Los Alamos: A musical magnet

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By Special to the Monitor

The 2010-2011 Los Alamos Concert Association season opens with Julie Albers, cellist and Orion Weiss, pianist, at 4 p.m. Oct. 17. Albers studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and won the Grand Prize at the XIII International Competition for Young Musicians in Douai, France. She made her major orchestral debut with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1998 and has since performed in recital and with orchestras in the U.S., Europe, Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand.  In November 2003, Albers was named the first Gold Medal Laureate of South Korea’s Gyeongnam International Music Competition, winning the $25,000 Grand Prize.


Weiss also attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with, among others, Sergei Babayan, who will perform here in January. Weiss made his Cleveland Orchestra debut in January 1999, and two months later, with less than 24 hours’ notice, stepped in to replace André Watts for a performance of Shostakovich’s “Piano Concerto No. 2” with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He was immediately invited to return to the orchestra for a performance of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto. A Julliard graduate and student of Emanuel Ax, Weiss is one of the most sought-after soloists and collaborators in his generation of young musicians.

The season continues at 8 p.m. Nov. 6 with a performance by Concertante, with Adam Neiman as soloist in Chopin’s E-minor piano concerto. Comprised of a core of six virtuoso string players, Concertante performs in varied combinations of instrumentalists. The group plays a wide array of repertoire ranging from works by established masters to less commonly performed composers. They have performed across America, gathering rave reviews from such publications as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post, and appearing on Minnesota Public Radio’s “St. Paul Sunday.”  

Adam Neiman made his concerto début at the age of 11 in Los Angeles’ Royce Hall. At age 15 he won second prize at the Casagrande International Piano Competition in Italy, the youngest winner in the competition’s history, and in 1995 became the youngest-ever winner of the Gilmore Young Artist Award. The following year he won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and went on to make his Washington D.C. and New York recital débuts at the Kennedy Center and the 92nd Street Y. Two-time winner of Juilliard’s Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, Neiman was honored with the Rubinstein Award upon his graduation in 1999, the same year in which he received the Avery Fisher Career Grant.

The first concert of 2011 features Sergei Babayan, at 8 p.m. Jan. 22, 2011. Babayan was the first pianist from the USSR who was able to compete without government sponsorship after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Immediately after his first trip outside of the former USSR, Babayan won consecutive first prizes in several major international competitions including the 1990 Robert Casadesus International Piano Competition, the 1990 Palm Beach International Piano Competition, the 1991 Hamamatsu Piano Competition, and the 1992 Scottish International Piano Competition. He is a Laureate of the Queen Elizabeth International Piano Competition, the Busoni International Piano Competition, and the Honens International Competition in Calgary, Canada. In 1996, Babayan founded the Sergei Babayan International Piano Academy at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he is also an artist-in-residence.

The Grammy-nominated Imani Winds are back by popular demand at 8 p.m. March 18, 2011. The group has taken a unique path, carving out a distinct presence in the classical music world with its dynamic playing, culturally poignant programming, genre-blurring collaborations and inspirational outreach programs. With two member composers and a deep commitment to commissioning new work, the group is enriching the traditional wind quintet repertoire while meaningfully bridging European, American, African and Latin American traditions. The Imani Winds will offer free master classes to area wind players on Thursday evening before the performance; details to be announced.

Metales M5, Mexico’s leading brass quintet, brings the season to a close at 4 p.m. May 8. Since its founding in Morelia, the capital of Michoacán in the Central Highlands, the group has played a wide variety of music without regard to genre: baroque and contemporary music, opera, blues, pop, movie soundtracks and folk music from Spain, Mexico and other Latin American countries. Metales M5 made its American debut during the 2007-08 season with performances in Texas, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Vermont and Alberta, as well as with the Pueblo Symphony, and was featured in a fall 2008 U.S. tour of the Morelia Symphony Orchestra. Metales M5 is ensemble-in-residence at Morelia’s Conservatorio de las Rosas, America’s oldest conservatory of music.

Dinner with the artists follows the concert; see the brochure or www.losalamosconcert.org for details.

The season subscription package, available until July 15, consists of five interchangeable tickets and costs $105.  Individual tickets cost $25 if bought before July 15, and $30 if purchased thereafter.  Youths ages 6-18 may attend at no charge, but need a ticket.  Tickets purchased at the box office are $35.