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Bienen School of Music Students to Perform at Kennedy Center

April 15 concert in nation’s capital to be streamed live at 5 p.m. CDT via Internet

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April 10, 2013 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Four outstanding Northwestern University student soloists -- a baritone, a pianist, a violist and a violinist -- in the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music will be featured in a concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Monday, April 15. 

The performance marks the ninth consecutive year that the Bienen School has been invited to participate in the Kennedy Center’s Conservatory Project, an initiative that features some of the best young talent from the country’s premier music institutions.

The concert will be streamed live locally at 5 p.m. CDT (Central Daylight Time) via the Internet. To view the webcast, visit the Kennedy Center website

The Bienen School’s Kennedy Center performers include:

• Baritone Evan Bravos, a master of music candidate, is studying with voice faculty member Karen Brunssen, co-chair of the Bienen School’s department of music performance. Bravos will sing “The Dodger” from Copland’s “Old American Songs,” Ravel’s “Cinq melodies populaires grecques,” and “Tanzlied” from Korngold’s “Die tote Stadt.”

• Pianist Xia Jiang, a doctor of music candidate, is studying with Alan Chow, associate professor of piano. Jiang will perform “Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14” and “Liebesfreud” by Rachmaninoff.

• Violist Danny Lai, a dual degree music performance and economics undergraduate, is studying with Roland Vamos, professor of viola. Lai will perform “Three Preludes” by Gershwin and “Sarasateana” by Efrem Zimbalist. 

• Violinist Jing Qiao, a master of music candidate studying with Almita Vamos, professor of violin, will perform Paganini’s “Andante” and Wieniawski’s “Carnaval Russe.”

Bravos, Lai and Qiao will be accompanied by pianist Nolan Pearson.

For more information and links to videos of Bienen School students who have appeared in earlier Conservatory Project performances, visit the Kennedy Center website.

Performer Biographies

• Evan Bravos is a native of St. Charles, Ill. His recent roles include Tom Joad (“The Grapes of Wrath”), Sid (“Albert Herring”), Falke (“Die Fledermaus”), Bob (“The Old Maid and the Thief”), Tapioca (“L’etoile”), and Maximilian (“Candide”). His concert appearances include Durufle’s “Requiem,” Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” the Bach and Mendelssohn Magnificats, Handel’s “Messiah,” Haydn’s “Mass in Time of War” and Copland’s “Old American Songs,” with ensembles that have included the Lake Geneva, Manitowoc, Fox Valley and Elgin Symphonies, as well as the Elgin Youth Symphony and Janesville Choral Union. Bravos regularly sings with the St. James Cathedral Choir in Chicago. He holds a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance and music education from Lawrence University Conservatory in Appleton, Wisc.

• Xia Jiang is from Shanghai, China. He has performed as a recitalist throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and China. Jiang is the winner of the 10th Ettlingen International Piano Competition in Germany and the third Asian Youth Piano Competition in Hong Kong. As a soloist, he has performed in Japan’s Yokohama International Music Festival; the Montecito Music Festival in Santa Barbara, Calif., the International Conservatory Week Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia; and the 2012 Shanghai International Piano Festival and Institute. He has given concerto performances with the China National Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Shanghai Philharmonic, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. Jiang completed his bachelor’s degree at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and his master’s degree at the Eastman School of Music.

• Danny Lai hails from Denver, Colo., and has per­formed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago and the New World Symphony in Miami, as well as at Carnegie Hall’s New York String Seminar. In both the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, he serves as principal viola and also has been assistant principal violist in the Aspen Chamber Symphony. In 2011, he participated in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, which used the city of Sydney and its iconic Opera House as its stage. Lai also has performed in Japan’s Pacific Music Festival and at the Lucerne Festival Academy. This season, he will appear with the Camerata Chicago on tour in Czechoslovakia, France, and Italy.

Jing Qiao, originally from Sichuan, China, recently won first prize at the Yang Tong Liu China International Violin Competition. As a soloist and chamber musician, she has been invited to perform recitals in the United States, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Poland and China. Qiao has participated in the Aspen and Sarasota music festivals as well as Denmark’s Thy Chamber Music Festival, and together with accordionist Gang Xia, she has recorded the music of Astor Piazzolla. Qiao made her debut with the Triangle Chamber Orchestra in 2009 as the first prize winner of its inaugural Young String Soloist Competition. After studying at Singapore National University’s Yoh Siew Toh Conservatory in 2005, she received a bachelor’s degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2011.

Piano accompanist Nolan Pearson has appeared as soloist under conductors Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Stefan Asbury, Bridget Reischl and Robert Hasty. His current season includes chamber performances with violinist Cho-Liang Lin, Chicago Pro Musica, Lucy Shelton and the Prometheus Ensemble, as well as a guest residency at the Bright Sheng Partnership in Hong Kong. A founding member of Tanglewood’s New Fromm Players, Pearson has performed with the group in 2010 and 2011. He is the winner of the 2012 Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists, the 2009 Henri Kohn Award, the 2008 Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship, the 2008 Lindsay Competition, and the Concerto Competitions at Oberlin Conservatory and Northwestern University. He received his bachelor’s degree from Oberlin Conservatory and his master’s degree from Northwestern University. Pearson has studied with Ursula Oppens, Robert Shannon, Peter Serkin, and Stephen Drury.

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