Voilà, Viola!

Thursday, October 19, 2017
7:30 PM
Nightingale Concert Hall 

    • Paul Neubauer, viola
    • James Austin Smith, oboe
    • Olga Perez Flora, mezzo-soprano
    • Hyeyeon Park, piano
    • James Winn, piano

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The Program

Apex Concerts continues its Seventh Season with “Voilà, Viola!” A program exploring different chamber combinations that are possible with the viola in the hands of one of its greatest masters: the supreme Paul Neubauer. It will be an unforgettable evening featuring the music of brilliant composers Loeffler and Benjamin Dale, coupled with beloved works by Saint-Saens, Brahms, and Mendelssohn. Mr. Neubauer’s viola will be joined on stage by the dynamic multi- award winning oboist James Austin Smith, as well as distinguished University faculty members.


LOEFFLER: “La Cornemuse” from 2 Rhapsodies for Oboe, Viola and Piano (1901)
BRAHMS: Zwei Gesänge for Voice, Viola and Piano Op.91 (1884) (13’)
DALE: Romance for Viola and Piano in D flat Op.2 (1906) (10’)
SAINT-SAËNS: Oboe Sonata in D major, Op. 166 (12’)
MENDELSSOHN: Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 2 in D major, Op. 58
(Arr. for Viola and Piano: P. Neubauer)

The Artists

 

Paul Neubauer, violin

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Violist Paul Neubauer's exceptional musicality and effortless playing led the New York Times to call him “a master musician”. He is the newly appointed Artistic Director of the Mostly Music series in New Jersey. This season he will be featured in a Live from Lincoln Center broadcast with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and will premiere a new work for viola and piano by Liliya Ugay written to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Carson McCullers's birth. He also appears with his trio with soprano Susanna Phillips and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, and as soloist with orchestra. His recording of the Aaron Kernis Viola Concerto with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, a work he premiered with the St. Paul Chamber, Los Angeles Chamber, and Idyllwild Arts orchestras and the Chautauqua Symphony will be released on Signum Records.

A two-time Grammy nominee, in 2016, Mr. Neubauer released a solo album of music recorded at Music@Menlo. His recording of piano quartets with Daniel Hope, David Finckel and Wu Han was recently released on the Deutsche Grammophon label. Joan Tower's Purple Rhapsody with Timothy Russsell and the Pro Music Chamber Orchestra, commissioned for him by seven orchestras and the Koussevitsky Foundation, was released by Summit Records. Other recorded works that were written for him include: Wild Purple for solo viola by Joan Tower for Naxos; Viola Rhapsody a concerto by Henri Lazarof on Centaur Records; and Soul Garden for viola and chamber ensemble by Derek Bermel on CRI. His recording of the Walton Viola Concerto was recently re-released on Decca and his Schumann recital album with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott was recorded for Image Recordings.

During his six year tenure with the New York Philharmonic, Paul Neubauer appeared as soloist with that orchestra in over twenty performances. One particularly memorable performance was the New York premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki's Viola Concerto with Penderecki conducting. He has appeared with over 100 orchestras throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the San Francisco, National, St. Louis, Dallas, Indianapolis, Puerto Rico and Cincinnati symphonies, the Bavarian State Radio Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Hungarian Radio Orchestra, the Orchester der Beethovenhalle Bonn (with whom he performed the world premiere of the newly revised version of Bartók's Viola Concerto), the Kansas City Symphony (premiering Tobias Picker's Viola Concerto), the English Chamber Orchestra (performing the world premiere of Gordon Jacob's Viola Concerto no. 2), and the Knoxville Symphony (premiering David Ott's Viola Concerto). Mr. Neubauer made his Carnegie Hall Debut playing the first performance of Joel Philip Friedman's Concerto for Viola and Orchestra with the National Orchestral Association. He has also appeared with the Stockholm Chamber Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Ensemble orchestral de Paris, Orquesta Filharmonica de Buenos Aires, Bournemouth Symphony, and the Taipei National Symphony. In Rome, he has performed with violinist Vladimir Spivakov and the Orchestra of the National Academy of Santa Cecelia. Other collaborations include performances with Andre Watts and Vladimir Feltsman at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; with Joshua Bell and Steven Isserlis at London's Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Hall’s; and with Pinchas Zukerman, James Galway, Vladimir Spivakov and Alicia de Larrocha at the Mostly Mozart Festival. He has also collaborated with the Emerson, Shanghai, Juilliard, Cleveland, Fine Arts, Orion, Borromeo, Miami, and Brentano quartets.

Mr. Neubauer's musical activities are consistently creative. In a pair of highly acclaimed New York premieres, he performed Bartók's Viola Concerto (which he helped to revise along with Bartók's son, Peter and composer Nelson Dellamaggiore), and Max Bruch's Double Concerto for Clarinet and Viola with clarinetist David Shifrin. He also gave the North American premiere of the Detlev Müller-Siemens Viola Concerto and Richard Suter's Three Nocturnes for Viola and Orchestra. He has been featured as a special guest artist of the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center in performances of Viola Alone, and on the popular radio show A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. He was very successful as the director of Voilà Viola, a viola festival held at Merkin Hall in New York, and has toured the United States with pianist Christopher O'Riley, violinist Pamela Frank, and cellist Carter Brey.

In addition to his innumerable orchestral, recital, and festival appearances, Paul Neubauer is accessible to a broad range of television and radio audiences through Live from Lincoln Center telecasts with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has been featured on CBS's Sunday Morning; in recital on PBS's Front Row Center and In Concert; on Argentinean, Brazilian, and Mexican television as soloist with orchestras; on National Public Radio's Performance Today and Morning Edition, on St. Paul Sunday Morning, as well as on international radio performances throughout the world.

Among Mr. Neubauer's numerous awards are First Prize in the Mae M. Whitaker International Competition, the D'Angelo International Competition, and the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition. He has been the recipient of a Solo Recitalist's Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a special prize from the Naumburg Foundation, which awarded him an Alice Tully Hall recital debut. Moreover, the Epstein Young Artists Program has sponsored him and he was the first violist chosen to receive an Avery Fisher Career Grant.

Born in Los Angeles and currently residing in New York City, Mr. Neubauer studied with Alan de Veritch, Paul Doktor, and William Primrose. He holds a Master's Degree from The Juilliard School where he is now a member of the faculty. He also teaches at Mannes College.

James Austin Smith, oboe

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Praised for his “virtuosic,” “dazzling" and “brilliant” performances (The New York Times) and his “bold, keen sound” (The New Yorker), oboist James Austin Smith performs equal parts new and old music across the United States and around the world.  Mr. Smith is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Talea Ensemble and Cygnus as well as co-Artistic Director of Decoda, the Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall. He is a member of the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and the State University of New York at Purchase and is co-Artistic Director of Tertulia, a chamber music series that takes place in restaurants in New York and San Francisco.

Mr. Smith’s festival appearances include Marlboro, Lucerne, Chamber Music Northwest, Schleswig-Holstein, Stellenbosch, Bay Chamber Concerts, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, OK Mozart, Schwetzingen and Spoleto USA; he has performed with the St. Lawrence, Orion and Parker string quartets and recorded for the Nonesuch, Bridge, Mode and Kairos labels.  His debut solo recording "Distance" was released in early 2015 on South Africa's TwoPianists Record Label.

Mr. Smith received his Master of Music degree in 2008 from the Yale School of Music and graduated in 2005 with Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) and Bachelor of Music degrees from Northwestern University.  He spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Leipzig, Germany at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy” and is an alumnus of Ensemble ACJW, a collaboration of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, the Weill Music Institute and the New York City Department of Education.  Mr. Smith’s principal teachers are Stephen Taylor, Christian Wetzel, Humbert Lucarelli and Ray Still.

The son of musician parents and eldest of four boys, Mr. Smith was born in New York and raised in Connecticut.

 

Olga Perez Flora, mezzo-soprano

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Cuban-American mezzo-soprano, Olga Perez Flora, has been lauded by Opera News for her "smoky tones” and "firm, pleasant voice and lively poise." She has most recently made her debut with both Opera Columbus as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and the role of Olga in Eugene Onegin with Opera Company Middlebury to wide acclaim. Known for her sultry Carmen, Ms. Perez Flora has performed this signature role numerous times, including her debut with Amarillo Opera. Recent solo orchestral performances include Handel’s Messiahwith the Mississippi Symphony Chorus, Bach’s Cantata 147with the St. Vincent Cammerata, Hayden’s Lord Nelson Masswith the Idyllwild Festival of the Arts, and Viva Verdi with the Amhurst Orchestra. Upcoming engagements include Trujaman in Manuel de Falla’s El Retablo de Maese Pedro with the Newark Granville Symphony Orchestra as well as a return to Opera Company Middlebury to sing Flora in La Traviata.

Ms. Perez Flora has performed with opera companies across the country and internationally including Zita/Gianni Schicchiand Zita/Buoso’s Ghost in the east coast premiere with Opera New Jersey, Marcellina/Le nozze di Figaro with Operafestival di Roma, and Zerlina/Don Giovanni with Opera in the Heights. Notable roles include Komponist/Ariadne auf Naxos, Charlotte/Werther, Luisa/Luisa Fernanda, Dorabella/Cosí fan Tutte, Hansel/Hansel and Gretel, Elvira/Don Giovanni, and Mistress Quickly/Falstaff. As an alumnus of the Pullin Opera Studio Program at Arizona Opera she sang under the batons of such conductors as Richard Buckley, Cal Stewart Kellogg and Joel Revzen. While there she sang in over twenty productions, including Third Lady/Die Zauberflöte, Pitti-Sing/The Mikado, Mercedes/Carmen, Annina/La Traviata, Tisbe/La Cenerentola, and Ida/Die Fledermaus. Also known as a recitalist, Ms. Perez Flora has enjoyed being a soloist for such companies and symphonies such as Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Song Collaborative, Newark Granville Symphony Orchestra, Mississippi Symphony Chorus, St. Vincent Cammerata, Music in a Great Space, and the Idyllwild Arts Festival.

Competition wins include being a finalist at the American-Berlin Competition at The Metropolitan Opera and a NATS regional winner. Ms. Perez Flora’s education includes a Doctorate of Musical Arts from The Ohio State University, a Master of Music in Opera Theater from Arizona State University, as well as a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Northern Arizona University.

 

Hyeyeon Park, piano

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Selected as a ‘2012 Artist of the Year’ by Seoul Art Center, pianist Hyeyeon Park has been described as a pianist ‘with power, precision and tremendous glee’ (Gramophone). Praised for her “very sensitive” (Washington Post) and “highly nuanced” playing (Lucid Culture), she has appeared as soloist and chamber musician on major concert stages throughout the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Japan and her native Korea. Since making her debut at the age of ten performing Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto with Seoul Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Park has been a soloist with Seoul Philharmonic, KNUA Chamber Orchestra, Gangnam Symphony Orchestra and Incheon Philharmonic to name a few. Her recent concerts have been presented at the Dame Myra Hess Recital Series in Chicago, the Trinity Wall Street Series in NYC, Philips Collection in Washington DC among others, leading her to venues such as Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Recital Hall, Kennedy Center and Seoul Art Center, to name a few.

Selected as “The Most Promising Young Artist” by Korean Ministry of Education, after winning the first prize at Chosun National Competition, Ms. Park garnered top prizes in numerous international competitions as well, including Oberlin International Piano Competition, Ettlingen International Piano Competition (Germany), Hugo Kauder International Piano Competition, Maria Canals International Piano Competition (Spain), Prix Amadeo International Piano Competition (Germany), and Corpus Christi International Music Competition. Her performances have been broadcast on KBS and EBS television in Korea, RAI3 (Italy), WQXR (New York), WFMT (Chicago), WBJC (Baltimore), WETA (Washington DC), radio and channel LOOP in the States.

An avid chamber musician, Ms. Park has collaborated with such luminaries as David Shifrin, Ani Kavarian, Ida Kavafian, Paul Neubauer,  Toby Appel, and Derek Han and many others appearing at Yellow Barn Festival, Santander Music Festival (Spain), Music@Menlo Festival and Chamber Music Northwest. She is the founding member of Atapine-Park duo and Atria Ensemble, groups that respectively won the prizes at Premio Vittorio Gui International Chamber Music Competition (Italy) and Plowman Chamber Music Competition. Her duo recordings for cello and piano with cellist Dmitri Atapine were distributed by Naxos to great critical acclaim. An advocate of new music, as a passionate musician who pursued career as a composer as well, Ms. Park enjoys working closely with the living composers, recently premiering a work by Patrick Castillo, and soon to collaborate on a project with Ezra Laderman.

Ms. Park holds a Bachelor of Music degree at Korean National University with Prof. Daejin Kim, a Master of Music degree from Yale School of Music with Prof. Peter Frankl and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Peabody Conservatory with Prof. Yong Hi Moon. The co-artistic director of Apex Concerts, Ms. Park is the piano professor at the University of Nevada, Reno and co-directs Apex Concerts at UNR. She can be heard on Blue Griffin, Urtext Digital, HM and Naxos labels.

 

James Winn, piano

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James Winn, piano and composition professor at the University of Nevada, Reno since 1997, made his professional debut with the Denver Symphony at the age of thirteen, and has been performing widely in North America, Europe, and Asia ever since. With his duo-piano partner, Cameron Grant, he was a recipient of the top prize given in the two-piano category of the 1980 Munich Competition (Musical America wrote about the team “Not since Josef and Rosina Lhevinne regaled us in the thirties have we heard such technical prowess paired with such genuine musical values”). Dr. Winn has been a solo pianist with the New York City Ballet, a member of the New York New Music Ensemble, of Hexagon (woodwind quintet plus piano), and the pianist and resident composer of the Telluride Chamber Music Festival, as well as a frequent guest with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Speculum, the Washington Square Contemporary Music Series, the Chamber Music Society of Sacramento, the Group for Contemporary Music, Cactus Pear Chamber Music Festival, La Musica International Chamber Music Festival, and Bargemusic. Well-known as a specialist in new music, he has been involved in numerous world premieres and premiere recordings by many renowned composers, among them 13 Pulitzer Prize winners. He is currently a member of Argenta, UNR’s resident piano trio, and performs regularly in recital with internationally acclaimed New York based violinist Rolf Schulte. An active recording artist, Winn is featured in more than three dozen CDs as soloist, chamber musician, and composer. Dr. Winn’s compositions have been performed internationally. He has received numerous career recognitions including an Artist Fellowship from the Nevada State Council of the Arts and, in 2009, the Governor’s Award.

 

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