Waltz into Summer with this famous tune on Fresh Sundays

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Ready to waltz into summer? Today's feature is energetic and well-known. I'm sure the moment you press play, you might say, "Oh Yeah! I've heard this, I just never knew the title!"


If you need a pick me up or to be transported to a joyous royal ballroom for a few moments, listen to Aram Khatachturian's Waltz from his Masquerade Suite performed by the VEM String Quartet at the UCLA Semel Institute Auditorium.


Click here to watch & listen, premiering Sunday, June 21, 2020 at 11:00am PST on our YouTube Channel


The VEM Ensemble part of the Armenian Music Program at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is under the artistic leadership of Founder/Director Movses Pogossian. 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.”


DANIELLE SEGEN, mezzo-soprano

JI EUN HWANG, violin

MORGAN O'SHAUGHNESSEY, viola

AIKO JIMENA RICHTER, violin

JASON PEGIS, cello

(learn more about the artists below!)


DANIELLE SEGEN, mezzo soprano

Based out of Los Angeles, mezzo-soprano Danielle Segen 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.

JI EUN HWANG, violin

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.

MORGAN O'SHAUGHNESSEY, viola

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, violin

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, cello

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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