LA Cello Quartet is a project of Positive Motions Foundation (501c(3) tax-exempt non-profit public corporation), initiated by Ruslan Biryukov, founder of the Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra. The ensemble was introduced first at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Fundraiser in Palos Verdes in May 2010. Music making by four charismatic cellists-soloists immediately attracted attention of the public and the quartet was instantly placed into a category of the leading chamber music groups.
LA Cello Quartet: Wilhelm Fitzenhagen - Concert-Walzer for Four Cellos, Op.31
In a recent reviews of his performances, The Beverly Hills Outlook wrote: "Ruslan Biryukov is an astonishing young cellist," while Review Plays wrote: "To say his performance was incredible would not do it justice." Biryukov has served as the Former General Director of Concert Department of Association “Russian Performing School” (Rostropovich Foundation) in Moscow for four years from 1998 - 2002. Since the age of 11 he has performed professionally, starting in 1995, when he began playing up to 150 performances annually as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the world, including countries in the former USSR, in Europe, and in the United States. As a chamber musician he has appeared with world-renowned violinist, Midori at Disney Hall in Los Angeles, with cellist Kirill Rodin, and with members of the Ysave Quartet. He is the only cello soloist to be invited for eight years in a row to perform solo recitals at LACMA's Sunday's Live Concert Series broadcast live on the radio and online. He was the only Russian Cello Soloist invited to perform during the opening season of the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Orange County, CA. He first earned international recognition by winning major awards in Azerbaijan and by having his name included in the Gold Book of Russia’s international program "New Names". Biryukov has gone on to win numerous other awards worldwide, including First Prize in the 17th Mu Phi Epsilon International Competition. Biryukov is also the Founder of the Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra and the Producer and Artistic Director of "Positive Motions" Concert Series.
"A fine cellist with a well-developed sense of musical characterization, Michael Kaufman plays with intensity, commitment and deep understanding," says Robert Levin, internationally renowned Mozart scholar and piano virtuoso.
An exciting cellist in the early stages of his career, Michael has already performed at such venues as Zankel and Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall and was the soloist for the opening of the newly renovated Kodak Hall at Eastman Theater. A recipient of numerous awards, the twenty-six-year-old cellist has won the Cleveland Cello Society, Empire State and Alexander and Buono competitions as well as the Voices of Music Bach Competition and the USC Performance and Presentation Award. He has performed as soloist and chamber musician in the United States, Canada, England, Germany, Denmark, Belgium and Switzerland.
Concert highlights include Michael's performance of Tchaikovsky "Variations on a Rococo Theme" (original version) with the Eastman Philharmonia and his debut solo performance at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. He recently premiered Daniel Silliman's concerto strain with the USC Symphony and performed the Gulda Concerto with the Eastman Wind Ensemble.
After hearing Michael's performance of Lieux retrouvés by Thomas Ades, the composer himself described it as "breathtakingly good." Passionately involved in contemporary music, Michael has premiered works written for him by composers such as BMI Competition winner Justin Hoke, Daniel Silliman, Jeffery Parola and many others. He has worked with composers such as John Adams, Donald Crockett and Stephen Hartke in interpreting their own music. In April 2013, he participated in a Carnegie Hall professional training workshop with John Adams and David Robertson called American Soundscapes. He has performed in the Eastman School of Music ensembles Ossia and Musica Nova, the LA-based what's next? ensemble and is currently a member of USC Thornton Edge.
Michael is a regular and avid chamber musician. He is part of the Mühlfeld Trio with clarinetist Benjamin Mitchell and pianist Brendan White, which recently won the Beverly Hills Auditions and will concertize around Los Angeles in 2015. Michael also regularly plays with Brendan in a duo. He has collaborated in concert with artists such as Midori, Joseph Silverstein, Tony Nys and Carol Rodland. He has participated in music festivals such as Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove, Music@Menlo, Verbier, Kneisel Hall, Norfolk and Sarasota. In June 2014, Michael will be the artistic director of the Sunset ChamberFest in its inaugural season.
Michael loves teaching and has been on the USC faculty of student instructors since 2011. He also teaches privately in Los Angeles. Other teaching engagements include a masterclass at the Pasadena Conservatory and chamber music coaching at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.
In an orchestral setting, Michael has performed as guest principal cellist of La Monnaie in Brussels. He has also substituted in the section of the San Diego Symphony and has sat as principal cellist in the Sarasota Music Festival Orchestra, the USC Symphony and the Eastman Philharmonia.
Born in 1987 in New York City, Michael moved to Cleveland at the age of three. One year later, he began cello lessons with teacher Pamela Kelly, and continued with her for 10 years. By the age of seventeen, he was already participating in music festivals in Sarasota and Norfolk. In 2004, he was the only cellist to be accepted to the Young Artist Program of the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Alison Wells. He then received a Bachelor of Music Degree with distinction and a Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, studying with Steven Doane. During this time, he had masterclasses with cellists such as Steven Isserlis, Frans Helmerson, Pieter Wispelwey and Miklos Perenyi and chamber music coachings with Robert Levin, Pamela Frank, Daniel Hope and members of the Tokyo, Emerson and Orion String Quartets. Michael earned his Master's Degree from the University of Southern California and is currently pursuing a Doctorate, studying with Ralph Kirshbaum.
EDUCATION: Royal Northern College of Music~Fulbright Scholar (U.K.), New England Conservatory Graduate (B.M. "Distinction in Performance"), San Francisco Conservatory and Cleveland Institute of Music (Prep student). Teachers include: Ralph Kirschbaum, David Wells, Alan Harris, Ron Leonard, Nella Hunkins, Janos Starker, Irene Sharp and Ardith Alton Classically trained, improvises and plays some jazz.
Summer Music Festivals include:Prussia Cove (U.K.), Aspen Music Festival, Meadowmount School of Music, Taos Chamber Music Festival, Banff School of Music, Norfolk Music Program (Yale), Yellow Barn Music Festival, Schneider Christmas Seminar. (Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center Performances)
She has performed, recorded and toured with Garth Brooks, Bitter:sweet, Al Stewart, Marco Antonio Solis, & Sheila Nicholls. (Walt Disney Hall, Gibson Amphitheatre, Large Stadiums all through California and Nevada); Glendale Philharmonic, Torrance Philharmonic, Marina del Rey Symphony and other chamber groups. Ms. Hope has released four CDs of original music of songs. As well, Hope records for other artists, and composers. She has performed on American Idol and the Tonight Show, Celebrity Rehab, and PBS special Musical Encounters the soloist.
Teaching throughout her career, with a growing studio of young budding cellists and some adults.
Hope performs on a Carlos Ferdinand Landolphy (1776) cello and Taylor and Dean guitars.
HANS KRISTIAN GOLDSTEIN
Hans Kristian Goldstein was born in Drammen, Norway in 1988, and began playing the cello at the age of eleven. He made his orchestral solo debut with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra after winning their concerto competition at age sixteen. He was recently featured in the STRAD Magazine's "Fresh Faces", and named "New Artist of the Month" by Musical America, and his solo recital was cited as one of Baltimore’s ten top musical events by the Baltimore Sun in 2010.
Hans has performed in Sweden, France, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, South Africa and throughout the United States in concert halls including Weill at Carnegie Hall, Merkin, Chicago Cultural Center, Steinway, Shriver, Disney, and the Grieg Hall in Norway. His performances have been broadcast on television/radio in Norway on NRK, WFMT-Chicago, WQXR-NY, and Pretoria Radio in South Africa.
Winner of the international competitions, he received First Prizes at the Schmidbauer International String Competition (2013), Alexander and Buono International String Competition (NY 2009), National Young Artist Competition in Midland-Odessa (2009), and the Lennox Young Artist International Competition (2008). He has received numerous scholarships and grants in Norway including the American-Scandinavia Award, the Kavli Prize in Norway, the Violoncello Forum Award (Madrid), the Salon de Virtuosi Award (New York City), and in 2014, named among ten winners in the Beverly Hills Auditions receiving series of recital engagements in California.
As a soloist with orchestras in the US and Europe, he has appeared with the Trondheim Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic, Aspen Philharmonic, Peabody Symphony and Richardson Symphony, among others. As orchestral musician, Hans has completed his internship at the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and has been principal cellist of the festival orchestras such as Aspen and Sarasota, and of the orchestras at Peabody and USC. Mr. Goldstein’s major teachers include Hans Jensen (Chicago), Amit Peled (Baltimore), Torleif Thedeén (Stockholm) and Ralph Kirshbaum (Los Angeles).
LA Cello Quartet: David Popper - Suite for Four Cellos, Op.16, Movement 2
RECENT REVIEW for LACQ PERFORMANCE:
CRESCENTA VALLEY WEEKLY (LA TIMES OUTLET)
Eclectic Mix of Bon-Bons and Contemporary Music at Positive Motions Concert
By Ted AYALA, November 2011
Though chilly weather and a strong downpour met the audience at the First Baptist Church of Glendale on Sunday night, the music making inside was anything but cold.
Hot and intense playing were the hallmarks of the concert with cellist Ruslan Biryukov leading the way. Biryukov, executive director of the Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra (GPO), was the linchpin of the evening: lead cellist in the first half of the night with the Los Angeles Cello Quartet and cellist for the GPO String Quartet in the second half.
If there was a disunity of mood between both halves of the concert - one half musical lollipops, the other comprised of modern works that seemed to unsettle some of the bluehairs in the audience - it was at least fused together by way of the virtuoso playing of Biryukov and his crew.
Wilhelm Fitzenhagen is a name that would be totally forgotten today were it not for the fact that Tchaikovsky dedicated his Rococo Variations, his only work for cello and orchestra, to him. Revered in his day as a virtuoso of the cello, the German Fitzenhagen spent the remainder of his life in Russia where he became an influential pedagogue. His "Concert Waltz for Four Cellos," which opened the concert, was an innocuous bit of salon music that set a buoyant start for the evening.
Following were a stream of pretty bon-bons, the most memorable of which were a cello quartet arrangement of medieval Armenian chants and excerpts from Khachaturian's deathless "Gayaneh."
The chants, arranged by Yasha Papian of the Komitas String Quartet, were lovely indeed. By turns serene and impassioned, the work's five brief movements showed off the qualities of the Los Angeles Cello Quartet in a most attractive light. Especially impressive were the quartet's judicious use of vibrato.
Aram Khachaturian's genius for composing brilliant and unforgettable melodies assured that his music could succeed in not just its original orchestral garb, but in any number of instrumental arrangements and orchestrations. Such was the case in the arrangement for cello quartet of two of the most frenetic moments from his ballet Gayaneh: the "Lezginka" and the famous "Saber Dance."
The muscular "Lezginka," with its whirling rhythms, pounding drums, and braying horns isn't a likely candidate for a successful transcription to cello quartet. But it's a testament to Khachaturian's lyric strength and the energy and flawless playing of the Los Angeles Cello Quartet that the transcription came brilliantly to life in their hands. No less stunning was the oft-heard "Saber Dance," which bristled with sinewy and tensile fury.
Biryukov's playing, wonderfully showcasing some of the best attributes of the Russian school of cello playing, was magnificent. His is a broad, sweeping musicianship of nearly unfettered strength and power. But his cohorts Garik Terzian, Natalie Virginia Helm, and Eugene Lifschitz were equally impressive, imparting a radiant sheen and immaculate precision to the ensemble's sound.
The second half of the program took the audience back home - literally. All residents of Los Angeles, the backgrounds of these four composers were a microcosm of Los Angeles itself, of what makes it a global capital. Composers Manuel Wittman and Luis Escareno are of Hispanic descent; Kenji Oh and Dena Gorilik from Japan and the former Soviet Union respectively. All four composers are current or past students at Los Angeles City College (LACC). It was through the LACC's Composers Club that the GPO String Quartet commissioned the works on the program.
Though Biryukov's prefacing of the segment by referring to the pieces being played as "ultra contemporary" clearly discomforted some of the older folks in the audience, the works of the LACC alums weren't abrasive in the least. Though sometimes chromatic, the works were ultimately all well-grounded in tonality.
Gorilik's three movement "Waiting" was a brief, amiable work with a knotty, fugal middle movement somewhat reminiscent of Shostakovich.
The world of film music wasn't very far away in Wittman's "Picture of Dorian Gray," which was inspired by the eponymous Oscar Wilde novel. Gestures that recalled Elfman, Williams, and Zimmer hurdled over one another as the work progressed.
Escareno found the inspiration for his "Reflections of a Lost Plain" in the folk music of Azerbaijian. Though never developing much beyond prolonged pedal points and Oriental folk-like recitatives and cadenzas, the work was nonetheless enjoyable enough.
But perhaps the most interesting work on the program was the final one: "Irritation" by Oh. A native of Kobe, Japan, the 30-year-old composer's quartet was an homage and depiction of an emotion not often commemorated in music. Venting his spleen with prickly ostinatos and zesty dissonances, it was a bracing way to conclude the concert and made one curious to hear more of Oh's work.
The playing by the GPO String Quartet, whose members comprise of Shushan Akopyan (1st violin), Edgar Sandoval (2nd violin), LaVette Allen (viola), and Biryukov also form the core of the GPO's string section. Their playing was sensitive and alert, demonstrating a great deal of concentration and care lavished over these new works.
Their appearance was also a taster of things to come. The GPO String Quartet, along with the rest of the GPO, is returning Jan. 8 for a concert that will include Prokofieff's Peter and the Wolf.
LA Cello Quartet: Armenian Mediaval Chant for Four Cellos
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 @ 12 PM (PST)
LA CELLO QUARTET ON THE RADIO
LA TALK LIVE RADIO STATION
Alayna's Beauty Talk Show
Guests: RusLan Biryukov, Michael Kaufman, Hans Kristian Goldstein
To listen & watch, click HERE
Thursday, February 12, 2015 @ 8PM
L'Ermitage Foundation Concert Series
Luxe Hotel in Bel Air, CA
Los Angeles Cello Quartet
Sunday, May 10, 2015 @ 4PM
Positive Motions Concert Series
First Baptist Church of Glendale
209 N. Louise St, Glendale, CA
Info: (323)663-3601, www.GlendalePhil.com