Gabrielle Despres, violin & Patricia Tao, piano

Saturday, October 19, 2019 -  7:30 PM 

St. Albert United Church 

Canadian-born violinist Gabrielle Despres has won numerous local, provincial, and national competitions, including prizes in the nationals of the Canadian Music Competition in both violin and piano. Gabrielle has performed twice in the Winspear Centre with the Edmonton Youth Orchestra as winner of the Northern Alberta Concerto Competition. In 2016, she was featured on Radio-Canada’s nationwide television show, “Virtuose,” placing second out of 24 young Canadian artists on this weekly series. In 2017, she was a top prizewinner in the national Shean Strings Competition. In 2018, she performed as a soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of Edmonton and as an invited soloist with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in their “Robbins Lighter Classics” and “Robbins Pops” concerts.

Gabrielle began violin studies at the age of 3 and studied with James Keene for nine years. She was a student of Robert Uchida from 2016-2018, and began studying at The Juilliard School for her Bachelor of Music degree under the tutelage of Masao Kawasaki in September of 2018.

Gabrielle has had the opportunity to play for many renowned musicians, including Midori, Ida Kavafian, Mihaela Martin, Daniel Phillips, Stephanie Chase, Andrew Wan, Jonathan Crow, and Robert Cohen. Her summer studies have included the Orford Summer Music Academy, the Morningside Music Bridge program in Calgary and Boston, and the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival in Italy. Last summer, she received a full scholarship to study at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado.

Gabrielle gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Anne Burrows Music Foundation and the Edmonton Community Foundation in supporting her education.

Pianist Patricia Tao leads an active life as performer, teacher and concert organizer. As pianist of the Guild Trio for ten years, she performed throughout the United States and Europe and won the prestigious United States Information Agency Artistic Ambassador competition, resulting in a seven-country European tour. The Trio was awarded the position of Trio-in-Residence at the Tanglewood Music Center, where they were lauded by the Boston Globe as a “beautiful new landmark” on the concert stage and had the opportunity to work with Leon Fleisher, Yo-Yo Ma and Gilbert Kalish. With the Guild Trio, she was awarded one of four grants nationwide by Chamber Music America, to establish a concert residency at the Stony Brook University medical school. The Trio also commissioned and premiered numerous works, including William Bolcom’s “Spring Trio,” Sheila Silver’s “To the Spirit Unconquered,” Harvey Sollberger’s “From Winter’s Frozen Stillness,” and works by Bradley Lubman, Daniel Weymouth, Peter Winkler, and Perry Goldstein. The Trio recorded Sheila Silver’s work on the CRI label (reissued on New World Records) and served as Trio-in-Residence at the University of Virginia for two years, where she performed and taught chamber music and contemporary ensemble.

As soloist, Dr. Tao toured the United States for Columbia Artist’s Community Concerts series and Europe as an “Artistic Ambassador” for the USIA, and has performed in Italy, Portugal, Spain, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, China and Hong Kong. Dr. Tao’s live performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today,” WNYC’s “Around New York,” WQXR’s “The Listening Room, the public television series “Premiere Performances” out of St. Louis, Chicago’s WFMT and “Our Music” on CBC. She has recorded a solo compact disc on the Arktos label featuring works of Schubert, Liszt, and Corigliano.

For the past ten years, she has performed with Trio Voce (Jasmine Lin, violin, Marina Hoover, cello) with whom she has recorded the Chopin and Strauss cello and piano sonatas on the Centaur label and two Trio recordings on the Con Brio label. These critically-acclaimed recordings have been lauded for their “deeply passionate and committed performances” and as “an important addition to any serious collection of twentieth-century chamber music.”

As concert organizer, Dr. Tao has served as Artistic Director of the Edmonton Chamber Music Society’s Summer Solstice Music Festival for the past eleven years, the first of the summer classical music festivals to grace Edmonton stages. The series has welcomed the best North American chamber musicians to Edmonton with imaginative and entertaining programming. Since 2002, she has also organized the Hear’s to Your Health Concerts at the University of Alberta medical school, with free late afternoon concerts accessible to the University and local community.

Dr. Tao received her undergraduate education at Harvard University, a master’s degree with distinction from Indiana University and her doctorate from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where her principal teachers were Leonard Shure, Gyorgy Sebok and Gilbert Kalish. She has adjudicated many local and provincial festivals, given master classes at numerous schools, including the Universities of Ottawa and British Columbia, Ithaca College, and the Conservatories of Barcelona, Prague, Bratislava Wuhan, Taizhou and Hangzhou, and has held performance residencies at the Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York, the medical school of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and the University of Virginia. She taught at Western Washington University and the University of Virginia, and since 2002, has taught piano and chamber music at the University of Alberta, where she is Professor of Music and Undergraduate Associate Chair.

Concert Sponsors:  Dennis and Joyce Vass