Praised by the NY Times for an “impressive musicality, a crisp touch and expressive phrasing”, Japanese pianist Rieko Aizawa has performed throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, including New York City’s Lincoln Center, Boston's Symphony Hall, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, and Wigmore Hall in London.
At the age of thirteen, Ms. Aizawa was brought to the attention of conductor Alexander Schneider on the recommendation of the pianist Mitsuko Uchida. Schneider engaged Ms. Aizawa as soloist with his Brandenburg Ensemble at the opening concerts of Tokyo's Casals Hall. Later that year, Schneider presented her in her United States début concerts at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall with his New York String Orchestra. She has since established her own unique musical voice.
Ms. Aizawa is also an active chamber musician. The youngest-ever participant at the Marlboro Music Festival, she has performed as a guest with string quartets such as the Guarneri Quartet and the Orion Quartet. She is a founding member of the Horszowski Trio and of the prize-winning Duo Prism. Ms. Aizawa became artistic director of the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Colorado in 2010.
Recently, Ms. Aizawa’s solo debut recording of Scriabin’s and Shostakovich’s “24 Preludes” was released by Altus in Japan, and her second album of Messiaen's and Faure's preludes is coming out in the upcoming season. Ms. Aizawa also has a great interest in exploring unusual repertoire. - the St. Paul Pioneer Press said of her performance with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra conducted by Hans Graf: "the Salieri Piano Concerto in C was played so splendidly by Rieko Aizawa. Hers was a graceful reading. .... Aizawa's performance lent the work a respect it rarely receives." In the same year, she received the Washington Award.
Ms. Aizawa was the last pupil of Mieczyslaw Horszowski at the Curtis Institute and she also studied with Seymour Lipkin and Peter Serkin at the Juilliard School. Ms. Aizawa lives in New York City, and she is on the faculty at Longy School of Music of Bard and at Brooklyn College. Ms. Aizawa is a Steinway Artist.
Two-time Grammy nominated violinist Jesse Mills enjoys performing music of many genres, from classical to contemporary, as well as composed and improvised music of his own invention.
Since his concerto debut at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Mr. Mills has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has been a soloist with the Phoenix Symphony, the Colorado Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony, the Green Bay Symphony, Juilliard Chamber Orchestra, the Denver Philharmonic, the Teatro Argentino Orchestra (in Buenos Aires, Argentina), and the Aspen Music Festival's Sinfonia Orchestra.
As a chamber musician Jesse Mills has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada, including concerts at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, the Metropolitan Museum, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Boston's Gardener Museum, Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, and the Marlboro Music Festival. He has also appeared at prestigious venues in Europe, such as the Barbican Centre of London, La Cité de la Musique in Paris, Amsterdam’s Royal Carré Theatre, Teatro Arcimboldi in Milan, and the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels. Mills is co-founder of Horszowski Trio and Duo Prism, a violin-piano duo with Rieko Aizawa, which earned 1st Prize at the Zinetti International Competition in Italy in 2006. With Ms. Aizawa, Mills became co-artistic director of the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Colorado in 2010.
Mills is also known as a pioneer of contemporary works, a renowned improvisational artist, as well as a composer. He earned Grammy nominations for his performances of Arnold Schoenberg's music, released by NAXOS in 2005 and 2010. He can also be heard on the Koch, Centaur, Tzadik, Max Jazz and Verve labels for various compositions of Webern, Schoenberg, Zorn, Wuorinen, and others. As a member of the FLUX Quartet from 2001-2003, Mills performed music composed during the last 50 years, in addition to frequent world premieres. As a composer and arranger, Mills has been commissioned by venues including Columbia University’s Miller Theater, the Chamber Music Northwest festival in Portland, OR and the Bargemusic in NYC.
Jesse Mills began violin studies at the age of three. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School in 2001. He studied with Dorothy DeLay, Robert Mann and Itzhak Perlman. Mr. Mills lives in New York City, and he is on the faculty at Longy School of Music of Bard College and at Brooklyn College. In 2010 the Third Street Music School Settlement in NYC honored him with the ‘Rising Star Award’ for musical achievement.
Praised by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as "impossible to resist, captivating with lyricism, tonal warmth, and boundless enthusiasm," violinist Giora Schmidt has appeared as soloist with many prominent symphony orchestras around the globe including Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Canada’s National Arts Centre, Toronto, Vancouver and the Israel Philharmonic.
In recital and chamber music, Giora has performed at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, San Francisco Performances, the Louvre Museum in Paris, and Tokyo's Musashino Cultural Hall. Festival appearances include the Ravinia Festival, the Santa Fe and Montreal Chamber Music Festivals, Bard Music Festival, Scotia Festival of Music and Music Academy of the West. He has collaborated with eminent musicians including Yefim Bronfman, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Lynn Harrell, Ralph Kirshbaum and Michael Tree.
Born in Philadelphia to professional musicians from Israel, Giora began playing the violin at the age of four. A graduate of the Juilliard School, his teachers have included Geoffrey Michaels, Patinka Kopec, Dorothy DeLay and Itzhak Perlman; with additional guidance from Pinchas Zukerman. Committed to education and sharing his passion for music, Giora is currently Assistant Professor of Violin at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music (CCM) and on the artist faculty at New York University (NYU Steinhardt.) He was previously on the faculty of the Juilliard School and the Perlman Music Program. Through technology and social media, he continues to find new ways of reaching young violinists and music lovers around the world.
He is the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, The Classical Recording Foundation's Samuel Sanders award, and was a Starling Fellow at the Juilliard School.
Giora plays a c. 1830 violin by Giuseppe Rocca and strings kindly sponsored by Thomastik-Infeld, Vienna.
Oboist, Jacqueline Leclair, is Associate Professor of Oboe, Woodwind Area Chair, and Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs at the Schulich School of Music. She is a member of the ensembles Signal and Sequitur, and can frequently be heard performing solo and chamber music concerts internationally. Dr. Leclair was on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music (NYC) and was Assistant Professor of Oboe at Bowling Green State University (Ohio) 2007-2012. During her last two years at BGSU she also served as the Director of the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music.
Summer festivals for which Dr. Leclair has served as faculty and/or performer include the Lincoln Center Festival (NYC), Chamber Music Conference at Bennington College (VT), June In Buffalo (NY), Chamber Music Festival of Aguascalientes (Mexico), East/West Festival (Kazan, Tatarstan), and the Sebago Music Festival (ME) among others.
In addition to performing a variety of classical and other musics, Dr. Leclair specializes in the study and performance of new music. She has premiered many works, and regularly presents classes in contemporary music and its techniques at schools such as UCLA, the Eastman School of Music, Brigham Young University, The North Carolina School for the Arts, and the University of California in San Diego.
Dr. Leclair has recorded for Nonesuch, CRI, Koch, Neuma, Deutsche Grammophon and CBS Masterworks, receiving critical acclaim in particular for her premiere recording of Roger Reynolds’ Summer Island. She is the editor of Universal Edition’s Sequenza VIIa by Luciano Berio. And her recently published, and already acclaimed book about the oboe is: Oboe Secrets: 75 Performance Strategies for the Advanced Oboist and English Horn Player.
Originally from Syracuse NY, Dr. Leclair presently resides in Old Montreal, Quebec. Her musical studies were at the Eastman School of Music and SUNY Stony Brook where her oboe mentors were Richard Killmer and Ronald Roseman.
As an active recitalist, he has been featured on the Boston Celebrity Series, Mohawk Trail Concerts, Electric Earth Concerts, and Longy School of Music’s Modern American Music Concert Series’. As featured soloist with orchestra, Mr. Eng has performed with the Hart House Orchestra of Toronto, Cornell Symphony Orchestra, and the Lyrica Chamber Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Mr. Eng has collaborated with world-renowned artists including Elmar Oliveira, Eugene Drucker, Terry King, and Victor Rosenbaum. He has made festival appearances at Spoleto, Orford, Domaine Forget, Killington, the Scotia Festival, the Quartet Program at Bucknell University, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar at Stanford University. He has performed and taught in Bermuda, China, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, and all over North America.
In 1998, Andrew received his A.R.C.T. Performer’s diploma from the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, Canada, and then in 2003 and 2005 respectively received his Undergraduate Diploma in Performance and Master of Music in Modern American Music at the Longy School of Music as a student of Laura Bossert.
Israeli musician Michal Schmidt has been described as “ ...a splendid musician, inspired and inspiring.... she has a highly inquisitive and intellectual approach to music coupled with superb technique and magnificent sound”. Active as cellist and pianist Ms. Schmidt studied at the Academy of Music of Tel -Aviv University in Israel, (undergraduate), the Royal Academy of Music in London UK (Artist Diplomas in both cello and piano), the Curtis Institute of Music (Diploma), the University of the Arts (Masters of Music degree) and Temple University (DMA degree/ Doctorate in Cello Performance ). Her dissertation for the DMA “Two Sonatas, Two Instruments - One Performer” is accompanied by a recording of two of the cello sonata by Beethoven with Ms. Schmidt playing both the cello and the piano parts.
Michal has been active in numerous performing groups including the orchestra of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Trio Camille, FourHorizons, Tiadam Trio ( Israel), Network for New Music, Trio MiReSol, Piano4. In 2014 she was the acting principal cellist for the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra for a U.S tour in twenty cities with soloist Branford Marsalis. In addition she is a recitalist, accompanist, teacher and chamber music coach.
Ms. Schmidt has taught at Dickinson College (2000-2008), Haverford College (2005-to date), University of Pennsylvania ( 2009-to date). She was the Brandywine Visiting Artist at West Chester University in 2013-14 and professor at Rowan University 2017-18. She is a member of the faculty at the Maine Chamber Music Seminar, a summer program for college and graduate level students, focusing on chamber music.
In 2007 Ms. Schmidt established a series of annual concerts “ TRIBUTE”, which is dedicated for the most part to presenting contemporary works of composers she has worked with personally. Among the composers whose works she has performed are Richard Wernick, Osvaldo Golijov, Margaret Garwood, Laurie Laitman, Sylvia Glickman, Robert Maggio, Andrea Clearfield, Noam Sivan, Luke Calrson, Ofer Ben Amots, Philip Maneval and many more.
A few special Tribute concerts celebrating various anniversaries included a marathon of Brahms Sonatas (2007), a Schumann Tribute (2010), a marathon of the Cello Sonatas of Beethoven (2015), The Grand Violin Sonatas of Beethoven ( 2016), A Schubert Tribute (2018), a Tribute to composer Andrea Clearfield ( 2019), the full Beethoven Violin Sonatas Cycle - in progress (2019-2020).
Michal’s newly released recording “SOLA,” includes a number of the works performed in the Tribute concerts to date.
Pianist Sara Laimon is an active performer in both solo and chamber music. She has performed in Canada, the United States, England, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Poland, and has represented the U.S. Information Agency as an Artistic Ambassador in India and Nepal.
Sara is founding member and co-artistic director of the acclaimed New York based group Sequitur, former pianist for Ensemble Contemporain de Montreal, and has been guest artist with numerous other ensembles and festivals. As a sought after performer of new music, she has worked with such composers as Ligeti, Berio, Bresnick, Kirchner, and Matalon as well as performing and recording music of many younger composers. The NY Times has hailed her “a commanding and confident player with a strong technique and an ability to find the drama and wit in works that often had daunting surfaces”, and a performer with “a sense of knowing exactly where she wanted to go: music-making as intelligent as it was technically proficient.” Ms. Laimon has recorded for CRI, Capstone Records, North/South Recordings, MODE records and Albany Records. Her most recent recording on Disques XXI/21 features the Horn trios of Brahms and Ligeti with colleagues Jonathan Crow and John Zirbel. Her repertoire ranges from the Baroque through to the 21st century. Recent projects have included Ives’ Concord Sonata, Rzewski’s De Profundis, Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire (in a staged version) and Brahms Piano Concerto #2. She is a frequent performer on CBC and has also been heard on radio broadcasts from summer performances at Marlboro, Tanglewood and Banff. Born in Vancouver, Sara is a graduate of the Vancouver Academy of Music, the University of British Columbia, Yale School of Music and SUNY Stony Brook where she received a DMA under Gilbert Kalish. Ms. Laimon was a member of the piano faculty at the Yale School of Music (1990-2000) and the University of Manitoba (2000-2001) before joining the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in 2001 where she is currently Associate Dean, Professor of Piano, and a Resident Faculty Fellow with IPLAI (the Institute for Public Life of Arts and Ideas). She lives in Montreal, Quebec with her husband and two daughters.
Sunghae Anna Lim has performed extensively throughout the United States, Central America, Europe and Japan. She is a founding member of the Laurel Trio and, as violinist of the New Millennium Ensemble, Ms. Lim won the Naumburg Chamber Music Award and gave a debut recital at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. She is actively involved in contemporary music, premiering and recording numerous works by living composers. Recent highlights include the premier performance of the Second Violin sonata by the late Donald Martino and a recording of Alexander Steinert’s violin sonata of 1921. She has worked with conductor Robert Craft to record chamber works of Webern for the Naxos label.
Clarinetist Jo-Ann Sternberg leads a diverse musical life in the New York area as a chamber musician, orchestral player, music educator, and interpreter of new music. A member of Borealis Wind Quintet, Sequitur, the Saratoga Chamber Players, Wind Soloists of New York, the Richardson Chamber Players and the Riverside Symphony, she also regularly performs and tours with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the American Symphony, Mark Morris Dance, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Musicians from Marlboro, and can often be heard playing in a number of different Broadway musicals.
Following her undergraduate years in the combined Tufts University/New England Conservatory dual degree program where she was mentored by Peter Hadcock, Ms. Sternberg continued her studies at Yale University with David Shifrin and at The Juilliard School with Charles Neidich.
Currently, Ms. Sternberg serves on the faculty of the Music Performance Program of Princeton University, the Music Advancement Program at the Juilliard School, and maintains an active teaching studio from her New York home. Additionally, she serves as an advisor for New England Conservatory’s Entrepreneurial Musicianship Program and coaches chamber ensembles for the New York Youth Symphony. In the summer months, Ms. Sternberg lives in Maine where she is the founder and artistic director of The Maine Chamber Music Seminar, teaches and performs at the Chamber Music Conference & Composers’ Forum of the East at Bennington College, and participates in numerous performance residences throughout greater New England. Ms. Sternberg resides in Manhattan with her husband and two children.
Colin Carr appears throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and teacher. He has played with major orchestras worldwide, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, the orchestras of Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, Philadelphia, Montréal and all the major orchestras of Australia and New Zealand.
Michael Lowenstern, widely considered one of the finest bass clarinetists in the world, has performed, recorded and toured as a soloist and with ensembles of every variety.
Lowenstern has written music for concert, film, dance and various other new media over the span of his 25-year career. His performing credits include tenures with groups as diverse as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Steve Reich Ensemble and The Klezmatics. To date he can be heard on over fifty CDs, including six solo recordings of his own.
Not satisfied with the status-quo in music education, Michael’s irreverent and somewhat controversial YouTube series has become a source of information and edutainment for millions of viewers across the globe. And when he’s not teaching via the internet, he’s traveling regularly as a guest lecturer at universities across the world. When he’s stuck in New York, Michael serves on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School.
He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Katherine. His kid is somewhere in Michigan attending some state school with a big blue football team.