Photo by Hannah Shields
Violinist Sasha Callahan has established a vibrant and diverse career as a recitalist, chamber and orchestral musician. She has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia, and is a founding member of Sheffield Chamber Players and the Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival. Chamber music has been one of Sasha’s great loves since she played her first string quartets with her sister Eve and their grandparents. She’s particularly interested in projects that bring audiences and performers closer together to forge connection and community. The Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival, Sheffield Chamber Players, and the educational string trio All Ears were each formed with this in mind. Sasha is passionate about exploring new music alongside masterpieces of the past, and has worked closely with many composers including Osvaldo Golijov, Joan Tower, Gabriela Lena Frank, Evan Ziporyn, Jessie Montgomery, Kenji Bunch, Lukas Foss, and Gunther Schuller. She can be heard as a member of the Portland (Maine) Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, and New Hampshire Music Festival, as well as with the Boston Pops, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Lyric Opera, Odyssey Opera, and the Boston Ballet Orchestra. Sasha has performed on multiple Grammy nominated and award winning albums, as well as a recent album of string quartets by Gabriela Lena Frank called Her Own Wings. She recently served as a faculty mentor to emerging composers at the innovative Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music in California. A native of Portland, Oregon, Sasha received her BM degree in violin performance from Rice University and MM from Boston University. Principal teachers include Lucia Lin, Sergiu Luca, Denes Zsigmondy, and Carol Sindell. She currently resides in Boston with her husband Leo Eguchi, daughter Freya, and a rather sedentary cat named Max.
Boston-based cellist Leo Eguchi has been described as “copiously skilled and confident” (New York Times) with performances that were "ravishing" (New Bedford Standard-Times) and "played with passion and vitality" (Boston Music Intellegencer). A native of Michigan, Leo has performed extensively across North America, Europe and Asia. He enjoys an active and multi-faceted performance schedule—Leo can be heard in myriad chamber music settings, including the Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival (an innovative summer festival in Oregon Wine Country, which pairs wine and chamber music) and Sheffield Chamber Players; in larger ensembles as principal cellist of the New Bedford Symphony, a member of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the New Hampshire Music Festival and the Portland Symphony; and in frequent appearances with the Boston Pops and Boston Ballet.
A strong advocate of new music, Leo has premiered dozens of pieces by, and worked closely with, many notable composers including William Bolcom, Bright Sheng, George Crumb, Lukas Foss, Joan Tower, Ken Ueno, Yehudi Wyner, Marti Epstein, Nathaniel Stookey, Gabriela Lena Frank, Evan Ziporyn, Ketty Nez, Michael Daugherty, and Kati Agócs. Recent performing highlights include several Grammy nominated recording releases from PARMA Recordings on Navona Records, several concerto appearances, an artist residency and solo performances in Kabul, Afghanistan, and opportunities to share the non-classical stage with the likes of Pete Townshend, Melissa Etheridge, Demi Lovato, Brian Wilson, Kelly Clarkson, C-3P0, Peter Gabriel, Billy Idol, Jennifer Hudson, Nick Jonas, Josh Groban, and Audra McDonald, to name a few. Degrees include BM (Cello Performance) and BS (Physics) cum laude from the University of Michigan, and MM (cello performance) from Boston University, where he received the String Department Award for Excellence.
Leo, along with violinist wife Sasha Callahan and cat-obsessed daughter Freya, live in Boston and spend their non-musical free time appreciating the outdoors, food and wine. Leo has tasted enough obscure wine grapes to earn a Doppel membership in The Wine Century Club.
Raised in Portland, Oregon, Megumi Stohs Lewis started playing the violin at age three, but grew up with a dream of studying agricultural science. The summer she turned sixteen, she attended the Olympic Music Festival, held on a beautiful farm in Washington State, and realized that music and the countryside were a perfect combination. Since then, Megumi has soloed with orchestras throughout the US and Japan, and has toured with ensembles throughout Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. Now residing in Boston, she is a co-founder of A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra; has been a guest with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, the Radius Ensemble, the Boston Pops, the South Coast Chamber Players and the North Country Chamber Players; and plays regularly with the Aurea Ensemble. Starting in 2008, Megumi picked up the baroque violin and quickly fell for the gut strings and a variety of period bows. This love has led to performances with Boston Baroque, Les Bostonades, and the formation of Antico Moderno, a period instrument ensemble actively commissioning contemporary works. She also loves to fiddle and play rock and has regularly toured with Britain’s Jethro Tull. Megumi’s primary influences include her teachers Lucy Chapman at the New England Conservatory and Camilla Wicks and Ian Swensen at the San Francisco Conservatory. Especially in chamber music and period performance, Roger Tapping, Phoebe Carrai, Manfredo Kraemer, and Mark Sokol have been significant mentors. Megumi is on the violin, viola, and chamber music faculty at Gordon College in Wenham, MA. She is currently satisfying her longing for agriculture through heirloom vegetable gardening.
Alexander Vavilov’s love for chamber music developed during his teens, when his social and musical worlds intertwined as he crammed a few friends into his apartment in Kiev, Ukraine, to read Shostakovich quartets. These sessions, which became a regular occurrence, and his habit of deciphering chamber scores at the piano in the absence of access to recordings, led him to forge his path as a violist and a passionate chamber musician all the way across the Atlantic. Once on U.S. soil, Alexander honed his skills under the tutelage of Patricia McCarty and, later, Kim Kashkashian, earning various awards and distinctions along the way, such as the 1st prize in ASTA with MSOA competition for string players, a finalist at ASTA national solo competition, and a finalist at the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra concerto competition. His chamber music world never far behind, Alex expanded it vigorously at Tanglewood, Sarasota, Meadowmount and Bowdoin festivals among others. With chamber music tutelage by such renowned figures as James Buswell, Bonnie Hampton, Kim Kashkashian, Patricia McCarty, Rhonda Rider, Joseph Silverstein, Mark Sokol and Roger Tapping, Alexander’s voice as a violist and an ensemble player started to get noticed as he won guest artist awards resulting in chamber music performances alongside luminaries such as James Buswell, Ronald Leonard, Barbara Westphal and the Borromeo Quartet.
Today Alexander’s schedule is happily filled with dozens of chamber music performances as a founding member of Sheffield Chamber Players and a core member of Ensemble/Parallax. Creating intense musical experiences in the intimacy of a home with the former, and performing cutting-edge contemporary chamber music with the latter, Alexander has additionally performed with a variety of chamber groups in the Boston area and was invited to perform chamber music with faculty at the 150th anniversary of the Boston Conservatory gala at Symphony Hall. The sound of his viola has often filled the spaces of Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall, Jordan Hall and others, and can also be heard on the Carl Fischer and BMOP/sound recording labels. As an orchestra musician, Alexander regularly performs with Odyssey Opera, Portland Symphony, BMOP and Boston Pops, and was a principal violist of Atlantic Symphony for 8 years. He is also on faculty at the Winchester Community Music School.
Alexander performs on a 2012 Thomas Bertrand viola and a H.R. Pfretzschner bow. Residing in Lynn with his wife Olga Talroze and his quirky orange tabby Julie, Alexander’s wide scope of non-musical interests include inline skating, sourdough bread making and mushroom foraging.