First Violin

 
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Nigel Armstrong

Concertmaster

Sponsored by Myrna Britton & Roger Anderson

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.

 
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Chinh Le

Associate Concertmaster

Sponsored By Locatelli Moving & Storage

Chinh Le was born in Vietnam and came to the US in 1980. Mr. Le completed his Bachelor of Music from Indiana University. He has performed with the New World Symphony in various genres from solo to chamber music series. He was an active performer throughout Europe, South America and Asia before he joined the Symphony Silicon Valley in 1991. He was the music director and conductor of the Saigon Chamber Ensemble between 1998 to 2001. In 2003 he co-founded the Pacific Music Associations, based in Northern California, with purpose of preserving traditional Vietnamese music. Mr. Le is a member of Opera San Jose and San Jose Chamber Orchestra. Additionally, he is the Associate Concertmaster of Santa Cruz Symphony.

 
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XANDER ABBE

Sponsored by Joyce Osborn

Originally from McLean, Virginia, Xander Abbe has been a violinist since the age of five, and graduated with a B.A. in music from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. His principal teachers include Sally Thomas, Jody Gatwood, and Neva Greenwood. He regularly performs with the California Pops Orchestra, and he is the principal second violin of the Golden State Pops Orchestra in Los Angeles. Previously, he served as concertmaster of the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, with which he performed the violin solo in Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" in 2010, and he toured China with New York's Park Avenue Chamber Symphony in 2011. He is an avid player of string quartets, having participated in chamber music festivals in Budapest, Salzburg, Paris, and Bennington, Vermont. He lives in San Jose with his husband Murray and their four cats.

 
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CHRISTINE CHOI

Violinist Christine Choi is an avid soloist and chamber musician. She has been a recipient of numerous awards including the Lawrence Bedini Scholarship at the Stewart Brady Competition, the Janet Spoor Achievement Award Fellowship, and top honors at the Lillian Fuchs Chamber Music Competition.

An avid chamber musician, Christine has collaborated with Bayla Keyes, Michael Reynolds, and Marcus Thompson in concert. She was a Guest Artist at Music in the Vineyards in Napa Valley, CA, and in 2015, she became an artist member of Music for Food. She was selected to perform for Boston University’s Center for New Music in collaboration with Joan Tower, and The Beethoven Research Center. As an orchestral musician, Christine has performed at Alice Tully Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, and Jordan Hall. She has also performed with the Banff Festival Orchestra, Hwaum Boston Chamber Orchestra, and Cantata Singers.

Christine studied with Davis Law and Zaven Melikian in San Francisco, CA, and received her Bachelor of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as recipient of the Ruth and Jo Blackmore Scholarship. In 2012, she received her Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Lucie Robert. Christine recently received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree under the guidance of Bayla Keyes from Boston University.

 
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AStRID HUALA

Astrid has been a member of the Santa Cruz Symphony since 1985. Since that time she co-founded the Rose Quartet, taught Pacific Elementary School and been a private violin teacher.

 
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LORI JENSEN

Sponsored by Bob & Sharon Bailey

Lori Jensen began playing violin when she was five years old, first with Lesa Zuehlke, then with Zaven Melikian at the San Francisco Conservatory. She graduated from Santa Clara University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, a major in Communications and a minor in Religious Studies. She has been a member of the Santa Cruz Symphony since 2003. Other groups she has played with include Symphony Silicon Valley, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, West Bay Opera and California Pops. In addition to teaching private violin, viola and piano students, Lori coaches local youth orchestras and performs at weddings. She is also a first degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. Her other hobbies include volleyball, gardening, baking, volunteering and crafts.

 
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EMILY LANZONE

Sponsored by Marlene Henderson & Family

Emily Lanzone (Cox) earned her BM in violin performance from the University of Oregon, MM from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a Professional Studies Diploma from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Her principal teachers have included Kathryn Gray, Kathleen Winkler, Kathy Lucktenberg, Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio, and Axel Strauss. Since moving to California's Central Coast in 2011, Emily has been a member of the San Luis Obispo Symphony, along with other area ensembles such the Symphony of the Vines, OperaSLO, and Santa Maria Philharmonic. She also plays with the Santa Cruz Symphony, and the Oregon Coast Music Festival in Coos Bay, OR. Emily teaches at Cal Poly University and works with the SLO Youth Symphony, while maintaining a private studio of violin and viola students. Although she specializes in orchestral performance, Emily's first love is chamber music, a passion which took her abroad to northern Italy in the summer of 2011 for the Zephyr Chamber Music Festival. A native of Portland, OR, she currently lives in Morro Bay, CA with her husband Brian, and young son Kieran.

 
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Junghee Lee

Sponsored by Ron & Cindy Sekkel

Junghee Lee received a Bachelor of Music degree at Yonsei University, a Master of Music at the Juilliard School, and is currently enrolled in the Doctoral program at Rutgers.

Ms. Lee has studied with Philippe Quint, Yoon Kwon, Cho-Liang Lin, Hyo Kang and Masao Kawasaki, and has participated in the Aspen, Lisbon, Salzburg and Busan Music Festivals. In 2013, she was the winner of the International Competition of Romantic Music in New York, and was a winner in the Rutgers Chamber Music Competition.

 
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ELIZABETH MACCORQUODALE

Elizabeth MacCorquodale is a young emerging artist who has graced stages all over the world and has received numerous awards and scholarships. She was the 2nd prize winner of the Frank Preuss International Violin Competition in Ibague, Colombia, “special prize” winner of the Diabelli International Chamber Competition in 2012, 1st prize winner of the Columbus State University Concerto Competition, 2008, 2nd prize winner of the LaGrange Young Artist’s Competition in 2008, top prize winner of the Canadian National Chamber Music Festival 2005, and 1st prize winner of the Atlanta Community Orchestra Competition.

Ms. MacCorquodale’s studies have taken her across the globe from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, to the University of Performing Arts in Graz, Austria, the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest and most recently Stony Brook University in New York where she completed her doctoral studies. Her primary teachers include Hagai Shaham, Phil Setzer of the Emerson Quartet, Silvia Marcovici, Sergiu Schwartz, and Vilmos Szabadi.

As an active participant in summer festivals, she has performed in festivals across the United States and Europe including Pinchas Zukerman’s Young Artist Program, Morningside Music Bridge, the Heifetz Institute, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Orchestral Academy, Cassalmaggiore International Music Festival and Orchestra of the Americas.

A dedicated teacher as well as performer, Ms. MacCorquodale has been actively involved in the training of young violinists in NY and abroad. She currently maintains a private violin studio in the South Bay Area of California and serves on the faculty of the New Mozart School of Music in Palo Alto. Her students have been featured in broadcasts for radio and TV stations including FOX News, the Don Francisco Show on NBC, the Harry Connick Jr. Show on Fox, and Good Morning America on ABC News.

 
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EMILY PACKARD (LOA)

Emily Packard is a classical and new music violinist in the Bay Area, currently residing in Alameda, CA. She has an MM in violin performance from the San Francisco Conservatory where she studied with Bettina Mussumeli, and an MFA in improvisation from Mills College where she studied violin with David Abel and Daniel Kobialka and improvisation with Fred Frith. Emily plays regularly with her band Jack O' The Clock (www.jackotheclock.com) as well as in the Santa Cruz and Monterey symphonies. She also loves to collaborate with artists from other mediums. Favorite performances have three productions playing with the Garrett Moulton modern dance company in San Francisco and touring the West Coast with singer/ songwriter Joanna Newsom. Emily teaches private violin lessons and has taught group string classes at Oakland School for The Arts, Crowden School of Music and the El Sistema program Sound Minds among many others.