Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist, Chicago, 55 E. Wacker Drive
Praised for “her sense of joyful virtuosity” as concerto soloist (South Florida Classical Review), cellist Julia Yang is multi-faceted performer, and founding member of the “riveting” (Reading Eagle) and “impeccably elegant” Merz Trio (All About the Arts).
On stage as soloist and chamber musician, Yang has been described as the “stunning find of the evening” (New York Classical Review) and has recent and forthcoming recitals at Carnegie Hall, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Chamber Music Houston and Amsterdam’s Het Concertgebouw. She has been featured as a Young Artist in Residence on Performance Today with Fred Child and has performed at numerous festivals including the Marlboro Music Festival, Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, the Minnesota Beethoven Festival, and Poland’s Krzyzowa-Music.
Yang’s Merz Trio are winners of the prestigious Naumburg Chamber Music Prize as well as first prize winners of the Concert Artists Guild, Fischoff and Chesapeake International Chamber Music competitions. The Trio tour widely and present innovative multidisciplinary concert experiences that interweave repertoire of the traditional piano trio genre with diverse art forms.
Yang holds extensive orchestral experience as the principal cellist of the Colorado Music Festival under Peter Ounjian as well as having performed and toured as principal of the New World Symphony. As educator and pedagogue, Yang serves as a cello instructor and chamber music coach at the University of Pennsylvania and at the College of the Holy Cross. Away from the cello, you’ll find her reading or checking out the local arts scene, enjoying the outdoors, or cooking and crafting cocktails.
Praised as a “superb interpreter” (Fanfare) and for her “virtuosity… and sparkling sound” (Times Argus), pianist Mika Sasaki enjoys a versatile career as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator. She has performed across the U.S. and in the U.K., Italy, Japan, and Switzerland, appearing in venues such as the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Tokyo Bunka Kaikan. She has appeared as concerto soloist with the Sinfonia of Cambridge, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, 92Y Orchestra, and more recently, with the InterSchool Symphony Orchestra of New York, performing Amy Beach’s Piano Concerto.
As a guest artist, Mika has performed with the Manhattan Chamber Players, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Passionate about education and audience engagement, she has presented interactive performances in New York City and across the country, including residencies at String Theory (TN) and Chamber Music Northwest (OR). She is an alumna of Peabody (B.M., M.M.), Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect, and Juilliard (D.M.A.). Festival appearances include Tanglewood, Music@Menlo, Chigiana, Yellow Barn, Aspen, pianoSonoma, and Taos. She is on the summer faculty at the Charles Ives Music Festival, Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard, and Music@Menlo.
Based in New York City, Mika is a faculty member at The Juilliard School, where she teaches keyboard skills, piano, and chamber music in the College, Pre-College, and Extension Divisions. When not at the piano, she can be found tending to her houseplants, cooking, or chasing after her cat.
The concerts are generously sponsored by the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council and by individual donors.
Program: Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts
Program: DO-IT-YOURSELF MESSIAH