Chagrin Concert Series

Hristo Popov - violinist and Artistic Director
"Virtuoso violinist extraordinare" Musical Horizons, Hristo Popov, brings tremendous experience to the concert stage. Popov made his orchestral debut at the age of nine and since then has performed throughout the United States and Europe as both recitalist and concerto soloist. His Carnegie Hall Debut was described by The Strad Magazine as “…rollicking and energetic.” Hristo Popov is a prizewinner at the Kozian International Violin Competition, Silver Medalist at the California Young Artist Competition, winner of the Grand Prize at the International Institute of Music (Germany, USA), first place at the American String Teachers' Association Chamber Music Competition. He has performed and taught in major chamber music festivals throughout the world such as Oberlin at Casalmaggiore, Park City International Music Festival, Rondo Music Festival, Interharmony International Festival, among others. Popov has performed in major Performing Arts Centers including Carnegie hall – New York, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion - Los Angeles, Severance Hall - Cleveland, John F. Kennedy Center - Washington D.C, and Casa Verdi – Milan, Italy, Rudolfinum - Prague. Popov performs music from the standard repertoire as well as significant works of the contemporary genre. American composer Thomas Janson has recently composed a number of works specifically for him. His performances have been documented on TV and radio stations in United States, Mexico, and Bulgaria and has recorded albums for TC Recordings and Bravante Records. He continues to receive rave reviews - as described recently by The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, “…the performance benefited from the elegant purity soloist Hristo Popov invested in every phrase. Popov traced the lyrical and vibrant lines (Mozart – Violin Concerto No. 5, Turkish) with unruffled assurance. He enabled the music to float where necessary and made easy work of the acrobatic demands.” He recently recorded Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with Sofia Sinfonietta after touring in Spain and Bulgaria, which is available at iTunes, or your favorite online music store.

The Cleveland Opera

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Founded in 1995 as Opera Circle, The Cleveland Opera has established itself as the premier opera company of Cleveland bringing traditional opera favorites as well as little know masterworks. The company presents full scale opera productions at the Playhouse Square as well as smaller productions around the Greater Cleveland area. Founders of the company Dorota and Jacek Sobieski have received acclaimed reviews in the press around the world. Jacek Sobieski has served as Music Director of the Polish National Theatre and is an accomplished pianist and vocal coach. Soprano Dorota Sobieska has performed leading roles in many Opera Circle productions and throughout Europe. In addition to her musical accomplishments she holds a Ph. D. in English from Kent State University.

Per Enflo - piano

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Per Enflo, born 1944, Swedish-American pianist, has since the 1950s been concertising on five continents - with solo recitals, as soloist with orchestras, as chamber musician and as accompanist. In addition to piano, he has studied conducting and composition. His teachers include Bengt Utterström Karlskrona, (Sweden) and Gottfrid Boon (a student of Arthur Schnabel), Stockholm (Sweden), Bruno Seidlhofer, Vienna (Austria), and Geza Anda, Luzern (Switzerland). A prodigy, he gave his first piano recital in professional recital series at the age of 11 and at 12 he was the soloist in Mozart's nineteenth piano concerto with the Royal Opera Orchestra of Sweden. He was the winner of several national Swedish competitions for Young pianists. He was also a prodigy in mathematics. His mathematical career includes solving three fundamental problems that had remained unsolved for more than 40 years and ending up as a University Professor at Kent State University, Ohio 1988-2012. His musical career includes a Carnegie Hall concert in 2013 when violinist Hristo Popov and Per Enflo teamed up in a sizzling account of music by masters of the 20th century: Bela Bartok, George Enesco, and Pancho Vladigerov; New York Concert Review hailed this recital as "outstanding from start to finish". Recordings available on CD and Spotify include solo piano (Beethoven Sonatas) duo with violinist Hristo Popov (sonatas by Strauss, Enescu, Bartok, Vladigerov, Stoykov and Beethoven) and Mozart and Beethoven piano concertos with Sofia Sinfonietta under maestro Svilen Simeonov. Altough Per Enflo has returned to Europe he is frequently concertising in the US. His musical activities focus on concerts and recordings of his most tresured piano music, works by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Haydn and Brahms.

Jassen Todorov - violin
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Jassen Todorov has distinguished himself as one of the most prominent violinists of his generation. Dubbed “an outstanding violinist…a player to watch” by the British music journal The Strad, Mr. Todorov has given numerous performances throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. He is also an active performer in his native Bulgaria, where he is considered one of the country’s most prized musicians. With a repertoire including works from all styles and epochs, Mr. Todorov has recorded the complete sonatas of Bach, Brahms and Ysaye, as well as Beethoven’s Sonatas Nos. 6 and 10. The Strad described him as “a violinist of rare technical ability…he brings musicality to his performances…his left hand is able to deliver Ysaye's demands in the many mercurial passages with commendable accuracy” and the American Record Guide portrayed it as “high praise…an important release for admirers of Ysaye’s music.” Mr. Todorov began his musical education in Bulgaria and furthered his studies at the Idyllwild Arts Academy, California. A top prize winner of several national and international competitions, he earned his bachelor’s degree in violin performance from Harid Conservatory, Florida, and his master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, New York. From 2000 to 2003, he served as the teaching assistant to Professor Oleh Krysa at the Eastman School and held a violin position at the University of Rochester. Mr. Todorov is the recipient of full scholarships and prestigious awards including the Eastman award for excellence in teaching (2002) and the Crystal Lyre for achievements in music (2006). From 2008 to 2010, Mr. Todorov served as the Director of the School of Music and Dance at San Francisco State University. Currently, Mr. Todorov is a Professor of Violin at San Francisco State University and Visiting Professor at Xinjiang Arts University, Xinjiang Normal University and Qimingxing School of Music, China. Mr. Todorov plays a 1778 Tomaso Eberle violin.

Andrew Sords - violin

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American violinist Andrew Sords is recognized internationally for his performances combining visceral virtuosity and ravishing tone. Hailed in the press as “a fully formed artist” (Kalisz-Poland News), “utterly radiant” (Canada’s Arts Forum), and “exceptionally heartfelt and soulful” (St. Maarten’s Daily Herald), Sords has received numerous awards and distinctions reflecting his career trajectory, including the Pittsburgh Concert Society’s Career Grant and the NFMC Young Artist Award. Born in Newark, Delaware, Sords began piano lessons at the age of 5, followed shortly by violin studies. Sords became a pupil of Linda Cerone, David Russell, and Chee-Yun Kim at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Southern Methodist University, and a series of international invitations helped catapult a solo career that has since spanned 4 continents and over 200 orchestras. Andrew Sords has appeared regularly with celebrated orchestras and conductors. In recent seasons, concerto collaborations have included the Oakland Symphony, Windsor Symphony, Kalisz Philharmonic, Chattanooga Symphony, Cleveland Philharmonic, Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Philharmonia, Gulf Coast Symphony and Melbourne Chamber Symphony, among numerous others. Additionally, Sords has worked with myriad conductors including Robert Franz, Michael Morgan, Sidney Harth, Mario Mateus, Carl Topilow, Scott Seaton, Luis Biava, and Matthew Kraemer. A prolific recitalist, Sords has appeared in St. Croix, San Miguel de Allende, Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and has an upcoming tour of the Mendelssohn Piano Trios and Violin Sonata in Toronto, Montreal, Guelph, and Kitchener-Waterloo. As a frequent soloist in the Caribbean, Sords has appeared in Puerto Rico, Anguilla, St. Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Grand Cayman, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A recent review from a Cleveland, Ohio recital enthused: “Sords impressed with his total command of technique, consummate musicianship and bravura as he tossed of scads of notes and sang out like a diva.” (Cleveland Classical)

Eriko Izumida - piano
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Pianist Eriko Izumida has been an active soloist, collaborative pianist, and chamber musician. She has performed extensively throughout the United States with numbers of artists including the Cleveland Orchestra members. In addition, she presents a number of recital programs for various community service venues. Ms. Izumida has been teaching the piano privately since 2000, and now teaches at Bellissima Music Academy in Wellington, Florida. She was on the piano faculty of Baldwin Wallace Collage Preparatory/ Adult Education Department, Chagrin Valley Music Academy, Chagrin Valley Music Festival (formerly International Festival for Strings & More), and Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Piano Summer Camp, and also was a staff accompanist at BW Conservatory. She has also served as a judge for National Federation of Music Clubs Jr. Festival Piano competition, Youngstown Music Teachers Association Piano competition, and Ohio Federation's Music Club's Jr. Festival Piano competition. Her students have won contests and scholarships; some students have been accepted to leading music schools; some has been frequently appearing local hospitals and retirement houses. A native of Japan, she began studying piano at the age of three. She has studied with Graeme Humphrey at the Royal Academy of Music in London, United Kingdom, Dr. Thomas Hecht at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she holds both Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in piano performance. Other teachers include Robert McDonald, Jacques Rouvier, Ellen Mack, Noriko Iwabe and Michio Kobayashi. Her chamber music/collaborative piano mentors include Anne Epperson, Eric Charnofsky and Peter Salaff. In addition, she studied harpsichord with Janina Ceaser. Her CD is available under TC Recordings label.

Michael Gelfand - cello
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Michael Gelfand received his Bachelor of Music degree at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and his Master of Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music in cello and conducting. His cello teachers have included Janos Starker, Fritz Magg, and Marion Feldman. He pursued doctoral studies in conducting at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and at the Pierre Monteux School for Advanced Conductors. From 1980-1990 he was Director of Orchestra, Opera and Musical Theater Productions at the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University. Since 1975 he has been Professor of Music at Youngstown State University and Principal Cellist of the Youngstown Symphony and Warren Chamber Orchestra, and has performed concerts since 1990 as a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra cello section. He is a former member of the Cleveland Orchestra, former principal cellist of the Syracuse Symphony, and member of the Cazenovia String Quartet.
Sungeun Kim - piano
Pianist Sungeun Kim has given numerous concerts in the U.S., Canada, Russia, Spain, Korea and Italy. A first-prize winner of the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition, she has been invited as guest artist at the Texas Conservatory Piano Festival for Young Artists, the Virginia Rising Star Concert Series, the Palm Springs Concert Series and the 24th Concert Stage at St. Ivo in Rome. She has appeared with the Russian Federal Orchestra in Bolshoi Hall at the Moscow Conservatory, the Banff Festival Orchestra, the International Chamber Ensemble of Rome and the Gijon Symphony Orchestra.   Sungeun Kim is Associate Professor of Piano at Baldwin Wallace University. She received her degrees from Yon-Sei University (B.M.) with Kyung Sook Lee and the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University (M.M. and D.M.A.) where she studied with Julian Martin and had master classes with Leon Fleisher. She also studied with Dominique Weber and Blanca Uribe at the New Millennium Piano Festival in Spain, and Marc Durand at the Banff Keyboard Festival in Canada. 

Samuel Barton-Rotberg - violin
Barton Samuel Rotberg has performed as a violinist in the U.S., Canada, France, Spain, Costa Rica and Mexico and has been a prizewinner in the Boston International Chamber Music Competition and the Liberty Freemont Young Artists Competition in Illinois. Currently Assistant Concertmaster of the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra in Ohio, he has served as concertmaster for the Opera Project Columbus Chamber Orchestra, the Opera Per Tutti Chamber Orchestra of Cleveland and for three seasons in the Southwest Symphony Orchestra in Illinois. He has also been a member of the Illinois Philharmonic, Ann Arbor and Flint Symphony orchestras. An avid chamber musician, Dr. Rotberg was a founding member of the Davanti Trio, in residence with the Flint Symphony Orchestra. Endowed by an original founder of General Motors, the Davanti trio gave concerts in the U.S. and abroad. As an Artist in Residence at Mercyhurst University, he was featured on WQLN Public Radio as violinist of the D’Angelo Trio. Dr. Rotberg has been teaching for more than 20 years. His students have frequently been awarded competition prizes, music scholarships to Universities and concertmaster positions in festival and All-State orchestras. During his time as a doctoral student at Michigan State University, he taught undergraduate and graduate students as an assistant to Professor Dmitri Berlinsky. He has since been a violin instructor at Mott Community College and Assistant Professor of Music at Mercyhurst University’s D’Angelo Department of Music. He is on faculty at International Festival for Strings and More at Western Reserve Academy, and Conservatory Summer Intensive music festival at Baldwin Wallace University, Conservatory of Music. Rotberg has given guest recitals and master classes at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy, the Conservatoire de Limonest in France, University of New Mexico and Jamestown Community College in New York. He has been an adjudicator for the Music Teacher’s National Association Competition and the Lakeland Civic Orchestra Concerto Competition. 

Wanda Sobieska - Viola
Born in Warsaw, Poland, violinist Wanda Sobieska belongs to the fifth generation of a family of musicians and musicologists. She has appeared as a solo and chamber musician in the United States, Poland, and Canada. In addition, she has played in many orchestras, including the Opera Circle Orchestra, Ashland Symphony, Mansfield Symphony, Youngstown Symphony, Warren Philharmonic, Erie Philharmonic, Cleveland Women’s Orchestra, Akron Pops Orchestra, the Orchestra at Kent State Theatre, the Orchestra at Stark Kent, the Orchestra at Porthouse Theater of Blossom Music Center, Cleveland Virtuosi, and Ensemble du Monde. She began studying violin at the age of five, and has attended the Grazyna Bacewicz School of Music in Warsaw, the Cleveland Music School Settlement, and the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where she earned a Bachelor’s in Violin Performance summa cum laude. She is also a gifted arranger and has studied composition for many years. In 2009, she launched, a website featuring her own practical arrangements of works commonly requested of working musicians. The site makes such much-needed sheet music available for free while adhering to standards of high quality, and it currently serves over 20,000 visitors from all over the world each month.