2015 Guest ArtistsAeolus Quartet
Praised by Strad Magazine for their "high-octane" performance, the Aeolus Quartet is among the finest young string quartets performing today. Violinists Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violist Gregory Luce, and cellist Alan Richardson formed the Aeolus Quartet in 2008 at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Since its inception, the all-American quartet has been awarded prizes at nearly every major competition in the United States, and performed across the globe to great acclaim. Luke Quinton of the Austin-American Statesman writes, "The Aeolus Quartet is a powerful and thoughtful group of young musicians who are plotting an ascending course...this vibrant group shows great promise."
The Aeolus Quartet are Grand Prize winners of the 2011 Plowman Chamber Music Competition and 2011 Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition. They were also awarded First Prize at the 2009 Coleman International Chamber Music Competition, a Silver Medal at the 2011 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition, and a Bronze Medal at the 2010 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in New England. The 16th Annual Austin Critics' Table also named the Aeolus Quartet their 2010-2011 "Best Ensemble." The Quartet's 2010-2011 season highlights include a two-week tour of China, a summer residency at the Austin Chamber Music Center, and concerts featuring the music of American composers across the United States made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Quartet has collaborated on stage with such artists as Eugenia Zukerman, Brian Lewis, DaXun Zhang, Zuill Bailey, Peter Salaff, and the Miro Quartet.
In the summer of 2010, the Aeolus Quartet was the Young Quartet-in-Residence at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival in Vail, CO. Summer 2010 also included performances at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, the Perlman Music Program, the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar, and the Sunflower Music Festival. The Quartet has participated in the Aspen Music Festival's Center for Advanced Quartet Studies, the Young Quartet-in-Residence Program at the Pine Mountain Music Festival, and the Jeunesses Musicales International Chamber Course in Weikersheim, Germany.
Dedicated to bringing music into the community, the Aeolus Quartet designed and performed a program for elementary students in the Cleveland Public School system in an April 2009 project made possible by the Frances E. Sykora Outreach Performance Fund. The significant impact of this program has led to its becoming an ongoing project in the Cleveland Public School system. Working in collaboration with the University of Texas through the Rural Chamber Music Outreach Initiative, the Quartet has presented educational programs and performances in communities throughout the state of Texas.
The Aeolus Quartet has studied extensively with the Miro, Juilliard, Takacs, Artemis, and Cavani Quartets. The Quartet's other mentors include artists such as Peter Salaff, William Preucil, Donald Weilerstein, James Dunham, Roger Tapping, Heime Muller, and Itzhak Perlman. The members of the Quartet hold degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the University of Texas at Austin, where they served as the first Graduate String Quartet in Residence. The Aeolus Quartet is currently the Graduate Fellowship String Quartet at the University of Maryland, where they are pursuing Doctoral degrees.
The Quartet is named for the Greek god Aeolus, the keeper of the four winds. He is known for welcoming Odysseus and his crew with music during their journey back to Ithaca in Homer's Odyssey.
Hailed as a “stunning pianist with incredible dexterity,” Canadian pianist Audrey Andrist has performed throughout North America and in Europe and Asia. She grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, and while in high school traveled three hours each way for lessons with William Moore, himself a former student of famed musicians Cécile Genhart and Rosinna Lhévinne. Ms. Andrist later studied at the Juilliard School with Herbert Stessin, winning first prizes at the Mozart International, San Antonio International, and Juilliard Concerto Competitions. She has performed in many of North America’s most prestigious venues, including the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and New York’s Alice Tully Hall. She is a member of the Verge Ensemble in Washington DC, of the Stern/Andrist Duo with her husband, violinist James Stern, and of Strata, a trio with Stern and clarinetist Nathan Williams. She is an avid performer of new music with many world premieres to her credit. Ms. Andrist can be heard on over a dozen recordings of both standard and modern repertoire. She currently lives in the Washington DC area, where she teaches at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and at the Washington Conservatory. Her CD of solo works by Robert Schumann is available on Centaur Records. Visit her website at www.audreyandrist.com
Violinist Aaron Berofsky has toured extensively throughout the United States and abroad, gaining wide recognition as a soloist and chamber musician. As a soloist, he has performed with orchestras in the United States, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Canada. France’s Le Figaro calls his playing “beautiful, the kind of music-making that gives one true pleasure.” He presented the complete cycle of Mozart violin sonatas at the International Festival Deia in Spain, and has appeared in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the 92nd Street Y, the Corcoran Gallery, Het Doelen, L'Octogone, the Teatro San Jose, and the Museo de Bellas Artes. His 2011 recording of the complete Beethoven sonatas with Phillip Bush met with great acclaim. He is also heard on the Sony, Naxos, New Albion, ECM, Audio Ideas, Blue Griffin, Chesky, and Equilibrium labels.
For fifteen years, Mr. Berofsky was the first violinist of the Chester String Quartet, praised as "one of the country's best young string quartets" by the Boston Globe. His interest in early music led him to perform and record with the acclaimed chamber orchestra Tafelmusik on period instruments. 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 pieces. Mr. Berofsky is Professor of Violin at the University of Michigan and served as visiting Professor at the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, Germany.
Born on the Island of Trinidad in 1983, Etienne Charles defies easy musical categorization. He has been hailed by New York Times as “an auteur” and by Jazz Times as “A daring improviser who delivers with heart wrenching lyricism.” According to Downbeat Magazine “Charles delivers his ebullient improvisations with the elegance of a world-class ballet dancer.” Etienne has received critical acclaim for his exciting performances, thrilling compositions and knack for connecting with audiences worldwide. In June 2012, Etienne was written into the US Congressional Record for his musical contributions to Trinidad & Tobago and the World.
Perhaps more than any other musician of his generation or Eastern Caribbean origin, Etienne brings a careful study of myriad rhythms from the French, Spanish, English and Dutch speaking Caribbean to the table. Crucially, as a soloist, he fully understands the New Orleans trumpet tradition (which is readily discernible in his trademark instrumental swagger) and what famed Crescent City Pianist, Jelly Roll Morton so succinctly captured in the now immortal phrase, 'The Spanish Tinge'.
His latest recording, Creole Soul (Culture Shock Music 2013) has received worldwide critical acclaim for it’s fusion of root grooves from the Afro-Caribbean (3 weeks at #1 Jazzweek Chart, iTunes #5, #3 Jazzweek top 100 of 2013, #25 Billboard Jazz Chart). His previous release, Kaiso (Culture Shock Music 2011), features his arrangements and interpretations of the music of calypso legends Lord Kitchener, Mighty Sparrow and the Roaring Lion.
As a sideman he has performed and or recorded with Monty Alexander, Roberta Flack, Frank Foster, Ralph MacDonald, Johnny Mandel, Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Roberts, Maria Schneider, Count Basie Orchestra, Eric Reed, Lord Blakie, David Rudder and many others.
Etienne Charles holds a Master's degree from the Juilliard School and a Bachelor's degree from Florida State University.
Praised by The New Yorker as “a fresh and vital young participant in what is a golden age of American string quartets,” the Daedalus Quartet has established itself as a leader among the new generation of string ensembles. In the eleven years of its existence, the Daedalus Quartet has received plaudits from critics and listeners alike for the technical finish, interpretive unity, and sheer gusto of its performances. Since its founding, the Daedalus Quartet has performed in many of the world’s leading musical venues, and has garnered praise for its adventurous exploration of contemporary music.
The Quartet has forged associations with some of America’s leading classical music and educational institutions, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. The Daedalus Quartet has been Columbia University’s Quartet-in-Residence since 2005, and has been Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania since 2006. In 2007, the Quartet was awarded Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award. The Quartet won Chamber Music America’s Guarneri String Quartet Award, which funded a three-year residency in Suffolk County, Long Island, from 2007-2010. The Quartet’s debut recording, including music of Stravinsky, Sibelius, and Ravel, was released by Bridge Records in 2006. A Bridge recording of the complete Haydn “Sun” Quartets, Op. 20, was released on two CDs in July 2010. Four more albums include chamber music by Lawrence Dillon, the complete string quartets of Fred Lerdahl, a quartet and piano quintet of Joan Tower, and the most recent recording of quartets by George Perle, praised by Strad Magazine for its "exemplary intonation and balance."
The award-winning members of the Daedalus Quartet hold degrees from the Juilliard School, Curtis Institute, Cleveland Institute, and Harvard University.
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 Ensō has 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 Ensō Quartet 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 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.
Joel Fuller is a member of the second violin section of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington DC. He was appointed by Christophe Eschenbach in 2009 after serving four years as the Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. Mr. Fuller has degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Michigan, where his principal teachers were Vartan Manoogian and Paul Kantor. As a student, Joel won both schools’ concerto competitions and was the Grand Prize winner of the ASTA competition in Michigan.
A lover of chamber music, Joel is a founding member of the Last Stand Quartet, with members of the National Symphony, and a member of the IBIS Chamber Music Society. Recent solo engagements include concerto performances with the Londontowne Symphony, the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra, and the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra. Joel plays a violin made in Cremona, Italy, by Omobono Stradivari in 1724, named the "ex-Powell."
Pianist Read Gainsford was recently described in the press as the possessor of “finger-numbing virtuosity and delicately chiseled precision,” yet he is driven to pursue connections beyond the merely pianistic. Known for his insightful introductions from the stage, he pursues connections wherever he can find them. From collaborating with noted oceanographers in presenting “Voice of the Whale” by George Crumb to consulting with art historians and living artists to create a series of images to accompany his performances of Messiaen’s “Vingt regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus,” he is committed to reaching audiences in ways beyond the traditional.
Born in New Zealand, he studied at the University of Auckland before moving to London, where he studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He moved to the USA to enter the doctoral program at Indiana University. He 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 at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and London’s Wigmore Hall, as well as playing at the Kennedy Center, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Queen Elizabeth Hall, among others. Gainsford returns regularly to his home country, New Zealand, to see family, perform, and teach.
Violinist Fritz Gearhart has performed for audiences from coast to coast. He has appeared in major halls including the Kennedy Center, the 92nd Street Y in NYC, Alice Tully Hall, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie. He is heard frequently on National Public Radio, including past live broadcasts on WFMT Chicago and WQXR in New York, and on the nationally syndicated program Performance Today. Several compact discs featuring Mr. Gearhart have been released in the last few years to rave reviews. A sampling from the press: "...a sizzling performance..." (The Wall Street Journal), "...supple and imaginative..." (The New York Times), and "Gearhart is a bold assertive player..." (Strad).
Exploring unique and seldom-heard music, Gearhart has championed the music of American composers Quincy Porter and Robert Casadesus on two discs released by Koch Entertainment. Mr. Gearhart has premiered several works written especially for him, including works by award-winning American composers David Crumb and Robert Kyr.
First violinist of the Chester String Quartet in the early ‘90s, Mr. Gearhart now performs regularly with the Oregon String Quartet, which released two discs on Koch: The OSQ and All That Jazz, featuring jazz violinist Diane Monroe, and a disc containing music by African-American composer William Grant Still. Mr. Gearhart received his Master's degree and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Donald Weilerstein. Earlier study at the Hartt School included work with Charles Treger and members of the Emerson Quartet. He is currently on the faculty of the University of Oregon School of Music.
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 festival including Bravo! Vail, Bard, the Sebago/Long Lakes, and Moab. And 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, Genevieve Feiwen Lee, has dazzled audiences on the piano, harpsichord, toy piano, keyboard, and electronics. She recently premiered a work by Kurt Rohde for speaking pianist, adding another dimension to her performing persona. She has given solo piano recitals at Merkin Concert Hall in New York and the Salle Gaveau in Paris. Her performances in Changsha, China, were broadcast by Hunan State Television. She has performed in Amsterdam on a live radio broadcast (AVRO) from the Spiegelzaal at the Concertgebouw. She has been a soloist with the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra in Brazil, the Vrazta State Philharmonic in Bulgaria, and The Orchestra of Northern New York. Her first solo performance with orchestra was at the age of twelve. A champion of new music, Ms. Lee has premiered and commissioned numerous works. Her solo piano CD Elements, on Albany Records, features the premiere recording of works by Tom Flaherty and Philippe Bodin. She is heard with mezzo-soprano D’Anna Fortunato on another Albany Records CD, An American Collage. She has been a guest performer with XTET, one of Los Angeles’s leading new music groups. She is a founding member of the Mojave Trio, which plays regularly on the “Sundays Live” concerts from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has appeared regularly in chamber music festivals at the Garth Newel Music Center, Virginia, and Incontri di Canna, Italy, and was a resident artist at The Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada. Ms. Lee received her degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, and the Yale School of Music, where she studied with Boris Berman. Before joining the faculty of Pomona College in 1994, Ms. Lee taught at Yale, Bucknell University, and The Crane School of Music at the State University of New York-Potsdam.
Joseph Lee began piano studies at the age of 4, violin studies at 7, and then finally cello at the age of 11. Mr. Lee won the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra concerto competition resulting in his concerto debut, playing the Dvorak Cello Concerto in Davies Symphony Hall under conductor Edwin Outwater. Joseph grew up in northern California where he studied with Irene Sharp. Mr. Lee earned both a bachelors and masters degree in music from The Juilliard School where he studied with Joel Krosnick and Darrett Adkins. He also earned a masters degree in orchestral performance from The Manhattan School of Music studying with Alan Stepansky. Mr. Lee has performed in masterclasses for Ralph Kirshbaum, Lynn Harrell, and Janos Starker. Mr. Lee joined the NYC Ballet orchestra in September of 2012 and was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami from 2010 until 2012.
Anthony Manzo enjoys performing in a broad variety of musical forums – despite the attendant complications of airline travel with a double bass! A sought-after chamber musician who performs regularly at such noted venues as Charleston’s Spoleto Festival, the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and the Garth Newel Music Center in Virginia, Mr. Manzo is also the Solo Bassist of San Francisco’s New Century Chamber Orchestra, and a regular guest artist with the National Symphony and the Smithsonian Chamber Players near his home in Washington DC. He also performs frequently with Camerata Salzburg in Austria, where recent collaborations included their summer residency at the Salzburg Festival, and two tours as soloist in Mozart’s “Per questa bella mano” with bass/baritone Thomas Quasthoff, with performances in Salzburg, Paris, Vienna, Budapest, and Istanbul. Other recent highlights include chamber music performances with the St. Lawrence Quartet at Spoleto and on the Stanford Lively Arts Series, with Menachem Pressler and the Auryn Quartet at Georgetown University, and a critically-acclaimed US tour with the New Century Chamber Orchestra. He 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 faculties of the University of Maryland and the National Orchestral Institute.
Mr. Manzo performs on a double bass made around 1890 by Jerome Thibouville Lamy in Paris (which now has a removable neck for travel).
Anya Shemetyeva Merfeld
Violist/violinist Anya Shemetyeva Merfeld has recently received her Master of Music degree from the
Longy School of Music of Bard College. She previously received an Artist Diploma from Longy and completed undergraduate degrees at the Ippolitiv-Ivanov Institute of Music in Moscow and the Moscow State Conservatory, where she studied with Mariya Dmitrieva and Asya Kushner, respectively. Ms. Shemetyeva was the 2012 winner of the Longy Conservatory Orchestra Concerto Competition, performing Ravel's Tzigane at Sanders Theater in Cambridge. She has also performed as a soloist with the Moscow Conservatory Chamber Orchestra. As a recitalist, she has performed throughout New England and in Europe under the sponsorship of the Vladimir Spivakov Foundation. Anya has frequently performed chamber music as part of Longy’s annual SeptemberFest series and has collaborated with artists such as Bayla Keyes, Peter Zazovsky, and members of the Boston Symphony in concerts at Tanglewood. She has participated min numerous music festivals including the Heifetz International Music
Festival, the Perlman Music Program Chamber Music Workshop, Garth Newel Music Center, and the Cours International de Musique in Switzerland. She is currently principal violist with the Cape Cod Symphony and plays frequently with the Portland Symphony.
Pianist Robert Merfeld began piano studies at an early age in New York City with Leonid Hambro. He graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory as a student of Emil Danenberg and received a Master’s degree from the Juilliard School as a scholarship student of Beveridge Webster. While at Juilliard, he pursued art song accompaniment with Viennese tenor Hanz Heinz and also worked in the studios of Jennie Tourel, Oscar Shumsky, and Leonard Rose. Mr. Merfeld was a founding member of the Apple Hill Chamber Players, with whom he toured nationally and internationally for over twenty years. He is a frequent participant on the Emmanuel Music Chamber Music series and has been a guest artist with many chamber ensembles, including the Mendelssohn, Philadelphia, and Muir Quartets. Mr. Merfeld has recorded on the Centaur and Sine Qua Non record labels and is currently on the piano and chamber music faculties of Boston University, Dartmouth College, and the Longy School of Music.
Scott Miller was born in 1968 as the youngest of three children. He grew up on a farm in Swoope, Virginia, and was fascinated with history from a very early age. He was also always an avid musician, having learned to play guitar as a teenager on his brother's instrument. But, it wasn't until after college (he majored in American History and Russian Studies at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, VA) that he moved to Knoxville, Tenn., and started making music more professionally.
There, he put together a band which called itself the Viceroys, eventually shortening the moniker to the V-Roys after they realized there were a number of other bands with the same name. After establishing a loyal following near their home base in Tennessee, the group was the first act to sign with Steve Earle's own E-Squared Records label.
The band released two albums on the label (Just Add Ice in 1996 and All About Town in 1998), both of which were produced by Earle. Both albums received rave reviews from throughout the roots and Americana world but, after a five-year run (they'd formed around 1994), the V-Roys split and Miller struck out on his own.
Back in the clubs around Knoxville, Miller alternated between solo live gigs and hosting showcases in the local music scene. He released a live album titled Are You With Me, pulled from these early solo appearances, and eventually inked a deal with Sugar Hill Records. For that label, he released his first solo album - a concept record featuring backing efforts by the likes of Tim O'Brien, Don Coffey, Jr., and others. The disc - Thus Always to Tyrants pinned classic Appalachian folk ballads against a more rock and roll backdrop, pulling Miller's various influences (folk, rock, and history) together into one cohesive statement.
After this release, he amassed a backing band and set out on the road as Scott Miller & the Commonwealth. Since then he's toured both entirely solo and with that band. In 2012 he released an EP with fiddler Rayna Gellert (Uncle Earl, Toubab Krewe) titled CoDependents. According to the press release, "this 5 song collection of Miller's rootsy songwriting, enhanced with Gellert's beautiful fiddle, viola and backing vocals, is a perfect blend of both of their styles...Miller and Gellert met at West Virginia's Mountain Stage last year, and have been friends and performing together from time to time ever since. These songs are some of the fan favorites from those performances." The duo set out on an East Coast tour in support.
Polina Nazaykinskaya was born in Togliatti, Russia on January 20, 1987 and has been studying music since the age of 4. After graduating with honors from the Music Academic Gymnasium (with concentration in the violin and flute), she pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Moscow State Conservatory Music College in Russia with concentrations in violin and composition. In 2010 Polina earned her Masters of Music Degree in Theory and Composition with honors from the Yale School of Music. Her teachers at Yale were Christopher Theofanidis, Ezra Laderman. Currently Polina is pursuing a Doctorate degree in Composition at the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music where she is studying with Yevgeniy Sharlat and Russell Pinkston.
A rising young composer, Ms. Nazaykinskaya won numerous awards including the first Place at the Dimitriy Kabalevskiy Competition in 2006 and the first place at the Vyacheslav Zolotarev International Composers Competition in 2008; She also received an honorary mention at the ASCAP in 2010; and was awarded a grand prize at “Future songs of the city” in 2010.
She is one of the winners in the opera category at the Contemporary Americana Festival in 2010.
Also she is one of the winners of the first Russian YouTube composers competition. Polina Nazaykinskaya was nominated to the “Orpheus Project 440” in New York. Her orchestra piece “Winter Bells” was selected for the Minnesota Composers Institute 2010. Polina Nazaykinskaya received a silver prize on the "CTAM" music festival in Moscow in 2011. And was named a composer-in-residence at the "Music in May" festival in 2012. The recording of "Winter Bells" by the Russian National Orchestra was released on Sony-Music Russia label in 2010.
Her music has been performed at various festivals such as the Music Academy of the West (USA, 2007), the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (USA, 2009), the New Music New Haven (USA, 2008-2010), the Classic Music Festival (Russia, 2005-2008), the Cadiza Festival (Spain, 2006), the Highpoint Festival in Woodstock (USA, 2010), "Composers of the World" (Ukraine, 2011), "CTAM" (Russia, 2011),"Klassika Open Fest" (Solo Show) (Russia, 2011) as well as others throughout Europe and the United States.
Recognized for his "rich, luscious tone quality" (The Clarinet), Rob Patterson is quickly establishing himself as an exciting young versatile clarinetist. Mr. Patterson is the clarinetist with Ensemble 39 and the VERGE Ensemble, the Lyrique en Mer festival in France, and has served on the faculty at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival and Yellow Barn Music Festival. During the academic year, Mr. Patterson serves as Lecturer in Music at the University of Virginia, and as Principal Clarinet of the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra. He has been a featured author in the International Clarinet Society’s The Clarinet magazine and has presented classes at the Juilliard School, James Madison University, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University and at Strathmore.
Mr. Patterson has performed with some of the great artists of our time around the world, including Toby Appel, Theodore Arm, Inon Barnatan, Ida Kavafian, Rafael Figueroa, Bill Purvis, and Eugenia Zukerman. Boston Globe critic Jeffrey Johnson observed that in his performance of Edison Denisov’s Ode (1968), Mr. Patterson “played the part with command, finding the extremes the work sought to articulate”. Additionally, Mr. Patterson has performed recitals at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre and Millennium Stage, Strathmore Mansion, Alden Theatre, Washington Arts Club, and with the Boston-based American Century Music at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
A seasoned orchestral player, Mr. Patterson has served as Guest Principal Clarinet with the Richmond, Huntsville, Annapolis, South Florida, Fairfax, and Culver City Symphonies. Additionally, he has played with the National, Richmond, Roanoke, Haddonfield, Peninsula, and Downey Symphonies as well as with the Washington National Opera Orchestra.
A Cincinnati native currently residing in Washington, D.C., Mr. Patterson holds his Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, and his Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California. Mr. Patterson’s principal teachers include Yehuda Gilad, Richard Hawley, and Donald Montanaro.
Violinist Stanley Ritchie has directed and appeared as soloist with many period instrument ensembles,
including The Academy of Ancient Music, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Tafelmusik, and the
Handel and Haydn Society Orchestra. He is in demand for master classes and workshops
throughout the world.
Ritchie is a member of Duo Geminiani with harpsichordist Elisabeth Wright, and was a
member of Three Parts Upon a Ground, specializing in 17th-century music for three violins. For
twenty years he was a member of The Mozartean Players, with whom he recorded the complete
Mozart and Schubert Piano Trios for Harmonia Mundi.
Prior to his appointment to the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music in 1982, Ritchie had held
various positions as a modern violinist, including concertmaster of the New York City Opera
Orchestra, associate concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and first violinist of the
Philadelphia String Quartet.
His recordings also include Vivaldi's Violin Concertos, op.7, with Christopher Hogwood and the
Academy of Ancient Music (Oiseau-Lyre); Bonporti's Concerti e Serenate, with Bloomington
Baroque (Dorian Discovery); J. S. Bach's Sonatas for Violin and Obbligato Harpsichord, with
Elisabeth Wright (Focus); and, most recently, Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for Unaccompanied
Violin (Musica Omnia). His book, Before the Chinrest - a Violinist's Guide to the Mysteries of Pre-
Chinrest Style and Technique, was published by IU Press in 2012.
James Stern is a multi-faceted musician whose violin playing has been heard worldwide and cited by the
Washington Post for “virtuosity and penetrating intelligence.” In addition he enjoys an ever-growing
reputation as a violist and conductor. Stern is a member of two critically acclaimed ensembles, the Stern/Andrist Duo with his wife, Canadian pianist Audrey Andrist, and Strata, a trio in which the two of them are joined by clarinetist Nathan Williams. The duo has performed throughout the United States, Canada and China, with additional recitals in Munich and Paris. Both ensembles have performed numerous world-premieres of music written especially for them, including world-premiere recordings for CRI and Albany records. Stern has served on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music and is now Associate Professor and Chair of the String Division at the University of Maryland School of Music. He has taught masterclasses throughout North America and in China, Norway and Italy. He has performed at the Marlboro, Ravinia, Banff and Bowdoin festivals as well as at New York’s Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall. Since moving to the Washington DC area he has performed with the 21st Century Consort, the Contemporary Music Forum, the Smithsonian Chamber Players and the Axelrod Quartet, at such venues as the Corcoran Gallery, the German and French Embassies, the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum, National Museum of American History, Renwick Gallery and American Art Museum, the Library of Congress, the National Gallery, the Phillips Collection, the National Museum of the American Indian, Strathmore Mansion, and the White House.
A member of the Chester String Quartet for fifteen years, violinist/violist Kathryn Votapek now maintains an active career as soloist and as guest artist at chamber music festivals throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. She has participated in numerous commissioning projects and premieres and can be heard with the Chester Quartet on the Koch International Classics, New Albion, and Audio Ideas labels. Along with pianist Ralph Votapek and clarinetist Paul Votapek, she performs with the Votapek Trio and she also performs regularly with her husband, violinist Aaron Berofsky.
Ms. Votapek has been on the faculty of the Meadowmount School of Music, the Interlochen Arts Camp, the Las Vegas Music Festival, the Madeline Island Music Camp, the Quartet Program, the Banff Inernational Festival, and the Adriatic Chamber Music Festival (Italy), as well as performing at the Speedside Festival (Canada), the International Deia Festival (Spain), the Garth Newel Festival, the Fontana Festival, and with the Chicago Chamber Musicians.
Ms. Votapek is currently on the faculty at University of Michigan and is the Associate Concertmaster of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. She was Associate Professor of Violin and Artist in Residence at Indiana University South Bend. Ms. Votapek received her Bachelor of Music degree at Indiana University and Masters degree from the Juilliard School. Her teachers were Robert Mann, Franco Gulli, and Angel Reyes.
Esther Wang, pianist, is an active soloist and collaborator throughout the United States and has appeared on numerous concert series, including the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts in Chicago and the A. Mozart Fest Series in Austin, TX. The San Jose Mercury News has called Wang "a forceful, take-charge kind of artist with personality...spirited and vital," and the Double Reed journal called her a "magnificent accompanist" after the 1999 International Double Reed Conference.
She has won prizes in the Kingsville and Shreveport Young Artists Competitions and has appeared as concerto soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Green Lake Festival Orchestra under Sir David Willcocks. As a chamber musician, Wang has collaborated with members of the New York Philharmonic, the LaSalle String Quartet, the Maia Quartet, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra,The Cleveland Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra.
Wang received the Bachelor of Music at Baylor University, where she studied with Roger Keyes. She continued her studies with Frank Weinstock at the University of Cincinnati, earning the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. She also studied privately with renowned pianist Lilian Kallir and attended the Tanglewood, Kneisel Hall, and Taos Chamber Music summer festivals.
Wang is an enthusiastic teacher and adjudicator. She has served on faculties at St. Olaf College, The University of Texas at Austin, University of WI-Oshkosh, University of WI-Platteville, Baylor University, Northeast MO State University, Northern Kentucky University, Lutheran Summer Music, the New England Music Camp, and Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, CT. She performs and lectures on J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier as a member of The Bach Four and has recorded solo and chamber works by Jan Radzynski on the Centaur label. In the summers, she teaches at the Interlochen Arts Camp and the Adamant Music School (VT).