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Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre


September 8, 2018
at 7:30 p.m.

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Tim Berens has graced our stage several times as an OVS soloist, but on September 8th he shows us another facet of his talents as he returns to conduct a fabulous all-Beethoven program. He brings with him colleague Michael Chertock to spark some fireworks with The Emperor piano concerto.

Guitarist, arranger, conductor Tim Berens

Tim Berens’s multi-faceted career gives testament to his lifelong quest to learn, perform and write music. So far, his venture has led him through the worlds of classical guitar, jazz guitar, orchestral guitar, arranging, orchestration, composition, and conducting.

During his years as the guitarist for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Tim played guitar, banjo, mandolin and bouzouki on concerts, recordings, television programs, and tours. Beginning in the late 1990’s, Tim began arranging for the CPO, eventually becoming the orchestra’s principal arranger.

Tim’s arrangements caught the ears of others and he began receiving commissions from many leading conductors and major orchestras. His arrangements are performed hundreds of times per year by orchestras throughout the United States and abroad, in venues from Carnegie Hall to the Kennedy Center to the Hollywood Bowl. Tim’s arrangements receive praise from conductors, musicians, librarians, management, and listeners.

In 2010, the desire to continue learning led Tim to return to school to study conducting. Two intensive years later, he earned a Masters Degree in Orchestral Conducting. As he conducted the music of great composers like Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Shostakovich, his studies of their scores enriched his skills as an orchestrator.

As a young student studying classical guitar at CCM, Tim took every opportunity to play jazz and other styles. This work prepared him well for the audition for the Cincinnati Pops. Over the following years, other orchestras began hiring Tim, and he performed with more than 20 orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He played thousands of services for conductor Erich Kunzel.

Tim was featured as a soloist on many of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra’s concerts, recordings and television broadcasts, most notably when he transcribed the piano part from “Rhapsody in Blue” for guitar.

Throughout his professional career Tim has performed regularly at jazz clubs, releasing 4 jazz recordings on the Red Mark label under his own name along the way, and he has continued working as a classical guitarist, performing Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” to great acclaim.

Tim’s most nerve wracking performance took place in 1975. Not even the duet he performed with Kristin Chenoweth at Carnegie Hall induced more gut-wrenching performance anxiety than his band’s performance of Smoke on the Water in the Van Buren Junior High School Talent Show.

Pianist Michael Chertock

Michael Chertock has fashioned a successful career as an orchestral soloist, collaborating with conductors such as James Conlon, Jaime Laredo, Keith Lockhart, Erich Kunzel and Andrew Litton. His many orchestral appearances include solo performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, l’Orchestre Symphonique du Montreal, the Toronto Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Naples Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony, the Chattanooga Symphony, the Utah Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony and the Dayton Philharmonic. Chertock has toured Asia with the Boston Pops and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestras. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1999 with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, performing Duke Ellington’s New World A’Comin’.

In June 2005, Mr. Chertock performed the world premiere of a work by Todd Machover for hyperklavier and orchestra with computerized visual accompaniment, commissioned by the Boston Pops Orchestra expressly for Mr. Chertock. He recorded the piece, called Jeux Deux, in Denmark in 2007. Last May, Mr. Chertock traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria for the world premiere and recording of a new work written especially for him by Roger Davis.

Mr. Chertock first performed publicly at the age of 11, and at age 14 performed on live television in Guam. At 17, he performed the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 with Andrew Litton. He has garnered numerous awards at major competitions, among them the top prize in the 1989 Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition (Brahms Division,) and the grand prize in the 1993 St. Charles International Piano Competition. He also shared the silver medal in the 1991 World Piano Competition of the American Music Scholarship Association. He received the Rildia B. O’Bryon Cliburn Scholarship in 1986.

In 1994, Mr. Chertock released his first CD, a collection of his original arrangements of music from movies entitled Cinematic Piano. Since then, he has recorded three more discs with Telarc: Palace of the Winds, Christmas at the Movies and Love At the Movies, which have been praised for their lush, original arrangements and exquisite technical facility.

Mr. Chertock is the conductor of the Blue Ash-Montgomery Symphony, located in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio, and he frequently composes and arranges music for the orchestra’s concerts. He also serves as Artistic Director of Linton Music’s Peanut Butter and Jam Sessions, an interactive music series geared toward children ages 2 to 5. When not on tour, Mr. Chertock also serves as principal keyboardist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. In June of 2004 Mr. Chertock was appointed Assistant Professor of piano at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, where he received his Master’s Degree as a student of Frank Weinstock.

Mr. Chertock makes his home in Cincinnati with his wife Maaike, son Joshua and daughter Maria. When he’s not on the road, you can often find him playing piano and organ for services at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.


Prometheus Overture
Symphony No. 2
Piano Concerto No. 5, The Emperor