- Sample Programs
Cellist Julian Schwarz and pianist Marika Bournaki met as students at the 2006 Aspen Music Festival, subsequently reconnecting at Switzerland’s Verbier Festival and as students at The Juilliard School in New York City. They began their musical collaboration in 2014, and made their debut at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, DC.
As the winners of the First Prize in the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition’s inaugural “The Art of Duo,” Schwarz & Bournaki have been presented in prizewinner recitals at the Boulder Bach Festival, as well as performances at New York City’s Bargemusic, The University Club and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, The Musical Club of Hartford and Canada’s Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts.
Recent appearances by Schwarz & Bournaki include Bargemusic, The Juilliard School and The National Arts Club in New York City, Danbury Music Center (CT), The Embassy Series (Washington, DC), Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival and Hammond Chamber Music Series (MA), Thurnauer School of Music (NJ), The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Peninsula College and Second City Chamber Music Series (WA), Canada’s Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance and Salzburg, Austria’s Mozarteum. Their 2016-17 season was highlighted by a 10-recital tour of China, which included the grand-opening performance at the new concert hall in Qianjiang.
The debut CD of Schwarz & Bournaki, an album of Beethoven Schumann, Strauss, Poulenc and Kreisler, will be released in early 2018. Previously, the artists had recorded the complete cello and piano music of Ernest Bloch (2015) for the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music and made the world premiere recording of Bright Sheng’s Northern Lights (2017) on the Naxos label.
Mr. Schwarz and Ms. Bournaki have been heard on WUOL (Louisville, KY), “Backstage Pass” on WXXI (Rochester, NY) and “Northwest Focus Live” on Classical King FM 98.1 (Seattle, WA). They have also performed extensive piano trio repertoire with the violinists Mark Fewer, Avi Nagin, Mark Peskanov and Eric Silberger. As teaching artists, the duo is in-residence at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance and, with the Mile-End Trio (also including violinist Jeff Multer), the Eastern Music Festival.
Cellist Julian Schwarz is a native of Seattle, WA. He was the First Prize winner of the 2013 Inaugural Schoenfeld International String Competition in Hong Kong. He is an international soloist, active contributor to Strings Magazine’s Artist Blog and Assistant Professor of Cello at the Shenandoah University Conservatory in Winchester, VA. For more information: www.julianschwarz.com
Marika Bournaki is a Canadian pianist from Montreal, QC. She tours internationally as concerto soloist and recitalist, and was the subject of the award-winning documentary “I am Not a Rock Star,” chronicling her evolution as an artist from age 12 to 20. She received both her Bachelor and Master degrees from The Juilliard School, and is a member of Piano Six, the Next Generation. For more information: www.marikabournaki.com
"A NIGHT IN VIENNA"
|Variations in E-flat on “Bei Männern” from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, WoO 46
Arpeggione Sonata in a
Variations on a Theme from Mozart’s Don Giovanni
|Cello Sonata in d
Cello Sonata #1 in e, Op. 38
Suite for Solo Cello (1926)
|Adagio & Allegro, Op. 70
Cello Sonata in A
|Cello Sonata #1, Op. 3
Cello Sonata #5 in D, Op. 102, #2
J. Dello Joio
|3 Pieces “From Jewish Life”
A Love Song
Due per Due
Louange a l’Éternité de Jésus
“BRIGHT SHENG: NORTHERN LIGHTS”
“The most familiar work of the evening was Schubert’s Sonata in A Minor, originally meant to be played on the arpeggione, an instrument now defunct. Schwarz brought a controlled vibrato and compressed sound to this gorgeous piece, with much perilous high writing. Bournaki kept pace with Schwarz, sensitively moving with him through several modifications of the temp with the flexibility of folk musicians. Schwarz applied his most silky legato to the slow movement, including the delicate cadenza that led into the daring finale, played with flair. A standing ovation elicited an encore from the duo, and arrangement of Schubert’s Di bist die Ruh.
WASHINGTON CLASSICAL REVIEW
Schwarz took the stage, without score, to join Bournaki for a fiery, kaleidoscopic performance of the Sonata for Cello and Piano by Claude Debussy. The opening Prologue blends melancholy with a noble air. The following Serenade demands the cellist execute a plethora of extreme string techniques, pizzicatos, whistling high harmonics, and strummed strings. The Finale abounds in vigorous high spirits interrupted by an ethereal, poignant interlude. Schwarz’s playing was breathtaking and his playing of the bravura middle movement was jaw dropping! What colors Bournaki conjured from her keyboard! Their performance was rewarded by a prolonged standing ovation.
CLASSICAL VOICE OF NORTH CAROLINA
Bargemusic’s Masterworks Series presented a stunning program of chamber music by Brahms, featuring three gifted musicians at the top of their games. After the bracing appetizer, [Mark] Peskanov yielded the floor to cellist Julian Schwarz, whose remarkable outward serenity belies his young age and, I suspect, helped him convincingly convey the first movement’s complex, charged emotions. In this quintessentially Brahmsian masterpiece of melody [Cello Sonata #1], Schwarz and Bournaki’s long association became apparent. The two musicians flowed, rose, moderated, almost breathed as one. The duo made it all look easy.
I called this [Paul Frucht’s Reckoning] before a ‘fantasia’ only because I couldn’t trace the classical structure in this relatively long work. That, though, didn’t detract from its seriousness–a mid-19th Century mid-European seriousness from the young American composer. And while that may be unfashionable, such commitment, and such difficult dense, playing–executed with unfailing brilliance by cellist Julian Schwarz and pianist Marika Bournaki–that it gave the most worthwhile elevation to an effervescent evening.
Continuing the classical side, there was Paul Frucht’s Reckoning, premiered by cellist Julian Schwarz and pianist Marika Bournaki. A soulful interior argument and lament, Reckoning was romantic and expressionistic, written with knowledge of the instruments, and the intense performance carried substantial and satisfying emotional power.
NEW YORK CLASSICAL REVIEW
ARTS AT ABINGDON
Abingdon Episcopal Church (Gloucester, VA)
Schumann: Adagio & Allegro
BARGEMUSIC (Brooklyn, NY)
J.S. Bach: 3 Gamba Sonatas
ARTS IN THE VILLAGE (Rehoboth, MA)
Goff Memorial Hall
Debussy: Cello Sonata