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Stars in the Classics - cellist James Jaffe and artistic director Jodi Kantor

Thursday, July 3, 2014

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ORANGE VILLAGE – Stars in the Classics will present two varied and appealing programs of chamber music in July in the rotunda at Orange Village Hall, 4600 Lander Ave. The concerts, at 7:30 p.m., are built around the themes “Italian Serenade” (Thursday, July 10) and “Café Music” (Saturday, July 12).

The first program will feature works by Tchaikovsky (Souvenir de Florence), Rota, Stravinsky, and Rossini, whose William Tell overture Alexander Kostritsa will perform in Liszt’s virtuoso arrangement for piano. Also appearing will be pianist Andrew Rosenblum; cellists Brian Thornton (Cleveland Orchestra) and James Jaffe; violinists Filip Lazovski and Yun Ting Lee (Cleveland Orchestra); violists Yu Jin and Julian Machala; bassist Henry Samuels; and clarinetist Amitai Vardi.

“Café Music” will include pieces by Szymanowski, Saint-Saëns, Fauré, and Schulhoff, as well as tangos by Piazzolla. The stars joining Kostritsa, Lazovski, Machala, and Vardi on this occasion will be pianist John Simmons; violinist Diana Pepelea; flutist Jeiran Hasan; and guitarist Krystin O’Mara.

Describing a recent solo performance of cellist James Jaffe, the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes, “The tour-de-force performance . . . was almost literally spellbinding, holding listeners rapt with a broad palette of anguished sighs, aggressive outbursts and barely audible whispers.” Mr. Jaffe’s performances have been heard on Cleveland’s WCLV 104.9, and streamed live from the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. He has been a featured soloist with CityMusic Cleveland, the National Repertory Orchestra, St. John’s Chamber Orchestra, the Diablo Symphony Orchestra, the Prometheus Orchestra, and the Peninsula Symphony. Mr. Jaffe’s captivation with contemporary music has led to a collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky and performances of Luciano Berio’s Sequenza XIV. During the 2013–2014 season he will appear regularly in recital for Musical Upcoming Stars in the Classics, serve as Interim Principal of the CityMusic Cleveland chamber orchestra, and present the world premieres of chamber works by Rimas Biliūnas and Tim Mauthe.

Mr. Jaffe is a founding member of the Thalia Quartet, which presented over 20 outreach concerts as the Banff International String Quartet Competition’s Quartet in the Community. As a member of the Hudson Chamber Players, Mr. Jaffe performed chamber works with CIM faculty and distinguished alumni in Hudson, Ohio, former home of Encore School for Strings. Co-founder of the prizewinning San Andreas Trio and Trio Gestalt, he has also participated in the CIM Intensive Quartet Seminar and served as the cellist of the U-M School of Music Graduate Quartet. Mr. Jaffe’s chamber music mentors include members of the Juilliard, Cleveland, Takács, Tokyo, Brentano, Artis, Emerson, and St. Lawrence Quartets. As a teacher, he maintains a private studio and directs the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Outreach chamber ensemble program.

Mr. Jaffe served as Principal Cello of the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, CO in 2011. In other recent summers he has performed at the Aspen Music Festival, Music@Menlo, the Casalmaggiore International Festival in Italy, and the Astona International Academy in Switzerland. His renowned teachers include Stephen Geber, Richard Aaron, and Milly Rosner, and he holds degrees in performance from the University of Michigan and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

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