California Philharmonic Principal cellist Dennis Karmazyn and his emerging violin virtuoso son, 20-year-old Max Karmazyn, both of Santa Monica, are tuning up for a significant milestone in both their professional and personal relationship.
Though Dennis has been with the acclaimed orchestra for seven seasons and Max for three, their performance during the 2014 season opener marks the first time the talented duo are featured artists together during a Cal Phil concert.
The concert, titled John Williams and Friends, will feature the Karmazyns captivating audiences with a performance of the Theme from Schindler’s List, in a special arrangement for cello and violin, created especially by Max for himself and his father. The concert, which takes place Saturday evening June 28 at Santa Anita Race Track and again on Sunday afternoon June 29 at Walt Disney Concert Hall, also features the Karmazynsperforming the finale from Brahms’ Double Concerto.
“We love performing together. There is an inherent musical connection between father and son that you just don’t get performing with anyone else,” said Dennis, also the Principal Cello in Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, who has recorded for over 1,500 film scores and is recognized internationally as a renowned soloist and chamber artist with Columbia Artists’ Management. “Our primary focus is playing beautiful music. This has been the dynamic since Maxwell first began playing the violin at age 15 and we are thrilled to share this special moment with California Philharmonic and its loyal audiences.”
“At 16 I was a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with my father, Albert Karmazyn, who was a violinist in the orchestra,” continued Dennis who compares California Philharmonic under the direction of Maestro Victor Vener to Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic and Arthur Fielder and the Boston Pops for flawlessly combining classical and popular music. “Needless to say, I have been performing for most of my life, and I cannot be happier to continue this generational tradition of performing with my son.”
Max, who attends college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor pursuing a double major in Violin Performance and Composition, agrees.
“What is most meaningful to me, is that I arranged the music that my father and I are playing for the Cal Phil. Three generations expressing themselves through music,” added Max, who also shares how he is passionately drawn to the music of Schindler’s List. “I grew up with the stories about my grandparents on my father’s side of the family, and how they survived the persecution of the Nazis in World War II.”
The Karmazyns, who also enjoy performing house concerts for family and friends at their home in Santa Monica, continue to inspire each other through both words and music.
“The most useful advice my father has given me is his popular adage, “extra effort,” continued Max, whose first attempt at playing an instrument was picking up the cello with ‘my father giving me instruction…for about five minutes’ before pursuing the violin. “Never stop trying, be persistent, and work hard.”
And what words of advice struck a chord with Dennis?
“I was gearing up to perform a major solo with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in front of an audience of nearly 18,000 people. Hours before the concert, I sat with Max, then three years old, who was playing with a book. I asked him what it said. Max looked up at me and proclaimed, ‘you will never fail,’” added Dennis. “I reflect on this memory as one of the best pieces of advice and words of encouragement I could ever receive.”
Audiences throughout Southern California have options to attend extremely different experiences of Cal Phil’s one-of-a-kind concerts at two iconic venues; every other Saturday evening at Santa Anita Race Track on the infield with the beautiful unobstructed backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains or Sunday matinees at Los Angeles’ most vaunted music destination, the incomparable Walt Disney Concert Hall.
In addition to the Karmazyns’ performance, the 2014 blockbuster season kicks off with a selection of pieces from some of John Williams’ most memorable scores, including Star Wars, E.T., Jaws and Jurassic Park. And if all of that isn’t enough to create a musical spectacular, the Cal Phil Chorale joins the orchestra for Karl Orff’s Carmina Burana and the haunting Dry Your Tears, Afrika from Amistad with special guest Sarah Culberson. And on top off all that, the concert ends in typical Cal Phil style with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.