Charles Ives Concert Series 2018 Artists
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.
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.
Peter Dugan, piano
Prizing versatility as the key to the future of classical music, pianist Peter Dugan is equally at home in classical, jazz, and pop idioms. He has appeared as a soloist throughout the United States, including performances at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall. He has also performed internationally in Canada, South America, the Cayman Islands, and across Europe. Last season, Mr. Dugan appeared as a soloist with the New World Symphony in its season-opening concert under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas.
A sought-after crossover artist, Mr. Dugan recently performed duos with violinists Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell in memorial concerts for Marvin Hamlisch at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater and the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Mr. Dugan’s collaboration with violinist Charles Yang has garnered critical acclaim across the country. He has also performed chamber music throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in South America and Europe, including a 2013 recital with violinist Sean Lee at the Vienna Konzerthaus. Mr. Dugan’s chamber music recitals this season include performances with the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach, ARTS San Antonio, and St. John’s College Recital Series.
Mr. Dugan advocates for the importance of music in communities. As a founding creator and the pianist for OPERAtion Superpower, a “superhero opera” for children, he has traveled to dozens of schools in the greater New York area, performing for students and encouraging them to use their talents for good. A Philadelphia native, Mr. Dugan holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in solo piano performance from The Juilliard School, where he studied under Matti Raekallio and was awarded the John Erskine Commencement Prize for outstanding artistic and academic achievement. Mr. Dugan resides in New York, where he teaches sight reading for pianists at Juilliard and serves on the faculty at the St. Thomas Choir School. He is a Yamaha Artist.
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.
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.
Charles Yang, violin
Described by the Boston Globe as one who “plays classical violin with the charisma of a rock star”, Juilliard graduate Charles Yang began his violin studies with his mother in Austin, Texas, and has since studied with world-renowned pedagogues Kurt Sassmanshaus, Paul Kantor, Brian Lewis and Glenn Dicterow. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras and in recitals in the United States, Europe, Brazil, Russia, China, and Taiwan, and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. On June 9th of 2005, the Mayor of Austin presented Mr. Yang with his own “Charles Yang Day”. In 2016 Mr. Yang joined the crossover string-band, Time for Three.
Not only confined to classical violin, Mr. Yang’s improvisational crossover abilities as a violinist, electric violinist, and vocalist have led him to featured performances with a variety of artists in such festivals as The Aspen Music Festival, The Cayman Arts Festival, The YouTube Music Awards, The Moab Music Festival, TED, Caramoor, The EG Conference, Oncue Conference, Google Zeitgeist, YouTube Space Los Angeles, Interlochen, and onstage at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House, David H. Koch Theater, Dizzy’s and David Rubinstein Atrium; The Long Center, The Royal Danish Theatre, Le Poisson Rouge, Highline Ballroom, Ars Nova, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Forbidden City in Beijing among many others. He has performed in the presence of two former US Presidents, the Queen of Denmark and has recently shared the stage in collaborations with artists including Peter Dugan, CDZA, Steve Miller, Jesse Colin Young, Jake Shimabukuro, Ray Benson, Michael Gordon, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Marcelo Gomes, Twyla Tharp, Misty Copeland and Jon Batiste. His career has been followed by various news media including The New York Times, The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Playbill, The Boston Globe, Fortissimo, The Financial Times, The Austin-American Statesman, The Austin Chronicle, Shenzhen Daily, The Strad, Dallas Daily, Cincinnati Enquirer, and Juilliard Journal. Mr. Yang is featured in Nick Romeo’s book, Driven as well as Discovery Channel’s Curiosity.
Regarding Mr. Yang, The Texas Observer has noted, “Mr. Yang is a true crossover artist, a pioneer who can hop between classical and popular music and bring fresh ideas to fans of both genres. Rather than maintaining an insular focus and simply assuming that an audience for classical music will always exist, he wants to actively create that audience, to persuade and seduce others into enjoying a type of music as passionately as he does.”
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.
Ben Laude, piano
Originally from Austin, Texas, pianist Benjamin Laude holds both master’s and doctorate degrees from The Juilliard School, as well as a bachelor’s degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. He has appeared as a soloist in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York City, and has performed in both solo and ensemble settings across the country, including recent engagements in Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Grand Rapids, Washington, D.C., Austin, and Miami. A frequent collaborator with dancers, his performance with Ballet Next at the Joyce Theater in 2012 was hailed by Alastair Macaulay of the New York Times as “beautiful” and “superb in pace, tone and eloquence.” Laude is the recipient of numerous distinctions and awards, and in 2008 was named the national Yamaha Young Performing Artist competition award winner in piano. A distinguished writer, Laude received the 2010 Juilliard Journal award for his contributions to the school’s official newspaper, and in 2012 founded The Yard, the first independent, student-run publication of its kind at Juilliard. His concert reviews have been published in International Piano magazine and Jacobin magazine. An avid educator, Laude is an ear-training instructor at Bard College/Conservatory and holds a faculty position in music theory at School for Strings in New York City.
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.
Ariana Nelson, cello
Cellist Ariana Nelson recently completed her Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School, studying with Darrett Adkins. A proud member of the performing community in New York City, she is a recent member of the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra, performing at the Fort Washington Collegiate Church. Her eclectic tastes have led her to unexpected appearances at Jazz at Lincoln Center, featured performances for patients recovering in Mount Sinai Hospital’s transplant ward, to the recent Concert Across America to End Gun Violence in Danbury, Connecticut. In 2015 Ariana was invited to perform in a small chamber orchestra to accompany Yo-Yo Ma at the Kennedy Center as part of the Kennedy Center Honors event, attended by President Obama and the First Lady. Ariana has received many honors as a soloist, most recently winning third prize at the 2016 Eisemann Young Artists Competition in Dallas, Texas.
A native of Seattle, Washington, Ariana grew up with a musical family and was exposed to chamber music at a very young age. Forming her first string quartet at age eight, Ariana has been a member of numerous groups. During her undergraduate studies she co-founded the Azure Quartet, which over two years was cultivated into a prize winning chamber ensemble, winning second prize at the Music Teachers National Association 2014 chamber music competition. Her extensive chamber music experience has included coaching with renowned musicians such as Emanuel Ax, James Dunham, David Finckel, John Harbison, Desmond Hoebig, Jon Kimura-Parker, Joseph Lin, and Roger Tapping.
In recent years Ariana has attended the Aspen Music Festival and School, Le Domaine Forget Chamber Music Festival, the Olympic Music Festival and the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Italy. She spent the summers of 2015 and 2016 at the Tanglewood Music Center as the recipient of the James Taylor Fellowship. Her interest in improvisation and international music inspired her to take part in the the Silk Road Ensemble’s Global Musican Workshop at Tanglewood, which included performing in concert with the Silk Road Ensemble at the Koussevitsky Music Shed.
A fierce proponent of new music, Ariana has championed the works of many contemporary composers. She has played in a number of student composer concerts at the Juilliard School and the Shepherd School of Music. Her interest has led her to perform with the AXIOM contemporary ensemble, directed by Jeffrey Milarsky, in which she performed works by George Benjamin and Thomas Adès. During Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary Music she performed chamber music and orchestral music by composers including Dallapicolla, Druckman, and Messaien. Most recently she commissioned a cello and piano work entitled “Responses” by Juilliard DMA candidate Jonathan Cziner, which she premiered on her Master of Music degree recital.
Ariana received her Bachelor of Music degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where she graduated cum laude in May of 2015. There she had the privilege of studying cello with Norman Fischer of the Concord Quartet.
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.
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.
Caeli Smith, violin and viola
In 2015, Caeli was a top prizewinner in the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and Hugo Kauder Society Viola Competitions. She was the winner of the Juilliard concerto competition, and appeared as soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra.
Caeli has been featured multiple times on NPR’s From The Top, where she also served for three years as a cast member in the role of Roving Reporter. In 2004 she starred in Robert Downey Sr.’s feature documentary Rittenhouse Square. An avid writer, Caeli’s articles have appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Strings, Teen Strings, and Symphony magazines.
In the summer of 2015, Caeli served as a principal viola of the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland. She is also a member of Symphony in C, a professional training orchestra based in New Jersey.
In May 2016, Caeli received a Master of Music degree at Juilliard, where she was co-principal viola of the Juilliard Orchestra. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from Juilliard.
Chelsea 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.