Press Release – August 11, 2018




Mother Lode Friends of Music presents their first concert of the 2018-2019 season, on Sunday September 30th at the Main Street Theater in Sutter Creek.  The concert begins at 3:00 pm.  The program will feature music from the early 20th century.  Works include the sensuous song cycle “Chansons Madecasses” by Maurice Ravel, and the extraordinary “Trio in C Major” by Croatian composer Dora Pejacevic.  Performers include the brilliant Biljana Bojovic, Cello, and the MLFOM debut of Karen Lyman, Mezzo Soprano.  Returning MLFM performers are Corina Stoian, violin, Ron Brickman, Piano, and Sandra Betti, Flute.  This concert is free of charge. 

Biljana Bojović comes from the Balkans to the United States to study at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and then pursues her undergraduate studies at West Virginia University in Morgantown and graduate studies at Butler University in Indianapolis. She has studied cello with Cassel Grubb, Crispin Campbell, William Skidmore, and William Grubb, music composition with John Beall, Frank Felice, and Michael Schelle, and music education under the mentorship of Penny Dimmick.

For many years she had a very active musical life as an educator, composer, and freelance cellist in the Indianapolis area and performed in many different venues as a soloist, in chamber groups and orchestras. Biljana’s works are written mostly for solo instruments and chamber groups, and often draw inspiration from Balkan music. Her pedagogical work includes individual instruction of cello, piano, music theory and composition, teaching general music to elementary school students, directing middle school and high school string orchestral programs, and teaching aural skills and fundamentals of music theory at undergraduate university level. Biljana and her husband have recently moved to California where she continues to play and write music, including music for children, and is a church cantor and music educator. She is happy to play at the Mother Lode Friends of Music concert series and is looking forward to continue to collaborate with artists from this region.

International concert violinist Corina Stoian made her American debut on February 2007 at the Sutter Creek Theatre with Ron Brickman at the piano.  Since then, Stoian has thrilled local audiences many times with her outstanding virtuosity and thrilling interpretations and has become a popular performer throughout the Mother Lode and beyond.

Before her move to the United States, Stoian was a leading concert violinist in her native Romania and in Germany.  She was for many years concertmaster of the Folk Chamber Orchestra in Essen, Germany and won several international prizes, leading to appearances in France, Switzerland, Israel, Bulgaria and Italy. Since residing in the United States, besides her multiple appearances with the Friends of Music, she has performed as soloist with the Auburn, Camellia, Diablo and Bear Valley Music Festival orchestras. In the Spring of 2017 with her longtime partner Brickman, she performed the Concerto for Violin and Piano of Felix Mendelssohn with the Orchestra of the Mother Lode Friends of Music under the direction of Henrik Jul Hansen.

Pianist Ron Brickman grew up in West Point in Calaveras County, where he  studied piano with Mrs. Charles Brockman.  After a career in university teaching and research, he returned to his hometown in the early 1990’s. He was President of the Mother Lode Friends of Music until last spring, frequently performing as a chamber musician, recitalist and  soloist with orchestra.  He has also performed in several regional concert series and in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sandra Betti holds a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance degree from San Francisco State University.  She has studied with Paul Renzi, former principal flute with the San Francisco Symphony, and Leone Buyse, assistant principal flute with the Boston Symphony. She has performed with the Cal Berkeley Symphony and the Artesian Pops Orchestra in Los Angeles, and toured Europe with classical guitarist Sergio Funes. Since moving to Sonora, she has become a major figure in local musical circles, including directing the Sonora Bach Festival and serving as Music Director at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, as well as teaching flute to our local young musicians and playing principal flute in the Mother Lode Friends of Music Orchestra. She has performed in the St. James Concert Series in Sonora, the Sonora Bach Festival, and in the Friends of Music Chamber Music Series in Sutter Creek.


Mezzo-soprano Karen Lyman is originally from Reno, NV. She received a Bachelor’s degree in opera performance from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. During her time there, she performed multiple roles and has since gone on to sing with professional opera companies and orchestras. Her most recent performances include Handel’s Messiah with the Solano Chamber Orchestra and the role of Jack in Nevada Opera’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk. She now lives in Sutter Creek, CA with her husband and three boys

Press Release – April 30, 2017



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The Mother Lode Friends of Music, the regional organization of classical music performances, presents its last concert of the 2016-2017 season on Sunday, April 30, at the Pine Grove Community Church, 14045 Ponderosa Way, in Pine Grove. The concert, starting at 3 pm, is free and is open to the public.

The concert features music for violin, cello and piano of Haydn, Rachmaninoff and Bruno-Videla and the Sonata for violin and cello of Maurice Ravel. Soprano Alexis Magarò sings three songs of Rachmaninoff and “Dream with me” of Leonard Bernstein, accompanied by piano and cello.

Marie Flexer

Violinist Marie Flexer has appeared as soloist with Redwood Symphony, Livermore-Amador Symphony, San Francisco Concerto Orchestra, Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, Ohlone Symphony, Courtney Music Festival Orchestra and Fremont Philharmonic. As an orchestral musician, she has served as Concertmaster of Livermore-Amador Symphony, Nova Vista Symphony, Livermore Valley Opera, Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. She was Principal Second Violinist for the Stockton Symphony for ten years, and is a member of San Jose Chamber Orchestra. In addition, she has been a member and performed with numerous other professional ensembles, including Midsummer Mozart Festival, Marin Symphony, Women’s Philharmonic, Stratos Ensemble, Modesto Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, San Jose Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, Opera San Jose and San Francisco Symphony.

Cellist Stephanie Chiao, an Oberlin Conservatory of Music graduate, is the founder of the Vivace String Trio and String Quartet. She also has performed with the Divertimento quartet, Les Trois Papillons Trio (the Three Butterflies Trio), the Stockton Chorale, and the Merced Symphony. She was the semi-finalist of the Grace Vamos Cello Competition and a recipient of the young musicians’ scholarship program. In addition to performing, she taught at the Humboldt Chamber Music Workshop, and at the University of Pacific Summer music camp. She is currently the assistant principal cellist of the Stockton Symphony.

Alexis Magarò

Soprano Alexis Magarò, a graduate of UC Santa Cruz, won several international singing competitions before launching a career that led her to star in many of Europe’s most prestigious opera houses and recital halls. Since re-establishing residence in the United States, she has performed frequently with the Mother Lode Friends of Music, most recently singing the last scene of Capriccio of Richard Strauss with the Orchestra of the Mother Lode Friends of Music in March, 2015.

The concert will be followed by a reception honoring the twenty five years of service as President of Ron Brickman, who is retiring at the end of the current season. All attending the concert are invited. For more information, go to or call (209) 293-4227.

Press Release – April 9, 2017



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Two of the country’s leading trombonists are the featured artists in the next concert of the Mother Lode Friends of Music. The concert is Sunday, April 9 starting at 3 pm in the Pine Grove Community Church, 14045 Ponderosa Way, Pine Grove. Supported by its membership base, the Friends of Music offers this concert to the general public without admission charge.

Bass trombonist Rudi Hoehn is the principal bass trombonist of the Hawaii Symphony and the Santa Barbara Symphony. Rudi received his M.M. degree from The Juilliard School in 2012, where he studied on scholarship with James Markey, then of the New York Philharmonic. Rudi has previously held positions with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with numerous other organizations including the Seattle Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, and the Sacramento Philharmonic. He has recorded professionally with contemporary music ensemble NOVUS NY, has been featured on NPR’s Performance Today, and was also one of three finalists in the 2012 International Trombone Festival Donald Yaxley Solo Competition. Rudi earned his B.M. degree in 2009 from California State University Sacramento, where he studied with Joel Elias. During 2006-2007, Rudi was awarded Rotary International’s Ambassadorial Scholarship, whereupon he lived in Germany and studied at the Musikhochschule Trossingen with Abbie Conant, retired principal trombone of the Munich Philharmonic.

Tenor trombonist Craig Beattie is a graduate of The Guildhall School of Music of Music and Drama in London. He moved to New York City in 2011 where he graduated from The Juilliard School. Now based in Houston, Texas, Craig is currently Adjunct Professor of Low Brass at Lonestar College, Lee College and an instructor at the British International School of Houston. He enjoys an active performance and chamber career and is a regular guest with ensembles throughout the United States such as Paragon Brass, The River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Second Baptist Church, The Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra, The Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet and the Houston Symphony.

Aided by pianist Ron Brickman, the two trombonists offer a range of music for bass trombone and piano and music for tenor and bass trombone duet. Highlights include New Orleans by Eugene Bozza and the Suite of Negro Spirituals, both for bass trombone and piano, and Conversation for trombone duet by Charles Small.

Opening the program is a performance of the String Quintet in G minor of W. A. Mozart. Scored for two violins, two violas and cello, the work is universally regarded as one of Mozart’s finest chamber works. It will be performed by an ensemble of professional string players from the Sacramento area: Anthony Wills and Christine Choi on violin, Randy Fisher and Kate Capra on viola, and Jia-Mo Chen on cello.

More information, go the Friends of Music’s website at or call (209) 293-4227.

Press Release – November 12, 2016

Friction Quartet



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On Saturday, November 12, the Mother Lode Friends of Music, the regional organization of classical music performance, presents a concert by the internationally acclaimed string quartet, the Friction Quartet, with Chinese-American concert pianist Jenny Q Chai and composer/percussionist Andy Akiho.

The concert takes place at the Sutter Creek Theatre, 44 Main Street, in Sutter Creek, and starts at 3 pm.

The event will feature the world premiere of the Quintet for Piano and Strings of Akiho, composed specifically for the Friction Quartet under a commission from Chamber Music of America, the national organization representing professional chamber musicians. Also on the program is the Piano Quintet of Robert Schumann, one of the undisputed monuments of the classical music repertoire, and In Exchange, a composition by Akiho for string quartet and steel pan. Akiho is a virtuoso on the steel pan, a large metal bowl originating from the Caribbean which sounds much like a marimba.

The Friction Quartet is composed of violinists Kevin Rogers and Otis Harriel, violist Taija Warbelow and cellist Doug Machiz, all graduates of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and still in their twenties. Their performances have been hailed in the press as “stunningly passionate” and “terribly beautiful.” They have performed in Carnegie Hall and in many venues around the United States and abroad. This past summer they won second place in the prestigious Schoenfeld International String Competition in Harbin, China.

Jenny Chai

Jenny Chai

Pianist Jenny Q Chai has studied at the Shanghai Music Conservatory, the Curtis Institute, the Manhattan School of Music and the Cologne University of Music and Dance. She is a noted interpreter of 20th century masters including Messiaen, Ligeti and Cage. She has been praised by the New York Times for her “resourceful technique and sensitivity.”

Described as “mold-breaking,” “alert and alive, “dramatic,” and “vital”, composer and percussionist Andy Akiho has emerged as one of America’s most successful and acclaimed young composers. His works have been performed by the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony, Shanghai Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He received the 2014-2015 Luciano Berio Rome Prize, the 2014 Nadia Boulanger Memorial Fund Award, and numerous other awards. His compositions have been featured on PBS’s “News Hour with Jim Lehrer.” He was born in 1979 in South Carolina and now makes his home in New York City.

Andy Akiho

Andy Akiho

Tickets for the concert are $25 for adults and $10 for children under 18. They may be ordered by mail by sending a check for the number desired to MLFM, PO Box 1362, Jackson, CA 95642, purchased in person at Mother Lode Music in Martell, or at the door. A reception honoring the artists will immediately follow the concert. Tickets to the reception are purchased separately, at $15 per person, and must be purchased in advance. For more information, call (209) 293-4227 or contact

Download PDF: 2016-10-16-fq-friction-quarter-press-release

Press Release – October 16, 2016


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The Mother Lode Friends of Music, the classical music performance society of the central Mother Lode, opens its new season with a program of music for Baroque chamber orchestra, featuring the music of Georg Frideric Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach. The concert takes place on Sunday, October 16 at the Pine Grove Community Church, 14045 Ponderosa Way, in Pine Grove, starting at 3 pm.

The concert opens with the Water Music Suite No. 1 of Handel, for two horns, two oboes, bassoon, and strings. One of the most popular pieces of music of all time, the Water Music was composed by Handel to entertain King George I and his entourage on royal barges floating up and down the Thames River. At its debut in 1717, the king was so pleased with the music that he had it repeated at least three times.

The program continues with the Concerto in E major for violin of J. S. Bach, one of only two concertos Bach for solo violin, with string and harpsichord accompaniment. After intermission, the orchestra performs the Concerto Grosso Op. 3, No. 2 in B flat of Handel, for 2 oboes, bassoon, and strings. The work, in six short movements, features two violins (concertino) playing solo parts in some of the movements. The program concludes with the Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 of J.S. Bach, for solo violin, solo flute and solo harpsichord, with string accompaniment. One of six concertos written by Bach for the Brandenburg court, they remain one of classical music’s all-time favorites.

Sandra Betti

Sandra Betti, Flutist

The concert is performed by the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of the Mother Lode Friends of Music, some 21 players drawn from the top instrumentalists of the Mother Lode and surrounding metropolitan areas. Corina Stoian, the Romanian-born concert violinist who has appeared frequently in local performances since establishing residency in the United States in 2006, is the violin soloist in the two Bach concertos. Sandra Betti, the Sonora-based flutist who is a featured player in local concerts of classical music, is joined by Friends of Music President and harpsichordist Ron Brickman in the concluding Brandenburg concerto.

The conductor is Hank King, replacing the previously announced Henrik Jul Hansen, who withdrew due to illness. King has been a prominent member of the Mother Lode’s musical community for decades. In addition to his services as head of the music department of Amador High School in Sutter Creek, he was the first conductor of the Friends of Music Orchestra before the appointment of Hansen. He was for many years the conductor of the Sierra Symphony in El Dorado County and continues as conductor of the Brass and Reed Wind Ensemble. As a virtuoso recorder player, he is thoroughly familiar with Baroque music and was a featured player in the Friends of Music’s concert of Baroque small ensemble music two years ago.

Tickets to the concert are $20 for adults. In an effort to introduce young people to the glories of Baroque music, the Friends of Music is offering free admission to young people under the age of 18.

Tickets may be purchased at Mother Lode Music in Martell and at the door. Call (209) 293-4227 for more information. Another performance of this same concert will be presented as part of the Sonora Bach Festival, on Saturday, October 15 at 7:30 pm at the Cowboy County Church, 14888 Peaceful Valley Road, in Sonora. Call (209) 536-6330 for more information.

Press Release – March 06, 2016


PRESS RELEASE : Please publish before Sunday, March 6. Photos of soloists Corina Stoian (violin) and Ron Brickman (piano), conductor Henrik Jul Hansen and the orchestra are attached. For further information, contact Ron at (209) 293-4227 or

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The Mother Lode Friends of Music, the society offering classical music performances in the central region of the Sierra foothills, presents its annual concert of symphonic music on Sunday, March 6, starting at 3 pm in the Church of the Nazarene, 14050 Ridge Road, in Sutter Creek.

The Orchestra of the Mother Lode Friends of Music will be led by conductor Henrik Jul Hansen in a program of music devoted to composers Felix Mendelssohn and Johannes Brahms. The first half of the program comprises the rarely performed Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra of Felix Mendelssohn. One of the most precocious composers of all time, Mendelssohn composed the work at the astonishing age of fourteen! Yet it is hardly the work of a child. The composer’s talents were already in full bloom, with his teenage years producing such masterpieces as the String Octet, the Concerto for Two Pianos, and the incidental music to Midsummer’s Night’s Dream. The Double Concerto displays his gift for beautiful melodies and his ease in writing virtuoso passages for both of the solo instruments. alone and in combination.

The second half of the program, where brass, winds and percussion join the strings, is devoted to a performance of the Symphony No. 3 in F major of Johannes Brahms. One of only four full symphonies of the composer, it remains from its debut in 1883 an enduring cornerstone of the symphonic literature. Always a supreme musical challenge, this will be the Orchestra of the Mother Lode Friends of Music’s first performance of a Brahms symphony.

Soloists in the Mendelssohn concerto are violinist Corina Stoian and pianist Ron Brickman. The Romanian-born Stoian has become a major figure in Friends of Music performances since her arrival in the United States in 2005. She has performed frequently as recitalist, chamber musician and soloist with orchestra, exploring all facets of the repertoire from Vivaldi to Argentinian tango, and since 2012 has been concertmaster of the Friends of Music Orchestra. She has also performed as soloist with the Auburn, Camellia, Bear Valley and Diablo symphonies.

Joining her is pianist and Friends of Music President Ron Brickman. A native Californian who grew up and now lives in West Point, Brickman has been the guiding light of the Friends of Music since its inception over twenty years ago. He has played several works with its Orchestra, including concertos by Scriabin, Brahms, Rachmaninoff and Gershwin.

Ever popular with audiences and players alike, conductor Henrik Jul Hansen returns on to lead the orchestra, building upon a long-standing association with the ensemble. The Danish-born conductor was trained in several of Europe’s leading conservatories. Since establishing residence in California he has conducted several orchestras including the Sacramento Philharmonic and the Merced Symphony.

The Orchestra of the Mother Lode Friends of Music has evolved into the premiere orchestral ensemble in California’s gold rush country. Its players are drawn from the most highly qualified instrumentalists in the Mother Lode, supplemented by musicians from surrounding metropolitan communities and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tickets to the concert are $25 for adults. Children under the age of 18 are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased in advance by sending a check for the number desired to MLFM, PO Box 1362, Jackson, CA 95642 or purchased in person at Mother Lode Music, Prospect Plaza, Jackson or Calaveras Arts Council, Main Street, San Andreas. Tickets may also be purchased at the door starting one half hour before the performance. For more information, go the or call (209) 293-4227.

Press Release – January 31, 2016



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The Mother Lode Friends of Music, the classical music performance society serving the central region of the Sierra foothills, presents its first concert of the new year on Sunday, January 31, starting at 3 pm. The concert will be held at the Sutter Creek Theatre, 44 Main Street, in Sutter Creek. The concert is free and open to the public.

The program includes four works for piano sextet: piano, two violins, viola, cello and double bass. The featured work is the Sextet of Sergei Lyapunov, a Russian composer who was a contemporary of Tchaikovsky. The work is full of lush Romantic melodies and is symphonic in scale. The second half of the program presents three lighter works: the delightful Peacock Pie of early 20th century British composer C. Armstrong Gibbs, the Bolero Recuerdos de Andalucia of Spanish composer Eduardo Ocón, and the Pantomime and Ritual Fire Dance from El Amor Brujo of Manuel de Falla, in an arrangement for piano sextet by the composer himself.

Joining pianist and Friends of Music President Ron Brickman are five exceptionally talented string players from the San Francisco Bay Area. Romanian-born violinist Corina Stoian is an international concert violinist who has become one of the Friends of Music’s most popular players. The former concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of Essen, Germany, she now performs frequently as recitalist, chamber musician, concerto soloist and concertmaster of the Friends of Music Orchestra. She is joined by violinist Heather Katz, an Oakland-based musician who is concertmaster of the Redwood Symphony. Violist Ted Seitz attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and is now a member of several orchestras, including the San Jose Symphony, the San Jose Chamber Orchestra and the Mendocino Festival Orchestra. Cellist Alexandru Dumitrache, trained in his native Romania, is former principal cellist with the Chicago Lyric Orchestra and has worked with Daniel Barenboim and Zubin Mehta. Bassist James Coyne is a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and is now a free-lance musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.

For more information, go to the Friends of Music’s website, or call (209) 293-4227.


Mother Lode Friends of Music Calendar of Concerts and Events, 2015-2019

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