Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Seminar Celebrates Past, Next Generations

Monday, May 18, 2015
Photo of the Aye Trio

The School of Music and Dance celebrated chamber musicians of the past and future at the annual Yehudi Menuhin Seminar for Chamber Music, held May 8 – 10 in the Creative Arts Building.

Young musicians performed in a competition for cash prizes and scholarships, while faculty members and guest artists performed a special “cello-bration” concert in memory of Laszlo Varga, a Holocaust survivor who taught at SF State from 1963 to 1988 and served as principal cellist for the New York Philharmonic.

The Aye Trio won the 2015 Galante Prize, in a competition for teenage chamber ensembles. The San Jose-based ensemble includes violinist Hesoo Cha, cellist Elena Ariza and pianist Alex Chien. First prize was made possible by a generous gift from The Joyce McLean Fellowship Fund, for the Menuhin Seminar.

The Crowden Quintet, of Berkeley, won second prize. This prize was made possible by a generous gift from Norma Siani-Alston.

Third Prize was awarded to the Reyes/Huzicka Duo of Youngstown, Ohio. The prize was made possible by a generous gift from David and Judy Preves Anderson.

Directed by Professor Cyrus Ginwala, the seminar included an Afiara Quartet concert, which also served as the season finale for SF State’s Morrison Artists Series, and an all-star Saturday evening concert with guests and faculty including Jassen Todorov and Allen Biggs.

The performers and audience paid tribute to Menuhin, the late violin virtuoso who, at age 13, legend has it, inspired Albert Einstein to declare, “Now I know there is a God in heaven!”

The Alexander String Quartet, SF State’s quartet-in-residence, launched the seminar and Festival in 2003 to honor the late American violinist’s association with San Francisco and the University. It was founded on Menuhin’s belief that music has the power to create understanding and transcend differences between people.


Photo: The Aye Trio, from left: violinist Hesoo Cha, pianist Alex Chien and cellist Elena Ariza. Photo by Roger Habon.

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