Brillante, a mother daughter piano team consisting of Lenora Brown and Heather Smits, perform Lenora’s own sparkling arrangements of beloved classical pieces. They were first place winners in the 2017 U.S. Classical International Piano Competition and performed at Carnegie Hall. Recently, they were featured artists at the International Mu Phi Epsilon Convention in Denver, the Temple Square Concert Series in Salt Lake, the 2019 MTNA fundraising banquet and the World Piano Conference in Serbia.
University of Utah Professor and Steinway Artist, Lenora Ford Brown, has won international piano competitions and performed at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall and throughout the Far East. She is a certified Music Teachers National Association teacher and has been a soloist with the Utah Symphony.
Heather Smits is a nationally certified teacher through MTNA and serves on the board of the Santa Cruz Branch of MTAC. She has been a piano teacher since 1992 and utilizes her psychology degree to inspire and connect with her students. Heather has extensive performing experience including a concerto performance with the BYU Chamber Orchestra.
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1979, by age 13, Mr. Szekely released his first commercial album and was sharing the stage with luminaries including Joan Baez and Don McClean. He was accepted to study classical cello performance at Interlochen Arts Academy before attending The Cleveland Institute of Music for his Bachelor’s Degree with Richard Aaron and the University of Southern California for graduate studies.
In 2015, Mr. Szekely founded the Jacob Szekely Trio and released their debut EP, which was hailed by critics and artists from Chick Corea to Rush Bassist Geddy Lee as a “Quantum Leap Forward” in pushing the boundaries of the instrument. Mr. Szekely is also in great demand as a sideman and session player in Los Angeles, having appeared in hundreds of commercials, television shows and movie scores. Mr. Szekely has also been a featured performer or solo cellist with popular artists including Mary J Blidge, Jay Z, Avril Lavigne and Rush.
In 2007, Mr. Szekely co- founded String Project Los Angeles, a music school and resource for the alternative string playing community, and serves as the artistic director. Mr. Szekely has also conducted over 100 residencies and master classes, and lectured at The American String Teachers Association’s (ASTA) national conference, The Jazz Educators Network (JEN) and The California Music Educators Association (CMEA). Mr. Szekely is a Yamaha Artist and Clinician.
Mr. Szekely will be performing on Saturday, July 4.
Gwhyneth Chen captured the world’s attention when she won the Grand Prix at the 1993 Ivo Pogorelich International Piano Competition in Los Angeles, the biggest cash prize ($100,000) in the history of piano competitions.
Born in Taiwan, Ms. Chen emigrated to the United States in 1980, where she continued her musical studies with Robert Turner and Aube Tzerko. She received her Bachelor and Master of Music from The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Martin Canin. While at the Juilliard School, she was twice the winner of the Gina Bachauer Scholarship Competition, where she was awarded a full tuition and stipend in 1989 and 1991. While in New York, her teachers have been Byron Janis and Yin Cheng Zong.
At the age of 12, she was the first prize winner of the MTAC Concerto Competition. She set the record by winning first prize in the Junior Division and subsequently the Senior Division of the Music Teachers National Association’s (MTNA) 50-state National Piano Competition. Ms. Chen continued to set records by winning the grand prize in both the International Recording Competition in the Collegiate Division when she was only in high school, and the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition.
Ms. Chen is a Steinway Artist who was selected to make a promotional video for Steinway’s SPIRIO piano and performed at the 165th anniversary at Beijing Steinway.
Ms. Chen will perform on Monday, July 6.
Southern California pianist-composer-bandleader Josh Nelson has performed with some of the most respected names in jazz, including Kurt Elling, John Pizzarelli, Benny Golson, Sheila Jordan, John Clayton, George Mraz, Jeff Hamilton, Dave Koz, Joe Chambers and Peter Erskine. Mr. Nelson also toured with legendary vocalist Natalie Cole for six years and continues to tour with vocalists Gaby Moreno, Freda Payne, Alicia Olatuja, Sara Gazarek, accordionist Richard Galliano, saxophonist Tom Scott, multi-instrumentalist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and violinist Christian Howes. He taught jazz for four years at Soka University and more recently at Cal State University Northridge. Mr. Nelson’s latest project, 2017’s The Sky Remains, is his love letter to Los Angeles. The third in his Discovery Project series, it unearths hidden gems and little-known stories about the composer’s hometown.
Mr. Nelson will perform with Alex Boneham (bass) and Dan Schnelle (drums).
The Josh Nelson Trio will perform on Monday, July 6.
Formed in 2018 out of a mutual love for chamber music, Cynthia Ellis (flute), David Chang (clarinet), and Jung-A Lee (piano) are Synergy Trio. Both Mr. Chang and Ms. Ellis are musicians with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, and Ms. Lee frequently performs on organ, harpsichord and piano with the Symphony at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.
Cynthia Ellis has been a member of the award-winning trio Les Amis Musicalles, winner of the National Flute Association Chamber Music competition in 2000. She has recorded several CDs of chamber music on the Centaur Label. You may read more at www.cindyellisflute.com.
David Chang has studied at USC, the Curtis Institute of Music, and Temple University, where he received his Master of Music degree. He has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and National Symphony, and toured Japan performing chamber music with principals of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Jung-A Lee received her DMA from Boston University, and, in addition to serving on the faculties of Vanguard University and Biola University, has given recitals in churches and concert halls all over the world including Italy, Germany, The United Kingdom, Hungary, Slovakia, Canada, China and South Korea. Her concert schedule this year includes international recitals in France, Belgium, England and the Netherlands. Visit her website at musicmissioninternational.org.
Synergy Trio will perform on Sunday, July 5.
John Duykers made his operatic debut with the Seattle Opera in 1966. Since then, he has appeared with many of the leading opera companies in the world including The Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Royal Opera Covent Garden, and Los Angeles Opera.
Mr. Duykers is particularly well known for his performances of contemporary music, having sung in 120 contemporary operas including 72 world premieres. He created the role of Chairman Mao in John Adams’ Nixon in China, which premiered with the Houston Grand Opera and has been performed throughout the world. Philip Glass has written three roles for Mr. Duykers, including The Visitor (in The Penal Colony) and the role of the Older Galileo in Galileo/Galilei. Paul Dresher has written several roles for Mr. Duykers, including his role as a king in The Tyrant, which premiered in 2003 and has appeared in various venues around the U.S.
In 1990, Mr. Duykers started a production company with Melissa Weaver (established as First Look Sonoma in 2010). They have created more than 25 new music theater performance works, including A.ga.pe with Hitomi Ikuma; Trespass Knot with composer Miguel Frasconi; and Serial Murderess, Winchester Rosary and D’Arc: Woman on Fire written and performed by Amanda Moody.
Mr. Duykers will perform on Sunday, July 5.
Alexander Treger, noted violinist, educator and conductor, joined the Pepperdine University Music Department as an Artist-in Residence in fall, 2013. The Russian-born Treger studied with renowned violinist David Oistrakh at the prestigious Moscow Conservatory. After a few years with the Moscow Radio Orchestra and the Israel Chamber Orchestra, where he held the post of Concertmaster/Soloist, Mr. Treger moved to the United States and joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1974. He became Assistant Concertmaster in 1978, and was appointed Concertmaster in 1985, a position he has held for 25 years. Mr. Treger won high praise for his numerous solo performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and at the Hollywood Bowl, and has also appeared as a soloist with other major U.S. orchestras. An avid chamber performer, he has collaborated in concerts with Radu Lupu, Yefim Bronfman, André Previn, Bernard Greenhouse, and Emanuel Ax.
Mr. Treger held the position of violin professor at UCLA from 1977 to 1997, and has given master classes around the world. He is currently the Music Director for the American Youth Symphony and Music Director/Conductor at Crossroads School, where he has developed a notable youth chamber orchestra. Under his leadership, the American Youth Symphony has performed at Carnegie Hall and Walt Disney Concert Hall, and received the hands-on support of world class musicians including Yefim Branfman, Sarah Chang, Midori, Johannes Moser, Alan Silvestri, and John Williams.
Mr. Treger will conduct the MTAC Convention Honors Orchestra on Friday, July 3.
Richard Kaufman has devoted much of his musical life to conducting and supervising music for film and television productions, as well as performing film and classical music in concert halls and on recordings. The 2018-2019 concert season marked his 27th season as Principal Pops Conductor of Orange County’s Pacific Symphony. He holds the permanent title of Pops Conductor Laureate with the Dallas Symphony, and is in his 13th season with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert series, “CSO at the Movies.” Mr. Kaufman regularly appears as a guest conductor with symphony orchestras throughout both the United States, and in May, 2015, made his conducting debut with the Boston Pops, substituting for John Williams at the Annual Pops Film Night.
As a violinist, Mr. Kaufman performed on numerous film and television scores including Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Saturday Night Fever, and (in a moment of desperation) Animal House. He has recorded with artists including John Denver, Burt Bacharach, Neil Sedaka, The Carpenters, Neil Diamond, and Ray Charles.
Mr. Kaufman joined the Music Department of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in 1984 as Music Coordinator, and for the next 18 years supervised music for all MGM television and animation projects. He received two Emmy Award nominations, one for the animated series “The Pink Panther” in the category of Outstanding Music Direction and Composition, and another for Outstanding Original Song co-authored for the series “All Dogs Go to Heaven.”
In April, 2012, Mr. Kaufman received the “Distinguished Alumni Award” from his alma mater, California State University Northridge, where he earned a B.A. in Music. While a student at CSUN, he composed the University’s Alma Mater and Fight Song.
Mr. Kaufman will speak on Friday, July 3
Ory Shihor is an award-winning pianist, renowned pedagogue, educator, and entrepreneur. He is the founding dean at the Colburn Music Academy, and teaches piano at the Colburn Conservatory. Ory also founded the Piano Talent Performance Academy, which provides in-person and conservatory-level online college audition and competition preparation training.
Aria Bella: Gloria Mendieta Gazave (voice), Anna Maria Mendieta (harp)
Gloria Mendieta Gazave is a classically trained soprano from San Francisco with a background in Musical Theater. Her repertoire spans Opera, Oratorio, Art Songs, Broadway, and Popular Ballads. Experienced in singing Sacred Music, including Latin Chant, she was a cantor for the San Francisco Archdiocese, and selected to perform for Pope John-Paul II. An alum of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Ms. Gazave performs as a soloist with orchestras and ensembles, enjoys singing for special events, and was recently chosen to be the featured Opera singer to promote a new product for the Kettle Chips Company.
Anna Maria Mendieta is the principle harpist with the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera. She has performed with orchestras and chamber music groups internationally including the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera and Ballet, Russian National Orchestra, Russian State Ballet; and was recently hired by the Los Angeles Philharmonic for a music video. Ms. Mendieta has performed for Pope Benedict XVI, President Clinton, President Gorbachev, the King and Queen of Spain; for National Hispanic Week in Washington D.C., and the World Youth Day events in Madrid. With many albums to her credit, Ms. Mendieta has appeared for movies, television, radio, and Emmy Awards. She has performed with Frederica von Stade, Josh Groban, Frank Sinatra Jr, Olivia Newton John, and Barry Manilow, who calls her his “favorite harpist”.
Justin Levitt began his musical journey at the age of 15. Since then, he has written hundreds of pieces, won seven MTAC state competition awards, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, written symphonies performed by professional orchestras, composed music for the Diablo Ballet, won a gold Telly Award for music, won his first award for best music at a film festival, released eight volumes of piano solos, had a composition published internationally in the AMEB (Australian Music Examination Board) syllabus.
During “Life Music,” Justin will present and describe pieces that put feelings and real-life experiences to music, and share why “Life Music” should become a known genre.
Ace Trio: Shannon Canchola (flute), Ryan Glass (clarinet), and Jason Stoll (piano)
Coined a “Musical Tour de Force” by the Mountaineer Progress Newspaper, ACE Trio is a Los Angeles-based classical modern ensemble rapidly distinguishing itself as one of the newest leading groups of its generation. Originally formed at Cal State Northridge, the members come from various educational backgrounds, holding degrees from California State University, Northridge, the Juilliard School, the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Cal Arts, and University of Redlands.
With a unique instrumentation of flute, clarinet, and piano, the trio performs their own innovative arrangements and contemporary music by living composers from around the world. ACE Trio has participated in many recital series in Southern California including St. Matthew’s United Methodist Concert Series, Pasadena City College Guest Artist Series, Wrightwood Classical Concert Series, Music by the Sea Concert Series and The Interludes Concert Series in Torrance.
Performances: Sunday, June 30; Monday, July 1 during the evening concert with Opus Two and the Honors Orchestra
Opus Two: Andrew Cooperstock (piano) and William Terwilliger (violin)
Opus Two is internationally recognized for its commitment to expanding the violin-piano duo repertoire. The award-winning duo has been hailed for its “unanimity of style and spirit, exemplary balance and close rapport.”
Andrew Cooperstock is Professor of Piano at the University of Colorado and artistic director of the University’s “Bernstein at 100” celebration. William Terwilliger is Professor of Violin at the University of South Carolina. Both serve on the faculty of the Saarburg International Festival of Music in Germany.
In their multimedia performance, “Celebrating the American Stage: Violin/Piano Works by Gershwin, Copland, Bernstein,” Opus Two explores popular stage works by these famous composers. Works to be performed include selections from Girl Crazy, An American in Paris, Billy the Kid, Rodeo, Candide, and A Little Night Music, many in specially commissioned arrangements for Opus Two. The lively performance will be accompanied by narration, slides, and videos.
Yuko Maruyama is a pianist, composer and arranger with a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from USC. She is a Kawai Pianos recording artist, and has toured the U.S. for the Kawai Piano Company with her 2002 album, “In Tone Nation.” Since then, Yuko has completed her second album, “Piano Bento.” At her San Diego studio, she teaches improvisation, classical and jazz piano, and directs jazz ensembles.
Originally from northern California, Doug Walker’s interest in jazz and the upright bass flourished while studying with Dr. Joe Gilman at American River College. He later transferred to San Diego State University on a full scholarship, where he performed in orchestra, jazz big band and small combos while studying privately with celebrated bassist Bob Magnusson, ultimately earning a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies. Doug continues to teach, compose and perform throughout Southern California, where he is often recognized as one of the few left-handed upright bassists on the planet.
Matthew Taylor is a drummer and percussionist who is very active in the San Diego area, both as a performer and as an educator. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Matthew graduated with a B.M. in Professional Music from Berklee College of Music and an M.M. in Modern American Music Performance from Longy School of Music. Matthew maintains a vibrant private teaching studio, teaches classes and ensembles, and has coached ensembles at local San Diego schools.
The performance will feature original compositions in the contemporary jazz styles, as well as arrangements of standard jazz repertoire from the past century.
Dr. John Roscigno is Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Studies at California State University, Northridge and Music Director of the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic. Dr. Roscigno holds the additional position of Music Director of the CSUN Youth Orchestra program, an organization comprised of three ensembles and 200 students from San Fernando Valley and surrounding areas. His versatility as a conductor, pianist, percussionist and composer has led to many unique and varied performing opportunities in his music career in the United States and abroad.
Dr. Roscigno has worked extensively with professional orchestras, college orchestras and younger musicians throughout his career. He has conducted Opera Constanta of Romania, the Conway Symphony, Tucson Symphony, Plainview Symphony and Santa Barbara Ballet Theater, and has been a high school all-state clinician in Arizona and California. He is a frequent guest conductor at the Cazadero and Gold Coast Summer Music Festivals and has held music faculty positions at University of Arizona, Auburn University and University of Central Arkansas.
Highlights of his collaborative career include serving as pianist for world-renowned percussionist Evelyn Glennie, hosting George Crumb in a residency featuring collaborative performances with the composer, and conducting the west coast premiere of Philip Glass’s Second and Seventh Symphonies. As a strong advocate of new music, Dr. Roscigno has conducted of number of premieres by the nation’s leading young composers. In addition to his work as a conductor, he continues to teach private lessons to young people.
A few of Dr. Roscigno’s most cherished accomplishments include performing in Carnegie Hall, Yankee Stadium, Olympic Stadium in Montreal and conducting in Disney Hall in Los Angeles. Dr. Roscigno holds a degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from the University of Arizona, a Master’s Degree in percussion performance from the University of Illinois under Tom Siwe, and a Bachelor’s Degree as a double major in piano and percussion performance from the University of Arizona under Gary Cook and Nicholas Zumbro. Additionally, he studied piano with Ozan Marsh and William Landolfi. Dr. Roscigno is a native of New York City and is also a self-taught abstract painter, cyclist, and avid sports fan.
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Following its highly acclaimed 2004 debut in Boston, the Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo began extensive tours featuring appearances on chamber music’s most prestigious stages, including the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival and Washington DC’s National Gallery of Art.
The Duo’s first harmonia mundi recording of Brahms’ Clarinet Sonatas was selected by the New York Times as among its top classical releases for 2008. Subsequent recordings include premières of John Novacek’s Four Rags for Two Jons, Paquito D’Rivera’s The Cape Cod Files, and chamber music of Weber, Beethoven and Brahms.
In 2011, the Duo recorded both Brahms’ Clarinet and Piano Quintets, issued in 2012 as the Tokyo Quartet’s final CD. Individually, both Jons have developed vast repertoires and lengthy discographies. Their hundreds of performances include concerto engagements, recitals and chamber music collaborations worldwide.
VOCE is a prestigious competition for vocalists, strings, winds/brass, and chamber music. The program is named for Vocalists, Orchestral instrumentalists, and Chamber Ensembles. This recital is a collection of performances from first place winners of the State Finals competition.
The music of American composer Bruce Stark reflects the varied elements of his musical upbringing: early studies in percussion, jazz piano, and classical composition. He completed a masters degree in composition at the Juilliard School in 1984 as a student of Roger Sessions and Vincent Persichetti. Thereafter for more than twenty years he resided in Tokyo, producing a collection of works that reveal a compelling musical voice, drawing from a multiplicity of disciplines and sensibilities. In 2013 he returned to the U.S. and joined the music faculty of DigiPen Institute of Technology (Seattle area) as professor of composition and theory.
Stark’s performances as pianist/arranger can be heard on many recordings (Victor Entertainment, Meister Music, ALM Records, Nami Records, MA Recordings and various independent labels). While living in Tokyo he appeared as soloist, group leader and ensemble player in major concert halls throughout Japan as well as Shanghai’s Grande Theatre, Kennedy Center, and a six-country tour of South America sponsored by the Japan Foundation for Cultural Exchange. In 2013 he won First Prize in the solo jazz piano division of the Wild Flower Music International Recording Competition for his performance of Body and Soul.
The MTAC Piano Concerto Competition gives students a chance to thrive at what they do best. The students competing in this event are the first place winners from the Regional Competition held this past spring in both Northern and Southern California. The finalists perform a concerto movement before a panel of judges in a highly competitive setting. Winners are selected in each age category, and all finalists receive prize monies underwritten in part by Steinway and Sons.
The Young Artist Guild (YAG) represents the most gifted musicians in the Certificate of Merit® program. Acceptance to YAG is one of the highest honors for Certificate of Merit® students. Students are granted membership in the Guild for five years upon recommendation by a panel of adjudicators. This concert serves as a debut for newly selected members.
Alan Chapman is an educator, radio host (Classical KUSC, Los Angeles), composer/lyricist and pianist. After receiving his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he earned a Ph.D. in music theory from Yale University. He was a longtime faculty member at Occidental College and is currently a member of the music theory faculty of the Colburn Conservatory.
Well known as a pre-concert lecturer, Dr. Chapman has been a regular speaker on the L.A. Philharmonic’s “Upbeat Live” series since its inception in 1984 and developed the popular series of “Music 101” multimedia evenings at Walt Disney Concert Hall. He has been heard globally as programmer and host of the inflight classical channels on United and Delta Airlines.
Dr. Chapman’s songs have been performed and recorded by many artists around the world and have been honored by ASCAP and the Johnny Mercer Foundation. He frequently performs with his wife, soprano Karen Benjamin. They made their Carnegie Hall debut in 2000 and performed at Lincoln Center in 2006.
Dr. Condoleezza Rice is a professor of Political Economy in the Graduate School of Business, the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, and a professor of Political Science at Stanford University. From January 2005-2009, Dr. Rice served as the 66th Secretary of State of the United States. Prior to serving as America’s chief diplomat, she also served as President George W. Bush’s Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (National Security Advisor) from January 2001-2005.
Dr. Rice began formal music lessons at three when her Grandmother Ray noticed her granddaughter’s keen interest in music. In Dr. Rice’s book, Extraordinary, Ordinary People, she recounts: “I don’t remember learning to read music, so today it is like a native language for me. This made it much easier to master sight-reading, something that I do well to this day.” Dr. Rice continued to take piano lessons through childhood and perform at various school, church, and community events. At age fifteen, she performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor with the Denver Symphony Orchestra, her prize for winning a student competition. The same year, Rice entered the University of Denver as a music major though she soon switched to political science, a move that drastically changed the course of Rice’s life.
In 1993, while provost at Stanford University, she turned her attention again to the piano and started lessons with faculty member, George Barth. Musical highlights include a 2002 performance with Yo-Yo Ma at Constitution Hall, a 2008 recital for the Queen of England at Buckingham Palace, and a 2010 fundraiser with Aretha Franklin in Philadelphia’s Mann Music Centre.