2019-2020 GUEST ARTISTS
Jotaro Nakano is a Southern California native who recently returned to his home town after completing his master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Michigan under the tutelage of Maestro Kenneth Kiesler. In 2017/18, Jotaro served as Music Director of the Ann Arbor Camerata, a chamber orchestra based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He also served as Assistant Conductor of the University Symphony, the University Philharmonia, and the Campus Symphony Orchestras. In 2016, Jotaro participated in a masterclass led by Maestro Sir Simon Rattle of the Berlin Philharmonic. Previously, Jotaro has served as Assistant Conductor for the Prague Summer Nights Festival in their production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Conducting Fellow of the Long Beach Symphony’s 2015/16 season, and Conducting Associate at the 2017 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.
Jotaro received his bachelor’s degree in Music Performance at the California State University Long Beach Bob Cole Conservatory of Music. While a student there in 2014, Jotaro founded the CSULB Repertory Reading Orchestra, in which he conducted fellow classmates and friends through multiple chamber works in concert.
Jotaro has conducted orchestras in Prague, Czech Republic; Bacau, Romania; Portland, Maine; San Diego, California; Santa Cruz, California; and most recently in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Described as a “striking interpreter” who gives a “committed and heartfelt performance” by Musical America and The New York Times, pianist Fanya Lin has captivated audiences worldwide with her charismatic and gripping performances. Her orchestral appearances include the Toruń Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Savannah Philharmonic, Grand Junction Symphony, and Aurora Symphony. Fanya’s performance of Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was depicted as “mesmerizing performance, it appeared as though a tornado had touched down through her [Fanya Lin] body and lifted her, feathers fluttering, from the piano stool as she weighed into the keys” by Hastings Timesand Festival Flyer.
An avid soloist, Fanya promotes classical music to the general public by creating innovative concert programs and engages her audience by presenting interactive performances. Her solo recitals have been featured in numerous prestigious concert series, including the Schubert Club Musicians on the Rise, Stecher and Horowitz Young Artist Series, and Eslite Emerging Artist Series. Moreover, in part of group efforts, Fanya has encouraged and assisted younger generations of music students to continue their education and peruse their dreams through fundraising events such as the Saint Island Fundraising Concert, Weber State University All Steinway School Designation, and the Sid & Mary Foulgers School of Music. Fanya also dedicates herself to new music by performing with contemporary music organizations such as Focus and Axiom.
As a chamber musician, Fanya has collaborated with world-class musicians including Noah Bendix-Balgley (concert master of Berlin Philharmonic), Romie de Guise-Langlois (clarinetist of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society), and Ta’u Pupu’a (tenor in major opera productions including Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera). Fanya’s festival concerts and masterclass series include Aspen, Music@Menlo, Rocky Mountain Audio Festival, Minnesota International Piano Camp, and Savannah Arts Academy.
A native of Taipei, Taiwan, Fanya is a top prizewinner of Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, Concours International de Piano France-Amériques, New York International Piano Competition, and Seattle International Piano Competition. Fanya earned her Doctoral Degree at the University of Minnesota under the guidance of Distinguished McKnight Professor Lydia Artymiw; her Master’s Degree at The Juilliard School with Professor Hung-Kuan Chen and Jerome Lowenthal; and her Bachelor’s Degree at Weber State University with Dr. Yu-Jane Yang. In Fall 2019, Dr. Fanya Lin joined the University of Arizona in Tucson as Assistant Professor of Music in Piano, where she teaches applied lessons in piano and coaches chamber music.
Orion Kim is a thirteen-year old pianist from Saint Paul, MN. He studies with nationally distinguished artist/teacher, Dr. Joseph Zins, of Crocus Hills Studios. Enrolled in the Studio’s high intensity Performance Studies for the Gifted and Talented Pre-College Student, he is a member of the Premier Class. He comes from a very musical family; both of his parents are professional performing musicians with whom he regularly plays piano trios, and his sister is a member of the Premier Class also, as a student of Dr. JoAnne Link.
Orion has performed with numerous orchestras in the Twin Cities area. Most recently, Orion took first place in the 2019 St. Paul Piano Teachers Association Concerto Competition. Orion also took top honors in the 2019 Dakota Valley Concerto Competition, the 2018 Golden Valley Young Artists Competition, and the 2018 Minneapolis Music Teachers Forum Mozart Concerto Competition. At the 2018 University of Minnesota International Piano Camp, Orion was chosen to rehearse and perform the first movement of Mozart’s Concerto in D minor, K. 466, with a chamber orchestra under the direction of Maestro Mark Russell Smith, and performed Haydn’s “Gypsy Trio” with college-age string players.
Orion’s other great passion besides the piano is soccer, and he plays competitively for the Saint Paul Blackhawks Club, whose team won the 2019 Minnesota State Championship and the 2018 USA Schwann Cup.
Sydney native Susie Park first picked up a violin at age three, made her solo debut at five, and, by 16, had performed with every major orchestra in her country. Susie has grown into a musician distinguished by unusual passion and versatility, and today performs internationally as an orchestral, chamber, and solo artist.
Susie's international career was launched at age 16, when she took first place in the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition in France. This led to performances and reengagements throughout the US, Europe, and her native Australia, where highlights included performances for crowds of over 120,000. Susie went on to receive additional top honors at the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis and the Wieniawski Competition in Poland.
Susie has since concertized around the world, soloing and touring with European orchestras including the Vienna Symphony, Orchestre National de Lille, and the Royal Philharmonic; American orchestras including the Pittsburgh Symphony and San Francisco Symphony; Korea's KBS Orchestra; Orchestra Wellington in New Zealand; and all major symphony orchestras in Australia. Working with conductors including Simon Rattle, Hans Vonk, Alan Gilbert, Fabio Luisi and Yehudi Menuhin, Susie has been heard in venues ranging from New York’s Carnegie and Alice Tully Halls, Boston's Symphony Hall, Chicago's Millenium Park, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, Washington's Smithsonian Institute, Vienna's Musikverein, Cologne's Philharmonie, Düsseldorf's Tonhalle, and Sydney's Opera House.
Susie was recently appointed first associate concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra, and can be seen this season both leading and soloing with the ensemble. Susie will also tour with the conductorless East Coast Chamber Orchestra, of which she a founding member. She joins the Enso String Quartet as first violinist for their final season. Susie performed with the Twin Cities own Accordo as guest violinist this fall. Other recent highlights include judging the Michael Hill international violin competition in New Zealand; serving on the faculty of the Bowdoin International Music Festival; touring her home country as guest first violinist of the Australian String Quartet, which prompted the The Australian to publish a review headlined "Australian String Quartet proof Susie Park's one we let get away;" and touring India with the Australian World Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta.
Susie was formerly the violinist of the Eroica Trio from 2006 to 2012, with which she recorded the ensemble’s eighth CD, an all-American disc nominated for a Grammy, and toured internationally. She was also a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two, collaborating with Wu Han, Gary Hoffman and Ida Kavafian. For three consecutive summers she was in residence at the Marlboro Music Festival, and she has been seen on numerous tours with Musicians from Marlboro. Susie has performed chamber music with members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Emerson, and Cleveland Quartets, as well as Kim Kashkashian, Pamela Frank, Jason Vieaux, Cho-Liang Lin, and Jaime Laredo. Among her festival engagements have been performances at Music from Angel Fire, the Caramoor, Skaneatles, Aspen, Ravinia and Bowdoin festivals in the US; Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove in England; Bermuda Festival; the Mozarteum Sommerakademie in Austria; and Keshet Eilon in Israel.
Susie's diverse musical interests have also led to collaborations with artists such as trumpeter Chris Botti, which whom she performed 41 consecutive shows at the Blue Note jazz club in New York.
Susie holds degrees from the Curtis Institute and the New England Conservatory; her principal teachers include Jaime Laredo, Ida Kavafian, Donald Weilerstein, Miriam Fried, Shi-Xiang (Peter) Zhang, and Christopher Kimber. She performs on a J.B. Guadagnini violin made in 1740, once featured in a documentary of which Susie herself was a subject. Susie enjoys a variety of creative arts, including cooking, sewing, clothing design, and carpentry. Recent creations include several purses, a dining table, and bespoke muppets.
American violinist Andrew Sords has a celebrated career as a soloist on 4 continents and in performances with his trio. Having collaborated with 300 orchestras, Sords has been cited for combining visceral virtuosity with a ravishing tone, while international critics endorse Sords as “a fully formed artist” (Kalisz-Poland News), “utterly radiant” (Canada’s Arts Forum), and “exceptionally heartfelt and soulful” (St. Maarten’s Daily Herald). Closer to home, ClevelandClassical.com gushed: “the stunner of the afternoon was a breathless but magnificently controlled performance of Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” sonata, which Sords charged through with giddy aplomb.” Sords has received numerous awards and distinctions reflecting his career trajectory, including the 2012 Pittsburgh Concert Society Career Grant and the 2005 National Shirley Valentin Award.
Born in Newark, Delaware, Sords was raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and asked for piano lessons at age five. A year later, he began studying violin with Liza Grossman, and continued studies with Linda Cerone, David Russell, and Chee-Yun Kim at the ENCORE School for Strings, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Southern Methodist University. As a teenager, Sords garnered prizes from concerto competitions, signed with management, and cultivated a media and audience following from hundreds of interviews, profiles, and appearances. Following Sords’ debut in Australia, the Melbourne Age declared, “Sords made a voluble soloist in Mozart's Turkish concerto, forging his statements with an admirably firm clarity and bringing out the work's virtuosity as often as possible. His bowing arm showed an attractive suppleness and an attention to variety of phrasing that made even the episodic finale a pleasure.”
In the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons, Andrew Sords will tour extensively with the Beethoven sonata and piano trio cycles, the Triple Concerto, and the Violin Concerto in celebration of the composer's 250th anniversary. These appearances will include far-flung venues such as Australia, Mexico, Quebec, the Caribbean, the Canary Islands, and across the United States. Sords returns to the Peninsula Symphony (Sords/Walz/Durkovic) and North State Symphony (Sords/Anderson/Anderson) with Beethoven; appears with the Mississippi Valley Orchestra (Tchaikovsky); visits the Juneau Symphony (Bruch); trots out Corigliano's "Red Violin Chaconne" and Paganini's "La Campanella" with the Longwood Symphony; and continues touring with baritone Daniel Singer and pianist Elizabeth DeMio featuring the obscure "6 Gesange" by Louis Spohr. Uniting with John Walz (cello) and Timothy Durkovic (piano), Sords will appear in several all-Beethoven programs throughout the Los Angeles area, including return appearances at Pasadena's Boston Court Concert Series and the St. Cross Music Guild. Following a tradition of annual tours in Canada, Sords will make his British Columbia debut with a tour visiting the North Okanagan Concert Association, the Kelowna Concert Association, and the Evergreen Concert Series (Vancouver), and in 2020, travels north to Whitehorse Concerts (Yukon Territory). Also in 2020, Sords makes debuts on the Barrie Concert Series (Ontario), Lakeshore Chamber Music (Montreal), and the Caledon Series (Toronto) - all with pianist Cheryl Duvall.
In recent seasons, Sords has appeared with the El Paso Symphony, Flagstaff Symphony, Brevard Symphony, Pueblo Symphony, Spartanburg Philharmonic, Southeastern Ohio Symphony, Des Moines Orchestra, Grand Junction Symphony, Durham Chamber Orchestra, Longmont Symphony, Guatemala’s “Festival Bravissimo”, Oakland Symphony, Windsor Symphony, Motor City Symphony, Kalisz Philharmonic (Poland), North State Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, Cleveland Philharmonic, Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Philharmonia, Gulf Coast Symphony, Melbourne Chamber Symphony, and both the Elgar and Dvorak concerti at Toronto’s famed Glenn Gould Studio. In 2017, Sords made his UK debut with concerts in Edinburgh and Scotland (Tchaikovsky concerto) with the Glasgow Philharmonia, and his Guatemala City debut (Bruch concerto). In his hometown, Sords returned to his childhood orchestra, the Contemporary Youth Orchestra (Barber concerto), and performances in the Cleveland area include the Cleveland Philharmonic, Solon Philharmonic, Euclid Symphony, Parma Symphony, Shaker Heights Symphony, Heights Chamber Orchestra, Lakeland Orchestra, Earth and Air String Orchestra, Mansfield Symphony, and the Brahms and Schumann sonata cycles for the Trinity Cathedral Concert Series. Sords’ July 4th outdoor appearances have included shows with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and an audience of 30,000, while a 2018 collaboration with the El Paso Symphony had 15,000 onlookers - both evenings featured the Tchaikovsky concerto. No stranger to presenting obscure concerti, a debut with the Boulder Chamber Orchestra and the Arensky concerto had Opus Colorado declaring: “[Sords’] remarkably flexible bow arm and relaxed left hand created the impression that he was having no difficulty whatsoever”.
As a prolific recitalist, Sords has appeared in La Jolla, Washington, D.C., Maui, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and at St. Augustine’s (FL) EMMA Series at Flagler College. Sords has toured to Australia on numerous occasions with concerti by Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Vaughan-Williams, as well as an eclectic program for the Brunswick Beethoven Festival and the Arden Crescent Series. Inspired by his duo and trio collaborations, Sords has united with cellists John Walz, Joseph Johnson, Sawyer Thomson, and Scott Lykins in performances of the Brahms “Double” concerto, and appears with his trio on notable series. A 2015 Canada tour with the Mendelssohn Piano Trios and Violin Sonata was reprised with Cheryl Duvall and Luke Severn in an all-Brahms program in Oshawa, Montreal, Guelph, and Toronto. First invited by San Miguel de Allende, Mexico’s ProMusica Series in 2011, Sords has returned with six varied recitals; performed two programs for West Palm Beach’s Norton Museum Series; and toured with an all-French program to numerous venues in the Midwest with Eriko Izumida, pianist. As a frequent soloist in the Caribbean, Sords has appeared in Puerto Rico, Anguilla, St. Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Grand Cayman, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and “STRINGS MAGAZINE” profiled a series of performances with the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Philharmonic. From a recent Cleveland recital, the review enthused: “Expertly performed, he brought a full and rich sound and gave a heroic performance of Ravel’s ‘Tzigane’, powerful and in control of the many notes. Sords impressed with his total command of technique, consummate musicianship and bravura as he tossed of scads of notes and sang out like a diva…he and Izumida kept the audience in the palm of their hands all afternoon.” (Cleveland Classical).
A man of diverse interests, Sords has competed in the charity fundraiser “Pittsburgh’s Dancing With The Stars” as the first classical artist to do so. Passionate about social causes, Sords has performed numerous times for LGBT outreach, including Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy”, the Tchaikovsky, and the Beethoven concerti in collaborations with the Minnesota Philharmonic, the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, and the Atlanta Philharmonic. Along with Liana Izakadze’s World Virtuosi, Sords appeared in Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, and will perform the Sibelius and Dvorak concerti in 2019 appearances with the Jackson Symphony and Brevard Symphony. Sords is a popular guest for various media platforms: featured four times on Sirius XM’s Derek and Romaine Show and profiled by “OUT Magazine”, NPR’S Morning Edition, and hundreds of media outlets, Sords also performed the National Anthem for ESPN2’s WNBA Pride Game (2014) and a sold-out Cleveland Indians game at Progressive Field. Sords’s recent collaboration with Sean Christopher on the New-Age album “Transcendence” has been a commercial and critical success, with reviews stating: “much of this is owed to the gorgeous and precise playing by Andrew Sords, whose violin adds a thrumming undercurrent of pure life throughout the album’s stainless steel structure.” This album is available on iTunes, Amazon.com, and CDBaby.
Sords makes his home in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and can be found on the web at http://www.andrewsords.com.
Chorus Polaris is an eclectic community chamber chorus of 35 professional and amateur singers drawn from throughout the extended Twin Cities area. We sing an extraordinary range of music, from Renaissance motets to jazz to masterworks with orchestra. And we work hard to get out from behind the music, singing with spirit, expression, and skill.
Chorus Polaris has a distinguished history in the Twin Cities, performing music for voices and instruments from a wide variety of periods and styles. The vision we have for our next chapter includes widening our musical range, increasing our musical skills, and deepening our sense of excellence and community.