The Manhattan Piano Trio Makes Its 5th Appearance at Gualala Arts Center.
Hailed by critics as “a grand departure from the usual” (News Herald), the Manhattan Piano Trio, now in its 15th season, is one of the most creative, exciting, and dynamic young ensembles in America. The Washington Post described the Trio as “impressive” and “outstanding”, while the Sarasota Herald Tribune said “one seldom is privileged to enjoy music of such a wide range of styles performed with self-effacing skill and relaxed assurance.”
For this performance, veteran member and pianist Milana Strezeva joins forces with colleagues Solomiya Ivakhiv, violin, and Sophie Shao, cello to thrill our audience with another brilliant performance.
Milana Strezeva has been praised by the critics for her “technically fluid, dramatically convincing, and sonically full-bodied supportive collaborations” (Boston Globe) She is a Moldovan-American pianist. At the age of 11 she began playing chamber music with her clarinetist father and her mother, a renowned soprano. Milana’s love for family collaboration eventually grew into a passionate advocacy of vocal and instrumental chamber music.
A founding member of the award-winning Manhattan Piano Trio, one of the most creative and dynamic young ensembles in America, Stezeva has performed with them in over 30 American states, in Australia, South Africa and Italy, and in venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, and the Ravinia Festival. She is a recipient of Grand Prizes at numerous festivals. Having studied piano with Bella Davidovich, Julian Martin, Boris Lvov, and Tatiana Gershfeld, Strezeva has also studied chamber music with Bruce Brubacker, Felix Galimir, Jonathan Feldman, Seymour Lipkin, and others, and song repertoire with Brian Zeger and Thomas Grubb.
Milana Strezeva received her Bachelor and Master degrees from The Juilliard School on a full scholarship. She currently lives in Naples, FL and is a Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Grand Piano Series.
Violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv has quickly earned a reputation for performing with “distinctive charm and subtle profundity” (Daily Freeman, New York) and a “crystal clear and noble sound” (Culture and Life, Ukraine). Known for her work as a soloist and chamber musician, Ivakhiv has performed at Carnegie Hall, CBC Glenn Gould Studio, Curtis Institute Field Concert Hall, Italian Academy in New York City, San Jose Chamber Music Society, Old First Concerts in San Francisco, Tchaikovsky Hall in Kyiv, and at UConn’s Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts.
She has made solo appearances with the Istanbul State Symphony, Charleston Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, the Hunan Symphony Orchestra in China, the AACC, and the Bach Festival Orchestra.
A champion of new music, Ivakhiv has been privileged to premiere numerous new works for violin by composers Eli Marshall, David Ludwig, John B. Hedges, and Bohdan Kryvopust. A dedicated educator, Ivakhiv has conducted master classes and chamber music coachings at Yale, Columbia, Penn State, and regularly collaborates with high schools in outreach programs throughout the United States.
Ms. Ivakhiv is the recipient of several international honors, including the 2016 New Scholar Award from the University of Connecticut School of Fine Arts. She received her Master of Music degree from M. Lysenko Music Academy in Lviv, Ukraine, studying with Oresta Kohut, and holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stony Brook University, where she studied with Pamela Frank and Philip Setzer.
Cellist Sophie Shao, winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and top prizes at the Rostropovich and Tchaikovsky competitions, is a versatile and passionate artist whose performances the New York Times has noted as “eloquent, powerful” and the Washington Post called “deeply satisfying.”
Shao has recerived critical acclaim throughout the United States: the Smith Center in Las Vegas, Lied Center in Lincoln, Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa, the Palladium in Carmel, the Walter Reade Theater and Rose Studio at Lincoln Center. Last season she performed the UK premiere of Howard Shore’s concerto “Mythic Gardens” at the Watford Colosseum in Watford, England and with Ludwig Wicki and the 21st Century Orchestra at the KKL in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Ms. Shao is a frequent guest at many leading festivals around the country including Caramoor, Chamber Music Northwest, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, the Bard Festival, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and was a member of Chamber Music Society Two, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s program for emerging young artists.
A native of Houston, Texas, Ms. Shao began playing the cello at age six, and was a student of Shirley Trepel, former principal cellist of the Houston Symphony. At age thirteen she enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, studying cello with David Soyer. After graduating from the Curtis Institute, she continued her cello studies with Aldo Parisot at Yale University, receiving a B.A. in Religious Studies from Yale College and an M.M. from the Yale School of Music, where she was enrolled as a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. She is on the faculty of Vassar College and the Bard Conservatory of Music and plays on a cello made by Honore Derazey from 1855 once owned by Pablo Casals.