By editor, 02/22/2017 - 12:42

Maestro David Handel conducts and

Canadian virtuoso violinist Timothy Chooi is featured

SAN LUIS OBISPO (CA) – Richard Wagner. Felix Mendelssohn. Johannes Brahms. Legendary German composers known for their prolific writing of operas, concertos, chamber music and symphonies and their featured masterworks will fill Harman Hall for Classics in the Cohan 4 on Saturday, March 11, 8 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center. Maestro David Handel, the fourth guest conductor auditioning for SLO Symphony Music Director position, leads the orchestra with Canadian violin virtuoso Timothy Chooi as the featured soloist. Tickets for the performance are now available at

The evening begins with Wagner’s Overture to Die Meistersingers von Nurnberg. The piece is the beginning prelude to Wagner’s four-plus hour opera, one of the longest ever performed. The story revolves around the city's guild of Meistersingers (Master Singers), an association of amateur poets and musicians who were primarily master craftsmen of various trades. The master singers had developed a craftsman-like approach to music-making, with an intricate system of rules for composing and performing songs. The work draws much of its atmosphere from its depiction of the Nuremberg of the era and the traditions of the master singer guild. 

Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin is his last large orchestral piece and, for nearly 150 years, one of the most regularly performed, popular and played romantic-era concertos in the world. Most listeners will recognize the familiar, blistering fast third movement that has been played and used in many other mediums. The Classics in the Cohan audience will have the opportunity to hear violin virtuoso Timothy Chooi master the complex and engaging piece.

Johannes Brahms has been coined as one the “Three B’s,” a reference by notable 19th Century conductor Hans von Bulow who wrote to his wife, ”You know what I think of Brahms: after Bach and Beethoven the greatest, the most sublime of all composers." Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op.98 is sweeping and romantic; the last symphony that he wrote (1885) and the last performance he witnessed before his death in 1897. Rich orchestral colors abound, and melody after melody flows right across the orchestra. The triumphant sound of the finale is impossible to avoid, with Brahms using every instrument of the orchestra to drive onwards to the most thunderous and joy-filled conclusion.

Conductor David Handel

David Handel’s passionate leadership and engaging personality has made him a favorite with orchestras and audiences on four continents. A disciple of Kurt Masur and Gustav Meier, he was named Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Bolivia at an early age. Building that organization into a model of artistic and organizational growth has led him on to further appointments in Argentina, Chile and, now, as Principal Guest Conductor of the Moscow City Symphony - Russian Philharmonic, one of the Russian Federation’s preeminent orchestral ensembles. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Handel received a Bachelor of Musical Arts Degree in violin, philosophy and composition, and a Master’s Degree in orchestral conducting. Even before receiving his graduate degree in conducting, Maestro Kurt Masur took Handel under his wing as his apprentice conductor at the Leipzig Gewandhaus and later invited him to conduct the New York Philharmonic in a preview of young conducting talent at Carnegie Hall. He has represented the United States around the world as a Cultural Ambassador through U.S. State Department Cultural Specialists and Public Diplomacy Programs, conducting orchestras in the Middle East and Cuba.

Timothy Chooi  

Timothy Chooi has been described as “the miracle” (Montreal Lapresse). Recently winning the Bronze Medal of the 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition, Chooi also recently completed an extensive recital tour with Jeunesses Musicales Canada, performed with Pinchas Zukerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, recorded his debut album, and was featured at Ravinia Festival in Chicago. He is also a winner of the 2013 Vadim Repin International Scholarship, a recipient of the 2015 Sylva Gelber Award and Grand Prize Winner of the 2010 Montreal Symphony Manulife Competition. In recent years, Timothy made his debut as Soloist with the Malaysian Philharmonic, Auckland Philharmonia, Santa Barbara Symphony, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Newfoundland Symphony and the Edmonton Symphony. He has performed as soloist with the Victoria Symphony, the Calgary Symphony Orchestra, National Orchestra of Costa Rica, Orchestre de Jeneusses de Montreal, Calgary Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, Orford Academy Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Orchestras of Americas and the Moritzburg Symphony Orchestra.

About the San Luis Obispo Symphony
The San Luis Obispo Symphony was established in 1954 by a small group of 11 musicians called the Morro Bay Community Orchestra. The SLO Symphony was incorporated in 1961 and, in its 56-year history, has grown significantly to become a leading arts institution in the community with 70 orchestra members, a large Youth Symphony program with six ensembles and a music education program that has eleven school-based programs that have touched more than 16,000 youth per year in it 53-year tenure.

During its 2016-17, the San Luis Obispo Symphony is auditioning five finalists during the Classics in the Cohan concert series for the position of Music Director. For further information, please visit