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Julian Schwarz, cello and Marika Bournaki, piano - Oct 19, 2017

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 10:00am
Jolidon Concert Series
Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2080 Boulevard, West Hartford, CT
Robert Connell

Jolidon Concert featuring the Schwarz-Bournaki Duo (Julian Schwarz, cello and Marika Bournaki, piano)


Sonata no. 5 in D Major, Op 102, No. 2    Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Sonata in A minor “Arpeggione"    Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Sonata in D minor    Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Scherzo in C minor    Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Méditation Hébraïque    Ernest Bloch (1885-1977)
Introduction and Polonaise Brillante in C Major, Op. 3    Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)

Cellist Julian Schwarz and Pianist Marika Bournaki of the Schwarz-Bournaki Duo are both young, rising stars in the classical music world.

Julian, born into a multigenerational musical family, holds a Bachelors and a Masters Degree from Juilliard. He has already established an active international chamber music and solo career, performing many times with orchestras conducted by his father, Gerard Schwarz, including his concerto debut at age 11 with the Seattle Symphony, as well as with other orchestras.  In 2013, he won first prize in the professional cello division of the Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld International String Competition in Hong Kong.

Marika, who is also a graduate of Juilliard, began performing as a child making her professional debut at age 9.  She has been described as “the Celine Dion of classical” by The Huffington Post and in 2011 was named as one of the Canadian Chatelaine Magazine's Women of the Year. She is the subject of the documentary film, I am Not a Rock Star, which traces her evolution as a pianist from the age of 12 to 20.

Julian and Marika met as students in the 2006 Aspen Festival.  Over the subsequent years they reconnected at the Verbier festival in Switzerland, and as students at the Juilliard School in New York City. They began their musical collaboration in 2014 and made their debut together in recital at the Austrian Embassy in Washington DC for the Embassy Series.  Since then this vibrant duo has performed many recitals as a duo.  In 2016, Julian and Marika were awarded First-prize in the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition’s “The Art of the Duo”. The competition attracted 156 applications from 25 countries and 22 duos were selected to compete.

The Duo will begin their program for the Musical Club with Beethoven’s last Cello Sonata no. 5, Op. 102, No. 2.  Although written after Beethoven had become deaf and at a time when his compositions had become more complex and visionary, this sonata is more accessible and conventionally structured than his fourth cello sonata.  However, the concluding fugue prefigures the fugal finales of the Hammerklavier Sonata and the late string quartets.  Next is Schubert's “Arpegionne” sonata. This sonata is the only substantial composition for the arpeggione instrument, essentially a bowed guitar, which remains extant today.  The sonata was composed in November 1824 but by the time the sonata was published posthumously in 1871, the enthusiasm for the novelty of the arpeggione had long since vanished, together with the instrument itself. Today, the piece is heard almost exclusively in transcriptions for cello or viola, and piano. After intermission the Duo will continue with Debussy’s Cello sonata. This piece was written as one of six sonatas for various instruments that Debussy had planned to compose; however, his death in 1918 prevented him from carrying out this plan and only three were ever written.  It is notable for its brevity and is considered one of the masterpieces written for the cello.  The program will conclude with Brahms’ fast-moving and exciting Scherzo in C minor, Bloch’s beautiful and moving Meditation Hébraïque, and Chopin’s Introduction and Polonaise Brillante in C Major, Op. 3. One of Chopin’s first published compositions, this work for cello and piano is still heavily rooted in the piano, with the cello taking on a primarily melodic role while the technical aspects of the performance are left to the piano.


Cellist Julian Schwarz and pianist Marika Bournaki met as students at the Aspen Music Festival in 2006. Over the subsequent years they reconnected at the Verbier festival in Switzerland, and as students at the Juilliard School in New York City. They began their musical collaboration in 2014 and made their debut together in recital at the Austrian Embassy in Washington DC for the Embassy Series.

In November, 2016 the duo won 1st prize in the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition’s “The Art of Duo” from an applicant pool of over 150. Engagements since then have included recitals for the Boulder Bach Festival (Boulder, CO), National Arts Club (NYC), South Windsor Concert Association (South Windsor, CT), at Lyric Hall (New Haven, CT), a 15 concert tour of China in March 2017, and a performance of the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Lake Union Civic Orchestra and violinist Jo Nardolilo Chagnard. The summer 2017 featured their return as faculty members at the Eastern Music Festival (Greensboro, NC), a trio performance at the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, and a teaching residency at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance. 

Past engagements include the Thurnauer School of Music (Tenafly, NJ), University of North Carolina Greensboro (Eastern Music Festival), Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, Rosenegg Castle (Steyr, Austria), Paul Hall at The Juilliard School, Bargemusic (Brooklyn, NYC), Hammond Chamber Music Series (Lexington, MA), Peninsula College (Port Angeles, WA), Second City Chamber Series (Tacoma, WA), Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (Nova Scotia, Canada), and an appearance on the prizewinners program at the Mozarteum, Salzburg. 

 The duo released its first recording, the complete music for cello and piano of Ernest Bloch, in 2015 for the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music, and recorded Bright Sheng’s “Northern Lights” in summer 2016 which has since been release on Naxos. The duo’s debut album, highlighting music of Schumann, Strauss, Poulenc, Beethoven, and Kreisler, recorded in spring 2016, will be released in early 2017. Mr. Schwarz and Ms. Bournaki have appeared on WUOL (Louisville, KY) and in hour-long live radio broadcasts for “Northwest Focus Live” on Classical King FM 98.1 (Seattle, WA) and “Backstage Pass” for WXXI (Rochester, NY). The duo has worked closely with violinists Jeff Multer, Mark Fewer, Yevgeny Kutik, Eric Silberger, and Mark Peskanov.



Julian Schwarz was born to a multigenerational musical family in 1991. Heralded from a young age as a cellist destined to rank among the greatest of the 21st century, Julian’s powerful tone, effortless virtuosity, and extraordinarily large color palate are hallmarks of his style. 

In 2013 Mr Schwarz won 1st prize in the professional cello division of the Schoenfeld International String Competition in Hong Kong, and in 2016 won 1st prize at the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition’s “The Art of Duo” with Canadian pianist Marika Bournaki.  

After making his concerto debut at the age of 11 with the Seattle Symphony and his father Gerard Schwarz on the podium, he made his US touring debut with the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2010. Since then he has led an active career as soloist. Recent and upcoming debuts include the Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonics, Camerata Chicago, Symphony Silicon Valley, and the Toledo, Jacksonville, Charleston, Tucson, Amarillo, San Antonio, Des Moines, Charlotte, and West Virginia Symphonies. Return engagements include the Hartford and Springfield (MA) Symphonies, Northwest Sinfonietta, Lake Union Civic Orchestra, Symphoria (Syracuse NY), and the Boca Symphonia. Internationally, he made his Australian debut with the Queensland Symphony, his Mexican debuts with the Boca del Rio Symphony in Veracruz and the Mexico City Philharmonic with frequent collaborator Jorge Mester, and his Hong Kong debut at the Intimacy of Creativity Festival. He has also appeared at the Salzburg Mozarteum, and the Verbier festival in Switzerland. 

As a recitalist, he has performed at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, the Rosenegg Castle in Steyr Austria, on the Embassy Series in Washington DC, at the National Arts Club, and in Palm Springs, CA. In March 2017, Mr. Schwarz embarked on an extensive 10-recital tour of China, and will make debuts for the Musical Club of Hartford, the University Club in NYC, and the Boulder Bach Festival in the 17-18 season. A committed chamber musician, he is a member of the New York based Frisson Ensemble, the New York Classical Players, and the Mile-End Trio with violinist Jeff Multer and pianist Marika Bournaki. He performs frequently at Bargemusic in Brooklyn with violinist Mark Peskanov, on the Frankly Music Series in Milwaukee with violinist Frank Almond, and has been the featured young artist at both the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival and the Seattle Chamber Music Festival. 

Julian Schwarz is an ardent supporter of new music, and often commissions new works to enhance the cello repertoire. He has premiered concertos by Richard Danielpour, Samuel Jones (recorded with the All Star Orchestra for public television in 2012, subsequently released as a DVD on Naxos), and will give the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s first Cello Concerto with a consortium of five orchestras in the 17-18 season. Other premieres include the US Premiere of Dobrinka Tabakova’s Cello Concerto with the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra, and recital works by Paul Frucht, Gavin Fraser, Ren Damin, and Gerard Schwarz. On record, the Schwarz-Bournaki duo has recorded Bright Sheng’s “Northern Lights” for Naxos, the complete cello/piano works by Ernest Bloch for the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music, and will release a debut recital album in 2017. 

A devoted teacher, Mr. Schwarz serves as Asst. Professor of Cello at Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University (Winchester, VA). Other faculty appointments include the Eastern Music Festival (Greensboro, NC), Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (Nova Scotia, Canada), and faculty teaching assistant to Joel Krosnick at The Juilliard School.

Mr. Schwarz studied at the Academy of Music Northwest, the Colburn School with Ronald Leonard, and received both BM and MM degrees from The Juilliard School where he studied with mentor Joel Krosnick. Other influential teachers include David Tonkonogui, Toby Saks, Lynn Harrell, Neal Cary, and chamber music studies with Andre Roy, Arnold Steinhardt, Jonathan Feldman, Toby Appel and Paul Coletti. Julian plays on a Neapolitan cello made by Gennaro Gagliano in 1743, is an active contributor to Strings Magazine’s Artist Blog, and sits on the music committee of the National Arts Club.


Described as “the Celine Dion of classical” by The Huffington Post, MARIKA BOURNAKI is at once a world-class performer, dazzling pianist, vivacious young woman and one of the freshest faces on the classical music scene. Ms. Bournaki not only brings distinctive interpretations to favorite standards, but extends her passion for music by commissioning works from younger composers and collaborating with artists from various fields.

Marika Bournaki has appeared as guest soloist with the symphony orchestras of Montréal, Quebec and St. Petersburg along with Romania’s Timisoara Filharmonica, Switzerland’s Verbier Chamber Orchestra and Canada’s Orchestre Métropolitain. In addition to a benefit recital for the Glenn Gould Foundation at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, she has been presented in solo recitals and chamber music collaborations throughout the United States, Canada and the world, including Belgium, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Switzerland and South Korea.

A devoted chamber musician, Marika Bournaki performs regularly at Brooklyn’s Bargemusic, the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival and the Frankly Music series in Milwaukee, while serving on the faculties of the Eastern Music Festival and Canada’s Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance. She tours internationally with duo partner cellist Julian Schwarz, and together won 1st prize in the 2016 Boulder International Chamber Music Competition’s “The Art of Duo.” Ms. Bournaki is also a member of the Mile-End Trio with Mr. Schwarz and violinist Jeffrey Multer.

The award-winning documentary “I am Not a Rock Star,” featuring Marika Bounaki and directed by Bobbi Jo Hart, has captivated international audiences of all ages. The feature-length film chronicles Ms. Bournaki’s evolution as an artist from the age of 12 to 20. A runaway success at multiple film festivals throughout the world, screenings of “I am Not a Rock Star” and solo performances were recently presented in Chicago, Dallas, Memphis, Miami, Napa Valley, Palm Springs, Toronto and Vancouver, as well as in Greece, México and Spain. The film has also been seen in Greece (ERT), The Netherlands (NTS), Norway (NRK), Sweden (SVT) the United Kingdom (BBC4), Australia (SBS) and New Zealand (Sky). The documentary is the recipient of awards for Best Arts Documentary and Best Editing from the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards.

Marika Bournaki’s innovative approach to her art and performance is reflected in a number of multimedia projects intended to reach out to new audiences. Additionally, her role as Ambassador to the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal’s summer event, “A Cool Classical Journey,” afforded new and stimulating ways to share her music with the public.

Marika Bournaki holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from The Juilliard School, where her principal teachers were Yoheved Kaplinsky and Matti Raekallio. She makes her home in New York City.