Tosca Opdam — Violin
Paul Schulten Haute Couture
Praised for her “enchanting musical personality” (De Volkskrant), violinist Tosca Opdam has captivated audiences and critics alike with her musicality and poise. Born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Tosca won the first prize in the Oskar Back Violin Competition for Hollands’ promising violinists, performing Vieuxtemps’ Fifth Concerto at the Concertgebouw. The jury marked her “beautifully sustained long lines” and “soloist qualities”.
Recent engagements include a performance at the “Bevrijdingsconcert aan de Amstel” (Liberation Day concert at the Amstel river) — an outdoor concert on the Amsterdam canals — live broadcasted on national television. Other notable Amsterdam performances were a sold-out debut recital at the Recital Hall of the Concertgebouw, as well as a performance at the Main Hall of the Concertgebouw, where Tosca performed for international press in honor of the re-opening of the Rijskmuseum in Amsterdam.
Her solo orchestral debut was at age 11 with the Camerata 2/3 String Orchestra. Since then she has performed as a soloist with orchestras such as Holland Symfonia, the NJO (Nederlands Jeugd Orkest), and the Humboldt Orchestra, under the baton of Constantin Alex, Jurjen Hempel, Matthew Rowe, Clark Rundell and others. Concerts have taken her all over Europe and North America to prominent concert stages and venues such as the Concertgebouw, (Amsterdam), The Music Theater (Amsterdam), Lincoln Center (New York), Muziekcentrum Frits Philips (Eindhoven), National Arts Center (Ottawa), and The Doelen (Rotterdam).
A passionate chamber musician and recitalist, Tosca appeared at numerous music festivals like the Grachtenfestival (Amsterdam), the Delft Chamber Music Festival, (Delft), Storioni Festival, (Eindhoven), the R&R series (New York) and the Young Artists Program, (Ottawa). She played and worked closely with renowned musicians such as Inon Barnatan, Liza Ferschtman, Sol Gabetta and Maxim Rysanov.
Tosca crafts extraordinary programs, often reflecting her interests in establishing connections between different art forms. Examples are a lecture concert at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, based on- and inspired by the Van Gogh’s art and life, as well as a lecture performance at the symposium of the “Veerstichting” (Leiden). Other multi-disciplinary projects include performances at Lincoln Center in a collaboration with the New York City Ballet and The New York Choreographic Institute, as well as a special guest appearance at the Amsterdam Music Theater with the Dutch National Ballet during their anniversary Gala program “Presents 1/2” in 2013. On another occasion, she performed in an innovative presentation of Messiaen’s ‘Quartet for the End of Time’ combining actors, musicians and visual texts, at the “Ades” performing space (New York). In August 2014, she hosted a two-hour long radio program called “Een Goede Morgen met…”, which was live broadcasted on national radio.
Tosca Opdam is a recent Masters of Music graduate from the Juilliard School of Music in New York where she studied with Catherine Cho and Sylvia Rosenberg. At the Manhattan School of Music, from which she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2012, she studied with Patinka Kopec. Before coming to New York, Ms. Opdam completed the Young Talent class of the Conservatory of Amsterdam under Joyce Tan and Peter Brunt. Tosca has performed in master classes with eminent musicians such as Pamela Frank, Ilya Grubert, Theo Olof, Georgy Pauk, Candida Thompson, Frank Peter Zimmermann and Pinchas Zukerman.
Tosca plays a Matteo Goffriller violin, which is generously loaned to her privately.
Gerard Gordon — Percussion
Recognized for his natural aptitude for percussion, Gerard Gordon is noted as being the first musician to win a position in the Inter-School Orchestra (ISO) Symphony without prior formal training. This achievement provided him with a scholarship and the recognition of several newspapers. He is currently the Principal timpanist/percussionist for the Greenwich Village Orchestra, the Queens College Symphony Orchestra and is member of the Riverside Orchestra.
Gordon’s recent engagements include performing the Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra by Ney Rosauro with the Queens Philharmonic and performing with the chamber ensemble of the Astoria Symphony. As a member of the Greenwich Village Orchestra for over 20 years, Gordon has performed several concertos including Ney Rosauro’s Marimba Concerto No. 1, and Phillip Glass’ Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra with Jonathan Haas.
Gordon is an alumnus of the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division and is a member of the Metropolitan Chamber Music Society. His past teachers include Bill Trigg, Jeff Kraus and he is currently studying with Michael Lipsey of the Talujon Percussion Quartet. He is a Bachelor’s of Music candidate at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. In 2004, Gordon appeared as a featured soloist performing the Rosauro Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra with the GVO. He is married to wife Karyn and they have two children, Gerard Jr. and Liam.
Andrew Pak — Violin
Andrew Pak’s musical interest began early from his mother’s womb when she accompanied and sang with Grandpa’s church choir in Honolulu. He grew up in Orange County, CA, and started piano with Mom at age 6. After watching a Jascha Heifetz video one year later, Andrew raised his hand to learn the violin. Andrew won several regional and statewide competitions in both instruments, including his concerto debut at age 13 performing Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto with the Concordia Orchestra at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in LA. He later moved to NYC to attend Stuyvesant High School and Mannes Pre-College of Music, where he won both schools’ concerto competitions on piano and was the Concertmaster of each symphony. Andrew graduated with a B.S. in Management Science and Minors in Economics and Music from MIT, and spent one year at the London School of Economics General Course. After 10 years at Goldman Sachs, Andrew has been working for 4 years at Mizuho Securities in Fixed-Income Sales covering central banks, asset managers, hedge funds, and other institutional investors.
Andrew maintains his pursuit of musical excellence outside Wall Street. Since 2014, he has been the Co-Concertmaster of the Greenwich Village Orchestra. Andrew has performed regularly with the Redeemer Presbyterian Church Music Ministry and the New York Piano Society on both piano and violin. In 2011, he played Beethoven’s 1st Piano Concerto with the Orfeo Music Festival Orchestra in Vipiteno, Italy. As a GVO Board Member, Andrew is focused on building music therapy and community outreach programs.
Andrew thanks his piano teachers (Namyoung Pak, Judith Tanksley, Lucille Straub, Gena Raps, David Deveau) and violin teachers (Anne Thatcher, Barbara Krakauer, Roman Totenberg) for their lifelong encouragement and support. He lives in the Hudson River town of Piermont, NY with his wife Minna and daughter Naomie.
Eric Mahl — Assistant Conductor
Eric Mahl is a musician who believes in the transformative powers of music above all else. His hope is to provide meaningful, enriching and educational musical experiences to as many communities as possible. Under the belief that the study music is essentially an exploration of the human condition, he believes that classical music is for all humans, and strives to bring meaningful music new and old, played to the highest possible level of artistry, to every kind of audience around the globe.
Mr. Mahls’ past positions include assistant conductor to the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra in New York City, the contemporary music ensemble Orchestre 21 in Montreal QC, conductor of the Fredonia Symphonia, cover conductor for the Orchard Park Symphony in Buffalo, NY, and assistant to all orchestral activities at SUNY Fredonia in Fredonia, NY. He has had guest conducting experiences with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Greenwich Village Orchestra and Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra, as well as the University Orchestras of College Conservatory of Music (CCM), Orchestra de l’Universite de Montreal, and SUNY Fredonia. He begins his tenure as Music Director of the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra with their 2015–2016 season.
Mr. Mahl’s dedication to contemporary music can be seen in his many collaborations with professional and student composers including the world premieres of fully staged operas, experimental ballet, and countless small and large ensemble pieces of all genres. As part of his position with Orchestre 21, Mr. Mahl was selected to act as assistant for the world premiere of Debussy’s newly finished opera, Le Diable dans le Belfroi.
Mr. Mahl received his Bachelors of Music in Education from Ithaca College and continued his studies both at Universite de Montreal and the State University of New York at Fredonia. He has studied with some of the foremost conducting pedagogues in the United States including Harold Farberman, Neil Varon, Marc Gibson, Larry Rachleff, Don Schleicher, Jean-Francois Rivest, Paolo Bellomia, and Joeseph Gifford, and has participated in workshops and competitions in the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic and at the Eastman School of Music, College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, and Bard College. He is primarily a trumpet player who strives to continue to learn and play as much as possible.
Read more at ericmahl.com.
Helen-Jean Arthur — Violin
Helen-Jean Arthur catapulted to New York from Chicago to be an actor. After studying with Uta Hagen and Lee Strasberg she married the late Michael Dunn, a cellist, and as the young mother of four, needing some outlet of her own, began violin lessons. Eventually she was accepted as an adult student by William Lincer, who was then Leonard Bernstein’s first violist in the N.Y. Philharmonic and on the Juilliard faculty. She and Michael helped to found GVO and then she returned to her career. She was in the original productions of Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All To You and A Lie of the Mind, and the New York premiere of Tom Stoppard’s Indian Ink among some 50 Broadway and Off-Broadway plays. Most recently, she was in the Humana Festival in Louisville and in Therese Raquin at the Atlantic here in New York. Other regional credits include Arena Stage in D.C. and The Guthrie Theatre. National Public Radio fans may have heard her broadcast from Symphony Space in Selected Shorts and the annual Bloomsday. She also did what felt like a prison stint on a soap, Loving, for four years. She still tours and concertizes world-wide in the repertoire for actress with symphony orchestra. Upcoming commitments include two engagements with upstate orchestras in Façade, the Edith Sitwell nonsense poetry set to music by Sir William Walton.
Between shows she returns to GVO and feels privileged to play the big orchestral repertoire under Barbara Yahr’s direction. She and her children own an 1840 house in the city and part of an old farm in the Catskills, where she works in the woods and gardens like a maniac.