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Great Wall Quartet with Jessie Chang: From ­­­­Vienna to Paris

  • Samuel M. Ciccati Theatre, Cuyamaca College 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway El Cajon, CA, 92019 United States (map)

Program

String Quartet No. 10, Op. 74 “Harp”

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)

Intermission

Concerto for Piano Violin and String Quartet

Ernest Chausson (1855 - 1899)


Great Wall Quartet

Originating from different educational and cultural backgrounds, and living and working on different continents, these four accomplished artists share in a common passion. Long before becoming The Great Wall Quartet in 2009, violinists Wei Lu and Qi Zhou, violist Chi-Yuan Chen and cellist Yao Zhao had collaborated on many concerts and performances.

In its first season The Great Wall String Quartet toured extensively in Asia to great acclaim and were invited by UNESCO to participate in a documentary representing the Great Wall of China for the 2009 World Heritage Festival. The Quartet has since toured both performing and teaching in many Asian countries including China, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Their first recording, Great Wall, released in 2012, won the Best Performance in Classical Music Award at the 2013 24th Golden Melody Award in Taiwan. The Quartet’s second album, Tango, received The Best String Quartet Album of the 11thHiFi Album Award in China in 2015.

When not playing or teaching together, all four members of The Great Wall String Quartet hold tenured positions with world-class professional orchestras. Great Wall’s first violinist, Wei Lu is Concertmaster for Deutsches Symphony-Orchester, Berlin, a position which he won after undergoing a long audition process, making him one of the youngest concertmasters among the world’s leading orchestras today. He is the Berlin Philharmonic’s first ever Chinese guest Concertmaster, and he has been invited as guest Concertmaster for Orchestre Symphonique De Montréal, Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich and Seoul Philharmonic.

The Quartet’s second violinist Qi Zhou, was invited by Maestro Justus Frantz to join the Philharmonie der Nationen as their Second Violin Principal prior to his appointment with the Munich Philharmonic in 2001. He is a proud member of the Munich Philharmonic’s prestigious chamber orchestra, Philharmonisches Kammerorchester München, and also a frequent guest principal violinist for Hangzhou Philharmonic and Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

Taiwanese violist Chi-Yuan Chen holds the Viola Principal chair of San Diego Symphony Orchestra and is a faculty member at San Diego State University. He was the winner of the 2004 International Paris Viola Competition, Ville d’Avary, the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, and the recipient of the Henri Kohn Award at the Tanglewood Music Festival for his contributions to chamber music.

Described by New York Concert Review as “a superb cellist with intense and sensuous sound,” and by Los Angeles Times as “being able to handle the most intricate musical works with unblinking ease and expressive zeal,” cellist Yao Zhao was recently honored as one of China’s Ten Extraordinary Cellists of the Generation. He is the Principal Cellist for San Diego Symphony Orchestra and on faculty at both Idyllwild Arts Academy and San Diego State University.


Jessie Chang

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Pianist Jessie Chang is admired for her beautiful tone, commanding technique, and magnetic personality. She first discovered her love for the piano when she was not even four years old and urged her parents to enroll her in the Yamaha Music School in Taipei, Taiwan. Later, Ms. Chang made her TV debut, appearing on the Taiwan Central Television when she was ten years old. Five years later, she made her concerto debut with the California State University Orchestra.

Ms. Chang attended the Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Constance Keene. At the age of nineteen, she earned her Bachelor degree and Masters of Music degree two years later and was the recipient of the “Best Female Pianist” award at both commencements. She received scholarships to attend the Manhattan School of Music from the Reachout Committee of the Los Angeles Music Center, the Young Musicians Foundation and the Manhattan School of Music. Her previous teachers included Yin Yin Huang AceVedo and Milton Stern, and she has also worked closely with renowned artists such as Menahem Pressler, Herbert Stessin, Oxana Yablonskaya and Bernard Segall.

Ms. Chang has also received top honors in more than thirty distinguished piano competitions of national and international stature, including First Prizes in the following: the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, the Music Teachers Association of California State Solo Competition, the Los Angeles Liszt Competition, the Southern California Junior Bach Festival and the Chinese Talent Search. The Grand Prize was awarded to Ms. Chang in the Music Teachers Association of California Young Artists Guild, and additional top honors were received in the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Competition, the IBLA International Competition and the International Young Artists Piano Competition. Ms. Chang has the distinguished honor of being the first person to have won four gold medals at the US Open Music Competition.

Among the highlights of her career, Ms. Chang appeared at the Blossom Festival with The Cleveland Orchestra playing Mozart’s Double Concerto with her duo-partner and husband, Jahja Ling. She has been featured at the Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium, Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium and in front of 28,000 people at Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta. Ms. Chang has played with various other orchestras including the San Diego Symphony orchestra, the Florida Orchestra and the Malaysian Philharmonic. She has also performed engagements with China Philharmonic and Guangzhou Symphony.

Locally, Jessie Chang enjoys teaching, playing chamber music with members of the San Diego Symphony, singing as an alto with the Westminster Choir of First Presbyterian Church, and being the proud mom of two darling daughters, Priscilla and Stephanie.


Nuvi Mehta

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Nuvi Mehta has a gift for capturing the mind and heart of every person in his audience. The L.A. Times likens him to a young Gary Cooper, saying, “His old-fashioned Hollywood charisma extends to an eloquent and theatrical way of speaking that is almost entirely lost today.”Combining drama and music education in his concerts, he is creating a new generation of classical music lovers. 

Appointed Director of Special Projects for the San Diego Symphony in 2006, Mehta launched the Symphony’s Classical EdgeSeries - multi-media concerts, introducing new patrons to ‘the stories behind the notes’ – the series developing a large dedicated following. Widely considered one of the finest speakers on classical music, Mehta’s on stage demonstrations and “What’s the Score?” talks, draw up to 1000 patrons a night.

 Conducting appearances have taken Mehta across the United States, to Europe and to Mexico.  He has been a guest of the San Diego Symphony, the New World Symphony the Knoxville Symphony, the Fine Arts Chamber Orchestra of Mexico City, and the San Diego Chamber Orchestra.   He has appeared as violin soloist with the San Diego Symphony, the Marquette Symphony, the Ann Arbor Symphony, the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, the American Youth Symphony, and as concertmaster and soloist with the New World Symphony.

Since 2004, as Artistic Director of the Ventura Music Festival Association, Mehta has expanded the range of festival concerts adding community outreach, On Stage Talks and Up Close events with artists. The Ventura Music Festival today presents the most illustrious artists in the world of Classical music, Jazz and Crossover.  

Mehta is a graduate of Indiana University and The Juilliard School.  He studied violin with Josef Gingold, Szymon Goldberg, David Cerone, and in masterclasses with Nathan Milstein.  Conducting teachers include Otto Werner Mueller, and Charles Bruck and in masterclasses with Leonard Bermnstein. 

 He lives in Jamul, California.