• Mt. Wilson Observatory Presents Its Second
    Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome
    Featuring Oboe Quartets by Mozart, Britten and
    Beethoven’s String Trio, Serenade in D major, Op. 8
    Held Inside the Iconic Dome of the 100” Telescope
    Sunday, June 2, 2019
    Performances at 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM

    PASADENA, CA – May 14, 2019  – Mount Wilson Observatory—the scientific marvel above Pasadena, atop Mount Wilson—is pleased to announce the second date in its Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome six-month series, to take place on Sunday, June 2, 2019. The performances are presented inside the iconic vaulted dome of the 100-inch telescope. A season of musical adventures thoughtfully curated by Artistic Director Cécilia Tsan are offered on the first Sunday of each month through October. The June concert program will feature oboe quartets by Mozart and Britten plus a string trio by Beethoven with Leslie Reed on oboe, Roger Wilkie on violin, Alma Fernandez on viola, and Ms. Tsan on cello. 

    photo courtesy of the Mt. Wilson Institute

    The concert’s hour-long performances are at 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM (same program). There will be an artist reception with wine and cheese at 4:00 PM. Attendees are encouraged to stay for that or arrive early to enjoy the reception before the five o’clock performance begins. In addition, concert-goers will be treated to an exhibition featuring rare scientific artifacts, drawings, and illustrations from the Observatory’s collection. Seating inside the historic dome is limited. Tickets cost $50 each and are available for purchase in advance (highly recommended) or at the door. For more information on Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome, please visit https://www.mtwilson.edu/concerts. From there, the June 2nd tickets can be purchased for either the 3:00 PM performance or the 5:00 PM show (as well as tickets to future concerts).

    All proceeds go to support the Mt. Wilson Institute in its mission to preserve, protect and promote the Observatory and the science accomplished there. Poised for rediscovery, the grounds of the legendary observatory—founded in 1904 by astrophysical pioneer George Ellery Hale—are open for free to the public year round. For visitor information please see https://www.mtwilson.edu/visiting.

    “Leslie, Roger, Alma and I have been friends for a long time,” explains Artistic Director Cécilia Tsan, “and have been wanting to play those quartets for oboe and strings together, for many years. We have been Principals for the same various Orchestras in town and always said that we would do it one day. Each of us being so busy playing, it’s only now that we found the opportunity to make a dream come true. It’s a story of friendship, musicianship and mutual artistic admiration. We hope attendees will enjoy this rare combination of instruments.”

    photo courtesy of the Mt. Wilson Institute

    Upcoming 2019 Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome include:

    Sunday, June 2
    Leslie Reed, oboe, Roger Wilkie, violin, Alma Fernandez, viola and Cécilia Tsan, cello, in a program of oboe quartets by Mozart and Britten and a Beethoven string trio.

    Sunday, July 7
    Voices in the Dome with Hila Plitmann, soprano, Sangeeta Kaur, soprano, Rachel Mellis, flute, Reina Inui, violin, Jacqueline Marshall, harp and Shea Welsh, guitar.  On the program are compositions by Danaë Vlasse, Todd Mason, Bruce Babcock, Mark McEncroe and Anthony Constantino.

    Sunday, August 4
    Schubert’s String Quintet in C major performed by the Lyris Quartet featuring Alyssa Park, Shalini Vijayan, violins, Luke Maurer, viola, Timothy Loo, cello and Cécilia Tsan, cello.

    Sunday, September 1
    Cello duets performed by Eric Byers and Cécilia Tsan featuring works by Bach, Barriere and Offenbach.

    Sunday, October 6
    The concert series wraps up the summer season with Mozart and Brahms Quintets for clarinet and strings. The artists include Pierre Génisson, clarinet, Ambroise Aubrun and Henry Gronnier, violins, Virginie d’Avezac, viola and Cécilia Tsan, cello.




    The Oboe Quartet in F majorK. 370, was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in early 1781. The quartet is scored for oboeviolinviola and cello. Mozart composed the quartet in order to show off the virtuosity of oboist Friedrich Ramm and the improvements that had been made to the oboe at that time. One way that this piece showed off the instrument was the use of the “high F” above the staff, a note rarely played in any repertoire previously written for the oboe.

    Beethoven: Serenade in D major for Violin, Viola and Cello, Op. 8 was composed during 1795 to 1797, and published by Artaria in 1797. Divided into six movements, it opens and closes with a march, using the same thematic material, but the preserved dynamic markings preclude any approaching crescendo or any diminuendo to simulate departure. The Serenade follows a plan more in keeping with the incidental music of the day. It consists of a free sequence of compound movements that are all or nearly all derived from some dance type.

    Benjamen Britten: Phantasy for oboe and string Trio in F minor, Op.2

    Benjamen Britten composed Phantasy Quartet at age 19 as a student at the Royal College of Music. It is built around three general ideas: the first, a march figure; the second, a lyrical oboe melody; and the third, a brisk violin motive. The music is reminiscent of a 16th-century fantasy. As in Mozart’s Oboe Quartet, the oboe has a solo function. The piece is performed in one movement.



    Leslie Reed, Oboe
    Leslie Reed joined the LA Opera Orchestra as second oboe in 1997. In 2009, music director James Conlon appointed her to the principal oboe chair, a position she currently holds. In addition, Ms. Reed is presently principal oboe of the LA Master Chorale Sinfonia. She has appeared as guest principal oboe with the LA Chamber Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony, San Diego Symphony, and  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Ms Reed was invited to serve as acting Associate Principal oboe for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 1994-95 season under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, including tours of Europe, Asia and the Eastern United States. She was associate principal oboe of the Carmel Bach Festival for ten years, has performed extensively as solo oboe with Camerata Pacifica and has appeared with Jacaranda, La Jolla Summerfest and the Ojai Music Festival. 

    Ms. Reed has appeared as soloist many times with local ensembles performing the concertos of Mozart, Marcello, Vaughan-Williams, Vivaldi and Richard Strauss. She was a First Prize winner in the 1985 Coleman Competition, and was a finalist in the 1988 Bert Lucarelli International Competition for Solo Oboe. She is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music. 

    Roger Wilkie, Violin
    A native of Los Angeles, Roger Wilkie began his violin studies at age 13. Eight years later, he joined the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra as one of its youngest members, eventually going on to serve as a guest Concertmaster. Presently, Mr. Wilkie serves as Concertmaster of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 1990. A frequent soloist with the LBSO, he has been featured performing the majority of the standard violin concerto repertoire.

    Mr. Wilkie is a much sought after chamber musician. He was a founding member of the Angeles String Quartet, performing and touring from 1988-1993. He was solo violinist with the Santa Barbara based Camerata Pacifica, on whose series he played hundreds of concerts as recitalist and chamber musician. Mr.Wilkie has recorded and toured extensively as the violinist of the critically acclaimed Pacific Trio, including a performance at the Silver Lire International Festival of Chamber Music in St. Petersburg, Russia. He has participated in the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Summerfest and Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Festival. He is a frequent performer with the Music Guild of Los Angeles, the South Bay Chamber Music Society, Pacific Serenades, and many others. In great demand as a concertmaster for the Hollywood Studios Orchestras, Mr. Wilkie has served in that capacity for many of Hollywood’s leading composers. Since 2005, he has had the honor of serving as concertmaster for the motion picture scores of legendary composer John Williams, including the most recent installments of the Star Wars franchise (The Force Awakens, and The Last Jedi).

    Alma Lisa Fernandez, Viola
    Alma Lisa Fernandez, violist, attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Viola Performance. She performs regularly with ensembles such as the Los Angeles Opera, Long Beach Symphony, and Los Angeles Master Chorale. She is also a member of the Eclipse Quartet, an ensemble devoted to contemporary music, which has released recordings under Bridge Records, New World and Microfest. Fernandez is also active in the Los Angeles recording industry, having played for numerous motion picture soundtracks, television shows, and record albums. As a chamber musician, she has been described as “…a soulful violist” (Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times). She is currently professor of Viola at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA.

    Cécilia Tsan, Cello and Artistic Director
    “Uncompromising musical character and a towering technique… In the breadth of her virtuosity and the charisma of her musical personality, Tsan made this work her own.” – Los Angeles Times

    Born in France, Cécilia Tsan began playing the cello with the same teacher as her childhood friend Yo-Yo Ma. A Philosophy and Chinese major, she also graduated from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris under André Navarra. She is a prizewinner at the Barcelona, Florence and Paris International competitions.

    Ms. Tsan toured throughout the world as a soloist and as a chamber musician with Rudolf Firkusny, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Michel Dalberto, Pascal Rogé, Pierre Amoyal, Augustin Dumay, Martin Chalifour, and others. She also recorded hundreds of movie soundtracks with John Williams, James Newton-Howard, James Horner, Randy Newman, Danny Elfman, Alexandre Desplat, and others.

    She currently serves as Principal Cellist with the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra and the LosAngeles Master Chorale Orchestra.

    In 2012, she performed the World Premiere of Eric Tanguy’s piano trio specially written for her. She also gave the West Coast Premiere of Tanguy’s 2nd Cello Concerto. Ms. Tsan has also served as Principal Cello for the Pasadena Symphony, the Los AngelesChamber Orchestra, the New West Symphony, the Santa Barbara Symphony, the Academy Awards, the Emmys, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars and America’s Got Talent.

    Since 2017, she has been the Artistic Director for Mount Wilson Observatory’s concert series, Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome. In April 2019, she was the narrator in Stravinsky’s “Perséphone” with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Peter Sellars at Disney Hall.

    The 100-inch telescope is the instrument with which astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered our place in an expanding universe and so expanded our comprehension. The dome for the telescope—designed by Chicago architect D.H. Burnham—is a 20th century temple to science whose acoustics rival the great cathedrals of Europe and provides a unique setting for this ambitious music series. 

    Albert Einstein wrote that, “There exists a passion for comprehension, just as there exists a passion for music.” This extraordinary venue, a monument to the pursuit of comprehension, energizes that passion for music.

    Please be advised that access to the dome performances is via a 53-step staircase. There is no ADA-compliant access.

    • Mt. Wilson Observatory – https://www.mtwilson.edu
    Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Domehttps://www.mtwilson.edu/concerts
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    • MWO Twitter – https://twitter.com/mtwilsonobs
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    • MWO Images including Concert photos & flyers – http://tinyurl.com/ImagesMWO

    For more information, photos, to schedule an interview or request press passes, please contact Green Galactic’s Lynn Tejada at 213-840-1201 or lynn@greengalactic.com.


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