Pyxis Piano Quartet

Pyxis Piano Quartet – The second decade!

Luigi Mazzocchi, violin / Amy Leonard, viola / Jennifer Jie Jin, cello / Hiroko Yamazaki, piano

Pyxis Piano Quartet is now in its second exciting decade as classical music artists-in-residence at the Delaware Art Museum. Favorites Luigi Mazzocchi (violin), Amy Leonard (viola), Jennifer Jie Jin (cello) and Hiroko Yamazaki (piano) return for three vibrant concerts in Fusco Hall. As always, art and artists in the galleries will inspire the ensemble’s music, both old and new!

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Present from the Past

Thursday, October 10, 2019
7:30 pm: Curator talk / 8:00 pm: Pyxis Concert
Reflecting on the work of Mitch Lyons, who expanded traditional clay techniques into a new form, Pyxis pairs Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 3 with Pulitzer-winner Caroline Shaw’s Thousandth Orange: “The thousandth orange you eat is just as extraordinary as the first,” exploring how what seems new can draw boldly on what went before.

Luigi Boccherini – String Trio in C minor, Op. 14, No. 2
Caroline Shaw –Thousandth Orange (Piano quartet)
Johannes Brahms – Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor, Op. 60

Continental Bridges

Thursday, March 12, 2020 
7:30 pm:  Curator talk / 8:00 pm: Pyxis Concert
With the Museum’s beautiful Chihuly Bridge overhead, Pyxis explores works that span time and geography, linking composers to their homelands: Joaquín Turina’s Piano Trio, filled with Spanish fire; Zoltán Kodály’s Intermezzo that draws on beloved Hungarian folk tunes; and Dvořák’s masterful Piano Quartet in E-flat Major.

Joaquín Turina – Piano Trio No. 2 in B minor
Zoltán Kodály – Intermezzo
Antonín Dvořák – Piano Quartet in E-flat Major

Epic Divas

Thursday, April 30, 2020
7:30 pm: Curator talk / 8:00 pm: Pyxis Concert
Inspired by the storied careers of painter Margo Allman and sculptor Helen Mason – on view in the Museum – Pyxis presents a trove of works by women that range from the romantic period through the 21st century. And the evening even includes one gentleman – Australian composer Matthew Hindson and his aptly titled 2012 piano quartet Epic Diva!

Judith Weir – Arise! Arise! You Slumbering Sleepers and El Rey de Francia
Sophia Serghi – Maia, from The Pleiades
Nadia Boulanger – Three Pieces for Cello and Piano
Lili Boulanger – Two Pieces for Violin and Piano
Matthew Hindson – Epic Diva: for piano quartet
Mel Bonis – Piano Quartet No. 1 in B-flat Major

Details and Tickets

  • Before each concert, the Thronson Café will feature beer, wine and light fare for purchase.
  • Curator talks begin at 7:30 p.m. and performances begin at 8:00 p.m.
  • Complimentary desserts and coffee will be served during intermission.
  • $30 Museum Members, $35 Non-Members, $25 Students (with ID)
  • Seating is limited; advance sales encouraged.
  • All tickets are non-refundable and will be held at the door.

Checks should be made payable to Delaware Arts Museum and mailed to: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington DE 19806

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For more information, contact Jonathan Whitney at jwhitney@delart.org or 302.351.8509.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Pyxis Piano Quartet

Founded in 2009, Pyxis Piano Quartet – a vibrant musical presence in the mid-Atlantic region – has become known for compelling, engaging and informative performances. Their concerts feature chamber music works from the sonata, duo, and trio repertoire as well as traditional and contemporary masterpieces for piano quartet. This season opens their second decade as artists-in-residence at the Delaware Art Museum and part of the Performance Series.

Pyxis has been heard to great acclaim along the East Coast in concerts from Virginia to Pennsylvania. Music critic Christine Facciolo writes that “balance, superb intonation and sensitive interpretation characterized [their] performance.” This season they will also appear in Market Street Music’s Festival Concerts Series (in Wilmington) and at The Woodlands, a historic mansion in West Philadelphia.

Recent performance highlights have included return engagements at the German Society of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia); the Newark (DE) Free Library; “Celebrate the Arts” series at Doylestown Presbyterian Church (PA);  the Kent Chamber Music Series (MD); Saint Monica’s Church (Berwyn, PA); and Smyrna Opera House (DE). The ensemble also made debut appearances in the Cultural Center at the Havre de Grace Opera House (MD) and the Annie M. Gaul Concert Series at St. John’s (Hain’s) Church (Wernersville, PA). Other notable performances include the Delaware Symphony’s Champagne Chamber Series at the Hotel duPont Gold Ballroom; Concerts on the Square at Holy Trinity Church Rittenhouse (Philadelphia); a benefit for the Harmony for Peace Foundation; and recitals as featured artists at the Delaware Chamber Music Festival and at Villanova University.

Pyxis believes in the importance of the music of our time and has collaborated with regional composers including Ingrid Arauco, Chuck Holdeman, and David Schelat. The ensemble’s violinist Luigi Mazzocchi has arranged works for Pyxis, which also delights in working with esteemed musical guest artists. Past guests have included artist faculty members from the University of Delaware, James Madison University, Pennsylvania School of the Arts, and the College of New Jersey, as well as members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, Arkansas Symphony, Delaware Symphony, Relâche Ensemble, Serafin String Quartet, and Copeland String Quartet.

The musicians of Pyxis are committed educators. As private instructors they have a significant impact on their community, reaching over 80 students on a weekly basis. The ensemble has performed and coached sectionals and chamber music for the Delaware Orchestral and Chamber Music Institute and the American String Teachers’ Association Festival in Washington Township, NJ. They also have presented educational concerts at the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington Montessori School, Saint Monica’s School, and in southern Delaware under the auspices of Coastal Concerts, Inc.

The group takes its name from the Pyxis constellation, also known as the Mariners’ Compass, whose symbol is the compass rose. The points of the compass rose represent the new artistic directions that the group explores together while recognizing the differing backgrounds and experiences of its four musicians. For more information, visit www.pyxispianoquartet.com.

Luigi Mazzocchi, violin

Luigi Mazzocchi studied in the renowned Venezuelan musical training program “El Sistema,” as well as at the Latin American Violin Academy with José F. del Castillo. He was first violinist of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, with which he toured Europe and Latin America and made recordings on the Dorian label. He was also a member of the Lara Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Venezuela. He has performed as soloist with all the main Venezuelan orchestras, attended international music festivals in the Americas, Europe and Australia and performed at Carnegie Hall.

Currently Mr. Mazzocchi is Concertmaster of the Pennsylvania Ballet, Black Pearl and Ocean City Pops Orchestras, He also serves as Associate Concertmaster of the Delaware Symphony and is a member of Opera Philadelphia, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Philly Pops, West Jersey Chamber Orchestra, and the Pyxis Piano Quartet, as well as the Gaudeamus and Cachasa ensembles. As a guest artist, Mr. Mazzocchi also performs with Camerata Philadelphia, the Pagode Project and Alô Brasil.

He has been a prizewinner in competitions such as the Venezuelan Del Castillo Latin American Competition and the 1999 FOSJA, performing in the Casals Festival. He studied with Liliana Ciulei and Helen Kwalwasser and has coached with David Arben, Margaret Pardee, Zakhar Bron, Olivier Charlier, Naoko Tanaka, William de Pasquale, and Luis Biava.

Mr. Mazzocchi plays on a violin made in 1887 by Riccardo Antoniazzi and a Pajeot School bow, kindly on loan from Dr. William Stegeman. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two children.

Amy Leonard, viola

An exceptionally versatile musician, Philadelphia native Amy Leonard has held positions with the Louisiana Philharmonic, New World Symphony (Miami) and as assistant principal violist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, where she performed with the internationally recognized contemporary ensemble Nua Nos, or “New Noise.”  She had a long-standing relationship as a musician and chamber music director with the Pierre Monteux School in Maine and has participated in many music festivals in North America and Europe including Aspen, Banff, Spoleto USA and Mostra Mozart (Venice, Italy).

Currently a freelance musician, Ms. Leonard is very much in demand throughout the region, and in recent years she has performed with such groups as the Delaware Symphony, the contemporary music octet Relâche, and the baroque ensembles Tempesta di Mare, Brandywine Baroque and Night Music, as well as the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, Philly Pops, and the opera orchestra of The Princeton Festival. She has been a guest artist with groups such as the Copeland String Quartet, the baroque ensemble La Bernardinia, Mélomanie, and the Elysian Camerata. Other recent recital appearances have included concerts at Rowan University, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church and the Philadelphia Ethical Society.

A devoted teacher, Ms. Leonard was a faculty member at Southeastern Louisiana University (Hammond, Louisiana) for four years and at the Music School of Delaware (Wilmington) for seven. Currently, she maintains a large and lively studio teaching violin and viola at the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr (Pennsylvania) and at her home.

Ms. Leonard received viola performance degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory and the Manhattan School of Music and has studied baroque viola at Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute. Principal teachers have included Leonard Mogill, Jeffrey and Lynne Ramsey Irvine, Karen Ritscher, Charles Bruck, and Jane Starkman. Her recording work can be heard on the Chandos, Plectra, NMC, Naxos, Meyer Media and BMG Classics labels, as well as in films for PBS, Irish Film Orchestras, and NFL Films.

Jennifer Jie Jin, cello

Cellist Jennifer Jie Jin has performed in Europe, Asia and the United States. Ms. Jin has appeared as a soloist with the Bay Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, National Repertoire Orchestra and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. She has held principal cello positions with Bay Atlantic Symphony, National Repertoire Orchestra, Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, and as a member of Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, Harrisburg Symphony. She has also performed with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Boston, Houston and New World Symphonies.

Ms. Jin is currently a member of Delaware Symphony, Pyxis Piano Quartet (the Delaware Art Museum’s ensemble-in-residence since 2009) and Copeland String Quartet. She has been invited to participate in prestigious festivals world-wide, including the Aspen Music Festival, Tanglewood, Ravinia Festival, Colorado Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, Taos Chamber Music Festival, International Summer Academic Prague-Vienna-Budapest Festival, Beijing International Music Festival, Margess International Festival, Daniel Music Festival and the Amadeus Masterclass.

Before moving to the United States, Ms. Jin received awards in her native China including First Prize in the National Cello Duo Competition of China, the Bao-gang Elegance Art Award and the Excellent Performance Prize in the National Competition of China. An active chamber musician, she founded the Tang-gu-la String Quartet, which toured the UK, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Australia and China and received numerous honors, including performing for President Bill Clinton and appearing in the Oscar-winning Isaac Stern documentary “From Mao to Mozart.”

A committed teacher, Ms. Jin has coached her students to win top prizes in many competitions. She is Co-Director of Pennsylvania Youth Orchestra and Chamber Strings Music Camp. In 2016 she received the Ovation Award for inspiration and outstanding leadership in music education presented by Philadelphia Youth Orchestra.

Ms. Jin began her cello study at age five and received her bachelor’s degree from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Master of Music from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and the Artist Diploma at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Hiroko Yamazaki, piano

Hiroko Yamazaki has performed in the United States and abroad in Rome (Italy), Helsinki and Imatra (Finland) and Lausanne (Switzerland). She has collaborated with instrumentalists and vocalists that include members of Tonhalle Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Delaware Symphony in performances at venues including the Smithsonian Institution, Kennedy Center, Swarthmore College, Aspen Music Festival, Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum (Bolton Landing, New York) and venues in New York City and Puerto Rico.

Appearances at summer festivals include the Luzerne Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Rome (Italy) Festival and the International Festival Institute at Round Top (Texas), where her performance with Minnesota Orchestra principal oboist Basil Reeve was recorded for NPR. Ms. Yamazaki has been featured as the soloist with the Wilmington Community Orchestra and returns as soloist in January 2019. As an orchestral pianist, she has appeared on numerous occasions with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and the Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic.

As a pedagogue, Ms. Yamazaki has extensive teaching experience in private lessons, class piano and chamber music coaching. She has taught at the Darlington Fine Arts Center, Luzerne Music Center and as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Delaware. After spending several summers as a Fellow in the Collaborative Piano Program at the Aspen Music Festival and School, she was named Accompanying Coordinator and Teaching Assistant to Rita Sloan, Director of Collaborative Arts Program. Currently, she is Associate Head of the Piano Department and Master Piano Faculty with Distinction at The Music School of Delaware, where she served as chair of the piano department from 1996 to 2000.

Ms. Yamazaki was the winner of the Austrian-American Society Musical Scholarship Competition, which sponsored her studies at the Mozarteum Hochschule für Music und Darstellende Kunst in Salzburg, Austria. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in piano performance from the University of Maryland, where she was a Creative and Performing Arts Scholarship student of Anne Koscielny; received the University’s Presser Foundation Award; and was initiated into Pi Kappa Lambda. Ms. Yamazaki also received the University’s Collaborative Piano Award and completed her Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano there as a student of Rita Sloan.

Gail Obenreder O’Donnell, producer

Gail O’Donnell has worked with Pyxis since its founding in 2008 as ensemble-in-residence at the Delaware Art Museum. In a wide-ranging career, she has been an arts administrator in multiple disciplines and has produced events, concerts, programs, television and theatre independently and for organizations in Washington DC, New York City, Atlanta, Seattle, southeastern Pennsylvania and Wilmington (where she lives). In Delaware, Ms. O’Donnell worked for several prominent arts institutions and was a founding member of both Market Street Music and the Delaware Arts Alliance. An arts consultant and choral musician, she also writes about theatre, music and visual art for the Philadelphia online journal Broad Street Review and was a 2016 Fellow of The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Critics Institute.