Sun Valley Players Beethoven, Dvořák & Eshima
Sunday 21 May 2017 at 7:00pm The Berkeley Hillside Club is delighted to host the return of the Sun Valley Players, an ensemble of virtuoso musicians, to our Concert Series. They will be performing one of Beethoven's Late Quartets, along with some music by Dvořák and Eshima. And there's a secret ... this super-group are all mild-mannered members of the San Francisco Symphony, including Assistant Concertmaster Jeremy Constant, and Assistant Principal cellist Amos Yang, as well as violinist Polina Sedukh and violist Adam Smyla. Joining them for this concert will be pianist Peter Grunberg and bassist Charles Chandler. Don't miss these world-class artists performing in our historic and acoustically-excellent hall.
The Sun Valley Players are:
Jeremy Constant - violin Polina Sedukh - violin Adam Smyla - viola Amos Yang - cello
with special guests: Charles Chandler - bass Peter Grunberg - piano
The Concert: In the last several years of his life, Ludwig van Beethoven created a series of six string quartets of surpassing beauty, subtlety, and sophistication. These pieces have become known as the "Late Quartets." At the time of their composition, however, Beethoven's contemporaries didn't know what to make of them; one commented that "we know there is something there, but we do not know what it is." Composer and conductor Louis Spohr called them "indecipherable, uncorrected horrors." Since that time, however, these works have become revered by generations musicians, scholars, and listeners alike, and indeed sound modern even in the 21st Century. For this concert the Sun Valley Players will be performing one of these venerated works, "String Quartet No.12 in Eb Major, Op. 127." The young Dvorak composed his String Quartet No. 5 in F minor early in his career but abandoned it. Seven years later, as his fame spread, he took the lovely, lyrical cantabile from the Quartet and turned into the exquisite miniature that is his "Romance in F minor, Op.11." The beautiful cello-bass duo "Bariolage" by Shinji Eshima has a multitude of local connections. The piece was commissioned for S.F Symphony players Amos Yang and Charles Chandler in 2015, and Eshima himself was born in Berkeley and is currently a member of the S.F Opera and S.F. Ballet orchestras. The Program: "Bariolage" (duet for bass & cello) - Shinji Eshima Romance in F minor, Op. 11 - Antonin Dvořák (arranged for violin & piano) String Quartet No. 12 in Eb Major, Op. 127 - Ludwig van Beethoven About the Artists: After winning the Grand Prize in the 1979 Du Maurier competition in Canada, violinist Jeremy Constant studied in New York with Ivan Galamian and then with the great violinist Itzhak Perlman before making the San Francisco Bay Area his home. He became a member of the San Francisco Symphony in 1984, with whom he continues to perform as Assistant Concertmaster. He has been Concertmaster of the Marin Symphony since 1994 and in 2000 was named Concertmaster of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. He is a frequent soloist with the orchestra and participant in the Edgar M. Bronfman Chamber Series. As an active soloist and chamber musician both here and abroad, Jeremy has performed on radio and television around the world. He was violinist in the San Francisco Piano Trio, and a founding member of the Navarro Trio and Navarro Quartet. He can be heard as Assistant Concertmaster on Grammy Award winning releases such as the continuing Mahler cycle by the San Francisco Symphony and can been seen on their ongoing television project Keeping Score. Jeremy plays the ex-Heberlein Stradivarius from the year 1700, which was donated to the San Francisco Symphony for his exclusive use. Residing in Oakland with his wife Sharon, Jeremy is a pilot who took over 7 years to build a plane which he currently enjoys flying. Born to a family of musicians in St. Petersburg, Russia, Polina Sedukh began studying violin at the age of four, her first teachers being her father Grigory Sedukh and Savely Shalman. She is a graduate of Special Music School of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and the Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory, where she studied under the guidance of Lev Ivaschenko and Vladimir Ovtcharek. She also holds Artist Diploma from Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA, where she studied with Laura Bossert and Malcolm Lowe. Prizewinner of the International Spohr Competition in Weimar, Germany, Ms. Sedukh made her solo orchestral debut at the age of seven with the Chamber Orchestra of Liepaya, Latvia and has since appeared as soloist with St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, Boston Virtuosi Orchestra, St.Petersburg Capella Symphony Orchestra, Newton Symphony Orchestra and Weimer State Capella Orchestra. Following her passion for symphonic music, Ms. Sedukh pursued career in major American orchestras, presently being a member of 2nd violin section of San Francisco Symphony since 2009, and having previously served as a member of Boston Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2007. At age 17, violist Adam Smyla won the first prize at the National Viola Competition in his native Poland. Within six months, he became the youngest member of the Polish National Radio and Television Orchestra and was invited to join the Penderecki String Quartet with whom he toured throughout the world for nearly a decade. Adam was Assistant Principal Violist of the Chicago Lyric Opera and Principal Violist of the Concertanti di Chicago before becoming a member of the San Francisco Symphony in 2000. Adam appears frequently in chamber music concerts throughout the Bay Area, often in collaboration with his wife, pianist Edna Koren. Amos Yang is the Assistant Principal cellist for the San Francisco Symphony. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the U.S., the Far East and Europe. He has also collaborated in chamber music with the Ying Quartet, the Turtle Island String Quartet, pianists Ann Schein and Melvin Chen, violinist Earl Carlyss and composer Bright Sheng. Yang’s awards include the Performer’s Certificate at Eastman School of Music and first prizes in the American String Teacher’s Association and Grace Vamos competitions. He was finalist in the Pierre Fournier International Cello Competition and was awarded the CD Jackson Prize at the Tanglewood Music Festival for outstanding musical contribution. As cellist of the Maia String Quartet from 1996-2002, Yang was involved in many educational programs, performing throughout the country for schools under the auspices of such organizations as Arts Excel, Young Audiences Inc. and the Midori Foundation. During this time he also served on the faculties of the Peabody Conservatory, the University of Iowa, Grinnell College and the Interlochen Advanced String Quartet Institute. Yang holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School of Music. Before joining the San Francisco Symphony, Yang was a member of the Seattle Symphony, maintaining a private teaching studio as well as cultivating an active solo and chamber music life. Born and raised in San Francisco, he was a member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and San Francisco Boys Choir.