Distinguished violinists get spotlight at IRIS concert

IRIS Orchestra

Featuring violinists Carolyn Huebl, Stephen Miahky, Miho Saegusa and Jonathan Swartz. 8 p.m. Saturday at the Germantown Performing Arts Centre, 1801 Exeter. Tickets: $55. Call 901-751-7500, or go to www.irisorchestra.com.

Stephen Miahky

Photo by Lucia or David Mumm

Stephen Miahky

Miho  Saegusa

Miho Saegusa

Carolyn Huebl

Carolyn Huebl

Jonathan Swartz

Jonathan Swartz

The first concert of the season for the IRIS Orchestra takes a different approach to the featured artist slot.

The orchestra is putting the spotlight on four of its regulars — Carolyn Huebl, Stephen Miahky, Miho Saegusa and Jonathan Swartz —in a performance of Vivaldi's Concerto for Four Violins.

"Audiences love our guest soloists," says IRIS executive director David DePeters. "But they also tell us they love the orchestra and we should let the musicians do their thing. So we said, 'OK, let's put them front and center.' "

IRIS is a customized group of musicians who come in from all over the country for the performances that are almost always at the Germantown Performing Arts Centre. They are chosen by Maestro Michael Stern and are among the best players in the land.

The four who will play Saturday night are among the most distinguished and have sat as concertmasters for the orchestra at various times.

Huebl is associate professor of violin at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. Before that, she was assistant principal second violin with the Pittsburgh Symphony and assistant professor of violin at Carnegie Mellon University.

Huebl has a solo CD of sonatas by Alfred Schnittke, and is married to cellist Felix Wang, who also performs with IRIS.

Miahky is assistant professor of violin at the Ohio University School of Music, and serves on the faculty of the Montecito Music Festival in Santa Barbara, Calif.

He has been guest concertmaster of the Columbus ProMusica, the Illinois Symphony, and the Kansas City Symphony.

Saegusa was recently appointed concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. She has toured nationally and internationally with Musicians from Marlboro and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

She has also been featured as a soloist with the New Jersey Symphony, the Aspen Music Festival orchestras, and the Juilliard Orchestra. She is on the faculty of the Praxis Youth Leadership Orchestra.

Swartz serves on the faculties at Arizona State University, the Innsbrook Institute, Madeline Island Music Camp, Round Top Festival Institute and the Domaine Forget Academy.

He recently released a CD of violin works and is married to Wendy Chen, who was a piano soloist with IRIS in 2006.

DePeters says that so many of the IRIS musicians have strong chamber music backgrounds, which tends to make them particularly collaborative.

"They have the ability to turn off the ego and work together," he says, which lets them easily move from soloist to team player.

IRIS Orchestra

Featuring violinists Carolyn Huebl, Stephen Miahky, Miho Saegusa and Jonathan Swartz. 8 p.m. Saturday at the Germantown Performing Arts Centre, 1801 Exeter. Tickets: $55. Call 901-751-7500, or go to irisorchestra.com.

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