Danbury Chamber Music Intensive (CMI)

August 5-11

Paul Frucht, Artistic Director

Featuring graduates of the Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, Eastman School of Music, Peabody Conservatory, Rice University, and other major conservatories as Artists-Faculty

Welcome to CMI 2019!

Early Application Deadline: Friday, March 22nd

Final Application Deadline: Friday, April 26th

The Danbury Chamber Music Intensive is a week-long performance program open to those who have a driven passion for music and are committed to the pursuit of a high level of music performance. Throughout the week, participants will work extensively with Artist-faculty in a unique and inspiring artistic environment to develop their artistry and musicianship culminating in a performances on the Charles Ives Concert Series and on the CMI Participant Concert.

Click here to apply online now!

Pay Tuition online:


019 Updates:

  • CMI is now open to all instruments: winds, brass, percussion, harp, piano, strings.
  • CMI Recitals: CMI participants may request to play a recital at the Marian Anderson Recital Hall at no cost. The DMC will present the recital through CMI. Participants will have the opportunity to request recitals upon acceptance to CMI this spring.
  • CMI 2019 will take place August 5-11, 2019. Auditions will be held at the DMC 4/27, 5/3 and 5/4.


Continuing in 2019, three performance opportunities for accepted participants:

Danbury Music Centre’s Summer String Fellowship: This summer, the Danbury Music Centre will again offer a summer fellowship for string players high-schooled aged or younger.  The program involves several performance opportunities as part of a prestigious performing ensemble.

CMI Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition: All string players, wind players, brass players, harpists and percussionists accepted into CMI as participants are eligible to audition for the competition.

CMI Piano Competition: All pianists accepted to CMI as participants are eligible to audition for the competition.

We are grateful to Hotel Zero Degrees Danbury and Maron Hotel and Suites for their generous sponsorships and to Associated Chamber Music Players Foundation and the Juilliard School for supporting CMI through a Community Music Grant and Project Grant, respectively.

General CMI Information:

-The Intensive begins Monday, August 5th and ends Sunday, August 11th. Daily activities take place at WCSU Visual Performing Arts Center and run from approximately 9 AM to 3:30 PM Monday through Saturday with performances on 8/7 in the evening and 8/11 in the afternoon at location to be determined.

-Each instrumental participant will perform in two different primary chamber music groups (i.e. one piano trio and one string quartet). Each group will rehearse every day and perform its work on the final participant concert. Additionally, each group will include at least one Artist-Faculty member who will lead all rehearsals throughout the week.

-CMI is divided into a youth division for participants 21 and under and an adult division for participants 18 and over. Upon admission, participants aged 18-21 can choose, in consultation with CMI Artist-Faculty, which division they will participate it in. Participants will only perform in their primary chamber groups with other participants in their division.

-Instrumental Participants will be invited to perform on the concurrent Charles Ives Concert Series alongside the Artist-Faculty in large chamber ensembles.

-Participants will attend daily master classes led by the Artist-Faculty. Participants will have the opportunity to perform solo or assigned group works and receive feedback and instruction.

-Each participant can expect to receive at least one private lesson from an Artist-Faculty member.

-Participants will have the option of forming a third “reading group,” which will involve reading repertoire with other participants. Participants may form their own groups and select their own repertoire. The goal of this portion of the program is to facilitate the formation of chamber music groups to continue performing after CMI.

-Participants are strongly encouraged to attend the concurrent Charles Ives Concert Series, performed by the CMI Artist-Faculty and Guest Artists, at Danbury community venues on specific nights concentrated during the week of CMI.

-Auditors are welcome (see below).

-Tuition for the participation in the Intensive is $535.00. Both need-based financial aid and merit-based full and partial scholarships are available.

Additional Information:

-Youth Division participants may opt to attend CMI as composers as their primary focus, but are also required to attend as an instrumentalist as their secondary focus.

-Youth Division participants will attend various interactive elective sessions, which will include subjects such as fiddling, improvisation, choir and a seminar discussing how to prepare for college and conservatory auditions.

-Adult Division participants will receive specialized master classes and elective sessions geared specifically toward their interests.

Composition Program Information:

-Participant composers collaborate throughout the week as instrumental participants prepare a work. The group, led by an Artist-Faculty member, performs the work on the participant concert at the end of the week.

-Participant composers also receive a reading of a second work by the CMI Artist-Faculty. The readings, led by 2019 Composer-in-Residence, Robert Paterson, Ives Series associate director, Jon Cziner, and CMI Artistic Director, Paul Frucht, are professionally recorded and distributed to participants shortly after CMI.

-Participant composers receive private lessons from Paterson, Cziner, and Frucht.

-Participants composers participate in daily seminars.

-Participant composers must also attend CMI as instrumental participants. Their second group will involve performing on their primary instrument.

Application Information, Dates & Deadlines

All applications must be received by Friday, April 26th

New CMI applicants -$20 for application fee if received by March 22, 2019, $30 application fee if after.

Returning 2018 CMI participants – $15 if received by March 22, 2019, $30 application fee if after.

2019 auditions will take place April 27th, May 3rd, and May 4th.

2019 CMI Weekend Workshop participants – no separate application fee or audition is necessary, but we do ask that you submit a separate application.

Tuition – $535 (need-based and merit-based full/partial scholarship opportunities are available)

Auditing Fee: $275; e-mail CMI@danburymusiccentre.org with your request to audit.

Optional: Applicants may submit a recommendation letter from a private teacher, band director, orchestra director, or other music professional. This may arrive under separate cover directly from the recommender. If by e-mail, recommendations should be sent to CMI@danburymusiccentre.org

Apply online here!

*Upon receipt of your application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with your audition date and time*

*All applicants will be notified of their admissions decision on or before Tuesday, May 7th*

Instrumental Audition Requirements:

  • Any two contrasting solo works. Please keep in mind we cannot provide a piano accompanist. If you wish to perform a piece that requires piano accompaniment, you must provide your own accompanist. A piano will be available.
  • All Major scales and arpeggios.
  • Sight-reading, please note: Percussionists should prepare only works written for marimba. It is encouraged that one of these works demonstrate four mallet marimba technique. We will provide a five-octave Yamaha marimba at the audition. Please do NOT prepare solo snare drum or other non-mallet percussion.

Composition Audition Requirements:

Scores and recordings (MIDI is acceptable) of 1-3 works composed since January 1st, 2015. It is strongly recommended at least one of these be a chamber work that could be performed at CMI.

  • Complete works list of all compositions including names of pieces, instrumentation, dates of completion, and any details of performances.
  • Live instrumental audition if opting to apply as an instrumentalist as well

***Scores and recordings should be sent to CMI@danburymusiccentre.org with all scores in PDF format and recordings in MP3 format.

For Auditors:

  • Auditors will be admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Simply e-mail the DMC at CMI@danburymusiccentre.org with your request. No application or audition is necessary.
  • Auditors will be permitted to attend any four chamber music rehearsals throughout the week, all master classes, studio classes, and elective sessions.
  • Auditors will potentially be invited to participate in large group performances.
  • The fee for auditing the Intensive is $275.00
  • Private lessons with CMI Artist-faculty are available at an additional fee.

Accepted Applicants may pay tuition online below:


 CMI 2019 Artist Roster

Paul Frucht CMI headshot (2)Paul Frucht CMI headshot (2)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 San Diego Symphony, the Juilliard Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Weill-Cornell Music and Medicine Orchestra, American Modern Ensemble, Ensemble dal Niente, the Les Deux Violin Duo, the LONGLEASH Trio, at the New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute, at the Utah Arts Festival, and at the pianoSonoma Music Festival, where he was composer-in-residence from 2014-2015. Highlights of 2016 include a world premiere of a new work for cellist Julian Schwarz and pianist Marika Bournaki, commissions from the Resonant Grounds Initiative and the Kyoto International Music Festival in Japan, and the premiere of his orchestral work, Dawn, by the Chelsea Symphony in New York. Paul is the recipient of numerous honors and awards in composition. In the spring of 2015, Paul was awarded a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is also the recipient of three of the most prestigious prizes awarded to composition students by the Juilliard School: the 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, and the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, and the American Composers Orchestra. He is 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. In 2013, Paul graduated with Master of Music Degree in Composition from the Juilliard School, where he is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate. In 2011, he graduated Magna Cum Laude earning a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Theory and Composition from New York University’s Steinhardt School. His principal teachers have been Robert Beaser and Justin Dello Joio. An enthusiastic educator himself, Paul is an adjunct faculty member at New York University’s Steinhardt School. He has also been a music theory teaching fellow at Juilliard since 2012, and was a music theory instructor at the Juilliard Pre-College Division from 2013-2015. Paul is passionate about writing music that reflects the world and contemporary American culture. In response to the Sandy Hook tragedy, Paul composed a piece for a small chamber ensemble entitled Dawn, which is dedicated to Dawn Hochsprung, the other 25 victims of the shooting, and their families. Paul attended Rogers Park Middle School from 2000 to 2003, where Dawn was an assistant principal. Dawn was premiered at Juilliard in April 2013 and has since received numerous performances in and around Connecticut since, most notably at a tribute ceremony to Dawn at Rogers Park in June 2013.

Summer 2019 Artist-Faculty 

Katie Althen, flute

A provider of “great sinuous magic” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), flutist Katherine (Katie) Lee Althen is an active freelance musician in the NYC area. Recent performance highlights include sharing the stage with Renée Fleming while performing in the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and concerts in Bermuda with the NYC based Frisson Ensemble.

As an orchestral and chamber musician, Katie has been heard in venues such as Alice Tully Hall, the Boston Opera House, Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Broadway Theatre. She serves as principal flute of the Reading, Pennsylvania based Berks Sinfonietta, and has also performed as a frequent substitute musician in the Reading Symphony Orchestra, The Orchestra Now, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra, and the Artosphere Festival Orchestra.

Her passion for community outreach was sparked during her teenage years at the Immanuel United Church of Christ in Shillington, Pennsylvania, where she regularly donated her time and musical talent during Sunday services. This drive to serve her community would later bring Katie and Argentine violinist Jeremías Sergiani-Velázquez to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital where the two reached out to the injured runners and bystanders of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. The following year she and her chamber group, Dulce de Trio, presented a series of free concerts and masterclasses at assisted-living facilities and schools throughout Boston as recipients of the prestigious community outreach fellowship at the New England Conservatory. Katie was awarded a Juilliard Community Engagement Grant which enabled her to present a weeklong series of concerts in her hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania during May of 2016; “Duo Pagoda and Friends Concert Series.” Katie, along with fellow Juilliard student and Reading native, violist Linda Numagami, brought their music to several assisted-living facilities without ample or any activity budgets.

A firm believer in sharing her talent and love of music, Katie maintains a private flute studio in NYC where she teaches students of all ages. She has also taught as a substitute teacher at the New York Music School and at the JCC Thurnauer of School of Music, both in Tenafly, NJ.

Apart from sharing her music with her students and concert-goers, Katie also shares her passion for the flute with her 30,000+ followers on her popular Instagram account, @katieflute where she strives to make classical music readily accessible to all. This platform has allowed her to reach audiences around the world as well as act as a mentor to younger musicians.

Katie earned her Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School where she studied with the New York Philharmonic’s Robert Langevin. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory, where she studied under international flute soloist, Paula Robison, who describes Katie as a “true, intelligent artist” with “a wonderful sense of humor and awareness of life’s surprises.” Most recently, she spent a year studying with Marina Piccinini at the Peabody Institute in the Graduate Performance Diploma program.

George Fu, piano

Hailed by the Boston Music Intelligencer as a “heroic piano soloist” with “stunning virtuosity”, Chinese-American pianist George Xiaoyuan Fu has performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the National Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, and Bach Society Orchestra of Harvard University. He has performed at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, and the National Auditorium of Mexico City. His live performances and interviews have been featured on several public television and radio broadcasts throughout the United States, such as On Stage At Curtis, Articulate with Jim Cotter, Performance Today, and Philadelphia’s Music Makers on WRTI Radio in Philadelphia. He has
won top prizes in the Oberlin (now Cooper), Lennox, Blount-Slawson, Lee University, and National Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competitions.
After a successful repeat performance as soloist with the North Carolina Symphony in the summer of 2018, this season sees George continue to make solo and chamber appearances throughout the UK, including a solo recital of all-contemporary music with Borough New Music in London; as well as spearheading a new spring chamber music festival in the US. He also embarks on a monthlong summer tour of Latin America with clarinetist Tania Villasuso and violist Roberto Diaz as part of Curtis on Tour.
Interested in interdisciplinary work, George has performed in various capacities: from frequently being an active chamber musician with duo partners and ensembles around the world; to collaborating in a ballet production with dancers Isaac and Esteban Hernandez to a capacity
crowd in Mexico City; to composing and recording original compositions to be featured with the artwork of Zilia Sanchez at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. An avid performer of contemporary music, George has collaborated with Krzysztof Penderecki, Harrison Birtwistle, Unsuk Chin, Matthew Aucoin, and Freya Waley-Cohen, in addition to being an active composer himself.

After a widely acclaimed performance as piano soloist in Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie alongside Stefan Asbury at the Tanglewood Music Festival in 2016, George was then selected as a New Fromm Player for Tanglewood’s 2017 summer season, being featured as a piano soloist in Messiaen’s Oiseaux Exotiques with Vinay Parameswaran, studying the solo piano works of Messiaen with Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and focusing intensely on the work of living composers alongside the quartet in residence.

A native of Frederick, Maryland, George earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in economics. He then studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, studying with Jonathan Biss and Meng-Chieh Liu, and then at the Royal Academy of Music in London under with Christopher Elton and Joanna MacGregor.

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.

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.

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.

Caeli Smith, violin and viola

Caeli Smith made her concerto debut at age ten with the Philadelphia Classical Symphony and has since appeared as a soloist with the Bach Festival Orchestra, Ocean City Pops, Ambler Symphony, and others.

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.

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.