Sunday January 24, 2021
Emerson Avenue Salonlines Proudly Presents
a live YouTube Broadcast…
The Gragnani-Versella Duo
Karen Lowry-Tucker & Jessica Dan Fan
with Guest Pianist Christopher Schmitt
Two Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra violinists ascend from the opera pit to perform works by Shostakovich, Malcolm Arnold and Moritz Moszkowski.
Two good friends for decades wonder why it has taken a pandemic to realize how much they would enjoy performing as a duo.
Named after their instruments made in 1783 and 1880, the Gragnani-Versella Duo is excited to present this inaugural performance.
They will share which of the three composers had a job playing for silent movies, improvising on the fly. Which one won an Academy Award for his score to the movie “Bridge Over the River Kwai”? And which composer, also a pianist, was asked by Franz Liszt to play his composition for two pianos together for a very special matinee performance?
Join us January 24th for the answers and a performance commencing with 6 short pieces, followed by a work commissioned by violinist Yehudi Menuhin for himself and his pupil and ending with a high spirited, dramatic work critics hailed “was an audience favorite from the beginning”!
Dmitri Shostakovich – “Six Pieces for Two Violins and Piano”
Malcolm Arnold – “Concerto For Two Violins and String Orchestra”, Op. 77
Moritz Moszkowski – “Suite For Two Violins and Piano”, Op. 71
Karen Lowry-Tucker, a native of Louisville, KY has been a violinist with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra since 1992. In 1979 after receiving her Master’s Degree in Music Performance from the University of Texas at Austin, she journeyed to Germany where she traveled worldwide with the Munich Chamber Orchestra for two years before returning to the U.S. Other orchestra positions have been with the Aspen Festival Orchestra, the Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago, Illinois, the Louisville Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony in Raleigh, N.C. and the Knoxville Symphony where she served as their Assistant Concertmaster for the last two years of her four year tenure there.
Having won a fellowship grant for gifted minority string players to play as an apprentice for one year with the Atlanta Symphony and two years with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. gave her invaluable orchestral experience under the batons of Robert Shaw and Mstislav Rostropovich.
She enjoys working with young people and has been a violin instructor of young students at the Peabody Institute’s Preparatory Department in Baltimore, MD. Currently through a Kennedy Center sponsored program she and two colleagues perform fun and educational concerts in the Washington, D.C. public elementary schools.
Ms. Tucker performs on a violin made by Antonio Gragnani in 1783 in Livorno, Italy.
JESSICA DAN FAN, Violinist, Joined the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra in 2002, is a native of China, and studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing since age of ten. Ms. Fan came to the United States in 1989 and earned her B.M. at University of Miami, School of Music. While pursuing her Master Degree at the University of Maryland, she studied with the world-renowned violinist Arnold Steinhardt. She was a member of the United States Air Force Strings between 1997 and 2001. As a faculty member, she teaches at the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute and Sewanee Summer Festival. Ms. Fan has appeared as a soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra, Miami Bach Society Chamber Orchestra, Miami City Ballet Orchestra, The U.S. Air Force Strings, Sewanee Festival Orchestra, and University of Miami Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Fan keeps an active performance schedule outside of the Kennedy Center. She gives regular solo and chamber recitals in DC area, around the country and in Asia. She frequently performs with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts and is a member of the Chinese Global Symphony Orchestra which holds annual concert during the Chinese National Day in Beijing.
Described as “carefully colored” and “sensitive” by The Washington Post in November of 2015, Christopher Schmitt was also hailed as a “formidable talent” and “mature beyond his years” by The Santa Barbara News-Press, regarding his performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra. Mr. Schmitt completed his doctorate at The Juilliard School in 2016, and has been sponsored for concerts by The Chopin Foundation of the United States in Miami, The Stecher and Horowitz Foundation in New York, Concerts at the Alden Series in Virginia, and for many performances in the Boston, New York, and Washington DC metropolitan areas. In the summer of 2011, Mr. Schmitt performed fourteen chamber music concerts at the Music at Menlo festival, and for the last three summers has performed and taught at the festival Málaga Clasica in Spain, as well as performing in July of 2016 in the inaugural year of his own chamber music festival in Barcelona, Classics in Catalan. Mr. Schmitt currently resides in Washington, D.C., and, as the newest pianist of the “President’s Own” US Marine Chamber Orchestra, performs regularly in the White House and in concert halls across the Washington DC metropolitan area, leading a multifaceted career as chamber musician, pedagogue, and soloist.