It is really a pleasure to provide this introduction for my composer colleague David Winkler. David and I first began to collaborate in 2012 when he was composing the Piano Quintet with Double Bass for the Martha Argerich Project and its 2013 Festival in Lugano, SW. This CD, featuring a solo sonatina, an extended one movement cello sonata and then finally the Piano Quintet, a major work of three movements, shows great variety in melody, harmony and form. Each work is composed for a different venue, a different combination of instruments and at a different time in the composer’s developing style.
The piano quintet, represented on this CD, began to take on a unique profile for me as the role of the Double Bass became more and more prominent, more and more equal to the roles of the other string instruments in the work- violin, viola and cello. Historically, in chamber music, the Double Bass has been treated mainly as a supporting instrument with a limited melodic or thematic profile. But here, it has been quite amazing for me, as a Double Bassist, to work with the composer as he continually pushes the melodic boundaries and color ranges of my instrument, casting it as a fully equal participant within the ensemble of strings and piano. At the very outset of the first movement, after the introduction, the minor third motiv echoes in the strings, and once the Bass makes its entrance, the listener realizes that there is something “quite different here”- broader, deeper. The color spectrum is expanded. All the participant instruments are of equal weight. Perhaps this accounts for the extended, symphonic “feel” that the work possesses for me – a unique fullness and a kind of drama usually associated with larger scale ensembles. It is a great joy to participate in the development of this work, to shepherd its world premiere and to introduce its first recording. After the Lugano premiere my colleague Martha Argerich remarked “what a beautiful work and what an amazing composer” and in my opinion, “David Winkler is one of the greatest composers of our time whose style possesses unique characteristics”.
Enrico Fagone, double bassist, conductor
All of the works represented on this CD were composed at important moments in my stylistic development. The Cello Sonata is the oldest of them, from 2010 and was created at the request of Cellist Andrey Tchekmazov, who is featured on this disc. The sonata is a twenty minute, one movement work with continuous melodic development and where the contrasting “movements” are contained within a single form.
Light Sonatina (2020), commissioned by pianist Gabriele Baldocci, is a six minute work, composed during the Beethoven 250th Anniversary year as a tribute to the great master. The work “suggests” certain of Beethoven’s well known motivic and stylistic traits for the piano, but within a completely original context. The “Light Sonatina” title is a play on words and harkens back to Beethoven’s “Leichte Sonata” group, while in this case, in miniature form.
The Piano Quintet with Double Bass, commissioned by the Martha Argerich Festival (Lugano, SW), was completed and premiered in 2013. The original performers in the Lugano premiere include an outstanding group of artists: Gabriele Baldocci pianist, Michael Guttman violinist, Lyda Chen viola, Jing Zhao cello and Enrico Fagone Double Bass.
The work contains three distinct movements and lasts over 32 minutes. In discussing the kind of work to write, the Festival mentioned to me that Schubert’s Trout Quintet was to be a featured work at the Festival in 2013. This gave me the idea of writing a work for the same instrumentation as the Trout, that could be featured on the same program as the Trout – while being wholly contemporary in character. In this work, as in all of my recent work, the “story”, the “narrative” in the music comes about through its thematic profile and the ongoing development of “line”. It is these extended thematic subjects, their associations and counterpoint which produce the work’s architecture and its particular harmonic and vertical dimensions.
Alessandro Viale was born in Rome, he is an eclectic musician who believes in the artist as a well-rounded person, active in society. This is why he studied piano, harpsichord, composition, conducting and chamber music, not to mention a degree in physics. He played extensively in many important venues in the UK, Norway, Germany, India, Malta, Spain, and Italy. He has appeared on radio and TV, his music being performed and broadcast throughout Europe by renowned musicians. His collaboration with composers has resulted in the world premiere of a significant number of new pieces, many written for him. He has recorded several CDs of piano solo and chamber music, which have been reviewed in prestigious magazines such as Gramophone, Musical Opinion, BBC Music Magazine, and The Financial Times.
Ignazio Alayza was born in 1994 in Italy, and currently lives in Austria. He graduated with honours in viola performance at the Giacomo Puccini Music Conservatory of La Spezia under the direction of Fabrizio Merlini in 2014 and in 2017. Alongside artistic refinement, he has been teaching viola and violin in the framework of a social project based on the Abreu method in his hometown, La Spezia.
Valentina was born in Pietrasanta (Lucca - Italy) to a German mother and Italian father. Initially a pianist, she started to play double bass in late 2009, graduating with Honours from the “Istituto Musicale L. Boccherini” in Lucca in October 2014. She then gained her Master of Performance (Honours) at the Royal College of Music in July 2016. Valentina also focused her attention on composition, graduating in March 2014 with Honours in conservatoire Giacomo Puccini in La Spezia. Valentina has won several awards and prizes including first prize in the RCM Double Bass competition 2016, the Vernon Elliot Double bass Competition 2018, the Vivian Joseph Classical Concerto Competition 2018 and the De Simone and Partners in the Chamber Music Festival in Rome. She won a place with a scholarship in the Accademia Chigiana in summer 2018 with Maestro Giuseppe Ettorre. Additionally, Valentina was a finalist in important national and international competitions such as the Migliori Diplomati D’Italia (best young Italian music graduate) 2015 and Double Bass international competition Galicia Garcia Graves. She was selected with other 16 young double bass players around the world to perform in the live final rounds at the worldwide double bass solo competition granted by the Bradetich Foundation in Denton, Texas, at the end of august 2017. Valentina also won several orchestral auditions such as the Gustav Mahler Academy 2016, BBC SO training scheme, Lucerne Festival (reserve list 2019), Southbank Sinfonia 2018 and the Gran Teatro Giacomo Puccini Torre del Lago Orchestra (Lucca). Between 2013 and 2016 Valentina has played, mainly as principal or co-principal, with several symphonic and chamber orchestras. She also has wide experience in solo performance. She recently won the Artist in Residence at BANFF, Alberta (Canada), who will host her from 15th till 28th September 2019. She gave a performance with “I Solisti Veneti” with Maestro Claudio Scimone (double bass concerto in A major by Domenico Dragonetti and the Fantasia sui temi della Sonnambula by Giovanni Bottesini) and she won the prestigious scholarship granted by this Academy (Proliber). She has performed as a soloist in the prestigious London concert halls Wigmore Hall and St. Martin-in-the-Fields. She was invited to the pre-opening of the Zappanale 2018 in St.Katharinen Kirche (Hamburg) with her Trio featuring the Worldwide saxophone virtuoso Napoleon Murphy Brock. Valentina is a young artist of Talent Unlimited (UK) and she lives and works in London. She been awarded a Junior Fellowship at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire, London for the academic year 2018/19. She also won a scholarship from associazione Animando in Lucca for a research project investigating the music of Giacomo Puccini’s ancestors and her work had been published by Da Vinci Editions. Valentina is focused to expand the double bass solo repertoire composing new virtuoso pieces, transcribing (mostly Frank Zappa’s Repertoire), playing new composition written for her from many contemporary composers such as Bernard Salles, John Alexander, Alexandra Harwood e Kurt Morgan. She also has a wide Jazz experience playing in important Jazz Festival such as Dusseldorf Jazz Marathon, Villa Celimontana Jazz Festival, Tuscia Jazz, Umbria Jazz Clinics and she got to final in competition such as Tuscia Jazz as Best double bass and electric bass player and Nicola Tiberio Awards in 2012. She plays a Scipioni doublebass 2014.
Andrey Tchekmazov, Cello
Hailed by critics as an “extraordinary musician” (Washington Post), cellist AndreyTchekmazov is known for his versatility as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. Mr. Tchekmazov was the Grand Prize winner of the Vittorio Gui International Chamber Music Competition and the Premio Trio di Trieste and has performed extensively throughout North and South America, Europe, Russia and Asia, appearing at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Osaka Symphony Hall in Japan, New York's Alice Tully Hall, Brazil's Sala Cecilia Mereles, Sala Sao Paulo and Teatro Alfa with orchestras such as the São Paolo Symphony, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Brazil National Symphony, the Kiev Philharmonic and the Teatro Alfa Symphony. He has also been a top prizewinner at the Koussevitzky Cello Competition in New York, the Schadt Competition, Artists International, Premio della Critica in Trieste and the Russian Kobalevsky Competition. Ever since his critically acclaimed debut at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall, Mr. Tchekmazov has enjoyed an active career as recitalist and chamber musician, performing at such renowned venues as Zankel Hall, the Caramoor Music Center, Barge Music, the Rhode Island Chamber Music Series, Bar Harbor Festival, Merkin Concert Hall in New York City and Hampden Sydney, where he was invited to perform by the members of The Emerson String Quartet. As a performer with the Jupiter Chamber Players in New York and at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C, Mr. Tchekmazov “impressed his audiences with a big, warm tone and Russian brand of virtuosity” (The Strad) by introducing them to rarely- performed jewels of classical music alongside the works of great masters.
started his violin studies with Marylin Brito. In 2005 he joined Gareguin Aroutiounian’s violin class, with whom he studied until 2014 when he entered the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp in Alissa Marguils’ class. Having had his solo debut in 2007 with Orquestra Gulbenkian (not as a violinist, but as a young boy-soprano) under the baton of Michael Zilm in Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied, Manuel has performed in numerous concerts, operas and recitals. At the age of eleven, Manuel participated in his first violin competition, receiving an honourable-mention. He has been, meanwhile, a laureate in several other competitions, namely Concurso Vasco Barbosa, Prémio José Augusto Alegria, Concurso Internacional “Cidade do Fundão” and Prémio Elisa de Sousa Pedroso; last year, he received the second prize in the Portuguese National Radio and Television Prémio Jovens Músicos – RTP Antena 2 while holding a scholarship for music perfection by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.Together with Wouter Valvekens, with whom he formed a violin-piano duo for over three years, performing regularly in Portugal, Belgium and the UK, he was recently granted the first prize in the Triomphe de l’Art International Competition. Since 2017, Manuel has studied with Jack Liebeck in the Royal Academy of Music, being also inscribed in the Corso di Perfezionamento Musicale from the Fondazione Santa Cecilia with Ilya Grubert.
Svetlana Gorokhovich, Piano
Svetlana Gorokhovich is an internationally recognized pianist and a prolific recording musician. Her performances include major concert halls in USA, Germany, Holland, Japan, Caribbean, Iceland and Italy. Svetlana’s wide range of musical abilities makes her highly attractive as a soloist and chambermusic partner. As a highly demanded chamber musician Svetlana participated in international music festivals in Holland, Germany, Italy, Austria and New York during 2005-2022. During 1991-1996 Svetlana has worked with internationally acclaimed violinist Dmitri Berlinsky, touring worldwide. Their unique recording of Russian chamber music compositions, Souvenir D’un Lieu Cher (Helicon), released in 1997, received enthusiastic reviews. Ms. Gorokhovich is a winner of International Bartok-Kabalevsky Piano Competition at Radford University (1997) and the IBLA International Competition in Italy (1999). Her solo recital in Carnegie Hall in 2000 was highly acclaimed by the New York Concert Review.
Urška Horvat, Cello
Born in Ljubljana (Slovenia), Urška Horvat is a versatile award-winning solo, chamber, and orchestral musician. Her passion for music and more specifically chamber music has brought her to visit many countries around the world, performing in many distinguished venues and has been invited to participate in various festivals around Europe.
Urška has won several national and international prizes in the UK, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia and has performed as a soloist with several orchestras. One of the most noticeable performances took place in Cadogan Hall (London) where she debuted with Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. recent performances has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. As a member of the Avant Trio, she released a CD on Sheva records which received a rave review in the BBC Music Magazine.
Urška is playing on the ex-Pergamenschikow Montagnana copy made by Robin Aitchison in 2019.
New York composer David Winkler began his musical studies at age six with violin and piano lessons and at age nine he took up the clarinet and was able to join a number of student orchestras and ensembles in public schools. He began composing at age 15 and, to date, has composed over 200 works for orchestras and ensembles worldwide. These consist of two piano concertos, 16 violin concertos, several double concertos and rhapsodies with orchestra, five symphonies including an Organ Symphony, two full-length ballets, several operas, various orchestral works and numerous chamber, choral and vocal works. His music is characterized by sweeping thematic lines, extended contrapuntal development resulting in a unique, powerful narrative.
David Winkler has received commissions from the Martha Argerich Project (Lugano), the Suoni Dal Golfo Festival in Lerici, Italy, the Aspen Music Festival, the Verbania Arts Center (Verbania, Italy), the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, i Musici di Parma (Italy) , the Swiss Italian Conservatory , the Karpfalsiches Kammerorchester (Mannheim), The New York Philharmonic Ensembles, the Leonard Bernstein and Fromm Foundations, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ecuador, the Alabama Symphony, etc, etc