Virtual Spring Ensemble

May 11, 2021
Special Event

Virtual Spring Ensemble Concert

Born in Le Mans, Jean René Désiré Françaix (1912 - 1997), was an orchestrator, pianist and composer. He began composing when he was six years old. He was influenced by Maurice Ravel who said to Jean's parents, Among the child's gifts I observe above all the most fruitful an artist can possess, that of curiosity. You must not stifle these precious gifts now or ever, or risk letting this young sensibility wither. Françaix became an accomplished pianist at an early age, earning a First Prize in Piano at the Paris Conservatoire. Françaix wrote more than 200 pieces in a wide variety of styles. Many of his works feature the piano, particularly his chamber works. But he also wrote works for nearly every orchestral instrument and standard ensemble. He was an avowed neo-classicist who rejected atonality and "formless wanderings." He also wrote ten film scores.

Born into a Lutheran family in Hamburg, Germany, Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was a composer, pianist, and conductor of the Romantic period. He is often grouped with Bach and Beethoven as one of the "Three Bs" of music. From 1845 to 1848 Brahms studied composition with Eduard Marxsen who was personally acquainted with Beethoven and Schubert, and admired the works of Mozart, Haydn, and Bach. Marxsen is credited with ensuring that Brahms's compositions were grounded in their tradition. In October 1853 Brahms was welcomed by Robert Schumann and his wife Clara In Düsseldorf. Schumann was greatly impressed by the 20-year-old's talent, and published an article in which he declared Brahms to be one who was fated to give expression to the times in the highest and most ideal manner.

In 1890, the 57-year-old Brahms began to think that he might retire from composition, telling a friend that he "had achieved enough; here I had before me a carefree old age and could enjoy it in peace." However, he went on to write his Clarinet Trio, and his Clarinet Quintet, (the first movement of which we will be hearing this video), and a number of other pieces including his final cycles of piano pieces.

Considered among the greatest classical composers of all time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) composed more than 600 works, many of which, almost two and a half centuries later, are still some of the most important symphonic, concerto, chamber and choral music works in the repertoire. His influence on Western music has been profound. Beethoven composed his early works in the shadow of Mozart. Joseph Haydn wrote, Posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years. In 1773, Mozart was employed as a court musician by the ruler of Salzburg, Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo. Mozart composed in many genres, including symphonies, sonatas, string quartets, masses, serenades, and a few minor operas. Mozart met Joseph Haydn in Vienna around 1784. Haydn told Mozart's father, I tell you before God, and as an honest man, your son is the greatest composer known to me by person and repute, he has taste and what is more the greatest skill in composition.

In Mozart's last year, 1791, he composed The Magic Flute; the final piano concerto in B♭, his Clarinet Concerto, the last in his series of string quintets, the motet Ave Verum Corpus, and his unfinished Requiem.

The Performers

  • Bill Kirkley clarinet
  • Oksana Gorokhovskiy violin
  • Olga Kradenova violin
  • Brandon White viola
  • Johnny Mok cello

The Program

  • Jean Francaix Clarinet Quintet, 2nd Movement
  • Johannes Brahms Clarinet Quintet, 1st Movement
  • Wolfgang A. Mozart Clarinet Quintet, 1st and 4th Movements
  • George Gershwin Summertime (arr. Kirkley)
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Meet the Musicians

Bill Kirkley is principal clarinetist of the Lexington Symphony, the Cape Ann Symphony, solo bass clarinetist with Orchestra of Indian Hill and the Albany Symphony. As a guest clarinetist, he often performs with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, Boston Ballet, and City Ballet in NYC.

His playing has been labeled “emotional, committed, and intensely exciting” by the Boston Globe. The Boston Musical Intelligencer called him “a musician in total command of his instrument”. He has performed in Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York, Symphony Hall Boston, Orchestra Hall Chicago, the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall in London.

As a soloist he has performed with the North Arkansas Symphony, Mesquite Symphony, North Shore Philharmonic, Gordon Symphony, Cape Ann Symphony, and the Lexington Symphony.

Bill is currently on the music faculties of Gordon College, Berklee College of Music, the College of the Holy Cross, and Indian Hill Music.

A new member of the Cape Ann Symphony and now residing in Boston, violist Brandon White is originally from New York City. Brandon holds degrees from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam where he earned his BM in Viola Performance, as well as The Boston Conservatory at Berklee where he received his MM in String Performance.

He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Jordan Hall, and Sanders Theater. He has performed in many different ensembles including the Orchestra of Northern New York, Hamptons Festival Orchestra and the Choral Society of the Hamptons. He currently performs in the Rivers Symphony Orchestra and is also a member of the contemporary viola duo Waterhouse.

Awards and honors include winner of the Richard Stephen Chamber Music Competition in 2015 and 2017, being a representative of the string area for the Crane Honors Recital in 2016, selected as a finalist for the Boston Conservatory Concerto Competition in 2017 and winning the title of the Boston Conservatory Honors Ensemble from 2018-2019.

Bulgarian born violinist Oksana Gorokhovskiy started her journey in the field of music at the age of six.

She received a Bachelor Degree in Violin Performance at the State Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria, and a Master Degree from Boston University.

While living in Europe, she was a soloist of the State Academy Orchestra, and second violin in String Quartet “Slavyani”, with which she performed actively and won the First Prize at the International Competition “Music and the Earth''. Oksana also toured with several orchestras throughout Europe. Currently she lives in the United States and actively performs as a

chamber musician and orchestra player. She is an acting principal second violinist at Cape Ann Symphony, co-principal second violinist at Portsmouth Philharmonic Orchestra, member of Symphony by the Sea and Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra.

A native of St. Petersburg, Russia, violinist Olga Kradenova holds a bachelor’s degree with distinction from the St. Petersburg Conservatory and Royal Northern College of Music in the United Kingdom, and a

Master’s degree from Longy School of Music in Boston.

Olga performed in the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra and appeared as a chamber musician as well as a soloist throughout Europe. Olga received a grant from the Philharmonic

Society in St. Petersburg.

She performs regularly with orchestras and chamber ensembles in the Boston area such as the Cape Ann Symphony and the Rivers Symphony.

Olga also teaches at the Brooks School in North Andover.

Johnny Mok began his cello studies at the age of five at the Hong Kong Performing Arts Academy. He immigrated to New Mexico where he participated in the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program and in multiple competitions where he was awarded first prize.

Johnny was awarded a full scholarship in Music Performance at the University of Alabama. During the four years of studies, he engaged in the Alabama music community. He was awarded first prize in the Birmingham Music Club, Alabama Federation of Music Clubs, and the Camilla Huxford Symphony Concerto Competition.

In 2013, Johnny was the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra Mentor. The following summer he was an Orchestra Fellow at the Texas Music Festival in Houston. He then received his Master’s Degree and Professional Studies Certificate in Cello Performance at The Boston Conservatory.

In 2020, Johnny founded the Aroma Duo with pianist Tianhong Yang. Since then, Aroma Duo has performed in many chamber music series including the Cape Ann Symphony's Musicians Unleashed program. Johnny has performed with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, Cape Symphony, Tupelo Symphony, Boston Chamber Symphony, and National Repertory Orchestra, and he is the Principal Cellist of New Hampshire Philharmonic, and the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra.

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Thanks to the support of our wonderful community, the Cape Ann Symphony has become one of the premier regional orchestras in the country. You’re helping us keep that legacy strong, and growing! If you would like to add a gift to the Symphony, click one of the buttons below to add a one-time donation to the cart.

Make a gift to Cape Ann Symphony.

Thanks to the support of our wonderful community, the Cape Ann Symphony has become one of the premier regional orchestras in the country. You’re helping us keep that legacy strong, and growing! If you would like to add a gift to the Symphony, click one of the buttons below to add a one-time donation to the cart.