Marian Mayuga, violin; Brent Taghap, violin; Larissa Mapua, viola; Ezra Escobar, cello; Magnus Villanueva, piano

JCC Chicago Violins of Hope and FilAm Foundation

  • Arnold Schoenberg - String Quartet in D Major
  • Florence Price - Quintet for Piano and Strings, No. 2
  • Ottorino Respighi - Piano Quintet in F minor

Marian Mayuga is a Filipina violinist from Quezon City, Metro Manila. She is a Violin Fellow of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, debuting as the Principal Second Violin and a featured member of the String Quartet in Eleanor Alberga’s Tower for String Quartet and Orchestra. Hailed for her “remarkable ability of being able to extract myriad sonorities from [her instrument] and modulate between them with hairpin agility” (Chicago Classical Review), Marian is a two-time top prize winner of the Philippine National Music Competition for Young Artists. While pursuing her Masters at the University of South Florida, she led the USF Symphony Orchestra as Concertmaster. She has been a Featured Artist for the Filipino-American Music Foundation, Ayala Museum’s Youth on Stage, the Manila Pianos Artist Series, and performed on WFMT and 98.7 DZFE. Marian also holds degrees from DePaul University (MM Violin Performance) and the University of the Philippines (BM Violin Performance).

Brent Taghap is a violinist from the Tampa Bay area. They hold degrees from Florida State University (BM ’16) and from DePaul University (MM ’18; Certificate in Performance 20’). Their primary teachers include Eliot Chapo, Corinne Stillwell, and Janet Sung. As an active performer, Brent has been a part of numerous ensembles in Chicago including the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Oistrakh Symphony, the Matt Jones Orchestra, and Unsupervised, a conductorless chamber orchestra. They have also spent summers at festivals and institutions such as the Varna International Music Festival (Austria/Italy), Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival (Vermont, USA), and the National Repertory Orchestra (Colorado, USA). In addition to their studies of traditional Western classical music, Brent is also interested in preserving, cataloging, and performing works by Filipino composers in the hopes that they will become part of the canon of works for violin. Other interests include sleeping, eating, going to art museums, hanging out with friends, and playing with their cat, Wren.

Larissa Mapua is a Filipino-American violist based in Chicago. Selected by the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, she performed Debussy’s String Quartet, Op.10 at the U.S. Capitol for members of the 114th U.S. Congress. She was invited to perform a solo recital for Fidel V. Ramos, 12th President of the Philippines, in 2012. Currently, she performs with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. In 2019-2021, she was a violist in The Orchestra Now. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and on live television for Georgia Public Broadcasting. Ms. Mapua has worked with conductors Fabio Luisi, Robert Spano, Donald Runnicles, and Valery Gergiev. Her chamber music appearances include the National Music Festival and Madeline Island Chamber Music. The National Federation of Music Clubs recognized her achievements with the Rose Thomas Smith Award. Additional honors include awards by the Asian/Pacific American Council of Georgia, Galing Foundation, Inc., and Filipino-American Association of Greater Atlanta. She received her Bachelor of Music at DePaul University, from the studio of Rami Solomonow. Additionally, she studied with Matthew Daline and Doyle Armbrust. She completed her Master of Music at Indiana University Jacobs School, from the studio of Edward Gazouleas.

Lauded as “vibrant” and “gifted” (Chicago Classical Review), Filipino-American cellist Ezra Escobar made his solo debut at age 16 with the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago, and has since appeared with the Fil-Am Music Foundation, Young Steinway Concert Series, Waukegan Chamber Music Society, and as soloist with the Lake Forest Civic Orchestra. Ezra has concertized at venues such as Symphony Center in Chicago, Alice Tully Hall, Pritzker Pavilion, and Bennett Gordon Hall, and has won prizes at the DePaul Concerto Festival, the Chinese Fine Arts Society Music Festival, and the Walgreens National Concerto Competition. Ezra will be entering this fall into his MM studies at the Royal College of Music. He holds a BM with honors from the Mannes School of Music, and his principal teachers have been Marcy Rosen & Tanya Carey. Additional studies include master classes with Johannes Moser, Hans Jensen, Timothy Eddy, Colin Carr, Matt Haimovitz, & Amit Peled.

Pianist Magnus Villanueva has performed across North America, Europe, and Asia. He has performed solo and chamber music at the Cortona Sessions, Atlantic Music Festival, Orford Music Festival, Gijón International Piano Festival, and Festival Pablo Casals de Prades. He has collaborated with members of the Guarneri, Spektral, JACK, and Brentano quartets, ICE, and Alarm Will Sound. Magnus earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Peabody Conservatory under the tutelage of Marian Hahn. Previously, he studied with Emilio del Rosario and Ralph Neiweem at the Music Institute of Chicago. Now also a piano teacher, he teaches over 20 students in New York City. In 2022, he worked as an on-set piano coach for the show “Dear Edward” on Apple TV. In addition to teaching, he is a dedicated ballet pianist having played with the Mark Morris Dance Group, New York City’s Ballet Arts, and Chicago’s Hyde Park School of Dance.

About the Rush Hour Concerts

Rush Hour Concerts are made possible through the generosity of the Zell Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council Agency and contributions from individual donors.

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