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Please join us for the seventh and final Showcase Event of our seventh season.  It's an encore performance for one of our favorite groups of past performers -- The Manhattan Piano Trio.  You will love their music and the passion they bring to their art and you will  enjoy their sense of humor and group rapport. 


Manhattan Piano Trio


Piano, cello and violin:  great musical talent combined captivating performance

manhattan piano trio

On May 7, 2012, El Paseo Arts Foundation plays host to three musicians, remarkable for both their musical virtuosity and their engaging and entertaining performance style. For The Manhattan Piano Trio, the concert on the 7th will be an encore performance.  They thrilled the local audience with their first concert at the Convention Center five years ago, and El Paseo Arts decided it was time to bring them back for another audience to enjoy.  The concert on the 7th begins at 7:30 p.m. at the SPI Convention Center.  Tickets for the concert are $25 per person/$20 for members, and tickets are available for purchase at the SPI Visitors Center, Paragraphs Book Store, Designer Consigner, and online at

Hailed by critics as "a grand departure from the usual" (News Herald), the Manhattan Piano Trio has quickly become one of the most creative, exciting, and dynamic young ensembles in the United States. With more than 300 concerts in its first five seasons alone, MPT is one of the most active groups in the classical music scene, welcomed by enthusiastic audiences in over 30 states, Australia, South Africa and Italy, and in venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, and the Ravinia Festival. The Washington Post described the Trio as "impressive" and "outstanding", while the Sarasota Herald Tribune said "one seldom is privileged to enjoy music of such a wide range of styles performed with self-effacing skill and relaxed assurance." Their third album, a disc of Schumann and Chopin trios in honor of the composers bicentennials, was successfully released last year on the Marquis Classics label.

The Manhattan Piano Trio has been recognized for its electrifying performances in international competitions. Since its inception in 2004, the Trio has captured grand prizes at the Plowman Competition and at the Yellow Springs Competition; runner-up at the Chesapeake Competition; and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Listeners Choice Award in Melbourne.

In the 2011-2012 season, MPT embarked on another set of exciting tours at home and overseas, returning to Music for a Great Space in Greensboro, the Warner Robins Community Concert Association, Virginia Wesleyan College, as well as making debuts at Sweet Briar College, Stephen Austin University, the Gettysburg Community Concert Association, Abilene Christian University, Falany Performing Arts, St. Johns College in Santa Fe, Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem, Limestone College, and Musica Insieme in Bologna, Italy.

Since its formation, MPT has carved out a unique niche for itself by performing concerts in a much wider range of settings  from major concert halls around the country to venues in smaller towns. The Trio has performed in prestigious venues such as the Kravis Performing Arts Center, the Clark Memorial Library at UCLA, Chamber Music Sedona and Pro Musica Detroit; alongside these engagements, MPT has maintained its goal of establishing and encouraging new concert series to grow in small towns often bypassed by other major classical groups.

Past seasons have brought the group to virtually every part of the country. Highlights include performances and return engagements at the Franciscan University, William and Mary College, Shenandoah University, Fairmont Chamber Music Society, Young Harris Methodist College, St. Simons Island Concert Association, St. Vincent College, Oxford College of Emory University and Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Minnesota. The Trio has also toured South Africa, performing in Pretoria, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Durban.

Strongly committed to educating new generations of musicians and music lovers, the Manhattan Piano Trio enjoys communicating with their audiences through both music and commentary. The Trio also presents master classes and outreach programs to preparatory schools, colleges, and communities wherever it goes. As part of the community rebuilding effort in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, they were one of the first musical groups to perform in the city and were honored to give a benefit concert at the University of New Orleans.

The Manhattan Piano Trio is an ensemble that embodies, in the deepest sense, the borough that provides its namesake: these three musicians represent starkly different backgrounds, and yet connect on a fundamental level to enjoy making music together. Wayne Lee, violinist, is originally from San Francisco; the groups cellist, Dmitry Kouzov, grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Milana Strezeva, pianist, is a native of Chisinau, Moldova and a naturalized American. Dmitry and Milana are founding members of the group; Wayne, who joined in 2008, is the most recent addition to the ensemble.

In addition to their rigorous concert schedule, the members of MPT are soloists and recitalists who have performed internationally. They are also devoted teachers; Milana and Wayne maintain private studios in New York and Miami, and Dmitry is professor of cello at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The performers all completed graduate degrees at the Juilliard School, and the group still enjoys an active presence in Manhattan.  To learn more about the trio or to be added to their mailing list, please visit


Scholarships for Local Art Students

Supporting and promoting arts education is part of El Paseo Arts Foundation's Mission


El Paseo Arts Foundation is proud to announce that the First Annual Scholarships will be awarded to two local seniors who will be continuing their education in the arts.  Each student will be awarded a $500 scholarship to assist with college expenses.  Thanks to Guy Blatnik and Jody Hughes who coordinated the selection process.  The awards will be presented to the students at a cermony at Port Isabel High School on May 17th.  The students don't know who has won yet, so it will be a surpise, but we can tell you that one of the winners will continue study in music and the other in dance.  We'll let you know more about the scholarship winners in our next newsletter.


Coming this Summer!

little mary sunshine

El Paseo is looking for a cast and chorus of singers, dancers, and melodramatic "hams" to enjoy the fun of performing this hugely successful off Broadway show that played for almost three years at New York's Orpheum Theatre, winning an Obie award as the Best of the Season. Billed as "a musical about an old operetta"-Little Mary Sunshine gently spoofs such old-time favorites like "Rose Marie" and "Naughty Marietta"-but has a personality all its own. The plot is a little bit of everything: Colorado Rangers led by stalwart Captain Jim; the lovely Mary Sunshine, her 'naughty' maid Nancy; a chorus of gigling schoolgirls and the ominous but benevolent Indian chief. Hearts are won and lost and won again, in this delightful, laugh-filled and charming show.  Performance dates are August 11 - 14, 2012 and news about audition dates will be coming soon!


Art Contest

Every season, EPAF has given plaques (to businesses) and trophies (to individuals) as gifts for season sponsors who contribute at the Headliner ($1000) level and above. In the future, we want our annual recognition gifts to reflect El Paseo's character as an "Arts" organization.


We are inviting local artists of all mediums to submit applications with their ideas for our 2012-2013 season sponsor gifts. We gave twelve (12) such gifts in the 2011-2012 season. We hope that we will give at least the same number of gifts or a few more during the upcoming season. Designs submitted by artists should include a spot for the artists to mount an engraved nameplate, so that the gift recognizes the organization or individual for the appropriate  season.

The winning submission will garner the "flavor" of our communities, so subject matters relating to our unique location, nature and climate are encouraged.


El Paseo will give the winning artist a $500 grant, recognition on our website and in our newsletter, and 2012-2013 season event programs, and as much publicity as we can. In addition, we will pay $35 for each of the twelve or so gifts (exact number to be determined). EPAF will separately pay for and supply the engraved nameplates, which EPAF will provide to the artist for the best mounting arrangement.


Applications must be submitted by June 1, 2012 and the winning design will be chosen at the June EPAF Board meeting. The winning artist will be notified shortly thereafter. The winning artist will then have until January 1, 2013 to complete the art gifts. The $500 grant will be paid upon announcement of the winning artist and the $35/gift will be paid upon completion of the gifts.

El Paseo Arts Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization with the mission to support and promote the arts the Lower Laguna Madre Area.

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