Vientos Trio

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lively and intriguing, the VIENTOS TRIORyan Zwahlen, oboe; Jennifer Stevenson, clarinet; Michael Kreiner, bassoon — is one of the premier new wind ensembles in Southern California.  Its members are among the finest young professional wind players performing with leading orchestras and chamber ensembles.

The Trio was formed with the goals of exploring and expanding the reed trio repertoire.  Committed to presenting engaging and exciting programs, Vientos has performed both new and established works.  For the 2008-2009 season, highly acclaimed composer Jenni Brandon has been brought on as composer-in-residence for the Trio.  Other up and coming composers from Los Angeles and New York have been commissioned by the Trio for a May 2009 tour to New York, where performances will center on comparing the musical aesthetics of the East and West Coasts.

Vientos is also committed to music education and outreach.  The Trio has received multiple grants to perform their Musical Adventures in schools and communities throughout Southern California.  These original musical stories for children based on the California VAPA standards are written and composed by Trio member Jennifer Stevenson. In 2009, the Vientos Trio presented their interactive Musical Adventure entitled “Lesanju the Elephant” at the Westwood Branch Library,  the first community outreach program sponsored by the L.A. Musical Salon.

In 2009 Vientos will be recording a CD of new music for reed trio, as well as a CD of their Musical Adventures. The Vientos Trio is a resident ensemble of The Definiens Project,

Vientos Trio - photo courtesy of J. Wesley Brown

Vientos Trio – photo courtesy of J. Wesley Brown

For more info on the Vientos Trio, go to

Ryan Zwahlen, Oboe, is one of Southern California’s most sought-after oboists.  He has performed multiple times with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the batons of Zubin Mehta and Bramwell Tovey.  He has played with many orchestras in the Southern California region, including the Culver City Chamber Orchestra, Riverside Philharmonic, Bakersfield Symphony, San Bernardino Symphony, Santa Monica Symphony and the Center Stage Opera Orchestra.  In addition, he currently serves as Principal Oboe of the El Dorado Opera Orchestra, and Second Oboe and English Horn of the Southeast Symphony.

Mr. Zwahlen’s passion for music is not limited to orchestral performance.  He is deeply committed to chamber music as the Program Director of the Definiens Project, a non-profit, contemporary chamber music organization.  Thanks largely to his leadership, the group has recently completed a two-year residency at UCLA.  Mr. Zwahlen’s other chamber music activities included frequent performances as a member of the Santa Monica Woodwind Quintet during the 2005-06 season.

Despite his busy regional performance schedule, Mr. Zwahlen has also become a fixture in performance halls around the United States and abroad.  He has performed with the Opera Orchestra of Germany, and won the Second Oboe position with the International Philharmonia of the Californias.  His summer festival appearances have included performances as Principal Oboe and English Horn with both the Hot Springs Music Festival and the Las Vegas Music Festival.

Mr. Zwahlen’s teaching experience is as varied and impressive as his performance credentials.  He has taught at both UCLA and Citrus College in California, and he joined the faculty of the Las Vegas Music Festival for its 2006 season.  He also believes in the importance of music education in the public schools and has committed his time and energy to the Children’s Music Workshop of Los Angeles and to the Santa Monica/Malibu United School District.

Currently, Mr. Zwahlen is working on his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Chamber Music and Oboe at UCLA.  He received his Master of Music degree from Arizona State University, and his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana.  Mr. Zwahlen’s major oboe teachers have included Marion Kuszyk, Associate Principal Oboe of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as Lelie Resnick, Rebecca Henderson, Fred Korman, Martin Schuring, Nancy Ambrose King and Erik Larson.  He has studied chamber music with Dr. Jennifer Snow, Jeffrey Lyman and Timothy McGovern.

Jennifer Stevenson, Clarinet, recently earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts under Yehuda Gilad at the USC Thornton School of Music.  She received her Bachelor of Music degree from DePaul University, where she studied with Larry Combs, principal clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and her Master of Music degree from Rice University, Houston, Texas, where she studied with Dr. Michael Webster.

She has performed with the American Symphony in Los Angeles, Orchestra X, the Woodlands Symphony, the Symphony of Southeast Texas, and the Classical Symphony Orchestra in Chicago.  A featured guest artist at chamber music performances across the country, Dr. Stevenson has performed multiple times on Classical KUHF in Houston, and as part of the Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival.  She recently joined the Orion Winds as clarinetist, and is also a member ofthe Nucleus Ensemble, both in Los Angeles.

In addition to her activities as a performer, Dr. Stevenson has received recognition as a composer.  Her works have been premiered at the Chicago Civic Center as part of the New Artists in Chicago Festival, and at the International Clarinet Association’s 1999 convention in Ostend, Belgium.  Her work for unaccompanied English Horn will be released on the Liquid Ranch Records label in Spring 2009.

One of Dr. Stevenson’s passions is for music education and outreach.  She is involved in designing innovative music programming as part of USC’s Residential Education program.  Dr. Stevenson is also currently on faculty at the Bellflower Institute of Arts, Music and Science, and the American Festival for the Arts in Houston, Texas, and teaches a course in educational counseling at USC.  She has performed at master classes with such great artists as Alfred Prinz, Eddie Daniels (jazz clarinet), John Bruce Yeh and Mitchell Lurie.  As Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Definiens Project, Dr. Stevenson has received acclaim as a writer of musical works for children.

Michael Kreiner, Bassoon, became enthralled with music and the bassoon in third grade while listening to a record of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.  This led Mr. Kreiner to complete his Bachelor of Music degree from the prestigious Indiana University School of Music, and his Master of Music degree from the renowned Manhattan School of Music.  He feels privileged to have studied with Patricia Rogers, principal bassoon of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Stéphane Lévesque, principal bassoon of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and concert artist Kim Walker.

Since heading west to Los Angeles in 2006, Mr. Kreiner has quickly become a fixture in the Southland’s orchestras and chamber ensembles.  He has performed with the Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay, the Culver City Symphony and the Bakersfield Symphony. 

He is a founding member of the Vientos Trio, and has performed with other chamber music ensembles, including the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra Wind Quintet, the Santa Monica Symphony Wind Quintet, Tonoi Ensemble.  Mr. Kreiner has twice appeared as a soloist with the Banff Centre Festival Orchestra.