Join the Benicia Chamber Players for an unforgettable finale to their 22/23 concert season, “Darkness to Light: String Quartets by Haydn, Ravel, and Shostakovich.” This program takes audiences on a captivating journey through the themes of darkness and light. Despite its nickname, the Friedhofsquartett or Graveyard Quartet, Haydn’s op. 76 no. 5 quartet exudes joy, peace, and humor. In contrast, Shostakovich’s eighth quartet, dedicated “to the victims of fascism and the war,” is a powerful and emotional tribute that moved the composer to tears upon his first hearing. This program concludes with Ravel’s stunning String Quartet, a masterpiece in its variety of colors and clear textures. Don’t miss this concert!
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Alicia Choi, violin
Elbert Tsai, violin
Nao Kubota, viola
Brady Anderson, cello
Joseph Haydn – String Quartet No. 64 in D Major, Op. 76, No. 5
Dmitri Shostakovich – String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 110
Maurice Ravel – String Quartet in F Major
Acclaimed for her “technical flair and gleaming tone” (The Berkshire Eagle) and for “possessing a big sound and a warm tone” (TwinCities.com), violinist Alicia Choi is an engaging artist known for her passionate playing and imaginative programming. Her current season includes performances as Guest Concertmaster of the Kingston Symphony, concerts at the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, Festival de Lanaudière, Salle Bourgie Musée des Beaux-arts de Montréal, Les Concerts Sine Nomine as well as concerts across Québec in Marcel-Proust – la musique retrouvée, a new production by Agence Station Bleue. Past performances include concerts in the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Faculty Recitals, New Brunswick Summer Music Festival, and the Thy Chamber Music Festival. Her solos with orchestra include performances with Atlantic Music Festival, Berkshire Symphony, and Queens Symphony Orchestras under conductors Ronald Feldman, Constantine Kitsopoulos, and Julian Kuerti.
Alicia has previously served as an Artistic Director and Faculty of the inaugural Harlaxton Chamber Music Festival in Grantham England, as well as performing and teaching faculty at the University of Florida ChamberFest, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Chamber Music Workshop, and Camp Musical Père Lindsay in Saint-Côme, Québec. From 2013 to 2017, Alicia was an Artist-in-Residence Faculty of the University of Evansville, Associate Concertmaster of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, and a member of the Larchmere String Quartet. As a member of the LSQ, Alicia has toured and taught in various North American cities and institutions; performed at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy; won the Evansville Mayor’s Arts Ensemble Award; and released the first commercial recording of the Stephan Krehl String Quartet and Clarinet Quintet on Naxos Records.
A graduate of Williams College and The Juilliard School, Alicia holds a Doctor of Music in violin performance from McGill University Schulich School of Music, where she has been an Instructor of Chamber Music since 2017.
Violinist Elbert Tsai leads a multifaceted career as a soloist, chamber musician, and sought-after pedagogue. He currently serves on the violin faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre-College as well as Center Stage Strings Summer Institute held at the University of Michigan. Guest faculty appointments include the Oberlin Conservatory and SFCM Collegiate Division, and he has taught violin and chamber music classes at the Luzerne Music Center and Crowden School. His students have competed at the Menuhin Competition, won awards from the YoungArts Foundation, and been accepted to perform at “From the Top”, Music@Menlo, NYO-USA, NYO2, Bowdoin Festival, Morningside Music Bridge, and Heifetz Institute. They have soloed with orchestras throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and won first place in all age groups of virtually every regional competition including Pacific Musical Society, SFCM/Parnassus Concerto Competition, Diablo Valley Concerto Competition, KAMSA, USIMC, and United States Open Competition. Elbert’s career as an educator began as a teaching assistant at the Oberlin Conservatory, Rice University, and USC Thornton School of Music during his studies at each school.
Elbert maintains an active performing schedule which includes chamber music, recital, and concerto engagements. Recent recitals include performances at the Colburn School for the Performing Arts, Three Rivers Performing Arts Institute, and historic Bridges Hall at Pomona College. As a soloist, Elbert has appeared with the Bear Valley Music Festival, Cambrian Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, and Sacramento Symphony, often performing concertos featuring his own original cadenzas. Chamber music concerts include appearances at the Festival Rolland, Santa Cruz Chamber Players, Old First Concerts, and Pleasanton Chamber Players.
In his first year as a professional violinist, Elbert joined the San Francisco Ballet orchestra, where he served as Assistant Principal Second Violin for two seasons. He would later win a position with the San Francisco Symphony, sharing the stage with many of the world’s greatest conductors and soloists, touring to concert halls throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Elbert also performed for several seasons with the San Francisco Opera and Pacific Symphony in Orange County. He held numerous concertmaster and guest concertmaster positions, including with the Festival Mosaic orchestra, Modesto Symphony and Bear Valley Music Festival. He previously spent summers performing at the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and Tanglewood Music Center.
Originally from the Bay Area, Elbert holds degrees from the University of Southern California, Rice University, and Oberlin College, where he majored in violin and computer science and completed a minor in piano performance. His principal teachers and musical mentors include Robert Lipsett, Paul Kantor, Greg Fulkerson, Ken Goldsmith, Anne Crowden, Joel Smirnoff, and Paul Katz.
Elbert is fortunate to perform on an outstanding violin made by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, the “ex-Sophie Hummler.” He owns several bows, his current favorite being an octagonal Voirin mounted with gold and tortoiseshell.
Violist Nao Kubota is an active chamber and orchestral musician in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. A passionate chamber musician, Nao was the Gold Prize Winner of the 9th International Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition, and has worked closely with the Juilliard, St. Lawrence, Pacifica, Escher, Borromeo, Cavani, and Danish String Quartets. Nao’s festival appearances include the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, Aspen Music Festival Center for Advanced Quartet Studies, St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar, Sarasota Music Festival, and Encore Chamber Music String Quartet Intensive. A graduate of New England Conservatory, she received her Bachelor of Music degree studying with Dimitri Murrath, and her Masters and Graduate Certificate degree at the USC Thornton School of Music, studying with Karen Dreyfus. During her time at USC, Nao was a finalist in the USC Solo Bach Competition and USC Concerto Competition, and winner of the USC Ofiesh Quartet Competition. As an orchestral musician, Nao has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, California Symphony, Modesto Symphony, and Ojai Music Festival, among others. Nao is a member of the award-winning Delirium Musicum, and a faculty member at the Crowden Music Center. Nao has been featured in the LA Times, The Violin Channel, and most recently, on Delirium Musicum’s album “Seasons” with Warner Classics.
Cellist Brady Anderson is a highly acclaimed cellist and pedagogue. At just fifteen years old, he made his solo debut performing Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C Major, marking the beginning of a career filled with numerous prizes from competitions such as the Music Teachers National Association and the American String Teachers Association.
Brady is the artistic director of the Benicia Chamber Players and Pleasanton Chamber Players. Having performed chamber music extensively, Brady has had the opportunity to collaborate with both faculty and colleagues across the country and the world. He is the cellist and a founding member of the Verve Trio and was the interim cellist of the Thalea String Quartet. Brady studied chamber music under the guidance of Menahem Pressler, Jorja Fleezanis, Anne Epperson, Atar Arad, Paul Hersh, Ian Swensen, the Pacifica String Quartet, the Juilliard String Quartet, the JACK Quartet, the Miró Quartet, and many others. Brady also enjoys performing all genres of music and has recorded with dozens of groups, including Nataly Dawn, Cypress Hill, Jennifer Hudson and can be heard on the Grammy-nominated La Orquesta Sinfonietta album Canto America.
As an avid orchestral musician, he played in the cello sections of several California orchestras, such as the Stockton Symphony, Monterey Symphony, and Fresno Philharmonic, and Indiana orchestras Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, and Columbus Philharmonic. He was principal cellist of the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Berkeley Chamber Orchestra, IU Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, and Summer Philharmonic. Brady has played under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel, Marin Alsop, and Jakub Hruša.
Brady’s former teachers include Peter Stumpf, Jonathan Koh, and Irene Sharp. During his cello studies, Brady performed in master classes of Tamas Varga, Zuill Bailey, David Geber, Emilio Colon, Mark Votapek, Irene Sharp, Wendy Sharp, and the Alexander String Quartet.
A dedicated cello teacher with almost a decade of teaching experience, Brady served as Jonathan Koh’s Teaching Assistant at UC Berkeley and at Mr. Koh’s private studio while maintaining his own private studio of nearly forty students. Brady has coached cello sectionals for the Solano County Youth Orchestra, the Berkeley Chamber Orchestra, the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, and the California Youth Symphony. During his graduate program in Indiana, Brady took courses in cello pedagogy and has been a guest artist in several teaching residencies around the country. Upon returning to California, he began teaching in his current studio in Dublin.
Brady received a Master of Music in Cello Performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he was a recipient of the Janos Starker Scholarship. Brady earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of California at Berkeley, receiving the Eisner Award for outstanding musical achievement.
Brady plays on a cello by W. H. Hammig, Leipzig from 1890.