Gabriel-Pope-Sakurai Trio [GPS Trio]
Perhaps it is kismet that our musical journey this concert season begins with a GPS. Though the GPS Trio is a relative newcomer to the chamber music landscape, its reputation for conjuring beauty and grace is no surprise considering each member’s astonishing musical pedigree. George Pope is the Emeritus Professor of Flute at The University of Akron and was principle flute of the Akron Symphony from 1978 to 2002. Sean Gabriel is the principal flute of the Grammy Award-winning Cleveland Chamber Symphony. Rei Sakurai, piano, is staff accompanist at Baldwin Wallace University.
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Sean Gabriel received performance degrees from the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music and the Indiana University School of music studying flute with both William Hebert and James Pellerite. Mr. Gabriel is currently the principal flutist of the Blue Water Chamber Orchestra and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the city’s Grammy Award- winning new music ensemble. He is also a member of the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra and was the principal flutist of the Opera Cleveland Orchestra from 2002 to 2010. Mr. Gabriel is on the music faculties of Baldwin Wallace University and Cleveland State University, where he regularly performs in recital.
George Pope is the Emeritus Professor of Flute at The University of Akron and Instructor of Flute at The Baldwin Wallace Conservatory. Principal Flute of the Akron Symphony from 1978-2002, Mr. Pope has also performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Blossom Festival Orchestra, the Brevard Music Center Orchestra and at the Spoleto Festival. A founding member of the Solaris Wind Quintet and the Chamber Music Society of Ohio, he also performs with the Swannanoa Chamber Players in Asheville, NC. Mr. Pope was named “Arts Educator of 2009” by the Akron Area Arts Alliance. He graduated from the University of Tulsa and Northwestern University.
A native of Japan, Rei Sakurai began studying violin at the age of five and piano at the age of eleven. After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance at Roosevelt University in Chicago, she moved to Cleveland and received her Master’s Degree in Collaborative Piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She has worked at the Music Settlement as a staff accompanist and Suzuki instructor as well as at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a staff accompanist. She has been working as a staff accompanist at Baldwin-Wallace University since September of 2006.
Expect an evening like a page from a Fitzgerald story—pop and verve, with Gershwin, Berlin, and original compositions. Expect An Evening of Jazz as only Paul Ferguson can deliver (with a little help from his friends, of course). Having toured with the Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey Orchestras, Ferguson has more than earned his bones in the jazz world. He is currently Director of Jazz Studies at Case Western Reserve University and performs with the Canton Symphony and the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra. Sitting in with Ferguson will be a who’s who of local jazz luninaries.
A truly great musical performance is a memory written in the heart and mind of an audience. If past is prologue (and it is), the message left by the Verve Chamber Players will be made up of words like vitality and balance, power and light, and none soon forgotten. Jung-Min Amy Lee, violin, is associate concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra. Yu Jin, viola, teaches at Kent State University. Donna Lee, piano, is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Piano Division at Kent State University. Cathy Meng Robinson, violin, and Keith Robinson, cello, are founding members of the Miami String Quartet—the Quartet-in-Residence at Kent State University—and have performed throughout the United States and Europe.
The story of Baroque music is the story of everything. As its best, Baroque music weds rigorous order with passionate interpretation. So too is the story of Three Trumpets and Organ, and there are few musicians more worthy to do the telling. Jack Sutte served as principal trumpet in the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway before joining The Cleveland Orchestra in 1999. Lyle Steelman, assistant principal, joined The Cleveland Orchestra in 2009. Kevin Cobb, a native of Bowling Green, joined the American Brass Quintet in 1998, the same year he became a faculty member of the Juilliard School in New York. Accompanying them are David J. Kienzle, organ, Director of Music and Fine Arts at Christ Presbyterian Church, and Josh Ryan, tympani, Professor of Music and Chair of the Woodwind/Brass/Percussion Department at Baldwin Wallace University.
Each season, we are proud to showcase the talent of an artist whose story is not yet written, but will be. This season’s Featured Young Artist is Megan Lee, piano, and if what she has already achieved is any kind of foreshadowing, the chapters ahead will be a thing to behold. She has appeared as a soloist with the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra, has played with the Cleveland Institute of Music Conservatory Orchestra, and has performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall ten times. Lee has won dozens of awards. She holds her audiences spellbound. Having studied under and played alongside masters, she is well on her way to becoming one herself—not bad for a 17-year-old senior at Hudson High School.
It is called dovetailing when two stories become one. When Jorge Amaral and Mia Pomerantz-Amaral formed Duo Amaral in 2008, they quickly established themselves as one of today’s premier classical guitar duos. They have released two critically heralded albums of both time-honored and original arrangements— Súplica and Textura. From Germany and France to Panama and Mexico to Israel and Cyprus, they have traveled the world with their unique brand of guitar virtuosity. That is precisely what they will bring to The Music from The Western Reserve: A delicate haunting beauty that makes the heart ache, yet inspires it to flight. Duo Amaral will be a fitting dénouement to our 2014 – 2015 concert season.