Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival

The Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Big Rapids, Michigan.

Since its inception in 2006, Tuba Bach has brought hundreds of exceptional musicians from around the world, across the United states, and from every corner of our state to present concerts and educational programming in West-Central Michigan, free of charge and available to all.


Past Seasons Archive > 2012 Concert Season > Concert 1

Concert 1
September 16, 2012 • 4:00 P.M.
Big Rapids High School Auditorium

The Harlem Quartet

Tuba Bach welcomes The Harlem Quartet's back to Big Rapids for their second appearance at the Tuba Bach festival, having first performed during concert six of the 2009 season.

This concert will include Quintet for Tuba and Strings by Jan Bach; Ballade for tuba and string quartet by Roland Szentpali; and two new commissioned works for the festival ("world premieres") by David Gillingham - for euphonium and string quartet - and by Ron Newman for euphonium, jazz piano and string quartet. There will be two educational programs (at CCA and MOISD special ed center) on Friday, Sept. 14. 

The harlem Quartet

Harlem Quartet at Carniege HallTHE HARLEM QUARTET opened its 2009-10 season returning as featured soloists on the national Sphinx Chamber Orchestra Tour, making thirteen stops coast-to-coast including Carnegie Hall, Eastman School of Music, Oberlin College, and Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. In December it played two performances at the White House for guests of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, and made an appearance Christmas morning on NBC's Today Show. In 2009 the quartet also performed by invitation with Itzhak Perlman at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and made its London debut performing at the residence of the US ambassador to the UK. Throughout the season the quartet will collaborate with seasoned artists such as Carter Brey, Yehuda Hanani and Paul Freeman and the Chicago Sinfonietta, performing Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, Brahms's Double Concerto, and Michael Abels's Delights & Dances for solo string quartet and orchestra.

The Harlem Quartet made its acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut in the fall of 2006 at the Sphinx Organization's 10th anniversary gala concert. They have returned to Carnegie on numerous occasions, including a performance in late January 2007 as participants in Arts Presenters' prestigious and highly competitive Young Performers Career Advancement (YPCA) program and an October 2008 appearance with Paul Katz at the annual Sphinx gala. In 2006 it made its debut at Harlem's legendary Apollo Theatre with a well-received performance of Wynton Marsalis's At the Octoroon Balls. In collaboration with cellist Carter Brey, it performed in December 2008 at the Library of Congress in a concert employing the Library's matched collection of Stradivari instruments and including Schubert's Cello Quintet.

Each member of the Harlem Quartet is a seasoned solo artist, having appeared with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, and the Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, National, New World, and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras, among others. As a quartet, they have performed in many communities across the country including Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Boston. arrow Website

Ilmar GavilanILMAR GAVILAN, a native of Havana, Cuba, has had a remarkable and fascinating career which has taken him all over the world.

His studies began at the Havana Conservatory of music in his native country. At the age of 14, Ilmar Gavilan was selected for advanced studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. Later studies took him to the Reina Sofia School of Music in Spain, and the Manhattan School of Music in New York. Mr. Gavilan's mentors have included Glenn Dicterow, Zachar Bron, Maia Glizarova, and Abraham Stern; as well as having had private lessons with Yehudi Menuhin, Ruggiero Ricci and Isaac Stern. He is currently a Doctor in Music candidate from Rutgers University mentored by Arnold Steinhardt.

Mr. Gavilan's solo performances included the Detroit, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Denver, Phoenix and Saint Louis Symphonies, among others. Ilmar Gavilan has also made solo appearances in Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Spain, Portugal, and Moscow. Mr. Gavilan won First Prize at the Sphinx Competition, top honors at the Lipinsky-Wieniaswsky International Violin Competition in Poland, and the International Henryk Szeryng Violin Competition. His U.S. recording debut Aires Y Leyendas was released in 2002 to respectable sales and a prominent positioning by the Tower Records chain store. His upcoming record titled Gavilan plays Gavilan is comprised of music composed by his father Guido Gavilan.

Ilmar Gavilan is currently the concertmaster of the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, performs as a regular substitute musician for the New Jersey Symphony and is the first violinist of the Harlem Quartet. He also teaches violin at the Juilliard School, Music Advancement Program, Pre-College Division.

Melissa WhiteMELISSA WHITE is a recent graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music where she studied under the direction of Ida Kavafian. The First Place Junior Division Laureate of the 4th Annual Sphinx Competition, she has appeared as a soloist of many of the nation's leading orchestras, including the Cleveland, Atlanta, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Colorado, New Jersey, Cincinnati, San Antonio Symphonies and the Boston Pops. Her 2006-2007 season opened with an appearance with the Chicago Sinfonietta and a return to Carnegie Hall as a guest soloist at the Annual Sphinx Gala Concert. Melissa recently made a solo appearance with the New York Symphonic Ensemble at the legendary Apollo Theater and was named the 2006 Harmony Scholar by the Panasonic Corporation.

In addition to frequent solo appearances, Melissa is also an active chamber musician. She is a member of the Ritz Chamber Players in Jacksonville, Florida; Jupiter Symphony Chamber Musicians in New York; and the Harlem String Quartet. As a member of the Ritz Chamber Players, Melissa performed live at the 2006 NAACP Image Awards, which was televised nationally. In May 2004 and 2005 she was a featured performer at the Hilton Head International Young Musician's Festival; a chamber music series hosted by noted pianist Chris O'Riley.

Melissa has also already begun her recording career. At the age of 14, she made her debut with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra and internationally-acclaimed conductor Paul Freeman. Her CD recording of "An American Concerto" by Gwenyth Walker on Albany Records is now in record stores worldwide.

Along with Melissa White's concert activity, in the summer she serves as a member of senior faculty of the Sphinx Performance Academy on the campus of Walnut Hill School. An important part of her career is sharing her music with young audiences and inner city students. She conducts outreach activities around the country when she travels to perform with major symphonies. During this school year she will do extensive work with the Reading, PA public school system and community music programs and finish the year by appearing as a soloist with the Reading Youth Symphony.

Juan-Miguel HernandezJUAN-MIGUEL HERNANDEZ is the Gold Achievement Award Winner of the 9th National Sphinx Competition 2006 presented by JPMorgan Chase. In addition to winning the Sphinx Competition, Mr. Hernandez was a first and second prize winner in the National Canadian Music Competitions, as well as a winner in the Sillery Music Competition and Clermont-Pepin Music Competition.

As a Sphinx artist, Mr. Hernandez gave stellar performances with the Atlanta and Colorado Symphonies, and Rochester Philharmonic, among others. His performance was characterized by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as "…tender, lyrical, loaded with personality". Among numerous solo recitals and as soloist with orchestras, he was invited to play in two Gala concerts at the Pollak hall in Montreal. He was selected as a showcased artist in the I Palpiti Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Eduard Schmieder. He has played with several orchestras including Westmount Youth Orchestra & Colburn Orchestra. In 2004, Mr. Hernandez gave his first recital for national broadcast by Radio-Canada. He also appeared on local network television for the viola show hosted by Paul Coletti in Canada. During his summers, he serves as a member of senior faculty at the Sphinx Performance Academy at Walnut Hill School.

Juan-Miguel Hernandez was born in Canada in 1985. He began to study violin at the age of seven and changed to viola at twelve. In the past he has studied at the music high school Pierre-Laporte and at the College Vincent-D'Indy in Montreal with Ms. Madeleine Mercy and Ms. Jean MacRae. Currently continuing his studies with M. Paul Coletti at the Colburn Conservatory, he has been invited to play in masterclass for Pinchas Zukermann, Roberto Diaz, Paul Neubauer, Steven Dann, James Dunham, Andre Roy, Elmar Oliveira, and Sydney Humphreys. Mr. Hernandez has participated in prestigious summer music festivals in Canada such as the Banff music festival (Alberta) and Domaine Forget (Quebec) and in the United States he has participated in the Colorado Springs music festival followed by the International Laureates music Festival touring New Mexico and Los Angeles giving that last concert in the new Disney Hall.

An avid chamber musician, he studied with Lorand Fenyves and Laurence Lesser and is a member of the trio Lamoureux-Hernandez-Pelletier. In the summer of 2005 he toured again with the prestigious I Palpiti under the direction of Doctor Eduard Shmieder in Slovenia, Salzburg, New Mexico, Los Angeles and in February 2006, Israel.

Paul WianckoAcclaimed and eclectic cellist PAUL WIANCKO has performed all over the world, from solo appearances in Warsaw's National Philharmonic and Brazil's Teatro Nacional to chamber music performances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center to jazz shows at the Hollywood Bowl and the Blue Note in New York. The scope of his talent and passion extend well beyond performance—Wiancko is an accomplished composer, producer, and collaborator, and has worked with an array of iconic artists, from jazz greats Chick Corea and Etta James to rock legends Dave Stewart and Joe Cocker. Flip through a portfolio of Wiancko's own work and you may land on anything from an electronic cartoon soundtrack to an experimental suite for strings to a Hip-Hop Cello Concerto, the New York premiere of which was described by Sequenza21 as "surprising, fun, fresh, and even innovative."

Wiancko has soloed with orchestras across the United States, South America, and Europe, but remains a chamber player at heart. Over the years, Wiancko has cultivated his love of chamber music--and hiking--in the beautiful settings of the Aspen, Perlman, Olympic, and Marlboro music festivals, and has shared the stage with many of today's classical masters, including Richard Goode, Midori, Joseph Silverstein, and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, and Ysaye quartets. As cellist of the Harlem Quartet, Wiancko performed and taught extensively throughout the US, Europe, South America, and Africa. Wiancko also regularly appears with the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO) and the Mark Morris Dance Group.

Wiancko's multifaceted musical personality was established early on. In his youth, Paul was described by many as a child prodigy, which belied the fact that much of his practicing was stealthily devoted to improvising, playing songs from his favorite albums, and composing. Wiancko attributes this to a relatively short attention span--which has "since elongated, but not by much"--as well as an early introduction to classic rock, folk, and hip-hop. At 17, he moved to Los Angeles, where he studied cello with Ron Leonard while winning top prizes at competitions around the world. Simultaneously, Wiancko gained a reputation as an innovative and virtuosic studio musician, able to improvise in any style and compose parts on the spot. In 2006, he founded LiveStringTheory, a studio devoted to recording live strings in collaboration with bands, artists and producers. Wiancko's compositions and arrangements can be heard on numerous albums, films, and commercials.

Paul Wiancko performs on a 2010 Mario Miralles cello commissioned for him by the Maestro Foundation in Santa Monica, California. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. arrow Website

This engagement is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest, is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts with additional contributions from the Michigan Council for the Arts & Cultural Affairs.