2015 / Cello recital to support children’s orchestra in Fukushima, Japan, March 7 at Azusa Pacific University

Cellist Marek Szpakiewics

Azusa Pacific University’s School of Music hosts a benefit recital in memory of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami victims of Japan on Saturday, March 7 at 7 p.m.

The event, featuring renowned cellist Marek Szpakiewicz, DMA, director of Chamber Music at Azusa Pacific University, takes place in Munson Recital Hall, located on East Campus, at 901 E. Alosta Ave., in Azusa. Suggested donation for attendance is $15.

The evening’s program features Dvorak’s “Slavonic Dance” in E minor, Op. 72, No. 2; Chopin’s Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 65; Shostakovich’s Cello Sonata in D Minor, Op. 40; and Piazzolla’s “Le Grand Tango.”  Pianist Jiayi Shi will perform with Szpakiewicz.

Proceeds from the recital will help fund the purchase of a half-sized cello for Soma Children’s Orchestra and Chorus in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Soma is among the disaster areas of the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake, the tsunami that followed, and subsequent nuclear power station accident.

Szpakiewicz performs many charity concerts for the people of Japan, including a Japan benefit in June 2011, for which he received recognition from the Los Angeles County Supervisors.

Last November, Szpakiewicz visited Soma Children’s Orchestra and Chorus for music guidance and performance. On March 27, he will perform at Ginza Oji Hall in Tokyo. A portion of the proceeds from his Tokyo concert will also go to Soma Children’s Orchestra and Chorus.

Yo-Yo Ma described Szpakiewicz as an artist whose “energy, motivation, earnestness and generosity of spirit are evident through his work.”

He performs as a soloist with various orchestras in Europe and in the United States and has collaborated with Polish composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek on film orchestration, including music for the critically acclaimed movie Finding Neverland, which received the 77th Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2005.

In 2008, Szpakiewicz, a native of Poland, earned permanent residency from the U.S. government as an “Extraordinary Ability Artist.”