[ Concerts ]

Concert season opens Sep. 12 with DMA recital by cellist Laura Usiskin

August 27, 2013

usiskin_lauraCellist Laura Usiskin ’09AD will perform music from Beethoven to Britten in her DMA recital on Thursday, September 12. The performance, which also features pianist Katsura Tanikawa ’09MM, takes place at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall (located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street). Admission is free.

The recital opens with Beethoven’s Variations on “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen,” WoO 46, for cello and piano. Next is Elliott Carter’s Figment, a short piece for solo cello that, in the composer’s words, “presents a variety of contrasting, dramatic moments, using material derived from one musical idea.” The first half will close with Benjamin Britten’s Cello Sonata in C, Op. 65, written in 1961.

The second half opens with another sonata in the same key: Prokofiev’s Sonata in C major, Op. 119. Both the Britten and the Prokofiev sonatas were written for the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who gave the premieres.

The concert concludes with Chopin’s virtuosic Polonaise Brilliante, Op. 3.

About the Performers

Laura Usiskin’s musical interests span early Baroque to 21st century music and solo to orchestral playing. She has premiered dozens of works, commissioned works in her name, and performed with many new music ensembles, including Ensemble Pamplemousse, the Bang-On-A-Can All Stars, and the Axiom Ensemble. In addition, she has participated in many early music ensembles, including the Yale Baroque ensemble, the American Baroque Orchestra, and the gamba consort Temperaments.

Ms. Usiskin’s solo, chamber, and orchestral performing have taken her throughout the United States and Europe, including the Kennedy Center, Palazzo Chigi Saracini in Siena, Italy, Boston’s Symphony Hall and New York venues including Alice Tully Hall, Weill Hall, Zankel Hall, Merkin Hall, Miller Theatre, Barge Music, Steinway Hall, Klavierhaus, the French Consulate, and many others. Recent performances include Dvoràk’s Cello Concerto and Takemitsu’s Orion and Pleiades with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and performances of the complete Bach Cello Suites in New Haven, CT and Los Angeles, CA. Her orchestral abilities have been recognized throughout her career, with appointments in the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

Her most recent and proudest accomplishment is founding and directing the Montgomery Music Project, a nonprofit organization that provides intensive string music instruction to underserved children in Montgomery, AL. In two years, the program has served more than 100 students in the region.

Ms. Usiskin’s cello studies began at age five with Gilda Barston of the Music Institute of Chicago and continued with Richard Hirschl of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She graduated from Columbia University cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior and from the Juilliard School with a Master of Music in Cello Performance, where she studied with Fred Sherry. Laura studied with Aldo Parisot at the Yale School of Music, where in 2009 she finished her doctoral coursework.


Hailed by critics as a vibrant and thoughtful musician, pianist Katsura Tanikawa has established a versatile professional career encompassing solo appearances with orchestras in Europe, Asia and the United States, chamber music performances, and solo recitals. Ms. Tanikawa has been featured with numerous orchestras, including the Frankfurt State Symphony, Moscow State Symphony Orchestra in Moscow, Russia, Tokyo New City Orchestra, Japan, the Philharmonia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, the Sound Symphony Orchestra in New York, and New Millennium Festival Orchestra in Spain, among many others. She has given numerous recitals, including performances at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. D.C., Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall in New York, the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Caramoor Performer’s Showcase Series in New York, Dame Myra Hess concert series in Chicago, the Chinese Consulate in Washington D.C., Centro Cultura Antiguo Instituto in Gijon, Spain, Villa Bertramka in Prague, Czech Republic, and Tokyo Bunka Kaikan as well as Kioi Hall in Tokyo, Japan. This season, Ms. Tanikawa is scheduled to perform Beethoven Triple concerto with the Nippon Symphony.

Ms. Tanikawa is also an avid chamber musician, and her collaborations with other musicians have taken her to many cities in the US and in Europe. Ms. Tanikawa has performed with the members of the Vienna Philharmonic wind ensemble, and she has also been invited to participate in the Dvorak Festival in Japan, performing chamber works with the members of the Czech Philharmonic. Ms. Tanikawa will be part of the Chelsea Music Festival in NYC during the summer 2012.

In 2012 Ms. Tanikawa released her third album titled Portrait from Vienna, a chamber music album of Schumann Piano Quintet and Schubert “Trout” quintets with the Baumgarten Ensemble. The album was released under Preiser Records (Austria.) Ms. Tanikawa’s discography include solo piano album of all Liszt’s music titled Katsura Tanikawa plays Franz Liszt (2008, Art Union) and Beethoven Complete Works for Cello and Piano with renowned Viennese cellist and former cellist of the Vienna Philharmonic, Adalbert Skocic. The Beethoven Sonata album was designated as “Most Recommended Chamber Music CD” by Record Geijitsu Music publication in Japan.

Ms. Tanikawa received her Bachelor of Music in piano at The Juilliard School in New York City under the instruction of Yoheved Kaplinsky. She pursued her academic interests at Columbia University culminating with a B.A. in Art History. She received a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, studying under Boris Berman.