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MARCH 7th 2021 <<< Back to concerts DOROTHY CHANDLER PAVILION at 4.00 pm

Arts:

R. SCHUMANN: “DICHTERLIEBE” OP 48 FOR SOPRANO & PIANO
C. SAINT-SAENS: STRING QUARTET N.1 IN E MINOR OP 112
F. CHOPIN: PIANO CONCERTO N.1 IN E MINOR OP 11 (arranged for piano and string quintet by Chopin)

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Artists:

Elissa JOHNSTON Soprano
Hailed by Musical America for “her voice pure and ethereal, her expression embracing and heartfelt”, Elissa Johnston has appeared in a wide range of repertory. Her orchestral engagements include appearances with the Atlanta Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Oregon Bach Festival, San Francisco Contemporary Players and the Pasadena Symphony. Elissa’s performances in the 2010/11 season include Haydn’s Creation with The Los Angeles Master Chorale, Barber’s Knoxville, Summer of 1916 with Jacaranda Music, Bach Christmas Oratorio and Handel’s Messiah with the Telemann Chamber Orchestra in concerts in Tokyo and Osaka, the American premiere of Him Sophy’s The Fall of Angkor with Southwest Chamber Music, Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock and Britten’s The Poet’s Echo with Dilijan Music, David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion with Jacaranda Music and Schumann songs with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra on their West Side Connections concert series at the Broad Stage. Recent highlights include Messiaen’s Harawi with pianist Vicki Ray at Jacaranda Music and Pianospheres, Bach’s B Minor Mass with Helmuth Rilling at the USC Thornton School of Music’s 125th Anniversary celebration, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Baroque Conversations concerts led by Monica Huggett, music of Couperín with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Chamber Music Society led by Thomas Adès, and Brahms Requiem with the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Other recent appearances include Handel’s Radamisto with Musica Angelica, Bach solo cantatas 184 and 202 with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and Berg’s Lyric Suite with the Denali String Quartet. Elissa appeared in the acclaimed world premiere of SPIRAL XII by Chinary Ung with the Los Angeles Master Chorale at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Previously she sang the world premiere of Aura by Mr. Ung with Grammy Award winning Southwest Chamber Music. She subsequently recorded Aura with SWCM and toured with the ensemble in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Elissa has performed numerous times with the L.A. Philharmonic’s New Music Group, both in Los Angeles and at the Ojai Festival, with conductors Tan Dun, David Zinman, Daniel Harding and Steven Stucky. She made her Lincoln Center debut singing Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes with the New York City Ballet and was subsequently invited back to premiere Morgen!, a set of 10 orchestral songs by Richard Strauss choreographed by Peter Martins. Elissa also appeared in the New York Philharmonic’s Copland Festival and Lincoln Center’s Stravinsky Festival. Her recital appearances include programs at the Aldeburgh Festival in England and at the Aspen Festival’s Winter Music Series with composer Ricky Ian Gordon. Elissa can also be heard on dozens of film soundtracks. She is the featured vocal soloist in Serenata Schizophrana by Danny Elfman which was released on the Sony Classical label and featured on the IMAX release Deep Sea 3D.

.............................................................................................................................. Benjamin HOFFMAN Violin
Violinist Benjamin Hoffman has been heard across Asia, Europe, and the US, performing alongside artists such as Ani Kavafian, David Shifrin, Peter Frankl, Wolfram Christ, Jorja Fleezanis, and Gary Hoffman among others, in various chamber music formations at festivals such as Yellow Barn, Chamber Music Northwest, Aspen, and Music Academy of the West.  In his Carnegie Hall debut, he performed Aaron Jay Kernis’s “Mozart en Route” and Hindemith’s “Kammermusik Nr. 1.”
Recently, he had the honor of performing before UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon as a member of Sejong Soloists at the United Nations in New York.

  Mr. Hoffman served as concertmaster of the Yale Philharmonia under the baton of John Adams at Avery Fisher Hall in New York to critical acclaim. 
He has also appeared as guest concertmaster with the New Haven Symphony, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony, the Szechuan Orchestra of China, Symphony Song in Seoul, Korea, and the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra. In a recent performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, he was praised for his “virtuosity and deep feeling…impeccable intonation [and] a stirring, inspired performance.” Other appearances as a soloist have included works ranging from solo Bach to Brahms’s Double Concerto to contemporary premieres.

.............................................................................................................................. Jason ISSOKSON Violin
Concerto highlights include engagements with the Fort Worth Symphony, Aspen Concert Orchestra, Waco Symphony, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, East Texas Symphony Orchestra, Great Falls Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra di Teatro San Carlo, and the Orchestra Internazionale d’Italiae, among others.

Jason was a founding member of the Argus Quartet, where he served as a violinist for six seasons. His busy performance schedule has brought him to many prestigious venues and festivals, including multiple appearances at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, as well as recent and upcoming performances at Washington Performing Arts (DC), UCLA’s Clark Memorial Library (CA), Merkin Hall (NY), Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series (NY), Valley of the Moon Music Festival (CA), Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (IL), Purdue Convocations (IN), Kravis Center for the Performing Arts (FL), Chamber Music Society of Detroit (MI), Amherst College (MA), and Juneau Jazz and Classics (AK).

Jason has performed chamber music alongside some of the most important musicians of our time, including recent appearances at the Ravinia Festival with pianists Leon Fleisher and Misha Dichter. Other highlights include collaborations and appearances with the Brentano Quartet, Attacca Quartet, and Spektral Quartet, cellist Astrid Schween of the Juilliard String Quartet, flutist Carol Wincenc, pianist Anne-Marie MacDermott and guitarist Eliot Fisk.

Jason’s playing has garnered a number of awards including the top prize at the International Violin Competition ‘Andrea Postacchini,’ third prize at the International Alberto Curci Violin Competition, and the prize for best performance of a commissioned work at the International Max Rostal Competition in Berlin. Chamber music honors include first prize at the 2017 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competiton, as well as first prize at the Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition.
As a member of the Argus Quartet, Jason was part of the Fellowship Quartet in Residence at the Yale School of Music from 2015-2017, and the Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School, from 2017-2019. Jason studied with the violinist Midori at both the Manhattan School of Music and the University of Southern California.

.............................................................................................................................. Meredith CRAWFORD Viola
Violist Meredith Crawford, a Maine native, studied under the tutelage of Professor Peter Slowik at Oberlin College and Conservatory. She graduated in 2009 after completing Oberlin’s double-degree program with both a B.M. in Viola Performance and a B.A. in English Literature. After being inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda honor society, she received the prestigious Prize for Musicianship, awarded to students judged to be “the most outstanding of those elected to Pi Kappa Lambda.” Crawford was the first-prize winner of the Ohio Viola Society’s annual competition in 2007, the 2009 Skokie Valley Symphony Annual Young Artist Competition and the 2009-10 Oberlin Conservatory Competition—the first win for a violist in over a decade.

At the age of 22—before the completion of her senior year at Oberlin Conservatory—she won her first orchestral audition and a seat with Pacific Symphony. In September 2012, she was awarded the position of assistant principal viola and five years later, she won her current position with the orchestra as principal viola. Additionally, she has been performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic since April 2010, and more recently with the Riverside Philharmonic (as principal viola), the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Irvine’s Mozart Classical Orchestra. Crawford is also an active chamber musician, performing frequently with the L.A.-based Salastina Music Society, the Historic Portsmouth Chamber Music Series in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and the High Desert Chamber Music series in Bend, Ore.
Crawford is also on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina, where she is assistant principal viola of the faculty orchestra under the baton of Gerard Schwarz. She currently resides in beautiful Belmont Shore (where her neighbors include Pacific Symphony’s principal flutist Benjamin Smolen and principal oboist Jessica Pearlman) with her two cats, Twinkie and Rahula.

............................................................................................................................................................................. Joey AMINI Cellist
Cellist Joey Amini has performed as soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician throughout North America, Switzerland, France, Germany, Japan, and Botswana. His many performances include his New York debut recital in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center and Beethoven’s “Triple Concerto” with the Oakland Symphony; at the Ravinia Festival, Smithsonian Institution, Verbier Festival and Academy in Switzerland, and the Rencontres Musicales d’Evian; on Great Performers at Lincoln Center and the Curtis Alumni Recital series; and for The Creative Coalition and Americans for the Arts. He has also performed chamber music with André Watts, Barbara Hendricks, Nigel Kennedy, Cho-Liang Lin, Mischa Maisky, Julian Lloyd Webber, and Sharon Isbin.

A graduate of Curtis- where he studied with David Soyer, and Juilliard- where he studied with Aldo Parisot, Joey Amini was a co-founder, the Artistic Director, and an Artist Member of the New York-based chamber music society, America’s Dream Chamber Artists, with whom he performed throughout the U.S. Joey Amini has performed as the cellist of Mark O’Connor’s piano trio- including with Rosanne Cash, as Principal Cellist of Orpheus and the New Jersey Symphony, and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra. He has performed countless world and U.S. premieres of solo and chamber music works; his performances have been heard on NPR, WQXR, and WNYC; and he has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, and Tages Anzeiger (Switzerland); Musical America, Chamber Music, The Strad, Symphony, and Muso magazines; and on Voice of America broadcasts.

.............................................................................................................................. Geoff OSIKA Double Bass
Geoff Osika credits his musical training to three men: his father David, a fine trumpeter and music teacher who indicated that in order to be taken seriously as a musician the 15-year old would have to do more than just play in a rock band; John Schaeffer, former principal bass of the New York Philharmonic, who in two and a half years’ time conditioned the young bassist to gain acceptance at both the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music; and Roger Scott, former principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra, who opened the methodical bassist’s ears to a deeper understanding of orchestral playing and repertoire.
After Curtis, Geoff embarked on several years of full-time orchestral jobs. From 1992 to 2003 he held positions with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galícia in Spain, and the Oregon Symphony. From each place he took with him a wealth of musical and life experiences.

Since settling in Los Angeles, Geoff has enjoyed the mysteries and rewards of freelancing, having performed as a substitute with the L.A. Opera, L.A. Chamber Orchestra, Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and the Pasadena Symphony. He continues to perform the orchestral repertoire on a regular basis, being the principal bass of the Riverside Philharmonic and the Long Beach Symphony.
Geoff is also part of the recording industry in Los Angeles having played for motion picture and video games. In the summers, he is the dedicated bass player for the Pageant of the Masters, the unique annual tradition in Laguna Beach.

.............................................................................................................................. Vijay VENKATESH Piano
Hailed by the Herald-Tribune for his “dazzling pianism verging on the impossible, effortless technical command and authority with a sense of poetry and refinement that belies his years,” Indian-American pianist Vijay Venkatesh has been recognized as a pianist with profound musicianship, sparkling pianism and an innate sense of partnership.

Venkatesh has rapidly established a major international reputation after winning Gold Medal in the San Jose, Seattle, Zimmerli, World Piano, and Waring International Piano Competitions. Recent and upcoming concerto highlights include performances with Seattle Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, Roanoke Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, Redlands Symphony, USC Thornton Symphony, and more. He has performed as soloist with such celebrated conductors as Jeffrey Kahane, Ludovic Morlot, and David Lockington, to name a few.

Venkatesh has been honored as a Davidson Fellow Laureate at the Library of Congress, USC Discovery Scholar, Parnassus Society Prize Winner, and Grand Prize Winner of the Los Angeles Music Center’s Spotlight Awards.
Venkatesh has performed on NPR’s “From the Top,” Chicago’s Dame Myra Hess series, and as guest artist at the Aspen, Brevard, Banff, Vienna, Sarasota, and Newport Music Festivals.
Originally from California, he holds degrees from USC Thornton and IU Jacobs School of Music, where he was a recipient of the Barbara and David Jacobs Fellowship under the tutelage of Norman Krieger and André Watts. He has additionally studied with Jeffrey Kahane, Menahem Pressler and Murray Perahia. He currently pursues an Artist Diploma at the Colburn School in Los Angeles with Fabio Bidini.

.............................................................................................................................. François CHOUCHAN Piano
French/American pianist/melodist François Chouchan is no stranger to awards and fame. From the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris (instructed by Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen and Germaine Mounier) to the Viotti International Piano Competition in Italy, his outstanding talent has been recognized all over Europe. Not only has Chouchan performed as a soloist with orchestras and Chamber Music groups in many countries, but he has also been invited to play during Master Classes by several superior Talents such as M. Rostropovitch, Nikita Magaloff, G.Sebok or Magda Tagliaferro, who all acknowledged his unique sensitivity and creativity.

In Los Angeles, where Chouchan has resided since 2007, he has performed at the LACMA Museum for the “Sundays Live Series”, at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall, at Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Northridge (with the Music Guild). He has also appeared at the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Monica, at The Zipper Hall and at the Brandeis Institute, and for the Ermitage Foundation.

Chouchan’s deep musical sensibilities. his passion, perseverance and open mind are recognized by professionals and spectators alike who regard him as an inspiring, sensitive and creative musician. He offers a “hip” approach to the classic music and his easy-going attitude and fresh approach to the genre has earned him the affection of fans of all ages, helping develop a younger audience for the art of Chamber Music.

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