Co-winners of the School of Music’s 2016 Strings and Piano Chamber Competition, the Evergreen Trio, coached by faculty cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, features the musical talents of Natalie Ham, flute; Vijay Chalasani, viola; and Lauren Wessels, harp. In the group's debut UW performance, all of the music shares a common thread leading back to Claude Debussy and his Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp, with works by Dubois, Matthias McIntire, Takemitsu, and UW faculty violist Luke Fitzpatrick completing the program.
Theódore Dubois: Terzettino (1905)
Matthias McIntire: The Night is Full of Dark Imaginings (2016) **West Coast Premiere
Toru Takemitsu: And then I knew 'twas Wind (1992)
Luke Fitzpatrick: Levitating Density 2 (2016) **World Premiere, commissioned by the Evergreen Trio
Claude Debussy: Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp
Natalie Ham, flute
Natalie Ham is a flute student of Donna Shin in the Doctor of Musical Arts program at the University of Washington School of Music. She holds her Bachelor of Applied Music from the Eastman School of Music. Natalie has performed as principal flute in concert, opera, theater, and ballet productions with the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Bellevue (WA), the Eastman Philharmonia and Chamber Orchestra, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, the Bay View Opera Orchestra (MI), and the American Wind Symphony Orchestra (NY). In addition, she is an active member of chamber ensembles, including The Evergreen Trio, a woodwind trio, Baroque ensembles, and has been a featured member in the American Wind Symphony Orchestra Wind Quintet (NY) and the Bay View Wind Quintet (MI).
She has participated as artist and teacher at the Snowater Flute Festival (WA) and was the featured soloist and flute teacher with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra. Most recently, she was the flute and piano teacher at the Belvoir Terrace Summer Camp (MA). She is currently a Teaching Assistant at the University of Washington.
Vijay Chalasani, viola
Violist Vijay Chalasani is a versatile and commanding artist known for his imaginative and passionate performances. Equally at home on both modern and historical violas, Chalasani was featured as a soloist in performances ranging from the Walton Viola Concerto, Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, and Hoffmeister Viola Concerto with modern orchestras, to Bach’s 6th Brandenburg concerto, the Telemann Viola Concerto, and the Telemann Concerto for Two Violettas with period orchestras. An avid advocate for contemporary music, Chalasani was the soloist in the US premiere of Vinko Globokar’s chamber-theater piece “Blinde Zeit” with members of the Callithumpian Consort. He has also collaborated with composer Brian Ferneyhough, composer-violist Garth Knox, pianist Stephen Drury, Inverted Space Ensemble, and the Guerrilla Composers Guild, and actively commissions new works for the viola. Chalasani performs frequently on period instruments with ensembles such as the American Bach Soloists, Pacific MusicWorks, Early Music Vancouver, and the Albany Consort, as well as in chamber music performances of works from the classical and romantic eras on original instruments.
Chalasani currently studies in the Doctor of Musical Arts program at the University of Washington, where he studies viola with Melia Watras; as a Teaching Assistant at the UW, he works with the Modern Music Ensemble and Baroque Ensemble, and teaches Chamber Music Lab and String Techniques. Chalasani’s graduate studies were at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Don Ehrlich (modern viola), Elizabeth Blumenstock (baroque viola), and the late Mark Sokol (chamber music). His undergraduate studies were at CSU Sacramento, where he studied viola with Anna Kruger, chamber music with Ian Swensen and Andrew Luchansky, and pedagogy with Judy Bossuat. In addition to the concert stage, Chalasani often performs in less traditional venues such as bars, cafes, and house concerts, and has collaborated in cross-genre performances with a wide range of artists including rock band Third Eye Blind, hip-hop orchestra Jazz Mafia, and indie-folk group Americana Orchestra.
Lauren Wessels, harp
Harpist Lauren Wessels has performed as principal harpist for the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra, Texas Tech Symphony Orchestra, Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, Hobbs Symphony Orchestra, and Roswell Symphony Orchestra. She has won multiple awards as a soloist, including the Julia Hermann Edwards Scholarship Competition in Dallas, Texas. Lauren has performed for and attended many of the American Harp Society National Conferences and has performed in masterclasses with Jaymee Haefner and Yolanda Kondonassis. She has also participated in many chamber orchestras, workshops, musical productions, and operas throughout Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Lauren is a student of Seattle Symphony principal harpist Valerie Muzzolini at the University of Washington, where she is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Music Performance. Her Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance is from Texas Tech University, where she studied harp with Gail Barber and orchestral studies with David Becker. She previously studied harp with Denise Holland and Rebekah Passmore.
Director Bio: Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir
“Riveting” (NYTimes) cellist, Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Toronto and Iceland Symphonies, among others, and her recital and chamber music performances have taken her across the US, Europe and Asia. Following the release of her debut recording of Britten’s Suites for Solo Cello on Centaur Records, she has performed in some of the world’s greatest halls including Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall and Disney Hall. The press have described her as “charismatic” (NYTimes) and praised her performances for their “emotional intensity” (LATimes).
An avid chamber musician, she has collaborated in performance with Itzhak Perlman, Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode and members of the Emerson, Guarneri and Cavani Quartets and has participated in numerous chamber music festivals, including Prussia Cove and Marlboro, with whom she has toured. She is cellist of the Manhattan Piano Trio and a founding member of Decoda; a group that seeks to revitalize the world of chamber music through refreshing concert experiences, creative education, and community engagement.
Along with the masterpieces of the 18th, 19th and 20th century, Sæunn is constantly inspired by works composed in our time and enjoys working with living composers. In addition to working closely with Daníel Bjarnason on his award-winning composition “Bow to String”, she has premiered dozens of works, including new pieces by Peter Schikele, Paul Schoenfield, Kendall Briggs and Jane Antonia Cornish.
Sæunn has garnered numerous top prizes in international competitions, including the Naumburg Competition in New York and the Antonio Janigro Competition in Zagreb, Croatia. She received a Bachelor of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music, a Master of Music from The Juilliard School and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from SUNY Stony Brook. Her principal teachers include Richard Aaron, Tanya L. Carey, Colin Carr and Joel Krosnick.
Sæunn was a fellow of Ensemble ACJW—The Academy, a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education—performing chamber music at Carnegie Hall and bringing classical music to students in the New York City Public Schools.
Born in Reykjavik, Iceland, Sæunn first moved to the states as a child however, she still has family in Iceland and enjoys going back, both for concerts and family visits.