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46th Season

David Grandis, Music Director

Featured Guest Artists for 39th season

Brian Ganz, Piano
September 20, 2009

Brian Ganz is widely regarded as one of the leading pianists of his generation. Washington Post critic Joan Reinthaler has written: &6147;One comes away from a recital by pianist Brian Ganz not only exhilarated by the power of the performance but also moved by his search for artistic truth.”

Brian Ganz was winner of one of two First Grand Prizes awarded in the 1989 Marguerite Long Jacques Thibaud International Piano Competition in Paris, where he was also awarded special prizes for the best recital round of the competition and the best performance of the required work. That same year he won a Beethoven Fellowship awarded by the American Pianists Association, and in 1991 he was a silver medalist with third prize in the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium International Piano Competition. After his performance in the finals of the Brussels competition, the critic for La Libre Belgique wrote: “We don’t have the words to speak of this fabulous musician who lives music with a generous urgency and brings his public into a state of intense joy.”

Mr. Ganz has appeared as soloist with such orchestras as the St. Louis Symphony, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic (of Russia), the Baltimore Symphony, the National Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the City of London Sinfonia, L’Orchestre Lamoureux, and L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo. He has performed in such halls as the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Salle Pleyel in Paris, Le Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, De Doelen in Rotterdam, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, L’Arena Theater in Verona, and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

In 1992 Mr. Ganz made his recording debut for the Gailly label in Belgium, and his recordings of works of Chopin and Dutilleux have been released on the Accord label in Paris. In 2001 he began a project with Maestoso Records in which he will record the complete works of Frederic Chopin. Mr. Ganz was also recently engaged as artist/editor of various works of Chopin for the new Schirmer Performance Editions (published jointly by Hal Leonard and G. Schirmer). His first edition, the Chopin Preludes, was published in the summer of 2005.

Some of Mr. Ganz’ recent concert highlights include performances of Mozart Piano Concerti K. 466, with the Memphis Symphony, and K. 467, with the National Philharmonic Orchestra at the new Strathmore Hall in Rockville, Maryland. In the summer of 2006 he returned to the Kennedy Center concert hall in a critically acclaimed performance with the Taipei Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Yoel Levi. He has also performed with such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop, Mstislav Rostropovich, Philippe Entremont, Pinchas Zukerman, Leon Fleisher, Jerzy Semkow, and Gustav Meier.

Mr. Ganz is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Leon Fleisher. Earlier teachers include Ylda Novik and the late Claire Deene. Gifted as a teacher himself, Mr. Ganz is Artist-in-Residence at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he has been a member of the piano faculty since 1986, and in 2000 he joined the piano faculty of the Peabody Conservatory. In December of 2001 he was honored to serve on the jury of the Long Thibaud competition in Paris.

Brian is an active explorer of the many ways in which the study and performance of great music can remind us of the Spirit that unites all living things. He has donated numerous performances in benefit concerts, and was a founding member of the Washington Chapter of Artists to End Hunger.

Brian Ganz's web site (will open another browser window)

Marissa Regni, Violin
March 14, 2010

Marissa Regni

Marissa Regni is Principal Second Violinist of the National Symphony Orchestra, a position she assumed in September of 1996. Before coming to Washington, D.C., she was a member of the Saint Louis Symphony, where she served as assistant principal second violin. She is a member of the critically acclaimed Manchester String Quartet, and was a founding member of the Kennedy Center Chamber Players. Ms. Regni has made solo and chamber music appearances throughout the United States, Germany, and Mexico. She has collaborated with such artists as Joseph Silverstein, Julius Baker, The Angeles Quartet, Arturo Delmoni, William Preucil, The Walden Chamber Players, and 20th Century Consort.

Solo appearances with orchestra include the St. Louis Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Virginia Chamber Orchestra, Livingston (New Jersey) Symphony and the Ridgewood (New Jersey) Symphony. Ms. Regni has been a featured artist on National Public Radio and The MacNeil/Lehrer Report. Chamber music engagements in 2009 include performances on a transatlantic crossing of the Queen Mary 2, as a member of the Kennedy Center Chamber Players.

Most recently, Ms. Regni created a series of children’s concerts with harpist Dotian Levalier. Entitled “Tunes n Tales” and “More Tunes n Tales”, these programs are designed for children ages three to five. The duo has performed these popular concerts throughout the Washington, DC area, to sold-out crowds at the Kennedy Center for the Arts, and throughout the United States, as part of the National Symphony Orchestra’s State Residency tours. In February 2010, Ms. Regni will premier a new children's concert entitled “Fancy That!”

A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Ms. Regni received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and was awarded the School’s prestigious Performer’s Certificate in Violin. She has a diploma from the Guilford School of Music, where she was a student in the Pre-College Division.

Claudia Emerson, Narrator
March 14, 2010

Claudia Emerson

Claudia Emerson won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her collection Late Wife. Appointed Poet Laureate of Virginia by Governonr Timothy M. Kaine in 2008, she is a professor of English and Arrington Distinguished Chair in Poetry at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Pharaoh, Pharaoh (1997), Pinion, An Elegy (2002), Late Wife (2005), and Figure Studies (2008) were published as part of Louisiana State University Press's signature series, Southern Messenger Poets, edited by Dave Smith.

An advisory and contributing editor for the literary magazine Shenandoah, Emerson has been awarded individual artist's fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and was also a Witter Bynner fellow through the Library of Congress. She was also honored with the 2008 Donald Justice Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Smartish Pace, The Southern Review, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, Crazyhorse, New England Review, and other journals.

Claudia Emerson earned her BA from the University of Virginia and her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she was poetry editor for The Greensboro Review. Born in Chatham, Virginia, she lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia with her husband, Kent Ippolito, a musician who plays with various types of bands, including bluegrass, rock, folk, jazz, blues and ragtime. The couple were married in 2000 and together write songs and perform.

Cantate Chamber Singers
March 14, 2010

Cantate Chamber Singers

Now celebrating its 25th anniversary season and under the artistic direction of Gisèle Becker since 1994, Cantate Chamber Singers attracts many of the Washington, D.C., area’s finest choral musicians, selected annually by audition. The group performs a broad range of great Western choral literature of the past five centuries and is recognized especially for its skilled interpretation of Baroque style, championing of neglected masterpieces, adventurous programming of 20th- and 21st-century music, and commissioning and premiering of new works. The group’s biennial Young Composers’ Contest seeks to encourage emerging composing talent from around the nation. Cantate's virtuoso performances — often featuring acclaimed guest artists — are offered in smaller venues to create the greatest possible intimacy between performers and audience.

Cantate’s guest appearances and collaborations have included Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 under conductor Steven Simon; five consecutive engagements with the National Philharmonic, Piotr Gajewski, music director; a guest appearance with Chacabuco, Miguel L. Córdova, artistic director, at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; the Dumbarton Concert Series in Georgetown; the Folger Consort series at the Folger Elizabethan Theatre and at Washington National Cathedral; the American Guild of Organists Regional Convention in Baltimore; the National Museum of the American Indian Festival; and concerts at the Mansion at Strathmore, at BlackRock Center for the Arts, and in collaborations with the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, the 21st Century Consort, the Virginia Chamber Orchestra, and Bowen McCauley Dance.

Cantate Chamber Singer's web site (will open another browser window)

Gisèle Becker, Cantate Chamber Singers, Music Director and Conductor
March 14, 2010

Gisele Becker

Gisèle Becker is one of the Washington area's leading choral conductors. Her vision of musical excellence and her commitment to imaginative programming, including commissions and premiere performances of new choral works, have earned for her the highest admiration and respect from her professional colleagues and audiences alike. T"he Washington Post praised Ms. Becker for "molding Cantate into a well-balanced and responsive ensemble and for its focused, intelligent music-making. The Post described her 2003 performance of J.S. Bach's Mass in B-Minor a version as "transfixing as it was bold riveting in its fresh, impassioned and personal vision."

Ms. Becker has been the Music Director of Cantate Chamber Singers since January 1994. She also serves as Director of Choral Activities at The George Washington University, where she conducts the University Singers, Chamber Choir and Women's Chorus. From 2006 to 2008, she was conducting professor at The Catholic University, where she was also conductor of the Women's Chorus. For 26 years Ms. Becker served as assistant conductor of The Washington Bach Consort, and she also has served as Chorus Master for the Cathedral Choral Society. Becker's extensive experience in choral preparation has included the Folger Consort's production of Dido and Aeneas and Handel's Ode to St. Cecilia. For the Cathedral Choral Society she prepared Hindemith's When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd for guest conductor Robert Shaw and Haydn's The Creation for Leonard Slatkin. She has prepared The Washington Bach Consort for its performances of Handel's Messiah with conductor Robert King, the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 with Harry Christophers, and Charles Ives Symphony No. 4 and Sofia Gubaidulina's The Canticle of the Sun with the National Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin conducting.

Ms. Becker has earned the degrees of Bachelor of music from The Catholic University of America, a Master of Music from George Mason University, and is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Maryland. She also has served on the faculties of Trinity College in Washington and Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in Winchester, Va. In addition to her conducting activities, she is actively engaged as a recording producer and clinician.

Jean Schwartz, Artist, Visual Arts Honoree
March 14, 2010

Jean Schwartz

Color and light, particularly in the landscape are the elements that inspire me to paint.
I relate to them on an emotional level

Light expresses the passage of time. It illuminates the landscape creating endless variations of color, shape and shadow as it changes throughout the day, through the seasons and through changing weather. Each moment is fleeting and I want to stop and pay attention to that ephemeral experience.

My paintings are not literal representations of the landscape. They are of real places some very well known to me others just brief visits. What they are about is that particular moment in time and place and the feelings evoked. The challenge is to capture the abstraction of feeling that has been inspired using color and light as the vehicle. I prefer to do that in a representational way editing to suit my needs rather than a purely abstract expression of the moment.

I have a strong interest in history and a fascination with the passage of time and human experience. Cultures are different, fashions change, technology advances. The old and the yet to be feel foreign. To me nature and the natural landscape are constant. They connect us to the past and future. I can look at a landscape painted by an artist centuries ago and know that he or she felt compelled to express a moment in time much like one I have known. I find that reassuring.

Aaron Goldman, Flute
May 16, 2010

Aaron Goldman, flute Aaron Goldman joined the National Symphony Orchestra as Assistant Principal Flutist in September 2006. Prior to the NSO, he was Principal Flutist of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Greater Lansing Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with several other orchestras, including the Baltimore Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, and the Chautauqua Symphony. As soloist, Mr. Goldman has appeared on numerous occasions with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and has been twice featured with the Chamber Orchestra of Florida. He has also performed with various chamber music ensembles, both classical and jazz, and is a member of the Halil Duo with pianist Rose Grace. A native of Needham, Massachusetts, Mr. Goldman received his Bachelor of Music degree at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he studied flute with Bonita Boyd and piccolo with Anne Harrow.
P.O. Box 7484, Alexandria, VA 22307-7484
The Virginia Chamber Orchestra is a Registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization
Last updated: 31 October, 2013......v.4.0