LACA to present a few musical gems

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By Special to the Monitor

The Los Alamos Concert Association presents a “Jewel of a Season” for 2008-2009 five performances by world-renowned artists. Save gas, entertainment money, and see and hear world-class artists in Los Alamos.

The season opens at 4 p.m. Sept. 14, with a performance by the Jupiter String Quartet.

The Jupiter String Quartet was recently awarded the Cleveland Quartet Award, a prize, which “honors and promotes a rising young string quartet whose artistry demonstrates that it is in the process of establishing a major career.”

They were also selected to join Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two for a three-year residency, which began in 2007.

In 2004, the quartet captured the grand prize in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and first prize in the Eighth Banff International String Quartet Competition, where they were also awarded the Szekely Prize for the best performance of a Beethoven quartet. The Austin Critics Table honored them with the Award for Outstanding Chamber Music Performance in 2006.

Winners of the 2005 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, the quartet also won the Jerome L. Greene Foundation Prize, which sponsored their debut at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, the Paul A. Fish Memorial Prize, the Buffalo Chamber Music Society Prize, the La Jolla Music Society Prize, the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival Prize and the Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center Prize.

Dinner with the artists follows the performance. These dinners usually sell out, so reserve now for a chance to visit with the members of the quartet.

The season continues with the Manasse-Nakamatsu Duo, at 8 p.m. Nov. 22. The duo comprises Jon Manasse, clarinet; and Jon Nakamastu, piano. The pair immediately established themselves with a highly acclaimed 2004 performance in Boston.

Manasse was a top prize-winner in the 36th International Competition for Clarinet in Munich and the youngest winner of the International Clarinet Society Competition. He is principal clarinetist of the American Ballet Theater Orchestra, and in the fall of 2007, he joined the faculty of his alma mater, The Juilliard School.

Nakamatsu is the gold medalist of the 10th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and a frequent concerto soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and solo recitalist throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. The duo’s debut CD, a Harmonia Mundi Usa album of Brahms’ “Clarinet Sonatas,” was released in early 2008.

Feb. 6, features a performance at 8 p.m. by the internationally-renowned orchestra Tafelmusik.

Tafelmusik, Canada’s award-winning orchestra on period instruments, has been under the leadership of music director Jeanne Lamon since 1981. Tafelmusik has achieved international stature, performing more than 50 concerts a year at home in Toronto, touring and producing numerous award-winning recordings.

Tafelmusik has a discography of 74 recordings on a variety of labels. In 2006, Tafelmusik was honored with the orchestra’s eighth and ninth JUNO Awards (Canada’s Grammy).

Pianist Jie Chen graces the stage at 8 p.m. March 21. Additionally, she will offer a free master class to piano students March 22. Details will be announced after they are finalized.

Chen, from Guangdong, China, started playing the piano at age 4 and was accepted into the prestigious Shanghai Conservatory at age 8. At age 13, Chen was admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music on a merit-based full-tuition scholarship.

Chen won the first Villa-Lobos International Piano Competition’s Silver Medal, and has taken prizes at the Arthur Rubinstein Piano Master Competition in Israel, and the Van Cliburn International. In 2006, she was awarded the Festorazzi Prize from the Curtis Institute for Best Pianist of the Year.

The season closes with a performance by violinist Julia Fischer at 7:30 p.m. May 3. Fischer is Germany’s youngest professor of violin, at the Hochschule fr Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main. In 2005 she won Germany's coveted ‘ECHO’ Award for her recording of “Russian Concertos” by Khatchaturian, Prokofiev, and Glazounov, and in winter 2006 was named by BBC Music Magazine the “Best Newcomer of the Year.” Gramophone Magazine pictured Fischer on the front cover of its July 2006 issue as one of the major young emerging artists. France’s prestigious music journal, “Diapason,” awarded Fischer the 2006 “Diapason d'Or l’anne de la Anne.”

Fischer has won the International Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition, where she won both the first prize and the special prize for best Bach solo work performance. At the age of 24 in 2007, she was awarded the coveted Gramophone Magazine “Artist of the Year Award.”

The subscription package for this “Jewel of a Season,” consisting of five interchangeable tickets, costs $120 for adults and $105 for seniors, if purchased before July 1, and $135 for adults and $120 for seniors, if purchased thereafter. Individual tickets are $35 for adults, $30 for seniors. Students who hold a Chamber of Commerce Student Welcome Card may purchase tickets for half price. Youth ages 5-18 may attend at no charge, but need a ticket.

Subscriptions, individual tickets and dinner tickets priced at $50 for adults and $30 for youths; with $15 being tax deductible, may be purchased by completing an order form and mailing it to the Los Alamos Concert Association, P.O. Box 572, Los Alamos, NM, 87544.

Order forms can be downloaded from the LACA website, www.losalamosconcert.org/TicketOrderForm2008.pdf, or found in the “Jewel of a Season” brochure, which is available at Otowi Station Bookstore, CB Fox, Mesa Public Library, the bulletin board at LANB and at Fuller Lodge or mailed to you by calling 662-9000, and leaving your name and address.

All concerts will be presented in Duane Smith Auditorium. Children must be at least 5-years-old to attend concerts and those younger than age 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Information is available at 662-9000.

All concerts will be performed in the Duane Smith Auditorium on the campus of Los Alamos High School. The auditorium is undergoing major upgrading, which should be complete in time for the season.