Thursday, November 15, 2018 | Regent University, Virginia Beach | 8PM

The 2018-2019 Regent Classics Series begins with a program of Spanish and South American origins. We’ll hear from a variety of composers hailing from Spain, Chile and Argentina for a dynamic, colorful program that highlights some familiar and some not-so-familiar works. The lush, whimsical sound of Soro’s Three Chilean Aires will sweep you away. The romantic tangos of Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires featuring Concertmaster Vahn Armstrong will leave your heart racing and toes tapping. Then we dive into de Falla’s Three Cornered Hat Suite No. 1 with its lively characters and drama, followed by Ginastera’s folkloric and expressive Concert Variations.

Gonzalo Farias, conductor
Vahn Armstrong, violin

Soro: Tres aires chilenos
Piazzolla: Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas
de Falla: El Sombrero de tres picos, Suite No. 1
Ginastera: Variaciones concertantes

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Gonzalo Farias, currently the recipient of the prestigious BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellowship, is an engaging conductor, pianist, and educator. Mentored by Marin Alsop, Mr. Farias’ ambition is to establish music-making as a way of rethinking our place in society by cultivating respect, trust, and cooperation.

While Music Director of the Joliet Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Farias revitalized the city of Joliet by crafting tailor-made pre-concert lectures and sold-out events. A vis-à-vis Spanish and English narrated version of Bizet’s Carmen intended to bring together all members of the community was one of the highlights of recent seasons. Currently, he is the new Associate Conductor at the Occasional Symphony, one of most innovative and exciting chamber orchestras in Baltimore.

Recently, Mr. Farias attended the 2017 Gstaad Menuhin Festival Conducting Academy. Under the guidance of Jaap van Zweden and Johannes Schlaefli, he was selected to conduct the prestigious Gstaad Festival Orchestra in several occasions. Under the mentorship of Paavo and Neeme Järvi, Mr. Farias also studied at the Järvi Academy and was selected to close its final concert at the Pärnu Music Festival. He has also attended the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors, where he was awarded the Osher Scholar Prize in conducting. As part of the Peninsula Music Festival, Mr. Farias worked as an Assistant Conductor under the “Emerging Conductor” program established by esteemed Music Director Victor Yampolsky.

An advocate for contemporary music, Mr. Farias served as an Assistant Conductor of Donald Schleicher in the recording project of “Astral Canticle” by Augusta Read Thomas, released by Nimbus Records. Mr. Farias also served as a Conducting Fellow at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music as the recipient of the Bruno Walter Conducting Scholarship.

Mr. Farias has worked with conductors Harold Farberman, Diane Wittry, Markus Stenz, Christoph König, Hannu Lintu, Nicholas McGegan, Leonard Slatkin. Garrett Keast, Otto-Werner Mueller, and Larry Rachleff, as well as with members of the Boston Chamber Orchestra, Norwalk Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Worcester Youth Orchestra, Bard Conductor’s Institute Orchestra, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, National Symphony of Chile, Pleven Philharmonic, Zagreb Philharmonic, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Farias was born in Santiago de Chile. He began his piano studies at age five and earned his Bachelor’s degree at the P.C. University of Chile. Mr. Farias continued his graduate studies at the New England Conservatory, earning his Master´s, Graduate Diploma, and Doctoral degrees as a full-scholarship student of Wha Kyung Byun and Russell Sherman. He has won first prize at the Claudio Arrau International Piano Competition and prizes at the Maria Canals and Luis Sigall Piano Competitions. As a conductor, Mr. Farias attended the University of Illinois, working with Donald Schleicher as his Assistant Conductor. He is currently a student in the inaugural class of Marin Alsop at the Peabody Conservatory.

Besides having a fond love for piano, chamber, and contemporary music, Mr. Farias is an avid reader of second-order cybernetics from authors Heinz von Foerster, Humberto Maturana, and Francisco Varela. His Doctoral thesis “Logical Predictions and Cybernetics” explores the case of Cornelius Cardew’s “The Great Learning” to redefine our music activity as a social and “cybernetic” organization. In addition to that, he has a warm affection for Zen Buddhism, which he has practiced for many years.


Vahn Armstrong, violin
Dorothy Redwood Cooke Sutherland, Concertmaster Chair

In his career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral leader, recording artist and pedagogue, Vahn Armstrong has established himself as a leading violinist of his generation. He is now in his nineteenth season as Concertmaster of the Virginia Symphony, an orchestra which has garnered national praise for its performances and recordings. Mr. Armstrong is also Concertmaster of the Virginia Opera, and during the summer he serves as Concertmaster for Chautauqua Opera and Associate Concertmaster of the Chautauqua Symphony in Chautauqua, New York.
Mr. Armstrong has appeared as soloist on many occasions with the Virginia and Chautauqua symphonies, as well as many other orchestras throughout the U.S. He is a member of Apollo, an ensemble whose premiere recording of John Luther Adams’ Clouds of forgetting, clouds of unknowing was recently released by New World Records. He is also a charter member of the Virginia Waterfront International Arts Festival Chamber Music Series, and leader of the Chautauqua String Quartet. For ten years, Mr. Armstrong performed with the award-winning New World String Quartet, concertising throughout the U.S. and Europe. The New World Quartet made several recordings; one of these, Ainsi la nuit by Henri Dutilleux, was awarded a Prix du disc.

Mr. Armstrong gave the world premiere of Larry Bell’s Book of moonlight for violin and piano in Boston in 1989. In fact, throughout his career he has been committed to performing music of this century. He includes in his repertoire not only works of Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Berg, Prokofieff, Bartok, and Barber, but also those of Ligeti, Dutilleux, Arvo Part, Elliot Carter, Richard Danielpour, Gwyneth Walker, and many others.Mr. Armstrong has recorded for MCA Classics, New World Records, Musical Heritage Society, and others. He has been a frequent guest on NPR’s Performance Today, WGBH’s Morning Pro Musica, WNED’s Music from Chautauqua, and BBC London. He was also Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University, University of Michigan, Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California and MusicWest at Utah State University.

A native of Michigan, Mr. Armstrong holds BM and MM degrees from the Juilliard School, where he was a scholarship student of Dorothy DeLay. He now resides in Norfolk, Virginia, and enjoys sailing on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.