SoloFest

A little something different:

We at the BCC thought we’d try something a little different for this concert: a festival of works for single instruments, featuring eight incredible soloists from the Boston area.

Wayman Chin

 Wayman Chin, Piano

Pianist Wayman Chin has performed widely throughout the United States and Asia. Within the United States, his concerts include performances at Princeton University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Jordan Hall in Boston, and the Honolulu Academy of Arts. In the Far East, Mr. Chin has appeared at Tsuen Wan Town Hall in Hong Kong, and in the Philippines, on the Sala Foundation concert series, and at the residence of the US Ambassador in Manila.

Wayman Chin’s playing has been described as, “transcendental, long lines spun like glorious gold thread,” “ferociously concentrated, intense, focused, and musically astute” (Boston Herald), “vividly characterized and atmospheric,” (Stamford Mercury, U.K.) and “sheer magic….every note is colored.” (the Freeman, Philippines).

Devoted to chamber music playing, Mr. Chin has collaborated with artists such as the Pacifica Quartet, Cassatt String Quartet, violinist Eric Rosenblith, violist Masumi Rostad, cellist Thomas Kraines, and baritone Thomas Meglioranza.  For twelve seasons he appeared regularly as a member of the artist faculty at the Yellow Barn Music School and Festival and has also performed and taught at the Stamford International Music Festival in England; in 2010, he served on the program faculty for the Winter Cycle at the Banff Centre in Canada.  

An advocate of new music, Mr. Chin has premiered a number of works by noted composers, including those of Meyer Kupferman, Jeremy Van Buskirk, John McDonald, Scott Wheeler, and Paul Brust; he has also introduced several works of Aaron Jay Kernis to Boston audiences. Of Chin’s performance of Kernis’ Valentines, with soprano Karyl Ryczek, David Cleary of 21st Century Music wrote, “Wayman Chin traversed the formidable challenges of the piano part with conspicuous success. His highly demonstrative performing style excellently suited the work’s forthright nature.”

Wayman Chin earned a Bachelor of Music degree with honors from the University of Hartford’s Hartt School and a Master of Music degree from Yale University. He is currently the Dean of the Conservatory at the Longy School of Bard College and has been a member of the faculty since 1994.  His principal teachers and mentors were Donald Currier, Anne Koscielny, Joan Panetti and Raymond Hanson.  Recent performances include an appearance as soloist with the Longy Conservatory Orchestra under Julian Pellicano and the world premiere of Scott Wheeler’s “Arietta” for solo piano.

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Sarah Brady, Flute

Flutist Sarah Brady called “enchanting” (Boston Globe) and “clairvoyantly sensitive” (New Music Connoisseur), is principal flute with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and appears with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Boston Pops, Boston Ballet, Firebird Ensemble, Boston Musica Viva and the Radius Ensemble. She has premiered and recorded new music from many of today’s leading composers, including new music commissioned by Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project.  In 2007 Sarah enjoyed a sold out debut at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall with pianist Oxana Yablonskaya. A prizewinner in the Pappoutsakis Flute Competition and the National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition, Sarah now serves on the National Flute Association’s New Music Advisory Committee. Her solo, chamber and orchestral recordings can be heard on the Albany, Naxos, Oxingale, Cantaloupe and BMOP/Sound labels. Sarah is on faculty at the Boston Conservatory and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

Jobey Wilson

Jobey Wilson, Tuba

Jobey Wilson's charismatic style of tuba playing has entertained audiences all over the world. Born and raised a prodigious golfer in Broken Arrow, OK, he retired his clubs at the age of 18 to pursue his new love of music. After four crucial years of “catch-up” under the tutelage of Ted L. Cox of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, this proud “Sooner” moved northeast to refine his skills with the legendary Chester Schmitz of the Boston Symphony & Pops. In 2001, Wilson earned his Master’s degree from the New England Conservatory, and he has since resided in Boston as a freelance performer and teacher. Wilson holds the principal tuba positions with the Lexington Symphony, Atlantic Symphony, New Bedford Symphony, and the Neponset Valley Philharmonic, and he has performed with nearly every professional orchestra in New England. A staunch supporter of new music, Wilson highly enjoys working with composers and has premiered many works as both a soloist and chamber musician.

“To truly ‘sing & paint’ with a brass instrument, one must have a vivid imagination & supreme confidence. When I pick up my tuba, I become the Alpha-Male silverback gorilla in the African Jungle. I will love, caress & protect my pack, but BEWARE, for my roar is mighty & my bite is fierce!!

Pei-yeh Tsai

Pei-Yeh Tsai, piano

Pianist Pei-yeh Tsai was recently awarded her Doctoral degree from Boston University. She is the founding member of the piano trio ‘Trio Lumiere’ and the computer music group-“Bleep-Blop”. Ms. Tsai studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University with Boris Slutsky; subsequently she received a Master’s degree in Piano Performance from the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Jerome Lowenthal.

Ms. Tsai’s recent engagements included a premiere of Ketty Nez’s Piano concerto ‘Thresholds’ with David Martins conducting Boston University Wind Ensemble;  concerts with the Atlantic Symphony Chamber Players as well as performances of the Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto and Beethoven Fourth Piano Concerto with the Boston University Orchestra. Last year, she appeared as part of the Fringe Festival playing the Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion and Winds by Paul Bowels. This year, Ms. Tsai was interviewed by BBC Radio 4, in a program called ‘Soul Music’ where she talks about the important role Rachmaninoff plays in her life and music.

Ms. Tsai has received first prize in the Aaron Richmond International Piano Competition, New England Chamber Music Ensemble Competition with the Clara Piano Quartet, Baltimore Music Club Piano Competition, The fourth prize in Iowa International Piano Competition, and The Viardo Prize at The Viardo International Piano Competition. Ms. Tsai is also the recipient of numerous awards including two Piano Departmental Awards given by Boston University, the Marie Miller Award from the Women’s Guild in Boston, the Sergio Fiorentino Memorial Award, the Rose Marie Milholland Award and a Career Development Grant from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. Last year, she was a judge in the Granite State Piano Competition in New Hampshire. In her leisure time, she embraces nature, enjoys rock climbing and photography.

Carol Abigana

Carol Abigana, piano

Carol Abigana cannot think about her musical career without seeing the other great passion in her life – her musical family. Her love for the piano began in her early teens and after high school, she majored in piano performance at San Jose State University. During this time she met and married her husband John, who was embarking on a stellar career teaching high school music. Carol’s own plans to pursue a public school teaching career were put on hold with the birth of their son, Brett and later their daughter, Hilary. She opened a very active piano studio and become an accomplished accompanist in Northern California, always with the idea that she may ultimately pursue earning a teaching credential. Thankfully for her, Carol was destined to travel a different path!

She and John recognized fairly early that their children were developing into very gifted musicians. And as their musical endeavors took them beyond their own community and across the state and country, Carol became their accompanist, manager and taxi driver. Her passion for her instrument never diminished but her own musical pursuits took a backseat as her family’s musical accomplishments soared. When her children were in their teens, the Abigana family embarked on a new musical adventure – playing Celtic and historical American music on authentic instruments. Their family group, The Heritage Quartet, enjoyed playing music for enthusiastic audiences in Northern California, the Pacific Northwest, Yellowstone National Park and British Columbia. The only condition for booking the group was simple – they would accept no money but would perform merely for the joy of playing music.

When Brett and Hilary headed off to college, Carol looked at her own musical life and made the decision to once again study piano. With her much respected and loved teacher Dr. Jana Olvera along on her new musical journey, Carol began performing once again as piano soloist in concerts and recitals in Woodland, California. The highlight of this new musical journey was the opportunity to give the world premiere of her son’s “Sketches on Paintings #3,” a piece that Brett wrote as a Christmas gift to her. Now retired and living in Massachusetts, Carol dedicates this performance and all her musical endeavors to her children Brett and Hilary and most especially to her husband John, the finest musician she’s ever known.

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Jorrit Dijkstra, Saxophone

The music of saxophonist and composer Jorrit Dijkstra (Eindhoven, Netherlands, 1966) draws from the jazz tradition in spirit and sound, but has crossed stylistic and cultural borders in order to express a strong, evolving personal vision. He spent his formative years in Amsterdam’s vibrant improvisation community playing jazz, free improvisation, and world music. Since moving to the United States in 2002, Dijkstra has deepened his affinity with the experimental forces of American music, while staying in touch with his Dutch musical roots.

Dijkstra’s recent projects include The Whammies play the Music of Steve Lacy, an all-star group with leading improvisers for the Chicago, Boston and Amsterdam, and an electro-acoustic duo with New York drummer/composer John Hollenbeck. Dijkstra’s use of analog electronics – including the Lyricon, a vintage electronic wind instrument from the seventies – extends his already flexible saxophone sound into an idiosyncratic mix of cool jazz, free improvisation, avant-rock and electronic minimalism. Dijkstra’s work as an improviser has won him a Fulbright grant and the prestigious Podium Prize for jazz musicians in the Netherlands.

Jorrit’s work as a composer balances between similar stylistic boundaries. Commissioned by the North Sea Jazz Festival 2009, Jorrit’s Pillow Circles project brings together eight top improvisers in a mesmerizing sound world filled with indie guitar-rock and free jazz influences. Dijkstra has received other commissions from the David Kweksilber Big Band, Tetzepi Big Band, Amstel Saxophone Quartet, recorder player Terri Hron, Kaida Duo, Duo X, The Harvard Jazz Band, and electric guitarist Wiek Hijmans. His commissioned works often incorporate electronic soundtracks and various forms of improvisation. In addition he has scored several documentary films, and composed soundtracks for theater productions. 

Jorrit has released twelve CDs as a leader, and has performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival, Rome’s Festival Controindicazioni, New York City’s The Stone, the Chicago Cultural Center, ICA Boston, BIMhuis Amsterdam, and Stadtgarten Cologne.  He has worked with Tony Malaby, Gerry Hemingway, Herb Robertson, Barre Phillips, John Butcher, Willem Breuker and Han Bennink among others.  He has participated in projects ranging from Anthony Braxton’s Ghost Trance and Guus Janssen’s opera Noach to a rare live performance of Texas outsider musician Jandek. Jorrit is co-founder of Driff Records, an independent label for “transatlantic improvised music”.

Jorrit studied improvisation and composition with Misha Mengelberg, Steve Coleman, Steve Lacy, Bob Brookmeyer and Lee Hyla. He is currently an Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music, and a faculty member at the New England Conservatory in Boston. He has led master classes on improvisation at many conservatories in Europe and North America.

Michelle Rahn

Michelle Rahn, viola

Michelle Rahn is a native of rural southern Oregon and began studying violin at age 11.  She attended the University of Oregon for violin performance until, upon hearing the Walton Concerto, was seduced by the richer timbre of the viola.  She received her Master's degree, Performance Diploma and DMA from Boston University studying with Michelle LaCourse, Edward Gazouleas and Steve Ansell.  She was awarded a Dean's Scholarship during her studies for the Performance Diploma, the String Department Honor’s Award during her pursuit of the Master of Music degree, in addition to winning the viola prize at the Bach Competition.  Ms. Rahn was a participant in the National Orchestral Institute (2008), the International Chamber Music Course in Positano, Italy (2008), the Karen Tuttle Coordination Workshop (2007) and the Jascha Heifetz Music Institute for the Development of Personal Style (2003).  Ms. Rahn is on faculty at the International Chamber Music Course in Positano, Italy, has a teaching studio and performs regularly with chamber ensembles and orchestras in New England and abroad.

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Heather Gilligan, piano

An active composer and performer, Dr. Heather Gilligan has recently written works for the Keene State College Chamber Singers, the Keene State College Concert Band, The Chamber Singers of Keene, The Rivers School’s “Seminar On Contemporary Music For the Young,” Juventas! New Music Ensemble, and Lorelei Ensemble.  She serves as accompanist and Composer-in-Residence for the Chamber Singers of Keene and was appointed Composer of the Year in 2010 by the New Hampshire Music Teachers Association.  Before coming to Keene State College, she taught music theory and aural skills at Boston University and keyboard harmony at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also taught piano and music theory classes at the Brookline Music School, where she served as coordinator of both the piano and theory departments.  At Keene State College she coordinates theory and aural skills; she also teaches theory and composition.

Dr. Gilligan received her D.M.A. in Composition from Boston University in 2008, where she won the Malloy Miller Prize in Composition, a Dean Scholarship, and a Department Honor Award.  At BU she studied composition with Richard Cornell, Martin Amlin, and Ketty Nez.  She earned her M.M. in Composition from the Longy School of Music, where she studied composition and piano. In summer of 2002 she completed, with distinction, a course at La Schola Cantorum in Paris, under the auspices of the European American Musical Alliance. She also holds a bachelors degree in Chemistry from Lehigh University.

 © Justin Casinghino 2015