Violinist and violist, Kay Pech is the founder/director of the Chamber Music Institute/So Cal, now planning for its 27th summer in 2023. Continuing to study, but retired from performing the great chamber works, she performed Brahms’ Third String Quartet in Hamburg, Germany in the Manhattan String Quartet workshop in January 2016. In 2012 Ms. Pech participated as a performer in the MSQ workshop (Paris) of the Debussy String Quartet (150 years since the birth of Debussy). In 2009 she also performed the Bartok Sixth String Quartet in the MSQ Workshop (Budapest).
Ms. Pech retired in 2005 as the music director of the Cal Poly – Pomona University Chamber Players. She performed throughout the ’90s as the violinist with Trio Sirena, a piano trio, with pianist Rebecca Rollins and cellist Manon Robertshaw, dedicated to the performance of chamber music written by women composers. Recently retired from private teaching, she taught violin and viola pupils for more than 65 years.
After 43 years as Principal Violist of the Disneyland Orchestra, she has now retired from professional orchestral playing, having served as the Principal Violist of the Downey Symphony and the Assistant Principal Violist of the Pacific Symphony. Ms. Pech performed as a violinist and violist with the Long Beach Symphony, San Gabriel Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra, Oklahoma City Symphony, Sioux City Symphony and was the Concertmaster of the Wichita Falls, TX, Symphony Orchestra.
She earned the Bachelor of Music Education degree in violin performance from Morningside College (pupil of Leo Kucinski) and the Master of Arts degree in viola performance from the University of Iowa (pupil of William Preucil), following graduate studies in violin performance (pupil of Eudice Shapiro) at the University of Southern California. Beginning violin lessons at age 4 in Los Angeles, she has enjoyed a long life in music and written an essay about women violinists (as well as violists and cellists) born before 1950, available here: Women and the Violin. As it is periodically updated, you are invited to return to find new editions in future months.
Ms. Pech taught chamber music for 21 years at Saddleback College, 10 years for the ASTA-Summer Institute of Chamber Music, and 8 years for California State Polytechnic University, Pomona chamber music ensembles. She has enjoyed watching the lives of her students blossom into major careers, including Michi Wiancko, Alida Schat, Kevin Kumar and especially Calvin Wiersma. It is with great pleasure that the “teacher now studies with the pupil”: her former pupil, Calvin Wiersma, as a teacher/performer in the Manhattan String Quartet, has now coached her in chamber music.
Our CMIsc History
Our first few years (1997-2002) of CMIsc were split between Cerritos and homes in Mission Viejo that hosted our rehearsals held once a week for four weeks. Our concerts were our participation in the MTAC-Long Beach Summer Chamber Music Festival at a church in Long Beach at the end of July, chaired by Kay Pech.
In 2002 with the addition of Dr. Charles Baker to our faculty, we also began holding rehearsals in Fullerton. In 2004 we held our Gala Concerts in Roselle Hall, Fullerton, hosted by Dr. Charles Baker and Joanne Ausmus-Baker. Our rehearsal schedule changed to twice-a-week for two weeks for a more concentrated preparation, feeling that in once-a-week rehearsals our players often forgot the material we had prepared.
We have continued the twice-a-week format each July since 2004, performing concerts in the auditorium at Cerritos Park East until COVID-19 forced us outdoors in 2020 to a park in Placentia.