Violin Virtuoso Francesca dePasquale to Make ‘Distinctive Debut’ at Hudson Opera House

Francesca dePasquale

Francesca dePasquale

(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Violinist Francesca dePasquale will bring her “Distinctive Debut” tour, featuring music from her terrific eponymous debut album, including the premiere of a commissioned work by Paola Prestini, to Hudson Opera House on Saturday, April 16, at 7pm, as part of the Classics on Hudson series. dePasquale, a protégé of Itzhak Perlman, will be accompanied by pianist Meng-Chieh Liu in a program including works by Bach, Bartók, Korngold, Messiaen, and Schumann.

Francesca dePasquale is an Annenberg Fellow and 2015 Classical Recording Foundation Young Artist of the Year award winner. Growing up among the venerable dePasquale family of Philadelphia Orchestra musicians, Francesca internalized that musical legacy, but has also forged her own identity as a remarkable virtuoso player. Francesca is a protégé and teaching fellow for Itzhak Perlman, who has called her “a beautiful musician … remarkable.”

The concert features a debut performance of Oceanic Fantasy for solo violin and electronics, composed by Paola Prestini and commissioned by Francesca dePasquale, drawing inspiration from Prestini’s “Oceanic Verses,” a chamber opera that paints “a picture of Italy as it once was, a cross-section of cultures expressed through song.” In it, Prestini weaves together elements from field recordings and sound samples with her own distinctive language to create an immensely personal tribute to her and dePasquale’s Southern Italian heritage.

Also on the program are works from her debut album including Bach’s Partita no. 2 in D minor and Messiaen’s Thème et Variations.

A current Starling Fellow Teaching Assistant to Itzhak Perlman at the Juilliard School, Francesca belongs to the latest generation of Philadelphia’s distinguished dePasquale family of string players, with both parents and two uncles having comprised the noted dePasquale Quartet.  Her father, William, served as the Philadelphia Orchestra’s co-concertmaster, and her mother, Gloria, is still a member of the cello section. Francesca plays her father’s violin, a contemporary instrument made by Sergio Peresson in 1968 at Moennig & Son. “It really has that old Italian sound,” she said.

Francesca dePasquale

Francesca dePasquale

Celebrated internationally for her purity and intensity of artistry, violinist Francesca dePasquale leads a dynamic career of performance, pedagogy, and community engagement. Described by critics as “scintillating” (MusicalAmerica) and “a mature artist fully formed at a young age and equal to any challenge” (Peninsula Reviews), Francesca is the First Prize winner of the 2010 Irving M. Klein International String Competition and recipient of the prestigious 2014-2016 career grant from the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts. Additionally, she was named by MusicalAmerica as their February 2014 New Artist of the Month, a distinction that recognizes important, emerging talent.

With the support of the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund, Francesca recently recorded her debut album in collaboration with pianist Meng-Chieh Liu, including a newly commissioned work for violin and electronics by composer Paola Prestini. The album was released for digital and physical distribution in March 2016.

During the 2015-2016 season, Francesca will perform the debut album repertoire in recital throughout the United States, presented by Three Rivers Performing Arts (Three Rivers and Visalia, CA), California Music Center (San Francisco, CA), the Colburn School (Los Angeles, CA), Friends of Chamber Music (Reading, PA), Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, National Sawdust (Brooklyn, NY), and Classics on Hudson (Hudson, NY). She will present educational outreach programs in nearby schools alongside each recital. Additionally, Francesca will also appear on the Marinus Ensemble, Fort Worth Chamber Music Society, and Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players series this season, and collaborate with groups such as Orpheus and the orchestral collective The Knights.

In addition to her performing activities, Francesca is a member of the violin faculty at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts and the Starling Fellow assistant to Itzhak Perlman at the Juilliard School, where she is also teaching assistant to Catherine Cho.

Since her debut as soloist at age 9 touring Spain with the Main Line Chamber Orchestra, Francesca has appeared with the American Youth Symphony, Bach Festival of Philadelphia, Bucks County Symphony, Colburn Orchestra, Galesburg Symphony, Kennett Symphony, Ocean City Pops, Peninsula Symphony, Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra, Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey, and Santa Cruz Symphony. As recitalist, she made her debut at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia on the Morning Musicales series and has since appeared on the Perlman Music Program Alumni series (Shelter Island, NY), Santa Clara University Presents series (Santa Clara, CA), Noontime Concerts recital series (San Francisco, CA), Classic Chamber Concerts Rising Star series (Naples, FL), and Friends of Chamber Music series (Reading, PA) in collaboration with artists Natalie Zhu and Meng-Chieh Liu.

An avid chamber musician, Francesca began appearing professionally at age 7 with her family members, distinguished musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and has since performed with renowned artists such as Paul Coletti, Thomas Cooley, Jennifer Frautschi, Nicholas Kitchen, Ronald Leonard, Robert Levin, Merry Peckham, Itzhak Perlman, Jeffrey Sykes, Roger Tapping, Richard Todd, and Donald Weilerstein. In addition to collaborating with individual artists, Francesca is the violinist of the Aletheia Piano Trio alongside pianist Fei-Fei Dong and cellist Juliette Herlin. Formed in 2013 at the Juilliard School, the trio has already performed at the Rose Studio and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York and the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., coaching with artists such as David Finckel, Joseph Kalichstein, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Ida Kavafian, Merry Peckham, and Vivian Weilerstein.

Individually, Francesca has been a featured artist for the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, Olympic Music Festival, Music@Menlo Chamber Music Institute International Program, Music in the Vineyards chamber music series, Philadelphia Orchestra chamber concert series, Colburn Chamber Music Society, and Perlman Music Program. Francesca is former concertmaster of the Juilliard Orchestra, American Youth Symphony, Colburn Orchestra, and Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, and has performed as a substitute with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Brooklyn-based orchestral collective The Knights. Additionally, she has been a participant of the International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove master classes, National Arts Centre Institute for Orchestral Studies, Aspen Music Festival and School as a New Horizon Fellow, and New York String Orchestra Seminar.

Committed to classical music outreach and its power to connect entire communities, Francesca has served as a mentor for the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles program, appeared on the Philadelphia Orchestra Sound All Around series, and given numerous community engagement presentations alongside her performances. She has also traveled to São Paulo, Brazil for an educational residency of Juilliard Global, which included leading several masterclasses, sectionals, and chamber music performances for hundreds of Brazilian children.

Francesca graduated from the Juilliard School with a Master of Music degree, where she studied with Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho as the recipient of the Arnold R. Deutsch/Dorothy DeLay and Dorothy Starling scholarships, as well as the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund. As a student of Robert Lipsett, Francesca earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Colburn School Conservatory of Music. Previous teachers include Hirono Oka and William dePasquale, with additional mentorship from Norman Carol and Arnold Steinhardt.


About Meng-Chieh Liu

A recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, Meng-Chieh Liu first made headlines in 1993 as a 21-year-old student at the Curtis Institute of Music when he substituted at last minute’s notice for André Watts at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. The concert earned high acclaim from critics and audience alike, and was followed by a number of widely praised performances, including a recital at the Kennedy Center and a concert on the Philadelphia All-Star Series. Already an accomplished artist at the time, Mr. Liu had made his New York orchestral debut two years earlier.

Following Mr. Liu’s triumph in Philadelphia, an appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra was immediately scheduled, but it was not to be. The stellar beginning of his career was abruptly halted by a rare and debilitating illness that affected his connective tissues. Hospitalized and almost immobile for a year, doctors believed his chances for survival were slim and, should he survive, playing the piano would be “absolutely impossible.”  With arduous determination and relentless physical therapy, Mr. Liu has been restored to full health and is now once again performing on the concert stage. Since then, he has performed throughout the world as a soloist in recitals and with orchestras under conductors Christoph Eschenbach, Gustavo Dudamel and Alan Gilbert. In 2002, Liu received the Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Philadelphia Musical Fund Society Career Advancement Award. A sought-after musician and strong advocate of chamber music, Liu performs in music festivals across the globe and has worked with international musicians Shmuel Ashkenasi, David Soyer, Bernard Greenhouse, James Buswell, Wendy Warner as well as the Borromeo and St. Lawrence Quartets. Liu also collaborates with artists in varied disciplines, such as Mikhail Baryshnikov and the White Oak Dance Project, among other dance companies.  His concerts have been heard over the airwaves around the world, and a biography on his life was broadcast on Taiwanese National Television.

Born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Meng-Chieh Liu began his piano studies early, and at age thirteen was accepted by The Curtis Institute of Music to study with Jorge Bolet, Claude Frank, and Eleanor Sokoloff, and received first prizes in the Stravinsky, Asia Pacific and Mieczyslaw Munz piano competitions.  Since 1993, Liu served on the piano and chamber music faculties at The Curtis Institute of Music where he coordinated the piano chamber music program from 1999-2009, and in 2006, he was invited to teach at Roosevelt University. Starting in the Fall of 2014, Liu also joined the faculty at the New England Conservatory. Liu also joined Chicago Chamber Musicians in the fall of 2009, and served as Artistic Director of the ensemble from 2011-2014, where performances have already been acclaimed for his “faultless, discreetly balanced pianism” (Chicago Classical Review).




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