Oddball! – Phil Stern Gallery
April 25, 2011
Paris – Life & Luxury, Getty Center
April 26, 2011

“Meant to be fun” – Pacific Serenades



Pacific Serenades presents its 101st World Premiere, Piano Quintet 5 X 5 by Eric Charnofsky, at “25/101″

Also on the program are MozartӪs Piano Trio in B Flat Major, K. 502 and Piano Quintet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 1 by Ern̦ Dohnanyi

Report by Pauline Adamek

Mozart once wrote, “Music”¦should never be painful to the ear but should flatter and charm it…” So perhaps it is no coincidence that Mozart”™s Piano Trio in B flat major, K. 502 will be performed this weekend along with the World Premiere of composer Eric Charnofsky”™s piano quintet, 5 X 5, when Pacific Serenades presents “25/101″ on Saturday, April 30 at 4 p.m. at a private home in Los Angeles, Sunday, May 1 at 4 p.m. at Neighborhood Church in Pasadena, and Tuesday, May 3 at 8 p.m. at the UCLA Faculty Center in Westwood.

Charnofsky, Department Head of Music Literature at the Cleveland Institute of Music and an active member of the Cleveland Composers Guild, writes with much the same goal in mind as his illustrious predecessor.

“I wanted to take a very traditional ensemble, the piano quintet, with a long history of repertoire and write something refreshing and new that was musically enriching for listeners,” says Charnofsky. A pianist as well as a composer, Charnofsky has performed with members of the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony, among others.

“The work has a lot of character and is meant to be fun,” Charnofsky continues. “My goal was to create a work with great contrast, approachability, and interesting construction. The 4th movement, “˜Meditation,”™ is based on a film score I had composed for the same instrumentation over 20 years ago while the other movements are entirely original material for this piece.”

5 X5 marks Pacific Serenades”™ 101st World Premiere, and Charnofsky credits the ensemble with providing much of the fuel for his creative journey.  “My main inspirations were knowing who the outstanding performers are to be and the legacy of Pacific Serenades,” Charnofsky reveals.

Musicians joining Charnofsky in taking part in “25/101″ are Roger Wilkie, violin; Miwako Watanabe, violin; David Walther, viola; David Speltz, cello; and Edith Orloff, piano.

“Our artists, including principals of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the LA Philharmonic and the Long Beach Symphony, are among the finest anywhere,” says founder and Artistic Director Mark Carlson. “And you will be hard pressed to find a friendlier bunch of musicians and fellow music lovers.”

Music lovers attending “25/101″ will also hear the Piano Quintet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 1 by Ernö Dohnanyi.

“This season we celebrate 25 years of presenting chamber music as a living art,” Carlson explains. “From the beginning, our commitment to commissioning new works not only of our own time but from our own community has never wavered. New works like 5 X 5 become the centerpiece of a program that includes treasured masterpieces of the past – in this case, the Piano Trio by Mozart and Piano Quintet by Dohnanyi.”

Pacific Serenades logo


Pacific Serenades presents its 101st World Premiere, Piano Quintet 5 X 5 by Eric Charnofsky, at “25/101″

Saturday, April 30 at 4 p.m. at a private home in Los Angeles

Sunday, May 1 at 4 p.m. at Neighborhood Church in Pasadena

Tuesday, May 3 at 8 p.m. at the UCLA Faculty Center in Westwood


Tickets for “25/101″ are available online

or by calling (213) 534.3434

Tickets for Private Home concerts and the post concert reception are $55/person;

for the Neighborhood Church and UCLA Faculty Center, $32/person.

(Neighborhood Church and UCLA Faculty Center tickets are also interchangeable.)

Full time students with valid identification can purchase tickets – at the door only – at the Neighborhood Church or UCLA Faculty Center for $5.

The Neighborhood Church is located at 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd. in Pasadena.

The UCLA Faculty Center is located at 405 N. Hilgard Ave. on the UCLA campus in Westwood. Parking is available for $10 in Lot 2. In addition, prior to each concert, dinner at the UCLA Faculty Center is available for Pacific Serenades patrons.

Reservations can be made by calling (310) 825.0877.

Directions and additional information about private home concerts are mailed to ticket holders upon receipt of their order.

The mission of Pacific Serenades is to generate new chamber music by commissioning works and presenting them alongside standard repertoire in intimate concert settings, emphasizing Southern California musicians. For more information about Pacific Serenades, its upcoming season, musicians and composers, visit www.pacser.org or call 213.534.3434. Subscriptions for the upcoming 2011 season are currently available.


Eric Charnofsky, originally from Los Angeles, is a full-time Lecturer at Case Western Reserve University where he teaches 20th Century Music History and Keyboard Ensemble courses. He is also Department Head of Music Literature at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he teaches Symphonic Literature. He has twice been nominated for the Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at CWRU, and currently serves as Chair of the Faculty Senate at CIM.

Mr. Charnofsky has performed as a collaborative pianist throughout the United States. He has concertized with members of the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and The Cleveland Orchestra. A graduate of The Juilliard School where he majored in piano accompanying, Mr. Charnofsky also holds degrees in solo piano performance and composition from California State University, Northridge, where he received the Outstanding Bachelors Degree Graduate award. Formerly on the faculty in the pre-college division at The Juilliard School, he served as staff accompanist and ear-training fellow in the Juilliard College division.

Mr. Charnofsky’s performances have been broadcast over WQXR and WNYC in New York, WFMT in Chicago, WCLV in Cleveland, WKSU in Kent, and KPFK, KMZT, and KCSN in Los Angeles, where he worked as a classical radio announcer. He has also appeared as featured guest artist on WCLV’s program “Offbeat.”

An experienced lecturer, Mr. Charnofsky has presented several lecture-recitals on “The Duos with Piano” by the composers Paul Hindemith, Francis Poulenc, Samuel Barber, and Aaron Copland. He has also given pre-concert lectures at Cleveland’s Severance Hall and Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall. He worked at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara as an Associate Faculty member for eight summers, performed several times as a substitute keyboardist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra, worked as a rehearsal pianist for Lyric Opera Cleveland, served as convention accompanist for the National Flute Association, and he appears on recordings with trombonist JoDee Davis on the Albany label, and music by the Cleveland Composers Guild on the Capstone label.

Mr. Charnofsky has also worked extensively as a choral conductor. “¨”¨As a composer, Mr. Charnofsky’s compositions have been performed on numerous concerts throughout Ohio, California and elsewhere, and have been broadcast over several radio stations. He is an active member of the Cleveland Composers Guild, and has written for various chamber ensembles, vocal and choral music, and piano works.


Roger Wilkie, violin

Roger Wilkie’s violin playing has been described as “having surpassing virtuosity, a thrilling legato tone, and a sense of full emotional engagement” by the LA Times. Concertmaster of the Long Beach Symphony, Mr. Wilkie has also served in that capacity with LACO, the Los Angeles Music Center Opera Orchestra, and the Real Filharmonia de Galicia (Spain) under Helmuth Rilling. Mr. Wilkie has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras including the Long Beach Symphony, the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, LACO, and the Carmel Bach Festival Orchestra. He has given solo recitals for the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, LACMA/KUSC-FM broadcasts, Swiss National Radio, and is frequently heard on NPR’s Performance Today. “¨”¨An extremely active chamber musician, Mr. Wilkie has participated in the Santa Fe, La Jolla, and Mainly Mozart festivals. He has also served as the Principal Violinist of the Camerata Pacifica of Santa Barbara. As a founding member of the Angeles String Quartet (1987-1993) he toured throughout North America, performed in New York’s 92nd Street Y, and recorded an interactive CD/video disc for the Voyager Company.

Miwako Watanabe, violin

Miwako Watanabe, violinist, is a graduate of the Toho Conservatory of Music in Tokyo and has won numerous national music awards in Japan. She received a Fulbright grant to study with Ivan Galamian at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, then extended her training with Sandor Vegh in Europe where she was active in solo and chamber music performances. Ms. Watanabe was a member of and frequent soloist with the Munich Bach Orchestra under Karl Richter and LACO under Neville Marriner. “¨”¨Beginning in 1972, she was a member of the Sequoia Quartet, which was a winner of the 1976 Walter Naumburg Chamber Music Award. In 1986 Miwako Watanabe joined cellist Bonnie Hampton and pianist Nathan Schwartz as the new Francesco Trio, which made its debut at Chamber Music West in San Francisco. Appearances included the Gardner Museum in Boston, the Chevron Museum Concerts in San Francisco, the Chamber Music Historic Sites series in LA, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In 1988 the Francesco Trio was the winner of commissioning grants from Chamber Music America and Meet the Composer Reader’s Digest Commissioning Programs in partnership with the NEA. Ms. Watanabe has also been active in Japan as a member of the Mito Chamber Orchestra and the Saito Kinen Orchestra. In LA she appears regularly as the Concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay and performs chamber music with Pacific Serenades and on the South Bay Chamber Music series. Her appearances include the Music for Mischa series at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society, IMA Concerts in Japan, Francesco Trio concerts in San Francisco, and the Naumburg Foundation’s 75th Anniversary concert at Alice Tully Hall in New York.

David Walther, viola

David Walther began playing the violin on his sixth birthday. His mother coached him at this age, and he took lessons from Geneveve Osbourne. His other two principal violin teachers were Marylou Speaker-Churchill and Sophie Vilker. At age seventeen Walther began studying the viola with John Ziarko. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from USC under the tutelage of Donald McInnes. Walther attended many summer festivals during his formative years, including Weathersfield, where he studied with Roland Vamos, Greenwood, Spoleto (Italy), and the Music Academy of the West. “¨”¨Upon graduating from college in 1999, Walther joined the Debussy Trio and soon after became a founding member of the New Hollywood String Quartet. Both groups are critically acclaimed and have toured extensively throughout Europe and the United States. Apart from being a chamber musician, Walther works as a studio musician in the motion picture industry. “¨”¨The Los Angeles Times commented on a recent concerto performance: “Walther, a violist of abundant technical virtuosity and musical panache, illuminated the work’s provocative personality, and his rich tone, in sound hues comparable to Belgian chocolate, made the experience complete.” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer wrote concerning a separate concerto performance: “David Walther made an especially good impression with his large, burnished tone and handsomely molded legato.”

David Speltz, cello

David Speltz, cellist, began his formal studies with Eleanore Schoenfeld after being introduced to the cello by his father. Later, he was invited to join the Piatigorsky masterclass at USC. “¨”¨He earned a master’s degree in mathematics from UCLA but soon realized that music-and the cello-was the path he should follow. In 1973 he helped form the Arriaga String Quartet, which went on to win first prize in the prestigious Coleman competition in Pasadena. “¨”¨As a member of the Musical Offering ensemble, he performed at the Library of Congress, Lincoln Center, Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, and recorded on the Nonesuch label. He has played on many of the chamber music series in Los Angeles, including Pacific Serenades, Chamber Music in Historic Sites, the Bing series, the IMA, South Bay, and LACMA chamber music series. During the summer months, he participates in music festivals in Santa Fe, the Grand Canyon, and at the Oregon Bach Festival. “¨”¨Speltz was a member of LACO during Sir Neville Marriner’s tenure and principal cellist of the California Chamber Symphony for eight seasons. In 1989 he was invited by Helmuth Rilling to serve as principal cellist of the Bachakademie in Stuttgart, Germany. He is also active in the Los Angeles recording field, performing on such films as Schindler’s List and Jurassic Park.

Edith Orloff, piano

Known for her versatility as a performer, pianist Edith Orloff has earned acclaim in the United States and Europe. She has concertized with equal success as recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist with orchestra. Her solo German debut in 1998 was received as “elegant, a pleasure to hear”, and her music-making has won praise at home and abroad for its interpretive vitality and perceptive musicianship.

In 1980, she became a member of the LosAngles-based Pacific Trio. The ensemble, with violinist Roger Wilkie and cellist John Walz, makes annual tours of the U.S. and Europe. Most recently, they recorded the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Czech National Orchestra, as well as a CD of trios by American composers. For many years the group served as ensemble-in-residence of the Idyllwild Arts summer festival, where Ms. Orloff taught since 1976.

Ms. Orloff has appeared as guest artist with many notable ensembles, including the Houston Symphony Chamber Players, the Ensemble Con Brio of Bruchsal, Germany, and the Czech String Trio, and is a regular guest performer at Festival Mozaic (formerly, San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival). In keeping with her interest in promoting new music, she has helped to launch several series devoted to the works of contemporary composers. Ms. Orloff also enjoys a long-standing musical collaboration with her husband, Houston Symphony principal clarinetist David Peck; their CD of modern works for clarinet and piano was released in 2004.

A master’s degree graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, where she studied piano with Earle Voorhies and chamber music with Cesare Pascarella, she has also worked with Jerome Lowenthal, Reginald Stewart, Rosina Lhevinne, Daniel Pollack, and Roberto Eyzaguirre.

Ms. Orloff teaches privately and in master classes. In addition to her musical activities, she enjoys literature, travel, and study of languages. She resides in Houston and San Diego.

Pauline Adamek
Pauline Adamek
Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.

1 Comment

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