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First Fridays at First! ~ fff
CLASSICAL CROSSROADS, INC.
2016-2017 Concert Series
Talented rising artists from around the world are selected at the Beverly Hills National Auditions and presented monthly in the South Bay on The Interludes concert series, 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 concerts also are presented on the preceding Friday evenings on the Music By The Sea recital series in the beautiful Encinitas Library with its expansive view of the Pacific Ocean. From January through June, the concerts are presented the following Sundays on Beverly Hills' Music In The Mansion recital series in the Beverly Hills' historic Greystone Mansion.
"The series is a much-sought opportunity for young performers...the talent level is extremely high." ~ Los Angeles Times
For information, call Classical Crossroads at (310) 316-5574 or click here.
Free admission - Donations Appreciated
Encore Saxophone Quartet
DAVID BRENNAN tenor saxophone
Recent winners in the 2016 Beverly Hills National Auditions competition, the Encore Saxophone Quartet is among Los Angeles' premier performing ensembles. Formed in 1984 by internationally renowned saxophonist Douglas Masek, the Quartet's extensive repertoire spans original compositions and arrangements that bridge styles from the Classical to Modern Jazz.
The Quartet's unique blending of innovative and diverse programming, along with informational narrative, transports its listeners on a musical journey that exhibits the many colorful possibilities encompassing the sound spectrum of the saxophone in a quartet setting.
Individually, the members of the Quartet are distinguished soloists and chamber music artists who perform nationally and internationally. In addition to performing, the members are dedicated teachers that serve on the faculties of UCLA, Vanguard University, La Sierra University, and California State University at Fullerton, where they teach private lessons, coach chamber music, and mentor the next generation of emerging musical artists.
Pianist HUNG-TAO LIN
Taiwanese pianist and film composer Hung-Tao Lin enjoys a fast-rising musical career. He has received scholarships from Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee, the USC Thornton School of Music, and the Taiwanese Ministry of Education. Hung-Tao has won top prizes in piano competitions in Taiwan, including First Prize in the national finals of the 2008 Taiwan Student Music Competition, and First Prize in the Taiwan finals of the 2007 Vienna Music Education National Music Competition. He has performed in the United States, Taiwan, Germany, France, and Brazil.
Hung-Tao has scored more than forty films from Taiwan, Malaysia, and the United States. He is currently studying film scoring with Emmy Award-winning composer Bruce Broughton in Los Angeles.
Hung-Tao holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film with a minor in Music from the National Taiwan University of Arts and a Master of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Southern California. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance at USC with Kevin Fitz Gerald, with selected fields in Theory and Analysis, Film Scoring, and Keyboard Collaborative Arts with Dr. Alan Smith and Bernadene Blaha.
The Los Angeles-based Mühlfeld Trio is quickly establishing itself on the forefront of new chamber music ensembles. The Trio takes its name in honor of clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld (1856-1907), whose playing so inspired Johannes Brahms near the end of his life that he came out of retirement and composed several works for him, including the famous trio for clarinet, cello, and piano. The Mühlfeld Trio is returning for its second appearance on The Interludes series.
JUAN-MIGUEL HERNANDEZ viola
An artist defined by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as "...tender, lyrical, loaded with personality...", Canadian-born violist Juan-Miguel Hernandez is also recognized by the Washington Post for drawing "...the sweetest, most sonorous tone...," Juan-Miguel won the First Prize at the 16th International Johannes Brahms Competition in Austria, adding to other top prizes won at the National Canadian Music Competition and the National Sphinx Competition. Juan-Miguel has appeared as concerto soloist with the Atlanta, Seattle, Colorado, and Pacific Symphonies, as well as the Rochester Philharmonic and the Chicago Sinfonietta. He is violist of the legendary Fine Arts Quartet "One of the gold-plated names in chamber music." (Washington Post). From 2005 to 2010, he was a member of the famed iPalpiti orchestra of international laureates.
Italian pianist Jacopo Giacopuzzi has been the outright winner of numerous
international competitions, and most recently was among the top winners of the 2014
Los Angeles International Liszt Competition. He has studied at leading schools
worldwide including the Conservatorio "E.F. Dall'Abaco" of Verona (undergraduate
diploma cum laude in 2006, Master's degree cum laude, 2011), Accademia Chigiana in
Siena, Salzburg Mozarteum, and Liszt Hochschule in Weimar (2008-2010), Music
Academy of the West under the guidance of Jerome Lowenthal (2013), and Pianofest in
the Hamptons (2014). Jacopo Giacopuzzi is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Piano
Performance at the USC Thornton School of Music with Professor Kevin Fitz Gerald.
This concert marks Jacopo's second appearance on The Interludes.
Sunset Club Trio
French-born violinist Étienne Gara, German-born guitarist Ines Thomé and American guitarist Michael Gratovich met at the USC Thornton School and founded Sunset Club Trio to make a new approach to the classical violin and piano repertoire. Carefully choosing programs where these instruments can strive, their combination enables revisiting sound textures of the classical masterpieces. Along with newly commissioned works, Sunset Club Trio brings a whole new perspective and energy to the stage. Welcome to a new sound dimension!
In addition to the Sunset Club Trio winning the 2016 Beverly Hills National Auditions, each of its members were individually winners in previous years and have appeared separately on The Interludes series in past seasons.
CINDY LAM piano MICHAEL MORTAROTTI alto saxophone
The soprano and alto saxophone, with their unmatched communicative sonorities, fall
within the central ranges of the violin and cello of the classical piano trio, thus opening
its rich repertoire to the compelling ensemble sound of the innovative Mana Trio. The
Trio's members, pianist Cindy Lam, and saxophonists Michael Mortarotti and
Michael Hernandez, are individually highly talented virtuosos of their instruments.
Two Beverly Hills National Auditions Winners
MIKI AOKI piano ROLF HAAS violin
Praised for "genuinely memorable performance" by BBC Music Magazine, pianist Miki Aoki's highlights of the recent seasons include a solo tour in South Africa, chamber music performances at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall, Munetsugu Hall in Nagoya, a solo recital at Philia Hall Yokohama, and performances at the Copenhagen Summer Festival, Sunnmøre Festival (Norway), and a series of recitals in Hawaii and California. Her critically acclaimed recordings have garnered praise from Fanfare Magazine as "graceful, expressive and transparent performance," and The Ensemble Magazine (Germany) wrote, "... pianist Miki Aoki interprets magically." Ms. Aoki holds degrees from Indiana University, Yale University, and Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg. She is currently a senior lecturer at Graz University for Music and the Performing Arts in Austria and she frequently plays for the prestigious Kronberg Academy as a staff pianist.
Described as "fearless" by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Rolf Haas is blazing an eye-opening new trail as a classical violinist, combining extreme virtuosity with an expansive sound palette. He performs regularly with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and has performed recitals worldwide, including in such notable venues as Budapest's Palace of Arts and Zagreb's Lisinski Concert Hall. His primary studies were at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Graz, Austria, at the University of Minnesota, and with his grandparents Profs. Harry and Sally Nordstrom. Mr. Haas plays on his grandfather's Gagliano, the same instrument that his grandfather's teacher, Louis Krasner, used in the world premiere of Alban Berg's Violin Concerto in 1936.
"The beauty of Temirzhan Yerzhanov's piano tone - not voluptuous, never cloying, yet luminous and firm - was immediately apparent as was his clarity of texture...the pianism was unfailingly brilliant," ~ Musical Opinion on his London debut recital at Wigmore Hall.
Originally from Kazakhstan, Temirzhan Yerzhanov launched his international career by winning the Gold Medal at the International Robert Schumann Piano Competition in Zwickau, Germany. He has since soloed with leading orchestras worldwide. Temirzhan has appeared in some of the world's most prestigious venues including London's Wigmore Hall, Berlin's Konzerthaus, Leipzig's Gewandhaus, Dresden's Sempergalerie, Paris's Salle Gaveau, St. Petersburg's Philharmonic Grand Halls, Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, and New York's Merkin Hall. A graduate and former faculty member of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Temirzhan Yerzhanov studied piano with Professor Mikhail Voskresensky.
Firebird Balalaika Ensemble
"Firebird is musically superb!" ~ Los Angeles Times
Winners of the 2016 Beverly Hills National Auditions, the Firebird Balalaika Ensemble has built a reputation as a unique and dynamic group, often adding vocalists and dancers to their program. Performing on the round-bodied domra, triangular-shaped balalaikas, and the bayan/accordion, Firebird's repertoire ranges from traditional Russian, Ukrainian, and Eastern European songs to well-known classics and original compositions.
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