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Homecoming

first_imgAndrew, 22, has been playing the cello since he was a fifth-grader at Viewpoint School in Calabasas. And at 16, he played Hayden’s “First Cello Concerto” with the New West Symphony. In May 2006, he graduated from the Manhattan School of Music with the Hugo Kortschak Award for Excellence in Chamber Music, and this fall the Escher quartet will begin a three-year residency at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. “I’m stunned,” Lawrence Janss said about his son’s accomplishments as a cellist. “I’m popping buttons off my shirt every day, I’m so puffed up about him. I’m not musical at all, but I like to think I had some influence on (Andrew’s) venturing into the world of art.” Andrew Janss formed the Escher String Quartet with other students from the Manhattan School of Music, including violinists Adam Barnett-Hart and Wu Jie and violist Pierre Laponte. Although he expects to live in New York for the next decade, he misses California and is looking forward to his performance in Ventura next month. THOUSAND OAKS The Janss family is known in Southern California for developing Westwood, Thousand Oaks and parts of the San Fernando Valley. Now, add art to the family r sum . Photographs by Lawrence Janss of Thousand Oaks were used to develop “Yosemite: Journey of Light,” a fusion of his photography and the music of Robert Kyr that was performed by the New West Symphony in Brentwood, Oxnard and Thousand Oaks in April. And Janss’ son, Andrew, is slated to perform Thursday as a cellist with the Escher String Quartet in the Ventura Music Festival. “It’s my first coming back as a professional,” he said. “I don’t get to come back to California nearly as much as I would like. There is a solid-core classical music audience in Ventura County,” he said. “There are people who supported me when I was coming up and there are expectations I don’t want to disappoint.” Andrew’s great-great-grandfather, Peter Janss, was a doctor who came from Denmark to the United States in the 1800s and started the family’s real-estate business. His sons, Edwin and Harold, bought 10,000 acres in the Conejo Valley and developed 3,000 acres in Westwood, donating to the state the land to build UCLA. Edwin Janss Jr. headed the development of Thousand Oaks on the family ranch land that covered much of what is downtown Thousand Oaks today, including The Oaks shopping center and the Janss Marketplace. One of the city’s main streets, Janss Road, is named after the family. Edwin Janss Jr. also built a reputation as an underwater photographer and a collector of works by young artists before they had received widespread public recognition. “My father was a great photographer,” Lawrence Janss said. “He befriended great artists when they were young and struggling. He had that eye.” Lawrence Janss, 57, studied photography with Ansel Adams, whose photographs he also collected, and in 1998 produced his own photographic interpretation of Ferde Grofe’s “Grand Canyon Suite,” which was premiered by the New West Symphony. He recently exhibited his photos of Yosemite in a fusion of still and motion pictures with the music in “Yosemite: Journey of Light,” which had its world premiere this month. Lawrence Janss was also instrumental in saving the historic Moorpark Theater on High Street, which he bought in 2001 and renovated before selling it to the city of Moorpark in 2004. Marney Janss, who is Lawrence Janss’ wife and Andrew’s mother, is the founder of the Gold Coast Chamber Music Festival in Calabasas, where Andrew attended Viewpoint School. “His teacher called me and said that Andrew had way more than the average ability,” Marney Janss said. “I was thrilled, but we never pushed it. It wasn’t something I was going to push someone into ever. It’s difficult financially; it’s difficult artistically. But this is what he wanted to do. I’m very proud of him.” Andrew said although his parents are not musicians, their interests in art and music encouraged him to become a cellist. “It was an art-filled household,” he said. “There was always music playing. I think I was destined to become some kind of artist.” [email protected] (805) 583-7602 If you go The Escher String Quartet will perform in the Ventura Music Festival Rising Stars Concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at First United Methodist Church, 1385 E. Santa Clara St., Ventura. Tickets are $15 to $25. For more information, call (805) 648-3146 or go to www.venturamusicfestival.org. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more