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GREAT PERFORMERS SERIES

Highlights of our 76th Season!

Here’s an important update regarding our 2021 Great Performers Series season. The first three ensembles scheduled to appear have made the difficult decision to cancel their Sarasota performances: 

  • Moscow State Symphony Orchestra on January 14
  • The Cleveland Orchestra on January 24
  •  Bach Collegium Japan on January 28  

With the uncertainty of COVID-19 and how it may affect the immediate future, including the challenges of air travel, these ensembles wanted to make the most prudent decision for the safety of their musicians, which we certainly understand and support. 

We look forward to welcoming the remaining artists in our 2021 Great Performers Series, which include:

  • Takács Quartet with pianist Joyce Yang on February 25
  • Violinist Benjamin Beilman and pianist Yekwon Sunwoo on March 1
  • Pianist Emanuel Ax on March 16  

We are also exploring the possibility of engaging some additional artists for the current season in the spring. We will share information on that when it becomes available.  

Feb 25:
Takács Quartet & Joyce Yang, piano
MORE
March 1:
Benjamin Beilman, violin, & Yekwon Sunwoo, piano
MORE
March 16:
Emanuel Ax, piano
MORE

Special 2 or 3 Great Performers Series discounted mini-subscriptions & single tickets available online soon.

FEB 25, 2021 | 7:30 PM | Van Wezel PAH

Takács Quartet & Joyce Yang, piano

“Revealing the familiar as unfamiliar, making the most traditional of works feel radical once more.” - New York Times

The Takács Quartet exemplifies chamber music of the highest order; it’s the only quartet named to Gramophones first-ever Hall of Fame. The Financial Times described a recent concert at the Wigmore Hall: “Even in the most fiendish repertoire these players show no fear, injecting the music with a heady sense of freedom. At the same time, though, there is an uncompromising attention to detail: neither a note nor a bow-hair is out of place.” Based in Boulder at the University of Colorado, Edward Dusinberre, Harumi Rhodes (violins), Richard O’Neill (viola) and András Fejér (cello) perform 80 concerts a year worldwide.

Blessed with “poetic and sensitive pianism” (Washington Post) and a “wondrous sense of color” (San Francisco Classical Voice), Grammy-nominated pianist Joyce Yang captivates audiences with her virtuosity, lyricism, and interpretive sensitivity. She first came to international attention in 2005 when she won the silver medal at the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The youngest contestant at 19 years old, she took home two additional awards: Best Performance of Chamber Music (with the Takàcs Quartet), and Best Performance of a New Work. She received the 2010 Avery Fisher Career Grant and earned her first Grammy nomination for her recording of Franck, Kurtág, Previn & Schumann with violinist Augustin Hadelich.Edward Dusinberre, Harumi Rhodes (violins), Richard O’Neill (viola) and András Fejér (cello) perform eighty concerts a year worldwide.

Takács Quartet at Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival
https://youtu.be/zCscNfNa-Tg

 

Pianist Joyce Yang performs Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
https://youtu.be/7U4bHtUGDWQ

The Takács Quartet, now entering its forty-sixth season, is renowned for the vitality of its interpretations. The Guardian recently commented: “What endures about the Takács Quartet, year after year, is how equally the four players carry the music.” BBC Music Magazine described their recent Dohnányi recording with pianist Marc André Hamelin as “totally compelling, encapsulating a vast array of colours and textures.” Based in Boulder at the University of Colorado, Edward Dusinberre, Harumi Rhodes (violins), Richard O’Neill (viola) and András Fejér (cello) perform eighty concerts a year worldwide.

In June 2020 the Takács Quartet was featured in the BBC television series “Being Beethoven.” The ensemble also released a CD for Hyperion of piano quintets by Amy Beach and Elgar, a fitting way to celebrate Geri Walther’s fifteen years as the Takács’ violist before her retirement from the group. The members of the quartet welcome Richard O’Neill as their new violist in June and are looking forward to many exciting projects during their first season together. The group will make two recordings for Hyperion, one featuring the last quartets of Haydn, the other pairing two masterpieces from the first decade of the twentieth century: Bartók’s Quartet no. 1 and Alban Berg’s Opus 3. The group continues their role as Associate Artists at London’s Wigmore Hall, performing two concerts there in November and two in May, the latter including Schubert’s Quintet D956 with cellist Adrian Brendel. Other European venues include Vienna, Luxembourg, the Bath Mozartfest, Newcastle, Manchester and Madrid. In August 2021, the quartet will embark on a month long tour of Australia and South Korea. The Takács performs extensively throughout North America. Highlights of the 2020-2021 season include performances at New York’s White Light Festival, concerts with pianist Jeremy Denk at Stanford, Princeton, Ann Arbor, Boston and Lincoln Center, and performances in Washington DC, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Philadelphia, Montreal, Vancouver, Cleveland, Portland and Seattle.

In 2014 the Takács became the first string quartet to be awarded the Wigmore Hall Medal. The Medal, inaugurated in 2007, recognizes major international artists who have a strong association with the Hall. Recipients so far include Andras Schiff, Thomas Quasthoff, Menahem Pressler and Dame Felicity Lott. In 2012, Gramophone announced that the Takács was the only string quartet to be inducted into its first Hall of Fame, along with such legendary artists as Jascha Heifetz, Leonard Bernstein and Dame Janet Baker. The ensemble also won the 2011 Award for Chamber Music and Song presented by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.

The Takács Quartet performed Philip Roth’s Everyman program with Meryl Streep at Princeton in 2014, and again with her at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in 2015. The program was conceived in close collaboration with Philip Roth. The Quartet is known for such innovative programming. They first performed Everyman at Carnegie Hall in 2007 with Philip Seymour Hoffman. They have toured 14 cities with the poet Robert Pinsky, collaborate regularly with the Hungarian Folk group Muzsikas, and in 2010 they collaborated with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and David Lawrence Morse on a drama project that explored the composition of Beethoven’s last quartets. Aspects of the quartet’s interests and history are explored in Edward Dusinberre’s book, Beethoven for a Later Age: The Journey of a String Quartet, which takes the reader inside the life of a string quartet, melding music history and memoir as it explores the circumstances surrounding the composition of Beethoven’s quartets.

The Takács records for Hyperion Records, and their releases for that label include string quartets by Haydn, Schubert, Janáček, Smetana, Debussy and Britten, as well as piano quintets by César Franck and Shostakovich (with Marc-André Hamelin), and viola quintets by Brahms (with Lawrence Power). For their CDs on the Decca/London label, the Quartet has won three Gramophone Awards, a Grammy Award, three Japanese Record Academy Awards, Disc of the Year at the inaugural BBC Music Magazine Awards, and Ensemble Album of the Year at the Classical Brits. Full details of all recordings can be found in the Recordings section of the Quartet’s website.

The members of the Takács Quartet are Christoffersen Faculty Fellows at the University of Colorado Boulder. The Quartet has helped to develop a string program with a special emphasis on chamber music, where students work in a nurturing environment designed to help them develop their artistry. Through the university, two of the quartet’s members benefit from the generous loan of instruments from the Drake Instrument Foundation. The members of the Takács are on the faculty at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, where they run an intensive summer string quartet seminar, and Visiting Fellows at the Guildhall School of Music.

The Takács Quartet was formed in 1975 at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest by Gabor Takács-Nagy, Károly Schranz, Gabor Ormai and András Fejér, while all four were students. It first received international attention in 1977, winning First Prize and the Critics’ Prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France. The Quartet also won the Gold Medal at the 1978 Portsmouth and Bordeaux Competitions and First Prizes at the Budapest International String Quartet Competition in 1978 and the Bratislava Competition in 1981. The Quartet made its North American debut tour in 1982. In 2001 the members of the the Takács Quartet were awarded the Order of Merit of the Knight’s Cross of the Republic of Hungary, and in March 2011 the Order of Merit Commander’s Cross by the President of the Republic of Hungary.

Blessed with “poetic and sensitive pianism” (Washington Post) and a “wondrous sense of color” (San Francisco Classical Voice), Grammy-nominated pianist Joyce Yang captivates audiences with her virtuosity, lyricism, and interpretive sensitivity.

She first came to international attention in 2005 when she won the silver medal at the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The youngest contestant at 19 years old, she took home two additional awards: Best Performance of Chamber Music (with the Takàcs Quartet), and Best Performance of a New Work. In 2006 Yang made her celebrated New York Philharmonic debut alongside Lorin Maazel at Avery Fisher Hall along with the orchestra’s tour of Asia, making a triumphant return to her hometown of Seoul, South Korea. Yang’s subsequent appearances with the New York Philharmonic have included opening night of the 2008 Leonard Bernstein Festival – an appearance made at the request of Maazel in his final season as music director. The New York Times pronounced her performance in Bernstein’s The Age of Anxiety a “knockout.”

In the last decade, Yang has blossomed into an “astonishing artist” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung), showcasing her colorful musical personality in solo recitals and collaborations with the world’s top orchestras and chamber musicians through more than 1,000 debuts and re-engagements. She received the 2010 Avery Fisher Career Grant and earned her first Grammy nomination (Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance) for her recording of Franck, Kurtág, Previn & Schumann with violinist Augustin Hadelich (“One can only sit in misty-eyed amazement at their insightful flair and spontaneity.” – The Strad). She has become a staple of the summer festival circuit with frequent appearances on the programs of the Aspen Summer Music Festival, La Jolla SummerFest and the Seattle Chamber Music Society.

Other notable orchestral engagements have included the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the BBC Philharmonic, as well as the Toronto, Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne, and New Zealand symphony orchestras. She was also featured in a five-year Rachmaninoff concerto cycle with Edo de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony, to which she brought “an enormous palette of colors, and tremendous emotional depth” (Milwaukee Sentinel Journal).

In solo recital, Yang’s innovative program has been praised as “extraordinary” and “kaleidoscopic” (Los Angeles Times). She has performed at New York City’s Lincoln Center and Metropolitan Museum, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Chicago’s Symphony Hall and Zurich’s Tonhalle. In 2018, Musica Viva presented Yang in an extensive recital tour throughout Australia.

As an avid chamber musician, Yang has collaborated with the Takács Quartet for Dvořák – part of Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series – and Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet with members of the Emerson String Quartet at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. Yang has fostered an enduring partnership with the Alexander String Quartet, which continues in the 2018/2019 season with performances in Davis, Tucson, San Francisco, Dallas, Aliso Viejo, Rockville and Seattle. Following their debut disc of Brahms and Schumann Quintets, their recording of Mozart’s Piano Quartets was released in July 2018 (FoghornClassics). Jerry Dubins of Fanfare Magazine wrote that the renditions were “by far, hands down and feet up, the most amazing performances of Mozart’s two piano quartets that have ever graced these ears.”

Takacs Quartet_2020 Sarasota Concert Association
Joyce Yang, piano, presented by SCA on Feb 25, 2021

MAR 1, 2021 | 7:30 PM | Riverview PAC

Benjamin Beilman presented by SCA on March 1, 2021
Yekwon Sunwoo, piano presented by SCA on March 1, 2021

Benjamin Beilman, violin, & Yekwon Sunwoo, piano

“Mightily impressive." - Washington Post

Violinist Benjamin Beilman is winning global acclaim for his compelling and impassioned performances, his deep rich tone and searing lyricism. The Scotsman has described him as “a remarkable talent, delivering playing of rare insight and generosity, as captivating as it is gloriously entertaining” and the New York Times has praised his “handsome technique, burnished sound, and quiet confidence [which] showed why he has come so far so fast.” 

Joining Beilman for the concert is the equally outstanding pianist, Yekwon Sunwoo. The first South Korean to be awarded a Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn Competition, Sunwoo “strives to reach for the truth and pure beauty in music.” 

“Sunwoo’s powerful, flying hands can do anything he puts his mind to.” - Chicago Tribune

Benjamin Beilma, RAVEL Tzigane

Yekwon Sunwoo, Beethoven Piano Sonata no.30 in E Major, Op.109

 

 

Born in 1989, American violinist Benjamin Beilman is winning plaudits across the globe for his compelling and impassioned performances, his deep rich tone and searing lyricism. The Scotsman has described him as “a remarkable talent, delivering playing of rare insight and generosity, as captivating as it is gloriously entertaining” and the New York Times has praised his “handsome technique, burnished sound, and quiet confidence [which] showed why he has come so far so fast”.

During the Beethoven celebrations in 2020, Beilman will perform the Beethoven Concerto with the Budapest Festival Orchestra conducted by Janowski, the Wroclaw Philharmonic and their Music Director Guerrero on tour across Poland, the Orchestra Metropolitain (Montreal) with Han-Na Chang, the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse in Sokhiev’s closing concert as Musical Director, and with the London Chamber Orchestra to play/direct.

In past seasons, Beilman has performed with many major orchestras worldwide including the Rotterdam Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Zurich Tonhalle, Sydney Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra both at home and at Carnegie Hall. In recital and chamber music, Beilman performs regularly at the major halls across the world, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, Louvre (Paris), Philharmonie (Berlin), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Bunka Kaikan (Tokyo) and at festivals he has performed at eg Verbier, Aix-en-Provence Easter, Prague Dvorak, Robeco Summer Concerts (Amsterdam), Music@Menlo, Marlboro and Seattle Chamber Music among others. In early 2018 he premiered a new work dedicated to the political activist Angela Davis written by Frederic Rzewski and commissioned by Music Accord which he has performed extensively across the US.

Beilman studied with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago, Ida Kavafian and Pamela Frank at the Curtis Institute of Music, and Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy, and has received many prestigious accolades including a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a London Music Masters Award. He has an exclusive recording contract with Warner Classics and released his first disc ‘Spectrum’ for the label in 2016, featuring works by Stravinsky, Janáček and Schubert. Beilman plays the “Engleman” Stradivarius from 1709 generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.

Gold medallist of the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Yekwon Sunwoo has been hailed for his “unfailingly consistent excellence” (International Piano) and celebrated as “a pianist who commands a comprehensive technical arsenal that allows him to thunder without breaking a sweat” (Chicago Tribune). A powerful and virtuosic performer, he also, in his own words, “strives to reach for the truth and pure beauty in music.”

The first Korean to win Cliburn Gold, Yekwon’s 19/20 season includes appearances with Fort Worth and Tuscon Symphonies and the Bucheon Philharmonic and debuts with Washington Chamber Orchestra, Royal Danish Orchestra and Danish Radio Orchestra among others as well as a debut appearance at the Vail Festival with Dallas Symphony. Recital highlights include Four Season Arts, San Antonio Arts and the Stadttheater Aschaffenburg. 20/21 will see Yekwon make his debut with Orchestra Chambre de Paris and Tugan Sokhiev and return to KBS Symphony with Jaap Van Zweden.

In previous seasons, he has performed as soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop, Houston Symphony, National Orchestra of Belgium, Sendai Philharmonic and Royal Scottish National Orchestra amongst others. Recital appearances include Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Elbphilharmonie, Salle Cortot and Kumho Art Hall.

An avid chamber musician, Yekwon’s collaborators include Benjamin Beilman, Linus Roth, Andrei Ioniță, Sebastian Bohren, Isang Enders, Tobias Feldmann, Gary Hoffman, Anne-Marie McDermott and the Jerusalem and Brentano Quartets. He has also toured Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama with the Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation, performed at Chamber Music of Lincoln Center’s Inside Chamber Music Lectures and been invited to the Summit Music, Bowdoin International and Toronto Summer Music Festivals.

In addition to the Cliburn Gold Medal, Yekwon won first prizes at the 2015 International German Piano Award, the 2014 Vendome Prize held at the Verbier Festival, the 2013 Sendai International Music Competition and the 2012 William Kapell International Piano Competiton.

Born in Anyang, South Korea, Yekwon began learning the piano at the age of 8 and made his recital and orchestral debuts in Seoul at 15. His teachers include Seymour Lipkin, Robert McDonald, Richard Goode and Bernd Goetzke.

In 2017, Decca Gold released Cliburn Gold 2017 two weeks after Yekwon was awarded the Gold Medal and includes his award-winning performances of Ravel’s La Valse and Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Sonata.

A self-proclaimed foodie, Yekwon enjoys finding Pho in each city he visits and takes pride in his own homemade Korean soups.

MAR 16, 2021 | 7:30 PM | Van Wezel PAH

Emanuel Ax, piano

“His greatness, his overwhelming authority as musician, technician and probing intellect emerges quickly as he plays.” – Los Angeles Times

Emanuel Ax, a Sarasota favorite and esteemed pianist wraps up the 2020 season. Ever since winning the first Artur Rubinstein Piano Competition in 1974, Ax has established himself as a preeminent recitalist, chamber musician and guest soloist with orchestra, but above all, a consummate musician. 

Emanuel Ax – J. Brahms/ Intermezzo in A – opus 118

Born in modern day Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. His studies at the Juilliard School were supported by the sponsorship of the Epstein Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America, and he subsequently won the Young Concert Artists Award. Additionally, he attended Columbia University where he majored in French. Mr. Ax made his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series, and captured public attention in 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists followed four years later by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize.

Highlights of the 2019/20 season include a European summer festivals tour with the Vienna Philharmonic and long-time collaborative partner Bernard Haitink, an Asian tour with the London Symphony and Sir Simon Rattle, US concerts with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Lahav Shani in addition to three concerts with regular partners Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall in March 2020. Further participation in Carnegie Hall’s celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday will culminate in a solo recital in May preceded by recitals in Madison, Santa Barbara, Orange County, Washington, Las Vegas and Colorado Springs. With orchestra he can be heard in Houston, Baltimore, Atlanta, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Montreal, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. In Europe he can be heard with orchestras in London, Frankfurt, Berlin, Rome, Zurich, Rotterdam and Tel Aviv.

Always a committed exponent of contemporary composers, with works written for him by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, and Melinda Wagner already in his repertoire, most recently he has added HK Gruber’s Piano Concerto and Samuel Adams’ “Impromptus.”

A Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987, recent releases include Brahms Trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Leonidas Kavakos, Mendelssohn Trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, Strauss’ Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart, and discs of two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman. In 2015 Deutche Grammophon released a duo recording with Mr. Perlman of Sonatas by Faure and Strauss, which the two artists presented on tour during the 2015/2016 season. Mr. Ax has received GRAMMY® Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas. He has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. His other recordings include the concertos of Liszt and Schoenberg, three solo Brahms albums, an album of tangos by Astor Piazzolla, and the premiere recording of John Adams’s Century Rolls with the Cleveland Orchestra for Nonesuch. In the 2004/05 season Mr. Ax also contributed to an International Emmy Award-Winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2013, Mr. Ax’s recording Variations received the Echo Klassik Award for Solo Recording of the Year (19th century music/Piano).

A frequent and committed partner for chamber music, he has worked regularly with such artists as Young Uck Kim, Cho-Liang Lin, Mr. Ma, Edgar Meyer, Peter Serkin, Jaime Laredo, and the late Isaac Stern.

Mr. Ax is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Skidmore College, Yale University, and Columbia University.

Emanuel Ax, piano, presented by SCA on March 16, 2021

Concert Venues

Please note that advance tickets are available only through the SCA Box Office or on the evening of performance at the venue. Contact our box office at 941-225-6500 or boxoffice@scasarasota.org, or visit us at 5555 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

SCA Box Office (Ballet Box Office)

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Riverview Performing Arts Center

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