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Tolstoy and Spirituality Concert

Friday, April 21, 2017
8 PM, Brooks Concert Hall
Free and open to the public

Kreutzer SonataVictor Santiago Asunción, piano
Marcus Placci, violin
Jan Müller-Szeraws, cello

Sonata for Piano and Violin no. 9, op. 47 "Kreutzer"
I. Adagio sostenuto - Presto
II. Andante con variazioni
III. Presto

Trio for Piano, Violin and Violoncello in A minor, op. 50 "In Memory of a Great Artist”

I. Pezzo elegiaco (Moderato assai – Allegro giusto)
II.(A) Tema con variazioni
Tema: Andante con moto
Var I
Var II: Più mosso
Var III: Allegro moderato
Var IV: L'istesso tempo (Allegro moderato)
Var V: L'istesso tempo
Var VI: Tempo di Valse
Var VII: Allegro moderato
Var VIII: Fuga (Allegro moderato)
Var IX: Andante flebile, ma non tanto
Var X: Tempo di mazurka
Var XI: Moderato
(B)Variazioni finale e coda
Allegro risoluto e con fuoco
Coda: Andante con moto – Lugubre (L'istesso tempo)

The concert is sponsored by the McFarland Center with the Departments of Music and World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.


Hailed by The Washington Post for his “poised and imaginative playing,” pianist Victor Santiago Asunción is recognized as an artist of innate musical sensitivity, fiery temperament and superb technique. As a recitalist and concerto soloist, he has appeared in major concert halls in Brazil, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and the Philippines. He played his orchestral debut at the age of 18 with the Manila Chamber Orchestra and his New York recital debut in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in 1999. In addition, he has worked with conductors including Sergio Esmilla, Enrique Batiz, Zev Dorman, Arthur Weisberg, Corrick Brown, David Loebel, Leon Fleisher, Michael Stern and Bobby McFerrin.

A chamber music enthusiast, he has performed with artists such as Lynn Harrell, Zuill Bailey, Andres Diaz, Evan Drachman, Cho-Liang Lin, James Dunham, Ronald Leonard, Susanne Mentzer, H.K. Gruber, John O’Connor, Marc Neikrug, Liang Wang, Ensemble Sao Paolo, and the Vega and Emerson String Quartets at venues that include the Phillips Collection, the Corcoran Gallery, 92nd Street Y, Benaroya, Merkin, Spivey and Shriver Concert Halls, and the Santa Fe, Aspen, Madison, Virtuosi, Pera, and Amelia Island Music Festivals. He was on the chamber music faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School, as well as the Garth Newel Summer Music Festival. He was also the pianist for the Garth Newel Piano Quartet for three seasons.

In addition to his active performing career, Mr. Asunción is sought after as a piano, vocal, and chamber music coach. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in 2007 from the University of Maryland at College Park. His principal teachers include Rosario Picazo, Avelina Manalo, Roberta Rust and Rita Sloan. Victor Asunción is a Steinway artist.

Praised for having “a magnificent personality, a superb energy, a total command and an extremely convincing taste” (La Libre Belgique), young Italian violinist Markus Placci is enjoying a growing international reputation that has already brought him solo appearances throughout Europe, South America, Asia and the United States in renowned venues such as the Great Philharmonic Hall (Shostakovich Hall) and the Glinka Philarmonic Hall in St. Petersburg (Russia), the Kursaal in Baden-Baden, the Teatro Monumental in Madrid, the Auditori in Barcelona, the Teatro Comunale and Mozart Hall in Bologna, the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan, the Kennedy Center in Washington, Sanders Theater in Boston, and the Richardson Auditorium in Princeton.

Winner of the prestigious “XXVI Vittorio Veneto Competition” on a unanimous vote of the Jury presided by Maestro Bruno Giuranna, Mr. Placci is also the recipient of numerous other international awards and prizes such as the “Brahms Preis” and “Baden-Baden Philarmonie Foundation-Carl Flesch Preis” in Germany, and the “Jules C. Reiner Violin Prize” at Tanglewood. He was a top prize winner at the “Washington International Competition 2006.”

Since his solo debut at age of 13 with the Bologna Symphony, Mr. Placci has appeared as soloist with major symphony orchestras like the Barcelona Symphony, the Radio Television Orchestra of Spain (RTVE), the Baden-Baden Philarmonie, the Annapolis Symphony, the Bologna Symphony, Milan's Pomeriggi Musicali Orchestra, Teatro San Carlo of Napoli Symphony, the Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano, the St. Petersburg State Philharmonic, the Padova e del Veneto Orchestra, among others.

In September 2005, collaborating with conductor Uwe Mund and the RTVE Orchestra (Orchestra of the Radio-Television of Spain), Mr. Placci world premiered with great acclaim the Violin Concerto written by Catalan composer Jordi Cervello.' The concert was broadcasted live from Teatro Monumental in Madrid both on the radio and the national television (Tve2).  In 2007, Cervello' composed and dedicated to him his “Tre Pensieri” for violin and piano.

Throughout the years Mr. Placci has been broadcast live on prominent radio stations such as the BBC Radio, the RTVE-Spain, the Bartok Radio-Hungary, WGBH Boston and RaiRadio in Italy.

In 2007 Mr. Placci was appointed as Violin Faculty at The Boston Conservatory, being the youngest professor ever to have been appointed in that position.

In 2016 he was presented both with “The Boston Conservatory Outstanding Faulty of the Year,” and with the MA ASTA (America Strings Teachers Association) “Best Studio Teacher of 2016” award.

Markus Placci plays on a 1871 J.B. Vuillaume violin, copy of the “Alard” Stradivari.

The central questions of how music connects people — it's mysterious magnetism, seductiveness, and power to affect us on so many levels — has lead cellist Jan Müller-Szeraws’ musical journey from his native Chile over Europe to the United States, exploring it as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher.

He has been a guest artist at many festivals including the Cape & Islands, Rockport, El Paso Pro-Musica, Strings in the Mountains, Delaware, Music at Gretna, Florida Arts, Sebago Long Lake and Kingston Chamber Music Festivals, the Garth Newel Music Center and the European Chamber Music Association.

His solo performances include the world premiere and recording of Bernard Hoffer's Concerto di Camera II for solo cello and ensemble written for him, the Boston premiere of Gunther Schuller’s cello concerto and John Harbison's and Chou Wen-Chung’s cello concertos with the New England Philharmonic, Schumann concerto with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Concepción and Orquesta de la Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Shostakovich concerto no.1 and Brahms double concerto with violinist Bayla Keyes and the Concord Orchestra (MA), Dvorak concerto with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra and Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.

As guest principal cellist he was invited to join the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra for two projects, including a live concert broadcast of Bavarian Broadcasting of Shostakovich's Symphony no. 15 with Mikhail Pletnev conducting as well as a tour to China.

​He has been broadcasted by radio and TV stations in the United States, Chile and Germany, and recorded Pedro Humberto Allende’s cello concerto with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile, which was released by the Chilean Academy of Fine Arts as part of the celebration of the two-hundredth anniversary of Chilean Independence.

Other recent projects include the release of "Anusvara," a disc with music by Shirish Korde for cello, tabla and carnatic soprano, the premiere of "Mutations" for solo cello and computer by Chris Arrell and the premiere and recording of Thomas Oboe Lee's "Suite for Solo Cello," both written for him, as well as a recording of sonatas for piano and cello by Brahms and Chopin with pianist Adam Golka for Hammond Performing Arts and a series of recitals for cello and harp with harpist Sivan Magen.

Müller-Szeraws regularly performs recitals with pianists Adam Golka, Ya-Fei Chuang and Sally Pinkas. He is cellist of the contemporary music ensemble Boston Musica Viva as well as founding member of Trio Tremonti.

Since September 2014, Müller-Szeraws is Artist-in-Residence at the College of the Holy Cross where he coordinates the Performance Program. He is also artistic director of the Chamber Music Institute at Holy Cross, an intensive chamber music summer immersion program for gifted high school and college students. Müller-Szeraws has been artist and teacher in residence at the "Jornadas Musicales Internacionales de Invierno" in Concepción, Chile and has taught Master Classes at the Garth Newel Music Center, Columbus State University and Academia de Música Antonio Vivaldi, Concepción. He was a guest lecturer at the Universidad Católica de Chile and currently teaches at the Phillips Academy Andover.

Müller-Szeraws is a prize-winner at the Washington International Competition, as well as a grant recipient of the Saul and Naomi Cohen Foundation, which is generously lending him a cello by David Tecchler (1717).

Jan Müller-Szeraws studied at the Musikhochschule Freiburg, Germany and holds a Bachelor and Master of Music Degree from Boston University. His teachers include Andrés Díaz, Christoph Henkel, Arnaldo Fuentes and Javier Santamaría.