The Myriad Trio to perform at Soka University of America’s new Soka Performing Arts Center

December 28, 2011

On Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 7:00 pm, The Myriad Trio will celebrate the release of their debut recording with a concert at Soka University of America’s new Soka Performing Arts Center. Their new CD, featuring “The Eye of Night” by composer David Bruce, a piece specially commissioned for The Myriad Trio, was recorded this past July in Soka’s new, highly acclaimed Center. Producer Erica Brenner (who spent 20 years in audio production for Telarc International) and GRAMMY Award winning engineer Robert Friedrich, co-founder of Five/Four Productions and also formerly of Telarc, have teamed up on this recording, which is already drawing pre-release interest from around the world. This concert will include selections from the CD as well as a sampling of work by the Trio.

Che-Yen Chen to join the USC Thornton School Viola Faculty in the fall of 2012.

November 15, 2011

Official Welcome Letter from Strings Department Chair:

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

I am pleased to introduce the newest member of our strings faculty.  The distinguished violist and educator Che-Yen Chen, principal violist of the San Diego Symphony, a recitalist and chamber musician with various notable affiliations, will join the Thornton School viola faculty in the fall of 2012.

A native of Taiwan, where he was a four-time winner of the National Viola Competition, Chen came to the U.S. in his teens to matriculate at the Curtis Institute of Music (Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance, 1998) and the Juilliard School (M.M. in Viola Performance, 2001).  Within a few years, he had been honored internationally, in 2003 winning First Prize at the Primrose International Viola Competition and the “President Prize” of theLionel Tertis Viola Competition.  He was also the winner of the New Amsterdam Symphony Concerto Competition in 2004.

Since then, Che-Yen Chen, also known as Brian Chen, has gone on to the career as a leading exponent of the viola. Beside his duties as principal violist of the San Diego Symphony, beginning in 2004, he has served as principal violist of the Mainly Mozart Festival since 2005, and has also been guest principal violist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.  He is currently a member of Camera Lucida, the Myriad Trio, and he is a co-founding member of the Formosa Quartet, winner of both the First Prize and the Amadeus Prize at the Tenth London International String Quartet Competition.

Among many chamber music affiliations, Chen participates annually in La Jolla Summerfest, the Seattle Chamber Music SocietySummer Festival and the Kingston Chamber Music Festival.  He is a former member of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Two, and has toured with Musicians From Marlboro following several seasons of his participation at the Marlboro Music Festival.

Mr. Chen maintains a simultaneous career as a noted educator.  A student of such luminaries as Michael Tree, Joseph de Pasquale,Karen Tuttle and Paul Neubauer, he has taught and performed at Interlochen, Mimir Chamber Music Festival, National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and was a member of the jury of the 13th Primrose InternationalViola Competition in 2011.  He has served on the faculties of McGill University, UC San Diego, San Diego State University, Indiana University South Bend, and teaches currently at California State University Fullerton.

Chen looks upon teaching as a collegial activity,instructor and students working together toward the goal of making good performances great.  In his own career, teaching and playing go hand in hand, in a constancy of learning and refreshing each musician’s commitment to all aspects of performance.

Che-Yen Chen’s duties at the USC Thornton School will include teaching studio viola, chamber music and orchestral repertoire.  Given his background leading master classes in notable institutions and music festivals around the world, and his history of helping younger violists through the always daunting audition process,placing students in orchestral and festival assignments, he will unquestionably become a valued addition to the Thornton Strings Department.  Chen’s renown for dedication to educating the next generation of musicians will place him in excellent standing in a program known for innovation,practicality and constant commitment to the highest musical standards.

Please join me in welcoming Prof.Che-Yen Chen to our Strings Department.

Midori Goto
Chair, Strings Department
USC Thornton School of Music

Seattle Symphony’s new principal flutist, Demarre McGill talks about taking his career to new phases in a new town.

October 6, 2011

Seattle Symphony’s new principal flutist, Demarre McGill, and new principal cellist, Efe Baltacigil, talk about taking their careers to new phases in a new town.

By Michael Upchurch
Seattle Times arts writer

There’s more than one newcomer on the Benaroya Hall stage this season.

The arrival of French conductor Ludovic Morlot to head Seattle Symphony is the biggest news, of course. But the principal chairs for flute and cello have also recently been filled, by Demarre McGill and Efe Baltacigil, respectively.

Both seem raring to go. At the first Masterworks concert of the season, they were among the first onstage, diligently practicing runs before the concert started. And they both had their spotlight moments, especially in the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3.

Last month, McGill and Baltacigil shared their thoughts about their musical tastes and their new musical home.

Demarre McGill

Demarre (de-MARR-ay) McGill, the former principal flutist with the San Diego Symphony, replaces Scott Goff, who has retired after 42 years with Seattle Symphony. It’s clear McGill, 36, has been a vital presence on the San Diego music scene, co-founding a vibrant chamber series, Art of Élan, which he’ll continue to codirect.

Still, he couldn’t be more excited about joining the Seattle Symphony at a time of new leadership and new direction.

At his audition, he says, he “definitely felt the energy of the orchestra. … And as I investigated further, there were two things that just blew me away, really impressed me: Morlot’s programming … and how welcoming the musicians have been.”

The warm welcome, he says, has come from members of Seattle’s flute community as well as symphony players.

What does McGill hope to bring to the orchestra?

“I think that like the other principal instruments, the principal flute is an important voice of the ensemble. So I like to say just ‘playing pretty’ is an important part of my job description. But not just that,” he stresses. “It may be about me if I have a solo. Otherwise it’s really about creating a glorious unified wind sound.”

McGill says it has been fascinating to play works he hasn’t performed before. “It doesn’t happen all the time. After you’ve played a number of years in orchestras, you’ll find the same old friends in the repertoire.”

With works by Dutilleux, Varèse, Zappa and Gulda on Morlot’s playlist, McGill has been feeling he’s a student again: “It’s a really nice feeling … studying the recordings and learning the stuff from scratch. That’s very exciting.”

McGill began playing the flute in Chicago when he was 7 years old, starting with a used silver flute his mother gave his father before Demarre was born.

“I loved it immediately,” he says of the flute. “My father just said, ‘Blow across it like you blow across a Coke bottle.’ And that was my first lesson, I guess.”

A flute teacher, conveniently, happened to live around the corner.

“For seven years after that,” he remembers, “I would have these moments of passion. … I couldn’t stop practicing, and then I would just plateau. Then I would have another moment of musical ecstasy, with just a little short piece.”

McGill, for whom the word “upbeat” might have been coined, listens to “absolutely everything” — blues, R&B, hip-hop, jazz, folk music, world music — and a recent comment by Morlot about there being “only good music and not-so-good music” made a special impression on him.

“I read that and thought: This guy is going to be fantastic for the city, because he has the right perspective.”

Regarding the future of the symphony orchestra in a frenzied media culture, McGill is an optimist: “I definitely am not preaching this little doomsday thing at all. I don’t believe that with orchestras.”

He cites the richness of the classical repertoire itself — “The music has been around this long for a reason” — but some of his optimism comes from his experience with Art of Élan in San Diego, where he and his fellow musicians worked inventively to connect with the public.

“Once that connection is made,” he says, “good things will happen. I think that, from what I can see and from what I’ve read, the Seattle Symphony is on the right track.”


June 12, 2011

Seattle, WA – Seattle Symphony announces the appointment of Principal Flute Demarre McGill, who will join the Orchestra in September. He comes to Seattle from the San Diego Symphony where he has been Principal Flute since 2004. The Symphony’s current Principal Flute Scott Goff will retire at the end of this season after 42 years in the position.

Seattle Symphony Music Director Designate Ludovic Morlot commented, “The first principal appointment is always important for a new music director, and I am so pleased that Demarre McGill will be joining the Orchestra in the fall as Principal Flute. I admire his incredible talent and energy, as well as the work he has done to introduce new audiences to classical music — something I, too, am passionate about.”

In addition to the San Diego Symphony, McGill has served as Principal Flute of the Santa Fe Opera and Florida orchestras, and was Acting Principal with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared as soloist with the Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, San Diego, Milwaukee, Dayton, Winston-Salem and Florida orchestras.

McGill is the 2003 recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant. He has also performed at the following U.S. festivals: Marlboro Music Festival; Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival; Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival; Mainly Mozart Festival (CA); Mostly Mozart Festival (NY); La Jolla Summerfest; and the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival. He has been featured on a PBS “Live From Lincoln Center” broadcast with the Chamber Music Society performing Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 as well as on an Angel Records recording playing Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 with pianist Awadagin Pratt and the St. Lawrence String Quartet.

McGill received his bachelor’s degree in Flute Performance from The Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Julius Baker and Jeffrey Khaner. He continued his studies with Baker at The Juilliard School, where he received a Master of Music degree. Prior to Curtis, he studied with Susan Levitin in Chicago. McGill has been heavily involved in the San Diego community, both with Art of Élan, a chamber music organization whose focus is to expose new audiences to classical music; and as co-founder of The Myriad Trio, which performs at the University of California at San Diego, among other venues.

Our first CD in July!!!

May 26, 2011

We will be recording our first album in July, featuring the new work by David Bruce: “The Eye of Night,” commissioned for The Myriad Trio this year.  We will be teaming up with producer and engineer veterans and superstars Erica Brenner and Robert Friedrich (both formerly of Telarc Records) this July at Soka University in Aliso Viejo, CA.  More details to come soon.

Website almost complete!

May 26, 2011

If you’re viewing this, you’ll see that the website is up and running!  We’re almost done tweaking the site with our concerts and calendar – so stay with us and look for the final version to be complete soon!!

-The Myriad Trio