Montecristo Ensemble

Mark Clinton

I was featured in multiple performances with members of the Montecristo Ensemble in Israel and Bulgaria from April 23 to May 21, 2014.  

Due to the tragic death of her husband earlier this year, our cellist was unable to join us for our scheduled performances in Israel.  On relatively short notice, therefore, it was decided that violinist Mihai Craioveanu and I would put together a varied program of works for solo piano, solo violin, and violin/piano duo for the Israeli portion of our tour.  Our first performance in Israel was at the Or Yehuda Conservatory, and it attracted an enthusiastic audience of students, faculty, and patrons from the surrounding area.  Prior to the performance we had the opportunity to meet with the Director of the Conservatory (Hana Ajiashvili), who is also an internationally acclaimed composer.  Our discussions culminated in plans to collaborate with her in the very near future.  Also while at Or Yehuda, I gave a masterclass for talented young piano students from the conservatory, including a sixteen year old girl who currently studies with renowned Israeli pianist and pedagogue Asaf Zohar.  The second performance in Israel was at the prestigious Felicja Blumental Centre, located in the heart of Tel Aviv.  It was enthusiastically received by an audience that included Professor Zohar, whose overwhelmingly positive comments following my performance of Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Sonata were extremely gratifying to me.  The strong connection that I established with Professor Zohar during this trip undoubtedly will lead to further teaching and performing opportunities for me in Israel 

All four members of the Montecristo Ensemble were able to be present for both performances in Bulgaria.  Our first appearance there was the opening concert for the International Chamber Music Festival in Kyustendil, with a packed house in the auditorium of the Bratstvo Cultural Center.  Our second performance was in Sofia at Philip Koutev Hall at the Union of Bulgarian Composers.  This performance was attended by a number of prominent Bulgarian musicians including Vladislav Grigorov (horn), Geoffrey Deane (cello), Daniela Dikova (piano), and Josef Rodionov (violin).  Professor Rodionov serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Plovdiv International Chamber Music Festival, and following our performance he invited the Montecristo Ensemble to appear at the prestigious festival next summer.