The opening concert weaves the more familiar sounds of Beethoven and Brahms with that of the less well-known woman Impressionistic composer Mel Bonis. Sant'Ambrogio has been described as a "violinist who most often takes your breath away" by Gramophone Magazine and enjoys a varied performing and recording career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral leader, teacher, and founder and artistic director of the Cactus Pear Chamber Music Festival.
Described as a "violinist who most often takes your breath away" by Gramophone Magazine, Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio enjoys a varied performing and recording career as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader. Ms. Sant'Ambrogio has performed as a soloist and chamber musician on the foremost stages of the U.S., as well as in Canada, Estonia, Sweden, Ghana, Italy, Peru, Chile and Mexico. In addition to her active performing career, Stephanie is devoted to teaching serious string players, many who have won positions in America's symphony orchestras and universities. Currently Associate Professor of Violin and Viola at the University of Nevada, Reno, she is also Artistic Director of Cactus Pear Music Festival, which she founded in 1997 while serving as Concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony. Former First Assistant Principal Second Violin of The Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnany, she toured and recorded internationally with this ensemble for eight seasons.
Currently Concertmaster of the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra (CA) and the Lancaster Festival Orchestra (OH), Ms. Sant'Ambrogio has a discography of over seventy-five orchestral and chamber music CDs, and has recently released her Soaring Solo: Unaccompanied Works for Violin & Viola CD. Audiophile Review praised her Johannes Brahms: The Violin Sonatas CD as, "Fine readings of great finesse, rich coloring and complete understanding" and Fanfare Magazine wrote, she "play[s] with immaculate technique, impeccable intonation, lustrous tone, and emotional warmth." Ms. Sant'Ambrogio was the graduate assistant to Donald Weilerstein at The Eastman School of Music, where she received her Master's degree. Previously she received her Bachelor degree from Indiana University as a student of Laurence Shapiro and James Oliver Buswell. Performing on a violin crafted in 1757 by J.B. Guadagnini of Milan and a viola by Jacek Zadlo from Chicago, 2008. She and her graphic designer husband Gary Albright, enjoy exploring Lake Tahoe with their daughters, 17-year-old Isabel and 15-year-old Gabrielle.
Critically acclaimed cellist Jonah Kim made his solo debut with Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2003. The same year, he also appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra where the Washington Post music critic Joseph McLellan called him simply, "the next Yo-Yo Ma." Mr. Kim has soloed with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, New Philharmonia, Orquestra Sinfônica Nacional, Orchestra Filarmonica, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Symphony of the Americas and many others. He has played in prestigious venues such as New York City's Carnegie Hall and Merkin Hall, Wigmore Hall in London, California's Montalvo Arts Center, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, the Kravis Center in Palm Beach, the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, the Phillips Collection and the John F. Kennedy Center in DC where Anne Midgette of the Washington Post praised, "Kim flirted with the line, shaped it, wrapped it around his fingers, pulled it out in a new dimension, all with practiced ease."
Also highly sought after internationally as a chamber musician, Mr. Kim has collaborated with world class artists on four continents. In a review of his Debussy cello sonata with Ensemble San Francisco at Alliance Français' French Festival 2015, San Francisco Classical Voice critic David Bratman exclaimed "this was an excellent performance, the best I’ve heard of this piece." Mr. Kim plays a Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume made in 1845 as well as a 2016 copy of it by Haide Lin. His bow is by Jules Fétique from the workshop of Eugène Sartory in Paris circa 1904.
James Winn, piano and composition professor at the University of Nevada, Reno since 1997, made his professional debut with the Denver Symphony at the age of thirteen, and has been performing widely in North America, Europe, and Asia ever since. With his duo-piano partner, Cameron Grant, he was a recipient of the top prize given in the two-piano category of the 1980 Munich Competition (Musical America wrote about the team “Not since Josef and Rosina Lhevinne regaled us in the thirties have we heard such technical prowess paired with such genuine musical values”). Dr. Winn has been a solo pianist with the New York City Ballet, a member of the New York New Music Ensemble, of Hexagon (woodwind quintet plus piano), and the pianist and resident composer of the Telluride Chamber Music Festival, as well as a frequent guest with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Speculum, the Group for Contemporary Music, Cactus Pear Chamber Music Festival, La Musica International Chamber Music Festival, and Bargemusic. Well-known as a specialist in new music, he has been involved in numerous world premieres and premiere recordings by many renowned composers, among them 13 Pulitzer Prize winners. He is currently a member of Argenta, UNR’s resident piano trio, a founding member and regular participant in the Nevada Chamber Music Festival, and performs regularly in recital with internationally acclaimed New York based violinist Rolf Schulte. An active recording artist, Winn is featured in more than three dozen CDs as soloist, chamber musician, and composer. He has received numerous career recognitions including an Artist Fellowship from the Nevada State Council of the Arts and the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.
In addition to our patrons and audiences, Blanco Performing Arts' sponsors help make our excellent performances possible and bring these talented musicians to Blanco. Visit our sponsors and show them you support arts in the Hill Country.
The Uptown Blanco Ballroom is home to the Blanco Performing Arts concert series, located on the west side of the courthouse square in Blanco, Texas. Find directions and parking...
If you need a place to stay while you’re in our little burg, there are a number of options. We have hotels, numerous B&Bs, and beautiful riverside spots for those of you with RVs.
Blanco Performing Arts is incorporated as a non-profit entity, and is recognized as such under Section 501(3)(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.