Concert with Nicholas McGegan, Martha Aarons, Lev Polyakin, and Joanna Morrison - Rancho La Puerta
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Concert with Nicholas McGegan, Martha Aarons, Lev Polyakin, and Joanna Morrison

Week of February 10, 2024

Nic McGegan, renowned as a specialist in music of the baroque and classical eras, will be joined by violinist Lev Polyakin, flutist Martha Aarons, and cellist Joanna Morrison for an evening featuring music by Bach (J.S. and C.P.E.), Handel, Vivaldi and more. Nic will regale us with his always sparkling repartee about the composers, styles and customs of the period.


Nicholas McGegan, British born conductor and performer, is now in his sixth decade on the podium. For 34 years he was Music Director of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in the Bay Area, as well as Principal Guest Conductor of the Pasadena Symphony, Artistic Director of the Göttingen International Handel Festival (1991-2011), Music Director of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and in the 1990’s, Principal Guest conductor of Scottish Opera and the Drottningholm Court Theatre in Sweden. He has recorded over a hundred CDs specializing in music of the Baroque and Classical periods. He has directed orchestras all over the world and at such opera houses as Covent Garden. In addition to performing, he lectures regularly at the Juilliard School of Music and Yale. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard.  In 2010 he was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) for ‘services to music abroad’ 

Martha Aarons’ professional career began with her appointment as principal flute of the North Carolina Symphony. Subsequently she played with the Cleveland Orchestra for 25 years.  After becoming a freelancer she performed often with the Philadelphia Orchestra. During this time she appeared as guest principal flute with the Metropolitan Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and Mostly Mozart Festival. Ms. Aarons served as Artist Faculty with the Aspen Music Festival for 19 years. Her teaching credits include the Cleveland Institute of Music, Duke University, University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill, Oberlin College, Skidmore College, Shanghai Conservatory and Eastman School of Music. She has been soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, and with the Aspen Festival Chamber and Festival orchestras. Her first solo CD, The History of the Tango, is recorded on the Azica label and additionally features pianist Frances Renzi and Grammy-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux.  Her newest release is the CD Last Silence with violinist Lev Polyakin and pianist Frances Renzi.  Martha is also an avid runner and has qualified for her third consecutive Boston Marathon in April 2023.  Congratulations!

Lev Polyakin was appointed co-concertmaster of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra at age 21. In that position he was regularly featured as soloist. In the U.S. he served as assistant concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, as well as concertmaster of the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen Music Festival. Lev has won several prizes in international violin competitions, including the Beethoven Prize in Carl Flesch in London, and Gold Medal and Special Prize in Brescia, Italy. In addition to solo performances with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, he has appeared as soloist with the London Mozart Players, Royal Philharmonic, and Cleveland Orchestra. Recording credits include Melodia, BBC, National Public Radio, and Decca. He is prominently featured on an album entitled Cafe Music comprising chamber music by Paul Schoenfield, which was nominated for a Grammy.  Lev has a special interest in jazz and has recorded three CDs, entitled Russian Blue, The Other Side of the Road, and Christmas Kaleidoscope.  He is also featured in the recent release by Azica Records entitled Last Silence, with flutist Martha Aarons and pianist Frances Renzi.

Cellist Joanna Morrison completed her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music Degrees at Boston University.  In 2007 Ms. Morrison won a position in the Honolulu Symphony and served as principal cello of the Hawaii Symphony from 2012 to 2015.  Concert tours have taken Ms. Morrison to Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea as well as much of Europe and the United States performing under conductors including Zubin Mehta, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leonard Slatkin, David Zinman and Manfred Honeck.  Joanna was an acting member of the San Diego Symphony from 2016-2020.  An avid chamber player, Ms. Morrison has collaborated with various artists and has studied under members of the Guarneri and Juilliard Quartets. She has received fellowships to summer festivals around the world including Verbier Festival where she served as principal cellist for the world tour with Charles Dutoit and Martha Argerich.