The Bridge Players

The Bridge Players, "A plucky chamber ensemble" (J weekly, April 23, 2009), began performing together in 2000. They have recorded and concertized throughout California. Their current CD, Tales from Terezin, is a featured item at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's bookstore. Each musician is recognized as a master string interpreter in the Bay Area. The Bridge Players are comprised of the following musicians:

Randall Weiss made his solo violin debut performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto as winner of the Victoria, B.C. Concerto Competition. For 17 years he was Assistant Concertmaster of the San Jose Symphony, substituting regularly as Concertmaster. He is currently Assistant Concertmaster of Symphony Silicon Valley. Mr. Weiss has appeared with the San Francisco Opera; San Francisco Ballet; Louisville Orchestra; served as Assistant Concertmaster of the Music in the Mountains Festival; as Concertmaster and soloist with the Santa Cruz County Symphony; and as Concertmaster of the AIMS Orchestra in Graz, Austria. Mr. Weiss trained with Paul Kling at the University of Victoria and the University of Louisville; with Tadeusz Wronski at Indiana University School of Music; and with Sylvia Rosenberg at The Peabody Conservatory. During the summer of 1998, he performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto at the acclaimed Eastern Music Festival, where he has been a faculty member since 1989. Mr. Weiss is the founder and music director of Music in the Mishkan, a chamber music series in San Francisco. He is a founding member of The Bridge Players.

A native of California, violinist Leslie Ludena grew up in suburban of Washington, D.C., where she began her professional career in local orchestras at age 15. After attending the Eastman School of Music, Ms. Ludena joined the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra in 1995, and played operas, ballet, and Broadway musicals there for three seasons. In 1998, she joined the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. Ms. Ludena also freelances, subbing with several Bay Area orchestras and playing chamber music.

Natalia Vershilova was born in Leningrad and graduated from the Leningrad Conservatory where she studied with the renowned violist, Yuri Kramarov. While still a student at the Conservatory she played with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra and the Mali Opera Theater of Leningrad. She was awarded first prize at the "Competition for the performance of works by Soviet Composers" in Leningrad. After emigrating to the United States she performed with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of New York and was a member of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra with whom she appeared as soloist in Mozart's Symphonie Concertante. Ms. Vershilova is presently a member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. She has appeared with the Sinfonia San Francisco; San Francisco Chamber Orchestra; San Francisco Chamber Symphony; Russian Chamber Orchestra; San Francisco Ballet Orchestra; and the Elixir Chamber Ensemble. Ms. Vershilova performs frequently with ensembles throughout the Bay Area. She is a founding member of The Bridge Players.

Victoria Ehrlich, cellist, was born in Texas and received her musical education at Southern Methodist University in Dallas; Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy; State University of New York at Stony Brook; and summer programs at Interlochen, Aspen, and Tanglewood. Her teachers include Robert Marsh, Bernard Greenhouse, and Robert Gardner. Before joining the San Francisco Opera Orchestra in 1984, she performed with the Santa Fe Opera, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and served as principal cellist with the Symphonies of Omaha, Richmond, VA, and Phoenix. Ms. Ehrlich has performed with the San Francisco Ballet and Symphony; New Century Chamber Orchestra; California and Berkeley Symphonies; Lamplighters; Composer's Inc.; and Pocket Opera. She appears regularly with the percussion group Adesso; Gold Coast Chamber Players; Fath Chamber Players; Ariel String Quartet; and The Bridge Players.

Pianist Marilyn Thompson received her Bachelor's Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she was a student of Adolph Baller. She was awarded a Fulbright Grant to the Vienna Academy of Music, and subsequently received her Master's Degree from Stanford University, where she studied under the Helen Evans Memorial Scholarship, a full tuition grant. Miss Thompson has performed in chamber music concerts in Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center; the 92nd Street "Y' in New York City; the Philip's Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Boston's Symphony Hall; Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco; and most recently in the Teatro Nacional, San Jose, Costa Rica. In the 1980's she was the pianist member of the Chamber Soloists of San Francisco and the San Francisco Trio. At the present time, Miss Thompson is the pianist of the Navarro Trio, a group which performs frequently throughout the Bay Area. Marilyn has taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; the College of Holy Names, Oakland, California; at the University of California at Santa Cruz; and is currently on the faculty of Sonoma State University where she has taught since 1976.