Nikki Chooi begins as Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra… after stopping by to perform in the San Juan Islands!
Nikki Chooi, one of Time for Three’s two violinists, has accepted the Concert Master position with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, beginning in September, 2016. Time for Three opened our Nineteenth Season, which began with our annual Lopez Island concert on August 4 and continued on Orcas Island August 5 and 6.
Time for Three, whose other members are Nick Kendall, violin, and Ranaan Meyer, double bass, specializes in original genre-defying arrangements, fusing classical artistry and tradition with pop hits and folk staples. All three members of Time for Three graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music; the trio has been featured in a full-length special on PBS, has appeared at Carnegie Hall and on Dancing with the Stars.
The ensemble has been called “Glowing… very hot… marked by great intensity of feeling… impassioned…” by NBC.
Sir Simon Rattle, chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, said about Time for Three, “Simply put, they’re a knockout! Three benevolent monsters – monsters of ability and technique surely. But also conveyers of an infectious joy that I find both touching and moving. I would recommend them not only for entertainment value, but also for anyone looking to see how all types of American music can develop, when life and passion such as this are breathed into it.”
Upon Mr. Chooi’s departure, recent Juilliard graduate Charles Yang will fill out Time for Three’s musical complement.
Read more about Nikki Chooi’s new adventure in the New York Times:
and the Violin Channel: https://www.theviolinchannel.com/nikki-chooi-new-york-metropolitan-opera-concertmaster/.
Congratulations to our Artistic Advisor! Jon Kimura Parker was named Honorary Fellow of The Royal Conservatory of Canada, alongside iconic singer-songwriter k.d. lang and The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, at the Conservatory’s signature fundraising event on May 12, 2016.
The Honorary Fellowship is the highest designation conferred by The Royal Conservatory.
In reference to the prestigious occasion Mr. Parker stated, “I got my Grade I Royal Conservatory Piano Certificate at the age of six in 1966, and I really never looked back.” In reference to his excitement, he was heard to comment, “All that really matters is that I sat next to k.d. lang and heard her sing Hallelujah live!”
Parker and lang join opera soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, conductor Mario Bernardi, iconic Camelot star Robert Goulet, and jazz great Oscar Peterson, along with many other musical luminaries, as Honorary Fellows of the Royal Conservatory in Toronto.
OICMF celebrates the legacy of violinist Jascha Heifetz with violinist/pianist Ayke Agus and violinist Chee-Yun Kim. Dr. Agus studied with Jascha Heifetz at University of Southern California early in her career. This began a lasting professional association and friendship with the great violinist. Dr. Agus was accompanist to Heifetz for the last fifteen years of his life. After his death she wrote the book “Heifetz, as I Knew Him,” which was subsequently a source for the documentary “Jascha Heifetz, God’s Fiddler.”
Dr. Agus will discuss her time with Heifetz and accompany violinist Chee-Yun, who will perform from Heifetz’s broad repertoire of transcriptions. Ayke Agus will also perform several of Jascha Heifetz’s favorite transcriptions on violin, accompanied by Jon Kimura Parker. Video clips, including Heifetz playing, will round out this entertaining and educational multi-media event. The concerts will take place at Orcas Center on Mount Baker Road. Aloysia Friedmann and Jon Kimura Parker will host.
Seats for all of this season’s Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival concerts are selling briskly. You are encouraged to get your tickets soon, available at the Orcas Center box office or online at www.orcascenter.org.
The 2016 Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival was a Rousing Success!
From the kick-off weekend with the inimitable “Time for Three,” all the way through to the innovative menu options of the final “Á la Carte!” concerts, the 2016 Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival took listeners on a moving journey through centuries of music and a spectrum of emotions.
Artistic Director and violist Aloysia Friedmann crafted two weeks of fabulous concerts, filled with renowned artists, including:
The Argentinian rhythms and fire of the Ginastera 1st Quartet
The melancholy and excitement of Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet
Smetana’s passionate and melodic Piano Trio in G minor
Dvorak’s luscious E-flat Piano Quartet
The exciting Dohnanyi Sextet
Poulenc’s brilliant clarinet sonata
The dramatic new Rhapsodos by Betinis
The lyrical Horn Trio by Brahms
We welcomed amazing artists who performed for the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival for the first time, and welcomed back Festival friends. Flying in from England for the Northwest premiere of Abbie Betinis’s Rhapsodos, clarinetist Michael Collins performed with pianist Jon Kimura Parker.
Other major artists new to Orcas this year included pianists Anne-Marie McDermott and Craig Sheppard, hornist Julie Landsman, cellists Beth Rapier and Anthony Ross, and Time for Three, and we welcomed back many Festival favorites with great enthusiasm: the Miró Quartet, violinists Chee-Yun and Sandy Yamamoto, and violist Toby Appel!
Aloysia and Jackie hosted a special event on August 15th and 16th, celebrating the legacy of violinist Jascha Heifetz, featuring pianist/violinist Dr. Ayke Agus, who worked with Heifetz as a violin student and as piano accompanist to his studio. She shared stories about Heifetz, including excerpts from the documentary God’s Fiddler.
They came to Orcas Island with a marimba, taiko drum, Andean flute and more.
They left one week later, leaving a decided impact on students of all ages. The exciting duo of Miho Takekawa and Diego Coy, who teach and perform in the Seattle area, were the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival Musicians-in-Residence in February.
“The visit provided the children with a wonderfully engaging tour of songs and instruments from around the world,” said Tom Rubottom, Montessori School teacher. “The performers, with their drums, piano, percussion, flutes and whistles captivated the children’s minds and moved their bodies, leaving the class with great big smiles and, perhaps, a deeper appreciation of how music can bring us all together.”
Miho is from Japan, Diego from Colombia. They came together in 2006 after admiring each other’s works and discovering their sounds could be combined to make something genuinely new and unique. Their primary goal is to encourage cultural understanding through music.
“Miho and Diego’s visits to both Kaleidoscope preschool and Salmonberry primary were exceptional experiences,” said Tom Rawson, OICMF Pied Piper. “The children received a rich experience in understanding both rhythm and dynamics, as well as a taste of the cultures that the music comes from. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the fabulous presentations Miho and Diego gave.” At one preschool, Miho played “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on their steel drum and invited the children to sing along. They surprised her by singing it in Japanese, too!
In addition to visiting the preschools, Miho and Diego coached Band Director Darren Dix’s 5th, 6th, Middle School and High School Band students. They were enthusiastically welcomed as they taught and performed for Pamela Wright’s kindergarten through 4th grade music classes. In the evening, they worked with Community Band members and conducted a Master Class in percussion, which were educational and entertaining for all. And the duo performed a special concert at the Senior Center, where the marimba, wooden flutes, piano, drum and maracas added up to fun Friday event.
“We can’t thank enough Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival and the Washington State Arts Commission for this wonderful opportunity,” said Miho Takekawa.
“Start Spreading the News ….”
It’s an incredible honor to be invited to join the National Board of Chamber Music America (CMA). And the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival is very proud to announce that Founder and Artistic Director Aloysia Friedmann will join their Board of Directors starting this summer.
Chamber Music America is the national service organization for ensemble music professionals. Its diverse membership consists of thousands of individual musicians, ensembles, presenters, artist managers, composers, educators , jazz artists and others in the national chamber music community. Margaret Lioi, CEO of Chamber Music America, wrote in her invitation to Aloysia: “… To be even more connected to the national organization for the field would be seen – and should be seen – by your own Board as important recognition for you as a leader in the field.”
“Being a member of the board of CMA for the next 3 years will give Aloysia an invaluable inside track on the world of chamber music, and the thoughts of its most influential performers and promoters,” OICMF Artistic Advisor Jon Kimura Parker said. “It will also greatly expand her network of artists in the chamber music world.”
Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival has been recognized by CMA over the years. In 2002/03, we received the ASCAP-Chamber Music America Award “For Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music.” In 2008, OICMF was the recipient of the CMAcclaim Award “in recognition of outstanding service and cultural contributions to the community.” Margaret Lioi traveled to Orcas Island to present this prestigious award. In 2012, the Miró Quartet received the Chamber Music America Quartet-in-Residence Award for their residency during the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival.
This music education and outreach partnership marked the beginning of our first annual concert on Lopez Island and the Hamlet Concerts on Orcas Island.
“Margaret’s invitation came to me as a complete surprise!” Aloysia said. “CMA has played an important role in my life since the beginning of OICMF nineteen years ago. Never did I think I would be asked to join this group of illustrious people. I admire Margaret Lioi, the CMA organization and all it stands for. It will be with great honor that I get to represent the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival on the Board of Chamber Music America.”
A HOLIDAY TREAT
Star-Studded Trio Lights Up “Leaves of Gold” Concert
It was the perfect way to begin the holiday season! Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival’s “Leaves of Gold” Concert at Rosario Resort, December 10th and 11th, 2015 was magical – with magnificent musicians performing beautiful music in an historic music room. The concert featured the Montrose Trio, an exciting new piano trio comprised of pianist Jon Kimura Parker and two former members of the famous Tokyo String Quartet, violinist Martin Beaver and cellist Clive Greensmith. The Washington Post (Feb. 8, 2015) raved about their “absolutely top-notch music-making, as fine as one could ever expect to hear…they are poised to become one of the top piano trios in the world.”
Also performing were OICMF Artistic Director and violist Aloysia Friedmann, as well as clarinetist Richie Hawley, a versatile and critically acclaimed artist who ranks among the most distinguished clarinetists of his generation, and currently Professor of Clarinet at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.
Formed in 2014, The Montrose Trio is a collaboration stemming from a long relationship between Jon Kimura Parker and the Tokyo String Quartet. Jackie was the Quartet’s final guest pianist, and a backstage conversation with Martin Beaver and Clive Greensmith led to The Montrose Trio’s creation. Named after Chateau Montrose, a storied Bordeaux wine long favored after concerts, The Montrose Trio has quickly established a reputation for performances of the highest distinction.
Violinist Martin Beaver has appeared as soloist with the orchestras of San Francisco, Indianapolis, Montreal, Toronto, and Sapporo, among others. Cellist Clive Greensmith has performed as soloist with the London Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Mostly Mozart Orchestra, the Seoul Philharmonic, and the RAI Orchestra in Rome.
A reception featured a wonderful buffet with hors d’oeuvres, desserts and wine in the Rosario Mansion’s Dining Room, beautifully adorned for the holidays. We’d like to thank Rosario owners Jan and Jerry Barto for hosting this event.
Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival’s Pied Piper program brings local musicians to our island preschools each week during the school year, and special sessions during the Summer. “We couldn’t imagine a week without the Pied Piper music program in our classrooms,” said Susan Anderson, Executive Director at Children’s House. “Young children gain so much through music and motion, and the shared experience brings them together in highly unique ways that support their development. Music helps enhance language, develop listening skills, and they learn respect for the instruments and the talent. Nothing beats a live performance to connect with a child!”
This Fall, OICMF is welcoming two new members to the Pied Pipers team: Tom Rawson and Mandy Troxel. They’ll join Anita Orne in visiting four island preschools. Tom is a local folksinger and storyteller. He taught preschool and primary grades in public and private schools in the Seattle area, and on Orcas for 30 years. Tom is the music teacher at Salmonberry School, and performs regularly at children’s concerts, libraries, and folk festivals throughout the Pacific Northwest. Mandy has lived and made music on Orcas Island for over 13 years. Alongside Anita Orne, she co-leads the “Girls with Ukes” ensemble and frequently contributes to the soundtrack of many Orcas community events. An accomplished singer-songwriter, she has released two recordings, and currently performs solo and with her band “The Bitter Ends.”
The Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival is dedicated to sharing music, musicians and music education with our preschools. This early childhood musical opportunity involves playing instruments, singing and creating musical stories, and provides a strong music-based foundation from which our young ones learn and grow.
It was a special honor when the Miró Quartet selected Orcas Island as the perfect setting for a much-anticipated event. During our 2015 Season, the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival presented the pre-release of Miró Quartet|transcendence, an incredible double disc set (Blu-ray/CD) of Schubert’s String Quartet No. 15 in G Major, D887. Last year the Quartet recorded and filmed the making of this iconic work in Seattle at Benaroya Hall on David Fulton’s instrument collection, including several Stradivari and Guarneri. Daniel Ching, William Fedkenheuer, John Largess and Joshua Gindele were supported by benefactor David Fulton in embarking on this beautiful and transcendent musical journey.
The evening included a live performance, an exciting multimedia debut of this award-winning documentary, and a fascinating question and answer session with the Miró Quartet, OICMF Artistic Director Aloysia Friedmann and OICMF Artistic Advisor Jon Kimura Parker. Patrons were thrilled to be part of this one-of-a-kind event, and didn’t want to see the evening end! Our thanks to concert sponsors Lee and Stuart Rolfe, and reception sponsor Carl de Boor!
The Miró Quartet also unveiled educational aspects of this project: the “Play It Forward” educated initiative, and “The Miró Transcendence Education Contest,” in partnership with Carnegie Hall. To learn more about these programs,
Kostov/Valkov CD Premiere
Opening night of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival was the perfect time and place for the CD release of Lachezar Kostov and Viktor Valkov’s Kostov-Valkov Duo Transcriptions & Paraphrases for cello and piano. The lines were long during intermission and post-concert receptions, as adoring fans looked forward to autographed copies of their CD.
This exciting duo have performed together since 2000, performing across the United States, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria and Japan. Bulgarian cellist Lachezar Kostov has been hailed for the “awesome purity of his playing” and described as a “prodigiously skilled protagonist.” Winner of the 2012 New Orleans International Piano Competition, Bulgarian pianist Viktor Valkov has been highly acclaimed by critics as a “lion of the keyboard.” The CD features Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 1 and 2 and Evocation a la Chapelle Sixtine, Buxton Orr’s A Carmen Fantasy, Martinu’s Variations on a Theme of Rossini and Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Figaro.
The CD was produced by Aloysia Friedmann and sponsored by The Anders Foundation, William and Valerie Anders.
Amazing artists filled the stage …
From August 6th through 23rd , more than 25 renowned musicians brought audiences to their feet! The “Façade” concert featured a wonderful mix of artists: Adam Stern, reciter; James Paul, conductor; Lorna McGhee, flute/piccolo; Owen Kotler, clarinet/bass clarinet; Timothy McAllister, alto saxophone; Charlie Porter, trumpet; Paul Hansen, percussion; and cellists Lachezar Kostov and Oliver Aldort in William Walton’s famous “Façade – An Entertainment.”
Grand pianos filled the stage …
Opening the Festival in grand fashion were pianists Jon Kimura Parker and Viktor Valkov performing Rachmaninoff’s Fantasie-Tableaux, Suite No. 1 for two pianos. Closing night Parker and pianist Orli Shaham performed John Adams’ incredible Hallelujah Junction and Rachmaninoff’s powerful Suite No. 2 for two pianos.
Cellos filled the stage …
Cellos were very prominent during the Festival, and popular with patrons, including David Popper’s Requiem for three cellos and piano in F-sharp minor, Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro for four cellos, Rossini’s Overture to The Barber of Seville for four cellos, and Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 for eight cellos and voice, with Orcas Island soprano Sharon Abreu.
And beautiful artwork filled the stage …
Fiber Artist Geoffrey Shilling created the perfect backdrop to transport audiences deep “Into the Woods” for the “Orcas~trations” concert, as violinists Daniel Ching and William Fedkenheuer, violists John Largess and Aloysia Friedmann, and cellists Joshua Gindele and Desmond Hoebig performed Schonberg’s moving Verklarte Nacht (Transfigured Night) for String Sextet.
The two week Festival was filled with magnificent music and musicians, and we’d like to thank OICMF Artistic Director Aloysia Friedmann for making it all possible!