On Saturday, November 7, 2015, Music at the Institute presented a concert Ensemble Made in Canada – New York City Debut. Works by Burge, Hedges, Kulesha and Schumann performed by violinist Elissa Lee, violist Sharon Wei, cellist Rachel Mercer and pianist Angela Park.
Elissa Lee, violin • Sharon Wei, viola • Rachel Mercer, cello* • Angela Park, piano*
ENSEMBLE MADE IN CANADA is rapidly gaining recognition as Canada’s premier piano quartet. Awarded the 2006 CBC Galaxie Stars Award from the Banff Centre for the Arts, EMIC was featured in 2008 Chatelaine Magazine’s 80th anniversary issue as “Women to Watch”—as an ensemble that is leading the next generation of classical musicians. The members of the group have been forging outstanding individual careers and bring together a wealth of experience through participation at such prestigious festivals as Marlboro, Ravinia, Orford, Verbier, Prussia Cove, Pablo Casals and Evian. EMIC has performed for Winnipeg Virtuosi, Montreal Pro Musica, SUNY New Paltz, Stratford Music Festival, Ottawa Chamberfest, Parry Sound Festival of the Sound, Jeffery Chamber Music Series, Lindsay Concert Productions, Almonte in Concert, Women’s Musical Club of Toronto, Kawartha Concerts, including multiple work cycles for the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society. EMIC has provided master classes, chamber music coachings, and lectures at universities across Canada and in the United States and has also participated in outreach programs for public schools in Ontario. The group is grateful for support from FACTOR, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. EMIC has been Ensemble-in-Residence at Western University since 2014.
MICHELLE DJOKIC, cello (*replaces Rachel Mercer who was unable to appear due to a family emergency). “Djokic is indisputable when playing melody. Her sense of delivery and her mastery of technique have an instinctual rightness about them,” hailed a critic of the Denver Post. In 1985 Ms. Djokic made her Carnegie Hall debut as soloist with the New Jersey Symphony. She has appeared as soloist with orchestras throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe to great critical acclaim. Active as a chamber musician, Ms. Djokic has been invited to collaborate with Emanuel Ax, Menahem Pressler, Lynn Harrell, Toby Appel, and Cho-Liang Lin, among others, as well as the Boston Chamber Players with whom she recorded Schoenberg’s “Verklarte Nacht”. Her festival appearances include Aspen, Banff, Newport, Kingston, Princeton, Roycroft, Bowdoin, among others. Founder and she is the founder and Artistic Director of the Concordia Chamber Players—a series that has brought together the brightest talents of the chamber music world in thoughtful and adventurous programming with performances broadcast regularly on WWFM in Princeton, NJ since the group’s inception in 1995. Concordia Chamber Players commissioned “Obrigado” for string quartet and solo mandolin by young Brazilian superstar, Clarice Assad, which received its world premiere in the spring of 2011 with Mike Marshall on the mandolin. Ms. Djokic will join pianist John Novacek at the 2011 Festival Mozaic for the world premiere of Novacek’s “Singular Piece” for cello and piano, commissioned by the Seattle Commissioning Project. Her most recent recording with Quartet San Francisco, entitled “QSF Plays Brubeck,” earned a 2010 Grammy Nomination in Best Classical Crossover.
MELVIN CHEN, piano (*replaces Angela Park who is on maternity leave). A native of Tennessee, pianist Melvin Chen is recognized as an important artist acclaimed for performances throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a soloist and chamber musician, Mr. Chen has performed at major venues, including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Weill Recital Hall, the Frick Collection, Kennedy Center and Boston’s Jordan Hall, in addition to other appearances throughout the U.S., Canada, and Asia. Solo recordings include Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations on the Bridge label, praised as “a classic” by the American Record Guide, a recording of Joan Tower’s piano music on the Naxos label, as well as recordings of the Shostakovich piano sonatas and Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice. An enthusiastic chamber musician, Mr. Chen has collaborated with such artists as Ida Kavafian, Steven Tenenbom, David Shifrin, and Peter Wiley, and with the Shanghai, Tokyo, Miami, and Miro quartets. Melvin Chen is an alumnus of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center: Chamber Music Society Two, where he appeared with members of the Chamber Music Society in performance and educational programs for two seasons. He is a regular performer in numerous music festivals, including the Vail Valley Music Festival, Music Mountain, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Bard Music Festival, and Music from Angel Fire, among others. Mr. Chen completed a doctorate in chemistry from Harvard University, and also holds a double master’s degree from The Juilliard School in piano and violin. Before that, he attended Yale University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and physics. Mr. Chen is associate professor of piano and deputy dean at the Yale School of Music. Previously, he was on the piano faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where he was also associate director.
Music at the Institute is sponsored by the Ukrainian Institute of America.