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Music by Members/Open House - Sep 28, 2017

Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 9:45am
Music by Members
Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2080 Boulevard, West Hartford, CT
Virginia Allen

Member Program and Open House. Reception follows in the Fireside Room. Admission free!


Sonata in E flat major, Op. 5, No. 3 by Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837)

Virginia Allen, viola; Linda MacGougan, piano

Hungarian born Hummel, as an 8 year old, lived with Mozart and studied with him for 2 years. Over the subsequent years he was either a friend of, student of or teacher of Beethoven, Haydn, Czerny, Mendelssohn and many others. Later in life, his style of balanced classicism was overtaken by the fireworks of composers like Liszt.

Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52 by Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)
Soohyung Yoo, piano

The Ballade No. 4 was composed in 1842 in Paris and Nohant and revised in 1843. The work was dedicated to Baroness Rothschild, wife of Nathaniel de Rothschild, who had invited Chopin to play in her Parisian residence, where she introduced him to the aristocracy and nobility.

According to Robert Schumann, this Ballade was inspired by Adam Mickiewicz's poem. The Three Budrys, which tells of three brothers sent away by their father to seek treasures, and the story of their return with three Polish brides. A distinguishing feature of the fourth Ballade is its contrapuntal nature. Of the four Ballades Chopin composed, it is considered by many pianists to be the most difficult, both technically and musically.

Oblivion by Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992), arranged by R. Becker & J. Handler

Chorei by Alfredo da Rocha Viana Filho ("Pixinguinha") (1897-1973) and Benedito Lacerda (1903-1958)

East-West Suite by Stephen Lalor (1962- )

    II. Ballade
   III. East-West

Leonor Snow, flute
Mark Levesque, mandolin
Judith Handler, guitar

Oblivion is a hauntingly beautiful melody by the great Argentinean composer and performer, Astor Piazzolla. Chorei is an example of Brazilian “choro” music, which has some similarities to ragtime music. Stephen Lalor's music reflects a combination of his formal training and extensive experience performing a wide range of genres at an international level. He is a well-known Australian composer and mandolinist.



Virginia Allen

Ginny Allen graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Music degree. She then went on to get a Master’s degree in Special Education, teaching the hearing impaired. After spending some years raising a family, she went back to school and became a registered nurse. She recently retired from a 20-year nursing career.

Ginny is presently Concertmaster of the Connecticut Valley Symphony Orchestra and is a performing member of The Musical Club of Hartford. She has been a member of the CVSO since the 1980’s. Many things bring her great pleasure in life. Making music is one of them. Another is her role as a bi-coastal grandmother, with 4 grandchildren in Rhode Island and 2 in California.

Linda MacGougan, piano and Virginia Allen, violin

Linda MacGougan

Linda MacGougan is a pianist, performing as soloist, accompanist and chamber musician. Teaching piano is her vocation, as she loves working with children. Linda’s a member of the Connecticut State Music Teachers Association and serves as an adjudicator for some of their events.  She received degrees in music from Yale and UConn.


Soohyung Yoo

Korean American pianist Soohyung Yoo has performed for audiences throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, at prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall in New York, Academy of Music in Philadelphia, and Salle Cortot in Paris. She has garnered prizes in several international competitions, such as the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition, International Young Artists Piano Competition, Pinault International Competition, and prizewinner of the Artist International Presentations, resulting in a solo debut recital at Weill Hall in Carnegie Hall.

Soohyung obtained her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Eastman School of Music, and Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland. She also trained in Europe through the International Certificate for Piano Artists program held by the Ecole Normal de Musique de Alfred Cortot in Paris and Fondation Bell’Arte de Braine-l'Alleud in Belgium. Soohyung currently enjoys working with students at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, CT, where she heads the applied music department.


Leo Snow

Leo Snow plays flute, alto flute, piccolo and wooden flute with the guitar/mandolin duo of Judith Handler and Mark Levesque as well as in the Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra (FVSO) and has also performed with Charter Oak Flutes and the Connecticut Valley Chamber Orchestra. In 1996 she founded Musical Friends, a chamber group of musicians that invites various musical friends to perform depending on the repertoire performed. Leo holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Flute Performance from Southern Methodist University, a Bachelor of Music in Music Management from the Hartt School of Music and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Hartford. She has studied with flutists Greig Sherer (Hartford), Claire Johnson (Dallas), Mary Ellen Jacobs (Hartford) and Keith Underwood (New York) and performed in a masterclass for the legendary Julius Baker. Her greatest pleasure is making music with friends!


Judith Handler and Mark Levesque

Husband and wife duo, Judith Handler and Mark Levesque have performed over 2,000 concerts together in the United States & Europe. Their sophisticated & expressive arrangements blend classical, Brazilian, Latin American, klezmer, gypsy, jazz, Celtic and folk music influences to create a unique and extraordinary sound. This matched with their impeccable musicianship and outstanding stage presence has won them a widespread enthusiastic following.

Handler & Levesque have performed for festivals, arts centers, universities and museums. Recent highlights include performances in Portugal & Spain in August 2016, Eurofest 2014 in Bruchsal, Germany, The English Church in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Classical Mandolin Society of America Convention 2014 in Portland, Oregon, The Performing Arts Complex of Delaware County, The United Methodist Church in New Market, Maryland, Troy NY Music Hall, International Festival of Arts & Ideas, Caramoor Center in Katonah, NY, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Hudson River Museum, Roger Williams University, The University of Connecticut, The Bushnell Performing Arts Center, The Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s Musical Dialogue Series, The Byron Colby Barn, Music Mountain and the Jewish Museum in Manhattan. They have performed for many community events including First Night Westport, The Mystic Arts Café, Bean Blossom Music Series in Indiana, the Rainbow’s End Series in Chicago, Nashua Public Library in New Hampshire and the Quechee Club in Vermont. They are founding members of the New American Mandolin Ensemble that performs contemporary classical music in the U.S. and abroad.

Handler & Levesque are on the roster of Cantaloupe Music Productions in Manhattan, New England Foundation for the Arts, and the Connecticut Library Consortium. Their CDs Passion, Two Guitars Live! & Acoustic Blend have received critical acclaim and have been sold in dozens of countries throughout the world. All three CDs have been used by the Greater Hartford Arts Council as a gift to thousands of donors to their United Arts Campaign in 2003, 2006 and 2009. Handler & Levesque have also been featured on numerous compilation CDs with other artists as well as many radio & cable programs.

Mark Levesque has performed on guitar (classical, jazz archtop, 12 string, electric & gypsy), mandolin, and cuatro in numerous ensembles throughout New England most recently with the CitySingers of Hartford. He has played and arranged world, jazz, Latin and blues music and has worked with synthesizer orchestration and studio recording. Mark’s passion for guitar and mandolin music has led him to research music from all over the world and his creative ideas have been the stimulus for many of the arrangements performed by the group. He currently teaches mandolin and guitar at a private studio in Vernon, CT. Mark has taken courses at Central Connecticut State University and the Hartt School of Music as well as private instruction with guitarists in a variety of genres.

Judith Handler received a Master of Music in guitar performance from the Hartt School of Music, a Bachelor of Music from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, a Diploma of Merit from Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy, a Certificate from Curs Internacional de Música at the Vila-Seca i Salou Conservatory in Spain and a Diploma from the Aspen Music School. She has performed and given workshops and classes throughout the United States. Judith also performs historical programs on period instruments in the Rosewood Chamber Ensemble with flutist Barbara Hopkins, teaches at a private studio in Vernon, CT and runs monthly performance classes. Judith is founder of the Connecticut Guitar Society.