Maestros of the Violin & Guitar Summer 2023 Concert Artist Interview

August 23, 2023

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We’ve had the pleasure of hosting performances by stellar violinist Philip Vaiman with pianist Mikhail Korzhev in March 2023 (Maestros of the Violin and Piano) and a solo concert with distinguished guitarist Laura Mazon Franqui (Classical Guitar Concert) in December 2022. When Laura and Philip reached out to us with their proposed Violin and Guitar program of fantastic duos and solos, we enthusiastically accepted! The Athena Foundation for the Arts proudly presents Maestros of the Violin and Guitar, for our Summer 2023 concert series.

Their intriguing pre-concert interview reveals the stories behind their program. But, before I share this with you, I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to these fine musicians.

Philip Vaiman is interviewed for The Athena Foundation for the Arts blog.

Philip Vaiman

The professional career of violinist Philip Vaiman has taken him to concert halls around the globe, premier recording studios and international festivals in Europe, America, and Asia. Recipient of many prizes and awards, Mr. Vaiman has been a Grammy Voting Member at the Recording Academy since 2018. By the time he graduated from the renowned Gnesin Academy of Music, Philip had performed as a soloist and chamber musician in England, Israel, Russia, and Cyprus. Mr. Vaiman continued his education at the University of Southern California, graduating Cum Laude with a Master’s Degree in Music. Philip Vaiman’s recordings are featured on the soundtracks of award-winning motion pictures, documentaries, and commercials. He has recorded and performed with a diverse roster of artists including Aretha Franklin, Sting, Taylor Swift, Tony Bennett and Pharrell Williams just to name a few. Mr.Vaiman stays active as a recording artist and concert violinist.

Laura Mazon Franqui guitar solo performance for The Athena Foundation for the Arts Fall 2022 Concert Series.
Distinguished Cuban and Latin American classical guitarist Laura Mazon Franqui has been wowing audiences worldwide with her passionate playing and engaging musical interpretations since she was 10 years old. Fine venues in countries such as Cuba, Spain, Ecuador as well as the US at the Mid-Manhattan Library, the Guild of Boston Artists, Vanderbilt Theater and more, have hosted her concerts. She has also participated in festivals and competitions such as the Rhode Island International Festival and Competition, New Orleans International Guitar Festival, and the Havana International Chamber Music Festival. Ms. Franqui has also engaged in multiple recording collaborations for the music industry as well as television and cinema. As a performer, recording artist and teacher, Laura Mazon Franqui is in constant demand. Her musical interests move towards raising awareness for Cuban and Latin-American repertoire, especially the music of Women Composers. Innovation and Art integration are the words that drive her mission.

And now it gives me great pleasure to share their interview with you.

LRW: Philip and Laura, It’s an honor to have you perform in The Athena Foundation for the Arts 2023 Summer concert series. It was such a pleasure hearing you both play and getting acquainted at that home concert in beautiful Palos Verdes last year. Your performances were riveting. May I ask, how did you two meet?

PV: Thank you, Linda! It is our absolute pleasure and privilege to perform for the Athena Foundation for the Arts concert series. Laura and I met shortly before you heard us play in Palos Verdes last year. We played one concert together prior to the one where you have met us. We were introduced to each other by a mutual friend and since then we enjoyed working together on a numerous occasions.

LF: Hi Linda! The honor is all ours. It is really a pleasure to be able to bring our music to your fantastic concert series. Well, actually, Philip and I met through a mutual friend. Philip needed a guitarist for an upcoming performance, and I said, “Yes”. We prepared for our concert in only two rehearsals. That’s when you know that a musical project will work: when there is musical synergy between the players and the music “just flows”.

LRW: Agreed! We’re honored to have you share your beautiful music with our audience. How nice to learn of your connection through a mutual friend. May I ask, how did the violin and guitar duo concept come about? Details, please.

PV: The violin and guitar duo concept is not new but definitely exciting and unique, as it brings together two wonderful instruments, one bowed and one plucked to complement each other. It creates wonderful opportunities in sonic harmony as these two very different string instruments combine their overtones and vibrations.

LF: After that first performance, we decided to take on more music and to create this duo as an interesting musical project beside our solo performance career, and here we are, today.

LRW: Agreed! I loved the sound when I first heard you two perform last year. For your upcoming Athena program, may I ask how you two decided on the pieces curated for the concert? Why these composers? Why now?

PV & LF: Our program for the upcoming Athena Foundation concert was created to produce a program that is delightful, exciting and engaging for the audience to experience and extremely enjoyable for us to perform. Please check out Athena Foundation website for our detailed program!

LRW: Your program is that and more, with composers from Western Europe, South America and the USA! I meant to ask, do you happen to have plans to record these stunning duos and solos?

PV & LF: As a matter of fact, we have already started to record some of the pieces that you will hear on September 10, and planning to be back at the recording studio to continue!

LRW: Fantastic. We look forward to the release of these wonderful recordings. Maybe a blog interview to celebrate the occasion! In closing, do each of you have a favorite quote by a composer or musician that you’d like to share with our readers?

PV: Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart ~ Pablo Casals Share on X

LF: The guitar is the most unpredictable and least reliable musical instrument in existence...and also the sweetest, the warmest, the most delicate, whose melancholic voice awakes in our soul exquisite reveries. ~ Andrés Segovia Share on X

To learn more about these remarkable musicians, visit their websites and follow them on their social media platforms.

Philip Vaiman, Russian-American Violinist

Laura Mazon Franqui, Cuban Classical Guitarist

Eager to attend? Please see below.


Sunday, September 10, 2023

Check-in: 3:15 PM
Concert: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM PDT
Refreshments served

Community Auditorium
Church of Scn of the Valley
11455 Burbank Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA 91601

•This concert is hosted exclusively by The Athena Foundation for the Arts.
•It is not a church event.
•The Community Auditorium is made available for rent to nonprofits and other charitable organizations.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email us. Thank you.

FREE Parking: Farmdale Avenue lot and street parking

Purchase tickets on Eventbrite here or scan the QR code at the door. Cash or Credit card payments by Zettle/Paypal also available. Questions? Please feel free to email us. Looking forward to an inspiring concert!
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  1. Barry Wehrli

    Having seen these two virtuosos individually, I can imagine how captivating they will be together on stage, can’t wait to hear them! And Segovia is right.

    • Linda Wehrli

      Indeed. Agreed! Thanks for the kind comments. 🙂


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