On Friday, April 13 and Saturday, April 14, the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center will host this season’s American Virtuosi Chamber Concerts. The two unique programs will feature the music of the greatmasters combined with the talent of some of the world’s leading concert artists.
Special guests this season include violin virtuoso, James Ehnes. Hailed as “the Jascha Heifetz of our day” (Globeand Mail), violinist James Ehnes is widely considered one of the most dynamic and exciting performers in classical music. He has performed in over 30 countries on five continents, appearing regularly with many of the world’s most well-known orchestras and conductors. Mr. Ehnes appeared as guest soloist recently at the Naples Philharmonic with the Toronto Symphony in a dazzling performance of the Barber Violin Concerto. He plays a 1715 Stradivarius violin.
Violinist Peter Winograd returns to Fort Myers. Mr. Winograd was recognized early as an exceptionally promising young artist and was a top prize winner in the 1988 Naumburg International Violin Competition. He then made his New York debut to critical acclaim and has since appeared as a guest soloist with numerous orchestras around the world. He is currently first violinist of the American String Quartet and is in residence at the Manhattan School of Music and Aspen Music Festival.
Caterina Szepes, violinist, is a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. A native of Berlin, she has appeared both as a soloist and as a chamber musician throughout Europe, Australia, South America and the United States. Her concerto performances include those with Rheinische Kammer philharmonie Cologne, the Symphony Orchestra of Aue, and the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra. Among her numerous awards are first prize in the Cleveland Institute of Music concerto competition, one of the top prizes in the Mendelssohn competition in Berlin, and first prize in the Berlin National Youth Competition. Ms. Szepes has been invited to participate in various chamber music festivals in the U. S. including the Taos summer music festival and the Marlboro festival in Vermont.
Also returning this year is cellist Andres Diaz, winner of the First Prize in the 1986 Naumburg International Cello Competition. His numerous orchestral appearances around the globe include engagements with the Atlanta Symphony, performances with the American Symphony at Carnegie Hall, the symphony orchestras of Milwaukee, Seattle, Rochester, the Boston Pops, and Esplanade Orchestras, the Chicago Symphony atthe Ravinia Festival and the National Symphony Orchestra. Among the highlights of Díaz’s recent seasons are tours of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Hawaii, and Canada and appearances in Chile, Venezuela, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic. He has also appeared with Russia’s Saratov Symphony and toured in New Zealand with the New Zealand Chamber Orchestra. Currently, he is Associate Professor at Southern Methodist University.
Jim Griffith, violist, received his M.M. degree from the Juilliard School. He is a former member of the Hudson String Quartet in New York, faculty member of Point-Counterpoint Chamber Music Camp in Vermont, and director of the New Arts Festival in Fort Myers. Griffith is a Florida native and has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra since 1988. He has successfully managed the acquisition, planning, design and restoration of the historic Federal Building in downtown Fort Myers, transforming it into the premier fine art center now known as the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.
At the age of fifteen, pianist Wendy Chen debuted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under conductor André Previn. In 1990 she became the youngest winner ever of the National Chopin Competition, was one of the inaugural recipients of the Irving S. Gilmore Young Artists Award, and was named a Presidential Scholar by the National Foundation for the Arts. Since then her career has flourished, adding Young Concert Artists International Auditions and Washington International Competition to her numerous awards. Ms. Chen has garnered critical acclaim for her engagements with leading orchestras and concert halls worldwide, with reviewers exclaiming that “having pianist Wendy Chen on the program is a guarantee that sparks will fly.”
The Friday, April 13 evening program will include the Rachmaninov etude tableau op 39 #5 (Wendy Chen), the Faure sonata (James Ehnes, Wendy Chen) and the Beethoven archduke trio (Andres Diaz, Wendy Chen, Peter Winograd).
The Saturday, April 14 evening programwill begin with the Rachmaninov cello sonata (Andres Diaz, Wendy Chen), which will be followed by the Shostakovich Quartet #8 (Andres Diaz, Jim Griffith, Caterina Szepes, Peter Winigrad) and the Kodaly duo (Andres Diaz, James Ehnes).
Cocktail receptions begin at 7:00 p.m., with performances at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $33. The ArtCenter is located at 2301 First Street, in the River District, downtown FortMyers.