Thu, Jun 06 | Semel Institute Auditorium

VEM Ensemble

“The evening’s most memorable music was made by the VEM Quartet…who laid out Eduard Mirzoyan’s String Quartet with a feline, subtle grace that touched hearts with its gentle melodic content and long-lined eloquence.”- critic Laurence Vittes
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VEM Ensemble

Time & Location

Jun 06, 2019, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PM
Semel Institute Auditorium, 720 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

About the Event

Don’t miss the VEM Ensemble on stage at UCLA's Semel Institute Auditorium located in the heart of Westwood Village. Doors open at 12:00pm.

The 12:15 Concert Series at the Semel Institute Auditorium connects you to award-winning musicians in the middle of your workday, regularly on the first and third Thursday's of each month.

We are grateful for the support from the Jane & Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior at UCLA.

About the VEM Ensemble:

The VEM Ensemble part of the Armenian Music Program at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, strives to cultivate an appreciation and passion for Armenian music through musical performances, music education, and a series of collaborations with composers to create new works dedicated to and enriching Armenian cultural heritage. The VEM Ensemble, coached by the members of the UCLA string faculty, has also worked with such musicians as David Starobin, Nickolas Kitchen, and Tigran Mansurian.

The ensemble has performed at various venues in Los Angeles including Zipper Hall, Bing Theater, Schoenberg Hall, the Hammer Museum, as well as in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and at the Incontri in Terra di Sierra Festival in Tuscany, Italy, in July 2014. In his review of their performance in Italy, critic Laurence Vittes writes, “The evening’s most memorable music was made by the VEM Quartet…who laid out Eduard Mirzoyan’s String Quartet with a feline, subtle grace that touched hearts with its gentle melodic content and long-lined eloquence.”


Based out of Los Angeles, mezzo-soprano Danielle Segen (né Daneille Bayne) has performed locally and abroad, recently traveling to Armenia with the UCLA VEM Quartet for a series of concerts in the capital. Recent performances on the opera stage include Prince Charming in Massenet’s Cendrillon, Carmen in The Tragedy of Carmen, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, the title role in William Bolcom’s Lucrezia, and Cherubino in Saverio Mercadante’s I due Figaro. She holds a Master of Music degree from UCLA in Vocal Performance and a Bachelor of Music degree from Western Washington University.


Violinist Ji Eun Hwang was born in Korea and has performed as a soloist and chamber musician across the United States and South Korea. She has participated and performed in many international music festivals and masterclasses in the U.S. and Europe, has been featured with many solo and chamber recitals, and won several violin competitions. Since 2012, she has joined Sejong Soloists as a guest artist and is a principal violinist of Sejong City Philharmonic Orchestra. She is currently pursuing a Master of Music in violin performance at UCLA with Professor Movses Pogossian.


Violist and recent Master of Music degree recipient Morgan O’Shaughnessey maintains a diverse freelance career as a chamber musician, music arranger, folk musician, and concert producer. He has performed recitals at Teatro la Fenice in Venice and a live broadcast on RAI Radio 3 in Rome. His discography with producer Sylvia Massy includes string arrangements for Johnny Depp, Rihanna, Soilwork, and Red Sun Rising. Morgan also plays the Swedish nyckelharpa and the Highland bagpipes. O’Shaughnessey is the artistic director for a non-profit community concert series featuring regional artists in interactive community events.


Aiko Jimena Richter is a Los Angeles-based violinist, originally from Baltimore, Maryland. She has been a fellow at major festivals including the National Orchestral Institute, Domaine Forget Academy, Festival Napa Valley, and Kent/Blossom Music Festival, during which she performed with the Cleveland Orchestra. She is also featured on the 2015 Naxos label recording of Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1 as a member of the NOI festival orchestra. As a soloist and chamber musician, she has performed in masterclasses for Gil Shaham, Noah Bendix-Balgley, Ani Kavafian, Brooklyn Rider, and the Kronos Quartet among others. Richter earned her B.M. at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill as a student of Nicholas DiEugenio, and is currently pursuing her M.M. at UCLA with Movses Pogossian and Varty Manouelian. As of 2018, she is a member of the VEM Quartet, string quartet-in-residence at UCLA.


Jason Pegis, named “a true talent” by Montreal’s Le Devoir, started cello lessons at age 16 and holds a Bachelor of Music from Willamette University, where he studied with Jason Duckles and Valdine Mishkin, and a Master of Music from McGill University, where he studied with Matt Haimovitz. While working on his bachelor’s degree, he joined the school’s Waller Piano Trio, which made news as the first chamber group from Oregon to become national finalists of the 2014 MTNA Young Artist Chamber Music Competition. He has seen much success in solo competitions as well; in 2013 and 2016 he won the Willamette University Concerto Competitions, and in 2015, after winning the Eugene Symphony Young Artist Competition and Outstanding Cellist Award, he appeared as a soloist with the orchestra for two outdoor concerts for audiences of thousands. He also received the 2016 Zodiac Music Festival Young Artist Award, numerous instrumental scholarships from Mu Phi Epsilon, grants from the Williamson Foundation for Music, and an 1880 Neuner-Hornsteiner cello loan from the Carlsen Cello Foundation. In 2017, he became a finalist of the McGill Concerto Competition, and held a principal cello position with the McGill Symphony Orchestra. Pegis has performed chamber music with artists like Johannes Moser, Axel Strauss, Victor Fournelle-Blain, Neal Stulberg, and Denis Bouriakov. He currently studies with Antonio Lysy in Los Angeles, where he has started his Doctorate of Musical Arts and a string teaching assistantship at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

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