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Home mySSlife Entertainment Mount Vernon Music features husband-wife piano duo

Mount Vernon Music features husband-wife piano duo

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Mount Vernon Music invites the public to attend “It Takes Two” – an extraordinary program of music for piano and piano four hands at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in MVM Hall. Husband and wife pianists Evan Mitchell and Natsuko Ejiri will perform works by J.S. Bach, Debussy, Saint-Saens, Dvorák, Ginastera, Ravel, Stravinsky and Piazzolla. Piano enthusiasts and lovers of music in general should not miss this pianistic tour de force by two outstanding artists in perfect sync with one other.

Tickets are $10 for MVM members, $15 for non-members, and $5 for college students with valid ID. Children's admission through high school is free. (8th grade and younger must be accompanied by an adult ticketholder.) Memberships in MVM start at $25 and support all the organization’s work, including scholarships for young musicians and outreach work for schools and seniors. Memberships are good for the year June 1 through May 31, and members receive discounts on ticket pricing. Details can be found at MVM’s website.

For more information call Mount Vernon Music at 903-563-3780, or visit www.mountvernonmusic.org.

Mount Vernon Music is a 501(c)(3) organization formed in 2005 to further the performance of classical and other fine music in rural East Texas. For information on the mission and concert schedule of Mount Vernon Music, and about historic Mount Vernon Music Hall, please visit www.mountvernonmusic.org.

Lauded for his “impassioned and vigorous” playing (Pianomania), pianist Evan Mitchell has established himself as a bold and versatile artist. His richly varied schedule of over 50 appearances per year includes solo recitals, concerti, chamber music, outreach, and orchestral keyboard work. His performances have been deemed “incredibly beautiful” (Fanfare), “amazing” (Fort Worth Weekly), and “no less than stunning” (Lima News). Evan’s new recording of world premieres with bassist Szymon Marciniak is earning rave reviews; most recently, Bass World called their performances “intoxicating,” deeming this “a seminal recording.” He is also featured on the 2012 release “Piano de Pampa y Jungla: A Collection of Latin American Piano Music.” 

Evan’s performances have been heard in New York’s Steinway Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, in ten countries on four continents, and broadcast on WFMT (Chicago), WFHB (Bloomington), Classic FM 94.7 (Shanghai), and televised in North Texas. Recent highlights include debuts for the prestigious Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts (Chicago), at Merkin Concert Hall (NYC), and at several major venues in Shanghai.

Evan has soloed in concerts with such ensembles as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchetra, Lima Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony, Sherman Symphony Orchestra; worked with conductors including Jaap van Zweden, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Case Scaglione, Darryl One, Crafton Beck, and Richard McKay; and collaborated in recital with major artists including clarinetists Corrado Giuffredi and Michael Webster, flutist Leone Buyse, double bassist Gary Karr, plus members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Cleveland and Rio de Janeiro (OSB). The 2016-17 season finds Evan opening the Sherman Symphony Orchestra season in October (Brahms, Concerto No. 2), playing everything from Bach and Beethoven to Stravinsky, Piazzolla, and klezmer on the Mount Vernon Music chamber series, and much more.

A passionate and articulate advocate for the arts, Evan looks constantly for ways to reach new audiences, and to inspire in others a love for music. The Texas Commission on the Arts recently named Evan to its Texas Touring Roster, a program that provides grants to nonprofit presenters in order to fund performances by the state’s finest musicians, poets, visual artists, and more. This season,

Evan returns for a fifth year as a featured artist for Cliburn in the Classroom, the signature educational outreach program of the Cliburn, which exposes more than 30,000 public school students annually to classical music and for which he has given more than 150 performances. Other performance affiliations include Avant Chamber Ballet and DFW-based Open Classical, whose motto – “Music that’s dressed down, not dumbed down” – summarizes a mission to present classical music in less formal, unconventional spaces. Evan’s enthusiasm for the music of our time is reflected in recent world premieres of works by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Frank Proto, Shang Lu, and Stacy Garrop, several of which have been recorded and released commercially.

Among other honors, Evan has captured first prize in the Kingsville International Young Performers Competition, Five Towns Competition, PianoTexas International Festival Concerto Competition, and the Twelfth Annual Competition in the Performance of Music from Spain and Latin America, in which he was also awarded the Jacques Klein Prize for Best Performance of a Brazilian Solo Piano Work. He won Fifth Prize at the 2012 World Piano Competition, and has received additional recognition in the Schmidbauer International Young Artists Competition, Music Teachers National Association Competition, and the BNDES International Piano Competition

Evan won a special audience award in the final concert of the 2009 PianoFest series (Freiburg, Germany), and was featured in the Rising Stars

concert of the 2008 Toronto Summer Music Festival. Most recently, he gave a recital at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City as a quarterfinalist in the Honens International Piano Competition.

A native of Montclair, New Jersey, Evan holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and is currently completing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree (May 2017) at Texas Christian University, where he studies with John Owings. His principal teachers have included Arnaldo Cohen and the late José Feghali, and he has worked with numerous artist-teachers including Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky, Barry Douglas, and Ann Schein. Evan also recently joined the faculty of Tarrant County College.

Currently the principal keyboardist of the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, Natsuko Ejiri holds a Master of Music in Piano Performance from Indiana University. She has been teaching piano privately since 2002, and was on the piano faculty of the Merit School of Music in Chicago until 2011. She was a staff accompanist for DePaul University and Roosevelt University in Chicago, and the String Academy Program at Indiana University (directed by Mimi Zweig and Susan Moses). Natsuko has appeared as the orchestral keyboardist for Aspen Music Festival 2010, and 2012 as an orchestral fellow; and also with the Debut Orchestra, American Youth Symphony (Los Angeles), and New World Symphony (Miami). She has worked closely with conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Hans Graf, David Effron, Cliff Colnot, Scott Yoo, John Roscigno, and others. As a soloist, Natsuko has performed with orchestras including the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic and Moor Park Symphony, and she has served as a staff pianist for several universities and many eminent artist-teachers, including extensive work for the studio of the late János Starker.

Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Natsuko moved to Japan when she was two and half years old and started playing the piano at the Yamaha Music School when she was four. She began studying privately at age six with Naoko Sugai and Miyuki Kurosawa. Since coming to the U.S., she has performed extensively in solo recitals, concerti with orchestra, and as a collaborative pianist. Natsuko was a student of Shigeo Neriki at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Prior to her studies with Mr. Neriki, she studied with Edward Francis and Francois Regnat at California State University Northridge. Currently, she maintains a private teaching studio in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. She has a strong background in classical music, but enjoys teaching other genres as well (church music, wedding songs, soundtrack, R&B, etc). Her teaching goal is to improve the lives of her students through the process of learning piano.

Natsuko believes that studying of music has many benefits: building self-esteem and confidence; increasing discipline and focus; sharpening logical thinking; finding an outlet for expression; and enhancing collaboration with others. She is a member of Music Teachers National Association and Fort Worth Music Teachers Association. Her teaching methods are highly recommended by every student who has studied with her.

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