Charles Ives Concert Series Artists

Artistic Leadership

 

Paul Frucht, Artistic Director

Originally from Danbury, CT, Paul Frucht is an emerging American composer whose music has been hailed for its “sense of lyricism, driving pulse, and great urgency” (WQXR). His music has recently been performed by the American Composers Orchestra, Atlantic Music Festival Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, the Juilliard Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Weill-Cornell Music and Medicine Orchestra, the Chelsea Symphony, American Modern Ensemble, Ensemble dal Niente, the Les Deux violin duo, the LONGLEASH Trio, violinist Hannah Ji, cellist Julian Schwarz and pianist Marika Bournaki on Bargemusic’s Here and Now Labor Day Series, at the Utah Arts Festival, at the New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute, at the Kyoto International Music Festival, at the Peabody-Essex Museum with the Asian American New Music Institute, and at the pianoSonoma Music Festival, where he was composer-in-residence from 2014-2015. Highlights of 2017 include performances of a new work for violist Caeli Smith as well as performances with the Ridgefield Symphony and the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra, of which he has just been named composer-in-residence for the 2017-18 season.

Paul is the recipient of numerous honors and awards in composition. He was recently awarded a Morton Gould Young Composer Award from ASCAP. In 2015, he was awarded a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is also the recipient of Juilliard’s Gena Raps Chamber Music Prize, the Arthur Friedman Award for outstanding orchestral composition, and the Palmer Dixon Prize for the most outstanding work by a student composer in an academic year. He has also received recognition from Periapsis Music and Dance, the American Modern Ensemble, the Nashville Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Red Note New Music Festival the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, and the American Composers Orchestra, from whom he received the Audience Choice Award for his work Dawn, which was showcased by the ACO as part of the 25th Annual Underwood New Music Readings.  He is also the recipient of several scholarships from the Juilliard School, including the C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellowship, the Arlene J. Smith Scholarship, and the Marvin Hamlisch Scholarship in Composition.

 

Paul holds a Master of Music Degree in Composition from the Juilliard School, where he is now a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate. In 2011, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from New York University’s Steinhardt School, earning a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Theory and Composition. His principal teachers have been Robert Beaser and Justin Dello Joio. An enthusiastic educator himself, Paul was a teaching fellow in Juilliard’s College Division for four years and an instructor in Juilliard’s Pre-College for two years before joining the adjunct at New York University’s Steinhardt School in 2015. Hear his music at http://www.paulfrucht.com/

 

Jonathan Cziner, Associate Artistic Director

Jonathan Cziner (b. 1991) is an American composer based in New York City.  Jonathan’s works have been performed in the United States and Europe by artists including acclaimed pianist Steven Masi, Dallas Symphony principal harpist Emily Levin, and by ensembles including the New Juilliard Ensemble, Atlantic Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, and violin duo Les Deux. His works have been commissioned for the Lyric Chamber Society, the American Guild of Organists, and the Dallas Harp Quartet, with performance venues including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City.

American composer David Conte has called Jonathan’s music “developed, consistent, and convincing…filled with surprises, that somehow sound natural.”

His work Transient Bodies for Sinfonietta, commissioned by the New Juilliard Ensemble, was awarded the 2017 Palmer Dixon Prize, given to the year’s most outstanding composition at the Juilliard School.  He has also received recognition from the Minnesota and Sioux City Symphony Orchestras for his orchestral work reAwaken.

Jonathan served for two years as co-artistic director of Dynamic Music Festival, an annual concert series dedicated to premiering works of student composers attending universities in the New York City area. He currently is the associate artistic director of the Charles Ives Concert Series, which focuses its programming on the music of Ives, as well as other past and present American composers. Equally dedicated to scoring for film, he was awarded best original score for up-and-coming director Nora Unkel’s 2015 film The Goblin Song, and is slated to score her first feature film, A Nightmare Wakes in summer 2018.

Jonathan began formal composition training upon his acceptance to New York University, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree studying with Justin Dello Joio. He completed his Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Robert Beaser, and began studies last year in Juilliard’s prestigious C.V. Starr doctoral program.

Current projects include an orchestral work inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s The Bells, as well as a solo piano work for Italian pianist Edoardo Turbil.

 

Artist-Faculty and Guest Artists

 

Marika Bournaki, piano

With unparalleled technical, musical and communication skills, Marika Bournaki is at once, a world class performer, outstanding pianist, vivacious young woman… and the freshest face on the classical music scene. Marika’s innovative approach to her art and performance is reflected in her recent collaboration, “Let’s Play”, with cutting-edge and world-renowned multimedia creative shop, Moment Factory. Her role as Ambassador to the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s summer event, “A Cool Classical Journey” was an exceptional opportunity to explore new and exciting ways to share her music with the public. Marika not only brings distinctive interpretations to favourite standards, she also extends her passion for music by commissioning works by younger composers and collaborating with artists from various fields.

The award-winning documentary, “I am not a rock star”,  directed by Bobbi Jo Hart and featuring Marika, has captivated audiences of all ages in festivals around the world. The feature-length film… (see it at http://vimeo.com/50312292) … chronicles Marika’s evolution as an artist from the age of 12 to 20. A runaway success at multiple international film festivals, “I am not a rock star” was screened at, among others, the 30th International Festival of Films on Art in Montreal, the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival in Greece, the Barcelona Music Documentary Film Festival, the DocsDF Festival in Mexico, the Napa Valley Film Festival in California. Marika’s unique approach and intense passion have also been heard over the airwaves on Radio-Canada, Radio-France, BBC, WQXR in New York City, and Toronto’s Classical 96.3 FM. She has been featured on television networks such as ERT, TF1, France 2, CTV, Global, Radio-Canada, CBC, and Canal+.

Recent performances include a recital at the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens, Greece, a recital at Plaza Hidalgo in Mexico, a benefit recital for the Glenn Gould Foundation at New York’s Carnegie Hall, a guest solo appearance in Montreal with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, recitals at the National Arts Center in Ottawa, at the Flanders Festival in Belgium, the Konzert Accordate Series in Aachen Germany, the EMMA Concert Association in Florida, Chamber Music Northwest in Oregon, and the Luminato Festival in Toronto. Other engagements include performances with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra in Russia, as well as recitals in South Korea, Romania, Italy,Switzerland, and England. Marika holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music, in New York. She participated in the International Academy Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, as well as the Internationale Mendelssohn Akademie in Leipzig, playing in master classes for Dmitri Bashkirov, Andras Schiff, Karl-Heinz Kammerling and Arie Vardi.

Molly Goldman, viola

Violist Molly Goldman is a recent graduate of the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Roger Tapping. Her other teachers included Jeffrey Irvine, Carol Rodland and Stephen Sims. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music she has earned Bachelor of Music in Applied Music and Music Education with certification, in addition to receiving the prestigious Performance Certificate in recognition of “students who demonstrate outstanding performing ability.” An avid chamber musician, Ms. Goldman has collaborated with violinists Juliana Athayde and David Coucheron, pianist-composer Magnus Lindberg, and cellists Steven Doane and Rosemary Elliott.  As a soloist Ms. Goldman has been heard with the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, the Contemporary Youth Orchestra, the National Repertory Orchestra and the Eastman Philharmonia Orchestra. She has held performance fellowships at the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Colorado College Summer Music Festival and the Bowdoin International Music Festival. In 2014 Ms. Goldman was also invited to participate in the Sibelius Academy’s Creative Dialogue Symposium, a collaborative workshop between musicians and composers in the creation of new music. Ms. Goldman’s musical talents go beyond classical music as she has performed with AXIOM, Ensemble Signal, New Juilliard Ensemble, Styx, Idina Menzel, Wild Cherry, and many others. She currently holds faculty positions at Silver Music School,and the Montserrat Music Festival. Ms. Goldman strives to make music exciting, engaging and accessible for all audiences.

 

Conor Hanick, piano

Pianist Conor Hanick is regarded as one of his generation’s most inquisitive interpreters of music old and new. With a unique adeptness for contemporary music reinforced by a commitment to music of all ages, Hanick’s interpretations demonstrate a “technical refinement, color, crispness and wondrous variety of articulation that benefit works by any master.” (Anthony Tommasini, New York Times)

Although his playing “defies human description” for some (Concerto Net), Hanick’s performances have received wide acclaim, described as “brilliant,” “effortlessly elegant,” (New York Times) “expert,” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “sparkling,” (Strad) and reminding the New York Times Anthony Tommasini of a “young Peter Serkin.” He has performed with conductors Alan Gilbert, James Levine, David Robertson, Pierre Boulez, James Conlon, Anne Manson, Carlos Izcaray, Jeffrey Milarsky, and others, in repertoire ranging from Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto and the keyboard concertos of Johann Sebastian Bach to Olivier Messiaen’s Des Canyons aux Etoiles… and John Adams’ Century Rolls. As a recitalist and chamber musician, Hanick has performed at the Kennedy Center, Mondavi Performing Arts Center, the Krannert Center, the Kultur und Kongresszentrum Luzern, Kyoto Concert Hall, the Dewan Pilharmonik Peronas in Malaysia, and virtually every prominent arts venue in New York City, ranging from (le) Poisson Rouge and The Kitchen to Alice Tully Hall and all three halls of Carnegie Hall.

As a fierce advocate for the music of today, Hanick has premiered over 200 works and collaborated with composers both emerging and iconic. Among the them, Hanick has worked with Pierre Boulez, Matthias Pintscher, Milton Babbitt, Heinz Holliger, John Luther Adams, and Charles Wuorinen, in addition to championing music by leading composers of his own generation, including David Fulmer, Caroline Shaw, Matthew Aucoin, Samuel Adams, Vivian Fung, and Christopher Cerrone. As the “soloist of choice for such thorny works” (New York Times), Hanick recently performed Milton Babbitt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Juilliard Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall; György Ligeti’s Piano Concerto with Alan Gilbert at the New York Philharmonic Biennale; Pierre Boulez’s sur Incises with James Levine at Carnegie Hall; and the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Piano Concerto with the Alabama Symphony.

During the 18-19 season, Hanick appears as a soloist, chamber musician, and ensemble member throughout North America. He presents Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated in Santa Barbara, Seattle, Santa Fe, New York, and Boston; partners with instrumentalists Jay Campbell, Joshua Roman, Augustin Hadelich, Rachel Lee Priday, and others, in music ranging from Eric Wubbels’ Gretchen am Spinnrade to gamba sonatas of Carl Phillipp Emanual Bach; joins the Seattle Symphony in Pierre Boulez’s sur Incises, the String Orchestra of Brooklyn in Galina Ustvolskaya’s Piano Concerto; and is artist-in-residence at the University of Iowa Center for New Music, the Clark Museum, and SITE Santa Fe. As a core member of the American Modern Opera Company (AMOC), Hanick will present The People United with a new lighting installation by John Torres, perform in a new semi-staged version of John Adams’ El Niño at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and chamber music programs at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA and National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY.

Complementing his solo and chamber music work, Hanick also works closely as an ensemble member with many new music groups and chamber orchestras. He has performed with The Knights at Tanglewood, the Kennedy Center, and on tour with Bela Fleck; the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) at the Park Avenue Armory in Heiner Goebbels’ De Materie; the Talea Ensemble in the US premiere of Mauricio Kagel’s Sur Scene; and in collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Players, Chatter Ensemble, ensembleNewSRQ, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Echappé, Talea Ensemble, Argento, and the Lucerne Festival Alumni Ensemble.

A sought after pedagog, Hanick has given lectures and masterclasses at The Juilliard School, the New England Conservatory, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Iowa, and, from 2011-2013, was the Iva Dee Hiatt visiting artist at Smith College. In 2014, Hanick became a solo piano faculty artist at Music Academy of the West, an elite summer festival in Santa Barbara, and holds the Jane and Jerry Rocco Chair in Solo Piano.

Hanick completed his undergraduate studies at Northwestern and received his Masters and Doctorate from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Yoheved Kaplinsky and Matti Raekallio. He lives in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

 

 Photo: Gittings

Emily levin, harp

Emily is the Principal Harpist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Bronze Medal Winner of the 9th USA International Harp Competition. Her playing has been praised for its “communicative, emotionally intense expression” (Jerusalem Post) and the Herald Times commended her “technical wizardry and artistic intuition.” As a soloist, orchestral musician, and chamber collaborator, Levin brings the harp to the forefront of a diverse musical spectrum, using her instrument to connect with all audiences.

Have harp will travel. The youngest principal harpist of a major American orchestra, Levin has performed at Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the World Harp Congress, and with the Dallas, Jerusalem and Colorado Symphony Orchestras, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Colorado Chamber Players, and the Indiana University Festival Orchestra, among others. She was a featured Guest Artist at the 2017 Lakes Area Music Festival, and has performed with the New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall and at the BRAVO! Vail Music Festival. As a soloist and chamber musician, she has performed throughout the United States and Europe, including at the Kimmel Center, Alice Tully Hall, and the Meyerson Symphony Center. She is a 2016 Winner of the Astral Artists national auditions, and a top prizewinner at the International Harp Contest in Israel. Levin is on Faculty at the Young Artist’s Harp Seminar.

A strong believer in music’s powerful impact, Levin organized a concert series in early 2017 with her fellow Dallas musicians, with all profits benefiting the International Rescue Committee and the Refugee Services of Texas.  She is passionate about sharing music in schools, giving free masterclasses and interactive performances to students and young harpists.

In the works . The 2017-2018 season brings Levin’s second season as Principal Harpist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, as well as over 30 solo and chamber performances throughout North America. With the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Levin performs Mozart’s Flute and Harp Concerto under Jaap van Zweden, her second solo appearance with the orchestra in as many years. Other musical highlights include performances at National Sawdust, (Le) Poisson Rouge, the Lyric Chamber Society, Englewood Fine Arts, the University of Ottawa, and the Fine Arts Chamber Players. She is the Featured Artist for the 2018 Southwestern Music Festival, performing both a concerto and a chamber recital, and will be a Guest Artist at the 2018 Suzuki Association of the Americas Conference. In September 2017, Levin released her debut album, Something Borrowed, which explores the connection between music, literature, and culture. For the recording, the Classical Recording Foundation awarded her the 2017 Young Artist of the Year.

In with the new . Levin works extensively with established and emerging composers alike, which led to commendation from the New York Times for both “singing well and playing beautifully.” She is a core member of the New York-based new music group Ensemble Échappé, and can be heard on the recordings of composers such as Charles Wuorinen, David Dzubay, and Louis Karchin. In 2012, The Indiana University Composition Department recognized her for her collaboration and performance of new music. Most recently, Levin commissioned a four-composer set of character pieces inspired by Shel Silverstein.

Book learning . Levin received her Master of Music degree in 2015 at the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Nancy Allen, where she was a teaching fellow for both the Ear Training and Educational Outreach departments. A self-described bookworm, she completed undergraduate degrees in Music and History at Indiana University with Susann McDonald. Her honors history thesis discussed the impact of war songs on the French Revolution.

 

Avi Nagin, violin

Avi Nagin is an active recitalist, chamber musician, orchestral player, and educator. He has performed in collaboration with members of the Ebène and Orion Quartets, as well as with Paul Coletti, Benny and Eric Kim, and Ronald Leonard. A recent graduate of The Colburn School and the Yale School of Music, Avi’s performances have brought him to stages across the country, including Carnegie Hall and Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood. He has appeared at prestigious masterclasses and workshops around
the world, including at Carnegie Hall led by pianist Leon Fleisher, where he also worked closely with Yo-Yo Ma and Pamela Frank. Avi has also twice attended the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove in Cornwall, England, where he appeared in masterclasses for András Keller and Philippe Graffin, as well as legendary violinist Ivry Gitlis. During his time as a student, Avi held leadership positions in the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestral, Aspen Chamber Symphony, and New York Youth Symphony. Avi has recently become substitute violinist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and New Jersey Symphony, and was appointed Principal 2 nd Violin of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Principal 2nd Violin of Symphony in C, Assistant Principal 2 nd Violin of the Norwalk Symphony, section violin with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Artosphere Festival Orchestral, and has appeared with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Greenwich Symphony Orchestra. He has also attended festivals including Tanglewood, Kneisel Hall, the Lake George Music Festival, and the Heifetz Institute. This past summer marked Avi’s first year on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he also served in the violin section of the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra. Additionally, Avi has recently become substitute faculty at The Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division and serves on the chamber music faculty of the New York Youth Symphony and was previously a “Teaching Artist” with Yale University’s Music in Schools Initiative. Avi’s principal teachers include Ani Kavafian, Robert Lispett, Daniel Phillips, and Ann Setzer, and he has studied chamber music with Arnold Steinhardt, Sylvia Rosenberg and Paul Coletti.

 

Mitchell Lyon, cello

Cellist Mitchell Lyon approaches music making with a zeal for harnessing the unique power of musical experience. At home with audiences of all types, he has performed in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to intimate private homes.

An accomplished chamber musician, Mitch specializes in ensemble collaborations that run the gamut from classical piano trios, to crossover string quartets, to jazz combos, to dance and theater collaborations.

A native of Philadelphia, Mitch has performed extensively as a soloist, chamber musician, and in orchestras throughout the United States, France and the United Kingdom. As a recipient of Juilliard’s Gluck Community Service Fellowship, he brought music to new and underserved audiences, including patients in New York area hospitals, nursing homes and alternative care facilities.  Mitch arranges, organizes and performs house concerts at private residences throughout the boroughs of New York City and in other locations by arrangement.

Passionate in his quest to spread the joy of music to young performers, Mitch has taught the children of New York through various Juilliard-funded fellowship programs at schools including Children’s Promise Zone and Harlem Promise Academy II. As a director of Juilliard’s student-run outreach organization, ARTreach, Mitch led several Juilliard teams to New Orleans, reaching out to children displaced by Hurricane Katrina and doing hands-on labor with Habitat for Humanity. Mitch continues his educational outreach mission in his current role as Teaching Artist Faculty for the New York Philharmonic School Partnership Program.

Mitch earned his MM degree with Timothy Eddy at the Juilliard School in May of 2014 as a Margaret J. & Roy H. Pollack and William R. Hearst Scholar. He earned his BM degree from the Juilliard School in May of 2012 as a student of Bonnie Hampton, where he held scholarships from the foundations of the Juilliard Alumni, Ruth Katzman, Presser, J & B Werter, and Stephen E. Somers. His former teachers include Jeffrey Solow and Deborah Reeder. For four years, Mitch held the Myer-Schwartz Piano Trio cello scholarship at Settlement Music School. His awards include the Ambler Symphony Menges Scholarship, the Bach Atonement Scholarship, and others. The summer of 2016 will find Mitch performing from the Finger Lakes region to California.  During past summers, Mitch has performed as a fellow of the Fontainebleau School in France, as a visiting artist at the Finchcocks Museum of Keyboard Instruments in Kent, UK, at Music in the Mountains in Eagles Mere, PA, as a fellow at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and at the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School in Santa Cruz, CA. Mitch spent four summers as a counselor at the Meadowmount School of Music, studying with Melissa Kraut and Hans Jorgen Jensen. During previous summers he studied at the Castleman Quartet Program, the Montecito Summer Music Festival, and Music in the Mountains. He has performed in master classes for Mark Kosower, Steven Isserlis, Christopher Rex, Andres Diaz, Timothy Eddy, Ko Iwasaki and Anne Martindale-Williams. He has worked privately with Gary Hoffman and Clive Greensmith.

Mitch plays on a Jules Grandjon cello dating from 1880, except when he is rocking out, when he uses a Quintus carbon-fiber cello built by Tony Cook of GraceStrings with an Acoustic Combo Amp, model AG120S and a ceramic under-bridge pickup.

George Meyer, violin

George Meyer, 25, plays the violin and writes music. He has performed his own compositions at Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, OR; at the Savannah Music Festival, in Georgia; and at the Telluride and RockyGrass Bluegrass Festivals, in Colorado. In 2016, Ensemble Quodlibet premiered his Concerto Grosso, a 15-minute work for string orchestra with solo string quartet, in New York City. Meyer’s other performance appearances include the Rome Chamber Music Festival and the Aspen Music Festival. He has appeared with his father Edgar Meyer, and with Jerry Douglas, Mike Marshall, and Sam Bush.

His violin teachers have included Stephen Miahky, Lucy Chapman, Jennifer Frautschi, Naoko Tanaka, Carolyn Huebl, and Carol Smith. He graduated from Harvard in 2015 with a degree in English; his thesis concerned the early poems of John Keats. In the fall of 2016, he began a master’s degree in violin at Juilliard, where he studies with Laurie Smukler and Naoko Tanaka. He is from Nashville, TN.

 

 

Rachel Lee Priday, violin

Violinist RACHEL LEE PRIDAY (PRY-day), acclaimed for her beauty of tone, riveting stage presence, and “irresistible panache” (Chicago Tribune), has appeared as soloist with major international orchestras, including the Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, Seattle, and National Symphony Orchestras, the Boston Pops, and the Berlin Staatskapelle. Critics have praised her “dazzling, forceful technique,” “rich, mellifluous sound,” and “silvery fluidity.” Combining a fierce intelligence with an imaginative curiosity, her wide-ranging repertoire and eclectic programming reflect a deep fascination with literary and cultural narratives, as an artist who seeks contemporary resonances with the masterworks of the past.

Rachel takes a multidisciplinary approach to music that often lends itself to collaborative, interdisciplinary performances and new music commissions. Notably, recent seasons have seen a new Violin Sonata commissioned from Pulitzer Prize Finalist Christopher Cerrone together with pianist David Kaplan, and the premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s The Orphic Moment in an innovative staging that mixed poetry, drama, visuals, and music. This season, Rachel is commissioning a new work for solo violin alone from Timothy Andres, which will premiere in 2018-2019. In addition, as Resident Artist with Metropolis Ensemble in NYC, she is collaborating with composer Scott Wollschleger on a forthcoming Concerto for Solo Violin, Mixed Professional and Amateur Orchestra, which will build partnerships between professional and community groups across the country. The work will premiere in New York City in 2019 featuring Metropolis Ensemble and the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, with future performances planned in conjunction with educational residencies.

Recent and upcoming highlights include concerto engagements with the Pacific Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Stamford Symphony, Greenville Symphony, Bangor Symphony, Johannesburg Philharmonic, Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic, and Cape Town Philharmonic. Conductors Rachel has worked with recently include JoAnn Falletta, Carl St. Clair, Michael Morgan, Daniel Boico, Bernhard Gueller, Eckart Preu, and Leon Botstein. Previous solo engagements have included, amongst others, appearances with the Colorado Symphony, Knoxville, Fairfax, Alabama, Delaware, Champaign-Urbana, Elgin, New Haven, Santa Rosa, Springfield (MA), Rockford, Annapolis, and Hartford Symphonies, the Rochester Philharmonic, Westchester Philharmonic, the New York Youth Symphony, and Aspen Sinfonia at the Aspen Music Festival.

Rachel’s frequent recital appearances have brought her to such distinguished venues as the Mostly Mozart Festival at Avery Fisher Hall, the Kansas City Harriman-Jewell Series, Ravinia’s “Rising Stars” Series, and UCSB Arts and Lectures. Recent highlights include a debut UK recital tour, recitals at the Sarasota Opera House, Lawrence University, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Series in Chicago, shows at Joe’s Pub and SubCulture in NYC, and an 8-recital tour of South Africa.

Since her European concerto debut performing the Sibelius Concerto in 2006 with the Berlin Staatskapelle and Maestro Mikko Franck, engagements in Europe and Asia have included recitals at the Musée du Louvre, the Verbier Festival, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival, the Moritzburg Festival, and concerto appearances in Graz, Austria, Hong Kong, and Singapore. She has performed in Korea several times, including repeat engagements with the Seoul Philharmonic, the KBS Symphony under the direction of Dmitri Kitaenko, and a four-city tour of the country with the Russian State Symphony Orchestra and Valery Polyansky.

Rachel has been profiled in The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, Family Circle Magazine, and The Strad Magazine. Her performances have been broadcast on major media outlets in the U.S., Germany, Korea, South Africa, and Brazil, including a televised concert in Rio de Janeiro, numerous radio appearances on 98.7 WFMT Chicago radio, BBC Radio 3′s In Tune, and American Public Media’s Performance Today. Her television credits include appearances on the Disney Channel, “Fiddling for the Future” and “American Masters” on PBS, and the 2000 Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

Rachel made her orchestral debut at the Aspen Music Festival in 1997 at the age of nine, and the following year performed at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations. A native of Chicago, Rachel moved to New York in 1996 to study with her mentors, the late pedagogue Dorothy DeLay and Itzhak Perlman, at the Juilliard School. She earned her B.A. in English from Harvard University as well as an M.M from the New England Conservatory, where she studied with Miriam Fried through its joint dual-degree program with Harvard College.

She performs on a Nicolo Gagliano violin (Naples, 1760), double-purfled with fleurs-de-lis, named Alejandro.

 

Mika Sasaki, piano

Pianist Mika Sasaki has established herself as a sought-after chamber musician, soloist, and emerging educator. Since her solo debut with the Sinfonia of Cambridge at age seven, she appeared twice with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and more recently with the 92Y Orchestra in New York City. Mika has performed frequently in the U.S., Europe and Japan, at venues including the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie, Steinway Hall, Alice Tully Hall, 92nd Street Y, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Palazzo Chigi Saracini (Italy), Minatomirai Hall (Japan), Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (Japan), Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, and live on WQXR radio. Most recently, her solo debut CD album “Obsidian” was released on Yarlung Records, highly acclaimed by the Online Merker as “illuminat[ing] the artistic inspiration and creative exchange between these three Romantic souls,” Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms.

A versatile pianist praised for her musicianship, Mika recently began a two-year fellowship with Ensemble Connect (formerly Ensemble ACJW), a program of Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School and the Weill Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, performing and teaching chamber music around the city, focusing on audience engagement, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. Her love for chamber music and curiosity in exploring repertoire both new and old have led her to collaborate in diverse ensembles, sometimes serving as score-reader for conductors’ classes, rehearsal pianist for choruses, vocal coach, instrumental collaborator, or as toy pianist, celesta player or harpsichordist in small ensembles and orchestras.

As an accomplished chamber musician, she was invited to Music@Menlo as an international program artist, as well as the Tanglewood Music Center as a Leonard Bernstein Fellow, where her interpretation of Schubert’s Grand Duo for four-hands was hailed as a “colorful reading of the work … [with] nuance and sensitivity to Schubert’s music.” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). Other festival appearances include the Estherwood Music Festival (U.K.), Aspen Music Festival, Yellow Barn Young Artists Program, Mannes Beethoven Institute, Icicle Creek Chamber Music Festival, Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Italy), Taos School of Music, ChamberFest at Juilliard, and the Focus! Festival at Lincoln Center. In 2016, she performed and taught as Artist in Residence at the pianoSonoma at Juilliard winter workshop in New York City, as well as its summer festival in Sonoma County, California, working with adult participants of all ages.

Born in Atlanta, Mika grew up in Demarest, New Jersey, and began her studies with Olegna Fuschi at the Juilliard Pre-College division at the age of seven. Moving to Tokyo, Japan, in 2001, she returned to the U.S. to pursue her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at the Peabody Conservatory under the tutelage of Benjamin Pasternack. A recipient of several awards in piano and chamber music during her studies at Peabody, she received the Tony & Tina Guilder Scholarship Award in Piano, William H. Kaltenbach Jr. Endowed Scholarship, Clara Asherfeld Award for Accompanying, Peggy & Yale Gordon Accompanist Recognition Prize, Sidney Friedberg Prize in Chamber Music, and was invited to join the U.S. national music honor society, Pi Kappa Lambda, upon graduation.

Mika is currently completing her doctoral studies at the Juilliard School, where she studied with Joseph Kalichstein as a recipient of the Isidore Kleppel Scholarship, Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship, Celia and Joseph Ascher Fund for Piano, and the C. V. Starr Doctoral Fellowship. At Juilliard, she held several teaching fellowships and faculty assistantships in Piano Literature, Sight-Reading, Secondary Piano and Music Theory, and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Keyboard Skills and Piano Topics as a part-time faculty member. She currently teaches piano and keyboard skills in the Juilliard Evening Division, and works with middle school students at I.S. 025 in Queens as part of her fellowship with Ensemble Connect.
For more information, or any inquiries, please access mikasasaki.com.

Julian Schwarz, cello

Julian Schwarz was born to a multigenerational musical family in 1991. Heralded from a young age as a cellist destined to rank among the greatest of the 21st century, Julian’s powerful tone, effortless virtuosity, and extraordinarily large color palate are hallmarks of his style.

In 2013 Mr Schwarz won 1st prize in the professional cello division of the Schoenfeld International String Competition in Hong Kong, and in 2016 won 1st prize at the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition’s “The Art of Duo” with Canadian pianist Marika Bournaki.  

After making his concerto debut at the age of 11 with the Seattle Symphony and his father, Gerard Schwarz on the podium, he has led an active career as soloist. Recent and upcoming debuts include the Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonics, Camerata Chicago, Symphony Silicon Valley, and the Toledo, Jacksonville, Charleston, Tuscon, Amarillo, San Antonio, Des Moines, Charlotte, and West Virginia Symphonies. Return engagements include the Hartford and Springfield (MA) Symphonies, Northwest Sinfonietta, Lake Union Civic Orchestra, Symphoria (Syracuse NY), and the Boca Symphonia. Internationally, he made his Australian debut with the Queensland Symphony, his Mexican debuts with the Boca del Rio Symphony in Veracruz and the Mexico City Philharmonic with frequent collaborator Jorge Mester, and his Hong Kong debut at the Intimacy of Creativity Festival. He has also appeared at the Salzburg Mozarteum, and the Verbier festival in Switzerland.

As a recitalist, he has performed at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, the Rosenegg Castle in Steyr Austria, on the Embassy Series in Washington DC, at the National Arts Club, and in Palm Springs, CA. Mr. Schwarz will embark on an extensive 10-recital tour of China in March 2017, and will make debuts for the Musical Club of Hartford and the University Club. An avid chamber musician, he is a member of the New York based Frisson Ensemble, the New York Classical Players, the Solisti Ensemble, and the Mile-End Trio with violinist Jeff Multer and pianist Marika Bournaki. He performs frequently at Bargemusic in Brooklyn, and has been the featured young artist at both the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival and the Seattle Chamber Music Festival.

Julian Schwarz is an avid supporter of new music, and often commissions new, exciting works to enhance the cello repertoire. He has premiered concertos by Richard Danielpour, Samuel Jones (recorded with the All Star Orchestra for public television in 2012, subsequently released as a DVD on Naxos), and will give the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s first Cello Concerto with a consortium of five orchestras in the 17-18 season. Other premieres include the US Premiere of Dobrinka Tabakova’s Cello Concerto with the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra, and recital works by Paul Frucht, Gavin Fraser, Ren Damin, and Gerard Schwarz. On record, the Schwarz-Bournaki duo has recorded Bright Sheng’s “Northern Lights” for Naxos, the complete cello/piano works by Ernest Bloch for the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music, and will release a debut recital album in summer 2017.

A devoted teacher, Mr. Schwarz serves as Asst. Professor of Cello at Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University (Winchester, VA). Other faculty appointments include the Eastern Music Festival (Greensboro, NC), Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (Nova Scotia, Canada), and faculty teaching assistant to Joel Krosnick at The Juilliard School.
Mr. Schwarz studied at the Academy of Music Northwest, the Colburn School with Ronald Leonard, and received both BM and MM degrees from The Juilliard School where he studied with mentor Joel Krosnick. Other influential teachers include David Tonkonogui, Toby Saks, Lynn Harrell, Neal Cary, and chamber music studies with Andre Roy, Arnold Steinhardt, Jonathan Feldman, Toby Appel and Paul Coletti. Julian plays on a Neapolitan cello made by Gennaro Gagliano in 1743, is an active contributor to Strings Magazine’s Artist Blog, and sits on the music committee of the National Arts Club.

 

Jacob Shack, viola

Appointed Fourth Chair Viola of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 2016, Massachusetts native Jacob Shack earned his Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School as a student of Misha Amory and Heidi Castleman and frequently performed as co-principal of the Juilliard Orchestra. As an undergraduate at Harvard College, Jacob enjoyed playing with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra as principal violist, including on their tours to Cuba and the Middle East. He has toured the world as a chamber and orchestral musician, performing on four continents, most recently in Hong Kong at Bright Sheng’s Intimacy of Creativity Festival and in Colombia at the Medellín International Music Festival. He has performed at several other music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, and the Tanglewood Music Center, where he was the recipient of the Maurice Schwarz Prize in 2013. In addition, he was selected to participate in Jaime Laredo’s New York String Orchestra Seminar at Carnegie Hall in both 2010 and 2012. In addition to his dedication to orchestral playing, Jacob has been recognized in solo and chamber music competitions, including the Washington International Competition for Strings and the Stulberg International String Competition. He has collaborated in performance with such world-renowned artists as James Buswell, Steven Doane, James Dunham, Joseph Kalichstein, Robert Levin, and Joseph Silverstein, and has received numerous awards and scholarships from Harvard University, as well as from his alma mater Phillips Academy. In the summer of 2015, Jacob served as the violist of the New Fromm Players, an ensemble-in-residence at the Tanglewood Music Center devoted to contemporary performance. 

 

chelseastarbuckChelsea Starbuck Smith, violin

Acclaimed as a violinist of “compelling presence, fearless attack, and technical aplomb and bravado” (New London’s The Day), Chelsea Starbuck Smith, 25, is a young artist becoming recognized for her infectious enthusiasm for the violin.  She has performed as solo and chamber artist in venues across the United States and abroad, including Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, Palais de Fontainebleau in France, and Centre National des Arts in Ottawa.  Ms. Smith made her solo debut in 2016 with both the Spoleto Festival USA Chamber Orchestra in Charleston, SC, and the Southern Finger Lakes Orchestra in Corning, NY.

As a chamber musician, Ms. Smith embraces contemporary as well as classical forms.  Recent collaborators include The Knights Chamber Orchestra and Debbie Harry & Blondie. She has participated in the acclaimed Music Academy of the West 2014 String Quartet Seminar led by the Takács Quartet, and the annual Juilliard ChamberFest concert series.  Ms. Smith recently appeared on the 20thCentury Fox Television series Glee, NYU Langone’s national television ad Fresh Thinking, WMNR Fine Arts Radio and Connecticut Public Radio, and is the featured violinist on The String Fingers Band’s debut bluegrass album Don’t Forget.

Ms. Smith just completed her studies at The Juilliard School, receiving a Master of Music degree under the tutelage of David Chan and Laurie Smukler, while also graduating with the Norman Benzaquen Career Advancement Grant for “talent, promise, creativity, and potential to make a significant impact in the performing arts.”  She also holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Juilliard where she studied with Sally Thomas.