Close Encounters With Music

Artist Bios 2019-2020 Season

Inspiring audiences for more than 25 years, The Borromeo String Quartet continues to be a pioneer in its use of technology, and has the distinction of being the first string quartet to utilize laptop computers on the concert stage. Reading music this way helps push artistic boundaries, allowing the artists to perform solely from 4-part scores and composers’ manuscripts, a revealing experience which they now teach to students around the world. The BSQ has been ensemble-in-residence at the New England Conservatory and Taos School of Music, as well as at the Heifetz International Music Institute, where first violinist Nicholas Kitchen is Artistic Director. The quartet was also in residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for more than two decades, where it continues to regularly appear, and has worked extensively as performers and educators with the Library of Congress (highlighting both its manuscripts and instrument collections) and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The ensemble joined the Emerson Quartet as the 2014-15 Hittman Ensembles in Residence at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, and recently was in residence at Colorado State University, Kansas University, and the San Francisco Conservatory. Their presentation of the cycle of Bartók String Quartets as well as its lecture “Bartok: Paths Not Taken,” both of which give audiences a once-ina-lifetime chance to hear a set of rediscovered alternate movements Béla Bartók drafted for his six Quartets, has received accolades. They have collaborated with some of this generation’s most important composers, including Gunther Schuller, John Cage, György Ligeti, Steve Reich, Aaron Jay Kernis, Osvaldo Golijov, Jennifer Higdon, Steve Mackey, John Harbison, Sebastian Currier, and Leon Kirchner, and has performed on major concert stages across the globe, including Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie, Wigmore Hall, Suntory Hall (Tokyo), the Concertgebouw, Seoul Arts Center, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, Prague Spring Festival, and the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt. “Nothing less than masterful” (, the Borromeo Quartet has received numerous awards, including Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Career Grant and Martin E. Segal Award, and Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award.


Kivie Cahn-Lipman holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, The Juilliard School, and the University of Cincinnati, where he received his DMA in the studio of Yehuda Hanani. He is the founding cellist of the International Contemporary Ensemble—with which he performs regularly to international critical acclaim—as well as founder, lironist, and director of the baroque string band ACRONYM and gambist with the viol consort LeStrange. Cahn-Lipman appears on more than forty recordings on labels including Nonesuch, Naxos, New Focus, New Amsterdam, New World, Tzadik, ArsPublica, Kairos, Mode, Tundra, Starkland, Olde Focus, Canteloupe, Stradivarius, and ECM; and his 33 recording of the complete Cello Suites of J.S. Bach was praised for its “eloquent performances,” “fresh thinking,” and “energy and zeal” (The Strad). As a chamber musician, he has performed frequently in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and other major venues on four continents, as well as live on WNYC 93.9 in New York and WFMT 98.7 in Chicago. He taught cello at Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges from 2005-2012 and at The College of New Jersey from 2015-2017, and he has been on the faculty of the Cortona Sessions for New Music each summer since 2012. He joined the faculty of the Dana School of Music in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2017.
In a feature article on James Cammack, Bass Player Magazine reviewer Richard Johnston nicknamed James, who was at the time a Chicago resident, “Chicago fire,” for his hard-driving, creative approach to playing both acoustic and electric bass. At rehearsals of even the most complicated jazz pieces, Cammack just puts a finger on his instrument to find the key, asks for the general feel, and takes off. As both sideman and solo player, Cammack demonstrates both virtuosity and musicality. Between 1984 and 2010, he performed continuously with legendary pianist Ahmad Jamal, visiting more than 30 countries. He also toured with singer Nancy Wilson, tubist Howard Johnson, and singer Vanessa Rubin. He has performed in some of the world’s most famous jazz clubs: the Village Vanguard in New York City and Yoshi’s in San Francisco; major jazz festivals, including the Montreal Jazz Festival, Italy’s Umbria Jazz Festival, and the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland. He has several recordings with Ahmad Jamal, including Rossiter Road (Atlantic), which reached the number-five position on the jazz chart billboard. A DVD called Ahmad Jamal Live in Baalbeck features the great drummer Idris Muhammad. He has also recorded with pianist Chris Neville, Russian actress Natalia Nazorova, tubist Howard Johnson, jazz pianist Joe Alterman and Senegal super star Youssou N’dour. Recently, he played Deon in the Off-Broadway hit, Lady Day with Dee Dee Bridgewater. A piano and trumpet student in his early years, Cammack is largely self-taught. He became interested in playing the bass through an uncle who was a professional musician and later was accepted into the West Point jazz band. A great mentor, pianist Frank Richmond, mentioned Cammack’s name to Ahmad Jamal, who snapped him up right after West Point.


Pianist, Michael Chertock has fashioned a successful career as an orchestral soloist, collaborating with conductors such as James Conlon, Jaime Laredo, Keith Lockhart, Erich Kunzel and Andrew Litton. His many orchestral appearances include solo performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Dallas Symphony, l’Orchestre Symphonique du Montreal, Toronto Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony and Cincinnati Symphony. He has won accolades abroad with his performances in Great Britain, Germany, Japan and Korea and toured Asia with the Boston and Cincinnati Pops Orchestras. Chertock made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1999 with the Cincinnati Pops, performing Duke Ellington’s New World A’Comin’. In 2005 with the Boston Pops, he performed the world premiere of a work by Todd Machover, commissioned by the Boston Pops expressly for Mr. Chertock. He reprised that performance with the Toronto Symphony in 2013. Chertock serves as chair of the piano department at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, where he received his Master’s Degree as a student of Frank Weinstock. He has garnered numerous awards at major competitions, among them the top prizes in the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition and St. Charles International Piano Competition. He shared the silver medal in the 1991 World Piano Competition of the American Music Scholarship Association. He received the Rildia B. O’Bryon Cliburn Scholarship in 1986.

Rhythm Vocalist Loire Cotler is a critically acclaimed Rhythm Vocalist whose life is defined by the healing power of music and a mission to show the world rhythmic power of the voice. Bridging Medieval to Be-bop; World Music to Avant-Pop, Loire is renowned for her blazing South Indian drum language solos called Konnakol, while echoing vocal traditions inspired from a distant past, such as Jewish niggun, Middle Eastern taksim and The Great American Songbook reimagined. Loire maintains an international touring schedule and has been a featured soloist with American Composers Orchestra, National Chinese Orchestra and Long Beach Opera performing and recording the music of composers Jacob TV, Edward Bilous, Robert Miller, Milica Paranosic, Glen Velez and Hans Zimmer. Loire regularly performs with Glen Velez Handance Ensemble and is getting ready to release her debut solo record 18 Wings with the multiple Grammy winning artists of TRIO GLOBO - Howard Levy, Eugene Friesen and Glen Velez. Loire’s vocals are featured on Hans Zimmer’s 2019 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) X-Men Dark Phoenix and a second soundtrack called Xperiments from Dark Phoenix by Hans Zimmer. Loire is a passionate educator and Certified Music Therapist presenting masterclasses at The Juilliard School and conservatories worldwide. For more info, please visit:
As a soloist, MIKAEL DARMANIE has performed throughout the Americas, Europe, Russia and the Caribbean. Recent festival appearances have included: The Weil Institute at Carnegie, Trinity Wall Street, Prototype, Bang on a Can Marathon, Close Encounters With Music, Berkshire High Peaks Festival, Cape Cod Symphony Nth Degree, Pianofest in the Hamptons, the Mozarteum, Mainly Mozart, and L’Acadèmie de Musique de Sion, to name a few. As a member of the Warp Trio, he performs throughout the world in genres ranging from jazz to hip-hop, rock, fusion and electronic music.and as a DJ. In his travels he regularly presents masterclasses and workshops in classical music and in various forms of improvisation. Since his debut as a conductor with the Carolina Chamber Symphony in 2008, he has performed throughout the U.S., conducting various piano concerti from the keyboard and symphonic works. Also a composer, his works have been performed in the U. S., Europe and Russia; and he has been a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow. He is currently pursuing a doctorate degree at SUNY Stony Brook under the guidance of Gilbert Kalish.

Percussionist Arti Dixson studied drum set concepts with the legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette. With folk-pop singer Janis Ian, he has performed in most major concert halls in the United States and toured Israel, Japan, Australia, Holland, Belgium, Spain and South Africa. He has also appeared with pianist Ahmad Jamal, throughout Europe as well as at Tanglewood, Saratoga, and Carnegie Hall and has worked at the the Foxwood Casino with Harry Connick and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. Born in Catskill, NY, he graduated from SUNY Albany where studied and performed with jazz and bepop pianist John Esposito. After graduation he played The Four Seasons Hotel circuit from Montreal to Vancouver, Canada and throughout the United States with the show band “Living Color” and toured with the British band “Sweet Box.” While in England he studied voice at the London School for Singing under the direction of Arnold Rose. Notable musicians with whom he has collaborated include Eartha Kitt, Bill Evans, pioneering fusion guitarist Larry Coryell, trumpeter Randy Brecker, composer/pianist Randy Klein, saxophonists Marion Meadows, Alex Foster and Sal Giorgiani, keyboardists Joey Melotti and Pete Levin, guitarist Kevin Jenkins, disco artist Vicki Sue Robinson, jazz flute pioneer Ali Ryerson, guitarist Ron Murray, jazz pianist and composer Rex Cadwallader, bassists Mike Asetta and Jim Cammack, “Cookie” Thomas, and many more. He has played for shows such as Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Ella off the Record, as well as an HBO Joe Louis sports special and The Pool Hall starring James Earl Jones. Mr. Dixson is the inventor of the Bass Drum Lift and The Spur Extender, both of which he has patented.


“Adventurous and passionate” (The New Yorker) Ukrainian-born American pianist Inna Faliks has established herself as one of the most exciting, communicative and poetic artists of her generation through her commanding performances of standard piano repertoire, as well as genre-bending, interdisciplinary projects. Following acclaimed teenage debuts at the Gilmore Festival and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, she has performed on many of the world’s great stages, with numerous orchestras, in solo appearances, and with conductors such as Leonard Slatkin and Keith Lockhart. Her 2014 all-Beethoven CD release on MSR Classics drew rave reviews: the disc’s pre-viewer on WTT W Chicago called her “High priestess of the piano…as dramatic and subtle as a great stage actor.” Her MSR Classics CD Sound of Verse featured largely unknown music of Boris Pasternak and works of Rachmaninoff and Ravel. Ms. Faliks’ distinguished career has taken her to thousands of recitals and concerti engagements throughout the U.S., Asia, and Europe, performing at Carnegie’s Weill Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paris’ Salle Cortot, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall and in the festivals of Verbier, Portland International, Music in the Mountains, Brevard, Taos and Chautauqua. Highlights of recent seasons include a 2016 tour of China, with appearances at the Beijing Center for Performing Arts, Shanghai Oriental Arts Theater and Tianjin Grand Theatre; in the Fazioli Series in Italy and Israel’s Tel Aviv Museum. Faliks is founder and curator of the of the Manhattan Arts Council award-winning poetry-music series “Music/Words,” creating performances in collaboration with distinguished poets. She recently co-starred with Downton Abbey star Lesley Nicol in Admission—One Shilling, a play for pianist and actor about the life of Dame Myra Hess, the great British pianist. She went on to create a one-woman show, performing at Baruch Performance Center’s “Solo in the City—Jewish Women, Jewish Stars” Festival in NYC, and at the Ebell of Los Angeles, where she gave the premiere of “Polonaise-Fantaisie, Story of a Pianist,” an autobiographical monologue for pianist and actress. A recent collaboration with WordTheatre features today’s leading screen actors in literary readings. Constantly in dialogue with today’s composers, she is the creator of the “Reimagine: Ravel and Beethoven” project, where composers such as Richard Danielpour, Timo Andres and Paola Prestini are writing works for her in response to Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit and Beethoven’s Bagatelles opus 126. Faliks is currently Professor of Piano and Head of Piano at UCLA.


Melinda Haas started her formal musical life at age three when she entered the Dalcroze School of Music in New York City. The approach to music education encouraged improvisation as well as classical training. Ms Haas took that experience into her first career, as Modern Dance accompanist, for the Martha Graham and José Limón companies, among others. She began a second career in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, becoming first a clinical social worker and then a Jungian analyst, maintaining a private practice in Manhattan, and more recently also in Vermont. In addition to her analytic practice she teaches and supervises in New York and Vermont. Music has been the through-line of her life. When she started her analytic practice, she began weaving this thread 36 into her analytic thinking exploring the connections between music and Jungian thought. Ms Haas has presented papers on music and Jung at the International Association of Analytical Psychology Congresses in Barcelona, Montreal, and most recently in Vienna. Her essays are published in Music and Psyche: Contemporary Psychoanalytic Explorations, (eds. Ashton and Bloch). She is past President, and still actively involved in the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism, ARAS.


Cellist DoYeon Kim is an award-winning soloist and collaborative artist, performing across North America and her native South Korea. Currently an assistant principal of the Washington Chamber Orchestra, she will be joining the faculty at the Ocean County College in Winter 2020. As a soloist, Ms. Kim made her New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie as the first prize winner of the 2016 American Protégé International Competition. She performed with the Bayview Music Festival Orchestra and the Acronym Baroque Ensemble among others, and has been a guest of Close Encounters With Music in past seasons. A passionate collaborative musician, she is principal cellist of the Atempo Chamber Ensemble, a founding member of The Solemn Ensemble (projectbased with living composers), and a member of Dante Deo Trio founded at the Eastman School of Music in 2012. Highlights of her chamber music experience include collaborations with members of ensembles such as Ying, American, Shanghai, Ariel, and Cavani quartets. Dr. Kim is the first prize winner of the Adrian Boyer Competition, The International Music Competition “2017 Rome Grand Prize Virtuoso,” the 34th Music Education Journal Competition, and the Grand Rapids Federation of Musicians Madura Scholarship Competition. She currently holds the position of Faculty and Music Coordinator at the Berkshire High Peaks Music Festival and serves as teaching artist at the Paterson Music Project, an El Sistema inspired program.. She received her Bachelor’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Cello Performance at the University of Cincinnati under Yehuda Hanani, and a Master’s degree at the Eastman School of Music in the studio of Alan Harris.
Pianist Max Levinson’s career was launched when he won first prize at the Guardian Dublin International Piano Competition, the first American to achieve this distinction. He was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and in 2005, the Andrew Wolf Award for his chamber music playing. The Boston Globe proclaimed: “The questioning, conviction, and feeling in his playing invariably remind us of the deep reasons why music is important to us, why we listen to it, why we care so much about it.” Levinson has performed as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, New World Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Oregon Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Boston Pops, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland among others. He has worked with such conductors as Robert Spano, Neemi Järvi, Uriel Segal, Joseph Swensen, Jeffrey Kahane and Alasdair Neale. Artistic Director of the San Juan Chamber Music Festival (Ouray, Colorado), he has appeared at major music festivals including Mostly Mozart, Santa Fe, Marlboro, Tanglewood, La Jolla, Bravo/Vail, Seattle, Killington, Vancouver, Cartagena, and Switzerland’s Davos Festival. Max Levinson garnered international accolades for his two recordings. Max Levinson, his debut recording, traces the musical lineage between Brahms, Schumann, Schönberg and Kirchner. American Record Guide declared Levinson’s second disc, Out of Doors: Piano Music of Béla Bartók “an important recording and a great one. The disc blew me out of my chair….Hearing performances as riveting as these produces a rare frisson; indeed, this is the most brilliant and exciting Bartók piano disc I have heard. On the basis of only two recordings, Mr. Levinson has created the myth of a pianist with everything.” He has experimented with internet broadcast, served as Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University’s Lowell House for four years, and has been featured on NPR’s “Performance Today” and “A Note to You.” He has also taught master classes at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Harvard, MIT, Brigham Young University, Rutgers, the University of Washington, UCLA, the Colburn School, and Boston University. Mr. Levinson is chair of the Piano department at the Boston Conservatory, and is also a faculty member at the New England Conservatory.


Praised by the Boston Globe as “not just a virtuoso, but an artist,” Romanian violinist Irina Muresanu has won the hearts of audiences and critics alike with her exciting, elegant and heartfelt performances of the classic, romantic and modern repertoire. She achieved early international acclaim as an outstanding young soloist, recitalist and chamber musician winning top prizes in several prestigious international violin competitions including the Montreal, Queen Elizabeth, Pro Musicis, Presser Music Award, and the Arthur Foote Award from the Harvard Musical Association. Recent solo engagements include appearances with the Boston Pops, Miami Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (Geneva), Syracuse Symphony, Metropolitan Orchestra (Montreal), the Transvaal Philharmonic (Pretoria, S. Africa), Romanian National Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Radio Flamande (Brussels), and the Boston Philharmonic. In 2013, Muresanu introduced her “Four Strings Around the World” project, a solo violin recital featuring works of composers inspired by various musical cultures around the world. In November 2015 she received a Creative and Performing Arts Award from the University of Maryland that will allow the commissioning of new works for this project. Her recent recording releases include the Thomas Oboe Lee’s Violin Concerto (dedicated to Ms. Muresanu) on the BMOP label and the complete William Bolcom Violin and Piano Sonatas on the Centaur label with pianist Michael Lewin. An active chamber musician and recitalist, Ms. Muresanu is a member of the Boston Trio. Festival appearances have included Bay Chambers and Bowdoin in Maine, Strings in the Mountains and San Juan Music Festival in Colorado, Maui Chamber Music Festival in Hawaii, Festival van de Leie in Belgium, and the Renncontres des Musiciennes Festival in France. Irina Muresanu currently serves on the faculty the University of Maryland and Boston Conservatory and has taught in the Harvard and MIT music departments. She received an Artist Diploma degree and a Doctor in Musical Arts degree from the New England Conservatory. She plays an 1849 Giuseppe Rocca violin and an Etienne Pajeot bow.

Educated both in Israel and the United States, Tamar Muskal’s music harmonizes the unique cultural aspects of both places, writing in carefully structured counterpoint style. Ms. Muskal studied viola, music theory and composition at the Rubin Academy for Music and Dance in Jerusalem and earned her BA in 1991, studying with Mark Kopytman. She subsequently earned her master’s degree from Yale University, where she studied with Jacob Druckman and Martin Bresnick. At the City University of New York, she studied with David Del Tredici and Tania Leon. Recent and future commissions include a double concerto for saxophone and viola for the Williamsport Symphony, an orchestral piece for the Idyllwild Arts Academy, music for a documentary film about finding the cure for blindness narrated by Robert Redford, a song cycle commissioned by ASCAP, a piece for percussionist Steve Schick and to accompany a visual work by Daniel Rozin. Also noteworthy are music for the historic film La Venganza de Pancho Villa for string quartet and a Mexican musicians band (a collaboration with the Library of Congress), a piano solo piece for Benjamin Hochman for the New York 92nd Street Y, and a piece for Lucy Shelton and the Colorado String Quartet on text by poet Hanoch Levin. Ms. Muskal served as the Westchester Philharmonic’s education composer-in-residence, and in that capacity composed three orchestral pieces based on students’ artwork and poetry. Ms. Muskal also focuses on music for theater. Recent works include Angels in America performed in Cincinnati, The Labor of Life and The Seven Beggars performed at La Mama Theater in New York, and Cristabel and Trojan Women performed in New Haven.


A “long-admired figure on the New York scene” (New Yorker), cellist Michael Nicolas enjoys a diverse career as chamber musician, soloist, recording artist, and improvisor. His eclectic tastes and adventurous spirit have led him to forge a musical path of uncommon breadth, where his activities range from performing the masterpieces of the past in the world’s most prestigious concert halls, to free improvisation in downtown New York experimental venues, to working with contemporary composers of all styles, pushing the boundaries of musical expression and meaning. He is the cellist of the intrepid and genredefying string quartet Brooklyn Rider, which has drawn praise from classical, world music, and rock critics alike. As a member of the acclaimed International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), he has worked with composers from around the world, premiering and recording dozens of new works. Another group, Third Sound, which he helped found, made its debut with an historic residency at the 2015 Havana Contemporary Music Festival, in Cuba. Earlier in his career, he played with the popular South Korean chamber group Ensemble Ditto, and also held a post as Associate Principal Cellist of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. As a soloist, he performs recitals and concertos across the globe. His album Transitions, available on the Sono Luminus label, was named Q2 Music Album of the Week at WQXR upon release, and has since garnered critical acclaim across North America. He has recorded chamber works on the Naxos, Tzadik, and Universal Korea labels. A native of Canada, he is a graduate of the Juilliard School and resides in New York.

Acclaimed by the New York Times as an “extraordinary violist” of “immense flair,” Dov Scheindlin is a member of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and an associate member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He has also been violist of the Arditti, Penderecki and Chester String Quartets. His chamber music career has brought him to 28 countries around the globe and won him the Siemens Prize in 1999. He has appeared as soloist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, the Paris Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic. Mr. Scheindlin has recorded extensively for EMI, Teldec, Auvidis, and Mode, and won the Gramophone Award in 2002 for the Arditti Quartet’s recording of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s Pulse Shadows. As a member of the Arditti Quartet, he gave nearly 100 world premières, among them new works by Benjamin Britten, Elliott Carter, György Kurtág, Thomas Adès and Wolfgang Rihm. He has also been broadcast on NPR, BBC, CBC, and on German, French, Swiss, Austrian, Dutch and Belgian national radio networks. Dov Scheindlin was raised in New York City, where he studied with Samuel Rhodes and William Lincer at the Juilliard School. He has taught viola and chamber music at Harvard, Wilfrid Laurier University and Tanglewood. He regularly participates in summer festivals such as Salzburg, Luzern, and Tanglewood, and has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Met Chamber Ensembles. His chamber music partners have included members of the Juilliard, Alban Berg, Tokyo, and Borodin String Quartets, as well as concertmasters of many major symphony orchestras. He plays a viola made by Francesco Bissolotti in 1975.


Avirodh Sharma is considered one of today’s leading exponents of the tabla, carrying on the tradition of percussion rhythm that originated on the Indian Subcontinent. Trinidadian born, Mr. Sharma was trained by his father, Dr. Ravideen Ramsamooj, managing director of the East Indian Music Academy who, together with his mother, Bharati Ramsamooj, have produced over 20,000 students in New York City. As a resident teacher at the Academy for over 24 years, Sharma has trained tabla players nationwide. A multifaceted artist, he is also a composer and producer, with work featured in films, documentaries, fashion shows, on radio and in television commercials. He has been featured in The New York Times, NY Daily News, TV Asia, STARZ NETWORK, Zee TV and NPR Radio. Sharma has worked with Grammy-winning artists including Shakti and Masters of Percussion, Vikku Vinayakram, Dhrubesh Regmi and Sukarma, Suresh Wadhkar, and many more. He has also collaborated with Asian Underground musician Karsh Kale, fiddler Patrick Mangan, and David Bowie drummer Sterling Campbell. In 2015, his debut recording as s a tabla soloist was nominated for the 14th Independent Music Awards “Best World Beat Album.” He was recently commissioned by Parsons Dance Company to compose and perform Microburst in NYC’s Joyce Theatre, receiving critical acclaim. In the realm of theater, he composed and performed for Dishwasher Dreams which was developed at the Joseph Papp Public Theater. His performances have captivated audiences in Italy, Switzerland, Nepal, India, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and the U. S. This past January, he performed at Kumbh Mela, in India, the biggest religious festival in the world, where millions were in attendance. He has appeared recently at the international festivals Artisti in Piazza (Italy), and Taj Mahotsav (Taj Mahal, India).

Violinist Rachel Lee Priday is a passionate and inquisitive explorer in all her musical ventures, in search of contemporary relevance when performing the standard violin repertoire, and in discovering and commissioning new works. Her wide-ranging repertoire and eclectic programming reflect a deep fascination with literary and cultural narratives. She has appeared as soloist with major international orchestras, including the Chicago, Saint Louis, Houston, Seattle, Buffalo and National Symphony Orchestras, the Boston Pops, and the Berlin Staatskapelle, and with orchestras in Graz, Austria, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Korea, where she performed with the KBS Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic and Russian State Symphony Orchestra on tour. Recital appearances have brought her to eminent venues including the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, Musée du Louvre, Verbier Festival, Ravinia Festival and Dame Myra Hess Memorial Series in Chicago, and tours of South Africa and the UK. Recent seasons have seen a new violin sonata commissioned from Pulitzer Prize Finalist Christopher Cerrone and the premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s “The Orphic Moment” in an innovative staging that mixed poetry, drama, visuals, and music. Rachel has collaborated with Ballet San Jose, and was lead performer in Tchaikovsky: None But The Lonely Heart during a week-long theatrical concert with Ensemble for the Romantic Century at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Her work as soloist with the Asia America New Music Institute promoted new music relationships and cultural exchange between Asia and the Americas, combining new music premieres and educational outreach in the US, China, Korea and Vietnam. Ms. Priday began her violin studies at the age of four in Chicago. Shortly thereafter, she moved to New York to study with Dorothy DeLay, and continued at the Juilliard School Pre-College Division with Itzhak Perlman. She holds a B.A. degree in English from Harvard University and an M.M. from New England Conservatory, where she studied with Miriam Fried. As of Fall 2019, she serves as Assistant Professor of Violin at the University of Washington School of Music. She has been profiled in The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle Magazine, and The Strad. Praised by the Chicago Tribune for her “irresistible panache,” Rachel Lee Priday enthralls audiences with her riveting stage presence and “rich, mellifluous sound.” She performs on a Nicolo Gagliano violin (Naples, 1760) double-purfled with fleurs-de-lis, named Alejandro.


Skylark, “the cream of the American crop” (BBC Radio 3), is a premier ensemble of leading American vocal soloists, chamber musicians, and music educators. Skylark’s dramatic performances have been described as “gripping” (The Times of London), “exquisite...thrilling” (Gramophone Magazine), and “aweinspiring” (Boston Music Intelligencer). With “some of Boston’s best singers” (Boston Globe), the voices of Skylark “can sway you softly into calm and then all but throw you across the room with sheer harmonic force” (Thought Catalog). Skylark strives to set the standard for innovative and engaging programs that re-define the choral experience for audiences and singers alike. Artistic Director Matthew Guard’s wellresearched and creative programs have been described as “engrossing” (WQXR New York) and “original, stimulating, and beautiful.” Their most recent three recordings all reached the top 10 of Billboard’s Traditional Classical Chart, earning praise for “imaginative” programming (Limelight Australia) and “singing of the highest standard for any area or any repertoire” (Classics Today). Since its founding in 2011 in Atlanta and Boston, Skylark has branched out to perform its dynamic programs in museums, concert halls, and churches across the U. S. Skylark made its international debut in 2018 at St. John’s Smith Square, London, as part of the UK choir Tenebrae’s Holy Week Festival. The Times of London declared that Skylark was “the highlight” of a festival that included some of the UK’s leading choirs, including The Tallis Scholars, Polyphony, Tenebrae, and the Gabrieli Consort. In 2017, Skylark embarked on a historic tour with “Clear Voices in the Dark,” a program featuring Francis Poulenc’s notoriously difficult Figure Humaine paired with songs of the American Civil War. A performance at the French Institute Alliance-Française in New York was described as “fascinating…singing in a shimmering pianissimo that rises to a triumphant crescendo, the Skylark ensemble practically opens the heavens with the beauty of their sound…” (Stage Buddy NYC). The previous year, Skylark made its debut at Atlanta’s celebrated Spivey Hall with a chamber performance of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil. In addition to numerous outreach workshops in public schools across the country, Skylark has conducted residencies at premier colleges and elite secondary schools including Harvard, MIT, Wellesley College, Endicott College, Milton Academy and Philips Exeter Academy.


Close collaborator of Dr. Oliver Sacks, author of the breakthrough book Awakenings (made into a movie starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams), Concetta Tomaino has done groundbreaking research on the uses of music in the neurological rehabilitation of patients living with the effects of autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as stroke and trauma. She is executive director of the Institute for Music and Neurological Function and a faculty member at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her work has been featured in A Matter of Dignity by Andrew Potok, The Mozart Effect by Don Campbell, Sounds of Healing by Mitchell Gaynor and Age Protectors (Rodale Press) and covered on the BBC and CBS News. She is the recipient of numerous awards, most notably the Award of Accomplishment from Music Therapists for Peace at the UN; the Touchstone Award from Women in Music, and the Zella Bronfman Butler Award for “outstanding work on behalf of individuals with physical, developmental or learning disabilities."

Xiao-Dong Wang has been called the most talented violinist to emerge from China. He began his studies at age 3 with his father, concertmaster of the Shanghai Symphony; he then studied with the renowned teacher Zhao Ji-Yang at the Shanghai Conservatory. As first prize winner in the Menuhin International Violin Competition and the Wieniawski-Lipinski International Violin Competition at the ages of 13 and 15, he was brought to the attention of violin pedagogue Dorothy DeLay who arranged a four-year scholarship at Juilliard. Mr. Wang has performed as soloist with orchestras around the world, including the London Royal Philharmonic, the London Mozart Players, Adelaide, Perth, Queensland symphony orchestras and Sydney Opera Orchestra. His recording credits include the Bartok Concerto No. 2 and Szymanowski Concerto No. 1 for Polygram. He has also appeared performing on both violin and viola in chamber music concerts at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Aspen, Ravinia and festivals and music series worldwide. Wang was the resident soloist of the Shanghai Symphony for the 2012-13 season, during which he also performed as a soloist with other major Chinese orchestras, including the China Philharmonic in Beijing. He is artistic director of the chamber music group Concertante, collaborating with world renowned musicians and producing a vast number of recordings.


Sam Waterston is an American actor, producer, and director. Among other roles, he is noted for his portrayal of Sydney Schanberg in The Killing Fields (1984), for which he received an Academy Award nomination, and his starring role as Jack McCoy on the NBC television series Law & Order (1994–2010), which brought him Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards. He has been nominated for multiple Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, and Emmy awards, having starred in over eighty film and television productions during his fifty-year career. He has also starred in numerous stage productions. AllMovie historian Hal Erickson characterized Waterston as having “cultivated a loyal following with his quietly charismatic, unfailingly solid performances.” Mr. Waterston received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010 and was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2012. He currently has a starring role in Netflix’s television series Grace and Frankie.
Violinist Peter Zazofsky has enjoyed a richly varied career as a soloist, chamber musician and educator that spans thirty years and thirty countries on five continents. He has performed with many of the great orchestras in the U.S. and Europe, including the Boston Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta, Minnsota, and Hong Kong, collaborating with maestros Tennstedt, Ozawa, Ormandy, Kurt Sanderling and Charles Dutoit. As a recitalist, Mr. Zazofsky has given innovative programs in Carnegie Hall, Sala Cecilia Meireles in Rio de Janeiro, Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aries. He also tours the world’s music centers as first violinist of the Muir String Quartet, for which he has performed many complete cycles of the Beethoven quartets. A native of Boston, he first studied with Joseph Silverstein before entering the Curtis Institute, where he continued with Ivan Galamian, Dorothy Delay and Jaime Laredo. Graduating in 1976, Zazofsky went on to win top prizes in several international violin contests, including the 1979 Montreal Competition and 1980 Queen Elisabeth in Brussels. He is a frequent visitor to Israel, where he has given over forty performances of concerti, from Beethoven and Sibelius to Bach, Berg and Brahms. In recent years Peter Zazofsky added several new facets to his career. He has given premieres of new works written for him by composers in Holland, Belgium, Denmark and Spain, and he recorded concerti by Robert Chumbley and Frederick van Rossum in Belgium and Poland. He has also encouraged creation of new works by American composers Joan Tower, Sheila Silver and Richard Danielpour. Long committed to teaching, Zazofsky holds the position of Associate Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Boston University and serves as a jury member for the violin competitions in Montreal, Brussels and Odense, Denmark.

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