2025 Season Program

1/10, 3/7, 4/4

Friday, January 10, 2025, 7:30 pm

Wayne Lee, violin
Seattle-based member of the Formosa Quartet
Meeka Quan DiLorenzo, Associate Principal Cello
Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Amy Yang, piano
Curtis Institute of Music

American violinist Wayne Lee has enjoyed a prolific career worldwide as a member of two internationally acclaimed chamber ensembles. He is a member of the Formosa Quartet, which performs extensively in North America, Europe, and Asia, with recent engagements at London’s Wigmore Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie, Taipei’s National Concert Hall, and Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, Vancouver. Formosa serves as quartet-in-residence for the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and the founder and faculty of the annual Formosa Chamber Music Festival in Taiwan. For over a decade, Mr. Lee was a member of the Manhattan Piano Trio, an ensemble acclaimed as “outstanding” by the Washington Post. Mr. Lee has given master classes throughout the United States and Asia, and previously served as teaching assistant at the Juilliard School, from which he holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He plays on a 2023 Joseph Curtin violin. www.wayneleeviolinist.com

Multi-award-winning cellist Meeka Quan DiLorenzo, who thrills audiences with playing described as “incredibly nuanced” and “exquisitely beautiful,” began her professional career as first-prize winner of the Khuner Concerto Competition at age 15 and debuted soon after, performing the Antonín Dvořák Cello Concerto with the Pacific Symphony under the direction of Carl St. Clair. A graduate of the Young Artist Program of the Cleveland Institute of Music and subsequent recipient of the Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance, Ms. Quan DiLorenzo was awarded the highly competitive position of Associate Principal of the Utah Symphony in her inaugural professional audition and remained with that ensemble for five years before joining the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, where she is the current Associate Principal Cello.

Amy Yang, winner of the 2018 Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia prize and the Kosciuszko National Chopin Piano Competition, is an alumna of Curtis Institute of Music, Juilliard School, and Yale School of Music, where she received the Parisot Award for Outstanding Pianist and the Alumni Association Prize. Collaborating with leading musicians, Ms. Yang has toured with Patricia Kopatchinskaya, Tito Muñoz, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and premiered music by Michael Hersch at Cal Performances, Ojai Music Festival, and Aldeburgh Festival. Additional collaborations include performances with Richard Goode, Anne-Marie McDermott, Ida and Ani Kavafian, Miriam Fried, Bomsori Kim, Roberto Díaz, Kim Kashkashian, Tessa Lark, Paul Neubauer, Tara Helen O’Connor, Joseph Silverstein, members of Guarneri String Quartet, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Dover Quartet, Aizuri String Quartet, Jasper String Quartet and A Far Cry. www.amyjyang.com

Friday, March 07, 2025, 7:30 pm

Efe Baltacigil, Noah Geller, Jose Franch-Ballester, and Benjamin Hochman with The Seattle Series, 3/07,2025
Efe Baltacigil, Principal Cello
Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Noah Geller, Concertmaster
Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Jose Franch-Ballester, clarinet
Benjamin Hochman, piano

Efe Baltacigil, the Marks Family Foundation Principal Cello of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Turkey’s String Player of the Year, 2013, and awardee of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, is lauded for his risk-taking, passionate performances that immediately capture the heart and imagination. Recipient of the Peter Jay Sharp Prize, Washington Performing Arts Society Prize, and a first prize awardee in concerto competitions of Istanbul, New York, and the Pennsylvania Schadt String Competition, Baltacigil experienced early acclaim as winner of the 2005 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. He later served as Associate Principal Cello of the Philadelphia Orchestra before joining the Seattle Symphony as Principal Cello.

Noah Geller is the David and Amy Fulton Concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Named to that post at the conclusion of a multi-year search, Mr. Geller is among a small cadre of elite violinists who serve as both leaders and featured performers for the nation’s acclaimed orchestras. As of this engagement, he will have performed with the Seattle Symphony the Brahms Double Concerto with Efe Baltacigil in October 2024, and the Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5 and J.S. Bach Concerto for two violins with Elisa Barston in May 2024, and has previously brought to life Saint-Saëns la muse et le poète double concerto with Principal Cello Efe Baltacigil, Bartók Violin Concerto No. 2, the Glazunov and Mendelssohn violin concerti, Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending, and Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherezade in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony.

The multi-award-winning Spanish clarinetist Jose Franch-Ballester (FrAHnk Bai-yess-TAIR) is considered one of the finest classical soloists and chamber musicians of his generation. He has been hailed for his “technical wizardry and tireless enthusiasm” (The New York Times), “rich, resonant tone” (Birmingham News), and “subtle and consummate artistry” (Santa Barbara Independent). The recipient of a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2008, and winner of both the Young Concert Artists and Astral Artists auditions, he is a musician in great demand, with solo and chamber appearances spanning the Americas, Europe, and East Asia. Born in Moncofa, Spain into a family of clarinetists and Zarzuela singers, he is the founder of Jose Franch-Ballester & i amics (and friends), a series of concerts in which young musicians from all over the world are presented in Moncofa and throughout the Valencia area. A graduate of Joaquin Rodrigo Music Conservatory in Valencia and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Mr. Franch-Ballester is a Bakun artist.

Pianist and conductor Benjamin Hochman‘s recording for Avie Records, in which he performs and conducts the Mozart piano concerti no.s 17 and 24 with the English Chamber Orchestra, exemplifies the elegance and musical sensitivity that has propelled his career as a concerto soloist, recording artist, chamber collaborator, recitalist, and conductor across Europe and the United States. Winner of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Hochman is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, among them the Partosh Prize by the Israeli Minister of Culture, the Outstanding Pianist citation at the Verbier Academy, and the Festorazzi Award from the Curtis Institute of Music. His recording Variations with Avie Records was selected by The New York Times as one of the best recordings of 2015. Since his Carnegie Hall debut with the Israel Philharmonic, Hochman has enjoyed an international performing career, appearing as soloist with the New York, Los Angeles, and Prague Philharmonic Orchestras, and the Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestras. www.benjaminhochman.com

Friday, April 4, 2025, 7:30 p.m.

Demarre McGill, Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson, Jeffrey Barker, and Xiaohui Yang with The Seattle Series, 4/04/2025
Demarre McGill, Principal Flute
Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson, Principal Flute
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Jeffrey Barker, Associate Principal Flute
Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Xiaohui Yang, piano

Demarre McGill, an awardee of the Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Sphynx Medal of Excellence, is one of Seattle’s busiest world-class musicians. His many appearances span the globe and include concerto, recital, chamber festival, and National Flute Society Featured-Artist engagements. With his trademark expressive beauty and virtuosic mastery, Demarre McGill is also one of the world’s leading orchestral flutists. He serves as Principal Flute of the award-winning Seattle Symphony and Associate Professor of Flute, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. In demand as a performer and educator, Demarre has concertized. coached, and presented master classes in South Africa, Korea, Japan, Quebec, and throughout the United States. Mr. McGill is a graduate of Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School. www.demarremcgill.com

Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson, declared by James Galway as a “master,” is the principal flute of one of the world’s leading ensembles, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His previous appointment was as principal flute of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, where he remained for nine years before his appointment at the CSO. Höskuldsson has performed widely throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan under the direction of Fabio Luisi, Valery Gergiev, Daniel Barenboim, Seiji Ozawa, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Riccardo Muti. and has frequently performed at Carnegie Hall with the Met Orchestra and Chamber Ensemble. He has collaborated on performances and recordings with such artists as renowned pianists Evgeny Kissin, Alfred Brendel, and Yefim Brofman; violinist Gil Shaham; and sopranos Diana Damrau and Anna Netrebko, and has presented master classes at the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and Mannes College of Music in New York, and, in London, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Academy of Music. Höskuldsson attended the Reykjavík School of Music in Iceland, where he studied with Bernhard Wilkinson, and subsequently attended the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England as a student of Peter Lloyd and Wissam Boustany. Mr. Höskuldsson has recorded for Castle Classics, Naxos label’s American Classics Series, and the Delos label. www.stefanragnarhoskuldsson.com

Pianist Xiaohui Yang, co-winner of the 2017 Naumburg International Piano Competition, has been hailed by the press as “a magician of sound and virtuosity” (La Libre, Belgium) and featured in performances throughout four continents, including such venues as Carnegie Hall, Ozawa Hall, and the Seoul Arts Center. A dedicated chamber musician, Ms. Yang has taken part in renowned festivals such as Marlboro, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Banff, and Taos, and has performed with luminaries such as Peter Wiley, Charles Neidich, and Roberto Diaz. She is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, under Ignat Solzhenitsyn, where she was recipient of the Festorazzi Prize for best pianist. Ms. Yang earned her master’s degree at The Juilliard School under Robert McDonald and is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at the Peabody Conservatory, under the tutelage of Boris Slutsky. www.xiaohui-yang.com

Jeffrey Barker is the Associate Principal Flute of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra where he is regularly heard as the solo flute voice during performances at Benaroya Hall. He and Mr. McGill alternate as the first flute of the ensemble, each with his unique style and color. A student of Bonita Boyd at Eastman School of Music and Jeanne Baxtresser and Albero Almarza at Carnegie Mellon University, Mr. Barker joined the Seattle Symphony as Associate Principal Flute in 2015 and has performed with leading national and international orchestras, including Pittsburgh, Detroit, Oregon, and the Singapore Symphony. Passionate about using music to serve his community. Mr. Barker received the 2018 Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service in recognition of his work with those in Seattle experiencing homelessness through the Seattle Symphony’s Simple Gifts Initiative.

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