Jazz-rock/classical group Iridas to be featured at Performing Arts Center

Award-winning contemporary/classical piano quartet Iridas will present a free concert Sunday, Nov. 18.

Alhambra Performing Arts Center, under the direction of Chef/Artistic Director Bill Yee, will present award-winning contemporary/classical piano quartet Iridas in a free concert at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at Sage Granada Park United Methodist Church, 1850 W. Hellman Ave., Alhambra 91803.

Iridas was formed in 2015 by composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist Matt Smith in an effort to explore the possibilities of his demanding musical style. He met violinist Megan Shung and former violist Sean Lyons while they were in school together at the Cleveland Institute of Music receiving classical training of the highest caliber. After moving to Los Angeles, they added cellist Pierre Derycz to their line-up, and the quartet sought to blend Mr. Smith’s background in contemporary classical music with rock and electronic dance music. In 2017, Mikala Schmitz joined the band, replacing Mr. Derycz on the cello. In 2018, Mr. Lyons was replaced by Dmitri Yevstifeev, a talented multi-instrumentalist who plays viola, mandolin, and guitar.

The new line-up shares a passion for jazz and hip-hop, which has begun to have a profound impact on the band’s already unique voice. The Iridas sound, shaped primarily by Mr. Smith, reaches deep into music history for influence. The lush harmonies and colors of Maurice Ravel combined with the rhythmic and textural intricacy of Gyorgy Ligeti add fuel to the instrumental fire, but Iridas is far from a classical piano quartet. The band’s desire to engage with jazz, hip-hop, rock, and a variety of other styles have all made an impact. The result is unrecognizable simply as classical crossover — Iridas is something new.

Mr. Smith grew up in San Diego, CA, where he began studying piano at the age of 6 and trombone at the age of 12. His first interest in composition was sparked by music for film and video games, and to this day his music retains a similarly narrative quality. His music has been performed by a variety of ensembles in a myriad of venues, from a conference on artificial intelligence at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator to the home of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, Severance Hall.

Ms. Shung is a performer and studio musician in the Los Angeles area amd performs regularly as the concertmaster of the Lake Avenue Chamber Orchestra in Pasadena. She is adept at non-traditional performance practices and styles, including jazz, rock, pop, and experimental music. She has collaborated with many artists, including Kimbra, Watsky, Richard Clayderman, Sudan Archives, Clipping, Dalal, AJ Crew, Jonah Levine, and Aditya Prakash and collaborates regularly with many other composers in the L.A. area.

Ms. Schmitz has been hailed by the San Francisco Civic Center for her "... professional and highest caliber of playing." The Los Angeles-based cellist is an avid performer of many different styles of cello playing. Ms. Schmitz often finds herself crossing over into a variety of musical genres. From Americana folk, to classical, jazz, electronic, and baroque, she continues to find new and fascinating collaborative avenues. Ms. Schmitz performs and collaborates regularly with musicians and composers in the Los Angeles area. Her work with the English rock group The Last Shadow Puppets took her all over Europe, playing for sold-out audiences nationally and internationally.

Mr. Yee is the owner of Alhambra Culinary School & Catering Services whose chefs will provide refreshments during the intermission. Chef Yee recently provided the chefs for the LA Greekfest at St. Sophia Cathedral hosted by Tom Hanks and attended by more than 15,000 people during the three-day event. He provides a professional one-day entry-level Prep Cook Training for homeless and at-risk veterans at March Air Reserve Base near Riverside, which is funded by donations from concerts like this and other support groups.

There is no charge for admission. Free-will offerings are requested during the intermission to help support the artists and the homeless veterans culinary training program.  

For more information, contact Mr. Yee at 626-230 5435, or e-mail bizwind@yahoo.com.


Performing Arts CenterIridasfree concertjazzhop-hopunique voicemusic history

Apr 2020


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