On Saturday, March 23 at 4:00 pm, the USC Polish Music Center presents the annual PMC Spring Concert, featuring the Verona String Quartet with USC Thornton faculty member Bernadene Blaha. The program highlights works by pioneering female Polish composer and polymath, Grażyna Bacewicz, as well as the father of Polish modern music, Karol Szymanowski.

Acclaimed as an “outstanding ensemble…cohesive yet full of temperament” (The New York Times), the Verona Quartet has firmly established itself amongst the most distinguished ensembles on the chamber music scene today. The group’s singular sense of purpose earned them Chamber Music America’s coveted 2020 Cleveland Quartet Award, and a reputation for its “bold interpretive strength, robust characterization and commanding resonance” (Calgary Herald). The Quartet serves on the faculty of the Oberlin College and Conservatory as the Quartet-in-Residence. In addition to its position at Oberlin, the Quartet recently held residencies at Nova Scotia’s Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance, North Carolina’s Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle and the ENCORE Chamber Music Institute. As committed advocates of diverse programming, the Verona Quartet curated the UpClose Chamber Music Series on behalf of the COT, electrifying audiences with their “sensational, powerhouse performance[s]” (Classical Voice America).

Pianist Bernadene Blaha is internationally recognized as a recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician. Lauded by Piano and Keyboard Magazine for her “integrity” and “total clarity of line,” Blaha began her musical journey in Canada before gaining prominence with top awards at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Competition, Lugano Switzerland Masterplayer’s International Competition, and New York City’s International Piano Competition. These prizes led to acclaimed recitals at Carnegie Recital Hall and the Lincoln Center Library in New York City. She was also featured at the XXIX International Chopin Festival in Marianske Lazne, followed by appearances at such distinguished venues as the Concertgebouw, Salle Cortot, Phillips Collection, National Arts Center, and Disney Hall. In 2009, Blaha co-founded the piano trio Latitude 41 with Livia Sohn and Luigi Piovano. The group’s debut album, featuring Schubert’s monumental Trio in E flat, received high praise. With a rich discography, Blaha has recorded for CBC, Centaur, Analekta, Eloquentia, and Naxos. Her most recent album of Polish Violin Sonatas (Noskowski and Żeleński) with Swiss violinist, Laurence Kayaleh was released in December 2023 on the Naxos Label. Currently based in Los Angeles, Bernadene Blaha is a professor at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.

Saturday, March 23 | 4:00 pm
PMC Spring Concert: Verona Quartet & Bernadene Blaha
USC Newman Recital Hall
3616 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA (map)
FREE admission, no RSVP required

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