David Holben and Ellie Choate Will Take Center Stage for North American Premiere of ‘Divertimento for Tuba, Harp, and Orchestra’

On February 18, the La Mirada Symphony will present the North American Premiere of “Divertimento for Tuba, Harp, and Orchestra” by Willi März. This eagerly anticipated event will feature two distinguished musicians who will take center stage as the performers.

In his composition, “Divertimento for Tuba, Harp, and Orchestra,” März skillfully navigates between light-hearted moments and lyrical expressions, showcasing the surprising flexibility of the tuba. Throughout the piece, the tuba engages in captivating dialogues with the harp, forming a seemingly contradictory yet perfectly complementary duo.

The music will be performed by David Holben on tuba and Ellie Choate on harp during the February 18 concert. The program, “The Great Germans,” will also include works by Johannes Brahms, Carl Maria von Weber, and Ludwig van Beethoven.


Let’s take a closer look at the two featured musicians.

David Holben, Tuba

David, a dedicated performer, boldly explores creative initiatives as a soloist. He commissions and premieres new compositions, heightening awareness and expanding the solo tuba repertoire. Simultaneously, he entertains audiences with his ostentatious interpretations of standard repertoire pieces. Active within the International Tuba Euphonium Association (ITEA), David serves as a soloist, clinician, and host of ITEA-sponsored regional conferences.

Transitioning seamlessly from his performing career to his educational endeavors, David demonstrates a commitment to nurturing a love of music. He fulfills his duties as a professor at California State University Fullerton, Concordia University, and Cerritos College. Additionally, he serves as a music coach for various middle and high school programs across southern California.

David embarked on his musical journey in 1985 near Pittsburgh, PA. He obtained degrees in music from the Eastman School of Music (B.M. ’96), the University of Arizona (MM, ’00), and the University of Southern California (DMA, ’11). Throughout his journey, David has studied under iconic figures such as Sam Pilafian, Daniel Perantoni, and Cherry Beauregard, each contributing to his unique sound and versatile style of playing.

Having performed with numerous symphonies and professional brass ensembles across the Southwestern United States, David’s musical collaborations extend to artists like Victor Vanacore, Chris Botti, and Andrea Bocelli. His solo appearances, ranging from Fresno to France, showcase innovative programs of new music, highlighting his dynamic and diverse talents.

Ellie Choate, Harp

Transitioning into the world of the harp during fifth grade, Ellie Choate already possessed three years of piano experience. However, it wasn’t until she completed her bachelor’s degree in piano at CSU Fresno under the mentorship of Dr. Bob Bennett that she seized the opportunity to study with Marjorie Call in Studio City, California. Under Call’s tutelage, Choate underwent a transformative journey, gaining a significantly broader understanding of the harp.

Guided by Marjorie, Ellie pursued her Master of Arts in Harp Performance at CSU Long Beach, marking the inception of her professional career in Southern California—a realization of her long-held dream.

Since then, Ellie has actively showcased remarkable versatility in her musical journey, enabling her to delve into a multitude of music creation realms. From gracing the stages of opera and symphony orchestras to collaborating with headline artists in show orchestras, she permeates diverse musical landscapes with her presence. Immersed in behind-the-scenes work, Ellie has significantly contributed to the musical scores of numerous motion pictures and recordings, alongside making notable on-camera appearances in movies and television shows.

Ellie’s harp performances extend far and wide across Southern California, from Orange County to Los Angeles County, and from San Diego to Palm Springs to Santa Barbara. Whether gracing celebrity-studded high-profile events or providing enchanting melodies for intimate weddings and dinner parties, Ellie’s life with the harp is an endlessly captivating journey.