Arts & Entertainment

Grammy Nominated Violinist and Award-Winning Pianist to Perform at Christ Church in Short Hills

(L to R): Elmira Darvarova and Zhen Chen. Credits: Music for Life International
George Mathew Credits: Music for Life International
Reverend Bowie Snodgrass Credits:
Elmira Darvarova Credits:
Zhen Chen Credits: Parma Recordings

SHORT HILLS, NJ – Artistic Director of Music for Life International and Short Hills resident George Mathew along with Christ Church present internationally acclaimed violinist Elmira Darvarova and concert pianist Zhen Chen in an upcoming performance of three Johannes Brahms sonatas. The two musicians recorded these masterpieces by Brahms and are currently touring internationally. The pair is hailed by the press and critics alike for their "intoxicating tonal beauty and beguilingly sensuous phrasing," "ultra-impassioned performances," and "silky-smooth voluptuous tone.” 

The free concert takes place Sunday, May 21, 4:00 p.m., at Christ Church in Short Hills. No reservations or tickets are required. Donations are gladly accepted.

Grammy-nominated violinist Elmira Darvarova has led, as concertmaster, major American orchestras, such as the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Columbus Symphony, and the Grant Park Symphony in Chicago.  She caused a sensation, becoming the first ever (and only) woman-concertmaster in the history of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.  At the MET she performed with some of the greatest conductors of our time, including the legendary Carlos Kleiber.  She has also performed with the MET Chamber Ensemble at Carnegie Hall under James Levine.

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Global music award-winning concert pianist Zhen Chen has emerged as a soloist and chamber music artist at leading music venues in USA and China.  He has played at Stern Auditorium, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall of Lincoln Center, LeFrak Concert Hall in New York, Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center and the China National Center for Performing Arts. From 2008 to 2010, he was the featured solo pianist with China Xinhua Philharmonic Orchestra and performed concert tours around China. Zhen won first prize at the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition in 2009 and second prize at Hong Kong-Asia Piano Open Competition in 2007.

George Mathew, his wife Bowie Snodgrass and son Jacob recently moved to Short Hills from New York City. While Mathew continues his work in Manhattan, the Reverend Snodgrass is the new Curate at Christ Church. The family is expecting a second child this summer.

Singaporean-born Indian conductor, George Mathew, Founder and Artistic Director of Music for Life Orchestra, has emerged as one of the leading forces in the classical music world bringing symphonic music to focus on global humanitarian issues and crises at the beginning of the 21st Century. In recent seasons, he has made appearances in the US, India, Panama, Morocco, and South Africa as conductor and ambassador for transformative action through music.

Mathew graduated in 2003 from the Manhattan School of Music with a Postgraduate Diploma after studies under Zdenek Macal and George Manahan. He is also a magna cum laude graduate of Amherst College and an alumnus of Duke University and the University of Minnesota.

Reverend Snodgrass served as Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministries at St. James' Episcopal Church on Madison Avenue in New York City.  She is a co-founder of Faith House Manhattan, an inter-religious community which encourages people to “experience your neighbor’s faith, deepen your own.” She served as its Executive Director from 2009-2012.

Snodgrass majored in Religious Studies at Vassar College, received her M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and a Diploma in Anglican Studies from General Theological Seminary.  She is published in Discovering the Spirit in the City, The Huffington Post, The Anglican Theological Review, Episcopal Life Online, and Washington Window.

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