Taking Time with…the Woodwinds and Brass

This season we will be visited not only by a plethora of talented string players, but also a resounding group of brass and woodwind players: Lisa Conway (French horn), Ixi Chen (clarinet), Matthew Hunt (clarinet), Valentin Martchev (bassoon), and Demarre McGill (flute). You can find their full bios on our website, but here are some highlights and extras.

Newcomer to the Festival, clarinetist Ixi Chen is a founding member and Artistic Director of concert:nova, a group that specializes in playing classical music, but in new and diverse ways that work to “break down barriers  between audience and performers for a more intimate and engaging concert experience.” In April of this year, this Cincinnati-based group performed at the Underground Railroad Freedom Center in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (a review of this spectacular event can be read here). Ixi is a member of the wind faculty of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and has performed around the globe in festivals such as Aspen, Tanglewood, Evian, Schleswig-Holstein, Thessaloniki, and the White Nights of Saint Petersburg.

Horn player Lisa Conway is also a member of concert:nova. She and Ixi were featured together in a 2009 human-interest story for Cincinnati.com about their trip to Japan (including their 3AM visit to the famous Tsukiji Fish Market! The story can be read here). Lisa has also performed at BargeMusic in Brooklyn, taught as an adjunct faculty member at Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, and was a fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center. She joined the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 2008 as second horn. This will mark Lisa’s second year of participation in the Festival.

Matthew Hunt, a staple at the Festival, returns for his ninth year. A soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician, Matthew is a regular participant at IMS Prussia Cove, and has appeared with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Lucerne Festival Orchestra and as Guest Principal Clarinetist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and Mahler Chamber Orchestra. But even if you have never had the opportunity to see him here or abroad, you may have heard him in the movies: if you listen closely to the soundtracks of Love Actually and Pride and Prejudice, you’ll hear Matthew playing solo clarinet!

Bassoonist Valentin Martchev is no stranger to Charlottesville: he performed as first bassoon in the Charlottesville University Symphony Orchestra, and with the Albemarle Ensemble, UVA’s woodwind quintet. Valentin also taught in the UVA  McIntire Department of Music from 1998-2001. He will be joining the faculty of Cal State Fullerton in the fall of 2012, and is currently on the faculty of San Diego State University. This September marks his third appearance at the Festival.

Darin Fong Photography

Demarre McGill, world-renowned flutist who first visited the Festival in 2010, is the co-founder of the organization, Art of Élan. This nonprofit was formed as “an effort to enrich the cultural life of San Diego” and “specifically aims to expose new audiences to classical music, explore (and expand) the horizons of the classical music scene, energize audiences and musicians alike, and ultimately educate and cultivate a future generation of classical music lovers.” Want to know a fun fact about Demarre? He once performed as a special guest on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood with his brother, Anthony (clarinet). During his last visit here, for an educational outreach activity, Demarre brought his golden flute, and along with French harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet, wowed the kids at the Southwood Boys & Girls Club! (photo below)

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Read past updates:

7/9/12: Brooklyn Rider

7/16/12: The Violists

7/23/12: The Pianists

7/30/12: The Violinists