merkin Recital Hall in New York City; the Philips Collection and Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; and the Seoul Art Center. She is Associate Professor of Piano at the University of Nevada, Reno.
* This Patr II of a concert in two parts follows Part I presented on Classical Crossroads' "First Fridays at First! ~ fff" series.
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