Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio, M.M.
Director, Orchestral Career Studies Graduate Program
Associate Professor of Violin & Viola
- Office: CFA 139
- Phone: (775) 682-9024
Described as a “violinist who most often takes your breath away” by Gramophone Magazine and praised as an “expressive and passionate chamber musician” by the San Antonio Express-News, Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio enjoys a varied performing and recording career as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader. Associate Professor of Violin and Viola at the University of Nevada, Reno and member of the Argenta Trio, she is also Artistic Director of Cactus Pear Music Festival, which she founded in 1997 while serving as Concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony. Previously First Assistant Principal Second Violin of The Cleveland Orchestra, under Christoph von Dohnanyi, she toured and recorded internationally with this ensemble for eight seasons.
Ms. Sant’Ambrogio has a discography of over seventy-five orchestral and chamber music CDs, including her recent release of Soaring Solo: Unaccompanied Works for Violin & Viola II on MSR Classics. Audiophile Review described her Johannes Brahms: The Violin Sonatas CD as “Fine readings of great finesse, rich coloring and complete understanding.” Her other releases include Late Dates with Mozart; and Going Solo: Unaccompanied Works for Violin & Viola on the MSR Classics label, and Argenta Trio: The Piano Trios of Felix Mendelssohn on Bridge Records. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the U.S. as well as in Mexico, Canada, Estonia, Sweden, Ghana, Italy, Peru and Chile. In 2010, she won the Alan Bible Teaching Excellence Award at UNR and was also appointed Concertmaster of the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to her active performing career, Stephanie is devoted to teaching serious young violinists, many who have won positions in America’s symphonies and universities.
Cactus Pear Music Festival, presents chamber music performances, Young People’s Concerts, Kinder Konzerts, a full scholarship Young Artist Program, a Young Composer Xtreme Competition, American composer commissions and master classes in the South Texas region. In 2004, she was named a Ford Salute to Education Award winner for her outstanding contributions to music education through her creation of Cactus Pear Music Festival and her life’s dedication to teaching violin. In addition to her performances as violinist, violist and Artistic Director of Cactus Pear Music Festival, Ms. Sant’Ambrogio has performed and taught at various festivals including: Music in the Vineyards (CA); Bach, Dancing and Dynamite Society (WI); Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival (WA); Nevada Chamber Music Festival (NV); Round Top Festival Institute (TX) and Tuckamore Festival (Newfoundland, Canada).
Her chamber music activities have included performances and recordings with such noted artists as William Preucil, Ida Kavafian, Richard Stoltzman, David Shifrin, Richard Goode, Walter Trampler, Anne Epperson, Jon Kimura Parker and Gunther Schuller. She is featured in chamber music recordings under the Arabesque, Bridge Records and MSR Classics labels, and her live concert performances are frequently heard on National Public Radio’s Performance Today. Ms. Sant’Ambrogio has performed as first violinist with the Miami String Quartet and has been a guest artist with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, performing at both the Lincoln and Kennedy Centers. She toured Italy with Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project, toured extensively throughout Ohio with Cleveland’s Myriad, and for ten years performed with the Amici String Quartet, of which she was a founding member. Ms. Sant’Ambrogio studied with and was the graduate assistant to Donald Weilerstein at The Eastman School of Music, where she received her Master of Music degree. Previously she received her Bachelor of Music degree with distinction from Indiana University as a scholarship student of Laurence Shapiro and James Buswell.
The name Sant’Ambrogio is frequently found in concert programs throughout America. John Sant’Ambrogio, former Principal Cellist of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, gave his daughter Stephanie her first violin lessons at the age of five. Her sister Sara is a cellist with the Naumberg Award-winning Eroica Trio. For thirty years the Sant’Ambrogio family directed Red Fox Music Camp, which was founded by grandmother Isabelle, a concert pianist. The legacy of teaching music has been passed down in the Sant’Ambrogio family for four generations. Ms. Sant’Ambrogio plays a violin crafted in 1757 by J.B. Guadagnini of Milan, Italy and a viola by Jacek Zadlo of Chicago, 2008. She and her graphic designer husband Gary Albright, enjoy exploring Lake Tahoe with their daughters, seventeen-year-old Isabel and fifteen-year-old Gabrielle.
NEWEST RELEASE on MSR Classics label
Soaring Solo: Unaccompanied Works II for Violin & Viola
Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio, violin & viola
Stephanie writes: "Soaring effortlessly high above the clouds. That's the sensation I enjoy when I am in the perfect performance zone.... When I decided to record a second CD of solo pieces for violin and viola, Soaring Solo was the title that came 'out of the blue' and drifted into my consciousness. And like Going Solo, I wanted to seed these clouds with some of my favorites from the Baroque period along with a few lesser known, rarely recorded gems and, finally, to include treasures written by living composers. Enjoy your own flight on the wings of these exceptional composers and their inspiring compositions."
The composers of these virtuoso pieces span over 300 years of classical music repertoire from the mid-17th century to three living composers, some of whom are still composing well into the 21st century. There are two world-premiere selections and the composers represented hail from eight different geographical areas of the globe.
Johannes Brahms: The Violin Sonatas
Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio, violin
James Winn, Piano
"Fine readings of great finesse, rich coloring, and complete understanding... -- —Steven Ritter, Audiophile
- Audio CD (May 29, 2013)
- Label: MSR Classics
- ASIN: B00D32MWAI
- Scherzo in C minor, Wo02
- Sonata No. 1 in G major, Op. 78
- I.Vivace ma non troppo
- II. Adagio
- III. Allegro molto moderato
- Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 100
- I. Allegro amibile
- II. Andante tranquillo
- III. Allegretto grazioso
- Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108
- I. Allegro
- II. Adagio
- III. Un poco presto e con sentimento
- IV. Presto agitato
Available at amazon.com.
The Piano Trios of
The Argenta Trio gives whirlwind virtuosic readings of Mendelssohn's masterpieces. The Piano Trios are works that influenced many of the great composers of the era, including Johannes Brahms. In reviewing the D minor Trio, Robert Schumann wrote that Mendelssohn was "the Mozart of the nineteenth century, the most illuminating of musicians."
|1. Trio in D minor, Op. 49: I. Molto allegro agitato|
|2. Trio in D minor, Op. 49: II. Andante con moto tranquillo|
|3. Trio in D minor, Op. 49: III. Scherzo: Leggiero e vivace|
|4. Trio in D minor, Op. 49: IV. Finale: Allegro assai appassionato|
|5. Song Without Words, Op. 53, No. 2|
|6. Trio in C minor, Op. 66: I. Allegro energico e con fuoco|
|7. Trio in C minor, Op. 66: II. Andante espressivo|
|8. Trio in C minor, Op. 66: III. Scherzo: Molto allegro quasi presto|
|9. Trio in C minor, Op. 66: IV. Finale: Allegro appassionato|
Available as CD and Mp3 from amazon.com.
Going Solo: Unaccompanied Works for Violin & Viola
Works by Ysaÿe, Telemann, Vieuxtemps, Kreisler, Schulhoff, Thomas, Porter, Winn, Piazzolla.
Rated four stars for performance and recording by Howard Goldstein, BBC Music Magazine, 2011. (Read the Review.)
- Audio CD: April 5, 2011
- Label: MSR Classics
- ASIN: B004VS4J3G
|1. Telemann: Fantasia No.7 in E-flat for solo violin, Dolce|
|2. Telemann: Fantasia No.7 in E-flat for solo violin, Allegro|
|3. Telemann: Fantasia No.7 in E-flat for solo violin, Largo|
|4. Telemann: Fantasia No.7 in E-flat for solo violin, Presto|
|5. Vieuxtemps: Capriccio, Op. Posth. No.9 for solo viola|
|6. Ysaÿe: Sonata for Solo Violin, Op.27, No.4, Allemanda: Lento maestoso|
|7. Ysaÿe: Sonata for Solo Violin, Op.27, No.4, Sarabande: Quasi lento|
|8. Ysaÿe: Sonata for Solo Violin, Op.27, No.4, Finale: Presto ma non troppo|
|9. Kreisler: Recitativo & Scherzo Caprice, Op.6, Recitativo|
|10. Kreisler: Recitativo & Scherzo Caprice, Op.6, Scherzo Caprice|
|11. Thomas: Incantation for solo viola (2006)|
|12. Winn: Pibroch for solo violin (2008)|
|13. Schulhoff: Sonata for Solo Violin (1927), Allegro con fuoco|
|14. Schulhoff: Sonata for Solo Violin (1927), Andante cantabile|
|15. Schulhoff: Sonata for Solo Violin (1927), Scherzo: Allegretto grazioso|
|16. Schulhoff: Sonata for Solo Violin (1927), Finale: Allegro risoluto|
|17. Porter: Suite for Viola Alone (1930), Lento|
|18. Porter: Suite for Viola Alone (1930), Allegro furioso|
|19. Porter: Suite for Viola Alone (1930), Larghetto espressivo|
|20. Porter: Suite for Viola Alone (1930), Allegro spirituoso|
|21. Piazzolla: Three Tango Etudes for solo violin, Tango Etude No. 4 Lento-Meditativo|
|22. Piazzolla: Three Tango Etudes for solo violin, Tango Etude No. 5 Allegro|
|23. Piazzolla: Three Tango Etudes for solo violin, Tango Etude No. 3 Molto marcato e energico|
|Available at amazon.com|
Sonata in B-flat, K.454; Sonata in E-flat, K.481; Sonata in A major, K.526
With Jim Winn, Piano
Mozart s relationship to the violin sonata can be traced to the first years of his career as a child prodigy; his first four opuses were collections of violin sonatas in the Italian style, published in Paris starting in 1764 when the composer was just eight years old. Of course, by this time Mozart was already an experienced touring violinist and these early works were probably intended for his own performances. The sonatas represented on this disc are from much later in the composer s career, long after his child celebrity days had ended, beginning when the composer as a not yet 30-year-old man was just another struggling musician competing for the limited opportunities available in Europe. Mozart had spent much of the 1770s searching for better employment than he had at the provincial court of Salzburg, where he found it difficult fulfilling his duties for church and court. His continual begging for dismissal from his employer there, the Archbishop Colloredo, ultimately paid off and he finally settled in Vienna as an independent musician in 1781. One of the first things he did after establishing himself in Vienna was to publish a set of violin sonatas. His profile was rising as a composer, but he was primarily known during these years as a virtuoso keyboard player, competing in and reputedly winning a contest played before the Emperor Joseph II in 1782 against the famous Italian Muzio Clementi.
- Audio CD: December 7, 2009
- Label: MSR Classics
- ASIN: B00305W8XO
Track List 1. Mozart: Sonata in B-flat major, K.454 - Largo: Allegro 2. Mozart: Sonata in B-flat major, K.454 - Andante 3. Mozart: Sonata in B-flat major, K.454 - Allegretto 4. Mozart: Sonata in E-flat major, K.481 - Molto allegro 5. Mozart: Sonata in E-flat major, K.481 - Adagio 6. Mozart: Sonata in E-flat major, K.481 - Allegretto 7. Mozart: Sonata in A major, K.526 - Molto allegro 8. Mozart: Sonata in A major, K.526 - Andante 9. Mozart: Sonata in A major, K.526 - Presto Available at amazon.com.
Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio & Jeffrey Sykes
- Album Notes: This compilation of 20th Century Mexican and American music is an exciting pairing of composers not often heard together. Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio, violinist for the Reno-based Argenta Trio and Artistic Director of the Cactus Pear Music Festival, and pianist Jeffrey Sykes, who is an acclaimed soloist and chamber musician, bring this interplay of musical cultures to vivid life. You will hear classic favorites like Gershwin's It Ain't Necessarily So and Ponce's famous Estrellita and at the same time be introduced to incredibly virtuosic gems such as Paul Schoenfield's Four Souvenirs and Rudolfo Hallfter's Pastorale. With the romantic melodies of songs by Amy Beach and Marroquin, and the contemplative sigh of Kevin Puts' Air, this CD takes the listener on a musical journey of emotions. Don't miss the ride!
- Original Release Date: January 1, 2003
- Label: Cactus Pear Music Festival
- ASIN: B003A548CS
- Available Format: MP3 from Amazon Digital Services; CD and MP3 from CDBaby.
Music Performances at UNR
Faculty and student ensemble performances occur frequently throughout each semester. Check the Department of Music Events Calendar for upcoming recitals and concerts.