Hotchkiss Philharmonic Performs on May 4
Hotchkiss Philharmonic May 4 poster

Don't miss the exciting Season Finale of the Hotchkiss Philharmonic, Vive la France! on Saturday, May 4, 7:30 p.m. in the Katherine M. Elfers Hall of the Esther Eastman Music Center at The Hotchkiss School, 11 Interlaken Road, Lakeville CT. This special celebratory evening will feature pianists Fabio & Gisele Witkowski performing Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos in D Minor and maestro Vahan Mardirossian. The program will also include Berlioz’s Marche Hongroise and Saint Saëns’ Danse Macabre, Le Déluge, and Danse Bacchanale. The concert is free and open to the public; no ticket reservations are necessary. Seating is first come, first served.

The Hotchkiss Philharmonic

The Hotchkiss Philharmonic Orchestra was established in 2018 through the generosity of Barbara Walsh Hostetter '77 and her husband, Amos. The orchestra combines a group of outstanding professional musicians with talented Hotchkiss music students, giving those students the unique opportunity to work and perform alongside world-class artists. Offering free admission to all of its concerts, the orchestra is thrilled to invite the community to its breathtaking concert venue, Katherine M. Elfers Hall, for these exciting symphonic music performances.

Fabio and Gisele Witkowski, piano

Brazilian pianists Fabio and Gisele Witkowski have been sharing stages around the world as the Witkowski Piano Duo. Accomplished pianists and dedicated educators, the Witkowskis are admired for their vibrant and dynamic four-hands and two piano recitals. They have performed in several prestigious venues, such as the Gardens of Villa Rufolo in Ravello, Italy, at the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C., at The Symphony Hall, in Shanghai, at Villa Musica, in Germany, at the Shenzhen Concert Hall, at Carnegie Hall, in New York, in addition to numerous recitals in the USA, South America, Asia, and Europe. The New York Concert Review has described their playing as “showing marvelous rubato and tremendously clean playing, with a lovely sense of tone”. Individually, they have performed with the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina, Santo André Symphony, São Bernardo Philharmonic Orchestra, Hartt Symphony Orchestra, Piracicaba Symphony Orchestra, Rio Claro Philharmonic Orchestra, The Hotchkiss Philharmonic, and the Paulista Symphony Orchestra. As chamber players their performances include appearances with the Emerson String Quartet, The Guarneri Quartet, the Fine Arts Quartet, The Amerigo Trio, the São Paulo String Quartet, and cellist Robert deMaine, among others. Mrs. Witkowski’s Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall solo recital debut was hailed as “the most genuinely fascinating recital debut in many a moon,” (New York Concert Review). Mr. Witkowski’s playing has been described as having “many passages of bravura, sensitivity, and pearly agility” (The Hartford Courant).

Concomitantly to their performing careers, they enjoy a busy academic life, both teaching at the Hotchkiss School, where Mr. Witkowski is the Head of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and Director of the music program. Mr. Witkowski holds a cum laude BM and MM from the Hartt School of Music. Mrs. Witkowski received her Masters degree from the Manhattan School of Music and holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the Hartt School of Music.

Mr. and Mrs. Witkowski have appeared as guest artists and professors in numerous music festivals, including the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, the Granada Piano Festival in Spain, the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival and Hotchkiss Summer Portals in the USA, and the São João del Rey, Belém, Londrina, and Ourinhos Music Festivals in Brazil. They are currently co-directors of the Hotchkiss in Madrid Music Program in Spain and the Hotchkiss Piano Summer Portals in the USA. Mr. and Mrs. Witkowski frequently serve as judges and guest artists of several international piano competitions such as the Spanish Composers Competition in Madrid, the Cidade de Ferrol Competition in Galicia, and the MozArte Competition in Aachen, Germany. Their students have also received various prizes in national and international piano competitions. One of the duo’s exciting projects included performances of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with the Bowen McCauley dance company, celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the masterpiece. According to the Washington Post, “Fabio and Gisele Witkowski played the four-hand piano arrangement as if they possessed the very paws of Fate.”

Their latest album recording for Naxos label with the Fine Arts Quartet, entitled “Early Chamber Music of George Enescu”, produced by multiple Grammy award-winner Steven Epstein, was released in August 2023. Recent engagements include concerts at the Enescu Music Festival in Romania, Ljubljana Music Festival in Slovenia, the Nuit Pianistique Aix-en-Provence in France, and the Mendelssohn Festival in Hamburg, Germany.

Vahan Mardirossian, conductor

Vahan Mardirossian was born in Armenia and graduated with distinction from the Paris Conservatory in 1996. He enjoys a flourishing career as both conductor and piano soloist. For many years he was the Principal Conductor of the Caen Symphony Orchestra in France and Music Director of the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia (NCOA). Starting from the 2019/2020 season he is the chief conductor of the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong.

Vahan Mardirossian is invited regularly as a guest conductor in Europe and Asia. His past engagements include concerts with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of the Pays de la Loire, the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, the Czech Chamber Soloists, the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, the “Amalgam” Orchestra (comprising select musicians from the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra and the SWR Baden-Baden Freiburg Symphony Orchestra), the Toulon Opera Orchestra, the orchestras of Douai and Cannes in France and the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. After a hugely successful debut with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014, he was invited to conduct the NHK Symphony Orchestra and the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2014/2015 season. During the same season he conducted the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Real Orquestra Sinfonica de Sevilla, Philharmonie Südwestfalen and the Bulgarian National Orchestra. In 2017 he performed a piano recital at New York’s Carnegie Hall, led the National Philharmonic Society of Ukraine on a tour of Japan performing Dvorak’s Symphony No.9 and returned to conduct the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra at the Suntory Hall. From 2016 to 2018 he gave his conducting debuts with the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Colonne, the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sanremo Symphony Orchestra and the Luxembourg Chamber Orchestra. In 2018 he conducted City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong at the Le French May Arts Festival and toured with the orchestra giving several concerts at the China Shanghai International Arts Festival.

His guest engagements for the 2019/2020 season included concerts with the New Japan Philharmonic, Kyushu Symphony Orchestra, Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia and Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie. He  also conducted the Philharmonie Südwestfalen and the Verdi Concert Choir Japan in Verdi’s Requiem at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, as well as recorded a CD with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Vahan Mardirossian has had the privilege of collaborating with many internationally renowned soloists such as Ivry Gitlis, Augustin Dumay, Lars Vogt, Richard Galliano, Sergei Babayan, Andreas Frölich, Alexander Hülshoff, Daishin Kashimoto, Teiko Maehashi, Boris Brovtzyn, Boris Andrianov, Pavel Vernikov, Vladimir Sverdlov-Ashkenazy, Brigitte Engerer, Kun Woo Paik, Viktoria Postnikova, Sergei Nakaryakov, Gary Hoffman, Alexander Chaushian, Alexandra Soumm, Igor Tchetuev, Jacques Rouvier, Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabedian, Marc Coppey, Nicolas Dautricourt, Stéphane Bechy, Guy Touvron, Roland Daugareil and André Cazalet.

His CDs include a recording of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Stéphanie-Marie Degand and the Caen Symphony Orchestra and a recording of Music for Strings by Florentine Mulsant with the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia.

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