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Ensemble Raro at Carnegie Hall for the National Day of Romania

On the occasion of the National Day of Romania and in celebration of 15 years of SoNoRo, one of Eastern Europe’s most exquisite chamber music festivals, the Romanian Cultural Institute and Ra-Entertainment were proud to present a gala concert featuring the famed international ENSEMBLE RARO at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on December 2nd, 2021. Ensemble Raro, a truly international chamber music group, is made up of musicians coming from all corners of Europe: Alexander Sitkovetsky – violin, Razvan Popovici – viola, Bernhard Naoki Hedenborg – cello, and Diana Ketler – piano.


George Enescu – Sérénade lointaine for Piano Trio

Gabriel Fauré – Piano Quartet No. 1 in C-minor

George Enescu – First Romanian Rhapsody arranged for piano quartet by Thomas Wally

Antonín Dvořák – Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-flat Major, Op. 87

More photos here.

For a taste of the anniversary concert at the Carnegie Hall, Ensemble Raro offered a warm-up session at the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York right on the date of the National Day of Romanian, December 1st.

About the musicians:

ALEXANDER SITKOVETSKY was born in Moscow into a family with a well-established musical tradition. His concerto debut came at the age of eight, and in the same year he moved to the UK to study at the Menuhin School. Lord Menuhin was his inspiration throughout his school years and they performed together on several occasions. The forthcoming season will see his return to the Anhaltische Phiharmonie Dessau, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Leopoldinum Orchestra Wroclaw, Detmold Chamber Orchestra, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonietta Rīga, English Symphony Orchestra and Anima Musicae Budapest. He will also debut with the North Netherlands Orchestra and the Britten Sinfonia and will appear at Le Pont Festival in Japan, Reno Chamber Music Festival, Surrey Hills Festival and Contrasto Festival in Norway. He will also tour Germany with Julia Fischer’s quartet and return to the United States as part of the prestigious CMS touring. Throughout his career he appeared with Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin’s in the Fields, Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica de Bolivia, National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra, Welsh National Opera Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and London Philharmonic Orchestra among others. He is also much in demand as a director and has directed and performed as regularly a soloist. His critically acclaimed CPO recording of Andrzej Panufnik's Violin Concerto with the Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin commemorating the composer's 100th birthday won an ICMA Special Achievement Award. His most recent recording with the English Symphony Orchestra of Philip Sawyers’s Violin Concerto was released to great critical acclaim. Alexander was awarded 1st prize at the Trio di Trieste Duo Competition alongside pianist Wu Qian. He is an alumnus of the prestigious Bowers program at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and in 2016 received the Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award. He is a founding member of the Sitkovetsky Piano Trio, with whom he has won various prizes including the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Kammermusik Prize. Alexander plays the 1679 ‘Parera’ Antonio Stradivari violin, kindly loaned to him through the Beare’s International Violin Society by a generous sponsor.

RAZVAN POPOVICI studied in Salzburg, Paris and Freiburg and he is the founder and executive director of the Chiemgauer Musikfrühling Festival in Germany, of the SoNoRo Festival in Bucharest and of the SoNoRo Arezzo Festival in Tuscany. He was appointed executive director of the Europalia Festival 2019/20 in Brussels. Razvan also has a very impressive solo career and appeared in the Théatre-dés-Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Cologne Philharmony, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Atheneum in Bucharest and the Prinzregententheater in Munich with orchestras such as the Kobe Chamber Orchestra, the Cologne Chamber Orchestra, the CHAARTS Chamber Aartists Zürich, the Lohja City Orchestra, Kamerata Kronstadt, Transylvania Symphony Orchestra Cluj, the Sibiu State Philharmonic, the Romanian National Radio Orchestra or the George Enescu Philharmonic Bucharest. As a chamber musician he has performed in the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Wigmore Hall and the South Bank Centre in London, the Musashino Hall and Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Gasteig in Munich, Kennedy Center in Washington and both in the Konzerthaus und Musikverein in Vienna. Razvan gave master classes in Europe, Japan and South America. Razvan has been guest principal violist in many orchestras including the Cologne Chamber Orchestra, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Aartists Zürich, the Gstaad Festival Orchestra and the Kobe Chamber Orchestra. He teaches regularly at the Villa Musica Foundation in Mainz and since 2017 as a visiting professor at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp. Highlights of the last seasons include performances in the Suntory Hall Tokyo, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, De Singel in Antwerpen, BOZAR in Brussels as well as in Kuhmo, Paris, Budapest, Loviisa, Bucharest, Riga, Palais Coburg in Vienna and Tretyakow Gallery in Moscow. In September Razvan gave his Finnish debut performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Elina Vähälä and the Lohja City Orchestra under Tomas Djupsjöbacka as well as his South American debut with the same piece alongside Pavel Berman and under the baton of Shlomo Mintz at his Mintz Festival in Tucuman, Argentina. Razvan is a member of the Ensemble Raro, with which he tours regularly Europe, Japan and North America. The ensemble released so far eight worldwide acclaimed CDs. In the season 2017/2018 Raro was guest teaching ensemble at the Royal Music Academy in Antwerpen, Belgium.

Born in 1979 in Salzburg, BERNHARD NAOKI HEDENBORG started playing cello at the age of six. At the age of 13 Heinrich Schiff invited Bernhard to study with him over a period of eight years. In addition, he has worked with David Geringas, Zara Nelsova and Miklos Perenyi. An avid chamber music performer, he has been encouraged by musicians including György Kurtag, Ferenc Rados, György Sebök, the Alban Berg Quartet and Amadeus Quartet. He is a prizewinner of many national and international competitions, including a Silver Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians and the winner of the European Music Prize of Young Musicians in Oslo. His solo debut was Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto with the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg at the age of 12. Repertoire he has performed includes cello concertos by Shostakovich, Haydn, Dvorak, Schumann, Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and Brahms’ Double Concerto with the Cologne Radio Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Costa Rica Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra and the Bombay Chamber Orchestra.

As a member of the Thomas Christian Ensemble, he recorded the chamber music transcriptions of works by Mahler, Bruckner and Debussy. As a member of Ensemble Raro he toured extensively in Europe and Japan and recorded Piano Quartets by Brahms, Dvorak, Dohnanyi, Suk and Vasks. He made his debut at the Golden Hall in the Vienna’s Musikverein as soloist with the Radio Bavaria Chamber Orchestra. In the season 2007/08 he was Soloist in Residence at the Theatre Eisenach where he performed eight concerts with the GMD Tetsuro Ban.

Bernhard Naoki is artistic director of the Kobe Music Festival in Japan. He regularly gives master classes in Japan and Europe.

A native of Latvia, DIANA KETLER began her piano studies at the age of 5, encouraged by both her parents. Her father, a well-known operatic baritone, and her mother, a choral conductor and singing teacher, were her early inspiration and source of her love for the opera and for the musical collaboration with other artists. She studied at the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Music Academy, at the Mozarteum University for Music in Salzburg and at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Diana started performing as a soloist at an early age, giving her debut with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra at the age of 11, under the baton of Vassily Sinaisky. Diana's concert life as a soloist and chamber musicians has taken her in many great musical centers of Europe, Asia and the USA. She performed at the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, Gasteig and Prinzregententheater in Munich, Carnegie Hall in New York, Kennedy Centre in Washington, Wigmore Hall in London, Bridgwater Hall in Manchester, Suntory Hall and Opera City Hall in Tokyo, Osaka Symphony Hall, Konzertgebouw in Amsterdam, Bozar in Brussels, Atheneum in Bucharest, Teatro La Fenice in Venice. Diana's performances have been broadcast on TV and Radio, including BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, Bavarian Radio, NHK in Japan, ORF in Austria, Latvian Radio, Radio France International. The pianist recorded six award-winning CDs with the Solo Musica in Munich. Diana has a keen interest in contemporary repertoire and has worked with composers such as Peteris Vasks, Arvo Part, Franco Donatoni, Gyorgy Ligeti. Together with a violist Razvan Popovici she founded the Chiemgauer Musikfruehling Festival in Bavaria, the 16th edition of which was held in 2019; and the SoNoRo Festival in Bucharest, which in the last 15 years developed into one of the most exciting and important chamber music festivals of today. Diana is a co-founder of an International Educational Chamber Music Programme Interferences. She is a Piano Professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London and Chamber Music Professor at the Haute École de Musique in Geneva. Diana has given master classes in Norway, Italy, Latvia, Belgium, Japan, Switzerland, Spain and Germany. The pianist received the Latvian Great Music Award, Latvia's highest distinction in the field of classical music. In 2016, Diana was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Diana Ketler, Razvan Popovici and Alexander Sitkovetsky are founding members of the ENSEMBLE RARO, one of the most exceptional and highly acclaimed chamber groups in Europe.

Thank you, Romanian Television of New York for the short video broadcast of the Carnegie Hall concert (in Romanian only), including a fragment of George Enescu's "Romanian Rhapsody" No. 1.


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