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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2024 at 7:30 PM

SCRIABIN 5 Preludes, Op. 15
CHOPIN 12 Etudes, Op. 10
CHOPIN Polonaise-Fantasie, Op. 61
RACHMANINOV Variations on a theme of Chopin


A once-in-a-generation talent incapable of playing a routine or pedestrian phrase

—The Flying Inkpot

Truly a musician’s musician. Zlata Chochieva’s recording of the complete Chopin Etudes was hailed by Gramophone Magazine as “one of the most consistently inspired, masterfully executed and beautiful-sounding versions I can recall” and was subsequently included in that magazine’s list of the top fifty greatest Chopin recordings in history!  Since then, she has become known for her distinctive musical “voice” and has risen to the top ranks of amongst pianists worldwide.  She has a rare ability to focus the audience’s attention, and indeed to make time stand still.

Highlights of the 2022/23 season include the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra,  Vancouver Chopin Society, the Berliner Klavierfestival and the Hamburg Camerata at the Elbphilharmonie.   Chochieva has appeared at such prestigious concert halls as Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw, Berlin Konzerthaus, Vienna Konzerthaus, Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen, Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Philharmonie de Paris, the Serate Musicali series in Milan and Teatro La Fenice in Venice. She has performed with such major orchestras as the Copenhagen Philharmonic, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice.

She is invited to leading music festivals, including the Miami International Piano Festival, Gilmore Keyboard Festival, Lucerne and “Il Progetto Martha Argerich” in Lugano.

Chochieva, now signed exclusively with Naïve Records, is set to release her second disc on that label this season. Her first album on Naïve, “Chiaroscuro” (May 2022), is a combination of Mozart and Scriabin, coinciding with Scriabin’s 150th anniversary year and was designated a Critic’s Choice in International Piano Magazine. Chochieva’s previous disc “(re)creations” on Accentus is a collection of piano transcriptions by Rachmaninov, Liszt, and Friedman, winning a Schallplattenkritik award in the keyboard category and was selected as Editor’s Choice in Gramophone.

Born in Moscow, Chochieva is now a resident of Berlin. She established the International Festival at Rachmaninov’s estate in Ivanovka and has been its director since 2018.


with YEKWON SUNWOO, piano

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2023 at 7:30 PM

HAYDN Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 33 No. 2
DEBUSSY Quartet in G minor, Op. 10
BRAHMS Piano Quintet in F minor

The lyricism and airy limpidity of the four performers give them profoundity as well as an unexpected allure.

—The Diapason (France)

By winning the first prize and sweeping four of the special prizes (among them the Mozart and Beethoven prizes) at the 2018 London Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition the Esmé Quartet made a sensational entrance into the string quartet world. Subsequently, they were invited and started touring internationally playing concerts at festivals and concert halls such as the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, the Wigmore Hall and throughout the UK, at the Flagey Musiq3 Festival in Brussels, Auditori di Barcelona, the Opéra de Lille, the Heidelberg String Quartet Festival, the Haydn String Quartet Festival in Schloss Esterházy in Fertöd, Hungary and Classic Esterházy in Eisenstadt, Austria. In the summer of the same year, they were named as the quartet in residency at the Aix-en-Provence festival and also appeared at the McGill International String Quartet Academy in Montreal.

In 2019, the quartet was awarded the HSBC Laureate of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence as well as the first prize of the 55th Possehl Musikpreis Lübeck. Their debut recording, on Alpha Classics, of works by Beethoven, Unsuk Chin, and Frank Bridge, was released in 2020 and has garnered critical acclaim with a 5 star review from Diapason d’Or, and was named as one of the best classical albums of 2020 by WQXR radio in New York.

In the 2020-21 season, they were named the first Artists in Residence at the Lotte Concert Hall in Seoul. They also returned to Wigmore Hall and the Musiq3 Festival, and toured Italy, Germany and Portugal. In 2022 the quartet made their debuts in North America and Japan.

The name of the quartet — Esmé — derives from an Old French word meaning ‘being loved‘. Based in Germany, the group was formed in 2016 at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne and its members have been friends since their youth. The quartet has been mentored in masterclasses by Alfred Brendel as well as by members of the Alban Berg, Artemis and Casals Quartets.


Besides winning the Gold Medal at the Cliburn Competition (the first South Korean to do so) pianist Yekwon Sunwoo has won first prizes at such prestigious competitions as the William Kapell, the Vendome Prize (at Verbier) and Interlaken. He now is sought after as a soloist by orchestras worldwide, and is an active chamber musician.




MONDAY, MARCH 25, 2024 at 7:30 PM

BEETHOVEN Trio in C minor, Op. 9 No. 3
DOHNANYI Serenade in C Major, Op. 10.
MOZART Divertimento in E-flat Major,, K. 563

Sovereignly balanced sound and, when called for, wild contrapuntal virtuoso playing

—Das Orchester

Three exceptional artists comprise this brilliant trio, remarkable for its transparency and vibrancy of expression.  String trios are a far rarer species than string quartets and the Boccherini Trio is in the top rung of the breed, recently releasing much-acclaimed recordings of the complete string trios of Beethoven on the Genuin Classics label. The Trio performs in such venues as Wigmore Hall and Konzerthaus Berlin, as well as the most important festivals. The string trio repertoire, though small, is rich with masterpieces, and we will hear some of the best of the best.


Violinist Suyeon Kang – born in South Korea and raised in Canada & Australia – has been based in Germany since 2007.  At age 16, she was named “Australian Young Performer of the Year,” went on to win prizes at many international violin competitions, and has never looked back. Now navigating a whirlwind of festivals, orchestral engagements and chamber music, she is concertmistress of the Kammerakademie Potsdam and also holds a post in the Camerata Bern. She is regularly invited as guest leader (usually in a “play/direct” capacity) by leading European chamber orchestras such as the Munich Chamber Orchestra, CHAARTS Chamber Artists, Baroque Orchestra of Sevilla, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Ensemble Resonan.


Praised by the New York Times for her “probing introspection” and by the Philadelphia Inquirer for her “voluptuous tone,” prizewinning violist Vicki Powell has appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony and the Aspen Festival Orchestra, and has been a featured artist at the Verbier, Ravinia, Caramoor and Marlboro festivals. Chamber music partners have included Mitsuko Uchida, Christian Tetzlaff, Steven Isserlis and Pamela Frank.  Ms. Powell is Principal Violist of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and has been invited to perform as Guest Principal Viola by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Gewandhausorchester, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Munich Chamber Orchestra and Camerata Bern.


First prize winner at the J.S. Bach Competition in Leipzig, cellist Paolo Bonomini is currently Principal Cellist of the Salzburg Camerata, and performs as soloist with such noted ensembles as Camerata Bern, Sinfonie Orchester Biel, Pauliner Kammerorchester, Odessa Chamber Orchestra, Virtuosi di Praga, among others.  His first solo CD, “Violoncello Italiano” (on Genuin Classics), received glowing reviews and was chosen as “CD of the month” by Fono Forum, a leading German music journal.  Paolo has been a guest principal cellist at the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, Berlin, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Bern, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie in Bremen, as well as the Bayerischen Rundfunks and Luzern Festival orchestras.




MONDAY, MAY 1, 2023 at 7:30 PM

BUSONI  Variations on a Finnish folk song, Kultaselle
SCHUBERT Arpeggione Sonata
BLOCH Pieces from Jewish Life
FAURÉ Sonata No. 1

“Fiery dexterity and swashbuckling vivacity”

—The New York Times

Acclaimed worldwide for his profound musicianship and technical mastery, British cellist Steven Isserlis enjoys a uniquely varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, author and broadcaster. He appears with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, including the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Zurich Tonhalle and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras; and gives recitals every season in major musical centres. As a chamber musician, he has curated concert series for such prestigious venues as Wigmore Hall, 92nd St Y and the Salzburg Festival. Unusually, he also directs chamber orchestras from the cello.

He has a strong interest in historical performance, working with many period-instrument orchestras and giving recitals with harpsichord and fortepiano. He is also a keen exponent of contemporary music and has premiered many new works, including John Tavener’s The Protecting Veil, Thomas Adès’s Lieux retrouvés, and Gyorgy Kurtag’s ‘For Steven’.

Steven’s award-winning discography includes Bach’s Cello Suites for Hyperion (Gramophone’s Instrumental Album of the Year); Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano with Robert Levin; and the Elgar and Walton concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra/Paavo Jarvi. His latest recordings include the Brahms Double Concerto with Joshua Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and – as director and soloist - concertos by Haydn and CPE Bach, with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. Forthcoming recordings include a special First World War-inspired disc with Connie Shih, including pieces performed on a travel cello which was played in the trenches.

Since 1997 he has been Artistic Director of the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove, Cornwall. He also enjoys playing for children, and has created three musical stories, with the composer Anne Dudley. His two books for children, published by Faber's, have been translated into many languages; and his latest book, a commentary on Schumann’s famous Advice for Young Musicians, has recently been published by Faber’s.

The recipient of many awards, Steven Isserlis’ honours include a CBE in recognition of his services to music, the Schumann Prize of the City of Zwickau, and the Piatigorsky Prize in the USA. In 2017, he was awarded the Glashütte Original Music Festival Award, the Wigmore Hall Gold Medal, and the Walter Willson Cobbett Medal for Services to Chamber Music.

He gives most of his concerts on the Marquis de Corberon (Nelsova) Stradivarius of 1726, kindly loaned to him by the Royal Academy of Music.


and NOREEN POLERA, piano

MONDAY, MAY 13, 2024 at 7:30 PM

Program will include works by Bach, Brahms and Kreisler.

Ms. Kamio had technique to burn, but she was distinguished by her warmly luxurious, buttery tone and long, seamless phrases

—The New York Times

In 2007 this extravagantly gifted Japanese artist won the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition.

Mayuko Kamio had made her concerto debut in Tokyo at the age of ten under the baton of Charles Dutoit, in a concert broadcast on NHK television. Since then, she has appeared as soloist with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich with Mstislav Rostropovich, NHK Symphony Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta.

She has toured with the National Philharmonic of Russia, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the Prague Philharmonic, the BBC Philharmonic and Israel Philharmonic. In Japan she has appeared as soloist with the Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka, Sapporo and Yomiuri Nippon symphony orchestras; and the Japan, Tokyo and Tokyo City philharmonics.

As a recitalist, she has performed in such major cities as New York, Washington DC, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Frankfurt, Warsaw, and Tokyo.

As winner of the 1998 Menuhin Violin Competition (the youngest artist ever to win the award), Ms. Kamio performed with the Orchestra National de Lille with Lord Menuhin conducting. In 2000 she took first prize in the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and in 2004 she won the first Monte Carlo Violin Masters Competition. As part of this award, she made concerto appearances at the Salle Gaveau in Paris and in Monte Carlo. That same year, she was awarded the gold medal at the first International David Oistrakh Violin Competition in Ukraine.

She has released four recordings on the SONY and BMG labels, a sonata recording of Franck, Brahms and Strauss, a concerto recording of Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev Concerti, a collection of violin solo works with piano of Chausson, Stravinsky, Szymanowski, Waxman and Paganini's 24 Caprices for Solo Violin.

Mayuko Kamio plays on the 1735 "Sennhauser" made by Joseph Guarneri del Gesu, kindly offered by the Strad Society in Chicago.