The White House Concert
with Steve Erdody and Friends
October 29, 2011

On Nov 24, 1961, President Kennedy revolutionized the White House by presenting the famous, but reclusive 84-year-old cellist Pablo Casals in a recital for 150 of the world’s most famous and influential classical composers, conductors and musicians. To commemorate the anniversary of this historic occasion, Music at the Court is thrilled to present our own local cello virtuoso Stephen Erdody with an all star ensemble of chamber musicians in a recital replicating the original program from 50 years ago. The concert will also feature Gavin Martin on piano, Roger Wilkie on violin, Brian Dembow on viola, and Stuart Clark on clarinet. The program includes the Mendelssohn Trio in D Minor, Schumann's Adagio and Allegro, the five Concert Pieces by Couperin, Casals own arrangement of the Catalan melody, Chant of the Birds and the Elegy, and Obama Inauguration music by Academy Award winning composer, John Williams, especially arranged for Stephen and this concert.

Stephen Erdody (Cello) is a graduate of the Juilliard School where he was the principal cellist of the Juilliard Orchestra, and the winner of the Morris Loeb Prize for Outstanding Achievement in String Studies.  He was the founding cellist of the New York String Quartet, and has served as principal and solo cellist of the Pacific Symphony, Opera Pacific, American Ballet Theater, the Dance Theater of Harlem and the Joffrey Ballet.  Stephen has performed chamber music with artists including Emanuel Ax, Jeffrey Kahane, Yehudi Menuhin, and Lynn Harrell.  He has served as a member of the music faculties of the University of California, Irvine and the Aspen Music Festival, and as the cellist of the highly acclaimed Angeles String Quartet, which won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance for their complete recordings of the 68 Haydn String Quartets.  Mr. Erdody also founded Chamber Music Los Angeles, an organization that supports non-profit organizations to enrich children’s lives through the performing arts (particularly children who are terminally ill, at risk, or have little exposure to the arts).  Stephen is very active in the motion picture and recording industry particularly with John Williams with whom he enjoys a close collaboration on many of his films.  He can also be heard as soloist in Mark Mancina’s score to “August Rush” and Nicholas Glennie-Smith’s score to “Secretariat”, as well as scores by Hans Zimmer and John Debney.  His cello solos have killed-off many guest stars on “ER” as well as many of the actors in the mini-series, “The Pacific.  Mr. Erdody resides in Altadena, California with his wife, Juliana and their thirteen-year old son, Daniel.  Stephen plays on an 1844 Antonio Gibertini cello, as well as a cello made by Joseph Grubaugh & Sigrun Seifert in 1989.

$25 in advance / $30 at door / $20 students

Roger Wilkie (Violin) has enjoyed a rich and varied musical life.  He is in great demand as a chamber musician, and was a founding member of the Angeles String Quartet.  He has been solo violinist with the Santa Barbara based Camerata Pacifica, on whose series he played hundreds of concerts as recitalist and chamber musician over a ten year period, and has appeared at many chamber music festivals including La Jolla Summerfest, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Festival. Presently, Mr. Wilkie is a member of the Pacific Trio with cellist John Walz and pianist Edith Orloff.  His career also extends to the Hollywood Studios, where he has served as concertmaster for John Williams' scores for "Indiana Jones IV" “Munich” and “Memoirs of a Geisha”.

Sarah Thornblade (Violin) is currently the associate principal second violin of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. She is an avid chamber musician and a member of both the Eclipse quartet (a new music string quartet) and X-tet. She has performed with Camerata Pacifica, and the Auros Group for New Music (Boston).  Sarah has performed throughout the country and abroad including festivals such as Tanglewood, Spoleto, Colorado Music Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Norfolk Festival, Banff and the Portland Chamber Music Festival. She is proud to have collaborated with artists such as Glibert Kalish, Jeffrey Kahane, Andres Cardenes, Randall Hodgkinson and Warren Jones.

Searmi Park (Violin) was born and raised in LA, and started studying the violin at age six.  She played concerts and competitions as the first violinist of the Alma String Quartet, and has since played chamber music at the Taos Chamber Music Festival and at the Yellowbarn Music Featival under the Takacs String Quartet.  She has played and taught at festivals in South Africa and Portugal; as well as participating in the Oregon Bach Festival and Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo.  A member of LA Chamber Orchestra for ten years, Searmi has also played with the Los Angeles Phil, LA Opera, and Pacific Symphony Orchestras.

Robert Edward Thies (Piano) enjoys a diverse career as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. He has performed 40 different concerti with orchestras all over the world, including the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, the Auckland Philharmonia (New Zealand), the Mexico City Philharmonic, Mexico’s National Symphony, the Fort Worth Symphony, the Pasadena Symphony, the Louisville Orchestra, and , the Naples Philharmonic.   A dedicated chamber musician, he has appeared with established ensembles such as the Angeles, Calder, and New Hollywood String Quartets, and has also performed on the chamber series of  the Camerata Pacifica, Mladi, Dilijan and Jacaranda. He also founded The Thies Consort, a unique ensemble using varying instrumentation and thematic programming. 

Gavin Martin (Piano) Gavin Martin's musical endeavors took him from India to the United States by way of the Royal College of Music in London. He has performed solo recitals on all five continents, and has appeared as soloist under conductors Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, and Zubin Mehta, with whom he made his New York Philharmonic debut.  Martin’s California concerts have included appearances on chamber music series including Camerata Pacifica, Dilijan and the Music Guild, and a recital with cellist, Lynn Harrell. 

Margaret Parkins (Cello) is an uncommonly versatile musician, Parkins is equally at home in chamber music, orchestral music and the avant-garde. She is the cellist of the LA based Eclipse String Quartet, and is also a member of the Los Angeles based Mojave Piano Trio, as well as formerly with the Robin Cox Ensemble and Quatracelli. Her interest in music outside the classical tradition has led her to perform with groups including the Jazz Passengers, Billy Childs, the Anthony Braxton's Tri Centric Ensemble, and The Phantom Orchard Orchestra.  She has collaborated with singers as diverse as Jessie Norman to Caetano Veloso , Beck and Bjork.

Brian Dembow (Viola) was born in New York City, Brian was admitted to the Juilliard School at age eleven as a scholarship student of the renowned pedagogue Dorothy DeLay. Mr. Dembow has been a member of the New York, Angeles, and Sequoia String Quartets.  A move to Southern California in 1978 helped establish his reputation as a teacher at the University of California, and as an orchestral musician serving as concertmaster of both the Long Beach and San Diego Symphonies.  Mr. Dembow has also served for several years as Artist-in-Residence at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado.

Stuart Clark (Clarinet) received his music education at the Royal College of Music in London, graduating with honors. In his postgraduate year he was awarded an exchange fellowship to study at UCLA and furthered his studies at USC.  Stuart is currently the Principal Clarinetist of the Los Angeles Opera and has performed with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Spokane Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, Pacific Symphony and New West Symphony.  As an active chamber musician he has worked with Jacaranda, Capitol Ensemble, Infrequency and the New Hollywood String Quartet. In addition to live orchestral and chamber music concerts, he records regularly for film and television.

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