Musical Conversations in the Gardens

A series of concerts prioritizing dialogue and highlighting diversity in music-making

Tickets: $25      Students/Military: $20
(Includes admittance to performance, garden grounds and wine offerings)

Featured Artists

August – Piano Music by Iranian Composers

Farshad Zadeh started playing piano at age 4, and made his debut with orchestra at 11 in his hometown of Princeton, NJ. He has performed in concert halls throughout the US, including Carnegie Hall in NYC and the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. He received 1st place at the LISMA International Competition in 2011, and was the winner of Oberlin Conservatory’s Arthur Dann Competition in 2015. He earned his Bachelors at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, under the tutelage of Alvin Chow. He received his Masters and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Texas in Austin, where he studies with Anton Nel.

He currently teaches piano at Austin Community College. He serves as Teaching Assistant at the University of Texas, where he teaches class piano as well as private students at the undergraduate and graduate level. He is also a junior faculty member at Blue Mountain Festival, a chamber music festival based in Lancaster, PA.

September – Chamber Music by African-American Composers

Violinist Robert Murphy (Assistant concertmaster, Everett Philharmonic Orchestra), cellist Keith Thomas (Board Vice President, Key to Change) and pianist Joseph Williams (Director, Tukwila Kids Make Music) are pleased to present piano trios written by Black composers. This event will also feature art available for purchase by highly acclaimed local artist barry Johnson.

October – Music of Deborah Anderson

Deborah began composing at the age of 6. She grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and graduated from Lawrence University (Appleton, WI) with a degree in French. After graduation, she worked as a nanny in Paris, then taught English for two years with the Peace Corps in Tunisia where she learned to play the ‘oud and sing in Arabic. Soon after, she fulfilled a lifelong dream of studying the English Renaissance lute. In 1979 she earned her master’s degree in French from the University of Washington (Seattle) and taught French on the college level. Over the years, she has studied seven foreign languages and continues to travel widely throughout the world. She enjoys gourmet cooking, basic gardening and the arts. She has sung in a number of choirs, including ten years with the PLU Choral Union. She also enjoys watercolor painting.

Deborah’s compositions range in setting from solo voice and choir to instrumental solos and ensembles. Her work is regularly performed at National Flute Association conventions, university faculty and student recitals, and by chamber music groups all over the world. Several works have been awarded prizes and honors from international competitions. This event will feature outstanding student performers of PLU and UPS.

November – Harp Music of France and Latin America

Adán Vásquez is a versatile and much-acclaimed musician who has gained renown for his artistry on the harp both as a soloist and as an ensemble player. Equally at ease in the traditional and contemporary repertoires, Vásquez has won accolades for his expertise in the physically demanding Salzedo harp technique. He began his musical studies at an early age in the National Conservatory of Music in his native Dominican Republic where he studied with Mirla Salazar. In 1989, he was awarded a prestigious scholarship by the Dominican government and moved to Chile to study with concert harpist Manuel Jimenez at the Facultad de Artes at the University of Chile. Later, he relocated to New York City where he completed his B.A. at Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music and studied with the well-known harpist Sara Cutler. Shortly thereafter, he received an M.A. from the Manhattan School of Music where he continued advanced studies under the renowned harpist Lucile Lawrence.

Vásquez has appeared as a guest harpist with numerous symphony orchestras including the National Symphony Orchestra of Chile, the Dominican National Symphony Orchestra, and the Brooklyn Heights Symphony Orchestra in New York. In 2004, he was invited to participate in the First International Harp Festival of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where he also lectured and conducted Master Classes on the Salzedo technique. Vásquez has also premiered works especially commissioned for him by contemporary composers such as William Dickerson, Gary Heckard, and Eugenio Escobar. He has a deep commitment to the neighborhood of Washington Heights, where he serves on the faculty of Gregorio Luperón High School as Music Department Coordinator. Since 2009, he has served as artistic director and president of the Association of Dominican Classical Artists, Inc., the Washington Heights Community Conservatory, and the Camerata Washington Heights.

December – Oud Music of Oman and the Middle East

Amal Waqar is a young Omani oud player and composer on a journey to transcend. Born along the coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Muscat, Oman, Amal was captivated by sound from a young age and clandestinely listened to music throughout her childhood. She began playing oud at fifteen after first being introduced to the instrument in the shop of a local tradesman. A deeply historic and gendered instrument in the Middle Eastern canon, the oud has seldom been an accessible instrument to women. As part of her personal journey, Amal intends to contribute to a growing dialogue working to break down stereotypes of the instrument.

Completing high school with an International Baccalaureate Diploma, Amal traveled to Oberlin College for studies in pre-law, focusing on human rights topics in the Middle East. Pulled towards music, Amal found herself relocating to Berklee College of Music to immerse herself in sound, now studying closely with oud master Simon Shaheen. An extension of Amal’s unique musical perspective lies in her compositions, which often tease listeners with creative and unconventional interpretations of traditional rhythms and melodies. She continues to expand on the instrument’s current and potential abilities.

Creative and charismatic, 22-year-old Amal is only beginning to carve out her place in the international music scene. Her participation in events with Katara's Festival for Oud Instrument, Beirut & Beyond International Music Festival, and the National Arab Orchestra proves to be an exciting start to her career. Currently based in Boston, she divides her time between the development of pedagogy for female oud players and composition. Amal Waqar travels frequently between the United States and the Sultanate of Oman.