2024 June Concert Series

HVCMC Co-Artistic Directors Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson launch the season with their piano quartet Espressivo! Anna Polonsky (piano), Jaime Laredo (violin), Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt (viola), and Sharon Robinson (cello), are joined by award-winning bassist Harold “Hal” Robinson in the following program:

  • Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Quartet in C Minor, Op. 1, No. 1
  • Franz Schubert: Piano Quintet in A Major, “The Trout,” D. 667
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams: Quintet in C Minor
Saturday, June 8  | 
7pm  | 
Olin Hall
$40 individual tickets, $5 students, $100 for all 3 June concerts
photo credit: Steve Riskind

Anna Polonsky, piano
Jaime Laredo
, violin
Milena Pájaro-van de Stadt
, viola
Sharon Robinson
, cello

with Harold “Hal” Robinson, double bass

Four great artists with a passion for chamber music have formed an exciting new quartet that is bound to become an audience favorite.  Each of them is known for wonderfully expressive playing, so it seemed that ESPRESSIVO! was the perfect name for this new quartet of piano and strings.

For decades, violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson, together with their piano trio partner the late Joseph Kalichstein, were considered “chamber music royalty” (Washington Post), a term that applies equally to their ESPRESSIVO! partners – the stellar violist Milena Pájaro-van de Stadt (formerly of the Dover Quartet) and award-winning pianist Anna Polonsky, one of chamber music’s most sought-after partners.

The handful of captivating concerts that they have already played together were full of the virtuosity, musicality and joy that makes for a truly memorable chamber music experience. We know that ESPRESSIVO! will captivate your audience with exceptional works that we don’t hear often.

On June 8 ESPRESSIVO! is joined by double bassist Harold “Hal” Robinson.  Robinson served as principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra until his retirement in 2022.  He is the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Society of Bassists, a prize that recognizes lifetime achievement and is the ISB’s highest honor.

Anna Polonsky (piano) is widely in demand as a soloist and chamber musician. She has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Major projects include participating in the European Broadcasting Union’s recording of all Mozart’s keyboard sonatas, and a solo recital at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium inaugurating the Emerson Quartet’s Perspectives Series. At the age of 7, she made her solo piano debut at the Special Central Music School in Moscow. She emigrated to the United States in 1990. She earned her master’s degree from the Juilliard School.

Jaime Laredo (violin) has excelled for decades in the roles of soloist, conductor, recitalist, pedagogue and chamber musician. Since his orchestral debut at the age of 11 with the San Francisco Symphony, he has won the admiration and respect of audiences, critics and fellow musicians with passionate and polished performances. Laredo has recorded nearly 100 discs, including a Grammy Award-winning disc of Brahms Piano Quartets with Emanuel Ax, Isaac Stern and Yo-Yo Ma. Laredo’s stewardship of the New York String Orchestra Seminar at Carnegie Hall and the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis are educational pillars of the musical community.

Milena Pájaro-van de Stadt (viola) has established herself as one of the most sought-after violists of her generation. She has performed as orchestra soloist, in recitals and chamber-music concerts throughout the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia, including an acclaimed 2011 debut recital at London’s Wigmore Hall. She was the founding violist of the Dover Quartet and played in the group from 2008 to 2022. At that time, the Dover Quartet was the winner of multiple awards at the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition and 2010 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.

Sharon Robinson (cello) is recognized worldwide as a consummate artist and one of the most outstanding musicians of our time. She divides her time between teaching and performing, serving as co-artistic director to several prestigious chamber series across the United States. She also stablished the Cleveland Chapter of Music for Food. Highly sought after for her dynamic master classes, Robinson brings insight to her teaching from the combination of her lifetime experiences as a member of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Duke University’s Ciompi String Quartet and the Kalichstein‐Laredo‐Robinson Trio, plus countless solo performances.

Harold “Hal” Robinson (double bass) was born in Houston, Texas, to parents who both played in the Houston Symphony.  Hal and all four of his siblings—cellists Sharon and Keith Jr., and violinists Erica and Kim—became professional string players with notable careers. Robinson joined the Philadelphia Orchestra as principal bass in 1995, a position he held until his retirement in 2022.  A prizewinner at the 1982 Isle of Man Double Bass Competition, Robinson has made concerto appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston Symphony and Houston Pops, New York Philharmonic, American Chamber Orchestra, and Greenville Orchestra.