National Philharmonic Chamber Players Perform Mendelssohn Octet with Gifted String Students at Potter Violins( April 22)

Posted By on April 9, 2018

National Philharmonic Music Center at Strathmore 5301 Tuckerman Lane North Bethesda, MD 20852

PRESS CONTACT: Deborah Birnbaum 301.493.9283, ext. 118

National Philharmonic Chamber Players Perform Mendelssohn Octet with Gifted String Students at Potter Violins on April 22

North Bethesda, MD, April 4, 2018 –Under the direction of National Philharmonic Concertmaster Colin Sorgi, the National Philharmonic Chamber Players perform the works of Schubert and Mendelssohn on April 22 at 3pm at the John Kendall Recital Hall, Potter Violins in Takoma Park, MD. Entitled “Next Generation,” the concert showcases gifted students from the Philharmonic’s Summer String Institutes performing the Mendelssohn Octet in E-flat Major alongside members of the Philharmonic Chamber Players. The concert also features Schubert’s String Quartet in C Major. Potter’s intimate hall seats only 90, allowing concert goers to experience chamber music as it was originally intended, up close and personal. Kids 7-17 are Free; adult tickets are $20 and can be purchased here:


National Philharmonic Concert Master Colin Sorgi, credit Michelle Dickson

Next Generation highlights the passing of the musical torch through two generations of teacher/student relationships and places brilliant young musicians in the spotlight. Joining the Chamber Players for the Mendelssohn Octet will be incredible young string players from the Philharmonic’s Summer String Institute–violinists Aneesha Sampath and Justin Park; violist Zachary Shieh; and cellist Leena Shin. Mendelssohn’s Octet was written when the composer was just 16 years old, the same age as many of these young players. He wrote the Octet as a birthday present for his violin teacher Eduard Ritz. The music critic Conrad Wilson said the piece’s “youthful verve, brilliance and perfection make it one of the miracles of 19th century music.” Schubert’s String Quartet in C Major was composed in 1828, just two months before the composer’s death. The quartet is his only string quintet and has been praised as “sublime” and is considered Schubert’s best chamber work.

The performers: Colin Sorgi, violin & viola

Colin Sorgi is the Concertmaster of the National Philharmonic and York Symphony, Director of the National Philharmonic Chamber Players and the Founder and Artistic Director of Baltimore’s SONAR new music ensemble. Recent engagements include solo appearances at the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), Aspen Music Festival and National Philharmonic as well as recital and chamber music performances at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Chicago Cultural Center, and Canada’s National Arts Centre. An


advocate of community engagement and arts education, Colin is a faculty member for the

National Philharmonic’s Summer String Institutes and spends much of his time working with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program – a music outreach program in West Baltimore and the country’s largest El Sistema-inspired program. Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Colin holds degrees from both the Peabody Conservatory and Indiana University studying with renowned musicians Herbert Greenberg and Jaime Laredo.

Sara Matayoshi, violin Violinist Sara Matayoshi has earned recognition for her artistry as a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician, since making her solo debut with the Midwest Young Artist Orchestra in 2002. A former core member of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (2011-2016), Sara has also been a member of the Chicago Civic, Madison, and Atlantic Symphony Orchestras. She has been a performer at various music festivals including Britt, Des Moines Metro Opera, Spoleto U.S.A, Banff Centre Orchestra and Masterclass, Lyricafest, and Garth Newel Music. She was the former violist of the Oak Ridge String Quartet and violinist with the Juventas New Music Ensemble and SKY piano trio. Currently, in addition to playing with the National Philharmonic, Sara is the violinist of the Iris Piano Trio, piano trio in residence at the Charles E Smith Life Communities. She spends at least 21 hours a week at CESLC rehearsing and performing with her trio, working with residents one-on-one, and teaching group classes. Sara can also be found performing as a substitute musician with the National Symphony.

Julius Wirth, viola Violist Julius Wirth, enjoys an exciting and varied performance career. Presently Principal violist of both the National Philharmonic and the Harrisburg Symphony, he also served as principal violist of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra for nearly 20 years. His chamber music experiences have taken him to Italy,Germany, Austria, China, and many places across the United States. He holds a bachelor of music degree from the Eastman School of Music where he studied viola with Francis Tursi, Marcus Thompson and Jeffery Irvine and chamber music with the Cleveland Quartet and Abram Loft of the New Arts Quartet. He continued his studies at the Peabody Conservatory where he earned a Master of Music degree under the tutelage of Karen Tuttle. He enjoys a faculty position with the American Institute of Music Studies in Graz Austria during the summer and keeps a private studio in Maryland. He is also currently working on a recording project that includes two previously unknown and unrecorded sonatas for viola and piano.

Lori Barnet, cello Lori Barnet is a graduate of Bennington College. Her primary teachers include Robert Newkirk, George Finkel and Barbara Stein Mallow on cello, Phoebe Carrai on baroque cello, and Josef Gingold, Artur Balsam, Joseph Fuchs and Jacob Glick on chamber music. She is principal cellist of the National Philharmonic, Wolf Trap Opera Orchestra, and Philadelphia’s Orchestra 2001 where she holds the Dell Venarde Principal Cello Chair. She has appeared as soloist with the Augusta (GA) Symphony, Alexandria and Mclean Symphonies, Orchestra 2001, National Philharmonic, Washington Chamber Symphony and several university ensembles. She was principal cellist of Penn Contemporary Players (Philadelphia) and the Contemporary Music Forum (DC), each for 20 years, and served five seasons as the continuo cellist on period instruments for the Washington Bach Consort’s cantata series. Other appearances as a baroque cellist include those with the National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, the Vivaldi Project, Ensemble Gaudior, ArcoVoce, Kontra Bande and with the National Gallery of Art Vocal Ensemble. She has toured Russia, Europe and Cuba and recorded for Orion and CRI. Miss Barnet has taught at the National Philharmonic Summer String Institutes since their inception.


She has been a faculty member at The George Washington University since 1991 where she teaches cello, coaches chamber music, and appears regularly with the University’s faculty performance ensemble, the Columbian Consort.

Grace An, cello Cellist Grace An recently completed a four year fellowship with the New World Symphony under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas. Since then, she has become a member of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, and has performed as guest sub principal with the Auckland Philharmonia, as well as the Dallas Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, Florida Orchestra, and San Antonio Symphony. Performances have taken her across the world on the renowned stages of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, the Sydney Opera House, and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, as well as a recent chamber music tour of Europe with Lincoln Center Stage. She has collaborated with many of the greatest conductors of our time including Valery Gergiev, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Manfred Honeck, Jaap Van Sweden, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Stéphane Denève. Ms. An’s festival appearances include the Verbier Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Castleton Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, Banff Centre, Pacific Music Festival, and the Thy Chamber Music Festival. She has also performed at Lakes Area Music Festival, Fairchild’s Garden Music, International Festival of Music of Medellín, Colombia, Laguna Beach Music Festival, Nice Festival Academy, Santo Domingo Music Festival, Brooklyn Barge Music, and Mendocino Music Festival Emerging Artist Series. Ms. An has appeared as a soloist with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, South Coast Symphony, and the New World Symphony, in performances described as “sizzling with raw excitement and tonal beauty.” (South Florida Classical Review) She has collaborated in chamber music performances with distinguished artists such as the St. Lawrence String Quartet and eighth blackbird. In a recent performance of the Brahms C minor Piano Quartet with Emanuel Ax, Ms. An’s playing was hailed by the Miami Herald as “luminous and lustrous.” Ms. An began her musical training at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, and completed degrees at Stanford University, Eastman School of Music, and Manhattan School of Music. Her teachers include Alan Stepansky, Alan Harris, Stephen Harrison, and Richard Naill. Ms. An performs on rare French cello by Nicolas Darche, dated 1841.

Student Performers: Aneesha Sampath, 17, is a junior at Wootton High School in Rockville, MD, and has been playing violin for ten years. Aneesha has been the concertmaster of multiple orchestras at the Potomac Valley Youth Orchestra, the Montgomery County All-County Honors Orchestra, and the Maryland All-State Orchestra. She currently is a member of the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra’s Philharmonic orchestra. Aneesha was one of two students from Maryland to perform in NAfME’s All-National Symphony Orchestra in November of 2017. In December, as a winner of the American Protégé Romantic Music Competition, she performed a solo at Carnegie Hall. Most recently, Aneesha was selected for the National Youth Orchestra 2 (NYO2) for the summer of 2018. In addition to orchestral and solo playing, Aneesha enjoys performing chamber music. Her quartet has consistently received superior ratings at county and state festivals. The group also volunteers regularly at senior centers.

Justin Park is a senior at Poolesville High School in Montgomery County. He started playing the violin in 4th grade with the MCPS Instrumental Music curriculum. Since then, he has participated in various competitions, and played in the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras and the Maryland All-State Senior Orchestra. He has also served as concertmaster in his school orchestras and ensembles, as well as in the National Philharmonic High School Summer Strings Institute. Justin learns violin under the


tutelage of Professor Adrian Semo. In his free time, Justin likes to play tennis and hone his card magic skills.

Zachary Shieh is a violist from Bowie, Maryland. He is a junior at DeMatha Catholic High School, where he is the President of the Valois Chapter of the National Honor Society and a coxswain on the crew team. Zack is also a violist in Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra’s Philharmonic orchestra. He has studied violin/viola performance with Jennifer Shannon for the past eleven years. His current teachers include Jennifer Shannon, violinist Laura Knutson, and his uncle, violist Christopher Shieh. As an Eagle Scout, Zack enjoys the outdoors and working on projects that benefit the environment. His favorite composer is Dmitri Shostakovich. Cellist Leena Shin has earned recognition for her playing both locally and abroad. She has participated yearly in the National Philharmonic’s Summer Strings Institute since 2013. First place awards include the MSMTA Solo String Festival (2011-2014), the YMIC Young Musicians Inspiring Change competition (2016), and both the CAI Concert Artists International Maestro and Virtuoso competitions (2017). She placed honorable mention in the US Army Band Young Artists Competition in 2017. In 2018, Leena was the principal cellist for the Washington Archdiocesan Music Teachers’ Conference Honors Orchestra. Currently, she is a pupil of Kerry Van Laanen. Leena is a sophomore attending St. John’s College High School in Washington D.C. with a merit scholarship for music performance. Outside of the music world, Leena enjoys attending Broadway performances and is an active member of her school’s Army JROTC program.

About the National Philharmonic Led by dynamic Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski, the National Philharmonic is known for performances that are “powerful,” impeccable” and “thrilling” (The Washington Post). Created in 2003, the National Philharmonic took up residence at the state-of-the-art Music Center at Strathmore upon its opening in February 2005. More than 250 performances later, combined with far-reaching educational programming, the National Philharmonic is the largest and most active locally based professional orchestra based in Montgomery County.

The Philharmonic boasts a long-standing tradition of reasonably priced tickets and free admission to all young people age 7-17, assuring its place as an accessible and enriching component in Montgomery County and the greater Washington, DC area. As the Music Center at Strathmore’s orchestra-in-residence, the National Philharmonic showcases world-renowned guest artists in time-honored symphonic masterpieces conducted by Maestro Gajewski and monumental choral masterworks under National Philharmonic Chorale Artistic Director Stan Engebretson.

The National Philharmonic also offers exceptional and unique education programs, such as the Summer Strings and Choral Institutes. Students accepted into the Summer String Institutes study privately with National Philharmonic musicians, participate in coached chamber music and play in an orchestra conducted by Maestro Gajewski and Philharmonic Associate Conductor Victoria Gau. For more information, visit .

About Potter Violins

In addition to the new recital hall, Potter Violins’ new home in Takoma Park, Md., features six instrument showrooms, accessories, sheet music and music cases. Potter Violins offer high quality instruments by renowned modern makers as well as rare and antique American, French, English and Italian Instruments. For more information, please visit It is located at 7711 Eastern Ave, Takoma Park, MD.