Pyxis Piano Quartet


Pyxis Piano Quartet

Pyxis Piano Quartet was founded in 2009 to perform chamber music concerts that include works from the sonata, duo, and trio repertoire as well as traditional and contemporary masterpieces for piano quartet.  Compelling, engaging and informative, their performances have become increasingly sought after in the mid-Atlantic region. Pyxis has been described as "excellent" by The Philadelphia Inquirer and their most recent review, by Christine Facciolo of, stated "Balance, ensemble, superb intonation and sensitive interpretation characterized this performance."

Pyxis has been heard along the East Coast in concerts from Virginia to Pennsylvania. The ensemble's performances have become a highlight of the Delaware arts scene, and this year they are in their ninth season as artists in residence at the Delaware Art Museum.   The 2017-2018 season has already seen the ensemble perform and coach sectionals at the Delaware Orchestral and Chamber Music Institute with guest artist and Arkansas Symphony Orchestra co-concertmaster Andrew Irvin. The coming months will also include return performances at First and Central Church in Wilmington, Delaware, as part of their residency on the Market Street Music Festival Concert series and the "Celebrate the Arts Series" at Doylestown Presbyterian Church.

Recent season highlights included return engagements at the Kent Chamber Music Series and the German Society of Pennsylvania, debut appearances at the Annie M. Gaul Concert Series at St. John's (Hain's) Church in Wernersville, Pennsylvania, and the Brown Bag Lunch Concerts at Holy Trinity Church in Philadelphia. Other past notable performances have been at St. Monica's Church (Berwyn, Pennsylvania); the Delaware Symphony Orchestra Champagne Chamber Series at the DuPont Hotel Gold Ballroom; a benefit concert with the Harmony for Peace Foundation; the Newark (Delaware) Free Library; and recitals as featured artists at the Delaware Chamber Music Festival and at Villanova University.

Pyxis delights in working with esteemed musical guest artists from our area and farther afield.  Past collaborations have included composer Ingrid Arauco, faculty members from the University of Delaware, University of North Carolina School for the Arts, James Madison University, the Pennsylvania School of the Arts, and the College of New Jersey as well as members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, Delaware Symphony, Relache Ensemble, and Serafin String Quartet.

The musicians of Pyxis are also committed educators.  As private instructors they have a significant impact on their musical community, reaching over 80 students on a weekly basis.  The ensemble has performed educational concerts for children at the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington Montessori School, St. Monica's School (Berwyn, Pennsylvania) and in southern Delaware under the auspices of Coastal Concerts, Inc.

The group takes its name from the Pyxis constellation, also known as the Mariners' Compass, whose symbol is the compass rose.  The points of the compass rose represent the new artistic directions that the group strives to take together while recognizing the different backgrounds and experiences of its musicians.

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Luigi Mazzocchi, violin

Luigi Mazzocchi was born in Venezuela where he studied music in the System of Youth Orchestras ("El Sistema"), the "Sojo" Conservatory, and the Latin American Violin Academy with José del Castillo. Mr. Mazzocchi was a founder of the Lara State Symphony Orchestra as principal second violin, Concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of Venezuela, and a first violinist of the "Simón Bolívar" Symphony Orchestra, touring Latin America and Europe, and recording a number of CDs on the Dorian Record label.

Mr. Mazzocchi has performed as soloist with all the leading Venezuelan symphony orchestras and attended international music festivals in the US, Panama, Spain, France and Australia. He is a prizewinner in solo competitions such as the 1995 "Del Castillo" Latin American Competition, the 1997 South Orange Symphony Artist Competition, the 1999 FOSJA Solo Competition in Puerto Rico (performing as soloist at the Casals Festival), and the 2000 Temple University Concerto Competition.

Since 1996, he has been living in the United States where he studied violin with Liliana Ciulei and Helen Kwalwasser. He holds a Bachelor's of Music degree from Rowan University and a Master's of Music degree from Temple University. He has coached with David Arben, Margaret Pardee, Zakhar Bron, Olivier Charlier, Naoko Tanaka, William de Pasquale, Luis Biava, Charles Parker, as well as the Emerson, Guarneri, and Orion String Quartets.

Currently, Mr. Mazzocchi is the Concertmaster of the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, Concertmaster of the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, Concertmaster of the Ocean City Pops Orchestra, Associate Concertmaster of the Delaware Symphony, and a member of Opera Philadelphia, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Philly Pops, the West Jersey Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Philadelphia, as well as the Gaudeamus and the Caçhasa Ensembles. He has served as substitute violinist and a teaching artist for the Philadelphia Orchestra and as Guest Concertmaster for the Lancaster Symphony. He has also performed with Orchestra 2001, the Philadelphia Classical Symphony, the Serafin and Dalí String Quartets, the Pagode Project, and Alô Brasil. Mr. Mazzocchi has been a featured artist for Intercultural Journeys' 2015-16 season.

  Luigi Mazzocchi

Amy Leonard, viola

Philadelphia native Amy Leonard received viola performance degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory and the Manhattan School of Music, and has studied baroque viola at Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute. Principal teachers have included Leonard Mogill, Jeffrey and Lynne Ramsey Irvine, Karen Ritscher, Charles Bruck, and Jane Starkman.

Though much of her career has been devoted to the teaching and performing of orchestral music, Amy is also an active recitalist and chamber musician, participating in a number of music festivals in North America and Europe such as Aspen, Banff, Spoleto USA, and Mostra Mozart in Venice, Italy. Amy also enjoyed a decade-long relationship with the Pierre Monteux School in Hancock, Maine, first as student, then as administrator and director of the school’s chamber music series. Past orchestral positions have been with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the New World Symphony (Miami Beach, FL), and as assistant principal violist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, where Amy performed with the internationally recognized contemporary ensemble Nua Nos, or “New Noise”. Amy taught viola at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana for four years; her students are now members of the Mississippi and Baton Rouge Symphonies.

Currently Amy maintains a large and lively studio teaching viola and violin at the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA and at home. Recent recital appearances have been at Rowan University, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Calvary Episcopal Church in Wilmington, DE, and at the Philadelphia Ethical Society. She is also very much in demand as a free lance musician, performing as a member of the contemporary ensemble Relâche, the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, and the baroque ensembles Tempesta di Mare and Brandywine Baroque. Amy also performs frequently with other ensembles such as the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, Philly Pops, and in recent years has been a guest artist with groups such as the Copeland String Quartet, La Bernardinia baroque ensemble, and Melomanie.

  Amy Leonard

Jie Jin, cello

Jie Jin has been widely recognized for performances in music capitals in North America, Europe and Asia. She has appeared as a soloist with Bay Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, National Repertoire Orchestra and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. She held principal cello positions with National Repertoire Orchestra, Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Institute of Music and Shepherd School of Music Orchestra at Rice University and played with Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Houston Symphony and New World Symphony . Ms. Jin has been invited to Aspen Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Colorado Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, International Summer Academic Prague-Vienna-Budapest Festival, Beijing International Music Festival, Margess International Festival, Daniel Music Festival and Amadeus Masterclass.

Before her move to the United States, she won First Prize in the National Cello Duo Competition of China, the Bao-gang Elegance Art Award and the Excellent Performance Prize in the National Competition of China. An active chamber musician, Ms. Jin is the founder of the Tang-gu-la String Quartet. The Quartet toured England, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Australia and China and received numerous honors, winning Second Prize in the First National String Quartet Competition. Shortly after, the quartet appeared in Isaac Stern’s Oscar-winning documentary “From Mao to Mozart”, and performed for President Bill Clinton.

Ms. Jin began her cello study at age 5. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Upon receiving a full scholarship from Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, she came to the United States and studied with Prof. Norman Fischer for her Master’s degree. Ms. Jin also received the Artist Diploma at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Mr. Desmond Hoebig.

A committed teacher, her students won the top prizes in the competitions, performed in Carnegie Hall, Kimmel Center and performed with orchestra as the soloist. Ms. Jin is currently on the faculty at Chamber Strings Summer Workshop. She serves as Principal Cello of the Bay-Atlantic Symphony and performs with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.

  Jie Jin

Hiroko Yamazaki, piano

Hiroko Yamazaki has performed in the United States and abroad in Rome, Italy; Helsinki and Imatra, Finland; and Lausanne, Switzerland. She has collaborated with instrumentalists and vocalists including members of Tonhalle Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Delaware Symphony in performances at venues including the Smithsonian Institution, Kennedy Center, Swarthmore College, Aspen Music Festival, Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum, New York City and Puerto Rico. Her appearances at summer festivals include the Luzerne Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Rome Festival, and the International Festival-Institute at Round Top in Texas, where her performance with Minnesota Orchestra principal oboist Basil Reeve was recorded for NPR. She has been featured as the soloist in Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini and Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A Major, K.488 with the Wilmington Community Orchestra.

Ms. Yamazaki was the winner of the Austrian-American Society Musical Scholarship Competition, which sponsored her summer studies at the Mozarteum Hochschule für Music und Darstellende Kunst in Salzburg, Austria. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in piano performance from the University of Maryland, where she was a Creative and Performing Arts Scholarship student of Anne Koscielny, and was a recipient of the Presser Foundation Award and initiated into Pi Kappa Lambda. She later received the University of Maryland’s Collaborative Piano Award and completed her Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano as a student of Rita Sloan.

Ms. Yamazaki also has extensive teaching experience in private lessons, class piano and coaching chamber music. She was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Delaware teaching piano majors and minors and class piano. She was also on the faculties of Darlington Fine Arts Center and Luzerne Music Center. After spending several summers as a Fellow in the Collaborative Piano Program at the Aspen Music Festival and School, she was named Accompanying Coordinator and Teaching Assistant to Rita Sloan, Director of Collaborative Arts Program. Currently, she is Associate Head of the Piano Department and Master Piano Faculty with Distinction at The Music School of Delaware, where she is also on the faculty of the Summer Piano Institute.

  Hiroko Yamazaki