Visiting Artists

Visiting Artist Series
Cassatt String Quartet

The Williams College Department of Music presents Cassatt String Quartet on Thursday, March 15 at 8 p.m., in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall on the college campus. Members of the ensemble also hold a master class on Wednesday, March 14 at 4:15 p.m. featuring talented Williams music students in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall. These events are free and open to the public.

The program features String Quartet op. 74 “Harp” in E flat major by Beethoven, the String Quartet “Culai” by Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin. The quartet is joined by pianist Doris Stevenson for Antonin Dvorak’s Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major, op. 81.

About the Cassatt String Quartet
The Cassatt String Quartet was the first quartet chosen for Juilliard’s Young Artists Quartet Program. Since then, they have performed at New York’s Alice Tully Hall, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood Music Theater, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Theatre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, and the Beijing Central Conservatory in China. At the Library of Congress, the Cassatt String Quartet performed on the library’s matched quartet of Stradivarius instruments, and they performed the three complete Beethoven Quartet cycles at the University at Buffalo.

The Cassatt String Quartet has been heard on NPR’s Performance Today, Boston’s WGBH, and New York’s WQXR and WNYC. They have 30 recordings, and were named three times to Alex Ross’ 10 best classical recordings of the year in The New Yorker magazine. The quartet is named for the celebrated American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt.

Cassatt members include: Muneko Otani and Jennifer Leshnower, violins; Ah Ling Neu, viola; and Elizabeth Anderson, cello.

About Doris Stevenson, pianist
Doris Stevenson has won lavish praise from critics and public alike in performances around the world. She has soloed with the Boston Pops, played at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Salle Pleyel in Paris, Sala de Musica Arango in Bogota, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Her acute sensitivity and musicianship have made her a sought-after partner with some of the leading lights in string playing. She has performed with Gregor Piatigorsky, Ruggiero Ricci, and Paul Tortelier, great players of the past. Early in her career she was invited by Heifetz and Piatigorsky to perform with them in their chamber concerts. She was pianist for the cello master classes of Piatigorsky, who described her as “an artist of the highest order.” The list of distinguished artists she has performed with includes cellists Andre Navarra, Leslie Parnas and Gary Hoffman, violinists Charles Castleman, Stephanie Chase and Jaime Laredo, violists Walter Trampler and Paul Neubauer, and singers Kaaren Erickson and Catherine Malfitano. She has participated in many chamber music festivals and has performed in 48 of the 50 states. She is a founding member of the Sitka Summer Music Festival in Alaska and has toured throughout that state, playing in many remote Native Alaskan communities. She recently performed with cellist Zuill Bailey at the Phillips Gallery in Washington D.C. and at Bargemusic in New York. She plays a score of outreach concerts each season for the Piatigorsky Foundation in schools, libraries, prisons, and remote communities, bringing live classical music with commentary to people who wouldn’t otherwise hear it.

Doris Stevenson is committed to performing new music. In the last three years she has played in concert the works of twenty living composers. She was the first woman to perform Frederick Rzewski’s masterpiece, De Profundis for speaking pianist, which she brought to New York City to perform at a Williams in New York concert. Her many recordings include six major works by David Kechley and two by Ileana Velazquez Perez, the Saint Saens violin sonatas with Andres Cardenes, the complete Mendelssohn cello works with Jeffrey Solow, and the Brahms Sonatas with cellist Nathaniel Rosen. A CD of Stravinsky rarities with violinist Mark Peskanov received a Grammy nomination. Miss Stevenson taught for ten years at the University of Southern California and has been Lyell B. Clay Artist in Residence at Williams College since 1987.

About LJOVA (Lev Zhurbin), composer
LJOVA (Lev Zhurbin) was born in 1978 in Moscow, Russia, and moved to New York with his parents, composer Alexander Zhurbin and writer Irena Ginzburg, in 1990. He divides his time between composing for the concert stage, contemporary dance & film, leading his own ensemble LJOVA AND THE KONTRABAND, as well as a busy career as a freelance violist, violinist & musical arranger. Among recent projects is a commission from the City of London Sinfonia, The Louisville Orchestra, a string quartet for Brooklyn Rider new works for Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, The Knights, Sybarite5 and A Far Cry, as well arrangements for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, tenor Javier Camarena, conductors Gustavo Dudamel and Alondra de la Parra, the Mexican songwriter Natalia Lafourcade, and Argentine composer/guitarist Gustavo Santaolalla. Ljova frequently collaborates with choreographers Aszure Barton, Damian Woetzel, Christopher Wheeldon, Katarzyna Skarpetowska (with Parsons Dance).

Ljova is the author of more than 120 compositions for classical, jazz, and folk ensembles, as well as scores to four feature and over a dozen short films. In 2005, Ljova was one of six composers invited to participate in the Sundance Institute’s Film Composers Lab. His music has been licensed by HBO, PBS, BBC, CNBC, and NHK networks, among many other independent projects. In 2007, Ljova worked as assistant to composer Osvaldo Golijov on his score to Francis Ford Coppola’s film “Youth Without Youth”, to which Ljova also contributed an original track, “Middle Village”.

Ljova has taught as guest faculty at The Banff Centre in Canada focusing equally on composition, arranging, and viola performance. He has also guest-lectured on film music at New York University, taught at Mark O’Connor’s String Camp, as well as at the Blaine Jazz Festival in Washington state. Ljova is on the viola & chamber music faculty of the Special Music School in New York City. He has appeared as violist on Saturday Night Live (with Sia), The Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Ljova is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he was a pupil of Samuel Rhodes (violist of the Juilliard String Quartet). He has won numerous prizes as a composer, and appeared several times as soloist with orchestras, including as a winner of the Menschenkinderpreis from RTL TV (Germany). He performs on a viola made by Alexander Tulchinsky, and a six-string “fadolín” made by Eric Aceto.