Chamber Music Series presents:
Sat., July 12, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.
The Sixth Annual
Summer Chamber Music Weekend
Roy Bogas and Friends
Sun., July 13, 2008 at 4:00 p.m.
at the Gualala Arts Center
left to right
Roy Bogas, piano
Nancy Ellis, viola
Anja Strauss, soprano
Axel Strauss, violin
Amy Hiraga, violin
Peter Wyrick, cello
The Gualala Chamber Music Series is delighted to again present the Roy Bogas and Friends Ensemble for the sixth annual Summer Chamber Music Weekend, Saturday, July 12th, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, July 13th, 4:00 p.m., at the Gualala Arts Center. This traditional weekend of superb performances by pianist Bogas and outstanding musicians from the Bay Area is the biggest musical event of our concert season. The audience is invited to hear either or both performances, for a fulfilling weekend of superb music performed by top artists.
This Summer's Weekend of chamber music offers an unusual variety of composers and performers. Works by Shostakovich, Debussy, Bloch, Schumann, Rachmaninoff and Dvořák will be presented by the group of musicians led by pianist Roy Bogas, artistic director of the Music Weekend. Violinists Axel Strauss and Amy Hiraga, violist Nancy Ellis and cellist Peter Wyrick will join Roy Bogas in presenting these works. In addition, soprano Anja Strauss will be featured as guest artist both on Saturday evening and on Sunday afternoon. On Saturday, she will be heard in a group of songs by Debussy, sung in French, while on Sunday she and Roy Bogas will perform one of the great masterpieces of the chamber literature, the song cycle Frauenliebe und Leben (the Life and Love of Women), set to the poems of the same name by Adelbert von Chamisso, sung in German. The words to the songs will appear in the program, along with newly-rendered free English translations, and the artists will introduce the songs from the floor.
The purely instrumental works will include the famous Shostakovich Trio, written at the end of World War II in a poignant tribute both to the sufferers of that war and to the death in Siberia of Shostakovich's close friend Sollertinsky. The highlight of the evening will be a performance of the rarely-heard Second String Quartet by Ernest Bloch. Mr. Bogas knew Bloch and studied this work extensively with him. He will offer an introduction designed to indicate to the audience what to listen for and how best to enjoy this challenging but remarkable work. On Sunday's program, in addition to the Schumann song cycle, Peter Wyrick will play three Jewish songs by Bloch on the cello, and the program will conclude with the beloved and cheery Piano Quintet in A, Op.81, by Dvořák.
Roy Bogas, who has been called Gualala's favorite pianist, received his training in New York and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony at age 14, and at age 19 he became the accompanist to Yehudi Menuhin, playing over a hundred concerts with him throughout North and South America. He has also played with Joseph Szigeti and many other well-known artists. In 1962 he was a prizewinner at the second Tchaikovski Competition in Moscow. He has performed as soloist with virtually every orchestra in Northern California and with many other orchestras in this country and abroad. Mr. Bogas is a professor of music at Holy Names University in Oakland, and is also Principal Solo Pianist for the San Francisco Ballet. An active chamber musician, he is the founder and director of the MasterGuild Series of chamber music concerts at Holy Names. He has led and inspired the Gualala Chamber Music Weekends since 2003. There is nothing bogus about Bogas; he is the real thing.
Violinist Axel Strauss, acclaimed for his virtuosity and his musical sensitivity, has been heard on concert stages throughout Europe since his recital debut in Hamburg at the age of sixteen.
One year after his debut he won the silver medal at the Enescu Competition in Romania. In 1998, he became the first German artist ever to win the Naumburg Violin Award.
Mr. Strauss has been recognized with many other awards, including top prizes in the Bach, Wieniawski and Kocian competitions. After violin studies in Germany, he began working with the legendary Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School and became her teaching assistant in 1998.
Mr. Strauss made his American debut at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, and his first of many New York concerts was presented at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. He has given recitals in major US cities and has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras in the U.S. and throughout the world. He frequently performs at music festivals in the States and abroad. Mr. Strauss maintains a busy performance schedule, and serves as Professor of Violin at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He is married to soprano Anja Strauss. Axel Strauss performs on an outstanding violin by J.F. Pressenda, Turin 1845, on extended loan through the generous efforts of the Stradivari Society in Chicago.
Violinist Amy Hiraga was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra from 1991 to 1999. She is currently a permanent member of the San Francisco Symphony. She also studied with Dorothy Delay at Juilliard and Emanuel Zeitlin in Seattle. She has performed and appeared as soloist with many symphonies and chamber orchestras in the United States, and has also performed in many music festivals. She and her husband, cellist Peter Wyrick, live in Mill Valley with their two daughters, Mayumi and Mariko.
Violist Nancy Ellis received her training at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Oberlin College, and Mills College, where she studied with Nathan Rubin. She has toured with Music from Marlboro and also as part of a quartet in support of rock singer Van Morrison. She has been a member of the San Francisco Symphony since 1975, and has also performed for the past thirty years with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Ms. Ellis is an experienced chamber music player and has been heard in this capacity in many venues, including Davies Symphony Hall.
Peter Wyrick, Associate Principal Cellist of the San Francisco Symphony, was one of the last students of Leonard Rose at Juilliard. He has previously served as Principal Cellist of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center, and as Associate Principal Cellist of the New York City Opera Orchestra. He was a member of the acclaimed Ridge String Quartet, whose recording of the Dvořák Piano Quintets with pianist Rudolf Firkusny won the French Diapason d'Or and was nominated for the 1993 Grammy Award for the Best Chamber Music Performance. He has performed as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony and as chamber musician and soloist with renowned chamber ensembles and orchestras throughout the world.
Soprano Anja Strauss has firmly established herself in the vocal profession as an extremely experienced and multifaceted performer, being equally at home in the Opera, Lied and Oratorio repertoire. Originally from Lübeck, Germany, Anja Strauss graduated from the Musikhochschule Lübeck, and from the Juilliard School. She has worked with renowned German orchestras such as the Hamburg Symphony, the Kiel Philharmonic and the Schleswig-Holstein Symphony. She has sung with the opera companies of Sacramento, Stockton Opera Association, Townsend Opera Players Modesto, Golden Gate Opera San Francisco, as well as the German Opera companies of Lübeck, Kiel, Flensburg, Potsdam and Detmold. A passionate Lied singer, Ms. Strauss has performed in recitals at Carnegie Hall and other venues throughout the U.S. and Europe. Besides standard Lied repertoire she enjoys collaborating with contemporary composers, as in the San Jose Sate University's Faculty Composer's concert. She premiered a song cycle written for her at the Peabody Institute of Music in Baltimore, and sang the world premiere of excerpts of Kirk Mechem's new opera Pride and Prejudice at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. Although her husband, Violinist Axel Strauss, has previously performed in Gualala with Roy Bogas, this will be the first time Axel and Anja will have appeared in Gualala on the same program.
With top performers like these, the Gualala Chamber Music Weekend of 2008 will be a very memorable, and likely sold-out, pair of concerts.
Tickets are $25 for each concert in advance; $5 more on the day of the concert (buy your tickets early!). Children and young people ages 7 through 17 are admitted free. Advance tickets are available at the Gualala Arts Center or at the Dolphin Gallery in Gualala. For advance credit card (Visa and MC) purchases by telephone, call the Arts Center at 707-884-1138. For further information visit our website,
GualalaArts.org. Those unable to furnish their own transportation may call the Arts Center to request rides to the concert.
The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email