SEASON PREMIERE | Friday, May 13, 2011 at 8 pm
with Jerzy Kaplanek (violin)
Christine Vlajk (viola)
Paul Pulford (cello)
Ken Gee (piano)
sponsored by Norman Reintamm
Guelph Musicfest opens with a renunion of friends and Musicfest alumni. Jerzy, Christine (members of the renowned Penderecki String Quartet) and Paul (formerly a longtime member of the Penderecki, and a renowned soloist) join festival director Ken in an Beethoven musical feast!
Beethoven: "Ghost" Piano Trio no. 5 in D major
Beethoven: "Eyeglasses Duo" for Viola & Cello
Beethoven: Piano Quartet no. 1 in E-flat major
Jerzy Kaplanek (violin)
Jerzy has been a member of the Penderecki String Quartet since 1987. With the quartet, and also as a soloist and chamber musician, he performs throughout Europe, Asia, and North and South America. His discography includes a dozen CDs with the Penderecki Quartet, and Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire with the Blue Rider Ensemble. His chamber music partners have been pianists Vladimir Feltsman, Lev Natochenny, Jamie Parker, Janina Fialkowska, Francine Kay, cellist Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, clarinetist James Campbell, and others. He is frequently heard on CBC Radio and in the fall of 1997 was featured soloist at a concert held in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, as a tribute to Karol Szymanowski.
Jerzy was born in Poland in 1965. His music education started at the age of six on piano; at the age of ten he began his violin studies. In 1984, he received a Bachelor of Music degree at the Conservatory in Bytom, Poland. He graduated with a Masters Degree in Arts from the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music, where he studied with Janusz Skramlik, Stanislaw Lewandowski, and Aureli Blaszczok.
In 1987, Jerzy left Poland to continue his music education in the United States. In 1987-88 he was assistant to Efim Boico of the Fine Arts Quartet at the Chamber Music Institute in Milwaukee. In 1989-90, he was a student of Sylvia Rosenberg in New York City. In 1990–91 he studied at the University of Maryland, where his teachers included Daniel Heifetz, the Guarneri String Quartet and its violinists, Arnold Steinhardt and John Dalley. Pursuing his interest in Baroque performance practice, Mr. Kaplanek has also worked with the Custodian of Period Instruments at the Smithsonian Museum, Jaap Schroeder.
Jerzy Kaplanek is presently an associate professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where he teaches violin and chamber music. He plays a copy of the "Kreisler", Joseph Guarnerius del Gesù 1733, made by Luiz B. Bellini (New York 1997).
Christine Vlajk (viola)
Christine has graced major concert stages around the world with her dynamic performance style—New York’s Weill Concert Hall at Carnegie Hall, 92nd Street Y and Kennedy Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw to name a few.
She has held the positions of violist of the Penderecki String Quartet and Artist-in-Residence in viola and chamber music at Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada, since 1997. Previous to that she was a member of the acclaimed Montclaire String Quartet with whom she received first prizes in the Banff International String Quartet Competition, the Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition, the Coleman Chamber Music Competition and the Carmel Chamber Music Competition as well as Prize for Best Contemporary Performance in the Evian International String Quartet Competition. She was granted the Friedlander Fellowship from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory.
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Christine holds degrees in Viola Performance and Music Education from the University of Colorado (Boulder) and a Masters degree in Viola Performance from the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee). Teachers and coaches have included Oswald Lehnert, Masao Kawasaki, Jerry Horner, Denes Koromzay, and the Cleveland, Julliard, LaSalle, Takacs, Emerson, and Fine Arts String Quartets.
She has been guest soloist with the Hamilton Philharmonic and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and has performed recitals in Canada, the United States and Germany, premiering viola concertos by Piotr Grella-Mozejko and Karol Gostynski in recent years. As an orchestral player she has held the positions of Principal Violist of the West Virginia Symphony and Assistant Principal of the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra as well as participating in the New Brunswick Summer Music Festival. Dedicated to the education of young people, she performed an extensive series of childrens concerts in numerous small communities across Canada and the United States and has given master classes at Yale University, Indiana University, Florida State University and the Glenn Gould Professional School.
As a member of the Penderecki String Quartet and the Montclaire Quartet, Christine has recorded for the Koch, Leonarda, Eclectra, Marquis Classics, and EMI labels.
Paul Pulford (cello)
Cellist Paul Pulford has been an active soloist and chamber musician since his debut recital in Winnipeg in 1967. Since then, Mr. Pulford has performed many of the great works for cello and orchestra with ensembles as diverse as the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Banff Festival Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, Toronto Chamber Players, and Irish Radio Orchestra.
Mr. Pulford’s CD of the Complete Works for Cello and Fortepiano by Beethoven with pianist Boyd McDonald (EBS Germany) received rave reviews in a number of publications, including CONTINUO Magazine, which remarked, “In what is certainly the major period instrument release of Beethoven chamber music in many a year, Pulford and McDonald have completely blown the competition out of the water—there is simply no need to consider any other version, despite the many big-name cellists who have recorded this music.”
Until recently a member of the Penderecki String Quartet, with which he toured worldwide and recorded 21 CDs, Mr. Pulford also maintains an active interest in New Music.
He is a founding member of the Blue Rider Ensemble, which has recorded a CD featuring Pierrot Lunaire by Schoenberg, and The Cinnamon Peeler, a new work by American composer Donald Crockett, based on poetry by Michael Ondaatje.
Mr. Pulford is committed to sharing the experience of classical music with younger musicians. He teaches cello at Wilfrid Laurier University where he coordinates the Orchestral Program and the innovative Chamber Music Program. Mr. Pulford plays a cello by the French maker August Bernardel from 1847.
Ken Gee (piano, artistic director)
Ken studied piano with Edna Smith, Reginald Bedford and Boris Berlin, and performed in many master
classes. A winner of many performance scholarships, Ken is an experienced recitalist, concerto soloist,
accompanist, and chamber music player. He has a Music B.A. from McMaster University, where he was awarded the McMaster Medal for the Creative and Performing Arts. Ken was music critic for the Hamilton Spectator, manager for chamber music series and Ensemble Sir Ernest MacMillan, co-director of the Hamilton Kiwanis Music Festival, and a teacher at McMaster University, Sheridan College and Mohawk College.
Ken’s other life is in Macintosh-based design work and music production. He developed classical piano
music software for PG Music Inc., Victoria, and makes music and music text books for Frederick Harris Music Ltd. and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and Kjos Music in San Diego. He is the accompanist for Guelph Youth Singers, Suzuki String School of Guelph, and Suzuki summer Institutes, and has also been a piano adjudicator, and private teacher and coach.
In May 2007, he introduced Guelph Musicfest. In 2008, he was the recipient of a City of Guelph Mayor’s Award. Ken lives in Guelph with his violinist wife, Paule Barsalou (director of the Suzuki String School of Guelph).
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