Staff Report

The public is invited to attend the next Santa Ynez Valley Classical Music Series concert featuring the renowned pianist Robert Cassidy and cellist Ani Aznavoorian, a soloist with leading orchestras throughout the world and the Principal Cellist of Camerata Pacifica.  The concert takes place on Friday, April 27, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Church in Los Olivos.

Mr. Cassidy and Ms. Aznavoorian have created The Beethoven Project to immerse the audiences in the emotional complexities and musical brilliance of Beethoven’s complete sonatas and variations for piano and cello. This must-hear cycle will be presented in two exciting concerts – Friday, April 27, 2018 (Part One) and Friday, November 16, 2018 (Part Two) that will open the 39th Annual Santa Ynez Valley Classical Music Series in the autumn. The first concert will include performances of Seven Variations on Magic FluteSonata in G Minor, Op 5, no.2Judas Maccabeus Variations, and Sonata in D Major, Op. 102 no. 2.

Pianist Robert Cassidy has received widespread acclaim for his performances and recordings of both solo piano repertoire and chamber music.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer review of his eponymous solo recording noted, “Cassidy demonstrates a keen grasp of varied styles on his new recital disc, which spans three centuries. with delicate and expressive sensitivity, savoring the magical atmospheres.”  In March 2016, Dr. Cassidy released his second solo disc “Pathways” which includes works by Chopin, Debussy and Joel Feigin. He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music; and Doctor of Arts in Piano Chamber Music and Accompanying/Piano Performance from Ball State University. A sought after soloist, chamber musician, as well as teacher and coach, Dr. Cassidy has recently performed with Almeda Trio. Cleveland Orchestra and Mari Sato of the Cavani String Quartet. In addition to his performances, Dr. Cassidy continues his active teaching career based at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.

Cellist Ani Aznavoorian is described by The Strad Magazine as having “Scorchingly committed performances that wring every last drop of emotion out of the music. Her technique is well-nigh immaculate, she has a natural sense of theater, and her tone is astonishingly responsive.” Ms. Aznavoorian received both her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School and continues to perform often in New York and also throughout the world including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Tokyo Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony, International Sejong Soloists, Belgrade Philharmonic, Juilliard Orchestra and Edmonton Symphony. Ms Aznavoorian also is a member of the faculty at summer festivals as well as the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana. This season marks Ms. Aznavoorian’s eleventh year as principal cellist with Camerata Pacifica. A recent highlight was the honor of performing Lera Auerbach’s “Dreammusik” for Cello and Chamber Orchestra which was written and commissioned for her by Camerata Pacifica.

The 38th annual Santa Ynez Valley Classical Music Series concludes the season with these artists:

Friday, June 22, 2018, at 7:00 p.m.: Nichole Dechaine (soprano) with Beverly Staples (piano).

*Note later date (previously scheduled for 5/5/18. Tickets already purchased will be honored on 6/22/18).

Doors for each concert open 30 minutes prior to the start with tickets being sold at the door as well as online in advance at General admission tickets are $20 and student tickets are $10 (with any student ID). Plus, there will be a complimentary reception following each concert to meet the artists and enjoy conversation and refreshments.

Known for its vibrant acoustics, St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Church is located at 2901 Nojoqui Avenue in Los Olivos, (one block west from the downtown flagpole). For patron ticket purchases and any questions, please call SYV Classical Music Series Director Linda Burrows at 805-688-7423 or the St. Mark’s office at 805-688-4454 or visit