Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts
Make Music Chicago
Rush Hour Concerts
Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park
Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center
Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
St. James Cathedral
Woman's Athletic Club
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts Weiwen Ma, Piano Fastforward (4’) Alexina Louie (b. 1949) Piano Sonata No. 8 in B-Flat Major, Op. 84 (33’) I. Andante dolce II. Andante sognando III. Vivace Sergei Prokofiev (1891 – 1953) Weiwen
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts
Weiwen Ma, Piano
Alexina Louie (b. 1949)
Piano Sonata No. 8 in B-Flat Major, Op. 84 (33’)
I. Andante dolce
II. Andante sognando
Sergei Prokofiev (1891 – 1953)
Weiwen Ma, a native of Shanghai, is celebrated internationally for her virtuosic technique, bold interpretations of the classic repertoire, and vivacious stage presence. She has been described by world celebrated pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi as “(playing) with flair and technical prowess. Her keyboard skills are remarkable.”
Ms. Ma came to the US in 2003 to attend the Oberlin Conservatory on a prestigious scholarship and she later attended the Cleveland Institute of Music in pursuit of a Master’s Degree. While at CIM, she won first prize in the concerto competition and performed Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the orchestra in 2009. Later that year, she made her Carnegie Weill Hall debut as the winner of the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition. After winning a Bronze medal at the First Chinese International Piano Competition, she performed at The Town Hall in NYC in 2008. She is also the prize winner of many other international piano competitions including The World Piano Competition, the Corpus Christi International Competition for Piano & Strings, the Kankakee Young Artist Piano Competition, and the Thousand Islands Piano Competition.
Ms. Ma maintains an active presence in the contemporary classical music scene. She premiered works by award winning composer and conductor Ruo Huang at the Aspen Music Festival in 2005, and she performed a set of songs by Dr. Frank Wiley, a composer and professor at Kent State University. This performance was broadcast on Cleveland’s WCLV multiple times.
While in Cleveland, Ms. Ma was an active solo performer at important venues such as the Tuesday Musical Recital Series and the Steinway Piano Gallery. The Tuesday Musical Newsletter raved about her: “I’m still not sure how Weiwen physically created the sophistication and finesse required to command the technical and musical magnitude of the Ravel or Chopin…That is the signature of a fine artist.”
Recently, Ms. Ma graduated from the DePaul School of Music for a Performance Certificate Degree under the studio of George Vatchnadze. Shortly after moving to Chicago in the fall of 2014, she has given solo performances at numerous well known venues across the city, including the Pianoforte Foundation Salon Series with live broadcasts on WFMT and YouTube, the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, and the Chicago Bach Keyboard Concert Series at the Alice Millar Chapel. She was also featured as a soloist and performed Ravel Piano in G major with the Wooster Symphony Orchestra in Ohio in 2015, and performed Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Park Ridge symphony Orchestra in 2017. For more information, please check out her website www.weiwenma.com.
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts Robert Chen, Violin Benjamin Loeb, Piano Caprice Viennois, Op. 2 (4’) Fritz Kreisler (1875 – 1962) Violin Sonata in G minor, Bg. 5 “Devil’s Trill Sonata” (14’) I. Larghetto affettuoso II. Allegro moderato III. Andante IV. Allegro assai
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts
Robert Chen, Violin
Benjamin Loeb, Piano
Caprice Viennois, Op. 2 (4’)
Fritz Kreisler (1875 – 1962)
Violin Sonata in G minor, Bg. 5 “Devil’s Trill Sonata” (14’)
I. Larghetto affettuoso
II. Allegro moderato
IV. Allegro assai — Andante — Allegro assai
Giuseppe Tartini (1692 – 1770)
arr. Fritz Kreisler
Sonata No. 6 in E Major for Solo Violin, Op. 27, “Manuel Quiroga” (8’)
Eugène Ysaÿe (1858 – 1931)
Selections from Sonata for Violin and Piano (9’)
John Corigliano (b. 1938)
Robert Chen has been Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1999. Since then he has been featured as a soloist with conductors including Riccardo Muti, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Bernard Haitink, Christoph Eschenbach, Charles Dutoit, Ton Koopman, Osmo Vänskä, Vasily Petrenko, Nicholas Kraemer and James Conlon. He gave the CSO premiere of György Ligeti’s Violin Concerto, Elliott Carter’s Violin Concerto, and Witold Lutoslawski’s Chain Two, as well as the world premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’s Astral Canticle.
In addition to his duties as concertmaster, Chen enjoys a solo career that includes performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic, NDR Orchestra of Hanover, Asia Philharmonic and the Bournemouth Symphony, collaborating with conductors such as Myung-Whun Chung, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Manfred Honeck, Pavel Kogan and Andreas Delfs.
An avid chamber musician, Chen has performed with Daniel Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang, Christoph Eschenbach, Myung-Whun Chung, Emanuel Ax, Mitsuko Uchida, Lynn Harrell, and János Starker. A frequent participant at numerous festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, Santa Fe Music Festival, La Jolla Chamber Music Festival, and the Schloss Moritzburg Festival, he also has toured extensively with Musicians from Marlboro and is a founding member of the Johannes Quartet.
Prior to joining the CSO, Chen won first prize in the Hanover International Violin Competition. As part of that prize, he recorded Tchaikovsky’s complete violin works for the Berlin Klassics label.
A native of Taiwan, Chen began his violin studies at the age of seven. He continued his studies with Robert Lipsett when he and his family moved to Los Angeles in 1979. While in Los Angeles, he participated in Jascha Heifetz’s master classes. Chen received both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music from the Juilliard School, where he was a student of Dorothy DeLay and Masao Kawasaki.
In his free time, he enjoys relaxing at home with his wife Laura and two children, Beatrice and Noah.
Pianist Benjamin Loeb is an accomplished soloist, accompanist, conductor, arranger, educator, arts administrator, and entrepreneur whose performances have been heralded by the Boston Globe as “vigorous, cogent playing signaled the kind of equally weighted partnership.” In May 2015, he performed Morton Gould’s Interplay with the Boston Pops Orchestra at the invitation and under the direction of New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert. He has also collaborated as a soloist with conductors including JoAnn Falletta, Carl St. Clair, and Rossen Milanov. His widely varied projects range from concerts of Beethoven and Bruckner symphonies to recordings with Yo-Yo Ma of 16th century Italian madrigals to tours with rock musicians to world premieres of cutting-edge avant-garde music.
At the invitation of United States Department of State, Loeb toured Argentina and Uruguay as an Artistic Ambassador, performing recitals of the music of Scott Joplin and giving master classes and workshops with youth orchestras and young musicians. He has recorded for Naxos, CBC, and the DSCLabel as both a soloist and a collaborative pianist. He holds a Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory in Conducting (as a student of Gustav Meier), a Master’s in Music from the Curtis Institute, a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the Juilliard School in Accompanying, and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University.
Most recently, Benjamin Loeb served as the Executive Director of the Quad City (Iowa) Symphony Orchestra from 2013 to 2017. He has also served as Executive Director of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony and as Music Director of the 2011 New Hampshire Music Festival. As Associate Conductor of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, Loeb founded and served as both Executive and Music Director of the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras–El Paso’s only national-level, NEA-recognized, multiple-orchestra system serving the best young musicians in the El Paso, southern New Mexico, and Juarez region. He is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the International Conducting Workshop and Festival, now in its thirteenth year, hosted by orchestras around the world, most recently the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic in Zlin, Czech Republic.
Loeb lives in Davenport, Iowa with his wife, Quyen, his 11-year-old daughter, Anna Sofia Uni, his 9-year-old, Lulu Ladybug, and 7-year-old son Ryan “Taco”. He continues occasionally to concertize worldwide as pianist, conductor, educator, and arts advocate. Loeb’s far-ranging interests do not limit him to music; he has directed plays, cooked gourmet meals for 65, tutored over 500 people in test preparation for the Princeton Review, and played and enjoyed almost every sport. He is also an active member of the Davenport Rotary Club. Moreover (or most important), he is a lifetime Dallas Cowboys fan.
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts Vijay Venkatesh, Piano Consolation No. 3 in D-Flat Major (5’) Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886) Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 in C-Sharp Minor (9’) Franz Liszt
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts
Vijay Venkatesh, Piano
Consolation No. 3 in D-Flat Major (5’)
Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886)
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 in C-Sharp Minor (9’)
Piano Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111 (23’)
I. Maestoso – Allegro con brio ed appassionato
II. Arietta – Adagio molto semplice e cantabile
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
A native of Orange County, California, pianist Vijay Venkatesh has been hailed in concert review for his “sublime phrasing, tremendous and powerful virtuosity, beautiful lyricism, and mature and sensitive interpretation” in performances “equaling that of Radu Lupu, Itzhak Perlman, and Andres Segovia.” At age 14, he made his orchestral debut with the South Coast Symphony. In addition, he has performed with the Symphony Orchestras of Seattle, Vienna, Roanoke, USC Thornton, Eastern Connecticut, YMF Debut, UCI, Pasadena, Rio Hondo, Transylvania, and the Brevard Music Center.
He has collaborated with celebrated conductors such as Ludovic Morlot, David Lockington, David Stewart Wiley, Toshiyuki Shimada, Ken Lam, Robert Lehrbaumer, Kimo Furumoto, and more. His 2017-18 season include recitals on the Emory Recital Series of Atlanta, Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, and chamber music at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Winner of Grand Prizes in the 2016 Classics Alive Artists competition, 2016 Frances Walton Chamber Music Competition, 2015 Seattle Symphony International Piano Competition and 2008 Los Angeles Music Center’s Spotlight Awards, he was named a Davidson Fellow, honored with an award ceremony and reception at the Library of Congress. A 2009 alumnus of NPR’s “From the Top” and 2009 Winner of NFAA YoungARTS, he took 1st Prizes in the 2011 Zimmerli International Solo Piano Competition, 2004 San Jose International Piano Competition, 2007 World Piano Pedagogue Competition, and 2nd prize in the 2007 Waring International Piano Competition. He has appeared as guest artist at the Aspen, Brevard, Banff, Vienna, Sarasota, and Newport Music Festivals.
Principal professors have included Norman Krieger, Jeffrey Kahane, and Dr. Sarkis Baltaian. He is a recipient of the 2015 Parnassus Society Prize, 2014 Birte Moller Young Artist Award, and the 2013 Thornton Music Faculty Award from the University of Southern California graduating as a 2017 Discovery Scholar.
He now pursues a Masters at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music with professor Norman Krieger as a recipient of the Barbara and David Jacobs Fellowship. He is currently managed by Classics Alive Artists.
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts Whitney Morrison, Soprano Madeline Slettedahl, Piano Chère nuit (6’) Alfred Bachelet (1864 – 1944) Apparition (4’) Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918) Singing Earth (13’) I. The Wind Sings Welcome II. Summer
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts
Whitney Morrison, Soprano
Madeline Slettedahl, Piano
Chère nuit (6’)
Alfred Bachelet (1864 – 1944)
Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918)
Singing Earth (13’)
I. The Wind Sings Welcome
II. Summer Stars
III. Tawny Days
IV. Great Memories
Elinor Remick Warren (1900 – 1991)
Hoagy Carmichael (1899 – 1981)
Duke Ellington (1899 – 1974)
How High the Moon (6’)
Morgan Lewis (1906 – 1968)
Soprano Whitney Morrison is a first-year member of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago. The Chicago native earned her bachelor’s degree in vocal music and pedagogy at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. While a student there she portrayed Miss Pinkerton/Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief and, as a soloist with the university’s Aeolians ensemble, toured to venues throughout America as well as to Moscow. Subsequently she earned a master’s degree at the Eastman School of Music. Morrison has also studied and performed in Germany at the Neil Semer Vocal Institute. Among her other performance credits are an appearance at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, “MLK Expressions,” featuring Tavis Smiley; her debut at Rochester’s Kodak Hall singing Gershwin’s “My Man’s Gone Now” with the Eastman Wind Ensemble; and, in Chicago, Donna Anna/Don Giovanni. Morrison’s successes in competitions include top prizes in the National Classical Singer University Competition, the R. Nathaniel Dett Club NANM Scholarship Competition, and the Musicians Club of Women Competition. The soprano is also a two-time recipient of the UNCF John Lennon Endowed Scholarship, a former finalist in the Luminarts Classical Music Competition and a regional finalist in the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. This season at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Morrison makes her debut as Countess Ceprano/Rigoletto and will portray Gerhilde/Die Walküre (new production).
Pianist Madeline Slettedahl, from Seattle, Washington, is in her first year with Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center. A 2016 participant at Music Academy of the West and winner of that year’s Marilyn Horne Song Competition, she served as rehearsal pianist for the Academy’s production of The Bartered Bride and OperaFest scenes program. Recent engagements include rehearsal pianist for Menotti’s The Telephone and The Medium (Opera in the Heights) and coach/pianist for the 2017 world-premiere workshop of Ricky Ian Gordon’s A House Without a Christmas Tree (Houston Grand Opera). Slettedahl debuted at Carnegie Hall in January 2017 performing in master classes with Dame Felicity Lott and pianist Margo Garrett for Carnegie’s The Song Continues Institute. Two months later she completed a nationwide recital tour with baritone Ben Lowe. She has performed world premieres of numerous commissioned works, including “Willows” by composer-conductor Roger Briggs and “My Life a Lyric Cry” by Greek-Canadian composer Constantine Caravassilis. Slettedahl is an alumna of Rice University (master’s degree, Andre Watts Scholarship, Michael P. Hammond Preparatory Program Olshan Foundation Fellowship Award) and Western Washington University (bachelor’s degree, first prize in the WWU Concerto Competition, Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Piano Competition). She will serve on the Lyric Opera music staff for the 2017/18 production of The Pearl Fishers.
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts Kariné Poghosyan, Piano Ritual Fire Dance (4’) Serenata Andaluza (5’) Fantasía Bética (12’) Manuel de Falla (1876 – 1946) Lullaby from Gayane (4’) Aram Khachaturian (1903 – 1978) arr. Kariné
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts
Kariné Poghosyan, Piano
Ritual Fire Dance (4’)
Serenata Andaluza (5’)
Fantasía Bética (12’)
Manuel de Falla (1876 – 1946)
Lullaby from Gayane (4’)
Aram Khachaturian (1903 – 1978)
arr. Kariné Poghosyan
Firebird Suite (11’)
I. Danse Infernale
Igor Stravinsky (1882 – 1971)
arr. Guido Agosti (1901 – 1989)
A critic once wrote about Poghosyan’s passionate playing, “If she had been born a few decades earlier, perhaps the Armenian-American pianist Kariné Poghosyan could have melted the Cold War.” She has been praised for her ability to “get to the heart of the works she performs.”
Poghosyan made her orchestral debut at 14 playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and her solo Carnegie Hall debut at 23. She has since gone on to win numerous awards and perform in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls. During the 2014-15 season, Poghosyan made her debuts in Washington and Toronto, where she performed the Canadian premiere of Alan Hovhaness’s Piano Concerto “Lousadzak.” Other performance highlights included solo recitals on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, Ehbar Saal in Vienna, as well as performing Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto with the Greater Newburgh (N.Y.) Symphony under the baton of Woomyung Choe.
Her most recent orchestral performances include Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Sinfonia Toronto, conducted by Maestro Nurhan Arman, and Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Phil Ventre. Both performances received warm ovations and strong reviews. She was also featured on WQXR’s “Chopin Marathon” concert and live webcast, and was interviewed by David Osenberg on his award-winning program on WWFM, Cadenza.
Poghosyan’s musical studies began in her native Yerevan, in Armenia, at the School of the Arts No. 1, and continued at Romanos Melikian College and the Komitas State Conservatory. Her teachers in Armenia included Irina Gazarian, Vatche Umr-Shat, and Svetlana Dadyan. After moving to the United States in 1998, she received her B.M., summa cum laude, from California State University in Northridge under Françoise Regnat, and her M.M and D.M.A. degrees at Manhattan School of Music under Arkady Aronov, completing her D.M.A. in a record-breaking two years with a thesis on Aram Khachaturian’s works for piano.
Her recent CD, “Khachaturian Original Piano Works and Ballet Transcriptions,” released on the NAXOS label, has received rave reviews and earned her worldwide acclaim for her exceptional performance and styling. David Dubal, the revered piano authority, author, and radio host, commented on Kariné’s playing of Khachaturian’s music. “She immersed herself in the piano music of Aram Khachaturian to such an extent that her performances have elevated the music to a higher sphere. I know this for certain as I have played many of these pieces and found details of inflection, rhythm, and technical prowess that I had not imagined the music possessed. This is an important debut recording and it brings to us in Kariné Poghosyan’s work, a pianist that we should hear as soon as possible in recital or on disc. Khachaturian would be excited to hear his colorful works played with such idiomatic styling. This is Khachaturian playing that will not be rivaled!”
Poghosyan is based in New York, where she teaches at the Manhattan School of Music.