This performance consists of two remarkable and colorful clarinet quintets. Carl Maria Von Weber’s Clarinet Quintet was writtten for his close friend, the clarinet virtuoso Heinrich Baermann. While the latter would have preferred a concerto to perform with orchestras, this work was designed such that the clarinetist could travel town to town and gather the local musicians to support the four string parts of this colorful work. David Bruce’s Gumboots is a thematic clarinet quintet that brings to light the brutal labor conditions of South Africa under Apartheid. Black miners were chained together and wore Gumboots (wellington boots) while they worked in the flooded gold mines. Slapping the boots and chains was used by the workers as a form of communication which was otherwise banned in the mine. The composer describes the first half of his Quintet as yearning for tranquility and peace, while the finale consists of five lively and joyful dances.
The multi-award-winning Spanish clarinetist Jose Franch-Ballester is considered one of the finest classical soloists and chamber music artists of his generation. He has been hailed for his “technical wizardry and tireless enthusiasm” (The New York Times), and his “subtle and consummate artistry” (Santa Barbara Independent). The recipient of a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2008, and winner of both the Young Concert Artists and Astral Artists auditions, he is a solo artist and chamber musician in great demand.
Mr. Franch-Ballester is a recently-appointed Assistant Professor of Clarinet and Chamber Music at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Mr. Franch-Ballester regularly performs as the Principal Clarinetist at Camerata Pacifica in Santa Barbara, California and appears with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. As a concerto soloist, he has performed with orchestras such us the BBC Concert Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional of Mexico, I Musici Montreal, and Orquesta of the Radio Television in Spain, among others. He collaborates regularly with chamber music festivals around the globe such as Music@Menlo, Mainly Mozart, Chamber Music Northwest, Nexus Festival Tokyo, Westport Festival Ireland, Kon-Tiki Festival Norway and the Dresden Music Festival.
Born in Moncofa into a family of musicians, Mr. Franch-Ballester graduated from the Joaquin Rodrigo Music Conservatory in Valencia, continuing his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied with Donald Montanaro and Ricardo Morales. As a recording artist, he has appeared on labels such as Deutsche Gramophon, Harmonie Mundi and Warner Music.
A recipient of the 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, as well as a top prizewinner of the 2012 Walter W. Naumburg Competition and the Astral Artists’ 2010 National Auditions, Kristin Lee is a violinist of remarkable versatility and impeccable technique who enjoys a vibrant career as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and educator. “Her technique is flawless, and she has a sense of melodic shaping that reflects an artistic maturity,” writes the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Strad reports, “She seems entirely comfortable with stylistic diversity, which is one criterion that separates the run-of-themill instrumentalists from true artists.” Kristin Lee has appeared as soloist with leading orchestras including The Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, Tacoma Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Nordic Chamber Orchestra of Sweden, Ural Philharmonic of Russia, Korean Broadcasting Symphony, Guiyang Symphony Orchestra of China, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional of Dominican Republic, and many others. She has performed on the world’s finest concert stages, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Kennedy Center, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Steinway Hall’s Salon de Virtuosi, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Ravinia Festival, Philadelphia’s World Cafe Live, (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York, the Louvre Museum in Paris, Washington, D.C.’s Phillips Collection, and Korea’s Kumho Art Gallery. An accomplished chamber musician, Kristin Lee is a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, performing at Lincoln Center in New York and on tour with CMS throughout each season.
Performance highlights include concerts presented by the San Francisco Symphony with Itzhak Perlman, Amarillo Symphony, Chamber Music Sedona, a tour with the Silk Road Ensemble, Parlance Chamber Concerts, Moab Music Festival, Music in the Vineyards, Lyra Music Festival, Olympic Music Festival, North Carolina New Music Initiative, the Leicester International Music Festival, the Musicians Emergency Fund at Lincoln Center, as well as performances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Camerata Pacifica. Reflecting on both her personal journey and her professional journey, Kristin Lee has developed a new project, Americana, which showcases a spectrum of illustrious composers and the American musical styles which influenced them, as well as their own musical styles which influenced generations of composers to come. As a foreign-born citizen of America, Lee was compelled to select this unique collection of works to express her pride of the country she now calls her own, and offers recital programs that have a distinct and recognizable sound of American music and its rich history. Lee’s many honors include awards from the 2015 Trondheim Chamber Music Competition, 2011 Trio di Trieste Premio International Competition, the SYLFF Fellowship, Dorothy DeLay Scholarship, the Aspen Music Festival’s Violin Competition, the New Jersey Young Artists’ Competition, and the Salon de Virtuosi Scholarship Foundation. She is also the unprecedented First Prize winner of three concerto competitions at The Juilliard School – in the Pre-College Division in 1997 and 1999, and in the College Division in 2007.
Born in Seoul, Lee began studying the violin at the age of five, and within one year won First Prize at the prestigious Korea Times Violin Competition. In 1995, she moved to the United States and continued her musical studies under Sonja Foster. Two years later, she became a student of Catherine Cho and Dorothy DeLay in The Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division. In January 2000, she was chosen to study with Itzhak Perlman. Lee holds a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School. She is a member of the faculty of the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and the co-founder and artistic director of Emerald City Music in Seattle.
Violinist Jason Uyeyama is Associate Professor of Music and Director of String Studies at La Sierra University. In addition to teaching violin and chamber music, he leads an active career as a recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician. He has performed and toured regularly with the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 2005, performs wtih Camerata Pacifica, and has performed and toured with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He is also Founder and Director of the Orange County String Studio, located in Irvine, CA. Mr. Uyeyama earned a master’s degree from The Juilliard School.
Praised by the Seattle Times as “Simply marvelous” and Taiwan’s Liberty Times for “astonishingly capturing the spirit of the music,” violinist Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu enjoys a versatile career as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Cindy has collaborated in concerts with renowned artists such as Yefim Bronfman, Lynn Harrell, Leila Josefowicz, Cho-Liang Lin, Midori, Thomas Quasthoff, Yuja Wang, and members of the Alban Berg, Emerson, Guarneri, Miró, and Tokyo string quartets at prominent venues such as the Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and festivals such as Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Summerfest, Marlboro Music Festival, Music@Menlo, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. She has also collaborated as a guest violist with the Dover, Orion, and Shanghai quartets. Cindy is a recipient of many awards including the Milka Violin Artist Prize from the Curtis Institute of Music, and third prize at the International Violin Competition of David Oistrakh. She has taught at the Thornton School of Music of the University of Southern California, and curated programs for the Da Camera Society in Los Angeles as the Artistic Partner. She is currently the Music Director of New Asia Chamber Music Society and founded Sunkiss’d Mozart. Cindy plays on a 1918 Stefano Scarampella violin and a 2015 Stanley Kiernoziak viola.
The Strad magazine describes cellist Ani Aznavoorian as having “scorchingly committed performances that wring every last drop of emotion out of the music. Her technique is well-nigh immaculate, she has a natural sense of theater, and her tone is astonishingly responsive.” Ms. Aznavoorian has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Finnish Radio Symphony, the Boston Pops, and the Juilliard Orchestra.
Ms. Aznavoorian is an avid chamber musician and teacher. She is the principal cellist of Camerata Pacifica and has served on the distinguished music faculty at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana. She performs regularly at the Seattle Chamber Music Society and at the Jupiter Chamber Players series in NY. Her numerous accolades include being the recipient of the prestigious Bunkamura Orchard Hall Award for her outstanding cello playing and artistry, being named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts upon receiving a medal by President Bill Clinton, and being a prize winner of the International Paulo Cello Competition. She is a proponent of new music and she has premiered concertos by Lera Auerbach and Ezra Laderman and continues to expand the chamber music repertoire with commissions and world premiers of works by John Harbison, David Bruce, and Bright Sheng. Ms. Aznavoorian records for Cedille and is just about to release an album of cello and piano music from Armenia, the country of her ancestors. She proudly performs on a cello made by her father Peter Aznavoorian in Chicago.