Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival Returns to Historic New Bern


Renowned Musicians Bring ‘Beethoven Plus’ to N.C. History Center, Jan. 17

NEW BERN, NC – Jan. 17, 2015

The Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival returns to New Bern on Saturday, Jan. 17 with internationally-renowned musicians Axel Strauss (violin) and Michael Kannen (cello), alongside festival artistic director Ara Gregorian (violin). The performance begins at 7 p.m. inside Cullman Performance Hall, located at Tryon Palace’s North Carolina History Center.

The “Beethoven Plus” program will include masterpieces by Beethoven, Dohnányi and Martinu. 

In residence at the East Carolina University School of Music, the festival is celebrating its 15th anniversary season. Highlights of past seasons include more than 150 public concerts, 300 master classes, two performances at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and a six-concert tour of Israel. 

“It is exciting for Four Seasons to return to New Bern to present this diverse program,” said Gregorian, festival founder and artistic director. “It’s our pleasure to be a part of New Bern’s cultural community and to return to beautiful Cullman Performance Hall.”

Ticket prices are $30 for the public, $25 for Tryon Palace Foundation Members and ECU Faculty and $10 for youth and ECU students. Tickets can be purchased at, by calling 800-ECU-ARTS, or by visiting the Bank of the Arts in New Bern. 

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for general admission seating and tickets will be sold at the door while supplies last.

For information on how to support Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival programs and outreach call 252-328-1268. 

Artist Bios:

Axel Strauss (violin)

The first German artist to ever win the international Naumburg Violin Award in New York, Strauss has been equally acclaimed for his virtuosity and musical sensitivity. Strauss made his American debut at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and his New York debut at Alice Tully Hall in 1998. Since then, he has given recitals in major North American cities, including Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles and San Francisco. In 2007 he was the violinist in the world premiere of “Two Awakenings and a Double Lullaby,” written for him by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis.

Michael Kannen (cello)

Kannen is a founding member of the Brentano String Quartet and for seven years performed with that group on concert stages around the world, on radio and television and on recordings. During those years, the Brentano Quartet was awarded the first Cleveland Quartet Award, the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, a Royal Philharmonic Award and was the first participant in the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center II program. 

Ara Gregorian (artistic director, violin and viola)

Gregorian made his New York recital debut in 1996 in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and his debut as soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra in Symphony Hall in 1997. Throughout his career, Gregorian has taken an active role as a performer and presenter of chamber music. He is the founder and artistic director of the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival in Greenville, North Carolina, and has appeared at festivals worldwide. An active and committed teacher, Gregorian has been a member of the violin faculty at East Carolina University since 1998 and has taught at numerous summer festivals and seminars. In addition, he has taken a leading role in creating opportunities for established musicians to perform with talented students in a mentoring setting through the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival’s Next Generation concerts.

For more information about the festival, repertoire, guest artists and outreach programs, visit or call 252-328-6019.

Four Seasons Chamber Music Media Contact
John Holloway
(252) 328-6019

Upcoming Events at Tryon Palace include:

Jan. 15: An Overview of the Civil Rights Movement in North Carolina, 1866-1942

Jan. 23: Sparky and Rhonda Rucker: Let Freedom Ring

Jan. 24: Sparky and Rhonda Rucker: Heroes and Hard Times

Jan. 25: George Street Project

Jan. 30: WinterFeast: Oysters, Brews and Comfort Foods

Tryon Palace Media Contact
Craig Ramey
Marketing and Communications, Manager
Phone: (252) 639-3511

For more information call 252-639-3500 or visit

About Tryon Palace
Tryon Palace, located in New Bern, NC, is part of the Office of Archives and History, an agency of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. Tryon Palace is one of North Carolina’s most significant historic sites. It is the home of the Governor’s Palace, North Carolina’s first colonial and first state capitol, and includes historic buildings, gardens and the North Carolina History Center, which revolutionizes the visitor experience through use of the latest interactive  technology. The History Center includes galleries, a performance hall, the museum store and a waterfront café. Tryon Palace’s mission is to engage present and future generations in the history of North Carolina from early settlement in 1710, the development of statehood and into the mid-twentieth century. It is dedicated to collecting, interpreting and preserving objects, buildings, landscapes and events that enrich understanding of the making of our state and nation.

Tickets and visitor information are available at Tryon Palace, 529 S. Front St., New Bern. For directions and further information about special events, programs or group tours, employment and more, visit our web site: or phone (800) 767-1560 or (252) 639-3500.
About the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources 

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDCR’s mission is to enrich lives and communities by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state’s history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella. 
Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and spurring the economic stimulus engine for our state’s communities. NCDCR’s Divisions of Archives and Records, Historical Resources, State Historic Sites and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina’s rich cultural heritage to offer experiences of learning and reflection. NCDCR’s State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state to develop and to offer access to educational resources through traditional and online collections including genealogy and resources for people who are blind and have physical disabilities.

NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives. NCDCR champions our state’s creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit