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Spotlight on the Symphony - Souvenir de Florence

  • Samper Recital Hall 6500 Soquel Avenue Santa Cruz, CA, 95062 United States (map)

Souvenir de Florence (aka Danny & Friends)

The opening recital of our Spotlight on the Symphony Recital Series will feature six of the Symphony’s string musicians, including concertmaster Nigel Armstrong, Rebecca Jackson on violin, Daniel Stewart on viola, principal viola Chad Kaltinger, principal cello Jonah Kim, and assistant principal cello Saul Richmond-Rakerd.

The highlight of the program will be Tchaikovsky’s beautiful sextet, Souvenir de Florence. Though named because he wrote it while in Florence, the last two movements are distinctly reminiscent of Russian folk-like melodies and rhythms.

Daniel Stewart will open the program with the Telemann Viola Concerto, the first known concerto written for viola, and one of Telemann’s most famous works.

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Moncayo Huapango
arr. Stewart

Telemann Viola Concerto
Daniel Stewart, viola


Tchaikovsky Souvenir de Florence (String Sextet)

Nigel Armstrong, violin
Rebecca Jackson, violin
Daniel Stewart, viola
Chad Kaltinger, viola
Jonah Kim, cello
Saul Richmond-Rakerd, cello


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Nigel Armstrong, Violin

Nigel Armstrong is emerging as a dynamic and creative artist both within and beyond the realm of classical music. From his musical beginnings as a member of "The Little Fiddlers" in Sonoma, CA to collaborations with tango musicians in Argentina he's enjoyed using the violin in a versatile manner throughout his life.

As soloist Nigel has performed with orchestras such as the Dusseldorf Symphony, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, YOA Orchestra of the Americas, and the Boston Pops, and with conductors including Sir Neville Marriner and Carlos Miguel Prieto. He received the 2nd Prize, the Ole Bull Prize, and the Nordheim Award at the 2010 Menuhin Competition Senior Division in Oslo, Norway, and got the 4th Prize plus the Prize for the Best Performance of the Commissioned Work (STOMP, by John Corigliano) at the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition. As a chamber musician his concerts have taken him across the US and abroad--highlights have included opportunities to share the stage with the Tokyo String Quartet and pianist Jonathan Biss.

Nigel feels fortunate to have had the chance to explore great orchestral literature throughout his career. Since 2009 he's appeared as concertmaster with the Colburn Orchestra, LA's American Youth Symphony, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the YOA Orchestra of the Americas, and most recently the New York String Orchestra in their annual Carnegie hall performances.

A graduate of the Colburn School and the Curtis Institute of Music, Nigel's teachers have included Arnold Steinhardt, Robert Lipsett, Zaven Melikian, and Donald Weilerstein, among others. He also recently had the opportunity to live with and learn from the Plum Village community founded by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, where he spent a year working on their organic farm and taking part in their daily life, an experience for which he continues to be grateful.


Rebecca Jackson, violin

Founder and artistic director of Music in May, Rebecca Jackson is a 2018 KSBW Jefferson Award honoree. Acting member of San Francisco Ballet and Santa Fe Opera Orchestras, she also is founding member of Ensemble San Francisco. Believing strongly in the power of music to heal and unite, she has performed in many marginalized communities across the U.S., Ukraine, Romania, Dominican Republic, Haiti, India, Nepal, Costa Rica, and most recently into Said Gawash and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon.

Combining her passion for music and service, she is co-founder of Sound Impact. She and her father have co-authored and recently published the authorized biography of her mentor, David Arben, Nazi death camp survivor and former associate concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra ( Ms. Jackson received her B.M. from The Juilliard School and a graduate degree from UC Santa Cruz.

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Daniel Stewart, Viola

Daniel Stewart is in his fifth year as Music Director of the Santa Cruz Symphony. Mr. Stewart's first four seasons in Santa Cruz have led to great critical acclaim, including the Peninsula Reviews' assertion that "Arguably, the Santa Cruz County Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Stewart has now developed into the finest musical ensemble South of San Francisco and North of Los Angeles."

Mr. Stewart has served as principal violist of numerous ensembles, including the New World Symphony, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, and the Verbier Festival and Chamber Orchestras. He has performed as an orchestral musician with the San Francisco Symphony, recorded for EMI with Maxim Vengerov, and toured extensively in over 40 countries.

Read his full bio here.

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Chad Kaltinger, Viola

Chad Kaltinger is an active freelancer in the San Francisco area and maintains a busy schedule as orchestral violist, chamber musician, soloist, and recording artist.  Principal violist for Opera San Jose and the Santa Cruz Symphony, he is a frequent guest principal at the San Jose Chamber Orchestra. Chad has performed in many festivals around the U.S. including Music in the Mountains, Arizona Musicfest, South by Southwest, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the Mendocino Music Festival. He is an active proponent of new music and performs regularly with the Cabrillo Music Festival, the University of California-Santa Cruz New Music Works Ensemble, and the Worn Chamber Ensemble.  He was the soloist in the  2012 U.S. premiere of Noam Sheriff’s Canarian Vespers, for solo viola and strings, with the Cadenza Chamber Orchestra in Santa Cruz, California.

Chad hails from Chicago where he began his studies at age 9.  He studied at the Music Institute of Chicago in Wilmette, Ill. with Peter Slowik, and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with Emanuel Vardi.  As a fellowship student at the Aspen Music Festival he studied with Heidi Castleman and Victoria Chiang.  Chad was the winner of the 1994 E. Nakamichi Viola Concerto Competition at the Aspen Music Festival.  He joined QSF in December 2012.


Jonah Kim, Cello

Born in Seoul, Korea, cellist Jonah Kim immigrated to the United States at the age of seven. His father, a pastor at a Korean Presbyterian Church in New York, introduced Jonah to the cello that same year. Despite having no formal musical training, Jonah's father possessed a keen ear for music, and he coached Jonah playing the cello. Jonah figured things out quickly by watching and imitating Pablo Casals from VHS tapes of his performance of Bach’s Solo Cello Suites. Within a year, Jonah was accepted to the Juilliard School Pre-College Division with full scholarship where with Ardyth Alton he began his first professional training, including how to read music.

During his first year at Juilliard, Jonah was unsure whether the cello and classical music were really for him. He was attending a New York City public school, learning to speak English, and adjusting to life in the United States. Jonah and his father wrote to Janos Starker at Indiana University for advice. Starker's invitation for Jonah to perform was pivotal, inspiring the young cellist to continue his studies. Starker later remarked, "Jonah is an exceptional talent. He is at the top of his generation.”

Two years later, just before his tenth birthday, Jonah was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. During his six years there, he studied under Peter Wiley, Lynn Harrell, and Orlando Cole, who wrote, "[Jonah] is one of the most accomplished cellists I have taught in my sixty five years on the Curtis faculty.” He has also participated in masterclasses with cellists Joel Krosnick, Timothy Eddy, Stephen Isserlis, Gary Hoffman, Marcy Rosen, Andre Diaz, and Ron Leonard among others.

Jonah made his debut with Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2002 after winning the first prize at the Philadelphia Orchestra's Albert M. Greenfield Competition. He also performed with the National Symphony Orchestra at its pops concert entitled “Stars of Tomorrow” in 2003, on which Joseph McLellan of the Washington Post wrote "[Jonah] sounded like the next Yo-Yo Ma."

Since then, he has performed with Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Atlantic Classical Orchestra, Redlands Symphony, Palm Beach Symphony and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Jonah has given recitals at the Kimmel Center (Philadelphia), the Kravis Center (West Palm Beach), and the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.). He has also appeared in radio and TV programs at WHYY, WITF, MPBN and WXEL, NBC and CBS. During summers, Jonah performs and participates in the Atlantic (Maine), Encore (Ohio), Lancaster (Ohio),Killington (Vermont), Sarasota (Florida), and Kneisel Hall (Maine) music festivals.

Jonah’s passion for chamber music began when he collaborated with his peers at Curtis. He has performed most of the standard piano trio literature with violinist Chen Xi and pianist Yuja Wang. His mentors at Curtis include Joseph Silverstein, Aaron Rosand, Ida Kavafian, Gary Graffman, and Seymour Lipkin, as well as the Guarneri, Emerson, Vermeer,and the Takacs string quartets. Since his graduation from Curtis in spring of 2006, Jonah has been dividing his time between New York City, Prague and Miami.

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Saul Richmond-Rakerd, Cello

Saul Richmond-Rakerd began cello at the age of 9.  While attending Brown University, he performed as principal of the Brown University Orchestra and as a soloist. He received Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Physics and Anthropology, but cello remained a passion of his. After graduating, Saul immersed himself in music full-time. After attending the Castleton Music festival in 2013, he moved to Florence, Italy to pursue a Biennio di Violoncello, and to play professionally as principal cellist of the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana.  He then received his Master of Music degree at the San Francisco Conservatory under the tutelage of Jennifer Culp.

Musical awards include finalist of the San Francisco Conservatory Concerto Competition in 2016, First Prize at the Barbara Fritz Chamber Music Award (2016), First Prize at the Luigi Boccherini Chamber Music Competition in Lucca, Italy (2016), Second Prize at the Dorothy Van Waynen Competition for Strings (2016), Primo Arco Premio (2014), Weston Prize for the Arts (2013), and the Buxtehude Premium Prize in Music (2012).  He has been a member of many chamber groups and was a founding member of the cello quartet Quattro alla Volta. He currently serves as assistant principal cellist in the Santa Cruz Symphony and as a section cellist with the Monterey Symphony.

Earlier Event: June 2
You Make Music Happen!
Later Event: September 19
Watsonville Music In the Plaza