Orchestra Roster, Soloist Bio, and Program Notes for
October 30, 2005 Musica Bella Concert

Musica Bella Orchestra Season Series Concert No. 22

Conductor: Phillip Gaskill

Sunday, October 30, 2005
Church of the Blessed Sacrament

Arriaga: Overture to Los esclavos felices
Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante for Strings and Orchestra, K. 364
Cecee Pantikian, violin; Bela Horvath, viola
Lauren Buchter: September (WORLD PREMIERE)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 21

Click on a musician’s name to see his/her bio and photo.

Albert Cheng
Eui Young Chon
Julie Cilia
Stanichka Dimitrova
Peter Hamparian
Alfiya Koval,
  principal second violin
Adam Mirza
Cecee Pantikian
Martin Stoner, concertmaster
Yolanda Wu,
  associate concertmaster

Tracey Bridgman
Tracey Dixon
James Eng
Jeremy Hwang, principal
Christine Christensen
Steven Frucht
Linda Harrison
Anahit Harutyunyan Gaskill,

Leonard Birnbaum, principal

Susan Lowance
Shoji Mizumoto, principal

Thomas Crane
Daniel Fierer

English Horn
Thomas Crane
Natasha Cook
Christine Todd

Phil Fedora, principal
Kristen Kattermann

Ben Grobman
Bill Hinson, principal

Chih Hao Lin
Ron Pamposa

Chi-Ching Lin, principal
Matthew Smallcomb

Manager   Anahit Harutyunyan-Gaskill
Assistant Manager   Thomas Crane
Stage Manager   Shoji Mizumoto
Music Director/Conductor   Phillip Gaskill


Violinist Cecee Pantikian has established herself as a performer of musical sensitivity, often being praised for her impressive combination of virtuoso technique and colorful musicality. She has performed throughout the world as soloist, chamber musician, and solo recitalist.
      In June 2003, Ms. Pantikian made her Carnegie Hall (Isaac Stern Auditorium) debut, performing Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto with the Senior Concert Orchestra of New York under the baton of David Gilbert. She has also appeared as guest soloist with the Bozeman Symphony Orchestra, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, and Manhattan School of Music Philharmonic Orchestra.
      Cecee Pantikian is a winner of numerous prizes and awards, including the Waldo Mayo Memorial Award, the Competition for Young Musicians in Bulgaria, and the Kozian International Violin Competition in the Czech Republic. She has studied with such renowned musicians as Patinka Kopec, Albert Markov, and Stoika Milanova at the Manhattan School of Music and the Sofia Music Conservatory.
      In chamber music, Ms. Pantikian has been one of the winners of the “Grammy in Our Schools” Instrumental Competition (1999) and the Lincoln Center Competition for Young Musicians (2000) with the Bayside High School Piano Quartet. As winners, they performed at Alice Tully Hall. In 2001, her quartet from high school was featured and recognized by the acclaimed National Public Radio program From the Top. Currently, Ms. Pantikian is a member of Varriantti Ensemble and Esperanto Ensemble. She is the concertmaster of New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, assistant concertmaster of the Mexican American Symphony Orchestra, and member of the Musica Bella Orchestra (where she has served as concertmaster on several occasions).
      Cecee Pantikian has attended various music festivals, such as Pinchas Zukerman’s Young Artist Program of the National Arts Center of Canada, Itzhak Perlman’s Chamber Music Program, the International Academy of Music in Italy, the Rondo Music Festival in Vermont, and the Arkandor Music Festival in Nova Scotia, Canada.
      Ms. Pantikian is currently pursuing her master of music degree with one of the world’s most celebrated violinists, Pinchas Zukerman, at the Manhattan School of Music. The highlights of Ms. Pantikian’s 2005-2006 season will include a performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Musica Bella Orchestra of New York and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra.
      Ms. Pantikian gave a solo recital on Musica Bella’s Chamber Music/Solo Recital Series on February 6, 2005. In the 2005-2006 season, in addition to this concert, she will be our soloist in the Sibelius Violin Concerto on May 21, 2006.

Violinist/violist Bela Horvath was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1982. When he was thirteen years old, he got into the Bela Bartok Secondary School of Music in Budapest with the highest rank. He studied with Istvan Kertesz, who is the first violinist of the famous Festetics String Quartet. Bela played a lot of concerts with the school orchestra as a soloist. He won a couple of awards from the school for the appreciation of being an excellent student. During the five years he studied at the Bartok School, he won the National Janos Koncz competition in 1998. In 1999, Bela was one of the finalists of the International Carl Flesch competition as the youngest participant. He also got a special prize for the best interpretation of a modern piece, which was written for the competition by Miklos Csemiczky. Bela also won the 1st prize of the National Weiner Leo Chamber music competition in the same year. Bela got into the Franz Liszt University of music with the highest score and studied with Hungarian concert violinist Miklos Szenthelyi. After one year of studying at the Liszt University, he transferred to the Manhattan School of Music to study with the world-famous violinist, violist, conductor and teacher Pinchas Zukerman and with his associate Patinka Kopec as well.
      Bela has been working on his bachelor of music degree at the Manhattan School of Music since 2002 with full scholarship.
      Horvath has already benefited from the tutelage of such great violinists as Gyorgy Pauk, Dora Schwarzberg, Boris Kuschnir, Zakhar Bron, and Joseph Silverstein. He has also played a great deal of chamber music and worked with many chamber music coaches such as Sylvia Rosenberg, Daniel Avshalamov, Steven Dann, and Michael Tree.
      In addition to an accomplished career performing with orchestras, Horvath has given recitals in some of the most prestigious venues in the world. He has played in Sweden, Austria, Germany, Canada, France, and the USA. In March 2004 he made his Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall.

by Thomas Crane, unless otherwise indicated

Even after Mozart grew up to be the preeminent composer of his generation, the tales of his amazing childhood accomplishments were known throughout Europe, and people were on the watch for another Wunderkind. Precisely fifty years to the day after Mozart’s birth, Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga was born to a Basque family in Bilbao, Spain. His father, a former parish organist in Guernica, noticed and encouraged the boy’s musical abilities, and he began playing the violin at the age of three. In 1817, the eleven-year-old Arriaga produced his first composition, a trio for three violins with the intriguing title of Nada y mucho (“Nothing and a lot”). Two years later, although he had as yet had no formal training in theory and harmony, he composed Los esclavos felices (“The Happy Slaves”), a full-length “opera semiseria.” The work was performed the next year in Bilbao with great success, although only the overture and a few arias have survived. In 1821, Arriaga’s father arranged to send him to Paris; there the Spanish ambassador introduced him to Luigi Cherubini, one of the most influential members of the Conservatoire faculty. Arriaga was permitted to enroll in a counterpoint curriculum taught by the eminent composer François-Joseph Fétis, and quickly won prizes in general counterpoint and fugue; by the end of the school year, Fétis had made him his teaching assistant. The teenager spent the next four years in Paris, carrying on a full schedule of teaching, playing, and composing. Among the most distinguished works from this period are the three string quartets (published in 1824 and now firmly established in the quartet repertoire) and the Symphony in D, completed in 1825. The strain of work undermined his health, however, and he succumbed to a lung infection just days before his twentieth birthday.
      Even within the small oeuvre of the “Spanish Mozart” (as he was dubbed after his death), one hears the influence of several different composers—although never slavish imitation. The string quartets look to Mozart, Haydn, and early Beethoven, while the symphony has strong stylistic affinities with Schubert. Los esclavos felices clearly shows the influence of Rossini, with sparkling rapid writing in the violins with much use of repeated notes. There are many original and even humorous touches, such as an apparent extra recapitulation at the end which is rather “rudely” interrupted by the horns.

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Although Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote concertos for every member of the wind section except the trumpet, his only such works for strings are the five early violin concertos (dating from his nineteenth year) and the Sinfonia Concertante heard today. Mozart composed this work in Salzburg in the summer of 1779, paradoxically one of his least productive periods (he was bored and frustrated in his position as music director and organist to the city’s tyrannical archbishop). The only double concerto for violin and viola in the standard repertoire, the work is a treasury of inventiveness and exploration, displaying the instruments both as individual, competing voices and as a conjoined unit producing a rich, distinctive timbre. The choice of E-flat major, somewhat unusual in solo string writing, seems to reflect not only Mozart’s personal fondness for the key but a desire to integrate the soloists thoroughly with the small wind section of oboes and horns, who are traditionally more at home in “flat” keys. The second movement stands out as one of Mozart’s most astonishing creations. In many of his works, the key of C minor seems to have unlocked some of the darkest areas of his imagination, and he gave it full rein in the Adagio. Romantic and pensive in the extreme, it explores startling chromaticism and dissonance, forming a dark nucleus to the energetic and cheerful outer movements.

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September, by Lauren V. Buchter
I wrote September in response to the senseless murder of my friend, neighbor, and classmate, eighteen-year-old Matthew Hall. Astonishingly, we live in a society where “senseless murder” is a common phrase. Matt loved peace. In his brief time here, he fought hard against social injustice in all forms. Matt’s optimism inspired all who knew him. I am so grateful to have known him and miss him dearly.
      September is heavily influenced by the works of Arvo Part, Dimitri Shostakovich, and several other Eastern European composers in the sense that their music conveys a feeling of comforting melancholy. The orchestration of September was created especially for Musica Bella. I feel this is an ideal collaboration, because of the Orchestra’s ability to interpret the full dynamic and emotional quality of a piece. Their ability to play as one cohesive unit is a joy for the listener.
      Matt was very interested in Buddhism. It is customary in Japan for Buddhists to get together at specific intervals after a person’s death. At the two-year marker, as it is now for Matt, a typical ceremony, called Sankaiki, would include singing, chanting & reminiscing. I hope with all my heart that Matt, an artist himself, is happy with our version of celebrating his life.

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The year 1800 was a time of both immense output and personal crisis for Ludwig van Beethoven. Even as he was enjoying increasing success both at home and internationally, he was tormented by his advancing deafness and its implications for his career. He had made a few sketches for a symphony in the 1790s, but did not feel ready at that time to tackle the form that Haydn and Mozart had brought to such heights. When his first symphony had its premiere in the spring of 1800, however, it met with immediate acclaim and remained one of his most popular works during his lifetime. Critics and audience found the symphony a worthy successor to its forerunners, while at the same time appreciating its imagination and innovation.
      The opening bars are illustrative. The symphony apparently begins in the wrong key: the first two chords constitute a cadence into F major, and it is not until the eighth bar (in a very slow tempo) that we hear a straightforward chord of C major! Though the short motivic kernel that initiates the Allegro does not dominate the movement as it would in his later works, it is another of those distinctive devices that make it “sound like Beethoven.” Another hallmark is Beethoven’s delight in use of the timpani, especially in places where it is unexpected—it was common for the timpani to be kept silent during slow movements in the eighteenth century, but not here. The classical minuet is now a rapid, mischievous scherzo; and in a good example of Beethovenian humor, the more tranquil trio section (based on repetition of a single pitch) is boisterously interrupted by the timpani. The last movement’s introduction almost suggests a beginning violinist’s exercise, climbing up the scale one note at a time, before it turns into the upbeat to the whirlwind finale.