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Barbara and William Karatz Chamber Concert Series 2024‒2025 Season

October 7, 2024 @ 7:30 pm - May 12, 2025 @ 9:00 pm

$60 – $320

Athenaeum Music & Arts Library
1008 Wall StreetLa Jolla, CA 92037

Monday, October 7, 2024—Ani Aznavoorian, cello & Marta Aznavoorian, piano
Monday, November 4, 2024—Boris Allakhverdyan, clarinet & Alin Melik-Adamyan, piano with guest Alex Greenbaum, cello
Monday, December 2, 2024—Andrius Žlabys, piano
Monday, February 10, 2025—AGAVE with Reginald Mobley, countertenor
Tuesday, April 8, 2025—Great Wall String Quartet
Monday, May 12, 2025—New Orford String Quartet
7:30 PM

Pre-concert talks will be given at 6:45 p.m. the evening of each performance.

The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is pleased to present the 2024–2025 season of the Barbara and William Karatz Chamber Concert Series, beginning October 7, 2024. The series, continuing through May 12, 2025, is set in the Athenaeum’s Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room. Enjoy chamber music as it was intended—in a warm, personal setting, where you are treated as a guest in our historic library. At each concert you will hear a mix of music rarely presented locally and cherished masterpieces performed by the finest chamber musicians we know. We welcome back a few favorite artists from past seasons along with some exciting new performers that are sure to inspire. All performances include a preconcert talk at 6:45 p.m. and are followed by a reception with the artists in the Sharon & Joel Labovitz Entry Hall.

The series opens Monday, October 7, with the prize-winning Armenian American sister duo of cellist Ani Aznavoorian and pianist Marta Aznavoorian. The Los Angeles Times called the sisters “true artists showing great sensitivity and great virtuosity at all moments.” They have toured France, Armenia, Qatar, and Finland, performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, and presented countless programs in the United States. In 2022, the duo released their debut album, Gems from Armenia, listed at the top of Billboard’s Classical Charts for six weeks. The sisters hosted and curated Living American on Sirius XM Radio, where they discussed their music and heritage.

The series continues Monday, November 4, with clarinetist Boris Allakhverdyan, pianist Alin Melik-Adamyan, and guest artist (and Co-Director of Chamber Music at the Athenaeum) cellist Alex Greenbaum. This program will include music from Debussy, Martinu, Mangani, and will close with Brahms’ beloved Trio for piano, clarinet, and cello. Allakhverdyan was appointed Principal Clarinet of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2016. The New York Times called his playing “inspired” and “superlative,” and the Los Angeles Times praised his “energetic, vibrant solos.” Melik-Adamyan is a prize-winning collaborative artist, soloist, and chamber musician praised for her “sensitivity unique in the piano world” (Musical Gourmet).

On Monday, December 2, Grammy-nominated pianist Andrius Žlabys will perform a varied program of works by J.S. Bach and César Franck and his own composition Echoes of Light, an homage to Mozart. Žlabys states, “At the center of the piece, there are two fragments from Mozart’s Requiem. [What follows is] influenced by Carl Sagan’s writings. I imagine fragments of Mozart’s Requiem continuing to echo through space and time, perhaps never again detected, yet always present.” Žlabys has received acclaim for his appearances with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Rotterdam Symphony, and Philharmonic Orchestra of Buenos Aires.

On Monday, February 10, the Grammy-nominated ensemble AGAVE returns to the Athenaeum with Reginald Mobley, a countertenor noted for his “shimmering voice” (BachTrack) and renowned for his interpretation of baroque, classical, and modern repertoire. AGAVE will present American Originals, a program based on their album of the same name that features music by brilliant yet underrepresented composers and explores how the blending of European, African, and indigenous styles created uniquely American sounds. The ensemble will include Mobley, Co-Director Aaron Westman on violin and viola, Anna Washburn on violin and viola, Kevin Cooper on guitar and theorbo, Katherine Kyme on violin and viola, William Skeen on viola da gamba and violoncello, and Co-Director Henry Lebedinsky on harpsichord and piano.

The series continues Tuesday, April 8, with the Great Wall String Quartet performing a program of Mendelssohn, Schulhoff, and Beethoven. Its members share a vision to connect with more immediacy to audiences and to give guidance to the next generation of chamber musicians. In his role at the Deutsches Symphony Orchester Berlin, violinist Wei Lu is one of the youngest concertmasters in a major orchestra. Violinist Qi Zhou is a member of the prestigious chamber orchestra Philharmonisches Kammerorchester Muenchen. Xu Wenbo is the current viola and chamber music instructor at the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra Academy in Hamburg. Hailed in New York Concert Review as “a superb cellist with intense and sensuous sound,” Yao Zhao performs with a dynamism that has secured him a successful career as the principal cello of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra.

The series concludes Monday, May 12, with the New Orford String Quartet presenting works by Mozart, Dinuk Wijeratne, and Schubert (Death and the Maiden). Violinists Andrew Wan and Jonathan Crow, violist Sharon Wei, and cellist Brian Manke formed their ensemble with the goal of developing a new model for a touring string quartet: bringing four elite orchestral leaders and soloists together on a regular basis over many years to perform chamber music at the highest level. The Toronto Star has described this outcome as “nothing short of electrifying.” They have seen astonishing success, giving annual concerts for national CBC broadcast and receiving two Opus Awards for Concert of the Year and a 2017 JUNO Award for Best Classical Album. Recent seasons have featured return engagements in Chicago, Montreal, and Toronto, as well as their New York City debut on Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series.

All concerts are preceded by a pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m. and are followed by a reception with the artists in the Sharon & Joel Labovitz Entry Hall.