Rossini Club’s Next concert is January 13 at 3:00 p.m.
To read the full program, click here for January 13th program.
Pianist and composer Christopher Staknys is a recent graduate of the Juilliard School where he studied with Hung-Kuan Chen. He has appeared as performer and composer internationally in major cities such as New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Paris. In 2015, Allan Kozinn, former music critic for the New York Times, praised his playing for its “dexterity and dramatic phrase shaping”. Christopher has won numerous competitions including first prize in the Steinway Society of Massachusetts Piano Competition and the Rivers School Concerto Competition. Artists he has studied with include; Sergei Babayan, Robert Levin, Peter Serkin, David Finckel, Joseph Kalichstein and Fred Sherry.
His orchestral composition “Congo” was premiered and given two performances by the Portland Symphony Orchestra. He has performed the music of Thomas Ades and Steve Reich with the composers present in the audience. Christopher frequently performs with Juilliard’s contemporary ensembles, Axiom and NJE (New Juilliard Ensemble) in Peter Jay Sharp Theater and Alice Tully Hall. His work for electronics, “Gulf” was presented at the 2017 Atlantic Music Festival.
This past summer he spent 6 weeks teaching piano to Middle School and High School students and accompanying at The Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Alaska.
Today’s Performers Seth Blank, horn: Seth has played horn since elementary school in New York. He participated in a wide variety of symphonic, opera, chamber and solo work while attending Boston University for both undergraduate and Medical School. Since settling in Maine in 1992, he has played with the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra, the Maine State Ballet Orchestra and the Centennial Brass Band, and he substitutes in the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra. Seth is a physician in the Portland area and has been a member of Rossini Club since 2004.
Mark Braun, piano: Mark grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, moved to Chicago at age 28 and arrived here in Maine on the winds of the blizzard of ’96. He has been an active member of both the Marston-Kotzschmar Club and the Portland Rossini Club since 1996. In past years, he has played a variety of music, has performed solo, four-hand and eight-hand compositions, and chamber music, including works for horn and piano, trios for piano, horn, and violin, as well as works for voice and piano. He likes to write his own program notes, finding that the process helps him to better understand and interpret the musical works he’s performing. He serves on the Board of the Portland Conservatory of Music. In his professional life, he is an internist and geriatrician in solo practice in Scarborough.
Hugh Judge, cello: Hugh grew up in Naugatuck, CT and has been playing the cello since the age of 8. Hugh studied the cello with John Ruggiero of the Waterbury (CT) Symphony Orchestra, Harry Clark of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra (CT) and with Lorne Munroe of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a 1981 graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Hugh has been a member of the Portland Rossini Club since 1996. When not making music, Hugh works as Vice President and Portfolio Manager for R.M. Davis, Inc. in Portland, and currently serves on the Board of the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program in Brunswick and as a member of the Town of Cumberland Coastal Waters Commission. In the past, Hugh has served as President of the Board of Directors of the Portland Chamber Music Festival, Board President of the Portland Conservatory of Music and on the Annual Fund Committee of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Hugh lives in Cumberland Foreside with his wife, Lois, and they have 3 grown sons. In his spare time, Hugh enjoys running, hiking, reading history, golf and sailing along the Maine Coast.
Stephen Schiffman, clarinet: Prior to moving to Portland, Stephen Schiffman, emeritus faculty member at Babson College and the F.W. Olin College of Engineering, lived in Boston for 30 years and played with various ensembles and chamber music groups there. He has been playing the clarinet for over 55 years and his teachers have included Sherman Friedland, Julie Vaverka and Thomas Hill. Also a member of the Marston-Kotzschmar Club, he joined Rossini Club in 2015. He serves on the Board of Visitors of the New England Conservatory of Music.
Christopher Staknys, piano: 2018 winner of Rossini Club’s Lucia Wright Piano Scholarship, Christopher Staknys is a recent graduate of the Juilliard School where he studied with Hung-Kuan Chen. He has appeared as performer and composer internationally in major cities such as New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Paris. In 2015, Allan Kozinn, former music critic for the New York Times, praised his playing for its “dexterity and dramatic phrase shaping”. Christopher has won numerous competitions including first prize in the Steinway Society of Massachusetts Piano Competition and the Rivers School Concerto Competition. Artists he has studied with include Sergei Babayan, Robert Levin, Peter Serkin, David Finckel, Joseph Kalichstein and Fred Sherry. This past summer he spent 6 weeks teaching piano to Middle School and High School students and accompanying at The Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Alaska.
Diane Walsh, piano: Diane Walsh grew up in New Jersey. Her first piano teacher was her mother, Estelle Walsh, who taught her to read music before Diane entered kindergarten. At age seven she began attending the Juilliard School’s preparatory division on Saturdays; she went on to earn her bachelor’s degree at Juilliard, studying with Henrietta Wendt and Irwin Freundlich. Graduate studies were with Richard Goode at the Mannes College of Music, where she was awarded a master’s degree. She has soloed with the American, Austin, Delaware, Indianapolis, Rochester, San Francisco, Springfield and Syracuse orchestras, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, and Stuttgart radio symphonies, and Orpheus, St. Luke’s and Prague Virtuosi chamber orchestras. She has toured the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Russia, China and New Zealand, and appeared at Marlboro, Santa Fe, Bard, Chesapeake, Cape Cod, and Portland chamber music festivals, among many others. From 1999 to 2004 she led the Skaneateles Festival as artistic director. She was associate professor of piano and chamber music at Mannes College in New York City for 32 years. Since 2014 Diane Walsh has lived in Portland, Maine with her husband, the writer Richard Pollak. This season she has been re-engaged by the Portland Symphony Orchestra to play Clara Schumann’s piano concerto on March 26.
Meet our performers at a reception which follows the concert. Meanwhile, check out the Portland Rossini Club on our Facebook page.
The concert takes place at 3:00 p.m. at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke, 143 State Street, Portland. Suggested donation $10/5 seniors (students are admitted free of charge)
The Portland Rossini Club is a group of Maine musicians that presents a monthly concert series of classical music in Portland, Maine. The club also runs a competitive music scholarship program.
Prospective performing members are chosen by audition and include professional performers, music teachers and skilled amateurs. An elected Board of Directors runs the Portland Rossini Club. Many members perform regularly throughout the region. To find out how to join, or for any other questions, visit our contact page.
Also, it’s not too late to purchase CDs (or downloadable music files) of longtime former member Richard Roberts playing some of his favorite pieces, by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and Rachmaninoff, are available for purchase on this website – under the Donate/CDs tab.