Schwarz & Bournaki
cello/piano
  • Biography
  • Sample Programs
  • Discography
  • Reviews
  • Itinerary
  • Media
John Novacek

Cellist Julian Schwarz and pianist Marika Bournaki met as students at the 2006 Aspen Music Festival, subsequently reconnecting at Switzerland’s Verbier Festival and as students at The Juilliard School in New York City. They began their musical collaboration in 2014, and made their collaboration debut at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, DC.

As the winners of the First Prize in the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition’s inaugural “The Art of Duo,” Schwarz & Bournaki will be presented in 2017-18 prizewinner recitals at the Boulder Bach Festival, as well as performances at New York City’s Bargemusic, The University Club and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, The Musical Club of Hartford and Canada’s Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts.

Recent appearances by Schwarz & Bournaki include Bargemusic, The Juilliard School and The National Arts Club in New York City, Danbury Music Center (CT), Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival and Hammond Chamber Music Series (MA), Thurnauer School of Music (NJ), The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Peninsula College and Second City Chamber Music Series (WA), Canada’s Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance and Salzburg, Austria’s Mozarteum. Their 2016-17 season was highlighted by a 10-recital tour of China, which included the grand-opening performance at the new concert hall in Qianjiang.

The debut CD of Schwarz & Bournaki, an album of Beethoven Schumann, Strauss, Poulenc and Kreisler, will be released in early 2018. Previously, the artists had recorded the complete cello and piano music of Ernest Bloch (2015) for the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music and made the world premiere recording of Bright Sheng’s Northern Lights (2017) on the Naxos label.

Mr. Schwarz and Ms. Bournaki have been heard on WUOL (Louisville, KY), “Backstage Pass” on WXXI (Rochester, NY) and “Northwest Focus Live” on Classical King FM 98.1 (Seattle, WA). They have also performed extensive piano trio repertoire with the violinists Mark Fewer, Avi Nagin, Mark Peskanov and Eric Silberger. As teaching artists, the duo is in-residence at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance and, with the Mile-End Trio (also including violinist Jeff Multer), the Eastern Music Festival.

Cellist Julian Schwarz is a native of Seattle, WA. He was the First Prize winner of the 2013 Inaugural Schoenfeld International String Competition in Hong Kong. He is an international soloist, active contributor to Strings Magazine’s Artist Blog and Assistant Professor of Cello at the Shenandoah University Conservatory in Winchester, VA.  For more information: www.julianschwarz.com

Marika Bournaki is a Canadian pianist from Montreal, QC. She tours internationally as concerto soloist and recitalist, and was the subject of the award-winning documentary “I am Not a Rock Star,” chronicling her evolution as an artist from age 12 to 20. She received both her Bachelor and Master degrees from The Juilliard School, and is a member of Piano Six, the Next Generation. For more information: www.marikabournaki.com

1)

"A NIGHT IN VIENNA"

Beethoven      
Schubert         
Variations in E-flat on “Bei Männern” from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, WoO 46
Arpeggione Sonata in a
------------Intermission------------
Danzi
R. Strauss
Schumann
Webern
Kreisler

Variations on a Theme from Mozart’s Don Giovanni
Romanze
in F
Faschingsschwank aus Wien
(solo piano)
Two Early Pieces (1899)

Schön Rosmarin, Liebeslied, Liebesfreud (arranged by Julian Schwarz)

 

2) Debussy         
Brahms           
Cello Sonata in d
Cello Sonata #1 in e, Op. 38
------------Intermission------------
Cassadó
Ravel
Bloch
Chopin

Suite for Solo Cello (1926)
Sonatine (solo piano)
Méditation hébraïque
Introduction & Polonaise

 

3) Schumann
Poulenc
Adagio & Allegro, Op. 70
Cello Sonata
------------Intermission------------
Boccherini
Brahms
Dvorák
Popper
Saint-Saëns

Cello Sonata in A
Scherzo in c
Waldsruhe
Vito
(Spanish Dance, Op. 54, #5)
Allegro appassionato in b, Op. 43

 

4)

"FORWARD THINKING"

Liebermann
Fraser
Beethoven
Cello Sonata #1, Op. 3
Broken Vase
Cello Sonata #5 in D, Op. 102, #2
------------Intermission------------
Bloch
Diamond
J. Dello Joio
Messiaen
Popper
3 Pieces “From Jewish Life
A Love Song
Due per Due
Louange a l’Éternité de Jésus
Hungarian Rhapsody
Great Mozart Piano Work

“BRIGHT SHENG: NORTHERN LIGHTS”

NAXOS: 8.579014

Schwarz took the stage, without score, to join Bournaki for a fiery, kaleidoscopic performance of the Sonata for Cello and Piano by Claude Debussy. The opening Prologue blends melancholy with a noble air. The following Serenade demands the cellist execute a plethora of extreme string techniques, pizzicatos, whistling high harmonics, and strummed strings. The Finale abounds in vigorous high spirits interrupted by an ethereal, poignant interlude. Schwarz’s playing was breathtaking and his playing of the bravura middle movement was jaw dropping! What colors Bournaki conjured from her keyboard! Their performance was rewarded by a prolonged standing ovation.

CLASSICAL VOICE OF NORTH CAROLINA

Bargemusic’s Masterworks Series presented a stunning program of chamber music by Brahms, featuring three gifted musicians at the top of their games. After the bracing appetizer, [Mark] Peskanov yielded the floor to cellist Julian Schwarz, whose remarkable outward serenity belies his young age and, I suspect, helped him convincingly convey the first movement’s complex, charged emotions. In this quintessentially Brahmsian masterpiece of melody [Cello Sonata #1], Schwarz and Bournaki’s long association became apparent. The two musicians flowed, rose, moderated, almost breathed as one. The duo made it all look easy.

BLOGCRITICS.COM

I called this [Paul Frucht’s Reckoning] before a ‘fantasia’ only because I couldn’t trace the classical structure in this relatively long work. That, though, didn’t detract from its seriousness–a mid-19th Century mid-European seriousness from the young American composer. And while that may be unfashionable, such commitment, and such difficult dense, playing–executed with unfailing brilliance by cellist Julian Schwarz and pianist Marika Bournaki–that it gave the most worthwhile elevation to an effervescent evening.

CONCERTONET.COM

Continuing the classical side, there was Paul Frucht’s Reckoning, premiered by cellist Julian Schwarz and pianist Marika Bournaki. A soulful interior argument and lament, Reckoning was romantic and expressionistic, written with knowledge of the instruments, and the intense performance carried substantial and satisfying emotional power.

NEW YORK CLASSICAL REVIEW

9/21/2017 (7pm)

MUSEUM OF THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY

Glen Burnie House (Winchester, VA)

Beethoven: Variations on Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen
Schubert: Arpeggione Sonata
Boccherini: Cello Sonata #6
Danzi: Variations on La ci darem la mano
Brahms: Sonatensatz
Chopin: Introduction & Polonaise

10/19/2017 (10am)

THE MUSICAL CLUB OF HARTFORD (CT)

Beethoven: Cello Sonata #5
Schubert: Arpeggione Sonata
Debussy: Cello Sonata
Brahms: Sonatensatz
Bloch: Méditation hébraïque
Chopin: Introduction & Polonaise

12/24/2017 (4pm)

BARGEMUSIC (Brooklyn, NY)

The Barge

J.S. Bach: complete Gamba Sonatas

1/20/2018 (7:30pm)

PALLADIUM CHAMBER PLAYERS

Hough Hall, The Palladium at St. Petersburg College (FL)

with Jeff Multer, violinist
Jon Manasse, clarinetist

2/8/2018 (7:30pm)

BOULDER BACH FESTIVAL (CO)

Boulder Adventist Church

Beethoven: Cello Sonata #5
J.S. Bach: Cello Suite #1 (solo cello)
J.S. Bach: Toccata in e (piano solo)
Bloch: Méditation hébraïque
Brahms: Cello Sonata #1

2/10/2018 (7:30pm)

BOULDER BACH FESTIVAL (CO)

Stewart Auditorium, Longmont Museum

Beethoven: Cello Sonata #5
J.S. Bach: Cello Suite #1 (solo cello)
J.S. Bach: Toccata in e (piano solo)
Bloch: Méditation hébraïque
Brahms: Cello Sonata #1

3/14/2018 (8pm)

THE UNIVERSITY CLUB (NYC)

Brahms: Cello Sonata #1

3/23/2018 (pm)

CONGREGATION SHIR SHALOM (Ridgefield, CT)

Bloch: Suite From Jewish Life
Bloch: Méditation hébraïque
Saminsky: Chassidic Suite
Schwarz: In Memoriam

Debussy: Sonata in d minor for Cello & Piano
Eastern Music Festival, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
June, 2016

Beethoven: Sonata #5 in D for Cello & Piano, Op. 102, #2
The Juilliard School (NYC)
November, 2015

Poulenc: Sonata for Cello & Piano
Eastern Music Festival, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
July, 2015

Bloch: Méditation hébraVque
Boulder International Chamber Music Competition’s Winners Concert
November, 2016

Schumann: Adagio and Allegro, Op. 70
Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (Nova Scotia, Canada)
November, 2015