ROCKPORT CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL: MAHAN ESFAHANI & Viano Quartet featuring Bach’s Brandenburg No. 5

ROCKPORT CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL: MAHAN ESFAHANI & Viano Quartet featuring Bach’s Brandenburg No. 5

Viano String Quartet | Demarre McGill, flute | Barry Shiffman, violin | Jeremy McCoy, double bass

Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani was the first and only harpsichordist to be a BBC New Generation Artist (2008-2010), a Borletti-Buitoni prize winner (2009), and a nominee for Gramophone’s Artist of the Year (2014, 2015, 2017). He is joined by the Viano Quartet, which won First Prize at the 2019 Banff International String Quartet Competition, and an all-star ensemble for a concert featuring the East Coast premiere of Gavin Bryars new work and Bach’s Brandenburg No. 5.

Program
CPE BACH: Sanguineus/Melancholicus
GULLIVER: Suite of Telemann for Two Violins
GAVIN BRYARS: Quintet for harpsichord and string quartet (co-commissioned by Rockport Music)
Intermission
CPE BACH: Sonata in G Major, “Hamburger” Wq: 133
J.S. BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, BWV 1050

Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
Mahan Esfahani has established himself as the first harpsichordist in a generation whose work spans virtually all areas of classical music-making from critically-acclaimed performances and recordings of the standard repertoire to working with the leading composers of the day to pioneering concerto appearances with major symphony orchestras on four continents. He was the first and only harpsichordist to be a BBC New Generation Artist (2008-2010), a Borletti-Buitoni prize winner (2009), and a nominee for Gramophone’s Artist of the Year (2014, 2015, 2017. As a concerto soloist, he has performed with major symphonies and chamber orchestras and contemporary music ensembles around the world.

Esfahani’s work with new and modern music is particularly acclaimed, with high-profile solo and concertante commissions from composers such as George Lewis, Brett Dean, Bent Sørensen and other contemporary voices. His commitment to exploring the contemporary voice for the harpsichord is reflected in his 2020 Hyperion release ‘Musique?’ – a compilation of electronic and acoustic works including the modern revival of Luc Ferrari’s 1974 Programme commun for harpsichord and tape. In recognition of his contributions to the classical music field, Mahan Esfahani was awarded the 2022 Wigmore Hall Prize.

His richly-varied discography for Hyperion and Deutsch Grammophon – including an ongoing series of the complete works of Bach for the former – has been acclaimed in the press with a Gramophone award, two BBC Music Magazine Awards, a Diapason d’Or, ‘Choc de Classica,’ an ICMA, as well as numerous Editor’s Choices including a spot in the Telegraph’s compilation of essential classical music and the New York Times List of Top Recordings. He can be frequently heard as a commentator on BBC Radio 3 and Radio. Born in Tehran, Esfahani grew up in the United States and studied musicology and history at Stanford University before completing his studies in Prague with the celebrated Czech harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková. He now makes his home in Prague.

Viano String Quartet
Lucy Wang, violin | Hao Zhou, violin | Aiden Kane, viola | Tate Zawadiuk, cello
Praised for their “virtuosity, visceral expression, and rare unity of intention” (Boston Globe), the Viano Quartet is one of the most sought-after performing young ensembles today and currently in-residence at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Bowers Program from 2024-2027. Since winning First Prize at the 2019 Banff International String Quartet Competition, they have traveled to nearly every major city across the globe. The quartet was named the inaugural June Goldsmith Quartet-in-Residence for the Music in the Morning series in Vancouver (through 2025), where their focus will be to commission new works and lead extensive community engagement initiatives. Additionally, they also received the Grand Prize at the 2019 ENKOR International Music Competition, second prize at the 2019 Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition and the Silver Medal at the 2018 Fischoff National Chamber Music. Their chief mentors include faculty of the Curtis Institute and Colburn Conservatory, as well as members of the Dover, Guarneri and Tokyo string quartets.

“…hair raising, with bolts of lightning flashing from many pages…” – American Record Guide

Demarre McGill, flute
Demarre McGill has gained international recognition as a soloist, recitalist, chamber and orchestral musician. Winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, he is now the principal flute of the Seattle Symphony and previously served as principal flute of numerous symphony orchestras. In August of 2019, he was named Associate Professor of Flute at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and is an artist-faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival and School. A founding member of The Myriad Trio, a co-founder of The Art of Élan and, along with clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Michael McHale, founded the McGill/McHale Trio. A native of Chicago, Demarre received his Bachelor’s degree from The Curtis Institute of Music and Master’s degree at The Juilliard School. Photo Credit: Denver Rispel

Barry Shiffman, viola
Artistic director of the Rockport Chamber Music Festival and classical music at Rockport Music, internationally acclaimed violinist and violist Barry Shiffman is well-respected as a musician, educator and administrator. He was co-founder of the St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ), and currently serves as both the Associate Dean and Director of Chamber Music at the Glenn Gould School and Dean of the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He also serves as Executive Director of the Banff International String Quartet Competition.

Jeremy McCoy, double bass
For 35 seasons, Jeremy McCoy served as the Co-Principal double bass for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, playing in more than 5,000 performances under music directors James Levine and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. He retired from that position in 2020, but continues to be a highly sought after artist in orchestral and chamber settings. McCoy has performed as concerto soloist with the Atlantic Chamber Orchestra, the Louisiana Philharmonic, Classical Tahoe, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and Musica Viva of New York. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with members of the Arditti, Borodin, Cleveland, Emerson, Guarneri, Juilliard and Tokyo string quartets and with many other distinguished artists.

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