Presented by Dr. James E. Smith, First UMC Music Director, the Mid-Week Recital series is held on the second Wednesdays of the month (subject to change.) Recitals begin promptly at 12:10 p.m. online (see ways to view below.)
May Mid-Week Recital: Rufus Choi, piano
Wednesday, May 12, 12:10 p.m.
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- Website – View Sunday service and the recitals on the Livestream page.
Past recitals are available through these links as well.
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RUFUS CHOI, pianist and teacher, has always felt that his American birth and Korean heritage have imparted an international aura and underlying wanderlust to his musical career, which is defined by passionate, sold-out performances in numerous countries across the globe, as well as being a teacher of many international award winning students and music aficionados.
Rufus Choi has performed widely around the United States and many of his performances have been broadcast on local television and radio stations, such as ABC, CBS, KKGO, and WQXR. Mr. Choi has enjoyed solo recitals at Lincoln Center and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City, sold-out solo recital at Zipper Hall in Los Angeles to benefit the AMRON Foundation, and a solo recital in Savannah, Georgia, as a distinguished performer on the “On Stage” music festival. He has performed both Chopin Concerti with the South Bay Chamber Orchestra to sold-out houses on both occasions, and was the featured soloist in the season finale with fireworks at the Redlands Summer Music Festival. He performed with the Rapides Symphony Orchestra in Alexandria, Louisiana, after winning the Louisiana International Piano Competition, and has also performed at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Internationally, Choi has appeared in recital at the prestigious Salzburg Festival in Austria, given various concerts and masterclasses in Nicosia, Cyprus, performed in the Philomusica Festival in Oxford, England, and was invited to perform at music festivals in Puigcerda, Spain and Locarno, Switzerland. He has given solo recitals in a palace concert in Tours and festival performances in Angoustrine and Osseja, France. In Germany, Mr. Choi performed as a soloist with the Goettingen Symphony Orchestra in a palace concert at the world-famous Herrenhausen Gardens with Martin Braus conducting the Beethoven “Emperor” Concerto, which was recorded and distributed for the Hannover Musik Hochschule. In Frankfurt Mr. Choi performed Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic under the baton of Juri Gilbo. In Italy, Mr. Choi was the top prize winner at the Rovere D’oro International Piano Competition. He has toured in South Korea on a number of occasions, and performed at the Seoul Arts Center, Hoam Art Hall, Busan Cultural Center, Sejong Hall, as soloist with the Puchon Philharmonic, and was top prize winner in the Han Romanson International Piano Competition. In Mexico, Mr. Choi took the top prize in the Parnassos International Piano Competition and performed in Monterrey. Mr. Choi was awarded the semi-finalist diploma in the International Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht, as well as diplomas in the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow on two separate occasions. In Taiwan, he won a major prize in the Taiwan International Piano competition and performed as a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra in the National Chiang Kai-shek Concert hall. Mr. Choi also won First Prize and the People’s Choice Award in the notable Jose Iturbi International Music Competition which offers one of the largest monetary prizes for piano competitions in the world.
Rufus Choi’s musical training also reflects his international outlook. He is unique for a Korean-American pianist, in that he identifies strongly with the Russian school of technique and artistry. A graduate of The Juilliard School (BM, MM) in New York City, where he studied with Oxana Yablonskaya, and later also received the Soloklassen Diploma, the highest degree attainable at the prestigious Musik Hochschule in Hannover, Germany, where he studied with Vladimir Krainev.
In addition to his passion for performing, Mr. Choi also believes that an essential part of being a musician is sharing his knowledge with students who love music. Since returning to Los Angeles in 2007, he has had the privilege of teaching and working with talented pianists of all ages, a number of whom have gone on to study at prestigious conservatories such as The Juilliard School, New England Conservatory of Music, and Manhattan School of Music. As a highly sought after masterclass teacher, Mr. Choi has given masterclasses in Beijing, China, Puigcerda Music Festival in Spain, universities in Busan and Seoul, South Korea, and locally in the Sara Compinsky masterclass series, Honors Piano Performance Seminar at the Colburn School and for MTNA and MTAC organizations. Mr. Choi’s dedication has established a reputation of excellence and many of his students have won top prizes and awards in national and international piano competitions such as the e-Piano Junior Competition, Gina Bachauer Junior Competition, MTNA national competition, MTAC state competition and numerous others.
In 2013, Mr. Choi started Moments of Music Foundation (www.momentsofmusic.org), a non-profit organization geared to focus on providing music education and performance opportunities to adult avocational musicians. Recently, the foundation presented the 4th Derek Jones Piano Concerto Competition hosted by Christopher O’Riley, which gave amateur pianists and piano teachers a rare opportunity to perform a concerto with orchestra.
Choi’s debut album, A Musical Journey, was released by Cambria Recordings to critical acclaim, and most recently an all-Liszt CD recording, also on the Cambria label, that explores humanity’s constant struggle between good and evil—a recurring theme in the colorful music of Franz Liszt.
Rufus Choi is a distinguished member of the Steinway Artist Roster and currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Ruth Choi and their three sons, Noah, Micah, and Nathanael.
Please visit www.RufusChoi.com for more information.
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April Mid-Week Recital: Kevan Torfeh & Friends:
Kevan Torfeh, cello; Jim Smith, organ and piano; Tomasz Golka & Anna Kostyuchek, violins; and Linda Muggeridge, oboe.
View the Recital Program here
March 2021 Recital: David York, organ
February 2021 Recital: Aram Barsamian, baritone; accompanied by Mark Salters, piano.
Wednesday, January 13: Ty Woodward, organ; David Searfoss, trumpet; Stephen Billington, trumpet
View the Recital Program here
Wednesday, December 9: Calico Winds, wind ensemble
View the Recital Program here
Wednesday, November 11, Kirill Gliadkovsky, piano
View the Recital Program (list of pieces and artist bio)
Wednesday, October 14, Nancy Roth, violin; Lorenzo Sanchez, piano
Wednesday, September 9, Aaron Shows, organ
June 11, 2020 – Duo Imaginalis: Ekaterina Bessmettseva, piano; Hugo Nogueira, guitar
May 13, 2020 – Mark Robson, Piano Online Recital
January 8, 2020 – David Childs, baritone
David Childs is a baritone who specializes in Jewish Music. He holds a degree in Vocal Performance from UCLA and is an alumnus of the Aspen Music Festival. David’s past musical endeavors include singing solo roles with several performing groups: Guild Opera, Pacific Opera Project, Aspen Opera Center, & LA Chamber Orchestra. In 2017, David performed a recital with pianist Mark Robson as part of Boston Court’s Emerging Artist Series. David also played accordion with the Latin-American folk-pop band, We The Folk. He currently serves as Cantorial Intern at Sinai Temple in Westwood and is studying at the Ziegler School of Rabbinics at American Jewish University.
March 11, 2020 – Sergey Kosemyan, cello; Anna Markosyan, piano
Sergey Kosemyan is a recipient of the UNESCO Gold Medal, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of Aram Khachaturian, 2008. He is the prize winner of the following International Competitions: Aram Khachaturian International Competition, 2006; Pierre Lantier International Chamber Music Competition (Grand Prix), Paris, 2002; the National Young Artist Competition in Yerevan, Armenia (1997) First Prize; and the winner of the Premier Prix de La Conservatoire National Superior de Paris, 2002. He is the founder of the Classic Art Trio (2014), and Kosemyan Ensemble (2017) in Mexico. His teachers have been Mstislav Rostropovich, Philipe Müller, Harry Hoffman, and Dominique de Williencourt.
Anna Markosyan is a graduate of the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory, and winner of the A. Babajanyan National Piano Competition (Armenia). She has performed in chamber ensembles in Armenia, Russia, Europe, Mexico and the USA.
May 8, 2019 – David York, organ
April 10, 2019 – The Wilder Trio, clarinet, bassoon & piano
March 13, 2019 – AlmaNova Duo, flute and guitar
February 13, 2019 – Lukas Hasler, organ
March 14, 2018 – Duo Ondine: Boglárka Kiss, Flute; Alison Bjorkedal, Harp
February 7, 2018 – Althea Waites, Piano – February 7, 2018
May 10, 2017 – Jaebon Hwang, Organ
The finale of the 2017 Mid-Week Recital series is with award-winning composer and organist, Jaebon Hwang! She is organist at Westwood United Methodist Church where she presides over one of the largest organs in the region. Awarded the Fellow of American Guild of Organists, the organization’s highest level of certification, she is active as a recitalist and as a collaborative artist.
May 9, 2018 – Christoph Bull, Organ
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