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Les Amis presents:
Lynn Kuo, violin,
Winona Zelenka, cello

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 8 pm

Lynn Kuo, Winona Zelenka
Photo credit: Dvid Leyes Photo credit: Elaine Ling

Lynn Kuo, violin

“…. Lynn Kuo’s violin is dramatic, both rousing and melancholy..." - Showtime Magazine

Violinist Lynn Kuo has performed as soloist and chamber musician across Canada, United States, Wales, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Romania. As guest soloist,she has performed with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of Bulgaria, Canadian Sinfonietta, Brandon Chamber Players, the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, the Nexus percussion ensemble, and has also collaborated with artists such as Christoph Eschenbach, William Aide, the Gryphon Trio, and Penderecki String Quartet.

In demand as an interpreter of new music, Lynn has given numerous world premieres of acoustic and electroacoustic works written for her and various ensembles (Duo Vita, Les AMIS Ensemble): Canadian and European composers which include Michael Pepa, Dennis Patrick, Katarina Miljkovi?, Daniel Foley, Elizabeth Raum, Scott Godin, James Harley, John Oliver, Constantine Caravassilis, Avalon Rusk (Canada), Séan Clancy (Ireland), and Viktorija Cop (Croatia).

In 2008-09, Lynn gave the Canadian and European premieres of a fifth Michael Pepa work (ISOMORPHE), as soloist with the Cantus Ensemble of Croatia. Reprising her role as head of the Les AMIS Ensemble, Lynn embarked on a third European tour in April 2009 under the artistic direction of Michael Pepa. Among the performances: world premieres at the 2009 Music Biennale Festival in Zagreb, Croatia, the Mendelssohn Concerto in D minor with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of Bulgaria and the Chausson Concerto for Piano, violin and String Quartet with Marianna Humetska, piano and the Penderecki String Quartet.

Maintaining a busy performance schedule, Lynn is the Assistant Concertmaster of the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, and has also served as guest concertmaster of orchestras including the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Lynn also performs with the Canadian Opera Company, Via Salzburg Chamber Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In addition to performing, Lynn is a doctoral candidate in the Doctoral of Musical Arts program at the University of Toronto for which her dissertation research is on “Holistic Health and its Role in the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders in Musicians.”

Lynn gratefully performs on a 1904 Riccardo Antoniazzi violin and Hill bow on loan from Steven Pepa.

Winona Zelenka, cello

Winona Zelenka, known for her gorgeous, singing tone, is one of Canada’s finest cellists on the scene today. As a soloist, she has performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Strauss’ Don Quixote Suite, with Thomas Dausgaard conducting, 2006), and performs often with conductor John Barnum. Their past collaborations include Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D Minor with the Mississauga Symphony (2008) and Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1, with both the Scarborough Philharmonic (2007) and the Huronia Sinfonietta (2006). She has also performed Haydn’s Concerto No. 2 in D Major with the Canadian Sinfonietta (2007), conducted by Tak Ng Lai. At this same concert, Ms. Zelenka, a proponent of new music, performed the world premiere of “Invocation II’” for cello and orchestra, a work written for her by Canadian composer Michael Pepa. In 2008, Ms. Zelenka performed as guest Principal Cellist for the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Tosca. She has been Assistant Principal of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra since 2005, and served as Principal during the summers of 2007 and 2008. She is currently serving as Acting Principal of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and has held that position since the 2004/2005 season.

Winona is a dedicated recitalist and chamber musician, who regularly performs on the Les AMIS, Syrinx, Amici, Art of Time and Offcentre series in Toronto. She collaborates regularly with many of Canada’s finest musicians including violinists Stephen Sitarski and Erika Raum; violist Steven Dann; bassist Joel Quarrington, pianist Andrew Burashko, and countless others. This summer ( 2009) she performed at the Ottawa Chamberfest with, among others, soprano Donna Brown and pianist/composer Heather Schmidt. The 2009/2010 season sees Winona performing with the Zuckerman ChamberPlayers at the Royal Conservatory’s new Koerner Hall as well as at the 92nd St. Y in New York.

Ms. Zelenka recently formed Trio Arkel with violinist Marie Bérard and violist Teng Li, with whom she will perform at the Four Seasons Amphitheatre in February of 2010. She will also be performing at the Amphitheatre with long-time duo partner Jacques Israelievitch in December 2009. In the 2009/2010 season, Ms. Zelenka is very pleased to work with Mr. Pepa again, who will compose a work for cello, violin and percussion for his Les AMIS series in Toronto.

Since the summer of 2004, Ms. Zelenka began performing in the Music Garden Series at Toronto’s waterfront. Every year, she has performed a different Bach cello suite. In 2006, she performed Canadian composer Chris Paul Harman’s “After the Sixth Suite”, also a composition written for her, which, as the title suggests, she performed in tandem with Bach’s Cello Suite No. 6. For her performance of the Suite No. 4 in September of 2009 she was joined by dancer Claudia Moore who added beautiful movements choreographed by Carol Anderson. Winona was also the cello soloist of such notable film scores as Atom Egoyan’s “Adoration” (2008), István Szabó’s “Being Julia” (2004), and the IMAX film “Under The Sea” (2009).

Exciting new projects include the recently-released films in HD of the Suite for Solo Cello by Gaspar Cassado, filmed by Moving Head Productions and available on Youtube. Winona will also be releasing the complete Bach Cello Suites in the spring of 2010; all projects are recorded by CBC recording engineer Ron Searles , whose credits include I Furiosi and the Eybler Quartet as well as film scores by Mychael Danna and Andrew Lockington.

Winona Zelenka began her career at age 22 as Associate Principal in the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and won orchestra jobs with the National Ballet Orchestra and the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester. She obtained her Bachelor of Music and Artist Diploma at the University of Indiana, and studied with the legendary Janos Starker. Ontario born and raised, Ms. Zelenka’s other main teachers include William Findlay, Vladimir Orloff, and William Pleeth.

Winona plays on the “Starker Guanerius”, which was made in 1707 by Giuseppe Guarneri, the father of the legendary “Guanerius del Gesù”. This instrument, formerly owned by Janos Starker for 30 years, is on loan to the TSO for Ms. Zelenka’s use thanks to the generosity of Dr. Edward Pong.

“Their swords were their bows, and their victory was in forgetting about their individual status in their main jobs … and deliver a gorgeous, and intellectually stimulating program…Bérard, Li and Zelenka carved into [Beethoven’s Trio Op. 9, No. 2] with glee, coming up with a full-blooded reading that never rode roughshod over quiet passages.”
John Terauds, The Toronto Star, January 2009

(Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 in B Flat Major, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin)
"Her account of the famous cello prologue and epilogue in the andante movement was ravishing and deserved its special ovation."
Ken Winters, The Globe and Mail, May 2008

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