On October 22nd, the community was officially introduced to the Santa Cruz Symphony’s new Concertmaster, Nigel Armstrong, in an evening performance at Cabrillo College’s Samper Recital Hall. Accompanied by guest artist Elizabeth Dorman on piano, and the Symphony’s Music Director Daniel Stewart on viola, Armstrong’s dynamic presentation as a solo violinist defines why the Santa Cruz Symphony 2016/17 season is already one of the most thrilling yet.
Armstrong has a distinct understanding and appreciation for the violin that reveals his dedication to music from a young age. He began playing the violin at the age of five in Sonoma, California. Since then, he has been inspired by some of the greatest musical educators and repertoires from the orchestral world through his career as a soloist and chamber musician. He has earned international fame for winning multiple prizes including awards at the Tchaikovsky, the Yehudi Menuhin, and the Corpus Christi International Violin Competitions, and has performed with prestigious orchestras around the world.
His debut recital as the Santa Cruz Symphony’s new lead violinist was a small-scale version of what the organization offers as a spectacular regional orchestra featuring the creative excellence of premium musicians from the Monterey and San Francisco Bay Areas. Armstrong, Dorman, and Stewart gave a lively impression of the Symphony’s strength for working as a collaborative team, while valuing the individual contributions of each participating musician.
As a seasoned professional musician, Armstrong has a sophisticated stage presence that is affable and engaging. Dorman is a soloist, chamber musician, and educator from San Francisco, as well as being the recipient of numerous musical awards. Stewart has toured internationally as a principal violist, is a renowned conductor, and is now celebrating his third year as the Music Director of the Santa Cruz Symphony. The recent recital highlighted the trio’s artistic expertise with compositions that revealed their musical range, technical skill, and unique interpretations of famous scores.
Through his violin, Armstrong transmitted the meditative, stirring, delicate, and powerful qualities of the program. He opened with a vibrant performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Praeludium in E Major from the Partita No. 3, BWV 1006. His harmonious duos with Dorman included pieces by Arvo Pärt (Fratres), Johannes Brahms (Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 100), Claude Debussy (La Plus Que Lente and Clair De Lune), and concluded with the passionate Tzigane by Maurice Ravel. Armstrong and Stewart shared the stage for an expressive performance of Mozart’s String Duo No. 1 in G Major for Violin and Viola, K. 423.
Armstrong, Dorman, and Stewart communicated the emotional and complex elements of classical music with composure, humor, depth, and energy. It is yet another indication that as the Symphony season continues, Santa Cruz can expect world class performances, a vast orchestral repertoire, and transformative musical experiences.
Visit the Santa Cruz Symphony website to purchase single or season tickets for 2016-2017.
Don’t miss your opportunity to see The Barber of Seville in concert with the Santa Cruz Symphony on Nov. 5 & 6, featuring soloists from the New York Metropolitan Opera. Information at santacruzsymphony.org. Tickets at santacruztickets.com. Use coupon code LocalSC when you order tickets and receive 10 Santa Cruz Symphony mustache stickers.
The Santa Cruz Symphony will be presenting The Barber of Seville November 5th and 6th.
Use coupon code LocalSC when you order tickets and receive 10 Santa Cruz Symphony mustache stickers.