Close Encounters With Music

Artist Bios 2017-2018 Season

ACRONYM, “an outstanding young early-music string ensemble” (The New Yorker), is dedicated to giving modern premieres of the wild instrumental music of the seventeenth century. The band formed in 2012 to create the first recording of Johann Pezel’s Alphabet Sonatas. ACRONYM’s following disc, sonatas by Antonio Bertali, was released in 2014 to critical acclaim; Alex Ross selected it as a CD Pick, and Early Music America Magazine wrote “the idiomatic performances and spacious recording by these young musicians are absolutely first rate. This is a disc … belonging in everyone’s collection.” In 2015, the band’s third album—the first recordings of Giovanni Valentini’s instrumental works—was praised in Gramophone for being “played with expertise, enthusiasm, and an almost tactile sense of timbre.” In 2016 ACRONYM released its fourth album: Wunderkammer, and then its fifth, a collaborative disc with vocal ensemble Les Canards Chantants. In 2017 came an album of “delightfully obscure” (Colorado Public Radio) Rosenmüller works featuring baritone Jesse Blumberg, and the first recording of Samuel Capricornus’s monumental Jubilus Bernhardi with the Bach Choir of Holy Trinity. Forthcoming projects include a recording of Schmelzer’s oratorio Le Memorie Dolorose alongside the early music vocal ensemble TENET, and a disc of the music of H.I.F. von Biber. ACRONYM’s live concerts have been praised for their “...consummate style, grace, and unity of spirit” (The New York Times), and 2017/2018 engagements include Music Before 1800 (NYC), Hamilton College Performing Arts Series (Clinton, NY), Academy of Early Music (Ann Arbor), Miami Bach Society’s Tropical Baroque Festival, Washington National Cathedral (Washington, DC), Chamber Music Wilmington (Wilmington, NC), Electric Earth Concerts (Peterborough, NH), Five Boroughs Music Festival (NYC), the American Music Festival of North Carolina, and Close Encounters With Music at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (Great Barrington, MA).

Praised for its “intelligence” and “immensely satisfying” playing by the New York Times, the AMERNET STRING QUARTET has garnered recognition as one of today’s exceptional string quartets and holds the position of Ensemble-in-Residence at Florida International University in Miami. Their concert schedule has taken them across the Americas and to Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, performing in the U.S. at the Kennedy Center, Tilles Center, Caramoor, the Great Lakes Festival, Newport, Friends of Chamber Music in Arizona and Friends of Chamber Music in Syracuse, Music on the Edge in Pittsburgh and the University of Maine-Collins Center and in orchestral appearances as quartet soloists with the Cincinnati Symphony under Alan Gilbert. The Amernet secured its position in the chamber music world when it won the gold medal at the Tokyo International Music Competition and was awarded first prize at the prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition. Prior to their current position at Florida International University, they held posts as Corbett String Quartet-in-Residence at Northern Kentucky University and at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Committed to the music of our time, they have commissioned works from many of today’s leading composers, working closely with John Corigliano, Orlando Garcia, John Harbison, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Bernard Rands, Gerhard Samuel and Chinary Ung. Recordings include the Concerto for Clarinet, Oboe, String Quartet and Bass by John Harbison with Sara Lambert Bloom and Charles Neidich as soloists; The Butterflies Began to Sing, a work for string quartet, bass, MIDI keyboard and computer by Morton Subotnick; an album of quartets by American composer Stephen Dankner; the string quartet and double bass quintet of Dmitri Tymoczko; and a pairing of the Debussy String Quartet and the Chausson Concert for Piano, Violin, and String Quartet, with James Tocco and Yehonatan Berick. In addition, the Amernet is keen on exploring collaborative projects and recently appeared with Cantor Netanel Hershtik, jazz pianist Steve Allee, Josée Garant Dance, and the Kruger Brothers. The Amernet actively advocates for neglected works of the past and aims to enliven the concert experience through its innovative programming. Members of the Amernet are: Misha Vitenson and Franz Felkl, violins; Michael Klotz, viola, Jason Calloway, cello.
Characterized by its youth, brilliant playing, and soulful interpretations, the ARIEL QUARTET has quickly earned a glowing international reputation. The Quartet was formed in Israel sixteen years ago when its members were students and they have been playing together ever since. Recently awarded the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award, the Quartet serves as the Faculty Quartetin-Residence at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where they direct the chamber music program and perform their own annual series of concerts. The Ariel recently made its debut at Carnegie Hall, presented music by three generations of Israeli composers at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and toured South America. They also collaborated with pianist Orion Weiss in a program commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War One. The Quartet appears widely in Israel, Europe, and North America, and continues to astonish with its performances of complete works by memory.  They toured with cellist Alisa Weilerstein during the 2013-14 season, and perform regularly with the legendary pianist Menahem Pressler. Additionally, they served as quartet-in-residence for the Steans Music Institute at the Ravinia Festival, the Yellow Barn Music Festival, and the Perlman Music Program, and were the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-In-Residence at the Caramoor Festival. Formerly the resident ensemble in the New England Conservatory’s Professional String Quartet Training Program, the Ariel has won a number of international prizes including the Grand Prize at the 2006 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and first prize at the international competition “Franz Schubert and The Music of Modernity” in Graz, Austria, in 2003. After they won the Székely Prize for their performance of Bartók, as well as the overall third prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2007, the American Record Guide described them as “a consummate ensemble gifted with utter musicality and remarkable interpretive power” and called their performance of Beethoven’s Op. 132 “the pinnacle of the competition.” They spent a formative year in Basel, Switzerland, studying with Walter Levin, the founding first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet. The Quartet has received substantial scholarship support for the members’ studies in the United States from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Dov and Rachel Gottesman, and the Legacy Heritage Fund. Members of the Quartet are Gershon Gerchikov and Alexandra Kazovsky, violin; Jan Grüning viola; Amit Even-Tov, cello.


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 the Cincinnati Symphony and he has won accolades with his solo performances in Great Britain, Germany, Japan and Korea. Mr. 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 Orchestra, he performed the world premiere of a work by Todd Machover, commissioned by the Boston Pops expressly for him. His 2003 performance on the Cincinnati Symphony’s recording of Petrouchka with Paavo Järvi turned in rave reviews in Gramophone and American Record Guide. In 1994, Chertock released his first CD on the Telarc label, a collection of his original arrangements of music from movies entitled Cinematic Piano. Since then, he has recorded three more discs with Telarc: Palace of the Winds, Christmas at the Movies and Love At the Movies, which have been praised for their lush, original arrangements and exquisite technical facility. He is a regular performer at the Ravinia Festival, Blossom Music Center, Grand Tetons Music Festival and Catskill High Peaks in Rensselaerville. Mr. Chertock serves as chair of the keyboard division at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, where he received his master’s degree as a student of Frank Weinstock.
MITCHELL COHEN is an author, political essayist, and since 1991, co-editor of  Dissent, one of America’s leading intellectual quarterlies. Born in New York in 1952, he received his doctorate from Columbia University. He is professor of political science at CUNY Graduate Center. He blogs at the Huffington Post. Cohen’s articles and books treat diverse themes ranging from social democratic theory and the idea of cosmopolitanism to the relation between political ideas and culture, especially opera. He defines himself as a “social democrat” or a “liberal socialist” and coined the term “rooted cosmopolitanism” to describe how a citizen can be linked to his or her own society while being a universalist at the same time. He has guest lectured at numerous European and American universities, was National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton and a visiting professor at Stanford. He is “American Correspondent” of Raisons politiques and a member of the editorial board of Jewish Social Studies. His articles and essays have appeared in numerous publications and languages including the Times Literary Supplement, Les Temps Modernes, Musik & Aesthetik, and the New York Times Book Review.


23-year-old American countertenor ARYEH NUSSBAUM COHEN has quickly been identified as one of opera’s most promising rising stars. In his breakout 2016-17 season, he was named a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, recipient of a Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, First Prize Winner in the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition, and winner of an award from the George London Foundation. Recent performances have included the world premiere of Kenneth Fuchs’ Poems of Life with the Virginia Symphony, which he records with the London Symphony Orchestra for release in 2018 (Naxos). In the summer of 2016, he participated in the Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, and in the summer of 2017, he joined Wolf Trap Opera as a Studio Artist. In 2017-18, he joins the Houston Grand Opera Studio as the first countertenor in the Studio’s history, where sings Nireno in Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Maid in Strauss’ Elektra. He also joins American Bach Soloists for their 20th annual performances of Handel’s Messiah in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, and Ars Lyrica Houston for two concert programs. On the recital stage, Nussbaum Cohen presents a recital in San Francisco, under the auspices of the Merola Opera Program, and he sings recitals in Houston, Great Barrington, MA and additional cities. In the summer of 2018, he makes his role debut as Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea with Cincinnati Opera. He made his European debut at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, singing the primo uomo role of Timante in Gluck’s Demofonte with baroque ensemble Il Complesso Barocco. His opera roles also include Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Raphael (The Angel) in Jonathan Dove’s Tobias and the Angel, and Cefalo in Cavalli’s Gli Amori di Apollo e Dafne. Further, Nussbaum Cohen has significant experience in the world of sacred music. Highlights include serving as the alto soloist in the Bach Magnificat with the Leipzig Barockorchester in the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany. During his senior year at Princeton University, he became the first singer in a decade to win the Princeton University Concerto Competition. Nussbaum Cohen received his BA in 2015 from Princeton, where he majored in History (with a concentration in Intellectual and Cultural History) and received certificates in Vocal Performance and Judaic Studies. Upon graduating, he was awarded Princeton’s Isidore and Helen Sacks Memorial Prize for extraordinary achievement in the arts, granted each year to the student of greatest promise in the performance of classical music. His teachers include Dr. Robert C. White, Jr. and Deborah Birnbaum in New York and Max van Egmond in Amsterdam.


Violinist SOOVIN KIM is an exciting player who has built on the early successes of his prize-winning years to emerge as a mature and communicative artist. Kim enjoys a broad musical career, performing repertoire such as Bach sonatas and Paganini caprices for solo violin and Mozart and Vivaldi concerti without conductor, as well as Romantic concerti, sonatas for violin and piano ranging from Beethoven to Ives, and world-premiere works almost every season. For two months each year, he performs as the first violinist of the Johannes String Quartet. Soovin Kim is the founder and artistic director of the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival (LCCMF) in Burlington, Vermont, and serves on the faculty of New England Conservatory. He has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in some of the world’s most prominent venues—Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, ARYEH NUSSBAUM Cohen SOOVIN KIM 37 Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royce Hall, Herbst Theatre, Ravinia, the Freer Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Lincoln Center and Strathmore Hall among them; at the Bard and Marlboro festivals, and in programs combining new music with standard repertoire at chamber music festivals in Bridgehampton and Charlottesville. He toured with the legendary Guarneri Quartet, as part of their last season before the public; with Musicians from Marlboro, and in numerous recital appearances and collaborations with such partners as Mitsuko Uchida, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Colin Carr, William Purvis, Gilbert Kalish, Martin Fröst, the Chiara Quartet and Jeremy Denk.  Mr. Kim has recorded for Azica Records the music of Fauré and Chausson, as well as Niccolò Paganini’s demanding 24 Caprices for solo violin, which zoomed to Billboard’s Classical Chart, and was named Classic FM magazine’s Instrumental Disc of the Month (“he emerges thrillingly triumphant...a thrilling debut disc.”).   He is a member of the violin faculty at New England Conservatory.
First prize winner of the 2010 Naumburg International Piano Competition and the 2004 Concert Artist Guild International Competition, Korean-American pianist SOYEON KATE LEE has been lauded by the New York Times as a pianist with “a huge, richly varied sound, a lively imagination and a firm sense of style,” and by the Washington Post for her “stunning command of the keyboard.” She has performed as soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional in the Dominican Republic, Orquesta de Valencia, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Juilliard Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and Naples Philharmonic. In recent seasons, she has given recitals at New York’s Zankel, Alice Tully, and Merkin halls; Kennedy Center, Ravinia Festival, Madrid’s National Auditorium, and San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre. A Naxos artist, she records a double CD of Scriabin piano works this season following the Scarlatti and Liszt albums released earlier. Second prize and Mozart Prize winner of the Cleveland International Piano Competition and a laureate of the Santander International Piano Competition in Spain, she has worked extensively with Richard Goode, Robert McDonald, Ursula Oppens, and Jerome Lowenthal. Ms. Lee is the co-founder and artistic director of Music by the Glass, a concert series dedicated to bringing together young professionals in New York City. She is assistant professor of piano at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music and lives in Cincinnati with her husband, pianist Ran Dank, and their son, Noah.

Audiences and critics have acclaimed MICHELE LEVIN, pianist and composer, as a multi-faceted musician of extraordinary sensitivity, virtuosity, and dedication to the art of making music. Ms. Levin is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music with a double major in piano and composition. She began her studies there at the age of eleven and is the first woman to receive a Curtis Master’s Degree in Composition. The Johann Sebastian Bach International Piano Competition in Washington, DC awarded her first prize in competition with pianists from fourteen countries. Ms. Levin has performed as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Pops, Florida Philharmonic, Miami Chamber Symphony, Sinfonia Virtuosi, New World Symphony, Albany Symphony, and Virginia Symphony. She has also given solo and chamber music recitals in SOYEON KATE LEE MICHELE LEVIN 38 IRINA MURESANU major cities throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Central and South America. In demand as a chamber musician, she has toured the world with violinists Peter Zazofsky, Joseph Silverstein, Ruggerio Ricci, Nina Beilina, Daniel Phillips, Donald Weilerstein, Sydney Harth, Ik-Hwan Bae, Maria Bachman, Arve Tellefson, Lin Chang, and Yehonaton Berick; with violists Rivka Golani, Paul Neubauer, Atar Arad, Rainer Moog, and Jessie Levine; and with cellists Yehuda Hanani, Ronald Thomas, and Wolfgang Boettcher. She has performed with clarinetists Mitchell Lurie, Alexander Fiterstein, Eli Eban, and Charles Neidich; with harpist Heidi Lehwalder; and with flutists Thomas Wolf and Carol Wincenc. Ms. Levin tours regularly with the Muir String Quartet and as a guest artist with the Miami String Quartet. In 2007, the Muir Quartet premiered her String Quartet No. 1, which she dedicated to the quartet. Her vast repertoire extends into the realm of vocal music, having given recitals with Metropolitan Opera vocalists Gwendolyn Bradley, Marvis Martin, Martina Arroyo, D’Anna Fortunato, Carol Farley, Lucy Shelton, and William Sharp. Ms. Levin records for Koch International, EcoClassics, Altarus, and the Canadian Broadcasting Companies. NPR regularly broadcasts her performances nationwide.


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.


Violinist RACHEL LEE PRIDAY, acclaimed for her beauty of tone, riveting stage presence, and “irresistible panache” (Chicago Tribune), has appeared as soloist with major international orchestras, including the Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, Seattle, and National Symphony Orchestras, the Boston Pops, and the Berlin Staatskapelle.” Recent and upcoming highlights include concerto engagements with the Pacific Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Stamford Symphony, Greenville Symphony, Grand Junction Symphony, Johannesburg Philharmonic, Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic, and Cape Town Philharmonic. Her recital appearances have brought her to such venues as the Mostly Mozart Festival at Avery Fisher Hall, the Kansas City Harriman-Jewell Series and Ravinia’s “Rising Stars” Series.   As a chamber musician, she has been a guest artist at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s “Chamber Music Marathon” and the Moritzburg Festival in Germany. In Europe and Asia, engagements have further included recitals at the Musée du Louvre and the Verbier Festival; concerto appearances in Graz, Austria, Hong Kong, and Singapore; and a three-city tour of China, combining outreach and performances at the Beijing Modern Music Festival, Tianjin May Festival, and Shenyang Conservatory.  She has performed numerous times in Korea, including repeat engagements with the Seoul Philharmonic, and on tour with the Russian State Symphony Orchestra.  She has participated in interdisciplinary collaborations with Ballet San Jose and Symphony Silicon Valley, and for a week-long run of the theatrical concert, Tchaikovsky: None But The Lonely Heart, with Ensemble for the Romantic Century at BAM. She has been profiled in The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, Family Circle Magazine, and Strad Magazine. Her television credits include appearances on the Disney Channel, “Fiddling for the Future” and “American Masters” on PBS, and the 2000 Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. A native of Chicago, Rachel Priday began her violin studies at the age of four. She holds a B.A. degree in English from Harvard University and an M.M. from the New England Conservatory, where she studied with Miriam Fried through the joint dual-degree program with Harvard College. She performs on a Nicolo Gagliano violin built in Naples in 1760.


Praised by the New York Times for his “uncommon sensitivity and feeling,” the eloquent young pianist ROMAN RABINOVICH  is the winner of the 2008 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, the same year he replaced the eminent pianist Murray Perahia in a recital at the Mann Auditorium in TelAviv.   He has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Israel in such prestigious venues as Wigmore Hall in London, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, as well as the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, Cité de la Musique in Paris and the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.   Recital engagements include Vancouver Recital Society, Cincinnati Matinee Musical Series, Chopin Society in St. Paul, MN, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully and Walter Reade Theatre, as well as the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff.  Last season Mr. Rabinovich presented his “Haydn Project,” comprising the complete Haydn Piano Sonatas, at the Lammermuir Festival in Scotland and at the Tel Aviv Conservatory in Israel and made debut appearances with the Toulouse Capitole Orchestra and Calgary Philharmonic. In 2015, distinguished pianist András Schiff chose him for the “Building Bridges” series created to highlight young pianists of unusual promise.  Under this aegis, Mr. Rabinovich was presented in a series of recitals in Zurich’s Tonhalle, Berlin, Ruhr Piano Festival, and New York’s SubCulture. Mr. Rabinovich, “whose mature, self-assured playing belies his chronological age” (San Francisco Classical Voice), made his Israel Philharmonic debut under the baton of Zubin Mehta at age 10 and has been heard as soloist with all the Israeli orchestras, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, KBS Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Prague Symphony, Dohnányi Orchestra and many others. To date, he has participated in such festivals as Marlboro, Lucerne, Davos, Menuhin Festival Gstaad, and Prague Spring, and was honored with the Classical Recording Foundation Artist of the Year award for his CD Ballets Russes.  Born in 1985 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, his early piano studies were with his mother, Mira. In 1994, he and his parents immigrated to Israel where he studied with Arie Vardi at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. He is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music as a student of Seymour Lipkin and obtained his master’s degree at the Juilliard School. Mr. Rabinovich also excels as a gifted artist. He often combines his concerts with exhibitions of his paintings. Besides traditional painting, Mr. Rabinovich draws on his iPad.


Known for his “rich tone and lyrical acumen” (Chicago Tribune), violist MICHAEL STRAUSS has performed around the world in chamber music and symphonic settings. Since his debut with the Minnesota Orchestra in 1990, he has appeared as soloist with orchestras across the United States. For 18 years, he served as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra principal violist where he was featured as a soloist or collaborator in duo roles nearly every season. As a member of the distinguished Fine Arts Quartet, he performed at the Schleswig-Holstein, Bayreuth and Montpellier festivals in Europe. Summer festivals include LaJolla, Caramoor, Banff, Sewanee, Crested Butte, Long Lake, Indiana University Summer Evenings of Music, Eastern Music Festival and the Beijing International Music Festival & Academy. His recordings can be found on the labels of I Virtuosi (debut of Jennifer Higdon’s Viola Sonata with pianist Hugh Sung), CRI (David Finko’s Viola Concerto and 20th century chamber music works with the Philadelphia-based Orchestra 2001), Lyrinx (Mozart’s complete viola quintets with the Fine Arts Quartet), and Centaur (Stamitz’s works for solo viola with orchestra). A sought-out teacher, Strauss has joined the faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He previously held faculty positions at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Swarthmore College, DePauw University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Butler University and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. A native of Iowa, Strauss studied with William Preucil, John Graham and Karen Tuttle, receiving additional training at Mannes College of Music and the Banff Centre for the Arts. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and performs on a viola made by Matteo Albani from Bolzano, Italy in 1704.


TIMOTHY D. SERGAY is a scholar and translator of Russian and the director of the Russian language minor at SUNY Albany. In young adulthood he acquired rather too many MA degrees in Russian language and literature—from the University of Michigan, Middlebury College Russian School, the Pushkin Institute of Russian Language in Moscow, and Yale University—and eventually completed a PhD 41 Danielle Talamantes from Yale (2008) with a dissertation on the Christian sensibility of the Russian poet and novelist Boris Pasternak. (Pasternak is known in the West mostly for his novel Doctor Zhivago and the Nobel Prize he was forced to decline in 1958.) At the University of Albany he teaches Russian and introductory survey courses on Russian literature, Russian and Soviet cinema, and contemporary Russian affairs. He has published articles in English and Russian on Russian poetry, translation theory and criticism, and the theory and practice of verse translation. His other research interests include Russian religious philosophy, Russian music and musicology, the Russian “guitar poets” of the 1960s to the present, and Russian and Soviet film. His literary translations include an annotated English edition of the “memoiristic novel” by Aleksandr Chudakov (1938–2005), A Gloom Is Cast Upon the Ancient Steps, as yet unpublished.

Soprano DANIELLE TALAMANTES made her Carnegie Hall debut in a soldout solo recital in 2007. She has since sung as soprano soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, Nashville Symphony, National Philharmonic Chorale & Orchestra, Oratorio Society of Virginia, Seoul Philharmonic, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Trujillo Symphony Orchestra of Peru, and The US Army Chorus. She has been Soprano in Residence and featured guest soloist at the Marlboro Music Festival. Ms. Talamantes made an exciting stage debut in the 2014-15 season as Frasquita in Carmen in a return to The Metropolitan Opera, as well as a return to the National Philharmonic for both Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Mozart’s Requiem and Exsultate Jubilate. Other engagements included Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at Cedar Rapids Opera and a début at Spoleto Festival USA. She returns to The Metropolitan Opera this season to reprise her role of Frasquita as well as debut as Anna in Verdi’s Nabucco. In 2015-16, Talamantes sang the soprano solo in Haydn’s Creation with Cathedral Choral Society, Händel’s Messiah with the Phoenix Symphony, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass at the National Philharmonic and Violetta in La Traviata at Cedar Rapids Opera. She was soloist in Carmina Burana at New Dominion Chorale and took on the role of Mimi in La Bohéme at St. Petersburg Opera. Her debut album, Canciones españolas, was recently released on the MSR Classics label and her album Heaven and Earth, A Duke Ellington Songbook has followed, to critical acclaim. Talamantes first earned a spot on the Metropolitan Opera roster in 2011, covering the role of Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos. She was subsequently reengaged to cover the role of the Flower Maiden in Wagner’s Parsifal, the soprano in the quartet of lovers in the Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island, and most recently to perform in Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten. Ms. Talamantes has been awarded first prize in several prestigious opera and vocal competitions, including the International Lotte Lehman Cybersing, Vocal Arts Society Discovery Series, the National Opera Association, Liederkranz Foundation, Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Gerda Lissner Foundation, Plácido Domingo’s Operalia and Thomas Quasthoff’s Das Lied.


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.
Bass-baritone KERRY WILKERSON received his vocal training at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and George Mason University, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in music in 1997.  He has performed with the Annapolis Chorale, Capitol Hill Chorale, Carnegie Hall Choral Workshop, City Choir of Washington, Handel Choir of Baltimore, Maryland Masterworks Chorus, the National Philharmonic, Oratorio Society of Virginia, the United States Air Force Singing Sergeants, the United States Air Force Symphony Orchestra, the United States Army Chorus, Sarasota Orchestra, and many other groups. He has sung under conductors including James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, Erich Kunzel, Sir Neville Mariner, John Oliver, Helmut Rilling, Robert Shaw, and Leonard Slatkin in repertoire ranging from Bach to Handel, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Rossini, Vaughan Williams and Walton.


Violinist PETER ZAZOFSKY enjoys a richly varied career that includes performances with many of the great orchestras in America and Europe, recitals in major music centers, and recordings and tours as first violinist of the Muir String Quartet. A native of Boston, he studied with Joseph Silverstein and Dorothy Delay before entering the Curtis Institute, where he studied with Ivan Galamian and Jaime Laredo. Graduating in 1976, Zazofsky went on to win top prizes in several international violin competitions, including the 1979 Montreal Competition and 1980 Queen Elisabeth in Brussels. Since then he has performed repeatedly with the Boston Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic among many others, as well as the San Francisco Symphony, which also featured him on tour in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Long committed to teaching, Zazofsky holds the position of Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Boston University.
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