Tuesday, April 26, 2022 at 7:30PM

Due to scheduling conflicts, the previously programmed piano trio has changed to a string quartet.  If you have ticketing questions, please contact the Box Office at (702) 749.2000 or email ticketing@thesmithcenter.com.

Spotlight on Classical Rock and Spring Strings
Curated by De Ann Letourneau
Troesh Studio Theater

VIVALDI  The Four Seasons
Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, “Spring” (La primavera)
I.  Allegro

PIAZZOLLA  Libertango

ABBA  Dancing Queen

HANDEL  Entrance to the Queen of Sheba

QUEEN  Don’t Stop Me Now

QUEEN  Killer Queen

QUEEN  Bohemian Rhapsody

MOZART  Spring Quartet, #14, G Major, K. 385

KANSAS  Carry On My Wayward Son


J. STRAUSS JR.  Thunder and Lightning, Quick Polka, Op. 324

THE BEATLES  Here Comes The Sun


THE BEATLES  Blackbird

BACH  Brandenburg Concerto No. 3
III.  Allegro assai

TCHAIKOVSKY  Waltz from Serenade for Strings

BERNSTEIN  Mambo 3 from West Side Story


De Ann has been the Concertmaster of the Las Vegas Philharmonic for over twenty seasons. She has been described as a powerfully warm and emotionally charged violinist with the unique ability to relate her love of music to all audiences. De Ann is also one of the few female concertmasters in the U.S.

The Las Vegas Review Journal said “…she performed not only impeccably but with an exuberant sense of joy.” The Duluth News Tribune raved “… her performance was sensationally vibrant from beginning to end.”

A native of Superior Wisconsin, she began studying with Diane Balko, the former concertmaster of the Duluth-Superior Symphony, at age 14. She quickly became known as one of the outstanding young artists in the U.S., winning her first professional job at age 16 with the Duluth-Superior Symphony. She has been in love with symphonic performing ever since.

Her career, now spanning over 30 years, includes many performances throughout the US and Europe as soloist and chamber musician on violin and viola. Formerly affiliated with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra, she has appeared as guest artist with many orchestras including the Milwaukee Symphony, National Arts Chamber Orchestra (Chicago), Duluth-Superior Symphony, St. Martin Chamber Orchestra, Nevada Chamber Orchestra and the Lake Superior Chamber Symphony in addition to soloing with the Las Vegas Philharmonic.

De Ann has also been a frequent guest artist performing recitals on radio broadcasts including KNPR FM, National Public Radio, WQXR FM in New York City, and Wisconsin Public Radio. She was awarded the Governor’s Excellence in the Arts Award and was a prizewinner at the National Arts Competition in Washington DC. De Ann has also won First Prize at the International Starling Violin Competition in Aspen CO.

De Ann was honored by National Association of Women Business Owners as the first ever recipient of the “Woman of Distinction Award in the Performing Arts” and received the Congressional Certificate of Achievement for her work in helping build performing arts in Las Vegas. In 2012, she received a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from her alma mater, Superior High School, for her work with various music programs and young artists where her passion and enthusiasm for developing communities through the arts and youth arts education have had a lasting impact.

Living in Las Vegas, she is sought after by some of the best-selling, popular performers of today in addition to her classical performances. De Ann performed, recorded and traveled with Celine Dion for nine years. She recorded an acoustic album, “Uku-Latte” with her friend, Billboard Chart/Vegas headliner, Frankie Moreno. She has performed for the Billboard Award shows, American Music Awards, Country Music Awards, Latin Grammy’s and other productions. De Ann has performed with popular artists including Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Thomas Rhett, Smokey Robinson, Earth Wind and Fire, Deep Purple, Metallica, Vanessa Williams, Natalie Cole and Johnny Mathis. She regularly performs with Andrea Bocelli at the Hollywood Bowl as his Associate Concertmaster and has also served as Concertmaster with Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Sarah Brightman and Alicia Keys among others.

Passionate about teaching and coaching to help inspire young musicians to reach their full potential as artists, De Ann owns a private studio where violin & viola students are admitted by audition. She also regularly coaches through Skype lessons around the U.S. and Europe, offering students help in preparing to audition for college, summer festivals and orchestral positions. Many of De Ann’s students now hold positions in various orchestras around the world. She presents masterclasses at various academic institutions on Neuro Linguistic Programming to help identify and address performance issues and make learning faster for artists. In June 2020, she will give a keynote presentation for Nevada Music Teachers Conference on her teaching method and how to get excellent, faster results in every level student.

De Ann attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and studied with Efim Boico & the Fine Arts Quartet. She then attended the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music to study with Dorothy DeLay & Kurt Sassmanshaus. She has also had the opportunity to study with some of the world’s best violin pedagogues including Josef Gingold (IU), Jascha Brodsky (Curtis), and David Cerone (CIM). All of these master teachers were her mentors at music Festivals including Aspen, ENCORE, LA PHIL Institute, Symphony School of America and Indiana Summer Festival.

De Ann lives in Las Vegas with her husband, Scott, and their 3 beautiful daughters, Grace, Rose and Faith. They enjoy spending summers in Northern Wisconsin with family and friends.

Shakeh Ghoukasian is the founder of two pioneering music initiatives launched in 2021: The String Connection, a violin, viola studio for advanced students, and The String Connection Virtual Violin Festival, transformational approach to musical training for advanced students ages 15-20. Connecting world class artist teachers to the students in an intimate and engaging manner.

Shakeh is an accomplished chamber music and orchestral musician, as well as a distinguished teacher and adjudicator. For the last 13 years she was the driving force behind the Nevada School of the Arts. As NSA’s executive/artistic director through 2020, she shaped the school’s vision and launched program initiatives and community partnerships that benefited both students and Las Vegas community. She launched the school’s Jazz Initiative, modeled on the ground-breaking prototype at Lincoln Center, as well as the Musical Crossroads program, that showcases classical guest artists crossing over into Latin and Jazz genres, performing in schools throughout the Clark County School District. Her passion for film music evolved into Kids2Kids concerts performed by students for students, wildly embraced by school administrators and young audiences alike.

Shakeh received her early music training at the prestigious Tchaikovsky Music School in Armenia, a country at that time “behind the Iron Curtain.”  After immigrating to the United States in 1979, she received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  She studied with such string notables as Lori Ulanova, Haik Balian and John Kendall.

Since 1998 Shakeh has held the position of Principal 2nd Violinist of the Las Vegas Philharmonic and performs with the Philharmonic’s Principals Quartet, to present educational outreach and chamber music concerts in the community.  She also plays regularly in orchestras supporting ballet and opera performances, as well as in recording sessions with jazz and pop musicians. She has performed with a vast array of classical artists and celebrity entertainers, including Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Boccelli, Placido Domingo, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Smokey Robinson, Itzhak Perlman and others on and off the Strip. Her solo performances include appearances with Henderson Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic.

Shakeh is an established master teacher and adjudicator. She has been invited to present master classes and workshops in Arizona, Utah, California, Idaho, South Dakota, Alaska, Oregon, New York, Washington and Las Vegas Summer Music Festival. She was a featured presenter at the American String Teachers National Conference, and is a recipient of ASTA’s Studio Teacher Award in Nevada.

She was the Founder and Program Director of the Green Valley Chamber Music Festival from 2006-2014.  Her students have garnered top awards at numerous local and national competitions and have been chosen to participate in prestigious summer music festivals and camps, such as the Interlochen Summer Music Camp, Indian University Summer String Program, Tanglewood Summer Institute and National Orchestra Summer Institute. She is dedicated and passionate about working with young musicians and guiding their musical and artistic development. Many of her violin students have graduated from universities and conservatories around the country.  With her as a mentor, they have become accomplished professional musicians and, most importantly, beautiful human beings.



Jason Bonham’s playing has been heard throughout the US and Europe. As a recitalist, Jason has been deemed “an extraordinary, first-class viola virtuoso” by the St. George Spectrum and his playing has been described as possessing a “full, rich sound, a solid technique with mature musicality” by eminent violin and viola pedagogue,Roland Vamos. Currently, Jason is the Principal Violist with Las Vegas Philharmonic and has been a performer with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra. In education, Jason is the Director of Instrumental Music at Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts as well as the founder and artistic director of music programs at the Tuacahn Summer Arts institute. He has been a board member of the American Viola Society, Kayenta Arts Foundation and the Chamber Music Society of Southern Utah. His articles (both music and non-music related) have been published and discussed in the Journal of the American Viola Society, Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and many others. His viola teachers include Helen Callus, Roland Vamos, Albert Igolnikov, Charles Pikler, David Dalton and Claudine Bigelow. He currently is pursuing is Doctoral degree in Orchestra Conducting with Taras Krysa at UNLV. Currently Jason resides in the St. George, Utah area with his wife, artist Aimee Bonham and 3 children: Billy, Fiona and Kortney.

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