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, and the Boston Pops; 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 regularly crammed a few friends into his apartment in Kyiv, Ukraine, to read string quartets. Harking back to those days, today Alexander’s schedule is filled with dozens of chamber music performances in intimate settings as a founding member of Sheffield Chamber Players. Alexander frequently performs with Portland Symphony, BMOP, Odyssey Opera, Boston Ballet, Boston Pops, Radius Ensemble and others. His festival appearances include Tanglewood, National Sawdust, Monadnock, Sarasota, Bowdoin, and Meadowmount among others. He was also invited to perform at the 2000 European String Teachers Association conference in Odessa, Ukraine, and the 2015 American String Teachers Association conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. He can be heard on the Carl Fischer and BMOP/sound recording labels.
Alex was a 2009 winner of the Borromeo Guest Artist award, a 1st prize winner in the 2003 ASTA with MSOA string players competition, a finalist in the 2004 ASTA national competition, and a finalist at the 2007 Atlantic Symphony Orchestra concerto competition. His voice as a violist and an ensemble player formed with tutelage by Kim Kashkashian, Roger Tapping, Joseph Silverstein, Patricia McCarty, Mark Sokol, James Buswell and Bonnie Hampton. Alex’s exploration of collaborative performance mediums led to the 2022 founding of Soundscape Visions, an innovative collaborative project exploring the link between music and visual arts; a membership in the cutting-edge contemporary group Ensemble/Parallax; and frequent appearances with the Armenian Jazz ensemble MusAner.
After the Russian invasion of his homeland in 2022 Alexander initiated the Relief Fund for Ukrainian Musicians at the Lisa Batiashvili Foundation, which, as of September 2022, has helped over 140 musicians from the areas of Ukraine that were hit the hardest by the war.
He 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 includes inline skating, sourdough bread making and mushroom foraging.