Date & Time: Friday January 11, 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Incarnation Episcopal Church, 1750 29th Avenue, San Francisco
Tickets: $20 General, $15 Seniors/Students
Beethoven Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69
Tchaikovsky Pezzo Capriccioso, Op. 62
Tchaikovsky Nocturne Op. 19 No. 4
Dmitri Shostakovich Sonata for cello and piano in D minor, Op. 40
About the Artists
Exciting young American cellist Ben Capps enjoys a versatile performing career as a soloist and chamber musician. His artistry has been praised as “most appealing” by the New York Times, “virtuosic and impassioned” by the Barre Montpelier Times, the Holland Times hailed Capps as a “young cello phenomenon from New York” with “dazzling technique and a fearsomely meaty tone”, and the Epoch Times proclaimed that “Capps has it all . . . cello playing of the very highest standard.” He has performed in varying capacities at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, Weill and Zankel Halls, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., Mann Hall in Tel Aviv, Meyerson Hall in Dallas, and the Auditorio Nacional, the Palace of Fine Arts and Sala Nezahualcoytl in Mexico City. Capps has appeared as soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, the New York Concerti Sinfonietta, the Manchester Music Festival Orchestra, Juilliard Pre-College Symphony, and the Manhattan School of Music Composer’s Orchestra. Recent performance highlights include an unaccompanied recital tour in the Midwest , a recital tour of China (Xiamin, Fouzhou and Gulangyu), and recital appearances in New York, Greece and Spain as well as a performance of all five Beethoven sonatas and more in Vermont.
In September 2014 LP Classics released Ben Capps’ newest disc: Ossia, music of Bach, Schumann & Fitzenhagen for solo cello & company. Ben Capps can also be heard on Innova Records with two discs of music for solo cello by contemporary composer Andrew Violette & on Tzadik Records with a collaborative cello & electronics piece by Anna Clyne called Fits & Starts which was featured for a week on WQXR in New York.
At age 21, Capps was appointed principal cellist of Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, a dynamic New York based symphony orchestra founded by conductor Alondra de la Parra, whose highly regarded premier Sony Classics recording Mi Alma Mexicana attained high international status.
An avid chamber musician, Ben attended festivals such as Bowdoin, Schlern Int’l (Italy), Burgos Int’l (Spain) and Summit Summer Festivals, the Perlman Music Program, and the ChamberFest and FOCUS! Festivals in Lincoln Center. Ben made numerous appearances on Manhattan’s Tactus Series, and has performed on Trinity Church’s Music at One series, as well as numerous appearances at Bargemusic. More recently Capps has appeared as guest artist with Manchester Music Festival, Summit Int’l Festival, the Burlington Ensemble, and the International Chamber Soloists, Lyrica and Lumina Chamber Music. He is the founding member of the Olympus Piano Trio which offered an evening of piano trios at the Athens Megaron Concert Hall in January 2013. He has been heard on American radio on the McGraw Hill Young Artists’ Showcase, and was recently the subject of an hour-long special on VPR which documented his 2012 solo (unaccompanied) cello tour of Vermont. Additionally, Capps was heard performing the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas with interviews and commentary on Vermont Public Radio in 2013, as well as in concert. Then Capps was heard performing the complete sonatas by Mendelssohn & Brahms in 2014 on VPR, as well as live in concert.
An ardent performer of new music, he is committed to presenting music of today’s composers and has given numerous performances of new cello works, including Daniel Vezza Pulsations for Cello and Chamber Orchestra (composed for Mr. Capps), Marcus Paus Cello Sonnets, Anna Klein Fits and Starts, Daniel Vezza Circles, Reiko Futing Kaddish: The Art of Losing, and Robert Karpay’s Cello Concerto.
A native of New York City, Ben Capps began playing the cello at age four with Nellis DeLay at New York’s School for Strings. At 10 he was admitted to Juilliard Pre-College, where he studied for seven years with Anne Alton, Andre Emelianoff, and Fred Sherry.
He received a Bachelor’s degree at Manhattan School of Music, and a Master of Music Degree from Juilliard in May 2010, both under the guidance of the great David Soyer of the Guarneri String Quartet. He recently earned a Graduate Diploma at New England Conservatory in Boston, where he was a student of Laurence Lesser.
He is the recipient of many awards, including the New York State Association of Music Teachers Scholarship Competition 1999; Juilliard Pre-College Symphony, Concerto Competition, 2001, the Lillian Fuchs Award, 2004, the Francis Goelet Scholarship (Juilliard 2008-2009), the Irving Mulde Scholarship (Juilliard, 2009-10), and the Piatigorsky Scholarship (New England Conservatory 2012-13). He has coached with numerous cellists, including Bernard Greenhouse, Ko Iwasaki, Paul Katz, and Nathanial Rosen, and has performed in master class for Steven Isserlis, Alexander Rudin, Mischa Maisky, Natalia Gutman, Peter Wylie, and Timothy Eddy. Ben Capps plays a William Forester cello built in 1782 in England.
In recent years, Vassily Primakov has been hailed as a pianist of world class importance. Gramophone wrote that “Primakov’s empathy with Chopin’s spirit could hardly be more complete,” and the American Record Guide stated: “Since Gilels, how many pianists have the right touch? In Chopin, no one currently playing sounds as good as this! This is a great Chopin pianist.” Music Web-International called Primakov’s Chopin concertos CD “one of the great Chopin recordings of recent times. These are performances of extraordinary power and beauty.” In 1999, as a teen-aged prizewinner of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, Primakov was praised by Donald Rosenberg of the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “How many pianists can make a line sing as the Moscow native did on this occasion? Every poignant phrase took ethereal wing. Elsewhere the music soared with all of the turbulence and poetic vibrancy it possesses. We will be hearing much from this remarkable musician.”
His first piano studies were with his mother, Marina Primakova. He entered Moscow’s Central Special Music School at the age of eleven as a pupil of Vera Gornostaeva, and at 17 came to New York to pursue studies at the Juilliard School with the noted pianist, Jerome Lowenthal. At Juilliard Mr. Primakov won the William Petschek Piano Recital Award, which presented his debut recital at Alice Tully Hall, and while at Juilliard, aided by a Susan W. Rose Career Grant, he won both the Silver Medal and the Audience Prize in the 2002 Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition. Later that year Primakov won First Prize in the 2002 Young Concert Artists (YCA) International Auditions. In 2007 he was named the Classical Recording Foundation’s “Young Artist of the Year.” In 2009, Primakov’s Chopin Mazurkas recording was named “Best of the Year” by National Public Radio and that same year he began recording the 27 Mozart piano concertos in Denmark. BBC Music Magazine (November, 2010) praised the first volume of Primakov’s Mozart concertos: “The piano playing is of exceptional quality: refined, multi-coloured, elegant of phrase and immaculately balanced, both in itself and in relation to the effortlessly stylish orchestra. The rhythm is both shapely and dynamic, the articulation a model of subtlety. By almost every objective criterion, Vassily Primakov is a Mozartian to the manner born, fit to stand as a role model to a new generation.”