Professor Cyrus Ginwala to Lead Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Seminar

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Photo of Cyrus Ginwala

Cyrus Ginwala and the School of Music and Dance have a great offer for young chamber musicians in California: a free seminar with master classes and concerts led by his faculty colleagues — costs for travel, food and lodging included. Directing the Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Seminar for the first time, Ginwala also will launch a competition for cash prizes and Music scholarships to SF State.

The seminar will take place May 8 – 10 in the Creative Arts Building and is presented by the School of Music and Dance.

“The seminar honors the great musician and mentor, Yehudi Menuhin, allowing talented students and faculty mentors to interact through coaching and performing,” Ginwala says.

Yehudi Menuhin and SF State

Menuhin had one of the longest, most distinguished careers of any 20th-century violinist. He gained international fame by age 7 for his technical mastery and emotionally charged playing. Legend has it that at age 13, Menuhin inspired Albert Einstein to declare at a Berlin concert, “Now I know there is a God in heaven!”

Menuhin performed thousands of concerts, made recordings and collaborated with Bartók on the Sonata for Solo Violin, considered one of the 20th century’s greatest compositions.

The Alexander String Quartet launched the Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Seminar and Festival at SF State in 2003 to honor the late American violinist’s association with San Francisco and the University. It was founded on Menuhin’s belief that music has the power to create understanding and transcend differences between people.

The quartet met Menuhin at the 1982 London International String Quartet Competition, a momentous, inspiring occasion for the then-emerging ensemble. Years later, Menuhin served as honorary chair of the fundraising campaign for the Alexander String Quartet’s SF State residency, which started in 1989.

“Our estimable quartet-in-residence, the Alexander String Quartet, began this amazing event in 2003 with visionary thought: honoring a unique virtuoso’s legacy through the beauty of pedagogy and performance,” says Daniel Bernardi, interim dean of the College of Liberal & Creative Arts. “We are poised to continue the tradition with a fresh focus on further showcasing the excellence of our Music program.”

Cyrus Ginwala

Ginwala has appeared with the Roanoke Symphony, Boca Pops, National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, Aspen Concert Orchestra and Sewanee Summer Festival Orchestra. He has served as visiting faculty at the Peabody and St. Petersburg conservatories. He has conducted concerts throughout the Bay Area with orchestras including the American Philharmonic, Bay Area Rainbow Symphony and, most recently, the Diablo Symphony.

Ginwala has served as music director of the Young Victorian Opera Company and Symphony of the Mountains, resident conductor of the Sewanee Summer Music Center and conductor of the Musica Piccola Summer Orchestra at North Carolina School for the Arts. After completing a Bachelor’s degree in piano at Boston University, he earned Master’s and Doctor of Music degrees in orchestral conducting at the Peabody Conservatory.

“Professor Ginwala is an internationally renowned conductor and one of the most prominent and effective faculty members in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts,” Vice President for Advancement Robert J. Nava says. “We are delighted that he, in collaboration with colleagues including the Alexander String String Quartet, is able to offer the seminar for free — such a terrific opportunity for young musicians.”

Begin applications by February 15

To apply, groups should send names, instruments, performing experience, repertoire and, ideally, an audio or video of performance to Ginwala at Priority is given to groups from California. Groups must open an application by February 15 and complete it by March 1.


Photo: Teresa Tam

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