Santa Monica Symphony Guest SoloistsVatche Mankerian, piano
As a multi-faceted artist, Vatché Mankerian distinguishes himself as a pianist, composer, conductor, lecturer and teacher. He has performed to wide critical acclaim in major cities on four continents. A prize winner of several international competitions, he has appeared as a soloist with several orchestras including the Pasadena, Rio Hondo, Brevard, Reno Chamber, Lark symphonic orchestras, and recently with the National Philharmonic of Armenia with Maestro Loris Tjeknavorian. He returns to the Santa Monica Symphony, after having performed the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24 during the 1997-1998.
On October 24, 1995, Mankerian performed his New York debut at the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall, where he presented the complete solo piano works of Arno Babajanian. He holds Bachelor and Master's degrees from the University of Southern California where he studied with Stewart Gordon, Eduardo Delgado and Nancy Bricard. Privately he has also worked with Aube Tzerko, Jerome Lowenthal and the noted film composer David Raskin.
As an active composer, he has written pieces for the piano and incidental music for theatrical productions and cinema. He has two recording albums and is currently completing a third. A member of the Music Teachers' Association of California, Mankerian has been teaching since 1987 and is a faculty member at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music and the AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School.
Ilmar Gavilan, violin
Ilmar Gavilan returns as soloist with the Santa Monica Symphony, having performed Saint-Saens' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, along with Ravel's Tzigane during the 1996-1997 season. Born in Havana, Cuba, his father is a conductor and his mother is a concert pianist. At the age of four he was introduced to the violin by his father. He subsequently began to attend formal violin lessons at the age of six. Ilmar made his solo debut when he was eight years old with Orquestra de Camera Brindis de Salas. He frequently performed on Cuban television and radio programs as well as with prominent orchestras throughout the country. Recognized during this period in his budding career with honors at numerous national competitions, Mr. Gavilan also performed the Mendelsohn violin concerto with La Orquestra Sinfonica Nacional de Cuba.
At the age of fourteen, Ilmar was recognized as the best interpreter of George Frederick Handel's music at the Lipinsky-Wieniawsky International Competition in Poland. Soon after this he enrolled at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow where he studied with Professor Maia Glizarova. Prior his graduation in 1993, he toured throughout the various republics of the former Soviet Union. In 2001, Ilmar took top honors at the 4th Annual Texaco-Sphinx Competition.
Since departing from Moscow, Ilmar studied with Zachar Braun at Las Escuela Superior de Musica "Reina Sofia" in Spain. Notable performances by Mr. Gavilan include those for Queen Sofia of Spain, Yehudi Menuhin and a laureate appearance at the International Heinrick Schering Violin Competition. In 1995, Ilmar came to the United States at the invitation of Joseph Egger of the United Nations Symphony. He is currently studying with Abraham Stern as well as Claire Hodgkins and Sherry Kloss, two former assistants of Jasha Heifetz. Ilmar has been invited to teach at the Julliard School of Music and is currently awaiting notice of his acceptance as a pupil of Dorothy Delay.
Susan Greenberg, piccolo
Flutist Susan Greenberg enjoys a versatile career as soloist, chamber musician, symphony player, and recording artist. Her playing has been described as "brilliant," "elegant and supple," with a "gorgeous tone." As a member of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, she has been a frequent soloist on both flute and piccolo. Ms. Greenberg has also appeared as guest soloist with the San Francisco and Oakland Symphonies, at the Casals Festival, and at the Hollywood Bowl. She has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, L.A. Opera, New York City Opera, American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, and the Ojai Festival. She was the principal flutist of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra during their 1995 tour of Japan.
Ms. Greenberg's early career began as principal flutist with the Roger Wagner Chorale and Orchestra performing throughout the U.S. and Canada, Europe and the Middle East. She was a fellowship recipient to Tanglewood and to the Music Academy of the West.
Ms. Greenberg is a cum laude graduate of UCLA, where she also received her Master of Arts. She has been on the faculties of California Institute of the Arts and Occidental College. She received the "Most Valuable Player" award on the flute from the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences, and can be heard on Crystal and Angel labels.
She is also the Co-Artistic Director of Chamber Music Palisades, now celebrating its fifth season. The Los Angeles Times recently lauded Chamber Music Palisades as having "bright and seasoned professionalism with musical panache."
Ms. Greenberg is also active in motion pictures, television and commercial recordings, and has played on many films including The Lion King, Star Trek, Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., and on television shows such as The Simpsons, Enterprise, Jag, and Superman cartoons.
back to Santa Monica Symphony page