The international piano trio of Alessio Bax, violinist Stefan Jackiw and cellist Paul Watkins will open the 2013-2014 season of the Music Series at Akin at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, October 24, at Akin Auditorium at Midwestern State University. This is the third season of the series, sponsored by the Perkins-Prothro Foundation and Joe and Dale Prothro with the Lamar D. Fain College of Fine Arts at MSU.
The program will include Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 66 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Trio No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 9.
“Normally one would have to travel to New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago to see musicians of this caliber,” said Dr. Tim Justus, Chair of the Department of Music. “This is a great opportunity for the community to hear world-class performers right here in Wichita Falls. We are fortunate to have this trio of artists be part of the Music Series at Akin.”
Bax, a native of Italy, is praised by critics for his elegant style and lyricism at the piano. He has appeared as a soloist with more than 100 orchestras, including the London and Royal Philharmonic orchestras, and the Dallas and Houston symphonies. He has recently performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., New York City’s Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He was first-prize winner at the Leeds and Hamamatsu international piano competitions and a 2009 recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant. He is the recipient of the 2013 Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award and recently received Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, which recognizes young artists of exceptional accomplishment.
Bax and his wife, pianist Lucille Chung, a Music Series at Akin guest earlier this year, are the artistic directors of the Joaquin Achucarro Foundation based in Dallas. The foundation aims to maintain the legacy of the Spanish pianist with study opportunities, recitals, and concerts. They will release a duo album, Bax & Chung, on Nov. 19.
Paul Watkins has been called “Britain’s finest cellist” by The Guardian. He was appointed principal cellist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra at age 20, and has collaborated with world renowned conductors such as Leonard Slatkin and Andrew Litton. He has performed with the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic, and at concert halls such as New York’s Lincoln Center. A dedicated chamber musician, Watkins was a member of the Nash Ensemble from 1997 to 2013, and joined the Emerson String Quartet in May 2013.
Watkins also maintains a busy schedule as a conductor. He won the 2002 Leeds Conducting Competition and has conducted all the major British orchestra including the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic, in addition to international orchestras such as the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Prague Symphony, the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, and the Melbourne Symphony.
Watkins plays a cello made by Domenico Montagnana and Mateo Goffriller in Venice, c. 1730.
Violinist Stefan Jackiw began playing the violin at age 4 and made his European debut in London while still a teenager. He has appeared as a soloist with the Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco symphony orchestras. In 2002, Jackiw received the Avery Fisher Career Grant. Critics at the Washington Post wrote of him: “The violinist’s weeping tone and spot-on intonation made you wonder whether this was what it was like to hear a Perlman or a Stern in his early years.”
He has released a CD of Brahms’ violin Sonatas with pianist Max Levinson. Jackiw’s solo performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra at Australia’s Sydney Opera House in March was seen live on YouTube by more than 30 million people worldwide.
The Miro Quartet with pianist Shai Wosner will perform April 8, 2014. The Music Series at Akin began in spring 2012 with pianist Yefim Bronfman. Cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianist Inon Barnatan, and Irish pianist Barry Douglas also have been guests of the series.
Tickets may be purchased by contacting the MSU Music Department secretary at the Fain Fine Arts Center at 940-397-4267 between 1-5 p.m. when school is in session. Payments may be mailed to Music Series at Akin, MSU Department of Music, 3410 Taft Blvd., Wichita Falls, Texas 76308. Cash or check only, credit cards cannot be processed. General admission tickets are $25 for each performance or $40 for season tickets. Tickets for senior citizens and military are $22.50 for each or $36 for season tickets.