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Cello Guest Artist Nicholas Tzavaras in Recital with Pianist Rieko Aizawa

  • Smith College, Sage Hall - Northamtpon, MA 144 Green St. Northamtpon, MA 01063 (map)

“Richly Singing” and “Beautifully Nuanced” (New York Times) Nicholas Tzavaras, cellist of the Shanghai Quartet, performs in recital at the Lyra Music Festival with Rieko Aizawa, pianist of the Horszowski Trio, "Impressive musicality, a crisp touch and expressive phrasing" (New York Times).

Smith College | Sage Hall | Earle Recital Hall
Tickets $20
Festival Pass $90 (Entrance to all 2018 Lyra Music Festival Events)

Program: TBA

Video: Nicholas Tzavaras in concert with the Shanghai Quartet

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Nicholas Tzavaras, cello

A Native of Spanish Harlem in New York City, cellist Nicholas Tzavaras has toured the globe as a chamber musician, soloist and educator for the past two decades. He has performed more than 1500 concerts worldwide, from Cartegena Columbia to the Tonhalle in Zurich to Nagasaki Japan.  The New York Times calls his playing “richly singing” and “beautifully nuanced.” Since 2000, Mr. Tzavaras has been the cellist of the internationally renowned Shanghai Quartet. 

Recent festival engagements have included the Brevard, La Jolla and Taos festivals, the Casals festival in Prades France, the Melbourne Music Festival in Australia and the Marlboro Festival.   Mr. Tzavaras has held the esteemed title of guest principal cellist of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra since 2009.  He has recorded more than 21 albums for the Naxos, Delos, Bis, Centaur, Camerata, and New Albion labels, including Beethoven’s string quartet cycle and Bright Sheng’s songs for pipa and cello with Wu Man, to name a few.

Formerly on the faculty of the University of Richmond, Mr. Tzavaras is currently the coordinator of the String Department and artist in residence at Montclair State University’s John J. Cali School of Music. He is also guest professor at the Shanghai and Central Conservatories of China.  In the fall of 2016 Tzavaras joined the faculty of the Longy School of Music in Boston.

Mr. Tzavaras began the violin at age 2 with his mother, Roberta Guaspari and moved to the cello when he was 6.  A graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, he went on to receive degrees from the New England Conservatory and the State University of New York at Stonybrook where his cello teachers were Laurence Lesser and Timothy Eddy.  Mr. Tzavaras can be seen in the Academy Award nominated documentary “Small Wonders,” the motion picture “Music of the Heart” starring Meryl Streep and with the Shanghai Quartet in Woody Allen’s “Melinda Melinda.”

When he is not with his cello, Mr. Tzavaras is an avid cyclist, occasional triathlete, enthusiastic but unfortunately average chess player and, perhaps most importantly, a challenged father of three children all under the age of eight.

Japanese pianist Rieko Aizawa, discovered at age 13 by the late Alexander Schneider on the recommendation of pianist Mitsuko Uchida, has since established her own unique musical voice.  Schneider engaged her as soloist with his Brandenburg Ensemble at the opening concerts of Tokyo's Casals Hall; later that year, Schneider presented 14-year-old Ms. Aizawa in her U.S. debut concerts at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, performing Mozart's Concerto No. 12 in A Major, K. 414, with his New York String Orchestra. 

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Pianist, Rieko Aizawa

Praised by the NY Times for her “impressive musicality, a crisp touch and expressive phrasing,” Ms. Aizawa has performed in solo and orchestral engagements throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, including Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, Boston's Symphony Hall and Chicago's Orchestra Hall. Highlights of recent seasons have included acclaimed performances with the New Japan Philharmonic under Seiji Ozawa, the English Chamber Orchestra under Heinz Holliger, the Festival Strings Lucerne in Switzerland under Rudolf Baumgartner, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra under Hugh Wolff, the Curtis Institute Orchestra with Peter Oundjian, the St. Louis Symphony under David Loebel and a wonderfully received performance with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Aizawa also has a great interest in exploring unusual repertoire. In October 2007, the St. Paul Pioneer Press described her performance with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra conducted by Hans Graf "the Salieri Piano Concerto in C was played so splendidly by Rieko Aizawa. Hers was a graceful reading. .... Aizawa's performance lent the work a respect it rarely receives." In the same year, she received the Washington Award.

As a recitalist, Ms. Aizawa has been heard in many North American cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, St. Louis, Seattle, Boulder, Los Angeles, Houston, and Toronto; at the Caramoor International Festival; at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival; Ravinia Festival, Gilmore Keyboard Festival. Following a recent all-Beethoven recital in Dresden, Germany, a reviewer wrote: "Her listeners followed her playing -full of details and delicate contrasts- breathlessly." Ms. Aizawa recently has started her "Prism" series in Japan, with tributes to Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann, and specially commissioned works for each program. She also will continue her exploration of Beethoven's music with a Beethoven cycle at Rutgers University in New Jersey. In 2006, Ms. Aizawa performed a series of all-Mozart recitals, a project jointly presented by WFMT-Chicago and Fazioli.

An avid chamber musician, Ms. Aizawa has performed with the Guarneri Quartet, the Orion Quartet, the Shanghai Quartet and the Amelia Piano Trio, and she has appeared in numerous festivals, such as the Marlboro Music Festival, U.S.A.; the Kammermusik Festival Moritzburg, Germany; and the Evian Festival, France. She also has been a guest artist of Boston's, Philadelphia's and Seattle's Chamber Music Society. Ms. Aizawa is a founding member of Horszowski Trio as well as the prize winning ensemble Duo Prism. Ms. Aizawa became the artistic director of the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Colorado in 2010.

Ms. Aizawa received her Masters Degree from the Juilliard School, where she worked with Peter Serkin. She is also a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she was awarded the prestigious Rachmaninoff Prize and studied with Seymour Lipkin, Peter Serkin, and Mieczyslaw Horszowski as his last pupil. March 2005 marked the release of Ms. Aizawa's first solo recording on the Japanese label Altus Music - a tour-de-force CD of Shostakovich's and Scriabin's "24 Preludes." Her second solo CD, of Faure's and Messiaen’s preludes, will come out in 2013.

Ms. Aizawa lives in New York City, and she is on the faculty at Longy School of Music of Bard College. Ms. Aizawa is a Steinway Artist.