Orli Shaham Comments On This Season’s Final Café Ludwig Program

On May 8, we’ll be performing the Fantasie for Flute and Piano by Philippe Gaubert and a flute movement from Martinu’s Sextet, the Serenade for String Trio by Ernst von Dohnanyi, and we’ll wrap up the program with the fabulous Piano Trio by Maurice Ravel.

I love all the players on this program, as always: Ben Smolen, Dennis Kim, Meredith Crawford and Warren Hagerty. I enjoy this combination of Czech and French music that will “speak” to each other in this program. There’s a lot of intimate music making here, with small forces in each of the pieces. It’s a lovely way to end our Cafe Ludwig season, with these duos and trios, displaying the deep personal connections which we all have and which we’re all so grateful for.

The Ravel Piano Trio is one of my absolute favorite pieces of chamber music, so I’m particularly excited to play it with Dennis Kim and Warren Hagerty. It’s so perfectly thought out, so delicate, so full of imagination, and demands so much of each of the players. That’s one of the reasons I thought this is a perfect setting for it. Dennis and Warren and I have established a wonderful rapport together, and we’ve tackled chamber music in all sorts of contexts by now, and we’ve gotten to know each other well as players. We’re excited to come together as a trio and play a piece like this, which requires such cohesion among the players. It asks us to set a scene, without letting any part of that scene go untouched. It was the final piece that he wrote before heading out to the front, as a volunteer soldier for World War I. It was particularly important to him to make sure it was well edited and that everything was in place because he had a palpable sense that it might end up being his last piece. It didn’t, but he thought of it that way. In many ways, it brought his level of composition to an entirely different place than where it had been before, with that awareness that it might be his final statement. ~ Orli Shaham, Curator and Host of Café Ludwig

To learn more about the show, please click here.

Café Ludwig’s Artistic Director Orli Shaham Joins Juilliard’s Piano Faculty

Host, Curator and Pianist Orli Shaham at the Samueli Theatre during a Café Ludwig concert.

The Juilliard School just announced that Orli Shaham is joining the prestigious school’s piano faculty in the 2022-23 academic year. Shaham is an alumna of the school (Pre-College ’93; and the cross-registration program with Columbia University ’97), and for the past two years has taught at Juilliard as an interim faculty member. Pianists Soyeon Kate Lee and Shai Wosner also join the faculty.

Orli Shaham says, “I am honored and humbled to join the stellar faculty at The Juilliard School. In my years as interim faculty, I’ve seen firsthand how brilliant and inspiring these students are, and I’m thrilled to continue to dig into it all with them! Congratulations, too, to my fellow new faculty members, pianists Shai Wosner and Soyeon Kate Lee, I can’t wait to work alongside you and the rest of the Juilliard faculty and staff.”

In a statement, department chair Veda Kaplinsky says that Shaham, Lee and Wosner each “embody the ideals that are so fundamental to our mission: a passion for teaching, a keen intellect and superb artistry. We look forward to having them join our exceptional faculty and to working alongside them.” Dean David Serkin Ludwig adds that they also each “possess the rare combination of great artistry and outstanding teaching ability that defines the Juilliard faculty.”

Orli Shaham, who was born in Israel and grew up in New York, is the artistic director of both Pacific Symphony’s chamber series Café Ludwig in Costa Mesa, California, and the interactive children’s concert series Orli Shaham’s Bach Yard, which she founded in 2010. Also a regular guest host on National Public Radio’s From the Top, she’s chair of the board of trustees at Kaufman Music Center in New York City.

This season, Shaham is releasing the second and third volumes of the complete Mozart Piano Sonatas. Her Mozart recording project also includes volume 1 of the Piano Sonatas and her album of Piano Concertos with St. Louis Symphony, all of which are part of her discography of a dozen titles on Canary Classics. After receiving her bachelor’s degree at Columbia University, where she participated in the Barnard-Columbia-Juilliard exchange, she pursued graduate studies in historical musicology at Columbia. She is a winner of the Gilmore Young Artist Award and the Avery Fisher Career Grant.

Mixer Recap: Pianist Orli Shaham  

The Café Ludwig concert series has been an integral part of our programming since the 2005-06 season. If you haven’t been before, it’s a Sunday matinee filled with chamber music, coffee or tea and scrumptious desserts at the Samueli Theater. This year, we have three shows for you. One of which has recently happened. 

Did you know that pianist Orli Shaham has been hosting and curating the series since the 2008-09 season? In case you missed the virtual conversation she had with Assistant Conductor Dr. Jacob Sustaita last week, we’ve attached the video link for your reference above.  

Talking points during the Mixer include a conversation about Orli’s teaching experience as faculty at The Juilliard Schoolher Mozart project, work as a co-host at From the Top, the Café Ludwig series and more! Here are the links to the three videos that were shown during the Mixer in order of appearance.   

At the first Café Ludwig show last Sunday, Shaham was joined by four Pacific Symphony musicians: Concertmaster Dennis Kim, Assistant Principal Second Violinist Jennise Hwang, Principal Violist Meredith Crawford and Principal Cellist Warren Hagetry. They played a 6-piece set featuring works from composers such as Reena Esmail and Karen Tanaka (who was in the audience) to Charles Ives and Johannes Brahms. The show was recently featured on The Violin Channel’s Facebook and Instagram pages.  

If you would like to see her in-person at the Samueli Theater, our next Café Ludwig concerts are on Feb. 20 and May 8. Better hurry though! Tickets for these shows tend to go fast. Make sure to get them while you still can. Hope we can see you soon!  

Pacific Symphony’s 2018-2019 chamber music series announced

Pacific Symphony announced today programming and dates for the 2018-2019 Café Ludwig chamber music series. Pianist Orli Shaham will again serve as curator and host of the concerts and teams with members of the Symphony. Performances are held in Samueli Theater on Sunday afternoons. Coffee, tea and pastries are offered to listeners, seated at tables.

The season’s programming is off the beaten path. The Oct. 14 opener delves into French music and features the Bassoon Sonata, Op. 168, by Saint-Saëns, the Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp by Debussy and the Violin Sonata by Franck.

The Feb. 24 (2019) concert focuses on transcriptions of Bach and includes Mozart’s arrangements for string quartet of fugues from Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier”; Liszt’s arrangement of the Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543; and David Robertson’s new arrangement of the “Goldberg Variations” for piano quintet. George Perle’s rarely performed “Classic Suite” for piano, which draws on Baroque dance forms, begins the program.

On May 19 (2019), the series’ finale explores storytelling in music with pieces by Ridout, Brahms and Janacek on the slate, and climaxing with Stravinsky’s “A Soldier’s Tale.”

The Symphony’s new concertmaster, yet to be named, is scheduled to perform on all three concerts.

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Just a few tickets remain for the last Café Ludwig concert of this season, featuring music by Poulenc, Fauré and Rebecca Clarke, held at 3 p.m. on April 29.