Violin and Viola Festival to showcase string technique and musical interpretation

The community is invited to attend a weekend of musical performances and masterclasses at Fresno State on March 17 and 18.  The Gala Concert will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 18th, at the Concert Hall. It will showcase the talents of the Festival String Orchestra and feature solo performances by the guest faculty. The program will include works by Ernest Toch, Anton Arensky, Franz Schubert, Paul Hindemith, and Jean Sibelius. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $10 for university employees, $7 for seniors (60 and older) and free for Fresno State students.

The evening will begin with the String Ensemble, with the youngest participants presenting two pieces, followed by a chamber music selection featuring guest faculty collaborating with Fresno State faculty. The second half of the program will feature guest faculty soloing with the Festival String Orchestra, followed by two pieces performed by the Festival Orchestra led by the festival faculty.

The masterclasses will bring guest faculty and students together as they share their wisdom and knowledge about string technique and musical interpretation. The sessions will take place from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, March 17th, at the Wahlberg Recital Hall, and on Saturday, March 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Concert Hall. They are open to the public and do not require tickets. On Friday, March 17, Fresno State students will have the opportunity to perform for the guest faculty. On Saturday, March 18, younger festival participants will get a chance to perform for and work with the faculty.

Masterclasses are open to the public and do not require tickets. 

Guest Faculty

Qing Li

Qing Li

Astonishing in her musical versatility, violinist Qing Li brings great warmth, poise, and insight to her music-making. Li is the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Second Violin, appointed by Yuri Temirkanov in 2000 upon winning the audition, and is frequently featured as a soloist with the BSO. A Piatigorsky Foundation Artist, she is a much sought-after recitalist, chamber musician, and guest concertmaster and principal appearances both locally and internationally. Li is also currently a violin faculty artist at her alma mater, the Peabody Institute of Music at Johns Hopkins University. She has been the violin faculty artist of the NYO-China, since their 2017 inaugural season’s debut concert at Carnegie Hall. She gives masterclasses and is active in International Festivals throughout the US, Asia, Europe, South America, and Russia. She has always felt that teaching is her way of repaying the kindness shown to her by her mentors.

Born in Beijing, China, Li began violin studies at age 4 with her father. At age 12,  Qing Li was accepted to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Based on a prize-winning Sibelius Violin Concerto performance at the first Beijing International Violin Competition, Berl Senofsky brought her to the renowned Peabody Conservatory of Music, where she was granted a full scholarship and won the Marbury violin competition. After graduating from Peabody, she studied with the legendary Joseph Gingold in Bloomington, Indiana. Under David Zinman’s directorship, Li won her first position in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, playing on a $100 Chinese violin, which was a gift from her father before coming to America. She now performs on her 1736 Neapolitan instrument made by Nicolo Gagliano.

Masumi Per Rostad

Masumi Per Rostad

Praised for his “burnished sound” (The New York Times) and described as an “electrifying, poetic, and sensitive musician,” the Grammy Award-winning, Japanese-Norwegian violist Masumi Per Rostad hails from the gritty East Village of 1980s New York. He was raised in an artist loft converted from a garage with a 1957 Chevy Belair as the remnant centerpiece in their living room. Masumi began his studies at the nearby Third Street Music School Settlement at age three and has gone on to become one of the most in-demand soloists, chamber musicians and teachers. In addition to maintaining an active performance schedule, he serves on the faculty of the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.

As a member of the Pacifica Quartet for almost two decades (2001-2017), Masumi regularly performed in the world’s greatest halls, including Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Sydney’s City Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Musikverein, Munich’s Herkuleshaal, Paris’ Louvre and Cité de la Musique, and Berlin’s Konzerthaus among many others. He was a full professor of viola and chamber music as quartet-in-residence at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. He is a professor of viola and chamber music at the Eastman School of Music. He is a D’Addario Artist and has used their strings since 1999. Celebrating a 400-year birthday in 2019, his Amati viola was crafted in Cremona, Italy, in 1619.

Dr. Lauren Deutsch

Dr. Lauren Deutsch

Lauren Deutsch holds a doctoral degree in violin performance from UCLA. She studied with Movses Pogossian and Guillaume Sutre for her Doctor of Musical Arts degree and Lorenz Gamma for her Master of Music degree. In addition to performing, Lauren is passionate about teaching. She maintains a private studio of over 25 students ages two and up in Woodland Hills, CA. Lauren and her sister, Lindsay, co-founded a non-profit organization Classics Alive Foundation ( to encourage, mentor, and motivate kids to become involved in classical music. 

Lauren also holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in science. After graduating Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from USC, she went on to receive a master’s degree in Kinesiology, completing original research studying the biomechanics of violin players. She continued her research at UCLA, studying the biomechanics of bowing techniques as the focus of her dissertation.

Lauren has spent many summers teaching violin at the Los Angeles Suzuki Institute and has been honored to be a masterclass teacher at various Suzuki programs. Lauren was the head of the string program at the UCLA Summer Music Academy, a chamber music program for high school students. She also was part of the UCLA/Hamilton High School mentoring program, where she taught and mentored underprivileged, talented violinists to prepare them for college music auditions. Ms. Deutsch also is passionate about sharing her love of teaching with other teachers, and she enjoys training beginning teachers and those teachers wanting to learn more about teaching young kids. 

Fresno State Faculty

Dr. Limor Toren-Immerman

Dr. Limor Toren-Immerman

Limor Toren-Immerman has won numerous regional and national competitions and has appeared as a soloist with orchestras throughout the United States, Israel, and Russia. Her concert career has additionally taken her through Europe, the Middle East, Japan, and Canada. She has held principal positions in many Southern California Orchestras and has performed under the batons of Zubin Mehta, Kurt Mazur, Michael Tilson-Thomas, and Charles Dutoit. Presently, she serves as Concertmaster for the Mozart Classical and Palm Springs Opera in the Park orchestras and performs as a Guest Concertmaster with the Fresno Philharmonic and other Southern California orchestras.

As a diverse chamber music player, Toren-Immerman performs music from Baroque to the twenty-first century and is a member of the Mizmor Trio as well as a founding member of Trio Accento, whose début CD Extant Blues was released on Albany Records in December 2019. A recent collaboration with an acclaimed pianist Hatem Nadim has been commemorated in a new CD: Johannes Brahms – Violin Sonatas, released on Albany Records in March of 2022. Her latest CD, “Timeless Rhapsody,” presenting Solo Violin Sonatas by Bach, Bartók, and Ben-Haim, is scheduled for release in May of 2023.

An enthusiastic educator, Dr. Toren-Immerman currently serves as a Professor of Music in Violin and Viola on the faculty of the California State University Fresno. She has also been a regularly featured guest of international music festivals, such as the Colburn School Summer Chamber Music Intensive, the International Music Academy and Competition in Cremona, Italy, Chamber Music Unbound in Mammoth Lakes, California, Fresno Opera and Orchestra Summer Academy in Fresno, California, Chamber Music Roundup in Fort Worth, Texas, Music in the Mountains Festival and Conservatory in Durango, Colorado, InterHarmony International Music Festival in Arcidosso, Italy, and CSU Summer Music.

Dr. Thomas Loewenheim

Dr. Thomas Loewenheim

Thomas Loewenheim is a modern renaissance man: a unique musician who enjoys an international career, combining cello performance, conducting, and teaching at the highest levels. He has toured North America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East, performing with orchestras, giving recitals, and playing chamber music, and has been broadcast over the national radio networks in Austria, Canada, Israel, and the United States.

Loewenheim is currently a Professor of Cello and Director of Orchestras at the California State University, Fresno, and the Music Director and conductor of the Youth Orchestras of Fresno. In 2016 he received the Fresno State Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the California Music Educators Association John Swain College/University Educator Award (2015), the Ella Odorfer Educator of the Year Horizon Award from the Fresno Arts Council (2012), the Fresno State Provost’s Award for Promising New Faculty (2011), and Special Recognition from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi for his service to the university and the community (2011). Previously he taught at the Indiana University String Academy and the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) and served as music director and conductor of the Musical Arts Youth Orchestra (MAYO) in south-central Indiana.

As a conductor, Loewenheim has earned a reputation for getting the most out of any orchestra, whether coming in for a single performance or festival week, as at the Hong Kong International School Choral and Orchestra Festival, or building an orchestra over a period of years, as at MUN or for MAYO. He founded the iMAYO festival in Bloomington, Indiana, and was a co-founder of the international Tuckamore chamber music festival in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Through his performing, working with some of the great musicians of our day, and his cumulative experience as a teacher, Loewenheim has synthesized an approach to teaching and conducting which produces technical confidence that rapidly enables music-making at a sophisticated level. He is currently demonstrating this approach in his master classes around the world.

Loewenheim is also an active researcher who has been rediscovering lost masterpieces, then performing and editing them. He has been the dedicatee of a number of cello works, most unaccompanied.

Loewenheim earned a doctorate in cello performance from the renowned Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where he studied with Janos Starker and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and was mentored in conducting by David Effron. He received a master’s degree from the University of Michigan under Erling Blöndal Bengtsson and a bachelor’s degree from the Rubin Academy for Music and Dance in Jerusalem. He also took part in master classes with Yo-Yo Ma, Mischa Maisky, Antonio Meneses, Arto Noras, Aldo Parisot, William Pleeth, and Menahem Pressler, among others. He plays a Jean Baptiste Vuillaume cello, made in 1848.

Dr. Arsen Jamkotchian

Dr. Arsen Jamkotchian

Classical pianist Arsen Jamkotchian was born and raised in the Los Angeles area. He completed his undergraduate education at Chapman University, majoring in Piano Performance and Computer Science. He continued his graduate studies at the Eastman School of Music, acquiring both his Master’s and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree alongside a minor in Pedagogy. During his professional studies, Arsen traveled internationally to participate in music festivals, master classes, performances, and competitions. He has worked with internationally renowned musicians such as Boris Slutsky, Alexander Gavrylyuk, Sergei Babayan, and Marina Lomazov. Most recently, he was awarded the second prize at the Rosalyn Tucker International Bach Competition in New York City and performed a solo recital at the Komitas Museum-Institute in Yerevan, Armenia.

As a member of the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Arsen performed the piano part for David Maslanka’s Symphony No. 7 at Severance Hall, Cleveland. Under the baton of Leonard Slatkin, Arsen performed Jeff Beal’s Battleground film score with the Eastman Philharmonia. Other ensembles Arsen has worked with include Musica Nova, OSSIA, Repertory Singers, Eastman Wind Orchestra, and Eastman Symphony Orchestra. Currently, Arsen performs as a solo and chamber musician in the Los Angeles area. He has presented and performed at the California Association of Professional Music Teachers Conference in Fresno, where he introduced the music of Arno Babajanyan as well as discussed modern music. 

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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