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Robert Cassidy, Ani Aznavoorian Next Up in Classical Music Series

Ani Aznavoorian Click to view larger
Ani Aznavoorian
Robert Cassidy Click to view larger
Robert Cassidy

The next Santa Ynez Valley Classical Music Series concert will feature pianist Robert Cassidy and Ani Aznavoorian, principal cellist of Camerata Pacifica, 7 p.m. Friday, April 27, at St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Church, 2901 Nojoqui Ave., Los Olivos.

Cassidy and 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 cycle will be presented in two concerts – Part one on April 27 and Part two on Friday, Nov. 16. Part two 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 Flute, Sonata in G Minor, Op 5, no.2, Judas Maccabeus Variations," and "Sonata in D Major, Op. 102 no. 2."

Cassidy has received acclaim for his performances and recordings of 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, he released his second solo disc “Pathways,” which includes works by Chopin, Debussy and Joel Feigin.

Cassidy received his bachelor's and master's 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 soloist and chamber musician, as well as teacher and coach, Cassidy recently performed with Almeda Trio, Cleveland Orchestra and Mari Sato of the Cavani String Quartet. He teaches at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.  
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.”

Aznavoorian received both her bachelor and master of music degrees from The Juilliard School.

She performs in New York and worldwide including with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Tokyo Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony, International Sejong Soloists, Belgrade Philharmonic, and Juilliard Orchestra.

Aznavoorian is a member of the faculty at summer festivals as well as the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana. This season marks her 11th year as principal cellist with Camerata Pacifica.

A recent highlight for Aznavoorian 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 soprano Nichole Dechaine and Beverly Staples on piano at 7 p.m. Friday, June 22.

Note later date; previously scheduled May 5. Tickets already purchased will be honored on June 22.
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). There will be a complimentary reception following each concert to meet the artists and enjoy conversation and refreshments.  
Direct questions, to SYV Classical Music Series Director Linda Burrows, 688-7423 or the St. Mark’s office, 688-4454 or visit

— Laura Kath for St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church.


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