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Peninsula's 'Fountain of Youth'

March 11, 2014

Nathan Chan Meanwhile, donations have kept the Peninsula Symphony operating through its 65th season. The next pair of concerts on March 21 and 23 in San Mateo and Cupertino is "Fountain of Youth."

Music Director Mitchell Sardou Klein conducts the world premiere of Double Concerto for Cello, Clarinet and Orchestra by composer/ clarinetist Jonathan Russell with him and cellist Nathan Chan as soloists. The also includes Grieg’s In Autumn, the Intermezzo, Nocturne and Wedding March from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night's Dream; Lalo’s Cello Concerto, with Chan, and Debussy’s Première rhapsodie for clarinet and orchestra, with Russell.

Russell is especially known for his innovative bass clarinet and clarinet ensemble compositions. He has received commissions from many ensembles and the San Francisco and Berkeley symphonies. His works are published by Potenza Music Publishing, BCP Music, and Peer Music, and his music has been recorded by the Sqwonk bass clarinet duo, the Kairos Consort, pianist Jeffrey Jacob, The Living Earth show, and Imani Winds.

Russell is a member of the heavy metal-inspired Edmund Welles bass clarinet quartet and the Sqwonk bass clarinet duo, which has commissioned numerous new works and released two CDs of new American bass clarinet duets. He is co-founder of the Switchboard Music Festival, an annual eight-hour marathon concert that brings together the San Francisco Bay Area’s creative and innovative composers and performers. He has served on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory, and has led workshops in composition and bass clarinet performance here and at Princeton, Catholic University, UCLA, Cornell University, Ithaca College, and elsewhere.

Jonathan Russell Chan, 19, started his career at age 2, catching the attention of S.F. Opera assistant conductor Sara Jobin, who helped Chan make his debut as a conductor at age 3, leading the San Jose Chamber Orchestra in a set of Mozart variations. This was followed by a guest appearance with the Palo Alto Philharmonic a year later, conducting Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. At five, he began formal music lessons with cellist Irene Sharp, later studied with Sieun Lin at the S.F. Conservatory of Music, and subsequently performed as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the UK Northern Sinfonia, Albany Symphony, Marin Symphony, and Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra, among others.

In 2006, Chan appeared in The Music in Me, a documentary that aired on the HBO network and won the Peabody Award, leading to a performance in Carnegie Hall, where he caught the attention of Roberta Flack, who invited him to collaborate on her project of Beatles songs for Sony Records.

He currently attends the Columbia University-Juilliard School Exchange, studying with Richard Aaron at Juilliard.

Janos Gereben appreciates news tips, corrections, and words of encouragement at [email protected].