Ara Gregorian - Artistic Director, violin and viola
Known for his thrilling performances and musical creativity, Gregorian made his New York recital debut in 1996 in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and his debut as soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra in Symphony Hall in 1997. Since that time he has established himself as one of the most sought-after and versatile musicians of his generation with performances in New York’s Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center and in major metropolitan cities throughout the world including Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Cleveland, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tel Aviv and Helsinki.
Throughout his career, Gregorian has taken an active role as a performer and presenter of chamber music. He is the founder and artistic director of the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival in Greenville, North Carolina, and has appeared at festivals worldwide including the SpringLight (Finland), Storioni (Holland), Summer Solstice (Canada), Casals (Puerto Rico), Bard, Bravo! Vail Valley, Santa Fe, Skaneateles, Music in the Vineyards, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Cactus Pear, Wintergreen, Mt. Desert, Madeline Island and Strings in the Mountains festivals. He has also performed extensively as a member of numerous chamber music ensembles including the Daedalus Quartet, Concertante and the Arcadian Trio and has recorded for National Public Radio, New York’s WQXR radio station, and the Bridge and Kleos labels.
An active and committed teacher, Gregorian has been a member of the violin faculty at East Carolina University since 1998 and has taught at numerous summer festivals and seminars. In addition, he has taken a leading role in creating opportunities for established musicians to perform with talented students in a mentoring setting through the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival’s Next Generation concerts.
Gregorian received his bachelor and master of music degrees from The Juilliard School where he studied with Joseph Fuchs, Harvey Shapiro, and Robert Mann. He performs on a Francesco Ruggeri violin from 1690 and a Grubaugh and Seifert viola from 2006.
Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as a “cellist who shows great sensitivity and great virtuosity at all moments,” Ani Aznavoorian is in demand as a soloist and chamber musician with some of the world’s most recognized ensembles. She has appeared with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Tokyo Philharmonic, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Finnish Radio Symphony, the International Sejong Soloists, the Belgrade Philharmonic, the Juilliard Orchestra, and the Edmonton Symphony. Aznavoorian has also appeared as recitalist and chamber musician in over twenty countries spanning five continents.
This season marks Aznavoorian’s fifth year as principal cellist of Camerata Pacifica, one of the West coast's premier chamber music series. In addition, she has been a member of the distinguished music faculty at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana, and in the summers she is on the faculty of the Great Mountains Music Festival in South Korea.
Aznavoorian received the prestigious Bunkamura Orchard Hall Award for her outstanding cello playing and artistry. Some of her other awards include first prizes in the Illinois Young Performers Competition (televised live on PBS with the Chicago Symphony), the Chicago Cello Society National Competition, the Julius Stulberg Competition and the American String Teachers Association Competition. She was a top prizewinner in the 1996 International Paulo Competition, held in Helsinki, Finland. As a recipient of the 1995 Level I award in the National Foundation for the Arts Recognition and Talent Search, Aznavoorian was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and performed as soloist at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. where she met former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
As a first-year student at The Juilliard School, Aznavoorian won first prize in the institution’s concerto competition—the youngest cellist in the history of the school’s cello competitions to do so. As a result, she performed with the Juilliard Orchestra in a concert with conductor Gerard Schwarz at Avery Fisher Hall. With only 12 hours notice, Aznavoorian stepped in to replace Natalie Gutman in three performances of the Shostakovich Cello Concerto no. 1 with the San Jose Symphony—concerts that were hailed by the San Jose Press. Other notable appearances include concerts at Weill Hall and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Ravinia’s Bennett Hall, Aspen’s Harris Hall, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, WFMT Live from Studio 1 and NPR’s Performance Today. Aznavoorian received both her bachelor and master of music degrees from the Juilliard School where she studied with Aldo Parisot.
Aznavoorian enjoys performing new music and has made the world premiers of two important pieces in the cello repertoire: Ezra Laderman’s Concerto no. 2 with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic under the baton of Lawrence Leighton Smith; and Lera Auerbach’s “24 Preludes for Cello and Piano” on stage at the Hamburg Staatsoper with the Hamburg State Ballet—choreographed by John Neumeier. Other notable engagements include an acting role in Japan’s popular NTV mini-series “Harmonia” where she portrayed the life of a fictional young cellist. She has been a member of the renowned string ensemble the International Sejong Soloists, and was a founding member of the Corinthian Trio with pianist Adam Neiman and violinist Stefan Milenkovich. Aznavoorian also performs frequently on the Jupiter Chamber Music series in New York. Upcoming highlights this season include concerto performances at Ravinia Festival in Chicago and a European tour, as well as the release of her CD with Lera Auerbach of Auerbach's music for cello and piano. She proudly performs on a cello made by her father Peter Aznavoorian in Chicago.
Colin Carr appears throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and teacher. He has played with major orchestras worldwide, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, the orchestras of Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, Philadelphia, Montréal and all the major orchestras of Australia and New Zealand. Conductors with whom he has worked include Rattle, Gergiev, Dutoit, Elder, Skrowasczewski and Marriner. He has been a regular guest at the BBC Proms, has twice toured Australia, and has also played concertos in South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia and New Zealand. Memorable performances include the Dvořák Concerto to close the Prague Autumn Festival, and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, with Sir Colin Davis conducting, at Royal Festival Hall in London. Highlights of the last year include performances of Tchaikpvsky’s Rococo variations at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Lutoslawski Concerto with the Toronto Symphony and Elgar Concerto with the Halle Orchestra and Mark Elder.
In recent seasons Carr performed cycles of Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano with his duo partner Thomas Sauer throughout the United States and in England and France, recording the complete works forrelease in 2012. They also presented the complete cello/piano works of Brahms, Schumann and Mendelssohn at the Wigmore Hall in London and throughout the USA. This project culminated in a CD recording of the Mendelssohn works on the Cello Classics label. Carr frequently plays cycles of the Bach Suites at such venues as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York and the Gardner Museum in Boston. The Wigmore Hall will present the cycle in the 11/12 season in a single marathon concert.
As a member of the Golub-Kaplan-Carr Trio he recorded and toured extensively for 20 years. He is a frequent visitor to international chamber music festivals worldwide and has appeared often as a guest with the Guarneri and Emerson string quartets and with New York’s Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Chamber music projects bring him to major cities each season, with regular performances in London, New York and Boston.
Carr’s GM label recordings of the unaccompanied cello works of Kodaly, Britten, Crumb, and Schuller, as well as his Bach Suites, were highly acclaimed. The Brahms Sonatas on Arabesque, with pianist Lee Luvisi, is also a favorite. He was the soloist for a BBC Music Magazine recording of Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.
Carr is the winner of many prestigious international awards, including First Prize in the Naumburg Competition, the Gregor Piatigorsky Memorial Award and Second Prize in the Rostropovich International Cello Competition. His international career began when he won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1979.
He first played the cello at the age of five. Three years later he went to the Yehudi Menuhin School, where he studied with Maurice Gendron and later William Pleeth. He was made a professor at the Royal Academy of Music in 1998, having been on the faculty of the New England Conservatory in Boston for 16 years. In 1998, St. John’s College, Oxford created the post of “Musician in Residence” for him, and in September 2002 he became a professor at Stony Brook University in New York. In the same year he was awarded an honorary degree (Hon RAM) by the Royal Academy of Music.
Carr's cello was made by Matteo Gofriller in Venice in 1730. He makes his home with his wife Caroline and 3 young children, Clifford, Frankie and Anya, in an old house outside Oxford.
Born in Warsaw in 1971 Chorzelski enjoys a diverse career as a performing musician that takes him all over the world.
Since 1996 he has been the violist in the Belcea Quartet with whom he performs regularly in the worlds most prestigious halls, such as the Wigmore Hall in London, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York. Belcea Quartet has recorded extensively for EMI Classics and their recordings have won the Gramophone, Diapason d'Or, Midem and Echo Klassik Awards.
Chorzelski's passion for chamber music extends to partnerships with other musicians, such as Imogen Cooper, Stephen Kovacevich, Piotr Anderszewski, Katya Apekisheva, Natalie Clein, Adrian Brendel, Saasha Sitkovestsky and Kathy Gowers. He appears as a guest violist with ensembles such as the Alban Berg, Pavel Haas Quartet, Ysaye and Jerusalem Quartets, Razumovsky Ensemble and Jerusalem Piano Trio.
His viola and piano recital disc with Katya Apekisheva has recently been released by Champs Hill Records and was launched in February 2012 with a concert at London's Wigmore Hall.
Chorzelski is a viola and chamber music professor at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In the summer of 2011 he taught at a course in Israel organised by the Jerusalem Music Centre. This summer he is joining the faculty of the Astona International Summer Academy in Switzerland. He returns regularly to give chamber music classes at Warsaw's Elsner Music High School - his old school, with which he retains a strong connection.
Chorzelski is also pursuing a conducting career. He conducted the recording of Ittai Shapira's Concierto Latino with the composer as violin soloist - released in 2011 by Champs Hill Records.
Violist Hsin-Yun Huang, recognized as one of the leading violists of her generation, came to international prominence in 1993 when she was winner of the top prize of the ARD International Music Competition in Munich and the Bunkamura Orchard Hall Award. In 1988, Huang was the youngest-ever Gold Medalist of the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition on the Isle of Man. These and other honors have propelled a career as soloist and chamber musician on stages of major concert halls throughout North America, Europe and the Far East.
Recent highlights include concerto appearances with the City of London Sinfonia; the Amarillo Symphony; the Naumberg Orchestra in New York City's Central Park and the Dalbavie Viola Concerto with the ICE a Miller Theater in New York City. George Benjamins Viola Viola with violist Misha Amory for Carnegie Halls Making Music series at Zankel Hall and a part of Elliot Carter's Celebration of his 100th Birthday at Zankel Hall. Other solo performances have included concerto appearances with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra in Munich, the Zagreb Soloists in Paris, the Tokyo Philharmonic in Tokyo, the Berlin Radio Symphony in Berlin, the Russian State Philharmonic, the National Symphony of Taiwan, the Taipei City Symphony and with the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra.
Huang has performed at prominent music festivals throughout the world. In North America, these include the Spoleto Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, the Marlboro Music Festival, the Aspen Festival, Music@Menlo, the El Paso Chamber Music Festival, the La Jolla Summerfest, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Vancouver Chamber Music Festival, the Appalachian Festival, the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, the Newport Festival, the Saltbay Chamberfest, La Musica in Sarasota and the Mount Desert Festival. International festivals have included Prussia Cove (England), the St. Nazaire, Festival de Divonne (France), Spring Festival (Prague), The Rome Chamber Music Festival (Italy) The Cartagena International Festival (South America) Stavanger Festival (Sweden) and the Moritzburg Festival (Germany) among many others.
Huang has collaborated with many distinguished artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Jaime Laredo, Joshua Bell, Joseph Suk, Menahem Pressler to name a few. Recent collaborations include performances with the Guarneri, the Juilliard, the Orion, the Brentano and the St. Lawrence String Quartets.
Huang has recently embarked on a series of major commissioning projects for solo viola and chamber ensemble. In July 2006 she premiered a new work from Houston-based Taiwanese composer Shih-Hui Chen, Shu Shon Key (Remembrance) with the Broyhill Chamber Ensemble at An Appalachian Summer Festival in North Carolina. The work was co-commissioned by the festival along with Da Camera of Houston and the Chinese Performing Arts. The Evergreen Symphony Orchestra has commissioned a version of the work for solo viola and orchestra which received its world premiere in Taipei in 2008.
A new work from Steven Mackey, also for solo viola and chamber ensemble, was premiered at the Aspen Music Festival in the summer of 2007. Subsequent performances will include presentations by the Fulcrum Point New Music Project in Chicago, the La Jolla Summer Festival, Salt Bay Chamberfest and at Princeton University.
Huang was a member of the Borromeo String Quartet from 1994-2000. With the Quartet, she performed in such prominent venues as New York City's Alice Tully Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Berlins Philharmonie and Japan's Casals Hall. In 1998 the Borromeo String Quartet was awarded the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award, chosen by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center to be members of Chamber Music Society Two, and featured in a Live from Lincoln Center telecast.
She recently founded the Variation String Trio with violinist Jennifer Koh and cellist Wilhelmina Smith.
Hsin-Yun Huang came to England at the age of fourteen to study at the Yehudi Menuhin School with David Takeno. She continued her studies at the Curtis Institute with Michael Tree, and at The Juilliard School with Samuel Rhodes. Currently residing in New York City, she is a dedicated teacher, serving on the faculties of The Juilliard School and the Mannes College of Music and has given master classes at Guildhall School in London; Curtis Institute; The Juilliard School; the McDuffie Center for the Strings the Taipei Normal University and East Carolina University.
Cellist Michael Kannen has distinguished himself as a musician and educator of uncommon accomplishment who is comfortable in widely diverse musical situations and venues. He was a founding member of the Brentano String Quartet and for seven years performed with that group on concert stages around the world, on radio and television, and on recordings. During those years, the Brentano Quartet was awarded the first Cleveland Quartet Award, the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, a Royal Philharmonic Award and was the first participant in the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center II program. Kannen continues to perform chamber music around the country as a member of the Apollo Trio, on period instruments with the Houston-based group Context and at major music festivals such as Yellow Barn, Chamber Music Northwest, Portland Chamber Music Festival and the International Musicians Seminar in Prussia Cove, England. Kannen has collaborated with such artists as Jessye Norman, Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Sergiu Luca, Donald Weilerstein, Pamela Frank, Leon Fleisher, Mitsuko Uchida, Peter Frankl, Paula Robison, Charles Neidich, Steven Isserlis, and with jazz artists Michael Formanek and Uri Caine. His activities range from performances on period instruments to premieres of the music of our time. He has recorded for the CRI label. Kannen has served on the faculties of Dartmouth College and the Purchase College Conservatory. He is currently the Director of Chamber Music at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he holds the Sidney Friedberg Chair in Chamber Music.
Describing the artistry of violinist Hye-Jin Kim, The Strad lauded her “…heart-stopping and unrivaled beauty...” Kim’s sensitivity to the expressive and contextual components of a wide range of violin and chamber music repertoire enables her to transport audiences beyond mere technical virtuosity.
Winner of the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition and the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, Hye-Jin Kim has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra with Christoph Eschenbach, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, Pan Asia Symphony, Minnesota Sinfonia, the Greenwich Village Orchestra and Hannover Chamber Orchestra. She made her Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall debut in 2011 and recently appeared at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, LeFrak Hall at Queens College’s Copland School of Music, Rockefeller University and Little Rock Chamber Music Society. As a chamber musician, she has performed at Marlboro, Ravinia, Music@Menlo, Music from Angel Fire, Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music, Hotchkiss Summer Portals, Prussia Cove and Seoul Spring Festival. Kim has toured North America and the UK with Musicians from Marlboro and Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove.
Korean-born, Hye-Jin Kim studied with Miriam Fried, Ida Kavafian, and Jaime Laredo at the Curtis Institute of Music and New England Conservatory. In addition to performing, she is currently Assistant Professor of Violin at East Carolina University. Beyond her musical activities, Kim is an avid reader of classic literature, with particular interest in the writings of 19th century British authors.
Violist Maria Lambros has performed as a chamber musician throughout the world as a member of three of the country's finest string quartets in venues such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, London's Wigmore Hall, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, New York's Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.. She was a member of the renowned Ridge String Quartet, which was nominated for the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance for their recording of the Dvorak Piano Quintets with pianist Rudolf Firkusny on the RCA label. The recording won Europe's prestigious Diapason d'Or in the same year. She was also a founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning Meliora String Quartet, which was Quartet-in-Residence at the Spoleto Festivals of the U.S., Italy and Australia, and which recorded Mendelssohn's Octet with the Cleveland Quartet on the Telarc label. She was most recently a member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet, and currently performs with the New York based chamber ensemble, La Fenice.
In addition to being a Four Seasons regular, Maria Lambros appears at a number of major chamber music festivals, including those of Helsinki, Aspen, Vancouver, Santa Fe, Tanglewood, La Jolla, Caramoor, Norfolk, Rockport, Skaneateles, Bard, Chamber Music West and New York's Mostly Mozart Festival. She has performed with the Peabody Trio and the Guarneri, Cleveland, Juilliard, Muir, Brentano, Borromeo, Colorado and Orion Quartets, among others. A native of Missoula, Montana, she was named one of "Montana's Leading Artists and Entertainers of the 20th Century," a millenial list highlighting the last 100 years of Montanans' exceptional contributions to art and culture. A devoted teacher, Lambros is currently a member of the chamber music faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music and the Yellow Barn Music School.
First prize winner of the prestigious 2010 Naumburg International Piano Competition, Korean-American pianist Soyeon Kate Lee has been hailed by The New York Times as a pianist with "a huge, richly varied sound, a lively imagination and a firm sense of style," and by the Washington Post for her “stunning command of the keyboard, from the beautifully gauged weighting of her finger strokes to the scrupulous calibration of inner voices and dynamics.”
Lee has performed as soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and symphony orchestras of Columbus, Bangor, Naples, Bozeman, Abilene, Santa Fe, Boca Raton, Napa Valley, the Daejeon and Ulsan Philharmonic Orchestras in Korea, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional in Dominican Republic and Orquesta de Valencia, including performances under the batons of Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Jahja Ling, Jorge Mester and Otto-Werner Mueller.
In recent seasons, she has given recitals at New York’s Zankel, Alice Tully, and Merkin Halls, Washington's Kennedy Center and Phillips Collection, Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, Madrid's National Auditorium and San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre. As an active chamber musician, she has collaborated with the Parker, Chiara, Avalon, Manhattan, Afiara and Daedalus quartets in performances throughout the US.
Lee's debut CD of Scarlatti Sonatas on the Naxos label was released in February 2007 to critical acclaim, and her second album, “Re!nvented” for KOCH (E1) International Classics was featured in the Gramophone magazine to rave reviews, and was subsequently awarded the 2009 Young Artist Award by the Classical Recording Foundation. A Naxos recording artist, she recently recorded a disc of Liszt opera transcriptions, and will record a double CD Scriabin album this season.
Lee earned her bachelor and master's degrees, and the Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School. While at Juilliard, she won every award granted to a pianist including the Rachmaninoff Concerto Competition, two consecutive Gina Bachauer Scholarship Competitions, Arthur Rubinstein Prize, Susan Rose Career Grant and the coveted William Petschek Piano Debut Award.
Winner of the Concert Artist Guild Competition in New York, Lee is also a laureate of the Cleveland and Santander (Spain) International Piano Competitions. Her principal teachers have been Robert McDonald, Jerome Lowenthal, Ursula Oppens and Richard Goode. Lee is a Steinway Artist and a member of Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Two.
Richard Mannoia, clarinetist, performs a wide variety of orchestral, chamber, folk and new music in diverse venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Joe’s Pub, Galapagos Arts Space and the Whitney Museum. A veteran member of the interdisciplinary performance collaborative, VisionIntoArt, he has been performing new music with theater, poetry, dance and film in NYC and abroad. He has been freelancing in the New York area since graduating from Manhattan School of Music and, in addition to local performances, has performed abroad extensively in countries as far reaching as South Africa, Nepal, Serbia, and Paraguay. Mannoia maintains a deep commitment to educational outreach and teaches and performs outreach concerts for the New York Philharmonic, including performances on the Philharmonic’s Asian tours to Japan and Abu Dhabi. Along with bassist/composer Jon Deak, Mannoia was invited by Venezuela’s renowned El Sistema to lead workshops and introduce composition to the Venezuelan model. Since 2007, he has been lead mentor for the Fellows of the Juilliard-Carnegie Hall Academy. As a consultant, Mannoia has trained musicians, curated concerts and designed curriculum for many organizations including the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York City Opera, 92nd St Y, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space and the Guggenheim Museum. Since 2008, he has designed and hosted the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Saturday Pre-Concert Adventures in the Kimmel Center. He has also taught at the Professional Performing Arts High School, coached chamber music at Juilliard Pre-College and coached graduate chamber music at Manhattan School of Music for educational outreach performances.
American pianist Robert McDonald has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and the Far East both as solo recitalist and, for many years, as recital partner to Isaac Stern and other distinguished instrumentalists. He has appeared with major orchestras in the U.S. and Europe. As a chamber musician, he has performed with the Juilliard, American, Takacs, Muir, Brentano, St. Lawrence, Vermeer, Borromeo and Shanghai string quartets, as well as with Musicians from Marlboro. In addition, he has given concerts for the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, NHK and BBC television worldwide. His discography includes recordings for Sony Classical, Vox, Bridge, Musical Heritage Society, ASV and CRI.
McDonald is a member of the piano faculties at The Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music, where he holds the Penelope P. Watkins Chair in piano studies. In addition to being the artistic director of the Taos School of Music and Chamber Music Festival in New Mexico, he has participated in the Bergen, Besancon, Lucerne, Montreux, Salzburg, Aldeburgh and Schleswig-Holstein festivals in Europe, the Marlboro, Brevard and Caramoor festivals in the United States, as well as the Banff Center in Canada.
McDonald is the winner of the Gold Medal at the Busoni International Competition, and the top prizes at both the William Kapell International Competition and the Washington International Competition. He is also the recipient of the National Federation of Music Clubs Artist Award, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Deutscher Schallplatten Critic’s Prize.
Robert McDonald graduated magna cum laude from Lawrence University. He then completed his studies at the Curtis Institute, The Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music.
American pianist Adam Neiman is hailed as one of the premiere pianists of his generation, praised for possessing a truly rare blend of power, bravura, imagination, sensitivity, and technical precision. With an established international career and an encyclopedic repertoire that spans nearly sixty concerti, Neiman has performed as soloist with the symphony orchestras of Belgrade, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Saint Louis, San Francisco, Slovenia, Umbria and Utah, as well as with the New York Chamber Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington D.C.. He has collaborated with many of the world’s celebrated conductors, including Jiri Belohlavek, Giancarlo Guerrero, Theodor Gushlbauer, Carlos Kalmer, Uros Lajovic, Yoël Levi, Andrew Litton, Rossen Milanov, Heichiro Ohyama, Peter Oundjian, Leonard Slatkin and Emmanuel Villaume.
A highly-acclaimed recitalist, Neiman has performed in most of the major cities and concert halls throughout the United States and Canada. His European solo engagements have brought him to Italy, France, Germany and Japan, where he made an eight-city tour culminating in his debut at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall.
An avid chamber musician, Neiman became a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center II in 2004. He frequently participates in the major chamber music festivals of Belgrade, Caramoor, Croatia, Korea, Macedonia, Manchester, Montenegro, Moritzburg, San Diego, Seattle, Skaneateles, Telluride, Tokyo, Vail, Vancouver, as well as New York’s Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players series. He has made numerous guest appearances with celebrated string quartets, such as the Miro, the Parker, the Saint Petersburg and the Ying, and he frequently collaborates with Concertante, a Manhattan-based string ensemble. As a former member of the Corinthian Trio, Neiman toured extensively in the Baltic countries and throughout the United States. He has also appeared as a guest artist on the FleetBoston Celebrity series, Frankly Music series in Milwaukee, San Francisco Performances series and San Francisco Symphony Chamber Music series.
Neiman’s ’11-’12 season highlights include the second half of his monumental solo recital tour of North America celebrating the Franz Liszt bi-centennial birthday by lecturing about and performing the complete cycle of Transcendental Etudes as well as his complete Piano Concerti. Appearances as soloist with orchestra include re-engagements with the Slovenian Philharmonic and Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra and debuts with the Illinois Symphony and the Heartland Festival Orchestra. In addition, he will be the featured concerto soloist on a tour throughout Korea with the Sejong Soloists.
During the ’11-’12 season, Neiman joins the celebrated ensemble Camerata Pacifica for five concert tours throughout Southern California, and the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players for four concerts in New York City. Festival re-engagements include concerts at the Mainly Mozart Festival, Moritzburg Festival in Germany, Seattle Chamber Music Festival (at both the Winter Interlude and Summer Festival) and the Telluride MusicFest.
Neiman’s newest CD releases include a disc with the Manchester Music Festival of Vittorio Giannini’s “Piano Trio” and “Piano Quintet”, and a recording for Sono Luminus of Anton Arensky’s “Piano Quintet” with the Ying Quartet.
He has recorded two discs for Naxos: a critically-acclaimed recording of solo piano works by Arensky and the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Piano Trio, live from the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.
His diverse discography includes three major commercial releases for VAI: a two-disc set of Mozart’s early keyboard concertos with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, an award-winning two-disc set entitled “Adam Neiman Live in Recital,” proclaimed “Critic’s Choice” for 2007 and 2008 by the American Record Guide, and a DVD entitled “Adam Neiman: Chopin Recital.” His debut recording on Lyric Records of a live, unedited solo recital at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall has recently been re-issued on iTunes.
Future projects include a recording for Deutsche Grammaphon with acclaimed violist Richard O’Neill of the complete Sonatas for Viola and Piano by Brahms, and he will also record sonatas for violin and piano by Franck, Debussy and Saint-Saëns with violinist Maria Bachmann.
Neiman’s live recording presence has extended to the Internet, via his own YouTube channel featuring high-definition video footage from recent concert tours, found at: http://www.youtube.com/user/adamneiman
Radio and television broadcasts featuring Neiman regularly span international airwaves, and his live performance of the Brahms Rhapsodies, Op. 79, at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival on NPR’s “Performance Today” was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Chosen as a featured artist by director and Academy Award nominee Josh Aronson, Adam Neiman appeared in the PBS documentary film "Playing for Real," which aired worldwide and continues to air on the Bravo and Ovation networks. He was also featured in Peter Rosen’s “In the Key of G,” a PBS documentary about the Gilmore Festival.
His affiliation with PBS and the documentary genre has merged with his passion for composition: he wrote the score for “Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate,” a film by director and Emmy Award winner Helen Whitney, released on PBS in 2010. His output as a composer encompasses an array of works for solo piano, chamber music, voice, and symphony orchestra. Some of his chamber works have been premiered at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Poisson Rouge in New York City and at the Festival Cervantinos in Mexico, and he frequently performs his own solo piano music in recital. In 2011 he completed his first string quartet, and he is currently in the process of finishing his first symphony.
Born in 1978, Neiman has captured the attention of audiences and critics alike since his concerto debut at 11 in Los Angeles’s Royce Hall. Clavier Magazine wrote, "Adam Neiman gave a performance that rivaled those of many artists on the concert stage today...his playing left listeners shaking their heads in disbelief." His formative years saw him at the helm of many competitions, with top prizes at the MTNA’s Junior Baldwin Competition, UCLA’s Samick International Competition, the Joanna Hodges International Competition, the Stravinsky Awards International Competition, the Young Keyboard Artists Association International Competition, the California Concerto Competition and the California State Bartok Competition. At fourteen, he debuted in Germany at the Ivo Pogorelich Festival, and at fifteen, he won second prize at the Casagrande International Piano Competition in Italy, the youngest medalist in the competition's history. In 1995, Neiman also became the youngest-ever winner of the Gilmore Young Artist Award. The following year, he won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and went on to make his Washington D.C. and New York recital debuts at the Kennedy Center and the 92nd Street Y. The Washington Post remarked, “A collection of Chopin’s Waltzes and Nocturnes danced and stormed, and Prokofieff’s Second Sonata enthralled with a dazzling display of inner voices rather than a mere display of muscle. This was playing of wisdom and light befitting an artist in the autumn of his career.” Young Concert Artists additionally honored Neiman with the Michaels Award and presented him in a critically acclaimed solo recital at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center.
Two-time winner of Juilliard’s Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, Neiman received the Rubinstein Award upon his graduation in 1999, the same year in which he received the Avery Fisher Career Grant. Neiman’s principal teachers have included Trula Whelan, Hans Boepple, Herbert Stessin and Fanny Waterman, and he has participated in master classes with legendary pianists Emanuel Ax, Jacob Lateiner and Gyorgy Sandor.
Neiman comes from a family of musicians and educators, and his various interests have always included a love for teaching. In addition to his rigorous performance schedule he has taught private lessons for nearly a decade, presented acclaimed masterclasses throughout the U.S., Europe, and Korea, and adjudicated the Philadelphia Orchestra Concerto Competition. He served on the chamber music faculty of the Manchester Music Festival in Vermont during the summers of 2009 and 2011, and he taught on the piano faculty of the Great Mountains Music Festival in Korea in 2010.
From the United States to Europe to the Middle East and Asia, Israeli cellist Amit Peled, a musician of profound artistry and charismatic stage presence, is acclaimed as one of the most exciting instrumentalists on the concert stage today.
Peled, who was recently described by the Washington Post as “a larger - than - life figure on stage” and by the American Record Guide as “having the flair of the young Rostropovich,” has performed as a soloist with many orchestras and in the world’s major concert halls, such as: Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, New York; Kennedy Center, Washington; Salle Gaveau, Paris; Wigmore Hall, London; Konzerthaus, Berlin; and Tel Aviv's Mann Auditorium.
Following his enthusiastically received Alice Tully Hall concerto debut playing the Hindemith cello concerto, the New York Times described his playing as: "glowing tone, a seductive timbre and an emotionally pointed approach to phrasing that made you want to hear him again."
Highlights of the 2011/12 season are two performances of the Penderecki Cello Concerto in Chicago's Millennium Park with the legendary composer conducting, a 19 cities tour of the US and Germany with the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie and a concerto debut in San Francisco under Maestro Nicola Luisotti with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.
One of the most sought after cello pedagogues in the world, Peled is a Professor at the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University.
Israeli Cellist Zvi Plesser has a remarkably varied career, which has combined appearances as cello soloist, chamber musician and distinguished educator. Based in Israel, Plesser has concertized worldwide and collaborated with some of our time’s leading instrumentalists and conductors. As soloist he has performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra and The Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, under conductors Zubin Mehta, Sir Neville Marriner Asher Fisch, David Stern and Sergiu Comissiona. He was a member of the Huberman String Quartet and is a founding member of Concertante. A dedicated chamber musician he collaborates frequently with Guy Braunstein, Emmanuel Pahud and Amichai Grosz, among others. In recent seasons he has performed in such venues as: Paris Champs-Elysee, Vienna Kozerthouse, Berlin Philharomnie, London Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, etc. He has participated in music festivals around the world, including the Marlboro Festival, the Cervantino Fetsival in Mexico, the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, the Kuhmo Festival in Finland and the Rolandseck Festival in Germany. Recently he was appointed as music director for the "Voice of Music Festival in the Upper Galilee.” Plesser is a graduate of The Juilliard School where he studied with Zara Nelsova. His principal teachers include Zvi Harel in Israel and David Soyer in the United States. Plesser has been on the faculty of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance since 1998, and has taught at North Carolina School of the Arts, Encore summer school in Ohio and the Perlman Music Program. A graduate of the Jerusalem Music Center, Plesser won the prestigious Francoise Shapira Competition, the 41st Washington International Competition and was the recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarships.
Cellist Raman Ramakrishnan was a founding member of the Daedalus Quartet, winners of the grand prize at the 2001 Banff International String Quartet Competition. During his eleven years with the quartet, he performed coast-to-coast in the United States and Canada, in Japan, Hong Kong, Panama and across Europe. The quartet has been in residence at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, where Ramakrishnan maintains a teaching studio. In 2011, he formed the Horszowski Trio with violinist Jesse Mills and pianist Rieko Aizawa. This season finds the trio performing across the US and India, as well as recording for Bridge Records.
Ramakrishnan has given solo recitals in New York, Boston, Seattle and Washington, D.C., and has performed chamber music at Caramoor and Bargemusic, with the Boston Chamber Music Society and Chicago Chamber Musicians, and at the Aspen, Charlottesville, Four Seasons, Lincolnshire (UK), Marlboro, Mehli Mehta (India), Oklahoma Mozart and Vail Music Festivals. He has toured with Musicians from Marlboro and has performed, as guest principal cellist, with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. As a guest member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, he has performed in New Delhi and Agra, India and in Cairo, Egypt.
Ramakrishnan was born in Athens, Ohio and grew up in East Patchogue, New York. His father is a molecular biologist and his mother is the children's book author and illustrator Vera Rosenberry. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard University and a master’s degree in music from The Juilliard School. His principal teachers have been Fred Sherry, Andrés Díaz and André Emelianoff. He lives in New York City with his wife, the violist Melissa Reardon. He plays a Neapolitan cello made by Vincenzo Jorio in 1837.
Pianist Thomas Sauer is highly sought after as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. Some of Sauer’s recent appearances include concerto performances with the Quad-City and Tallahassee Symphonies and the Greenwich Village Orchestra; solo performances at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium), Merkin Concert Hall, Rockefeller University, and St. John’s College, Oxford; appearances on Broadway as the pianist in 33 Variations, a play about the composition of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations; and performances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. With his long-time duo partner Colin Carr, Sauer has appeared at the Wigmore Hall (London), Holywell Music Room (Oxford), the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Musikgebouw, Bargemusic (New York City), the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston) and Princeton University, among many other venues. Other appearances include recitals with Midori at the Philharmonie in Berlin and the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels; performances with members of the Juilliard String Quartet at the Library of Congress; and numerous concerts with the Brentano String Quartet.
Sauer has performed at many of the leading festivals in the United States and abroad, including Marlboro, Caramoor, Music@Menlo, Chamber Music Northwest, El Paso Pro Musica and the Chamber Music Festivals of Seattle, Taos, Four Seasons (North Carolina), Portland and Salt Bay (Maine); as well as Lake District Summer Music (England) and Festival des Consonances (France).
Sauer’s varied discography includes recordings of Beethoven and Haydn piano sonatas for MSR Classics; the complete cello and piano works of Mendelssohn with Colin Carr on Cello Classics; a disc of Hindemith sonatas with violist Misha Amory (Musical Heritage Society); music of Britten and Schnittke with cellist Wilhelmina Smith on Arabesque; music of Ross Lee Finney with violinist Miranda Cuckson on Centaur Records; and violin sonatas of Mozart with Aaron Berofsky on Blue Griffin Recordings. In recent seasons, Sauer has premiered works by Philippe Bodin, Robert Cuckson, Sebastian Currier, Keith Fitch, David Loeb, Donald Martino, David Tcimpidis and Richard Wilson.
A member of the music faculty of Vassar College and the piano faculty of the Mannes College, Sauer is the founder and director of the Mannes Beethoven Institute. A graduate of the Curtis Institute, Mannes College of Music and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, his major teachers included Jorge Bolet, Edward Aldwell and Carl Schachter.
Pianist Keiko Sekino enjoys an active career as a solo recitalist and chamber musician in the United States and abroad, in recent seasons having performed at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall, Steinway Hall, Bennett-Gordon Hall at Ravinia Park, and Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria in Santander, Spain. She has participated in festivals such as Ravinia, Norfolk, Yellow Barn and Four Seasons in the United States and Kuhmo, Encuentro de Música y Academia de Santander, La Gesse and Pontino in Europe.
In 2006, Keiko Sekino was one of four pianists invited to participate in the Carnegie Hall Professional Workshop with Thomas Quasthoff. As a duo with soprano Awet Andemicael, she worked with baritone Thomas Quasthoff and pianist Justus Zeyen on Lieder by Schubert, Wolf, and Strauss in public master classes, which were presented in recital at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. An accomplished chamber musician, Sekino has shared the stage with violinists Ana Chumachenko and MinJung Kang, and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Daedalus Quartet, Enso Quartet, Peabody Trio and the Los Angeles Piano Quartet.
A 2001 Presser Music Award recipient, Keiko Sekino received an artistic fellowship from the La Gesse Foundation, and in 2005 and 2006, received grants from the Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation to pursue further studies in Italy and France. She has won first prizes in the Yale Friends of Music Recital Competition and the Commonwealth Competition for Young Pianists. Other competition successes include those at the MTNA Yamaha Competition and the East Connecticut Symphony Competition.
From 2004 to 2006, Sekino served as a pianist for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In this capacity, she worked with conductors John Oliver, James Levine and Keith Lockhart on symphonic, operatic and choral repertoire. A compelling performer of contemporary music, she has worked with composers Sofia Gubaidulina, Joan Tower, Mario Davidovsky and Jake Heggie.
Keiko Sekino completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University and holds additional degrees from Yale University in economics and music. Among her teachers are Peter Frankl and Robert McDonald. She joined the piano faculty of the East Carolina University School of Music, Greenville, North Carolina, in 2006.
Hailed for his thrilling virtuosity, lustrous tone and profound artistic expression, Hagai Shaham is internationally recognized as one of the most exciting Israeli violinists. Shaham began his studies with Elisha Kagan and later was a student of the late renowned Professor Ilona Feher. He completed his studies in USA with Emanuel Borok, Arnold Steinhardt and the Guarneri Quartet. Shaham's awards include first prizes at the 1990 ARD Munich Competition, Ilona Kornhauser competition, Israel Broadcasting Authority Competition, Tel Aviv Rubin Academy competition and Clairmont and America-Israel Cultural Foundation's Awards.
Solo performances include appearances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Baden-Baden SWF Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, Singapore and KBS Seoul Symphony orchestras.
At the 70th anniversary celebrations of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Hagai Shaham performed Brahms Double Concerto with Misha Maisky and the Israel Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta.
Shaham has performed at Carnegie Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Barbican Centre, Wigmore Hall, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Salle Pleyel, Beethovenhalle, Herculessaal, Salzburg Mozarteum, Vienna Musikverein, Zurich Tonhalle, Barcelona Palau de la Musica, Venice Teatre la Finice and the Schleswig-Holstein, Reingau, Bad Kissingen, Bodensee, Montpellier, Cerventino, Stavanger, Kuhmo, Pablo Casals and Israel festivals.
Hagai Shaham’s recordings include over 20 albums by Hyperion, Nimbus, Avie, Chandos, EMI, Naxos and Decca International which have been enthusiastically received by international press.
Hagai Shaham teaches at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music at Tel Aviv University. Formerly, he was a professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He is a co-founder and a board member of the Ilona Feher Foundation for promoting young Israeli violinists.
The first German artist to ever win the international Naumburg Violin Award in New York, Axel Strauss has been equally acclaimed for his virtuosity and his musical sensitivity. The Salt Lake Tribune praised his well-rounded artistry by saying, "Strauss quickly established that he is a virtuoso to be reckoned with. But amid his technical acumen, there was a genuine musician. His interpretive prowess was delightful."
Strauss made his American debut at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and his New York debut at Alice Tully Hall in 1998. Since then he has given recitals in major North American cities, including Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles and San Francisco. In 2007 he was the violinist in the world premiere of "Two Awakenings and a Double Lullaby," written for him by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis.
Strauss has performed as soloist with orchestras in Budapest, Hamburg, New York, Seoul, Shanghai, Bucharest, San Francisco and Cincinnati, among others. He has collaborated with conductors such as Maxim Shostakovitch, Rico Saccani, Joseph Silverstein and Alasdair Neale. Strauss has also served as guest concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic as well as the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
His recordings include the Brahms violin concerto (BPOlive), Mendelssohn's "Songs without Words" (Naxos), the violin version of the Sonatas Opus 120 by Brahms (Organum) and the Duo for Violin and Cello by Kodaly (Oehms Classics). Naxos recently released his two latest recordings: The 24 Caprices by Pierre Rode and the last three violin concertos by Rodolphe Kreutzer. Amadeus Press has issued a DVD featuring Axel Strauss in concert at Steinway Hall in New York City.
Strauss frequently performs at various music festivals in the US. Festival visits abroad have taken him to Germany, India, Korea and Japan. His chamber music partners include Menahem Pressler, Kim Kashkashian, Joel Krosnick, Robert Mann and Bernhard Greenhouse. Since his European debut in Hamburg in 1988, Axel Strauss has been heard on concert stages throughout Europe. He has given concerts in Moscow, Vilnius, Berlin, Bremen, Leipzig and Nuremberg. Concert tours have taken him to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Romania. He has also toured South America and performed in Japan with the Philharmonic Violins Berlin.
At the age of seventeen he won the silver medal at the Enescu Competition in Romania and has been recognized with many other awards, including top prizes in the Bach, Wieniawski and Kocian competitions. Strauss studied at the Music Academies of Lübeck and Rostock with Petru Munteanu. In 1996 he began working with the late Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School and became her teaching assistant in 1998. He has also worked with such artists as Itzhak Perlman, Felix Galimir, and Ruggiero Ricci, and at the Marlboro Music Festival with Richard Goode, Mitsuko Uchida and Andras Schiff. Strauss has been residing in the United States since 1996. He maintains a busy performance schedule and serves as Professor of Violin at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Axel Strauss performs on an outstanding violin by J.F. Pressenda, Turin 1845, on extended loan through the generous efforts of the Stradivari Society in Chicago.
“In Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, the playing of Elina Vähälä -- was a continuous stream of virtuosity, hushed at certain times, heroically brave at others. The cadenza was stunning in its control of diverse elements and the danse macabre of the finale was a tour de force of marrying technique with a joy of life.” -Classical Source, 2012
“The violin concerto was dazzling, with sublime playing from Elina Vähälä, whose strikingly beautiful musicianship was set against a shimmering background. With rises and falls, light and shade, it was the highlight of the evening.”
-Shropshire Star, 2012
Violinist Elina Vähälä is one of the sought-after instrumentalists in the international music scene and receives praising critiques for her performances all around the world. She made her orchestra debut at the age of 12 with Sinfonia Lahti and was later chosen as Sinfonia Lahti’s “Young Master Soloist” by the conductor Osmo Vänskä. She is the winner of the 1999 Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York and her New York debut concert the same year received acclaim in The New York Times.
Some of the highlights of the current season are appearances with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Jakub Hrusa, Oregon Symphony and Carlos Kalmar, Helsinki Philharmonic and Jukka-Pekka Saraste, as well as performances with Sinfonia Lahti and Okko Kamu at the Sibelius Festival 2011 and tours to Germany, UK and China. Vähälä has commissioned a violin concerto from the composer Jaakko Kuusisto and the world premiere will also take place in 2012.
Past seasons have taken Elina Vähälä on stages all around the world: she has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, Colorado Symphony and Simon Bolívar Youth Orchestra, as well as at the MIAGI festival in South Africa and on tours in China and South Korea. In December 2008 Vähälä performed at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and concert when president Martti Ahtisaari was awarded. The ceremony had a worldwide television broadcast.
Elina Vähälä’s repertoire ranges from baroque to contemporary music. She has given world premieres of Aulis Sallinen's Chamber Concerto and Curtis Curtis-Smith's Double Concerto, both written for her and pianist-conductor Ralf Gothóni. In addition, Vähälä gave the Scandinavian first performance of John Corigliano’s Violin Concerto “The Red Violin.” She is not only a soloist, but a devoted chamber musician too and has performed with Andras Adorjan, Juri Bashmet, Ana Chumachenco, Chee-Yun, Peter Csaba, Itamar Golan, Ralf Gothóni, Ivry Gitlis, Bruno Giuranna, Gary Hoffman, Steven Isserlis, Frans Helmerson, Cho-Liang Lin, Adam Neiman, Arto Noras, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Alisa Weilerstein.
Besides being a musician, Elina Vähälä is also involved in the educational aspect of music. In 2009 she launched the Violin Academy – a master class based educational project for selected, highly talented young Finnish violinists. The Academy is funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation. Additionally, Vähälä is a professor of violin at the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe.
Born in the United States and raised in Finland, Elina Vähälä began to play the violin at the age of three at the Lahti Conservatory and over the years studied also under the guidance of Zinaida Gilels, Ilja Grubert and Pavel Vernikov at the Kuhmo Violin School. In Sibelius Academy Vähälä studied with Tuomas Haapanen and in 1998 she attended classes of Ana Chumachenco in Munich.
Violinist Xiao-Dong Wang entered the Shanghai Conservatory of Music at the age of ten. Wang was First Prize winner in the Menuhin International Violin Competition and First Prize winner in the Wieniawski-‐Lipinski International Violin Competition at the ages of thirteen and fifteen. He was brought to the attention of Dorothy DeLay of The Juilliard School who arranged for him to begin a four-year scholarship starting in 1986. A guest soloist of considerable experience, Wang has performed with orchestras around the world, including the Royal Philharmonic in London, the London Mozart Players, Adelaide, Perth, Queensland Symphony Orchestras and Sydney Opera Orchestra. His recording credits include the Bartok Concerto No. 2 and Szymanowski Concerto No. 1 for Polygram Records. He has also appeared performing on both violin and viola in chamber music concerts at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Aspen, Ravinia and in many other festival and musical events worldwide.
Wang is the resident soloist of the Shanghai Symphony for the 2012-13 Season, he will appear three times as soloist with the orchestra during the season as well as presenting chamber music concerts and master classes. During his residency, Wang will also perform as a soloist with three other major symphony orchestras in China, including The China Philharmonic in Beijing.
Wang is the artistic director and a founding member of the renowned chamber music group Concertante, where he has collaborated with world renowned musicians and made a vast number of chamber music recordings.