Thursday, Jan. 25 7:30 p.m.
Free admission. No ticket required.
All seating is General Admission. No reserved seats.
Stem Concert Hall
Approx. 90 mins.
Grammy Award-winning cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio first leapt to international attention when she was a winner at the International Tchaikovsky Violoncello Competition in Moscow, Russia. As a result of her medal, Carnegie Hall invited Ms. Sant’Ambrogio to perform a recital that was filmed by CBS News as part of a profile about her, which was televised nationally. The New York Times described Ms. Sant’Ambrogio’s New York recital debut as “sheer pleasure,” saying “There was an irresistible warmth in everything Miss Sant’Ambrogio did.”
Ms. Sant’Ambrogio has appeared as soloist with such orchestras as the Atlanta, Beijing Philharmonic, Boston, Budapest, Chicago, Dallas, Moscow State Philharmonic, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Osaka Century Orchestra (Japan), Royal Philharmonic, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle and Vienna Symphony; she has performed thousands of concerts on six continents at the world’s major music centers and festivals including Aspen, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Konzert Huset in Stockholm, Marlboro, Muiskverein in Vienna, Ravinia, Orchard and Suntory Halls in Tokyo and Great Mountain Festival in Korea. Ms. Sant’Ambrogio is particularly excited to have finally performed in all 50 United States last season when she performed at the Juneau Jazz and Classics Festival in Alaska.
Always looking to draw in new audiences and push the boundaries of classical music, Sara has performed with Sting and Joshua Bell in the production of “Twin Spirits,” the story of the love affair between Clara and Robert Schumann. The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Joshua Bell and Sara Sant’Ambrogio played with lyrical restraint and lovely tone.” Tracks from her solo CD “Dreaming” have been featured on multiple film soundtracks, including the opening title on the HBO award winning documentary, “A Matter of Taste.” Ms. Sant’Ambrogio has collaborated with the New York City Ballet in seven highly successful sold out concerts at Lincoln Center performing the Bach Suites and was recently featured in the opening Fall Gala of the ballet performing Elgar Cello Concerto. Sara has recorded with Tim McGraw on the #1 hit “Humble and Kind” and performed with Rufus Wainwright in the inauguration of a new concert series at the National Arts Club.
Ms. Sant’Ambrogio started her cello studies with her father John Sant’Ambrogio, who was principal cellist of the St. Louis Symphony, and at the age of 16 was invited on full scholarship to study with David Soyer at the Curtis Institute of Music where she received her high school diploma. Three years later, world renowned cellist Leonard Rose invited Ms. Sant’Ambrogio to study at The Juilliard School; within weeks of arriving, she won the All-Juilliard Schumann Cello Concerto Competition, resulting in the first of many performances at Lincoln Center.
In addition to her Tchaikovsky Medal, Ms. Sant’Ambrogio has won numerous international competitions, including The Whitaker, The Dealey, Artists International, Palm Beach Awards and the Naumburg Award with her ensemble the Eroica Trio. Ms. Sant’Ambrogio won a Grammy Award for her performance of Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles and a NPR Best Debut Recording with Eroica for their Debut recording. She has been profiled in Strings, Glamour, Gramophone, Vogue, Strad, Elle, Bon Appetit, In Fashion, Travel and Leisure, Detour, and Fanfare magazines as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and on CBS, ABC, PBS, USA and CNN networks. Ms. Sant’Ambrogio is the subject of a feature length documentary, which has had hundreds of airings nationwide on PBS and international networks.
A United States citizen of Lebanese/Hungarian descent, with a French education, Pianist Nada is a native of Beirut, Lebanon. Her piano training was hampered by the unrelenting civil war and terrorism which also cost her mother’s life in a mortar explosion in her own home in Beirut. Her family escaped to the mountains where Nada was self-taught with a few books of music – the Bach Inventions and the Chopin Waltzes and Polonaises. After only seven years of playing the piano, she was admitted to the Paris Conservatory, France, where she became the first woman from the Middle East to take First Prize.
Several years later, after much concertizing, she came for advanced studies to Banff Center in Canada and to Indiana University in Bloomington, IN USA.
Since then, she has created a career with tremendous depth and breadth. Her insightful readings and unique approach to the major music repertoire frequently reminds audiences and critics of the legendary pianists Gina Bachauer and Clara Hasil. And more recently, she has been described as “a music personality of this century, such as a Glenn Gould.”
Her repertoire ranges from early music to contemporary, although her most recent focus has been on the piano works of Johannes Brahms. She is one of the very few to have recorded all of Brahms solo piano works. Her recordings and performances of his music have received excellent reviews, awards, and responses from all over the world. “Nada’s profound understanding of Brahms and her sensitivity to his work… she invited the listener to engage in a musical dialogue with Brahms” (Johannes Brahms Society, Hamburg, Brahms Studien). “This three-disc collection is the one that sets her seal on her place in the Pantheon of Great Brahms interpreters” —Fanfare
ABOUT JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833–1897)
One of the ‘Three Bs’ alongside Bach and Beethoven, Johannes Brahms was a German composer in the Romantic period of classical music.
Spending most of his time in Vienna, he moved among some of the musical elite of the mid-Romantic era, becoming close friends with both Robert and Clara Schumann, as well as the violinist Joseph Joachim and the conductor Hans von Bülow.
While many of his contemporaries were experimenting with programmatic, or descriptive music, Brahms earned himself the reputation of being more conservative, preferring to stick to “absolute music.” His harmonies and orchestration however are deeply rooted in the Romantic tradition and make for some truly sublime listening. Here are ten of his finest moments that are definitely worth a listen.