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From the Archives Tom Stone, Violin Laura Gaynon, Cello Allegra Chapman, Piano
November 30, 2021
From the Archives Tom Stone, Violin  Laura Gaynon, Cello  Allegra Chapman, Piano

From the Noontime Concerts Archives 

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Trio élégiaque, No. 1

Johannes Brahms: Piano Trio No. 2 in C Major, Op. 87

Tom Stone was born in Chicago where he studied music with Hillel Kagan.  At age 16 he attended Tanglewood where he coached with Eugene Lehner of the Kolisch Quartet and played in an orchestra under the direction of Leonard Bernstein. After this experience, his focus on music became increasingly intense. Mr. Stone went on to pursue musical studies at the Eastman School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music.  His major teachers have included Donald Weilerstein, Zvi Zeitlin, Gyorgy Sebok, and Bonnie Hampton. Mr. Stone has also performed in masterclasses for Issac Stern and members of the Amadeus, Emerson, Juilliard Quartets, and LaSalle Quartets. He has performed with many distinguished artists including Awadagin Pratt, Leon Fleisher, Zuill Bailey, Jon Nakamatsu, Ian Hobson, and Donald Weilerstein.

During his 20 years as a founding member of the Cypress String Quartet, Mr. Stone performed in major musical venues all over the world including the Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, and the Ravinia Festival.  He also commissioned and premiered works by George Tsontakis, Jennifer Higdon, Benjamin Lees, Philippe Hersant, and Elena Ruehr.

Mr. Stone has served as artistic director of the Centrum Chamber Music Festival and has worked closely with educational and arts organizations throughout the country to conceptualize and implement some of the nation’s most innovative educational programs. He has also served as treasurer of the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, board member of Chamber Music America, and panelist for the San Francisco Arts Commission. Mr. Stone plays on a violin made in Cremona, Italy by Carlos Bergonzi in 1734.

As a frequent performer, educator, and presenter of cello and chamber music, Laura Gaynon has performed both modern and baroque cello in concert halls across the United States, Europe, Canada, and China. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area,  Laura has performed with the American Bach Soloists, the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Opera Parallele, Magik*Magik Orchestra, the unconducted orchestra One Found Sound, and as a founding member of the baroque chamber ensemble MUSA. She is the cellist of the Pacific Crest Chamber Players, a string quartet that forms the faculty of the Pacific Crest Music Festival. As a chamber musician, she frequently performs with pianist Allegra Chapman and violist Jessica Chang, and she has collaborated with  Kim Kashkashian, Krista Bennion-Feeney, Geoff Nuttall, Bonnie Hampton, Paul Hersh, and Ian Swensen. Recent festival appearances include the American Bach Soloists Academy, Valley of the Moon Music Festival, Berwick Academy, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Taos School of Music, the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar, and the 2012 International Piatigorsky Cello Masterclasses at USC.

Laura is co-founder and Co-artistic Director of Bard Music West, an annual music festival that explores the world of one 20th century or contemporary composer each year through music, dance, theater, film, and lectures. The third festival, The World of Grazyna Bacewicz, took place on October 18 and 19, 2019 at the Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco. It was described as “brilliant” and picked as one of the best classical performances in San Francisco by the San Francisco Chronicle, and received widespread critical acclaim.

As an educator, Laura has a private cello studio in San Francisco and directs the String Quartet Program at Thomas Hart Middle School in Pleasanton, CA. She is a core faculty member of Chamber Music by the Bay,  and the Pacific Crest Music Festival, and she has taught at California Music Preparatory Academy as a coach.

Laura earned degrees from Yale University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she graduated with an M.M. in cello performance, an Artist Certificate in chamber music, and an emphasis in Historical Performance Practice as a student of Jennifer Culp and Elisabeth Reed. Other important mentors include George Neikrug, Ole Akahoshi, Carolina Singer, Mikhail Gelfandbein, Irene Sharp, and members of the Brentano, Cleveland, St. Lawrence, Shanghai, St. Petersburg, and Borromeo String Quartets.

Described as “brilliant” by the San Francisco Classical Voice, San Francisco-based pianist Allegra Chapman is dedicated to connecting with new audiences as a performer, presenter, and educator. Allegra has performed as soloist and chamber musician at prestigious venues throughout the United States, Europe, and China, including Alice Tully Hall, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, the Bard Music Festival, the Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum in Budapest, San Francisco Jazz Center, and Xi’an Concert Hall in Xi’an, China. Her performances have been broadcast on WQXR New York, WFMT Chicago, and KALW San Francisco.

An avid chamber musician, Allegra performs regularly with UC Berkeley’s Eco Ensemble, Left Coast Ensemble, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and in Chordless, a duo with soprano Sara LeMesh. She has collaborated with members of the International Contemporary Ensemble and the Eusebius, Orion, and Telegraph String Quartets.

Allegra is a passionate advocate for contemporary music. She is the founding artistic co-director and executive director of Bard Music West, a new San Francisco music festival that explores the worlds of contemporary and 20th-century composers. From 2019-2021, she serves as a resident curator at the Center for New Music in San Francisco. Allegra has worked with composers Joan Tower and Charles Wuorinen and premiered the works of many young composers. In 2012, Allegra’s unusual collaboration with Yamaha Disklavier and The Juilliard School’s Center for Innovation in the Arts was the subject of a feature article and video in the Wall Street Journal.

As an educator, Allegra has coached chamber music ensembles at many institutions, including San Francisco State University and Xi’an Conservatory of Music. Her student ensembles have received top prizes in regional and national competitions. Allegra is currently on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Pre-College division and MTSY Studio in Xi’an China.

Allegra received her MM from The Juilliard School as a recipient of the Larson, Goldberg, and Rosenman scholarships. She graduated in the inaugural class of the Bard Conservatory of Music’s double-degree program with degrees in history and piano performance. Allegra owes much to her many wonderful teachers who include Joseph Bloom, Jeremy Denk, Seymour Lipkin, Sharon Mann, Julian Martin, John McCarthy, and Peter Serkin.