Arts & Entertainment - March 10, 2010

Musical duo to perform at Ladera church

by Marjorie Mader

Violinist Kay Stern, San Francisco Opera concertmaster, and pianist Joan Nagano will perform in a benefit concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 21, at Ladera Community Church.

They will perform works by Francesco Geminiani, Georges Enesco, Maurice Ravel, Vaughan Williams, John Williams and others.

Proceeds from the concert will fund a new youth music program at Ladera Church, which has a long tradition of offering enriching musical experiences to the community.

Ms. Stern and Ms. Nagano have performed together for more than 10 years — since a musical "blind date" brought them together. They share an artistic vision that inspires their ensemble playing and their audiences, said musician Betty Spamer of Ladera.

During their program, they speak with the audience about the music, noting interesting historical content, intriguing connections, and the composer's state of mind, Ms. Spamer said.

It was Ms. Spamer's bid at a recent auction that led to the Stern-Nagano performance in Ladera. She won the bid on a one-hour performance of the duo at the memorial benefit concert for Mildred Owen, founder of Pacifica Performances and a creative musical force in the area for decades.

Ms. Spamer decided to honor Ms. Owen, her former voice teacher, and share the duo's performance with the community.

"This is a rare occasion to hear musicians of this caliber in our neighborhood," said Ms. Spamer. "As a performer and former youth choir director at Ladera Church, I share the duo's philanthropic commitment to serve community, and especially youth, through music.

"Their playing for the benefit concert to support a new youth music program was a natural fit," she said.

The artists have national and international reputations, having performed at music festivals, on television and radio, and with chamber ensembles, in addition to their work as teachers and coaches.

Besides concerto and chamber music recordings, Ms. Stern can be heard on movie sound tracks and video games, recorded at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch.

Concert-goers will have the opportunity to meet the artists during a reception in Peabody Hall after the concert.

The suggested donation is $10 to $20. Reservations are not required.

Ladera Church is at 3300 Alpine Road in Portola Valley.

Go to or call 854-5481 for more information about the concert and music activities at the church.


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