Chamber On The Mountain
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Arianna String Quartet

Arianna String Quartet
John McGrosso, violin, Julia Sakharova, violin, Joanna Mendoza, viola, Kurt Baldwin, cello

Sunday, May 4, 2014
3:00 pm / Logan House

(adjacent to the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts)
8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd. (in Upper Ojai)
Ojai, CA 93023

Detailed map and directions


Arnold van Wyk - Five Elegies for String Quartet
Henri Dutilleux - Ainsi la nuit
Felix Mendelssohn - Quartet in F minor, Op.80

View Program (pdf)

Hailed for their outstanding musicianship, the Arianna String Quartet has firmly established itself as one of America's finest chamber ensembles. Their performances have been praised for "tonal warmth, fastidious balance...expressive vitality" (Chicago Tribune) and "emotional commitment and fluent virtuosity," (Pretoria News, South Africa). Formed in 1992, the ASQ garnered national attention by winning the Grand Prize in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, First Prize in both the Coleman and Carmel Chamber Music Competitions, and were Laureates in the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition.

The Arianna Quartet has appeared throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia, with frequent visits to Brazil and South Africa. They have collaborated with many of the world's finest musicians, including members of the Vermeer, Tokyo, Cleveland and Juilliard Quartets, and their live performances have been heard on National Public Radio's "Performance Today," and "Live from Music Mountain", which broadcasts to 125 stations in the U.S. and to 35 countries. The ASQ has recorded for Albany Records and Urtext Digital Classics, and has a long-term contract with Centaur Records. Their most recent release of the two string quartets of Janacek is now available, with the their release of the six Op. 18 quartets of Beethoven soon to follow.

Highlights for 2013 include returns to Brazil and South Africa, residencies at the Peabody Institute of Music and the Madeline Island Music Camp, and the continuation of the Arianna Chamber Music Festival, held on the campus of the University of Missouri - St. Louis, where they have been full-time faculty since 2000. The Arianna Quartet is also Ensemble-in-Residence at the Touhill Performing Arts Center in St. Louis, where they present their own series of concerts.

Sought after for their highly effective approach to coaching and teaching as a quartet, the Arianna String Quartet has led the design and implementation of numerous chamber music programs including the Britt Quartet Academy, FEMUSC Intensive Chamber Music Program in Brazil and most recently, the University of Western Cape Chamber Music Institute, South Africa. In addition to intensive musical training for string quartets, this institute focuses on ideas of community, outreach and entrepreneurship, and helping students develop skills for a self-sustaining business that gives back to their communities through teaching and performances.  

Visit the Arianna String Quartet website for additional information


John McGrosso, violinJohn McGrosso, violin

Hailed by the Boston Globe as “first class, with a robust sound and technique that seems to come from the center of the person” John McGrosso has been the first violinist of the Arianna String Quartet since 1998. He has been featured as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and has performed in recital to critical acclaim throughout the United States. During seven years as a member of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s first violin section, Mr. McGrosso performed frequently in the orchestra’s “Chamber Music St. Louis,” and “Discovery,” series, and originated the popular “On the Stage” series of unique audience engagement evenings. He has taught on the faculties of Illinois Wesleyan University, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and Eastern Michigan University, and is currently an Associate Professor of Violin at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where the Arianna Quartet is tenured and has been in residence since 2000. As a member of the Arianna Quartet, he has collaborated with artists such as James Campbell, Gilbert Kalish, Bernard Greenhouse, Richard Stoltzman, and members of the Tokyo, Vermeer, and Juilliard Quartets, and been on the summer faculties of the Britt Institute, Madeline Island, and Music at Port Milford. Mr. McGrosso received his bachelors and masters degrees from Juilliard, and holds a Performer's Certificate from Northern Illinois University. He also attended the Aspen Music Festival, the Steans Young Artist Program at Ravinia, and the Quartet Programme in Aldeburgh, England. His violin teachers have included Dorothy Delay, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Joyce Robbins, Joel Smirnoff, and Gerald Beal, and he has studied chamber music with members of the Juilliard, Tokyo, LaSalle, and Vermeer Quartets. 


Julia Sakharova, violinJulia Sakharova, violin

Violinist Julia Sakharova has been active as soloist, chamber musician and orchestra player. Her musicianship was described as “convincing and intense with pleasing delicacy of playing” (The Strad), and “a very powerful musical personality” (Santa Barbara News Press).

She is the prize winner of several international and national competitions including the Jeunesses Musicales Montreal International Competition, the Olga Koussevitzky Award for Strings, and the Juilliard and Oberlin Concerto Competitions. Her performance credits include appearances with the Moscow State Orchestra, Caracas Philharmonic, Iowa Orchestra, and Montreal Symphony Orchestra. She has given recitals at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Steinway Hall. Ms. Sakharova's performances have been broadcast on WQXR's Young Artists' Showcase in New York City, Cleveland's WCLV, Los Angeles' KMZT and WBHM of Birmingham. She made her orchestral debut at the age of 8 with the Moldova Symphony Orchestra and since then has performed throughout Russia, Western and Southern Europe, Japan, South America, and the United States. Ms. Sakharova made her West Coast debut under the baton of composer/conductor John Williams at the Getty Center in Los Angeles performing Schindler’s List. Ms. Sakharova's film score credits include Mimzy, The Perfect Stranger, and The Brave One. Her recordings include CD releases of the Rachmoninoff Piano Trios and the soon to be released “Ampersand” on the Naxos label by composer Sean Hickey written for Ms. Sakharova and commissioned by the musicians club of New York. Ms. Sakharova has attended numerous festivals, among them the Verbier Festival and Academy in Switzerland, the Music Academy of the West, and the Casalmaggiore Music Festival in Italy.

An active teacher and mentor, Ms. Sakharova's students have won numerous awards and competition including the Lois Pickard Scholarship Competition with the Alabama Symphony, and the American Protege International Piano and Strings Competition. From 2008-2012 Ms. Sakharova served as assistant concertmaster with the Alabama Symphony. Currently, Ms. Sakharova is the newest member of the Arianna String Quartet and joins the violin faculty at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Ms. Sakharova holds degrees in Violin Performance: Bachelor of Music Oberlin Conservatory, Master of Music Juilliard School, and the Professional Certificate in Orchestral Performance Studies from Manhattan School of Music. She plays an 1819 Raffaele and Antonio Gagliano violin.


Joanna Mendoza, violaJoanna Mendoza, viola

Noted for her "lush, sonorous and assertive tone" (NY Stringer Magazine), and "eloquent phrasing" (New York Concert Review), violist Joanna Mendoza has performed throughout North America, South America, Europe and South Africa and has given master classes in Beijing, China. Summer festival appearances include Interlochen Arts Camp, Madeline Island Music Camp, Killington Music Festival, Mammoth Lakes Chamber Music Festival, and Bellingham Festival of Music.

Joanna Mendoza is the violist of the Arianna String Quartet and Associate Professor of Viola at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. Their national and international performances have been praised for their “emotional commitment and fluent virtuosity,” (Pretoria News) and “tonal warmth, fastidious balance…expressive vitality” (Chicago Tribune). The Arianna Quartet can be heard on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today,” and “Live from Music Mountain” which broadcasts to 125 stations in the U.S. and to 35 countries. Current projects include a long-term, multi-disc recording contract with Centaur Records and a concert tour in South Africa in August 2013.

Prior to joining the Arianna Quartet, Ms. Mendoza performed with the Harrington String Quartet for 10 years. During that time, they premiered “String Circle,” a viola quintet by composer/violist Kenji Bunch, commissioned and written for Ms. Mendoza. The Harrington Quartet was featured in a PBS television documentary, “A Sound Collaboration-The Harrington String Quartet,” and recorded the complete string quartets of Daniel McCarthy on the Albany Record label.

Ms. Mendoza earned her degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied with members of the Pro Arte Quartet and at the Juilliard School where she studied with William Lincer and the Juilliard Quartet. She plays a viola made by Christophe Landon in 1991.


Kurt Baldwin, celloKurt Baldwin, cello

Kurt Baldwin is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, where the Arianna String Quartet has been in residence since 2000. As a founding member of the Arianna String Quartet in 1992, Mr. Baldwin has been awarded the Grand Prizes at the Fischoff Competition, Coleman Competition, and Carmel Competition, and was a Laureate at the 1999 Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition. Mr. Baldwin has concertized throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Italy, France and Japan, has been heard in live radio broadcasts in over 30 states and on NPR’s “Performance Today”, and has recorded for the Albany, Centaur and Urtext classical labels. He has collaborated with members of the Tokyo, Cleveland, Juilliard, and Vermeer quartets, as well as Richard Stoltzman, Bernard Greenhouse, Gilbert Kalish and James Campbell. He studied with Janina Ehrlich at Augustana College, received his bachelor of music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory with Irene Sharp, and earned a master of music degree from the New England Conservatory, where he was a student of Bernard Greenhouse. Mr. Baldwin also holds a Performer’s Certificate from Northern Illinois University, where he studied with Marc Johnson and the Vermeer Quartet.


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