Jonathan Swensen, cello
Noreen Cassidy-Polera, piano

Sunday, November 21, 2021
3:00 pm

  • Claude Debussy

    Sonata for Cello and Piano
    Prologue: Lent, sostenuto e molto risoluto
    Sérénade: Modérément animé
    Final: Animé, léger et nerveux
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Sonata in A Major for Cello and Piano, Op. 69
    Allegro ma non tanto
    Scherzo: Allegro molto
    Adagio cantabile—Allegro vivace
  • Sergei Rachmaninov

    Vocalise, Op. 34, no. 14
  • Sergei Prokofiev

    Sonata in C Major for Cello and Piano, Op. 119
    Andante grave—Moderato animato
    Moderato—Andante dolce
    Allegro, ma non troppo


Jonathan Swensen first fell in love with the cello upon hearing the Elgar Concerto at the age of six, and ultimately made his concerto debut at the age of twenty performing that very piece with Portugal’s Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música. Since then, he has appeared with the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, Venice State Symphony Orchestra, Denmark’s Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, and Poland’s NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra.

Mr. Swensen has captured First Prizes at the 2018 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, 2018 Khachaturian International Cello Competition, and 2019 Windsor International String Competition. In his native Denmark, he was recipient of the Jacob Gades Scholarship in 2019, the Léonie Sonning Talent Prize in 2017, and First Prize at the 2016 Danish String Competition.

Young Concert Artists presented Jonathan’s recital debuts in New York on the Michaels Award Concert at Merkin Concert Hall, and in Washington, D.C., on the Alexander Kasza-Kasser Concert at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater. This season, he performs as soloist with the Greenville and Mobile Symphony orchestras, and gives recitals at the Friends of Music concert Series in Westchester County, New York, and the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music.

Recent recital and chamber music appearances outside of the U.S. have included a return to Armenia to take part in the Khachaturian Festival in Yerevan, the Usedomer Musikfestival in Germany, the Tivoli Festival in Copenhagen and a South Korean debut at the Seoul Arts Centre. He is also a frequent performer at festivals in Denmark, including the Schubertiaden, the Copenhagen Summer Festival, and the Hindsgavl Summer Festival.

A graduate of the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Jonathan has studied with Professor Torleif Thedéen at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. He now attends the New England Conservatory of Music for graduate studies, under the tutelage of Laurence Lesser.

This concert marks his first appearance with AFCM.

Pianist Noreen Cassidy-Polera ranks among the most highly-regarded and diverse chamber artists performing today, and maintains a career that has taken her to every major American music center and abroad to Europe, Russia, and Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, and Seoul. Recent performances include at Alice Tully Hall, Zankel Hall, Weill Recital Hall, 92nd Street Y, Jordan Hall, Gardener Museum, Kennedy Center, and Salle Cortot, as well as appearances at the Caramoor, Bard, and Grand Teton festivals.

Winner of the Accompanying Prize at the Eighth International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Ms. Cassidy-Polera regularly collaborates with laureates of the Queen Elisabeth, Tchaikovsky, and Naumburg international competitions. She has collaborated with leading soloists including David Shifrin, Matt Haimovitz, Carter Brey, Antonio Menesis, Aurora-Natalie Ginastera, Yo-Yo Ma, and Leonard Rose.

Her mastery and affection for the complete standard cello-piano repertory is well-known, as is her attention and dedication to the works of living composers. In recent seasons she performed Elliott Carter’s venerable Sonata for Cello and Piano on tour in Paris, New York, and Philadelphia, along with new works by Lowell Liebermann, Benjamin C.S. Boyle, and Kenji Bunch to critical acclaim. Her CD recording “Sound Vessels” (with cellist Scott Kluksdahl) features the recording premiere of Richard Wernick’s Duo, and works of Robert Helps, Augusta Read Thomas, as well as Elliott Carter. She has recorded for EMI, Audiophon, and Centaur Records.

Ms. Cassidy-Polera holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School, where she studied with Martin Canin.

We last heard her as part of a Piano & Friends concert in April 2015.

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