The Bechtler Ensemble presents programs that are inspiring and engaging, creating a space of harmony and unity. The Ensemble can be heard at museums, educational institutions as well as at private homes and at outdoor events.
Portrait by Ben Long
Meet the Ensemble
Portraits by Jeff Cravotta
Originally from Zurich, Switzerland, cellist Tanja Bechtler found her creative outlet during her elementary school years, where she fell in love with the cello through the Orff Method. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a Master of Music Degree from the Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Marion Feldman.
Tanja served as an orchestral player for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra for 12 years and then continued to create and co-direct the Charlotte Composers Forum in North Carolina, where she worked in tandem with other regional composers from the Carolinas.
Adding to her impressive contributions to both solo and chamber music, Tanja was honored with the prestigious Women of Achievement Award, 2015, from The General Federation of Women’s Clubs of North Carolina, an international volunteer service organization. The Women of Achievement Award recognizes outstanding women for their significant contributions to the state of North Carolina.
Currently, Tanja is the founder and director of the Bechtler Ensemble and in residency at Queen’s University where she also serves as an adjunct faculty member. Tanja is also on the faculty of Gardner-Webb University and at Central Piedmont Community College as a cello instructor. She has recorded with her duo partner, guitarist Bob Teixeira, creating several CD’s titled “Shade Grown” and “Without Borders“, as well as recorded CD’s with the Bechtler Ensemble titled “Reflections on the Firebird” and “Imagine a World of Harmony”. Film recordings include Elie Wiesel, Robert Shaw and Elizabeth King’s documentaries by film composer Fred Story. Additionally, she is an active participant of the Practice HORA, a science-based training program designed to develop physical and intellectual inner strength, endurance, and the ability to remain calm during any activity. Tanja dedicates all of her music to Practice HORA Trance Sport and it’s youth movement.
Robert Teixeira is currently on the faculty at Queens University of Charlotte, and Central Piedmont Community College. In addition to his Charlotte-based teaching, he is active as a performer and guest instructor with recent invitations to instruct/perform at East Carolina University, Universities of Texas at Austin and San Antonio, Southwestern University, and Kennesaw State University. In recent years Robert has collaborated with award-winning guitarist, Mary Akerman in concert appearances and in the 2010 cd release of “Music for Two Guitars”. With a continuing commitment to education, Robert recently composed a set of five etudes for right-hand development that are published by Clear Note Publications.
Together with this husband and wife team, “Bob and Tanja” explore music for the guitar and cello. Their CD “Shade Grown” represents a ten-year journey of developing new arrangements and original music for this not so common instrumental combination. In addition, they have also collaborated with composer David Crowe and produced and released the CD “Passage”, in the world music group, Without Borders.
Originally from Rochester, New York, violinist Lenora Cox Leggatt began studying at age 7 and made her solo debut with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at age 16. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music studying with Catherine Tait and Zvi Zeitlin, and Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music with Donald Weilerstein.
Lenora served as concertmaster for The Cleveland Opera Orchestra for eight years, and for the former Ohio Chamber Orchestra and Cleveland San Jose Ballet. She has appeared as concertmaster under conductors such as Leonard Slatkin and Andre Previn, and as a soloist under Peter Bay and Leslie Dunner. Ms. Leggatt has enjoyed performing in the violin sections of the Cleveland Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Charlotte Symphony, and San Diego Symphony, and was a tenured member of the Calgary Philharmonic for three years.
A three-year fellowship student at the Aspen Music Festival, she has also performed at music festivals in Tanglewood, Basel, and London where she gave a world premiere performance with her twin sister—oboist, Johanna Cox Pennington. In November 2013, Lenora and Johanna performed together again at Carnegie Hall where they were critically acclaimed as “the highlight of the concert”.
Tatiana Karpova joined the Charlotte Symphony shortly after immigrating to the United States in 1999. A graduate from the Sverdlovsk Conservatory, she continued her musical studies at the Moscow Gnessin Institute of Music, where she completed her DMA. After winning a second prize at the David Oistrakh Violin Competition in1988, Ms. Karpova began a busy performing career as a soloist and chamber musician. Her concert engagement took her on many tours throughout the former USSR, including performances with the Uralic Symphony, Odessa Philharmonic, Budapest Chamber Orchestra, and Moscow Philharmonic. In addition to her performing accomplishment, Ms. Karpova has been an active teacher. In 1994 she joined the faculty at the Novi Sad Academy of Music and also taught at the Ural State Conservatory. Currently, Ms. Kapova makes her home in Charlotte, where she frequently performs with different chamber music groups in addition to her busy schedule with the Charlotte Symphony.
VASILY GORKOVOY, violist, was born in Taganrog, Russia. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Rostov-on-Don State Conservatory. Vasily received the Master of Music degree from Texas Christian University and later completed the Artist Certificate program at Southern Methodist University. Vasily enjoys playing chamber music and has performed in several chamber music festivals. Currently, Vasily works as a private violin and viola instructor at Southern Park Music School and as a part-time member of the Charlotte Symphony and as a member of the Winston-Salem Symphony, Hilton Head Symphony, and Union Symphony orchestras. He is actively freelancing in the Charlotte area with string quartets, giving concerts in churches, schools, and concert halls.
Pianist Yoko Yamada, a native of Japan, and resident of Chicago performs as a collaborator throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan, particularly with notable brass and woodwind performers of major orchestras. These include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, New York Philnarmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic. Vienna Philharmonic, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Ms. Yamada, who has appeared on classical music radio WGBH in Boston and WFMT in Chicago, has performed more than 500 pieces for brass and woodwind.
Yoko Yamada began her career as pianist while studying at Japan Toho High School of Music. She received a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Toho Gakuen School of Music in Japan and a Master of Music degree in piano performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
Composer & Arranger
Like many composers/arrangers, for the last 20 years, Mark Adam Watkins (BMI) has found an affinity for the eclectic. With a Jazz Piano degree in tow from California State University, Long Beach, he wrote for Improv Acting studios (bang. studio, Improv Olympic, the Hothouse), commercial music houses (King Klong Music Group, Nashville Tracks) & scored for TV/Film. After his grad work in Composition at the Henry Mancini Institute & California State University, Los Angeles, he teamed up with the Quadre horn quartet, which inspired chamber works with varied instrumentation as he developed a partnership with Solid Wood Music and Alry Publishing.
Mr. Watkins spent many years orchestrating for the Pageant of the Masters’ Orchestra in Laguna Beach, California; The New Four Freshman; the Vitamin Rock String Quartet, & music directing music theatre tours & tributes to the Rat Pack. He has instructed at the Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Center; CSU, Los Angeles, California Baptist University, & Central Piedmont Community College. Some highlights include working on projects with Lou Rawls, Al Jarreau, Bill Conti, Beyonce, JC Chassez, Debbie Harry, Lisa Loeb, Jack Sheldon, & the Trans-Sylvanian Orchestra. He currently works as a freelance composer/arranger, & moonlights as a pianist with the Bechtler Ensemble, North Carolina, Charlotte, & Greensboro symphonies, Opera Carolina among other ensembles ad hoc.
Emily Jarrell Urbanek is currently Director of Music Preparation for Opera Carolina in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is also an extra keyboardist with the Charlotte Symphony. In March, 2020, she conducted Derrick Wang’s Scalia/Ginsburg for Opera Carolina and Opera Grand Rapids. Emily frequently performs chamber music in the Charlotte area and has participated in premieres of new works by Kevin Krumenauer, David Noon, John Allemeier, Sean Neukom, and Mary Armistead-Jones. For several years, Emily has been on the musical staff of the Fort Worth Opera Festival and Chautauqua Opera. Recent repetiteur engagements include San Diego Opera (Nixon in China, 2015; Samson et Dalila, 2013), New Orleans Opera (Dead Man Walking, 2016; Cendrillon, 2014), and Kentucky Opera (Carmen, 2019; Dead Man Walking, 2017). Emily holds degrees from Furman University, the University of Michigan, and the Cleveland Institute of Music.