2016 Guest Artists
Violinist Aaron Berofsky has toured extensively throughout the United States and abroad, gaining wide recognition as a soloist and chamber musician. France’s Le Figaro calls his playing “beautiful, the kind of music-making that gives one true pleasure.” He has appeared in world-renowned venues and has performed the complete cycle of Mozart violin sonatas at the International Festival Deia in Spain and the complete Beethoven sonatas at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall. Recent tours have taken him to Germany, Italy and Korea, and he was featured soloist on the 2009 Naxos recording of music by Paul Fetler.
As the first violinist of the Chester String Quartet for fifteen years, Mr. Berofsky was involved in many notable projects, including the complete cycles of the quartets by Beethoven and Dvořák, and numerous recordings by such composers as Mozart, Haydn, Barber, Porter, Piston, Kernis and Tenenbom. The quartet was acclaimed as “one of the country’s best young string quartets” by the Boston Globe and served as resident quartet at the University of Michigan and at Indiana University South Bend.
Mr. Berofsky is Professor of Violin at the University of Michigan and served as visiting Professor at the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, Germany. He has also taught at the Meadowmount School of Music and the Chautauqua Institution and has given masterclasses throughout the world. Mr. Berofsky’s interest in early music led him to perform with the acclaimed chamber orchestra Tafelmusik on period instruments, recording with them for the Sony label. With a strong dedication to new music as well, he has worked extensively with many leading composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, performing, commissioning and recording their music. Mr. Berofsky’s versatility also extends to the orchestral realm where he is Concertmaster with the Ann Arbor Symphony. His acclaimed recordings can be found on the Sony, Naxos, New Albion, ECM, Audio Ideas, Blue Griffin and Chesky labels.
Karen Briggs’ over four decade span through genres as a violinist includes an eclectic range and fusion of world musical influences. All mostly linked by improvisation and embellishment, her audio visual signature has become popular and sought after for a variety of live events and recorded projects both domestic and international. Karen appears as a feature in twelve music video concerts, hundreds of featured guest recordings and has recorded four solo projects.
With her combined experiences, Karen continues to develop original music while seeking continued expansion and development of the contemporary violin sound.
Karen has also conducted improvisational violin workshops as an artist-inresidency at: Berklee Music College, The Kennedy Center and The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. In an effort to encourage the evolution of the instrument’s use in contemporary music and advocating the preservation of music in American public schools, Karen has been an nspiration to many.
Karen was born in New York in 1963. After her family’s 1970 relocation to Portsmouth, Virginia, she started learning violin at age eleven at junior high school. With strong family music influences, Karen began to experiment with the violin outside of it's traditional expectations and quickly caught-on locally as a unique feature talent at weddings, jazz and church concerts. She was even featured with the marching band at halftime for a Norfolk State University’s homecoming game. This took place while she was also performing with The Virginia Symphony and a fulltime, Music Media major.
Validated and inspired by the knowledge of a few violinists who, performed non-traditional violin styles, (Noel Pointer, Jean Luc Ponty, Stephan Grapelli and Dr. Roland Sunkins. (a local area improviser on violin) Karen performed at local jam sessions learning more about improvising while continuing to study classical techniques.
The Bumper Jacksons
The Bumper Jacksons are hot and sweet, painting America's story from New Orleans' brothels to Appalachian hollers. Unafraid to scrap together new sounds from forgotten 78's, the Bumper Jacksons boldly and elegantly balance paying homage to the traditions while fashioning their own unique, DIY style. Recognized as the region's "Best Traditional Folk Band" at the 2013 and 2014 Washington Area Music Awards, the Bumper Jacksons are playfully creative with their originals and re-imagining roots music with both power and tenderness. Bursting at the seams with some of the richest threads of old America, Bumper Jacksons bring you into the center of a party where everyone's invited and the dance floor never sleeps.
Stijn De Cock
Hailed for his passionate and virtuosic piano playing by the East Hampton Star, celebrated Belgian pianist Stijn De Cock maintains an active musical career as a soloist, chamber musician, and teaching artist in the US and abroad. His playing has been described as “alternating between the stormy and sublime, while getting to the heart of the music” and was praised for its ability to create “a most compelling musical narrative (Amalfi Festival concert review).”
In recent years, Dr. De Cock’s concert seasons have included concerts on four continents, from the US to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Including the current season, Dr. De Cock will have appeared in Kenya, China (Hong-Kong), Taiwan, Italy, France, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece, and Spain, in solo, chamber, and collaborative capacities.
As a sought after teaching artist, Dr. De Cock has presented masterclasses and lecture-recitals in Naples, Amalfi, and Maiori, Prague, Pardubice, Nairobi, Hong-Kong, and Tunghai. Dr. De Cock has taught and held faculty positions at the State University of New York Fredonia, the University of Michigan, Schoolcraft College, and Albion College. He presently serves on the piano faculty of the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and holds a Master’s and Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan.
Ensō String Quartet
Founded at Yale University in 1999, the Ensō String Quartet has, in a decade and a half, risen to the front rank of string ensembles. Described by Strad Magazine as “thrilling” and praised by The Washington Post for its “glorious sonorities,” the Ensōōhas won numerous awards, including top prizes at the Concert Artists Guild competition and the Banff International String Quartet Competition. In the words of Classical Voice, it is “one of the eminent string quartets of our era.” Apart from a busy touring and teaching schedule, the New York-based quartet has made a number of critically acclaimed recordings for the Naxos label. The group is equally at home in many styles, and is committed to the classics of the string quartet repertoire as well as being strong advocates for new music.
The Quartet has held residencies with Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, at Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute, Connecticut’s Music For Youth, and currently with the Interlochen Adult Amateur Chamber Music Camp. The Quartet was also featured in the inaugural Young Artist Residency with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and in 2010 they received the prestigious Guarneri String Quartet award from Chamber Music America for outstanding outreach activity. The EnsōōQuartet members hold degrees from Yale University, The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, New England Conservatory, Guildhall School of Music (UK), and the University of Canterbury (New Zealand).
The ensemble’s name is derived from the Japanese Zen painting of the circle, which represents many things: perfection and imperfection, the moment of chaos that is creation, the emptiness of the void, the endless circle of life, and the fullness of the spirit.
Julia Lam Fang
Dr. Julia Lam, pianist and pedagogue, presently teaches in her studio in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Previously, she has been a faculty member at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Assistant Professor at Malone College in Ohio and at Wingate College in North Carolina. She has taught at the Indiana University Summer Piano Academy and the Northern Lights Music Festival in Aurora, Minnesota. She holds a Ph.D. in piano, music theory and music history from Michigan State University, a Master of Music in piano from the Indiana University and a Bachelor of Music in piano from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Her teachers include Menahem Pressler, John Perry, and Ralph Votapek.
Dr. Lam has served as the President of the New Jersey Music Teachers Association from 1998-2000. She has received the Presidents Plaque for Excellence in Music and Piano Performance, Outstanding Teaching in recognition of Four Student Winning Steinway Society Scholarship in l977, the Genia Robinor Pedagogy Award of Excellence from the Piano Teachers Society of America, and the Laura Conover Pedagogy Award for Outstanding Teaching from the Cecilian Music Club.
Associate Principal Cellist Stephen Fang joined the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in 2007. Prior to joining the NJSO, he served as Assistant Principal of the Aspen Festival Orchestra and Akron Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the IRIS Chamber Orchestra and Canton Symphony Orchestra.
As a chamber musician, he won the Grand Prize at the 30th Annual Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition (with the Verklärte Quartet) and First Prize at the 56th and 59th Annual Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competitions (with the Linden and Svanito Quartets, respectively). He was featured in the Fischoff Grand Prize Winner’s Tour, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage Recital Series, Cleveland Chamber Music Society Series and Cleveland Chamber Music Guild Series.
He has performed concertos with orchestras including the NJSO, Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, Colonial Symphony, Livingston Symphony Orchestra, Montclair Chamber Ensemble and New Jersey Philharmonic.
Fang earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was the winner of the 2003 Ellis A. Feiman Memorial Award for Achievement in Cello and 2003 Dr. Bennett Levine Memorial Award for Achievement in Chamber Music. He studied with preeminent professors and principal cellists of major orchestras, including Carter Brey, Richard Aaron, Desmond Hoebig, Stephen Geber and Eric Kim.
Clarinetist Richard Faria pursues an active career as soloist, chamber musician, and educator. He has been a participant in such festivals as the Bard Music Festival of the Hamptons, Bennington Chamber Music Conference, Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, the Cornell International Chamber Music Festival Mayfest, Skaneateles Festival, Klasik Keyifler Music Festival in Cappadocia, Turkey, and has collaborated with such groups as the Zephyros and Sylvan Wind Quintets, Atlantic, Tetraktys, and Arianna String Quartets, Composers Concordance, Guild Trio, Ensemble X, Mother Mallard, and the Young Composer’s Collective in Seattle. He has performed in Weill, Zankel and Carnegie Hall, Spivey Hall, the Smithsonian Institution, as well as at the American Academies in Rome and Berlin, and Glinka Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia.
A fervent advocate of new music, Richard gave the west coast premiere of the Roberto Sierra Clarinet Sonata dedicated to him at ClarinetFest 2007 in Vancouver, BC, as well as a premiere of the winning work of the International Clarinet Associations’ Composition Competition at ClarinetFest 2010 in Austin, TX. He has been invited to present at conferences such as NYSSMA, NACWPI and the Midwest Clinic. His solo CD, Roberto Sierra: Clarinet Works, was described as “a superb recording that belongs on every clarinetist’s shelf” by the American Record Guide. His recording of Stephen Hartke's The Horse with the Lavender Eye was released on the Chandos label.
Richard is a contributing author to The Clarinet magazine, and studied at Ithaca College, Michigan State University, and SUNY Stony Brook, as well as the Aspen Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra and the Stockhausen Courses Kürten. His teachers have included Joaquin Valdepeñas, Dr. Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr and Charles Neidich. He is Professor of Clarinet at Ithaca College.
Described in the press as possessing “finger-numbing virtuosity and delicately chiseled precision” pianist Read Gainsford also seeks broader connections. Known for his insightful introductions from the stage, reaching out to be what a magazine profile described as “Pianist of the People” he has collaborated with oceanographers to present “Voice of the Whale” by George Crumb, consulted with living artists to create a series of images to accompany Messiaen’s “Vingt regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus”; from historical reenactments of the famous piano duel between Liszt and Thalberg, to playing Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” for live performance by a noted dance troupe, he is committed to reaching audiences.
Gainsford has performed widely in the USA, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, as solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician, making successful solo debuts in Weill Recital Hall and Wigmore Hall. After leaving New Zealand, he studied at the Guildhall School in London, and at Indiana University. He is Professor of Piano and Coordinator of Keyboard at Florida State University, and a founding member of Trio Solis, who made their Carnegie Hall debut in May 2009. He also returns to his native New Zealand regularly to perform, give master-classes and visit family.
Michigan-born dancer Nic Gareiss has been described by the Irish Times as “the human epitome of the unbearable lightness of being,” and "the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene” by the Boston Herald. His choreographic work re-imagines movement as a musical activity, recasting dance as medium that appeals to both eyes and ears. Gareiss draws from many percussive dance traditions, weaving together a dance technique facilitating his love of improvisation, traditional dance footwork vocabulary, and musical collaboration. He has concertized internationally for over ten years with many of the luminaries of traditional music, including Frankie Gavin, Dervish, Bill Frisell, Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, Phil Wiggins, Buille, Solas, Liz Carroll, Martin Hayes, The Gloaming and The Chieftains. Nic holds a degree in Anthropology from Central Michigan University and a MA in Ethnochoreology from the University of Limerick.
Violinist Fritz Gearhart has performed for audiences from coast to coast, appearing in major halls around the country including the Kennedy Center, the 92nd Street Y in NYC, Alice Tully Hall, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie (six times since 1998). He is heard frequently on National Public Radio, including past live broadcasts on WFMT Chicago and WQXR in New York as well as Public Radio’s nationally syndicated program Performance Today. A sampling from the press: “...a sizzling performance...”(The Wall Street Journal), “...supple and imaginative...”(The New York Times), “...a superlative evening of musicmaking...”(New York Concert Review), and “Gearhart is a bold, assertive player...”(Strad).
Mr. Gearhart has recorded numerous compact discs and has releases on Albany, Koch Entertainment, Centaur Records and Bridge Records. His 2014 release on Centaur Records, Music of a Lifetime, features the music of his father, Livingston Gearhart. Gearhart has also premiered several contemporary works for violin, including works by award-winning American composers David Crumb and Robert Kyr. A recording of David Crumb’s September Elegy was released on Bridge Records in 2015.
Gearhart received his Master’s Degree and prestigious Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Donald Weilerstein. Earlier studies at the Hartt School included work with Charles Treger and members of the Emerson Quartet. Mr. Gearhart is currently on the faculty of the University of Oregon School of Music.
Described by one critic as “a phenomenal harp player who can make her instrument ring with unparalleled purity”, Maeve Gilchrist has taken the Celtic harp to new levels of performance. Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, and based in Brooklyn, New York, Maeve‘s innovative folk-jazz fusion approach to her instrument stretches its harmonic limits and improvisational possibilities. She is as at home playing with a traditional Irish folk group as she is with an American string band or a contemporary ensemble.
She tours internationally as band leader or soloist and has appeared at such major music events as Celtic Connections in Glasgow, Tanglewood Jazz festival, the World Harp Congress in Amsterdam and the opening of the Scottish Parliament. She has played with such luminaries as Kathy Mattea, Esperanza Spalding, Tony Trishka and Alasdair Fraser.
Maeve has released four albums to date, including her most recent recording, 20 Chandler Street, on Adventure Records, with bassist Aidan O’Donnell and fiddler Duncan Wickel, while on her own label her solo Ostinato Project is a beguiling exploration of the possibilities of her instrument.
She also maintains a widely acclaimed duo project with percussive dancer Nic Gareiss and tours regularly with bluegrass fiddle ace Darol Anger.
Maeve also teaches widely, and is the first lever harpist to be employed as an instructor by Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she graduated. She has written several instructional books published by Hal Leonard Music.
Natalie Hass is one of the most sought after cellists playing traditional music today. She and Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser have toured as a duo for over 15 years, wowing audiences at festivals and concerts worldwide with their unique sound. Their first album together, Fire & Grace, was awarded Best Album of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards 2004. Natalie has also toured with Mark O’Connor as a member of his Appalachia Waltz Trio. She and O’Connor premiered his double concerto for violin and cello, ¨For he Heroes¨, with the Grand Rapids, East Texas, and San Diego Symphonies. As a studio musician, Natalie has been a guest artist on over 50 albums, including those of Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster, Irish greats Altan, Solas, and Liz Carroll, and Americana icon Dirk Powell.
A graduate of the Juilliard School, where she studied with cellist Fred Sherry, Natalie discovered the cello at age nine. In addition to having extensive classical music training, she is accomplished in a broad array of fiddle genres. Her music journey found purpose when she fell in love with Celtic music at the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School at age 11. Inspired and encouraged by director Fraser, she began to investigate the cello's potential for rhythmic accompaniment to fiddle tunes, and to this day, the two continue to resurrect and reinvent the cello's historic role in Scottish music.
Natalie’s skills as an educator make her one of the most in demand teachers at fiddle camps across the globe. She also teaches privately and in a workshop setting, and holds an associate professorship at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Natalie now makes her home in Montreal, where she is an active member of the traditional music scene.
Aaron Hill serves on the music faculty at the University of Virginia, plays principal oboe in the Charlottesville Symphony and Wintergreen Festival Orchestras and English horn in the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Hill also holds Master of Music and Artist Diploma degrees from the Yale School of Music, where he received the Thomas Nyfenger Memorial Prize. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree with Highest Honors from the University of Michigan, where he played principal oboe on William Bolcom's Songs of Innocence and Experience with Leonard Slatkin, a recording for Naxos that won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Album.
From 2002 to 2008, Dr. Hill played principal oboe in the Flint Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed as principal oboe with the Rochester Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Richmond Symphony, Ann Arbor Symphony, and International Contemporary Ensemble. Dr. Hill was awarded the Grand Prize in the Mu Phi Epsilon Society for Musical Arts Competition and the Leche Trust Prize at the Barbirolli International Oboe Competition. He travels around North America as an active recitalist and masterclass clinician, and has been a featured speaker at the TEDxSkidRow and Tom Tom Founders Festival conferences. His oboe teachers include Richard Killmer, Stephen Taylor, Nancy Ambrose King, and David Weiss. He can be heard on YouTube performing Franz Wilhelm Ferling's 48 Famous Studies for Oboe as part of the "UVAtudes" educational recording series.
A native of Edmonton, Canada, Juliette Kang is First Associate Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She came to Philadelphia from the Boston Symphony, where she was assistant concertmaster. She has also been a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Ms. Kang’s solo engagements have included the San Francisco Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Boston Pops, and major orchestras in Canada. Overseas she has also performed with orchestras in France, Vienna, Prague, Hong Kong, and Seoul. She has given recitals in Paris, Tokyo, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. As gold medalist of the 1994 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, she was presented at Carnegie Hall in a recital that was recorded live on CD. Ms. Kang was also a featured soloist at Carnegie with the Edmonton Symphony.
Ms. Kang has been actively involved with chamber music since studying with Jascha Brodsky at the Curtis Institute of Music. Festivals she has participated in include Bravo! Vail Valley, Kingston Chamber Music, Marlboro, Moab (Utah), and Spoleto USA. In New York she has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Mostly Mozart Festival, and the Bard Music Festival.
After graduating from Curtis, she earned a Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Dorothy Delay and Robert Mann. She was a winner of the 1989 Young Concert Artists Auditions, and she subsequently received first prize at the Menuhin Violin Competition of Paris in 1992. She lives in Center City Philadelphia with her husband, cellist Tom Kraines, and their two daughters.
Described as “a charismatic soloist of expressive generosity and technical élan,” violinist Bayla Keyes is an ardent champion of a wide range of classical and contemporary repertoire. Trained at Curtis Institute and Yale University, Ms. Keyes performed with the acclaimed Music from Marlboro and went on to found the Muir String Quartet, with whom she toured internationally, winning the Evian and Naumburg Awards and two Grand Prix du Disques. Recent concert highlights include premieres of works with Boston Musica Viva, appearances on major American chamber series, solo concerts in Beijing and Shanghai, and frequent performances of the standard concerto repertoire. Her piano trio, Triple Helix, was in residence at Wellesley College from 1999-2012, where their series of Beethoven concerts garnered them the accolade of “Musicians of the Year” from The Boston Globe; the Trio is now Artist-in-Residence at Rivers Conservatory. Ms. Keyes is Associate Professor of Violin at Boston University and has taught at its program at Tanglewood. She has also taught at Interlochen, Kneisel Hall, and the New England Conservatory. She has recorded for Ecoclassics, CRI, Musical Heritage, EMI-France, Koch, Bridge, and New World Records, and her CD A Sense of Place with MSR was cited as “Best of North America” by Gramophone. Ms. Keyes served as a board member of Chamber Music America from 2003-2009 and has adjudicated at the Singapore, Stulberg, and Fischoff International Competitions.
Cellist Thomas Kraines has forged a multifaceted career, equally comfortable with avant-garde improvisation, new music, and traditional chamber music and solo repertoire. Mr. Kraines is the cellist of the Daedalus Quartet and the Clarosa Quartet, and has also been heard with ensembles such as Music from Copland House, The Transformational Music Ensemble, the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO), and the Network for New Music, and at festivals including the Bravo! Vail, Bard, the Sebago/Long Lakes, and Moab. An accomplished composer of chamber music, his works have been performed across the country by artists such as pianists Awadagin Pratt and Wayman Chin, violinists Corey Cerovsek and Jennifer Frautschi, and sopranos Maria Jette and Ilana Davidson. His free-improvisation duo Dithyramb with percussionist Cameron Britt has performed and taught as guests of the Longy School of Music, the University of Florida at Gainesville, and the Jubilus Festival. Mr. Kraines has taught at the Peabody Conservatory, the Longy School of Music, the Killington Music Festival, Yellow Barn, and Princeton University, and is currently on the faculty of Temple University. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, violinist Juliette Kang, and their two daughters, Rosalie and Clarissa.
Genevieve Feiwen Lee
A versatile performer of music spanning five centuries, Grammy® nominated Genevieve Feiwen Lee has thrilled audiences on the piano, harpsichord, toy piano, keyboard, and electronics. She enjoys finding music that challenges her to go outside of her comfort zone to sing, speak, act, and play many new instruments. She has given solo piano recitals at Merkin Concert Hall, NY, and the Salle Gaveau in Paris. Since her first engagement with the York Symphony at the age of twelve, she has appeared with the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, Brazil; the Vrazta State Philharmonic, Bulgaria, and The Orchestra of Northern New York. Her concerts in China appeared on Hunan State Television, and her performance from the Spiegelzaal at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam was broadcast on live radio. Ms. Lee has premiered and commissioned numerous works. She recorded Kurt Rohde’s ONE for speaking pianist (Innova), a solo piano CD, Elements (Albany), featuring works by Tom Flaherty and Philippe Bodin, and appears on three other CDs with music of Flaherty, Adam Schoenberg and Lee Hoiby. In the Los Angeles area, Ms. Lee has been a guest performer with XTET, Southwest Chamber Music, Jacaranda, and Piano Spheres. She is a founding member of the Mojave Trio and was a member of the Garth Newel Piano Quartet when they recently performed in Carnegie Hall. She is the Everett S. Olive Professor of Music at Pomona College in California.
The Le Boeuf Brothers
The Le Boeuf Brothers are "talented musicians and award-winning composers who channel their influences, environments, and resources into works that reflect their own identities." (All About Jazz) Remy and Pascal Le Boeuf, saxophone and piano respectively, "pursue a hyperfluent streamlined modern ideal" (New York Times) with "an impressive level of sophistication." (San Francisco Chronicle).
Their most recent project, "Imaginist", is a full length album in collaboration with JACK Quartet featuring a 9-piece hybrid ensemble of New York's finest modern voices including tenor saxophonist Ben Wendel, bassist Ben Street and drummer Justin Brown. The term "Imaginist" is a reference to the early 20th century Russian poetry movement characterized by sequences of arresting and uncommon images alongside long chains of metaphors. Funded in part by a New Jazz Works commissioning grant from Chamber Music America, "Imaginist" is structured to unfold like a book complete with prologue and epilogue. The album includes a narrated piece based on Franz Kafka's short story, "A Dream", an Exquisite Corpse series based on the imaginist principle of bringing juxtaposed images together to yield a synergistic product, and "Alkaline", a hard-driving polyrhythmic mosaic interspersed with moments of group improvisation.
The Le Boeuf Brothers tour internationally and have performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. Awards include Independent Music Awards (2015), Van Lier Fellowship (2010), 1st place in the International Songwriting Competition (2010), and numerous awards from SFJAZZ, the ASCAP Foundation, FROMM Foundation, American Composers Forum, and New Music USA.
Anthony Manzo enjoys performing in a broad variety of musical forums - despite the ever-present complications of travel with a double bass! An artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Mr. Manzo is sought-after chamber musician who performs regularly at such noted venues as Lincoln Center in NYC, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport, Maine, and the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival on Maryland's Eastern Shore. In addition, Mr. Manzo is also the Solo Bassist of San Francisco’s New Century Chamber Orchestra, and a regular guest artist with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, and the Smithsonian Chamber Society near his home in Washington DC.
Formerly the Solo Bassist of the Munich Chamber Orchestra, he has also been a frequent guest with Camerata Salzburg in Austria, where collaborations have included their summer residency at the Salzburg Festival, as well as two tours as double bass soloist alongside bass/baritone Thomas Quasthoff in Mozart's “Per questa bella mano” (with performances in Salzburg, Paris, Vienna, Budapest, and Istanbul).
Mr. Manzo is also an active performer on period instruments, with groups including The Handel & Haydn Society of Boston and Opera Lafayette in Washington, DC. Additionally, Mr. Manzo is a member of the double bass and chamber music faculty of the University of Maryland.
Mr. Manzo performs on a double bass made around 1890 by Jerome Thibouville Lamy in Paris (which now has a removable neck for travel!).
René Marie, the award winning singer whose style incorporates elements of jazz, soul, blues and gospel, has quickly become a heroine to many; a woman of great strength exuding stamina and compassion; often explaining how finding her voice and self through singing gave her the courage to leave an abusive marriage. But since the release of her recording debut, Renaissance, this Colorado based heroine has also evolved into one of the greatest and most sensuous vocalists of our time. Unmistakably honest and unpretentious while transforming audiences worldwide with her powerful interpretations, electrifying deliveries and impassioned vocals — René Marie has drawn a legion of fans and music critics who find themselves not only entertained, but encouraged and even changed by her performances.
With her latest release Voice of My Beautiful Country (Motema Music), listeners will hear her trademark vocals but will also be struck by the wide variety of songs that she interprets. During the course of the album, Marie brings her personal touch to everything from Motown to Tin Pan Alley to “America the Beautiful.” But Voice of My Beautiful Country is much more than a demonstration of Marie’s eclectic musical tastes; it is an ambitious celebration of Americana and the cultural diversity of these United States.
Although most of Voice of My Beautiful Country is performed in English, Marie sings in Spanish on the Latin standard “Angelitos Negros.” After falling in love with Roberta Flack’s version of “Angelitos Negros” when she was a teenager, Marie included the song to acknowledge the importance of Hispanic culture as a basic building block of America.
Canadian violinist Aisslinn Nosky was appointed Concertmaster of the Handel and Haydn Society in 2011. With a reputation for being one of the most dynamic and versatile violinists of her generation, Nosky is in great demand internationally as a soloist, director and chamber music collaborator. Recent appearances include the Holland Baroque, the Utah Symphony, the Staunton Music Festival, the Calgary Philharmonic, La Jolla Summerfest, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.
Aisslinn is also a member of I FURIOSI Baroque Ensemble. For over fifteen years this innovative Canadian ensemble has presented its own edgy and inventive concert series in Toronto and toured Europe and North America turning new audiences on to Baroque music. With the Eybler Quartet, Nosky explores repertoire from the first century of the string quartet literature on period instruments. Since 2005, Aisslinn has been a highly active member of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and has toured and appeared as soloist with this internationally renowned ensemble.
The Parker Quartet
Formed in 2002, the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet has rapidly distinguished itself as one of the preeminent ensembles of its generation. The New York Times hailed the quartet as “something extraordinary,” and the Boston Globe acclaims their “pinpoint precision and spectacular sense of urgency.” The quartet began touring on the international circuit after winning the Concert Artists Guild Competition as well as the Grand Prix and Mozart Prize at the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition in France. Chamber Music America awarded the quartet the prestigious biennial Cleveland Quartet Award for the 2009- 2011 seasons.
Performance highlights from recent seasons include appearances at Carnegie Hall, 92nd Street Y, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Library of Congress, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall in London, Musikverein in Vienna, Monte Carlo Spring Festival, Seoul Arts Center, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festspiele in Germany, and San Miguel de Allende Festival in Mexico. The quartet recently collaborated with artists including Kim Kashkashian, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Anne-Marie McDermott, Shai Wosner, Jörg Widmann, and Claron McFaddon. In 2012 the Parker Quartet was the recipient of a Chamber Music America commissioning grant, enabling the ensemble to commission and premiere Capriccio, an hour-length work by American composer Jeremy Gill.
Violist Scott Rawls has appeared as soloist and chamber musician in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Europe. Recent chamber music endeavors include performances with Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Ray Chen, Gary Hoffman, Lynn Harrell, Bella Davidovich, Vladmir Feltsman, Garrick Ohlsson, Keith Lockhart, and the Diaz Trio. His solo and chamber music recordings can be heard on the Centaur, CRI, Nonesuch, Capstone, and Philips labels. A strong proponent of new music, Rawls has premiered dozens of new works by prominent composers. Most notably, he has toured extensively as a member of Steve Reich and Musicians since 1991. As the violist in this ensemble, he has performed the numerous premieres of Daniel Variations, The Cave and Three Tales by Steve Reich and Beryl Korot, videographer. And under the auspices of presenting organizations such as the Wiener Festwochen, Festival d'Automne a Paris, Holland Festival, Berlin Festival, Spoleto Festival USA and the Lincoln Center Festival, he has performed in major music centers around the world including London, Vienna, Rome, Milan, Tokyo, Prague, Amsterdam, Brussels, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Under the baton of maestro Dmitry Sitkovetsky, he plays principal viola in the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. And during the summers, Rawls plays principal viola in the festival orchestra at Brevard Music Center where he also coordinates the viola program. Dr. Rawls currently serves as Associate Professor of Viola at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is active as guest clinician, adjudicator, and master class teacher at universities and festivals in America and Europe. He holds a BM degree from Indiana University and a MM and DMA from State University of New York at Stony Brook. His major mentors include Abraham Skernick, Georges Janzer, and John Graham.
Cleek Schrey (Hardanger d’amore fiddle) Described by the Irish Times as “a musician utterly at one with his instrument and his music,” Cleek Schrey is a fiddler and composer from Virginia. An active member of traditional music communities in America and Ireland, he plays in the Ghost Trio with Ivan Goff and Iarla Ó Lionáird. His work has been presented at Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation in Brooklyn, Storm King Art Center, the Kilkenny Arts Festival, the Lumen Performance Art Festival, and the Bridge Progressive Art Center. Cleek frequently makes music for dance, having worked with choreographers Douglas Dunn and Bill T. Jones and percussive dancers Sandy Silva and Nic Gareiss. He has studied composition with David Behrman, Paul Caputo, Bunita Marcus, and Walter Zimmermann. The journal Sound Posthas noted that Cleek “possesses a rare combination of traits: deep respect for traditional music and the people who make it, and an unbounded curiosity about new directions for sound.” He is currently pursuing a Masters in Music Composition at Wesleyan University.
Tizer Quartet, over the past few years, —a 2011 nominee for “Jazz Group of the Year”—has taken their multi-faceted world fusion vibe around the globe, galvanizing thousands at events including the Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, the Joy of Jazz Festival in Johannesburg, the Dubai Jazz Festival, Barbados Jazz Festival, the Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival and the Festival International Providencia Jazz in Santiago, Chile. In addition to their usual whirlwind of U.S. dates, their 2012 schedule in support of Downbeat includes the Jarasum International Jazz Festival in South Korea and four shows in Russia. While Lao was a “Best New Jazz Artist” nominee in 2002 and Diversify spent many weeks on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart, TIZER has a multi-genre, multi-national appeal that expands beyond just jazz enthusiasts. Their diverse resume includes performance slots alongside Zappa Plays Zappa, Jethro Tull, Isaac Hayes, Al Jarreau, Spyro Gyra, George Benson, Soulive, Babyface, Bruce Hornsby and Robin Thicke.
Those who haven’t yet experienced TIZER’s intensity, expansive arrangements and exciting soloing in concert got the next best thing with the group’s 2010 debut release TIZER Live, which captured the vibrant interaction of what Lao calls “the ultimate cultural and musical melting pot”; Italian-American New Yorker Minucci, African American violin great Karen Briggs (Yanni, Stanley Clarke, Chaka Khan) and Cuban born drummer/percussionist Raul Pineda (Michel Camilo, Chucho Valdes), in addition to Kollman, multi-instrumentalist Steve Nieves (Kenny Loggins, Loggins & Messina, Jagno) and Lao himself, who grew up in Boulder, Colorado. Bassist Rufus Philpot, who joined TIZER after that recording, hails from London. The concert recording at the world renowned Musicians Institute in Hollywood was TIZER’s very first live performance as a group; it included fresh interpretations of seven songs from Lao’s earlier recordings, including Diversify and Golden Soul (2001).
A National Symphony cellist since 1998, Rachel Young brings a deep and diverse musical background to her work, ranging from an avid engagement in chamber music to a strong interest in new music. She is a member of the Last Stand Quartet and the 21st Century Consort. Prior to joining the Symphony, Ms. Young was principal cellist of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. She performs chamber music with many groups in the DC area and has appeared on WGMS and WGBH radio broadcasts, at the Garth Newel Music Center, the Odeon Chamber Series, the John F. Kennedy Center and at the White House.
Ms. Young has made solo appearances with the National Philharmonic, the Columbia Orchestra, the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, the New England Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Music Institute. Her discography includes performances with the 21st Century Consort and the Smithsonian Chamber Players. At times, Young has enjoyed venturing into new arenas, collaborating with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, movie producer Bill McKenna, songwriter Randy Barrett, and saxophonist Al Regni.
Ms. Young was born and raised in Washington, D.C. She began studying music at the age of 4, and quickly knew she wanted to become a cellist. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, studying with Laurence Lesser, and her Master’s degree in cello performance with Stephen Kates at the Peabody Conservatory. She was a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and attended the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies in England where she studied with William Pleeth. Young now teaches a small studio of cellists and serves on the board of the Kindler Cello Society. She resides just outside of Washington with her husband, bassist Anthony Manzo, their 2 children, 2 cellos, 3 basses, and 3 cats. When possible, she commutes by bike.
Francis Yun, harpsichord, is a recent recipient of the Doctor of Musical Arts in Harpsichord Performance from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Joseph Gascho and Penelope Crawford. Mr. Yun has been a soloist with the Birmingham-Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra and the Yellow Springs Chamber Orchestra, performing Bach's Brandenberg Concerto no. 5. An avid champion of new music for the harpsichord, Mr. Yun has also appeared as a soloist with the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, premiering a piece by composer Edward Ryan called The Golden Invention. Most recently, he has performed with the esteemed baroque orchestra Apollo's Fire in their collaboration with Opera Columbus in a staging of Lully's Armide. He has performed in numerous venues on both harpsichord and piano including at Columbia University for their Rabi-Warner concert series, Columbia College in Chicago, and the Kasser Theater and Leshowitz Recital Hall in New Jersey. He has also been a featured performer at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, MI, the Power Center, also in Ann Arbor, and the Detroit Museum of Art. An educator at heart, Mr. Yun has been on the faculty at Brevard Music Center and the New Jersey Youth Symphony. He has also been on the faculty at Montclair State University where he was a professor of Music Theory and a staff accompanist. Mr. Yun also taught piano for the Preparatory Center for the Arts at Montclair State University.