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2017 Benefit Concert – Feb 4th

PCAC Sponsors 3rd Annual Classical Benefit Concert

The Four Hands and a Baton Benefit for the Pleasanton Schools opened with Youth Orchestra Premier Performance in Pleasanton.

Gradus ad Parnassum

Four Hands and a Baton”—Classical Concert with Temirzhan Yerzhanov (back by popular demand), Klara Frei, Imant Airea, and the  Youth Orchestra Gradus ad Parnassum. 

The philosophy of the new all-year-round orchestra in the Tri-Valley is to bring musically gifted youths to the level of professionals by having them work directly with world-class artists. While Temirzhan Yerzhanov had already established himself as a world-class performer by winning the Schumann International Competition in Germany, he chose to become the Artistic Director for the Orchestra Gradus ad Parnassum — meaning “steps to excellence”.

When a group of parents came to Temirzhan and asked him to work with musically talented children, he took the torch, so to speak, and collaborated with Imant Airea, who is an internationally acclaimed conductor from Europe. Students 10 to 17 years old come to audition in February and perform on big concert stages from far and wide– Fremont, Castro Valley, Hayward, Walnut Creek, and the cities of the Tri-Valley. The group practices in Dublin.

Virtuoso pianists Kiara Frei and Temirzhan Yerzhanov take a bow with Music Director Imant Airea and the Youth Orchestra Gradus Ad Parnassum.

By Joanne Hall

The “Four Hands and a Baton” Concert featured Rondo by Schubert, rare Ballszenen by Schumann and virtuosic Andante and Allegro Brillant by Mendelssohn performed by piano husband and wife duo Temirzhan Yerzhanov and Klara Frei, who met first at the prestigious Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and have since performed in Europe and America.

In the second half of the concert, following Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito Overture, conducted by Temirzhan Yerzhanov, Music Director, Imant Airea led the Orchestra through a Pleasanton Premiere of Leopold Koželuch’s Concerto in B flat major, one of the only three concertos in the world wrklara-temirzhanitten for piano four hands. Soloists were Temirzhan Yerzhanov and Klara Frei, piano duo.

This was a benefit concert sponsored by the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council to support “arts in our schools.” Delight in the rich blend of these youths, the musicians of tomorrow, and the professionals of today, their directors, mentors, and fellow performers. This concert appealed to those of all ages. A 10-year-old violinist or a 16-year-old percussionist could match up with world-class professionals. How they rised to the occasion!

The “Four Hands and a Baton” Concert was performed on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at 8 PM at the Amador Theater, 1155 Santa Rita Rd., Pleasanton, CA, 94566. Tickets were sold at the Firehouse Arts Center Box Office, 4444 Railroad Ave, Pleasanton or online at events or by phone at (925) 931-4848. Tickets: $35, adult; $30 seniors (62 and up); $20 youths (18 and under.)

More information about the Orchestra Gradus ad Parnassum season and auditions:

YMCA Youth Art Fair on Aug 12

The  Showcase was from 6:30-8:30 PM at St Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church Gymnasium on Stoneridge.

 2016 YMCA Art Fair Flyer
This project was supported by Pleasanton’s Civic Arts Commission through a City Grant, the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council (PCAC), the Pleasanton Art League (PAL), and the Livermore Art Association (LAA). The youth in the YMCA programs worked on a series of projects over the 9 weeks of the summer– with support and volunteers from PCAC, PAL, and LAA who did an amazing job.  The showcase included the display of projects the kids created using a variety of mediums. They include Mixed Media, Caran d’Ache, and Bas Relief.  Beth Okurowski, Rekha Joshi, and Beverly Turner trained YMCA staff– and professional artists from PCAC, PAL, and LAA, as tutors, covered almost all of the art classes.

ymca-showcaseFor more information on this event, please reach out to the Tri-Valley YMCA at 925.263.4444 or at Snacks and refreshments were provided and the event attracted a number of families and members of the public. 

PCAC Contributes $14,000 to School District for Arts Programming

The Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council Contributed $14,000 in Support for Musical and Visual Arts in the Pleasanton Schools to help ensure a rich and sustainable program in music/strings in the Pleasanton schools.  Kelly Cousins and Dave Wright, co-presidents of the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council (PCAC), donated $7,000 of PCAC resources to the music program at the May 24th, 2016 Board meeting of the Pleasanton School District.  Cousins spoke about “how–years ago–there was a 20-year hiatus in the strings program.” Then, 12 years ago, PCAC advocated—with others– for a full time faculty member in the 4th and 5th grades to begin a strings program; also PCAC donated musical instruments—and, eventually, a full-scale strings program developed up through Foothill and Amador high schools.

PCAC wanted that to continue. “Our community and schools need to ensure funds for music programs that support thousands of students. “You cannot just start and stop music programs after students have studied and begun playing instruments– and then expect them to ‘pick up’ where they left off if program staff is underfunded for a year or two,” said Wright. “PCAC was proud to give some small assistance, to add to what PPIE and PSEE have already offered,” he said.

Additionally, Charlotte Severin and Dave Wright, co-chairs for the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council two-piano benefit concert this year with Tamriko Siprashvili and Temirzhan Yerzhanov, and Delores Bengtson, concert committee member, presented a second check for $7,000 to Jim Hansen, acting superintendent for the Pleasanton Unified School District. That money will go to support visual arts in 9 Pleasanton primary schools.