Santa Monica Symphony Guest SoloistsChester and Hak Soon Swiatkowski, duo-pianists
Chet Swiatkowski, who holds degrees from the Yale School of Music and the Hartt College of Music, has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia in solo and chamber music concerts. He has performed with the New Music Group of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Monday Evening Concerts, the Ojai Festivals, the Composer's Choice Series at UCLA, the Mozart Festivals and concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. Chet records for the major motion picture studios and his film credits include performances of Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto for "The Competition" (with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra), Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" for "Somewhere in Time" and Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No. 2" for "Center Stage". He recently recorded the featured piano solos for the film "Unfaithful".
Hak Soon Swiatkowski, first prize winner of the International Young Artist Piano Competition held is Los Angeles in 1975, was featured in a critically acclaimed performance on NBC-TV's "Sunday" program. Hak Soon holds degrees from Mount St. Mary's College and the California Institute of the Arts. She has given many solo recitals in the United States, Europe, Korea and was a guest artist at the Jagellonian University in Poland performing the music of Chopin in 1991. Hak Soon has been piano soloist with the Korean Chamber Symphony, the Lodi Chamber Symphony Orchestra and has performed at the Mozart Festivals as well as with the Venice Chamber Ensemble in Italy.
Currently, together with her husband Chet Swiatkowski, Hak Soon is on the piano teaching faculty at Mount St. Mary's College in Brentwood. For the past 16 years, she has been the music director of the Pasadena Summer Youth Chamber Orchestra which features young pianists performing concertos with the orchestra.
"I have heard her perform a number of times. Each time it is an inspiration, almost unbelievable," noted author Henry Miller. "I have used the word 'genius' in her connection. I have done so deliberately because I truly believe she is one. She seems to take delight in playing only difficult things. Completely devoted to her musical studies she is nevertheless bright and gay and enjoys life to the full."
Bryan Pezzone, pianist
Bryan Pezzone is the consummate crossover pianist of his generation. He has excelled in classical, contemporary, jazz, and experimental genres and is known for both his versatility and virtuosity as a performing artist, improviser and composer.
He has performed with many major symphony orchestra associations, has toured widely with the jazz/classical crossover group "Free Flight", and is known in the Los Angeles area as one of the primary freelance pianists for film and television soundtracks. He is also a consulting editor for the well-known publication "Piano and Keyboard" where he writes articles about improvisation and creative approaches to careers in music.
Some of the highlights of Bryan's career as a concert artist include: performances with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra; on-screen credit for his performance on the soundtrack of "The Game"(with Michael Douglas); pianist on virtually all of the cartoons released by Warner Brothers and Disney over the past six years; principal pianist with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra from its inception in 1991 through 1999; creation of much of Yamaha's Disklavier Piano Soft series with solo titles as diverse as "The Best of Elton John", "Cinema Love Songs" and "Debussy Piano Works"; and founder of the multi-focused keyboard program at the California Institute of the Arts, where he taught from 1987-2000.
He performed the Gershwin Piano Concerto in F to great acclaim four years ago with the Santa Monica Symphony, and we are delighted to have him back with us.
As far as training goes, Bryan has received his Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music in 1984 where he was awarded the Performers Certificate and won the concerto competition. He was invited to the Tanglewood Music Center two successive summers in 1983 and 1984 where he received the C.D. Jackson Master award.
He attended the Banff Centre during its winter term from 1984-1985 as an alternative to graduate studies in order to have the necessary time to freely blend various aesthetics and diverse performance traditions into a unique approach. This passion remains the focus of his work and continues to evolve.
Armen Ksajikian, cello
Armen Ksajikian began his professional career at age 12 with the Abkhazian State Philharmonic m his native (former) Soviet Union. Since arriving in the United States in 1976, he has been very active in Los Angeles' musical life, serving as principal cellist with the Los Angeles and Opus Chamber Orchestras, the Pasadena, Pacific, Long Beach, Glendale, New West and Santa Monica Symphonies and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, as well as the Bolshoi, Kirov, Stuttgart, Joffrey, Royal and American Ballet Theatre Orchestras. He has toured with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to New York and throughout Europe and with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra to Japan and Brazil. Armen has participated in many music festivals including the Cabrillo, Colorado, Banff, Sitka, Venice Film, Fairbanks Summer Arts, Oregon Bach and Juneau Jazz & Classics. As a member of the distinguished Armadillo String Quartet since 1982, he has been involved in such daring events as a 34 1/2 -hour marathon performance of the complete quartets of Joseph Haydn, concerts from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the top of the Mendenhall Glacier, from Hong Kong's City Hall to New York's Carnegie Hall, where the Armadillos gave the world premiere of the P.D.Q. Bach string quartet 'The Moose". In addition to many of Peter Schickele's compositions Armen has premiered works by John Cage, Miklos Rosza, John Williams, Mel Powell, Henry Mancini, Randy Newman, John Adams, Chick Corea and many others. In 1985 Armen was invited to perform with Jascha Heifetz in his master classes. In 1993 he made his limousine driving debut in the action thriller True Lies with Jamie Lee Curtis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is a busy recording musician as well with over 900 motion picture soundtracks to his credit. Armen's current hobbies include whitewater rafting, backgammon, and playing cello concertos with the Southland's symphony orchestras.
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