Nigel Armstrong at Music in Oakmont

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  • Rosemary Waller

We learned recently that, due to unforeseen circumstances, the distinguished Israeli pianist Einav Yarden, an Oakmont favorite, will be unable to appear as scheduled on May 9. We immediately set about finding a suitable world-class artist to perform in her place. Such a task, on very short notice, is never easy. Most of our artists are engaged at least two years in advance, and the month of May is an especially busy time in the music world. But once in a while you just get lucky.

In the late 2000s, soon after I moved to Oakmont, Bob Hayden invited a local 16-year-old to play a Sunday afternoon recital in Berger Center. As I listened to this gifted young violinist I remember thinking, “Wow, this kid is going to have an absolutely stunning career!” As it happened, I didn’t hear him again—he had gone off to study in Europe—until this past summer. My NC daughter Amy and I were in Greensboro in July to take in a concert at the Eastern Music Festival. A friend in the Festival orchestra had suggested we go hear a “spectacular” violinist play the Mozart Concerto No. 5.

As soon as I saw him on stage I remembered his name: Nigel Armstrong. And his playing was even more polished and elegant than I had remembered. Meeting him backstage, I learned that he was now based in the East Bay. And so it was that when we found ourselves in crisis mode a few weeks ago, seeking a replacement for Einav Yarden, I thought of Nigel. Might he be free to come perform in Oakmont on May 9? Miraculously, he was.

A graduate of both the Colburn School and the Curtis Institute of Music, Nigel Armstrong is a winner of the prestigious Menuhin Competition as well as the International Tchaikovsky Competition. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras such as the Düsseldorf Symphony, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and the Boston Pops. He currently serves as concertmaster of the Santa Cruz Symphony.

His longtime collaborator, pianist Elizabeth Dorman, joins him in Oakmont. The two have chosen a delightful program of classic violin repertoire, including works by Biber, Beethoven, Debussy, Fauré, and Schubert.

DONOR DRIVE, NEXT SEASON, SEASON PASSES

Music at Oakmont is grateful to the Oakmont Community Foundation for its partnership in our annual Donor Drive. Donor envelopes will be found in the May 9 programs. Donation checks should be made out to Oakmont Community Foundation, with “Music at Oakmont” on the memo line. The 2019-20 season brochures will be available at the May 9 concert. Season passes may be purchased at the May 9 and Oct. 17 concerts. Checks for $125 (six concerts for the price of five!) should be made out to Music at Oakmont.

WHAT: Music at Oakmont

WHEN: Thursday May 9, 2019, 1:30 PM

WHERE: Berger Center

ADMISSION: $20, or your season pass, at the door

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