Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra Performs in St Augustine

The EMMA Concert Series and Flagler College presented the internationally recognized Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra with piano soloist Macin Koziak on January 23, 2016, at Lewis Auditorium.

The Polish Baltic Philharmonic is the largest institution of music in northern Poland. The orchestra is led by Maestro Boguslaw Dawidow, whose renowned career has included conducting orchestras all over the world, including Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Moscow and Rome.

Pianist Macin Koziak won his first competition in Poland at age ten. At age eleven, he debuted with Krakow Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, and his subsequent career has brought him recognition from all over the world. He is a laureate of a number of international competitions, including the 2nd International Chopin Competition for Young Pianists in Budapest and the 10th Hastings International Piano Concert Competition in the United Kingdom.

The Polish Baltic Philarmonic Orchestra performed with Macin Koziak as solo pianist at Lewis Auditorium.

The Poulenc Trio is Beautifully Unique

EMMA Concert Association presented The Poulenc Trio, the most active touring piano-wind chamber music ensemble in the world this last Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College. The Poulenc Trio has, since its founding, exhibited a strong commitment to commissioning, performing and recording new works from living composers, greatly expanding the repertoire available for the oboe, bassoon and piano , with 20 new works written for and premiered by the group. The Trio is also dedicated to exploring and promoting musics that reflect its members’ African, Pan-American, Eastern European and Jewish roots.

In 2004, the Trio launched a pioneering concert series called Music at the Museum, in which musical performances are paired with museum exhibitions, with special appearances from guest artists and curators. As part of the series, the Trio has collaborated with the National Gallery in Washington DC, the Walters Art Museum and Baltimore Museum of Art and the Hermitage State Museum in Russia. Guest artist collaborators have included violinist Hilary Hahn, the Thibaud Trio of Berlin, soprano Hyunah Yu, and clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Anthony McGill.

In a recent review, the New York Times praised the Trio for its “elegant rendition” of Piazolla’s Tangos. The Washington Post said the trio “does its namesake proud” in “an intriguing and beautifully played program” with “convincing elegance, near effortless lightness and grace.” A recent performance in Florida prompted the Palm Beach Post to praise the group’s “polished loveliness” and the Palm Beach Daily News to say that the “potent combination” of oboe, bassoon, and piano had “captured the magic of chamber music.”


St Augustine Orchestra and the Many Moods of Christmas

December 11th 2015

Jacksonville Masterworks Chorale joined the St Augustine Orchestra in the beautifully decorated Lightner Museum historic swimming pool to perform a spectacular holiday concert that surely moved the spirit!  Dr. Mark Stallings, JMC music director took the baton leading the orchestra and chorus performance of a selection of traditional holiday pieces that included Christmas Festival and Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson, The Many Moods of Christmas by Shaw and Bennett, Let There Be Peace on Earth by Miller & Jackson, Festival of Lights by Schillio, and the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah by Handel. The acoustics at the Lightner are amazing, helping to produce a music that moved the soul.

A Concert by the St Augustine Youth Orchestra

The St Augustine Youth Orchestra, also known as SAYO performed a Fall Concert at Sterry Piano Company in St Augustine, on Saturday the 24th of October 2015. It was opened to the public.
First Coast.TV got a chance to talk to these young and upcoming musicians and those guiding them through the world of music.

Albert Li …..Violin

Caroline Bell …..Trumpet

Esther Simon …..Piano

Micah Taylor …..Double Bass / Piano

Zach Pruewitt …..Cello

Director…….Kira Omelchenko

French Boys Choir At the Basilica Cathedral

The Music Department of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine had The French Boys Choir give a concert at the Cathedral Basilica last Saturday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m.

The French Boys Choir, known in French as “les Petits Chanteurs de Nogent-sur-Marne”, formerly called Les Moineaux du Val-de-Marne, have been singing and traveling in France and all over the world for 60 years.

They regularly give concerts of the repertoire (Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, etc.) in prestigious places, and also sing for humanitarian causes.

Les Petits Chanteurs de Nogent-sur-Marne has been on tour in the United States (Florida) this October.  This will be the second appearance of the French Boys Choir in St. Augustine.  The concert is open to the public and a donation of $5.00 per person was accepted at the door.  They offered music of the sixteenth century and the well known Ave Verum from Mozart, Ave Maria from Schubert, as well as music pieces of the French folklore.

This choir of 25 passionate boys, from 8 to 20 years old, was conducted by François Olivier.


Kira Omelchenko in Black & White

Dr. Kira Omelchenko is an assistant professor of music and the director of orchestra and string studies at Florida Southern College.  She is also the Artistic Director of the St. Augustine Youth Orchestra.  She took a moment from her busy schedule to talk with First Coast.TV.

Prior to Florida Southern College, she served as the director of orchestra and strings studies at The University of Tampa.  She specializes in orchestra conducting, operatic conducting, and violin performance and instruction.  As a violinist, Dr. Omelchenko has performed with Opera Tampa and with IBEX productions in concerts with Andrea Bocelli and the Mannheim Steamroller. 

As a recent 2014 winner the American Prize in Music in Opera Conducting, Dr. Omelchenko is also the recipient of the 2012 Sigma Alpha Iota Conducting Scholarship, the ASTA string grant, as well as numerous other faculty research, summer stipends, and professor grants.  She has lectured and presented at conferences such as NSEE, NAfME, ASTA, and FMEA. As an active lecturer, clinician, and adjudicator, Dr. Omelchenko has conducted at several All-County Orchestra Festivals, as well as worked with Middle School and High School students at Orchestra Summer Music Camps at Florida Southern College, The University of Tampa and the University of Iowa.

Dr. Omelchenko has served as the music director of St. Ambrose University Community Symphony Orchestra in Davenport. She was also the assistant conductor to opera production at the University of Iowa, the University of New Mexico, as well as the International Opera Lyric Academy in Viterbo, Italy. During her studies in Iowa, she was also a conducting fellow with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony. 

International conducting fellowships include studies in Vienna, Rotterdam and Amsterdam conservatories in the Netherlands, and participation in an opera masterclass with Dejan Savic in Bulgaria. As guest conductor, she has conducted the Bulgarian State Opera in Burgas and at the Seasons Music Festival Orchestra in Yakima, Washington, where she participated in a masterclass with David McDade from the Seattle Opera.  Conducting masterclasses include studies with Gustav Meier, Mark Gibson, Harold Farberman, Apo Hsu, Raymond Harvey and Lawrence Golan.  In 2015 Dr. Omelchenko was selected to participate in a conducting festival in St. Petersburg, Russia where she conducted the orchestra in the Mariinsky Theatre.

Her critical edition of G.F. Bristow’s Overture to Rip Van Winkle will be recorded and released by the Royal Northern Sinfonia (England) and New World Records in 2015.  A native of Kansas, Dr. Omelchenko holds a doctoral degree in music from the University of Iowa and degrees from the University of New Mexico and Knox College. 

The showcase at Sterry Piano with the St Augustine Youth Orchestra is Saturday, Oct. 24th at 4pm

A Vinyl Renaissance

The St Augustine Record Fair will be presented by ToneVendor and the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, over 30,000 music-related items—including new and used vinyl records, CDs, posters, turntable equipment and supplies, memorabilia, collectibles and more—will be available to music lovers and enthusiasts. Fans will find nearly every type of music genre represented.

There will plenty of activities for the whole family—including a bounce house, art activities, face painting, a scavenger hunt, and more. Live music will be provided by local bands throughout the day with DJ sets by Jake Brown of Hear Hear DJs.

The event will be held on Sunday, October 11, 2015, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Que Viva España! Fiesta 450!

Part of the Fiesta 450 was the Viva España segment, which featured a FREE Spanish-themed musical salute to St. Augustine directed by Gary Cadwallader on the main stage of the St. Augustine Amphitheater (4:00-5:30pm). Local arts organizations participating in this performance were the St. Augustine Orchestra, the St. Augustine Community Chorus, the St. Augustine Youth Chorus, Limelight Theater, and First Coast Opera. Here are some of the highlights.

Spanish Bands Rock The House

On September 3rd, three bands from Aviles, Spain came to the Flagler Auditorium and rocked the house. They proved that superior musicians produce superior and amazing music.

The bands were, Tejedor, Alexandra in Grey and Morrigans, and they played to a full house. The bands were hosted by The St Augustine Sister City Association, Inc.. It was truly an amazing evening of music.

“St Augustine Suite” by Piotr Szewczyk Astonishes In Its Beauty

The “St Augustine Suite” by Piotr Szewczyk was performed for the first time on June 27th, 2015, at the Cathedral Basilica in the City of St Augustine. The suite was commissioned by the festival to commemorate the 450th anniversary of St Augustine.

The large cathedral was packed to the point that many were turned away. It started with Mozart’s symphony no.41 and piano concerto no.22. Then came the gem of the evening, the St Augustine Suite by Piotr Szewczky. At the end of the suite the thunderous applause and roar of the crowd proved that a master piece had been performed. First Coast.TV was able to have a brief word with the festival’s musical director Jorge Peña about the suite.