Salon de Virtuosi 2022 Career Grant Recipients
Emi Ferguson: Hello, I'm Emi Ferguson sitting in for Bob Sherman. Tonight, we'll be hearing performances from the winners of the Salon de Virtuosi 2022 Career Grants on this edition of the McGraw Family's Young Artists Showcase.
The Young Artists Showcase now in its 46th year is generously underwritten by the Harold W McGraw Jr. Family Foundation. For more than 15 years, we've had the honor of sharing performances from the winners of the Salon de Virtuosi Career Grants. In fact, I was a 2014 recipient of the Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant, which led to my first appearance on the Young Artists Showcase back in January 2015 with Bob Sherman.
Tonight, you'll be hearing performances from nine astounding young artists who shared the honor of being named 2022 recipients of the Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant. The salon was founded in 1989 by the concert pianist, Charlotte White, and has discovered and supported an outstanding array of superb young artists through generous grants and unforgettable concerts.
Since the inauguration of the fellowship program in 1995, the Salon has given over $500,000 towards career and scholarship grants. The performances we'll be hearing tonight, were recorded live here in New York City at Merkin Hall. We're kicking things off tonight with 19-year-old Japanese American violinist Miray Ito. Here's Miray with Pianist Rohan de Silva performing Kreisler's Praeludium and Allegro (in the style of Pugnani).
MUSIC – Kreisler: Praeludium and Allegro (in the style of Pugnani)
Violinist Miray Ito with pianist Rohan de Silva performing Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegro (in the style of Pugnani). We’re continuing our celebration of the 2022 Salon de Virtuosi Award winners with cellist Derek Louie. A Masters student at the Juilliard School, Derek has been a prize winner in several international competitions, and he is very involved in community outreach programs that bring classical music to audiences of all ages. Here’s cellist Derek Louie with pianist Noreen Polera performing Robert Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro.
MUSIC – Schumann: Adagio and Allegro, Op. 70
That was Robert Schumann’s, Adagio and Allegro for cello and piano performed by Derek Louie and Noreen Polera. Next up on tonight’s program is pianist Evren Ozel, who will be playing one of the most iconic works by composer Frederick Chopin: the Mazurka in C-sharp minor. Though he’ll be playing some solo piano music tonight, Evren is a passionate chamber musician and has spent summers at the legendary Marlboro Music Festival in addition to performances at Cleveland Chamber Fest. Here is pianist Evren Ozel performing Chopin’s Mazurka in C-sharp minor.
MUSIC – Chopin: Mazurka in C-sharp minor
Chopin’s Mazurka in C-sharp minor performed by pianist Evren Ozel. As a flute player myself, I am really excited to introduce our next performer, 15-year-old flute player, Nikka Gershman-Pepper. Nikka is not only a rockstar flute player, but she’s also a composer and currently studying at the Colburn School in Los Angeles with flute professor Jim Walker. Tonight, we’ll hear her play a piece by a composer you might not have heard of Paul Wetzger.Like Nikka, Wetzger was a prodigious young flute player and composer at the turn of the 20th century. Here’s flute player, Nikka Gershman-Pepper with pianist, Vivian Fan performing Paul Wetzger’s “By the Brook.”
MUSIC – Wetzger: Am Waldesbach (By the Forest Brook), Op. 33
Paul Wetzger’s “By the Brook” for flute and piano performed by Nikka Gershman-Pepper with pianist, Vivian Fan. As a flute player, I love borrowing repertoire from the violin, and it seems like Nikka does as well. This is Nikka Gershman-Pepper and Vivian Fan performing Grigoraș Dinicu’s famous violin piece Hora Staccato arranged for flute and piano.
MUSIC – Dinicu: Hora Staccato
Grigoraș Dinicu’s virtuosic Hora Staccato here arranged for flute and piano and performed by Nikka Gershman-Pepper and Vivian Fan. When we come back, we’ll hear more from the 2022 winners of the Salon de Virtuosi Career Grants here on the McGraw Family’s Young Artists Showcase.
I’m Emi Ferguson sitting in for Bob Sherman. On this week’s edition of the McGraw Family’s Young Artists Showcase, we’re celebrating the winners of the 2022 Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant, an honor that bestows an award of $5,000 for these young artists and a chance to share their music making live in Merkin Hall and here on the Young Artists Showcase.
Next up on our program is Iranian French American violinist, Daniel Rafimayeri, who grew up here in New York City and is currently studying at the Julliard School. Here’s Daniel Rafimayeri with pianist Rohan de Silva performing Edward Elgar’s Sospiri, which translates in English to sighs.
MUSIC – Elgar: Sospiri, Op. 70
Violinist Daniel Rafimayeri and pianist Rohan de Silva performing Elgar’s Sospiri. Our next performer is Cuban cellist Ismael Guerrero, who came to the United States to study at the Peabody Conservatory. He’s continuing his studies at the USC Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles and will be sharing music by one of the great cellist composers: David Popper. Like Popper, Ismael is also a composer, and in this performance, you’ll hear his own embellishments. Here’s cellist Ismael Guerrero with pianist Allison Freeman performing David Popper’s Hungarian Rhapsody.
MUSIC – Popper: Hungarian Rhapsody, Op. 68
That was David Popper’s Hungarian Rhapsody, performed by cellist Ismael Guerrero and pianist Allison Freeman. Ismael is now a resident fellow at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and supports his family back in Cuba through his music making. To close out today’s show, we’ve got one more performance for you from Hungarian Egyptian sisters, Amira and Mariam Abouzahra who traveled from Vienna to New York City for the 2022 Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant Awards.
Amira and Mariam come from a very musical family with both of their parents being pianists. In fact, they’re performing with their mother Nóra Emödy in our final work of the night. But before that, we’ll first hear the sisters Amira and Mariam Abouzahra performing Halvorsen’s Sarabande con Variazioni on a Theme by Händel for violin and viola. And then, they’ll be joined by their mother, pianist Nóra Emödy, this time with both of the sisters on violin, performing Carl Bohm's Perpetuum Mobile.
MUSIC - Halvorsen: Sarabande con Variazioni on a Theme by Händel
Amira Abouzahra: So, about the next piece, I just wanted to say that, um, both of us played this piece and both of us wanted to play it today, but it's like a piece for solo violin. So, so we did a little bit of arguing at home and um, I think in the end of the piece we found the best solution.
MUSIC - Bohm: Perpetuum Mobile
Emi Ferguson: Carl Bohm's Perpetuum Mobile performed by sisters Amira and Mariam Abouzahra and their mother Nora Emödy. What an amazing way to end this incredible showcase of the winners of the 2022 Salon de Virtuosi Career Grants. It's been so much fun to get to hear all of these artists and relive my own memories as a 2014 Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant winner. The Young Artists Showcase is generously underwritten on WQXR by the Harold W McGraw Jr. Family Foundation. Here's Terry McGraw with more.
Terry McGraw: Good evening, everyone. It's great to be with you, and it's always great being with the Young Artists Showcase and to hear these really wonderful and inspiring musicians as they continue to share their incredible gifts with us every week. I can't wait to hear the fabulous talent coming up on the showcase, and I am so pleased to be able to support the series all through its well over four decades on WQXR. And there's so much more to come.
Emi Ferguson: Thank you, Terry. And special thanks to the Salon de Virtuosi for their support of these incredible young musicians. This award had a huge impact on my life, and I know it is a remarkable gift for all of these young musicians. Next week on the McGraw Family's Young Artist Showcase, we'll hear performances on keyboards of all shapes and sizes, including the harpsichord, piano, and one you might not have heard of the carillon, all by artists awarded the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. Many thanks to WQXR program producers Eileen Delahunty, Max Fine and Laura Boyman with additional production assistance by Maya Cassady. Our generous program underwriter is the Harold W McGraw Jr. Family Foundation. I'm Emi Ferguson sitting in for Bob Sherman. Goodnight.
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