Into the Music with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra: Vahn Armstrong and Eva Stern

Tuesday, July 14, 2020
08:15pm EDT

Location Virtual Porch

Virtual Porch events are free with registration.

Watch Now

Mozart: Duo for Violin and Viola in G major, K. 423
Martinu: Three Madrigals for Violin and Viola


For the past two years Vahn Armstrong has served as the CSO’s acting Concertmaster — always inspiring with his leadership, enthusiasm, professionalism and his love for music. He is joined by his partner and long-time member of the CSO’s viola section, Eva Stern, in what promises to be an exciting evening of music and stimulating conversation. This will all come to you from Lenna Hall at Chautauqua!

In his career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral leader, recording artist and pedagogue, ​Vahn Armstrong​ has established himself as a leading violinist of his generation. He is now in his twenty-eighth season as Associate Concertmaster of the Chautauqua Symphony and Concertmaster of the Chautauqua Opera. For the last two summers, he served as Acting Concertmaster of the CSO for the season. In the “offseason”, he is Concertmaster of the Virginia Symphony, an orchestra that has garnered national praise for its performances and recordings, and also Concertmaster of the Virginia Opera.

Mr. Armstrong has appeared as soloist on many occasions with the Virginia and Chautauqua symphonies, as well as many other orchestras throughout the U.S. He is a charter member of the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Music Series, and was for many years leader of the Chautauqua String Quartet. For ten years, Mr. Armstrong performed with the award-winning New World String Quartet, concertizing throughout the U.S. and Europe. The New World Quartet made several recordings; one of these, ​Ainsi la nuit​ by Henri Dutilleux, was awarded a ​Prix du disc​.

Throughout his career Mr. Armstrong has been committed to performing contemporary music. He includes in his ​repertoire​ not only works of Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Berg, Prokofiev, Bartok, and Barber, but also those of Bernstein, Piazzolla, Ligeti, Dutilleux, Arvo Part, Elliot Carter, Richard Danielpour, Gwyneth Walker, and many others. Mr. Armstrong has recorded for MCA Classics, New World Records, Musical Heritage Society, and others. He has been a frequent guest on NPR’s ​Performance Today​, WGBH’s ​Morning Pro Musica​, WNED’s ​Music from Chautauqua​, and BBC London. He was also Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University, University of Michigan, Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California and MusicWest at Utah State University.

A native of Michigan, Mr. Armstrong holds BM and MM degrees from the Juilliard School, where he was a scholarship student of Dorothy DeLay. He now resides in Norfolk, Virginia, and enjoys sailing on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. In 2018, he held the W.C. Burroughs Memorial Trophy, awarded annually by the Chautauqua Yacht Club for sailing excellence.

Violist Eva Stern has been a member of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra since 2000. Diverse in experience as both a performer and teacher, Eva has given recitals and taught master classes across the United States and Eastern Europe. She has served on the faculties of Eastern Michigan University, Bowling Green State University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Longwood College. Previously she has been a member of the St. Louis Symphony, Richmond Symphony and Louisville Orchestra, and plays as a substitute musician with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Oregon Symphony. An avid chamber musician, Eva is a member of the Muse Ensemble with violinist Kyoko Kashiwagi and cellist Katri Ervamaa. She has appeared with numerous ensembles including the Chautauqua String Quartet, Michigan Chamber Players, Chamber Music Ann Arbor, Chamber Music at the Scarab Club and the American Romanian Festival. Stern is featured on a recording of works for viola, clarinet and piano released by Fleur de Son Classics. She has been praised for having “a rich, juicy tone and an agile technique” (Ann Arbor Observer, She holds a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she was a student and teaching assistant of George Taylor. Her undergraduate studies were at Purchase College- State University of New York, where her principal teachers were Walter Trampler and Daniel Philips. Eva is also a Pilates and movement teacher. She maintains a private Pilates studio in Norfolk, Virginia, and teaches movement workshops for musicians throughout the country. In addition, she teaches Pilates for Balance through the Chautauqua Special Studies program.

Into the Music with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra is a series featuring individual members of the CSO. Created in collaboration with the musicians, these Tuesday evenings will be unique programs, allowing audience and community members to connect with the musicians of the CSO about music-making, music-makers and music as an essential part of life.