April 6 – Flutist Tara Helen O’Connor with Eight Emerging Artist Alumni

Concert sponsored by Essex Savings Bank and Essex Financial Services

Where and When:

VALLEY REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
256 Kelsey Hill Road, Deep River, CT
Click here to view in Google maps.

Sunday, April 6

Concert begins at 3:00 pm; outer doors open at 2:00 pm; auditorium doors open at 2:30 pm.

Accessible parking, entry and seating are available.

 

Concert Program:

Tara Helen O’Connor, flute
Tai Murray, violin
Edson Scheid, violin
Keiko Tokunaga, violin
Stephanie Zyzak, violin
Luke Fleming, viola
Brian Hong, viola
Andrew Janss, cello
Mihai Marica, cello

String Trio in B-flat Major, D. 471 – Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
(Zyzak, Hong, Janss)

“A Night Piece” and Scherzo for Flute and String Quartet – Arthur Foote (1853-1937)
(O’Connor, Tokunaga, Zyzak, Fleming, Janss)

Flute Quartet in D Major, K. 285 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
(O’Connor, Scheid, Hong, Marica)

Octet in E-flat Major for Strings, Op. 20 – Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
(Murray, Tokunaga, Scheid, Zyzak, Fleming, Hong, Janss, Marica)

 

 

Artist Biographies:

Tara Helen O’Connor, flute

Tara Helen O’Connor is a charismatic performer noted for her artistic depth, brilliant technique and colorful tone spanning every musical era. Recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a two-time Grammy nominee, she was the first wind player chosen to participate in The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two) and is now a Season Artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. A Wm. S. Haynes flute artist, Tara is a regular participant in the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass, Spoleto Festival USA, Chamber Music Northwest, Mainly Mozart Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Rockport Music, Bay Chamber Concerts, Manchester Music Festival, the Banff Centre, the Great Mountains Music Festival, Chesapeake Music Festival and the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. Along with her husband Daniel Phillips, she is the newly appointed Co-Artstic Director of the Music From Angel Fire Festival in New Mexico. At the conclusion of the 2025 season, when Mihae Lee retires as Artistic Director of Essex Winter Series, Tara will take on that role.

A much sought-after chamber musician and soloist, she has premiered hundreds of new works and has collaborated with the Orion String Quartet, St. Lawrence Quartet, Emerson String Quartet, Jaime Laredo, Dawn Upshaw, Eliot Fisk, Jeremy Denk, Ida Kavafian, Peter Serkin and David Shifrin. Tara is a member of the woodwind quintet Windscape, the legendary Bach Aria Group and is a founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning New Millennium Ensemble. A passionate advocate of new music, she is a member of the Talea and Cygnus Ensembles. Tara has appeared on A&E’s Breakfast with the Arts and PBS’ Live from Lincoln Center. She has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, EMI Classics, Koch International, CMS Studio Recordings with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Bridge Records. She has just released a solo CD of American flute works entitled The Way Things Go on Bridge Records with pianist Margaret Kampmeier.

Tara holds a DMA from Stony Brook University where she studied with the late Samuel Baron. Her other teachers include Julius Levine, Thomas Nyfenger, Robert Dick and Keith Underwood. Her yearly summer flute master class at the Banff Centre in Canada was legendary. She is Associate Professor of Flute, Head of the Woodwinds Department and the Coordinator of Classical Music Studies at Purchase College School of the Arts Conservatory of Music. Additionally, Tara is on the faculty of Bard College Conservatory of Music, the Contemporary Performance Program at Manhattan School of Music and is a visiting artist, teacher and coach at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She lives with her husband, violinist Daniel Phillips and their two miniature dachshunds, Chloé and Ava on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

 

Tai Murray, violin

Described as “superb” by The New York Times, violinist Tai Murray has established herself a musical voice of a generation. “Technically flawless… vivacious and scintillating… It is without doubt that Murray’s style of playing is more mature than that of many seasoned players….“

 – Muso Magazine

Appreciated for her elegance and effortless ability, Murray creates a special bond with listeners through her personal phrasing and subtle sweetness. Her programming reveals musical intelligence. Her sound, sophisticated bowing and choice of vibrato, remind us of her musical background and influences, principally, Yuval Yaron (a student of Gingold & Heifetz) and Franco Gulli. Winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2004, Tai Murray was named a BBC New Generation Artist (2008 through 2010). As a chamber musician, she was a member of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society II (2004-2006).

Tai has performed as guest soloist on main stages world-wide, performing with leading ensembles such as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Symphony Orchestra, and all of the BBC Symphony Orchestras. She is also a dedicated advocate of contemporary works (written for the violin). Among others, she performed the world premiere of Malcolm Hayes’ violin concerto at the BBC PROMS, in the Royal Albert Hall.

As a recitalist. Tai Murray has visited many of the world’s capitals having appeared in Berlin, Chicago, Hamburg, London, Madrid, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Paris and Washington D.C., among many others.

Tai’s critically acclaimed debut recording for harmonia mundi of Ysaÿe’s Six Sonatas for Solo Violin was released in February 2012. Her second recording with works by American Composers of the 20th Century was released by the Berlin-based label eaSonus and her third disc with the Bernstein “Serenade” on the French label Mirare.

Tai Murray plays a violin by Tomaso Balestrieri fecit Mantua ca. 1765, on generous loan from a private collection.

Murray is an Assistant Professor, Adjunct, of violin at the Yale School of Music, where she teaches applied violin and coaches chamber music. She earned artist diplomas from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and The Juilliard School.

 

Edson Scheid, violin

Edson Scheid has been praised for his “polished playing” (The Strad), and for being a “virtuoso violinist” (The Boston Globe). His performance of Strauss’s song Morgen at Carnegie Hall alongside Joyce DiDonato and Il Pomo d’Oro was described as follows: “The concertmaster, Edson Scheid, proved a worthy foil as violin soloist” (The New York Times).

A native of Brazil, Edson Scheid is based in New York City, where he plays with some of the city’s leading ensembles, including the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, American Classical Orchestra, Musica Sacra New York, The Clarion Orchestra and New York Classical Players. He frequently performs throughout the United States, on both modern and period instruments, and in Europe, Asia, North and South America with such ensembles as Il Pomo d’Oro and Les Arts Florissants.

As concertmaster, Edson Scheid has led performances with Seraphic Fire, Washington Bach Consort, Il Pomo d’oro, Music Sacra New York, Juilliard415, The Clarion Orchestra, and Teatro Nuovo, in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Cullen Theater at Wortham Theater Center in Houston, Sala São Paulo, Harris Hall in Chicago, the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center.

Edson Scheid’s many performances of Paganini’s 24 Caprices, on both period and modern violins, have been received with enthusiasm around the world. He has been featured live in-studio on In Tune from BBC Radio 3 and his recording of the Caprices on the baroque violin for the Naxos label has been critically acclaimed: “Far from being mere virtuoso stunts, Scheid’s Caprices abound in the beauty and revolutionary spirit of these works….” (Fanfare Magazine).

His second solo album, “On Paganini’s Trail… H. W. Ernst and more,” has been released under the Centaur Label – the first recording ever of this repertoire on a period violin. New York Concert Review writes that “Mr. Scheid is a superb violinist and a musician who can handle the fiendish challenges of this repertoire while finding the music in it.“, and Early Music America praises Edson Scheid for​ taking “his time through these works, letting them breathe without losing sight of execution or musicality….“

Edson Scheid has given masterclasses as a guest artist at the University of California Santa Barbara and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has led a program with students of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Joyce DiDonato, and offered a presentation on performing Paganini Caprices as part of the Benedetti Foundation’s Baroque Virtual Sessions. Since 2020 Edson Scheid is member of the Il Pomo d’Oro Academy, offering masterclasses on period instruments.

Edson Scheid holds degrees from the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, the Yale School of Music and The Juilliard School, where he was the recipient of a Kovner Fellowship. He is a two-time winner of the Historical Performance Concerto Competition at Juilliard, and a recipient of the Broadus Erle Prize at Yale.

 

Keiko Tokunaga, violin

Winner of the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, violinist Keiko Tokunaga spends most of her days touring and performing globally as a soloist and chamber musician. Keiko has performed, toured and recorded extensively with the internationally acclaimed Attacca Quartet from 2005 to 2019, and has been praised by the Strings Magazine for possessing a sound “with probing quality that is supple and airborne” and for her “pure, pellucid bow strokes.“ She has soloed with various orchestras including the Spanish National Orchestra, Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya and Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Orchestra.

In 2021, Keiko founded an online concert series, Jukebox Concerts, in order to provide artistic outlets for musicians who lost their engagements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The performances were made available not only to the subscribers, but also to residents of nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living facilities across the country. Later in the year, she created INTERWOVEN, a multi-cultural ensemble whose mission is to eliminate discrimination against the AAAPI (Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) community by integrating the musical traditions of the East and West.

While Keiko played the Attacca Quartet, the ensemble won numerous prestigious awards including the Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance, First Prize of the 7th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in 2011; the Third Prize and the Australian Broadcast Corporation Classic FM Listener’s Choice Award of the 6th Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition in 2011. The Attacca Quartet served as the Graduate String Quartet in Residence at The Juilliard School from 2011 till 2013, and as artist-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the 2014-15 season.

When she is not on the road, Keiko enjoys her career as an educator. She is currently on faculty at Fordham University. In the past, she taught at The Juilliard School Pre-College Division; the Hunter College of New York; New York University;  the Port Townsend Chamber Music Festival; and Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute.

Music is not the only medium Keiko uses to express herself; she draws a series of cartoons about her life as a violinist and as a servant to her cat on Instagram.

Keiko plays on a J. B. Vuillaume violin from 1845, generously loaned by an anonymous donor. She also enjoys playing on a Baroque-style violin made by Antonio Mariani, circa 1669, formerly in the collection of Gabriel Schaff. Her bow was made by Nicolas Maire circa 1850.

 

Stephanie Zyzak, violin

Praised for her sensitive musicianship and heartfelt playing, violinist Stephanie Zyzak is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the most soulful and profound musicians of her generation.

At the age of seven, Stephanie made her first solo appearance with the Starling Chamber Orchestra at the Aspen Music School and became the youngest recipient ever to be awarded the Aspen Music School New Horizon Fellowship. The following year, she performed in Germany as an invited guest of the Internationale Kunst – Akademie Liechtenstein (IKAL). Since making her debut in 2004 with the Louisville Orchestra, Stephanie has performed as soloist throughout Germany, Russia, Austria, Sweden, Spain, Italy, France, and with orchestras including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic, Southeast Missouri Symphony, and the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra. Recent and upcoming season highlights include performances at Caramoor, Carnegie Hall, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert series, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and the Phillips Collection, among others.

A deeply passionate chamber musician, Stephanie has had the privilege of collaborating with renowned musicians including Jonathan Biss, Kim Kashkashian, Ida Kavafian, Alice Neary, Danny Phillips, Marcy Rosen, and Mitsuko Uchida. She has also performed at the Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, Caramoor, the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival, as well as on tour with Musicians From Marlboro. Born in South Carolina, Stephanie is a graduate of New England Conservatory where she studied with Miriam Fried. Currently, she is studying at CUNY The Graduate Center with Mark Steinberg. She is also a founding member of ensemble132, a roster-based chamber music collective and was a 2020-22 Ensemble Connect fellow at Carnegie Hall.

Stephanie performs on a 1778 Joseph and Antonio Gagliano violin, generously on loan from Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, and a bow by François-Nicolas Voirin.

 

Luke Fleming, viola

Praised by The Philadelphia Inquirer for his “glowing refinement,” violist Luke Fleming‘s performances have been described by The Strad as “confident and expressive … playing with uncanny precision,” lauded by Gramophone for their “superlative technical and artistic execution,” and by The Boston Music Intelligencer as “Luminous … Luke Fleming achieved a simultaneously meticulous and warmly mellow syntax.”

Festival appearances include the Marlboro Music School and Festival, the Steans Institute at Ravinia, Perlman Music Program, the Norfolk and Great Lakes Chamber Music Festivals, Bravo!Vail, and Festival Mozaic. Formerly the violist of the Grammy Award-winning Attacca Quartet, he has served as Artist-in-Residence for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and received the National Federation of Music Clubs Centennial Chamber Music Award. He was awarded First Prize at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and top prizes at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition.

In 2015, Luke became the Founding Artistic Director of both the Manhattan Chamber Players and the Crescent City Chamber Music Festival, and in 2024 he was named Artistic Program Director of Crescent City Chamber Music Festival. He currently serves on the Viola and Chamber Music faculties of the University of New Orleans, Atlantic Music Festival, Festival del Lago, and The Woodlands Chamberfest.

Luke has performed as guest violist with the Escher, Modigliani, and Pacifica Quartets, the Eroica, Lysander, and Gryphon Piano Trios, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Decoda, Ensemble Connect, Sejong Soloists, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the New York Classical Players, and has given masterclasses at UCLA, Louisiana State University, Baylor University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ithaca College, Columbus State University, Syracuse University, and Melbourne University, among others. Fleming has served on the faculties of the Innsbrook Institute, Renova Music Festival, and Fei Tian College, and as Lecturer-in-Residence for Project: Music Heals Us.

Luke holds the degrees of Doctor of Musical Arts, Artist Diploma, and Master of Music from The Juilliard School, a Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction from the Royal Academy of Music in London, and a Bachelor of Music summa cum laude from Louisiana State University. He is represented with the Manhattan Chamber Players by Arts Management Group.

 

Brian Hong, viola

Korean-American violist and violinist Brian Hong has forged a notable career as a chamber musician and educator. Known for his commanding stage presence, he joined the Grammy-nominated Aizuri String Quartet as their violist in 2023. He has performed concertos with such orchestras as the Juilliard Orchestra, New York Classical Players, Fairfax Symphony, American Youth Philharmonic, Chesapeake Orchestra, US Army Orchestra, National Philharmonic, and the Springfield Symphony. A dedicated chamber musician, Brian has served on the faculty of the Manchester Music Festival and as guest artist at the Sebago-Long Lake Music Festival and Kneisel Hall. Other festival credits include Marlboro, Yellow Barn, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, the Taos School of Music, and the Perlman Music Program.

Brian joined the esteemed viola faculty at Bard College Conservatory of Music in Fall 2022. He has taught private lessons, public masterclasses, and chamber coachings on both violin and viola at George Mason University’s Reva and Sid Dewberry Family School of Music, Missouri State University, and The Juilliard School. He has also taught live virtual masterclasses for the Joven Camerata de El Salvador as well as the Edward Said National Conservatory of Palestine. Hong’s mission as a teacher is to provide thoughtful and well-rounded instruction to students that maximizes their musical inspiration while illuminating the technical steps needed to achieve repeatable results. He believes in bringing the unique qualities of each student to life, and in the right of every student to have a high-quality musical education regardless of socio-economic status.

Brian is a graduate of Juilliard’s Artist Diploma program under the guidance of Laurie Smukler and Catherine Cho. As a Fellow of Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect, he performed and taught in a variety of venues in New York City and abroad, as well as maintaining a two-year teaching-artist partnership with Celia Cruz High School for Music in the Bronx. He also holds a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Laurie Smukler and Li Lin and was awarded a prestigious Kovner Fellowship. Brian earned his bachelor’s degree under Donald Weilerstein from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he was a member of three different honors ensembles and studied both classic and contemporary quartet repertoire with mentors including Laurence Lesser, Kim Kashkashian, Donald Weilerstein, and Lucy Chapman.

Brian is the Programming Director of Project: Music Heals Us, a nonprofit dedicated to providing musical education, access, and healing to marginalized populations with limited ability to access it themselves. He is also a Co-Artistic Director of NEXUS Chamber Music Chicago in Illinois, an artist-driven collective of musicians whose mission is to make classical music culturally relevant through live concerts and multimedia content. In his spare time, Brian can be found brewing espresso or single origin pour-overs at his home coffee bar.

 

Andrew Janss, cello

Hailed by The New York Times for his “muscularity and shimmering lyricism,” “insightful musicianship,” and “sumptuous elegance,” cellist Andrew Janss’ performances have been enjoyed across five continents in venues including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Sydney Opera House, and the Louvre.

Andrew has collaborated in concert and recording with a long list of iconic classical artists, including Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Lynn Harrell, Leon Fleisher, and Richard Goode, as well as chart-topping performers such as Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Lana Del Rey, Mary J. Blige, Florence + the Machine, Erykah Badu, and The Roots.

In March 2020, while Executive Director of the non-profit organization Project: Music Heals Us, Andrew worked with Dr. Rachel Easterwood of New York Presbyterian hospital to launch a live, 1-on-1 virtual bedside program, which ultimately provided relief and comfort for over 15,000 isolated hospital patients in 46 healthcare facilities around the country. While at PMHU, Janss also lead the organization’s music composition program for incarcerated individuals: conceiving, directing, recording, and engineering their groundbreaking Music For The Future course, which was piloted for students by the Bard Prison Initiative in Fall 2022. In Spring 2023, to further these endeavors, he launched the Amplify Foundation, an arts and technology nonprofit organization which aims to expand and deepen the healing impact of human connection through the arts.

For his arts service accomplishments, Janss was nominated for a 2020-21 Emerson Collective Fellowship by his childhood (and current) idol Yo-Yo Ma.

Early in his musical career, Andrew was the founding cellist of the Escher Quartet, with whom he was in residence at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center as part of Chamber Music Society Two from 2007-10. From there, he went on to be a cellist at the Marlboro Music Festival from 2010-12. He has served as Guest Principal Cellist of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and has toured extensively with the Mark Morris Dance Group throughout the U.S., China, Italy, and Australia.

Andrew also tours and records for the groundbreaking cello rock band Break of Reality, both in the United States and as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. Department of State. Recent tours through American Music Abroad have taken the band to Eastern and Central Asia, Haiti, and Brazil, collaborating with local musicians and composers in each country they visit.

Andrew attended the Manhattan School of Music, and was awarded an Artist Diploma in 2012. His major teachers include Andrew Cook, David Geber, Clive Greensmith, and David Soyer.

 

Mihai Marica, cello

Romanian-born cellist Mihai Marica is a first-prize winner of the Dr. Luis Sigall International Competition in Viña del Mar, Chile, as well as the Irving M. Klein International Competition, and is a recipient of Charlotte White’s Salon de Virtuosi Fellowship Grant. He has performed with orchestras such as the Symphony Orchestra of Chile, Xalapa Symphony in Mexico, the Hermitage State Orchestra of St. Petersburg in Russia, the Jardins Musicaux Festival Orchestra in Switzerland, the Louisville Orchestra, and the Santa Cruz Symphony in the U.S. He has also appeared in recital performances in Austria, Hungary, Germany, Spain, Holland, South Korea, Japan, Chile, the United States, and Canada.

A dedicated chamber musician, Mihai has performed at the Chamber Music Northwest, Norfolk, and Aspen music festivals where he has collaborated with such artists as Ani Kavafian, Ida Kavafian, David Shifrin, André Watts, and Edgar Meyer. He is a founding member of the award-winning Amphion String Quartet. A recent collaboration with dancer Lil Buck brought forth new pieces for solo cello written by Yevgeniy Sharlat and Patrick Castillo. He recently joined the acclaimed Apollo Trio.

Marica studied with Gabriela Todor in his native Romania and with Aldo Parisot at the Yale School of Music, where he was awarded master’s and artist diploma degrees. He is an alum of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Bowers Program.