Monday, August 23, 2010

Washington College Concert Series Brings World Class Talent to Gibson Center Stages

CHESTERTOWN, MD—The 59th season of the Washington College Concert Series will bring internationally acclaimed musicians to the Gibson Center for the Arts and will showcase the Music Department’s two new Steinway pianos. Some of the brightest young stars of the classical and jazz worlds will appear in programs that range from solo pianists to a string quartet.

Thomas Pandolfi, piano, Sept. 19, 2010
Pianist Thomas Pandolfi (in photo, right) opens the season with an all-Gershwin program Sunday, Sept. 19 at 4 p.m. in Decker Theatre. A virtuoso known for his passionate artistry at the keys in both classical and pop repertoire, Pandolfi is considered a leading interpreter of the works of George Gershwin. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School and has performed throughout the world, including guest performances with major U.S. symphony orchestras, two tours of Europe and recitals in China and Canada. A highlight of his 2009-10 season was the world premier of British composer Simon Proctor’s “James Bond” piano concerto in London.

Critics have praised Pandolfi’s technique as “brilliant” and his stage presence as “charming.” A review of a Gershwin concert in the Fredonia Post-Journal opined that “Every note, however fleeting, was cleanly and clearly stated, and themes rolled out of supporting structures, as clear as could be,” and noted that the climax of the concert was “the famed ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ performed with thrilling virtuosity. It was jazzy, it was classical, it was Gershwin, wonderfully done."

Ensemble Schumann, piano, viola and oboe, Nov. 12, 2010

On Friday evening, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m. the Ensemble Schumann trio will take the stage of Hotchkiss Recital Hall with pianist Sally Pinkas, violist Steve Larson and oboist Thomas Gallant. This colorful combination of artists and instruments brings to life works by such composers as Schumann, Brahms, Saint-Saens, Loeffler, Poulenc, Shostakovich, and Franck. The members of Ensemble Schumann have collectively performed at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York City, at Jordan Hall in Boston, Wigmore Hall in London, at the Library of Congress in Washington, as well as at the Tanglewood, Ravinia, Lucerne, Spoleto and Mostly Mozart Festivals.Sally Pinkas has appeared with the Boston Pops and Aspen Philharmonia and collaborated with a wide variety of artists including Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the Adaskin String Trio and the Lydian String Quartet. She also performs with her husband, Evan Hirsch, as the Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo. With degrees from Indiana University, Brandeis University, and the New England Conservatory of Music, Pinkas now teaches at Dartmouth, where she is pianist-in-residence of the Hopkins Center, and at the Longy School in Massachusetts.

As a member of the acclaimed Adaskin String Trio since 1994, Steve Larson has performed extensively in the U.S. and Canada and recorded the complete string trios of Beethoven for the Musica Omnia label. He also performs as part of the Avery Ensemble and has collaborated with many other artists, including the Emerson and Miami String Quartets. A native of Saskatchewan, he holds degrees from McGill University, l’Université de Montréal, and the Hartt School at the University of Hartford, where he teaches.

Thomas Gallant is one of the world’s few virtuoso solo and chamber music performers on the oboe and has performed as both soloist and chamber musician in prestigious halls around the world and with such artists as Jean-Pierre Rampal, the Kronos Quartet, the Adaskin String Trio and the Prague-based Martinu Chamber Orchestra. After studying at the Indiana University School of Music, he performed with the New Orleans Symphony and the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. His unique performance style combines the American and European traditions of oboe playing. His instrument is an “Evoluzione” oboe made by the Italian maker Fratelli Patricola.

Jasper String Quartet, Feb. 19, 2011
The Jasper String Quartet performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19 in Hotchkiss Recital Hall. Newly named quartet-in-residence at the Oberlin Conservatory, the quartet consists of first violinist J Freivogel, violinist Sae Niwa, violist Sam Quintal, and cellist Rachel Henderson Freivogel. The four Jaspers, as they call themselves, studied together and formed their quartet while students at Oberlin and began their professional career as Rice University’s graduate quartet-in-residence in 2006. They continued their studies at Yale University with the Tokyo String Quartet.

The quartet has performed across the United States and in Canada, Norway, England, Italy, and Japan. In 2008 it won top prizes at the Plowman Chamber Music Competition, the Coleman Competition, Chamber Music Yellow Springs, and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. The next year it became the first ensemble to win the Yale School of Music’s Horatio Parker Memorial Prize, an award established in 1945 to recognize artists who fulfill “lofty musical ideals.” The four musicians served an unprecedented two years as the prestigious Ernst C. Stiefel String Quartet in Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and Arts in Katonah.

Mark Valenti, piano, March 4, 2011
It’s back to the ivories with accomplished Chicago-based pianist Mark Valenti in a Friday evening performance, March 4, at 8 o’clock in Decker Theatre. Valenti holds a bachelor of music degree from the Philadelphia Musical Academy and a master of music degree from Northwestern University and has studied with Benjamin Whitten, Zoltan Kocsis and Mary Sauer. Formerly Professor of Music at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Xavier University in Chicago and the Loire Valley Music Institute in France, he now teaches at his private studio in Chicago. Valenti has soloed in cities throughout the U.S. and has performed in France, Belgium, Hungary and Luxembourg. He also has worked extensively in jazz, including performances with Gregory Hines, Frank Foster and Al Grey.

Lisa Shihoten, violin, and Wei-Yi Yang piano, April 15, 2011

Violinist Lisa Shihoten and pianist Wei-Yi Yang conclude the 2010-11 series on Friday evening, April 15, at 8 p.m. in Hotchkiss Recital Hall. Shihoten made her New York solo debut at Avery Fisher Hall with the Juilliard Orchestra under the direction of Kurt Masur and now enjoys an active career as a chamber musician, recitalist, and teacher. She tours throughout Israel, Greece, Turkey and the United States and appears frequently with the ensemble Concertante, with the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, and with organist Ken Cowan. She also has participated in the Caramoor, Ravinia, Verbier and Aspen Music Festivals. Ms. Shihoten received her bachelor’s degree from the Juilliard School, and her master’s degree from the Yale University School of Music. She makes her home in Princeton, New Jersey and teaches at Princeton University.

Pianist Wei-Yi Yang has performed in North and Central America, Asia, Europe, and Australia in solo recitals, with chamber music groups and with symphony orchestras. His venues include Lincoln Center, Steinway Hall and Merkin Hall in New York; the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.; the Kumho Art Hall in Seoul; and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music in Glasgow. Winner of numerous prizes and fellowships, Mr. Yang co-founded the award-winning Soyulla Ensemble, which recently debuted at Alice Tully Hall, toured Korea, and released a CD on the Renegade Classics label. Born in Taiwan of Chinese and Japanese heritage, Yang studied with Russian pianist Arkady Aronov at New York City's Manhattan School of Music. He earned his doctorate in musical arts from Yale University, where he now teaches.

Ticket Information Season tickets and tickets for individual concerts are sold at the door and by mail. Season tickets are priced at $50. Patron levels, which include season tickets, begin at $75 per person. Tickets to individual concerts are $15 (or $5 for youth ages 18 and under). Washington College students are admitted free with a valid ID. There are no reserved seats. Please call 410-778-7839 for more information, or email For updates and more program details throughout the year, please visit the Concert Series web page:

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