Trumpet MATTHEW ONSTAD A Wisconsin native, Dr. Onstad serves as assistant professor of trumpet at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he teaches applied trumpet, coaches chamber music, and performs with the Whitewater Brass Quintet. While earning his Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from UW-Madison, Dr. Onstad performed with the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, a faculty ensemble-in-residence. He holds the rank of staff sergeant in the 132nd Wisconsin Army National Guard Band and has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Madison Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Iowa, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, and the Isthmus Brass. He held the position of principal trumpet with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra from 2016-2021. Dr. Onstad has previously taught trumpet at St. Ambrose University, UW-La Crosse, and UW-Oshkosh. He has served as a master clinician with the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, the 132nd Army Band, and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Onstad received his Bachelor of Music degree from UW-Oshkosh. matthewonstad.com
Bassoonist ADRIAN MOREJON is a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician based in New York City. As a soloist, Mr. Morejon has appeared with the Talea Ensemble (New York City), the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and the Miami Symphony, and has also performed in Vienna, Prague, and Memphis. He is co-principal of IRIS Orchestra and a member of the Dorian Wind Quintet, Talea Ensemble, and Radius Ensemble, and he has appeared with many other ensembles and festivals. Mr. Morejon is a prize-winner of the IDRS Gillet-Fox and Moscow Conservatory international competitions and a recipient of a Theodore Presser Foundation grant. He holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and Yale School of Music and currently teaches at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Longy School of Music of Bard College, Purchase College Conservatory of Music, and Brooklyn College. (Website)
Teri Venker has led arts marketing as the director of marketing for the Madison Symphony Orchestra, from which she recently retired, and for the Wisconsin Union Theater. Teri enjoys bicycling and international travel. She also volunteers at Lakeview Elementary School and with the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation.
Larry Bechler grew up playing music: first piano, then trumpet all the way through college marching band and into post-college bands. He has a love of live chamber music, spawned by BDDS and the Spoleto Festival in Charleston. He practices law at Murphy Desmond S.C and has served on various committees and commissions throughout his life.
Miriam Simmons served as the Assistant Dean for Professional Development in the Graduate School at UW-Madison. A major responsibility was directing the Wisconsin Idea Seminar, a five-day tour of the state that immerses forty faculty and academic staff members in the realities of Wisconsin. She is on the board of the Madison Civic Club and considers BDDS her new BFF.
Violinist Paran Amirinazari, an avid chamber musician, is a founding member and artistic drector of the Willy Street Chamber Players. She is a former member of the Hunt String Quartet and has recently earned her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Cello TRACE JOHNSON, a native of Madison, Wisconsin, has appeared as a chamber musician, soloist, and orchestral musician in a wide variety of settings in the U.S. and around the world. He is a cellist in the Sarasota Orchestra in Sarasota, Florida, and recently performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and the Madison Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed in chamber recitals with faculty from SUNY Purchase, the University of Toronto, Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Florida International University, Shenandoah University, and Queens College in New York City. traceljohnson.com
Pianist RANDALL HODGKINSON, grand prize winner of the International American Music Competition sponsored by Carnegie Hall and the Rockefeller Foundation, has performed with orchestras in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Boston, and Cleveland, and abroad in Italy and Iceland. In addition, he has performed numerous recital programs spanning the repertoire from J.S. Bach to Donald Martino. He is an artist member of the Boston Chamber Music Society and performs the four-hand and two-piano repertoire with his wife, Leslie Amper. Festival appearances include Blue Hill (Maine), Bargemusic, Chestnut Hill Concerts (Madison, Connecticut), Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest (Portland, Oregon), and Mainly Mozart in San Diego. Mr. Hodgkinson recently released a CD of solo piano music on the Ongaku label. Other recordings include a live world premiere of the Gardner Read Piano Concerto for Albany records. Mr. Hodgkinson is on the faculties of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and the Longy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Website)
Pianist CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR is known for his advocacy of music written in the past 100 years, but his repertoire spans four centuries and includes the complete Beethoven sonatas, the Liszt Transcendental Etudes, and Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Mr. Taylor has concertized around the globe, with his most recent international tours taking him to Korea, China, Singapore, Italy, and Venezuela. In the U.S. he has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, and the Milwaukee Symphony. As a soloist he has performed in New York’s Carnegie and Alice Tully Halls, in Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and at the Ravinia and Aspen festivals. His recordings have featured works by Liszt, Messiaen, and present-day Americans William Bolcom and Derek Bermel. Mr. Taylor serves as Paul Collins associate professor of piano performance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where a current project involves building a modernized version of a unique double-manual Steinway piano. He pursues a variety of other interests, including mathematics, philosophy, computing, linguistics, and biking, which is his primary means of commuting. Mr. Taylor lives in Middleton, Wisconsin, with his wife and two daughters.
Composer JOHN WINEGLASS has written several scores for shows on MSNBC, CNN, NBC, CBS and ABC as well as documentaries. He is a recipient of three Emmy Awards for outstanding achievement in music direction and composition for a drama series, and three ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards. He has received commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pittsburgh Foundation, and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, along with a wide cadre of private sponsors. Recent commissioned works in the 2018-2019 season included four symphonic works, two with full chorus. His latest symphonic 2019 premiere of three movements, Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked: Requiem for Rice, was dedicated to the lives of African and African-American forced laborers who cultivated the rice economy in the Lowcountry and based on research in South Carolina, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and The Gambia. Mr. Wineglass is currently serving as composer-in-residence with the Monterey Symphony, where both of his pandemic response works, Alone for Solo Violin, Live EFX and Electronica and Alone Together for Percussion, Harp and Strings have been curated to be included in the permanent collection of COVID-19 response art at the Library of Congress. (website)
Cellist BION TSANG is the winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and bronze medal in the International Tchaikovsky Competition. Mr. Tsang has appeared with the New York, Mexico City, Moscow, Busan, and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestras, the Atlanta, Pacific, Civic, American and National Symphony Orchestras, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Saint Paul and Stuttgart Chamber Orchestras, and the Taiwan National Orchestra. He has been a guest of the Chamber Music Societies of Boston, Brooklyn and Fort Worth, Chamber Music International (Dallas), Da Camera of Houston and Camerata Pacifica (Los Angeles), and has performed at the festivals of Marlboro, Portland, and Tucson, the Bard Festival, Bravo! Colorado, and the Laurel Festival of the Arts, where he served as Artistic Director for ten years. Mr. Tsang’s discography includes three live recordings: Beethoven: Sonatas and Variations for Cello and Piano (Artek), Brahms: Cello Sonatas and Four Hungarian Dances (Artek), and Bion Tsang and Adam Neiman: Live at Jordan Hall (BHM). Mr. Tsang released The Blue Rock Sessions (BHM) in 2017, featuring eighteen virtuoso cello and piano miniatures, Dvořák and Enescu Cello Concertos (Sony) in 2019, and Bach Cello Suites (Sony) in 2021. Mr. Tsang holds the Long Chair in Cello at the University of Texas-Austin.
Percussionist MIKE KOSZEWSKI is a member of Mr. Chair, Madison's genre-defying quartet, which recently released its second original album Better Days. With this ensemble he has toured extensively, held residence at Caroga Lake Music Festival, collaborated with Filipina vocalist and visual artist Leslie Demaso, created and performed a rearrangement of Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite, and is currently producing the debut album for hip hop/spoken word artist Dequadray. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison percussion studio, Mr, Koszewski performed, taught, and lectured throughout the Midwest and East Coast in the 2010s with the percussion ensemble Clocks in Motion. He is a member of the band Lovely Socialite, plays drum kit in the Ben Ferris Octet, and in recent years has performed with Oakwood Chamber Players, LunArt Festival, and Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. Mr, Koszewsk is also a versatile pit orchestra musician, performing regularly with Four Seasons Theatre, Forward Theater Company, Capital City Theatre, and Children's Theater of Madison.
Cellist LACHEZAR KOSTOV is associate principal cello of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He made his debut at Carnegie Hall in 2009, performing rarely heard works for cello and piano by Ellen Zwilich, Nikolay Roslavets, and Dimitri Kabalevsky. Mr. Kostov was the national winner at the 2006 MTNA Young Artists Competition and has won the cello award at the Kingsville Competition, the grand prix at the International Music and Earth Competition in Bulgaria, and the concerto competitions at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Rice University. With pianist Viktor Valkov, he won the first prize and all the special prizes at the Third International Liszt-Garrison Piano and Duo Competition. Prior to his appointment with the Baltimore Symphony Mr. Kostov was a tenured member of the San Antonio Symphony, and also performed with the Houston Symphony. He has appeared as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Gewandhaus (Leipzig, Germany), and as a guest soloist and chamber musician throughout the U.S, Japan, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Bulgaria, and has performed at La Jolla Summer Fest and Cactus Pear Music Festival, and is a guest on faculty at the Texas Music Festival.
Oboeist LINDSAY FLOWERS is the assistant professor of oboe at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music, where she is a member of the Wingra Wind Quintet and guides student-generated community engagement projects. She received a Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Her background in athletics distinguishes her pedagogical approach in her emphasis on performance visualization, disciplined commitment, and supportive teamwork. Dr. Flowers is an oboist and English hornist with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra. She previously was a member of the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, New Mexico Philharmonic, and Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Dr. Flowers was a founding member of the Arundo Donax Reed Quintet, bronze medal winners of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and has recorded a duo album with Dr. Andrew Parker to be released in 2023.. She has performed with the Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, Utah, and Nashville Symphony Orchestras and during recent summers with the Santa Fe Opera, Grant Park, Midsummer’s, Lakes Area, Apollo, Lake George, Castleton, Aspen, and Banff Music Festivals. In addition to performing and teaching, she is recognized for her maintenance and repair of oboe and English horn gouging machines.
Violist MADLEN BRECKBILL learned to play the violin in the Madison music scene—with the Suzuki Strings of Madison, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Gene Purdue of the Buddy Conservatory of Music. She continued her studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and then at the Glenn Gould School of Music in Toronto, Ontario. For four years, Ms. Breckbill lived in Berlin (Germany) working as an orchestral trainee with Konzerthaus Berlin, as the violist of the TAIGA String Quartet in Denmark, and as a chamber music player for Villa-Musica in Rheinland Pfalz. Since her early years, Madlen has developed a love for the many-layered, communicative world of chamber music. She has participated in the Jupiter String Quartet at Madeline Island Music Camp, performed with violist Steve Dann at Domaine Forget (Quebec), and with Music by the Sea (British Columbia). In the summer of 2019, Ms. Breckbill started the Stoughton Chamber Music Festival. She enjoys working with both children and adults as a Suzuki teacher.
Percussionist DAVE ALCORN is a founding member of the percussion group, Clocks in Motion, committed to performing classic percussion literature and chamber music, as well as commissioning new repertoire. He was the principal timpanist of the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra and has performed on a regular basis with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. In addition to western classical music, he is also active in music from various other cultures. He is the former president of the Brazilian Samba group Vencedores, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mr. Alcon has studied instruments of the Middle East and is a former member of the University of Michigan Arabic Ensemble. Since 2007, he has been a staff arranger and composer for the Mt. Lebanon Percussion Ensemble. His arrangements and compositions have been performed by groups throughout the United States, including at the University of Michigan and the University of California-Los Angeles. Mr. Alcorn’s diverse background includes video and audio recording and editing of live concerts, closed studio sessions, and documentaries. He regularly records recitals and other musical events in the Madison, WI area. Mr. Alcorn holds a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance from UW-Madison and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan.
Conductor KENNETH WOODS was appointed artistic director and principal conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra in 2013, and was recently appointed artistic director of both the Elgar Festival in Worcester, England, and the Colorado MahlerFest. As a guest, Mr. Woods has conducted ensembles including the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C.), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, and the English Chamber Orchestra; has been featured on broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, National Public Radio, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; and has appeared at music festivals such as Aspen, Scotia and Lucerne. Under Mr. Woods’ leadership, the English Symphony Orchestra responded to the2020 Covid-19 lockdown, “Music from Wyastone," a series of virtual concerts including dozens of world-premieres of new works and new arrangements, such as a chamber version of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony and Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle. Mr. Woods’s blog, “A View from the Podium,” is one of the 25 most popular classical blogs in the world. He has spoken on Mahler on NPR’s All Things Considered and is a regular speaker on BBC radio programs. Kennethwoods.net
Bass NICK MORAN, a veteran of the Madison, Wisconsin, music scene, performs on both electric bass and the double bass in varied genres including jazz, Afro-Latin, hip hop, reggae, and funk. Mr. Moran has toured internationally and performed with a diverse collection of acts, including Ben Sidran, Lee ‘Scratch‘ Perry, Clyde Subblefield, and David ‘Fathead‘ Newman (Ray Charles’s sax player). He has also worked with such Madison music institutions as Harmonious Wail, the Gomers, Tony Casteneda, Anna Laube, Joy and the Boy, and the Tim Whalen Nonet. As a freelance bassist, Mr. Moran has recorded tracks and albums for a wide-ranging roster of artists including Gerri DiMaggio, University of Wisconsin-Madison music professor Les Thimmig, Clyde Stubbelfield, Hanah John Taylor, and reggae giants Natty Nation. His playing can also be heard in various Afro-Cuban, hip hop, R&B and funk loop libraries from Sony Music and Apple. In addition to his music career, Mr. Moran works as a production and development consultant for the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium. In 2014, he was named "Jazz Personality of The Year" at the Isthmus Jazz Festival by mayoral proclamation. In 2016, he joined the UW-Madison School of Music as jazz bass instructor.
Cellist KENNETH OLSEN joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as assistant principal cello in 2005. He is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and a winner of the school's prestigious concerto competition. His other awards include first prize in the Nakamichi Cello Competition at the Aspen Music Festival and second prize at the 2002 Holland-America Music Society Competition. His teachers have included Richard Aaron at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Joel Krosnick at New York's Juilliard School of Music and Luis Garcia-Renart at Bard College. He also has been a participant at the Steans Institute for Young Artists (the Ravinia Festival's professional studies program for young musicians) and at Boston University's Tanglewood Institute. A native of New York, Kenneth Olsen is a founding member of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, a conductorless string orchestra comprised of young musicians from orchestras and ensembles all over the country.
Baritone TIMOTHY JONES has performed in opera houses and with symphony orchestras in the U.S., Ecuador, Mexico, and the Czech Republic. He has appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, St. Petersburg Chamber Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, and the Jacksonville Symphony. In opera houses he has performed leading roles in "The Marriage of Figaro," "Carmen," Die Zauberflöte," "Cosi Fan Tutte," "Don Giovanni," "Don Pasquale," "La Boheme," "Falstaff," "Macbeth," and "La Traviata." He has been a frequent guest with the Victoria Bach Festival, New Texas Festival, Round Top Music Festival, Ars Lyrica Houston, Cactus Pear Music Festival, and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. As a committed performer of contemporary music, Mr. Jones has commissioned and premiered numerous compositions by leading composers of our time. He currently lives in Houston, where he serves on the faculty of the University of Houston.
Violin SUZANNE BEIA is co-concertmaster of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, concertmaster of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and second violinist in the Pro Arte Quartet. A native of Reno, Nevada, she began her musical studies on the viola at the age of ten. Three years later, she shifted her attention to the violin and made her solo debut at the age of fourteen with the North Lake Tahoe Symphony. Since that time, she has performed as a soloist with orchestras throughout the U.S. and Germany. Before coming to Madison, Ms. Beia held the position of principal second violin in the Wichita Symphony and has held concertmaster positions with the Reno Chamber Orchestra, Bay Area Women's Philharmonic, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, and Chamber Symphony of San Francisco. She also held the assistant concertmaster position in the New World Symphony. Her chamber music experience has been extensive: she has performed at festivals such as Chamber Music West, Telluride Chamber Music Festival, Token Creek, Festival de Prades, and Chamber Music at the Barn. Ms. Beia has served on the faculties of the Rocky Ridge Music Center and Florida International University.
Artistic Director and flutist STEPHANIE JUTT's performances of new music, transcriptions, and traditional repertoire have made her a model for adventurous flutists everywhere. Her transcriptions of Brahms sonatas were published by International Music Publishing, and an all-Brahms recording with pianist Jeffrey Sykes, Stolen Moments, was released in 2005 on Centaur. Trained at the New England Conservatory of Music, Ms. Jutt won the Concert Artist Guild and Pro Musicis International Soloist awards and received solo recitalist grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation. Ms. Jutt has performed in recital throughout the U.S., Europe, South America, and Asia. She has served as a board member and program chair for the National Flute Association. Ms. Jutt is principal flute of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and was awarded the Margaret Rupp Cooper Award in honor of her years of service, commitment to the orchestra, and musicianship. A recipient of a grant by the Kauffmann Foundation for Entrepreneurship, she is the founder of UW-Madison Arts Enterprise, a multi-faceted initiative that enables student artists to survive and thrive in today's creative economy. Ms. Jutt recently retired from the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and resides in New York City. (Website)
Artistic Director and pianist JEFFREY SYKES has performed throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Western Europe. He made his Carnegie Hall debut with oboist Gerard Reuter and flutist Stephanie Jutt under the auspices of the Pro Musicis Foundation. He holds degrees with Honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Franz-Schubert-Institut in Baden-bei-Wien, Austria, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he received his doctorate. He has garnered numerous awards, including the Jacob Javits Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education and a Fulbright grant to study at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt am Main. Dr. Sykes serves on the music faculty of the University of California-Berkeley and California State University East Bay. He is a member of the San Francisco Piano Trio and resides in San Francisco. (Website)
SAMANTHA CROWNOVER is in her 25th year as Executive Director of Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society. A strong advocate for the arts, she is involved in many free-lance arts and architecture-based projects, ranging from managing events for Performing the Jewish Archive at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Music, to consulting on works-on-paper purchases and collections management, to caring for historic buildings and property management. She recently restored the Brisbane House, a stone house on the National Register of Historic Places in Arena, WI, open to overnight guests. Past consulting projects include co-founding Arts Enterprise, a University of Wisconsin-Madison program that teaches entrepreneurial skills to artists, and architectural studies for the cities of Racine and Milwaukee. She has served as interim-director of the Madison Arts Commission and as a curator at Tandem Press, a fine-art press affiliated with the UW-Madison Art Department. A college semester in Florence led to positions as an assistant at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and as staff to the American Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. She has also led the boards of directors of the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation, Capitol Neighborhood’s First Settlement, the Friends of the UW-Madison Geology Museum, and Wormfarm Institute in Reedsburg, WI. She is currently on the board at EAGLE School. She holds a BA and MA from UW-Madison. (Website)
Soprano EMILY BIRSAN made her role debut as Juliette in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette with Madison Opera in 2016 and added Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Boston Lyric Opera and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Florentine Opera in 2017. On the concert stage, she made her debut with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra singing Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and was featured with the BBC Symphony in London singing Arthur Bliss’s Beatitudes. Recently Ms. Birsan appeared as the Italian Singer in Capriccio at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, as Leila in The Pearl Fishers with Florida Grand Opera, and as Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress at the Edinburgh International Festival. Her performances on the concert stage include Elgar with the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway, Verdi and Puccini with the Knoxville Symphony, and Mozart's Mass in C minor in her Carnegie Hall debut. Ms. Birsan earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Lawrence Conservatory in Appleton, Wisconsin, and her Master of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Music in 2010. From 2011 to 2014 she was a member of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. (Website)
Clarinetist ALAN R. KAY is principal clarinetist and a former artistic director of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and serves as principal clarinet with New York’s Riverside Symphony and Little Orchestra Society. Mr. Kay is the recipient of the Classical Recording Foundation’s Samuel Sanders Award, the C.D. Jackson Award at Tanglewood, a Presidential Scholars Teacher Award, and the 1989 Young Concert Artists Award with the sextet Hexagon. A founding member of the Windscape Quintet, he is a regular guest in chamber music venues throughout the world, including the Yellow Barn, Orlando (Holland), Bowdoin, and the Cape May Music Festival, where he curated a concert series for 25 years. Mr. Kay currently teaches at the Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, and Stony Brook University, where he also serves as Executive Director of the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Kay has recorded with Orpheus, Hexagon, Windscape, and the Sylvan Winds; recent recording projects include Michael Torke’s Psalms and Canticles (2021) and Time (2022), and the Brahms Clarinet Quintet with Rusquartet for Etcetera Records and a full-length CD of the works of Rudolf Escher, both to be released in 2023.
Horn player KARL KRAMER JOHANSEN is a chamber musician and artist member of Dorian Wind Quintet, Jupiter Chamber Players, and Concerts in the Heights. He has appeared as guest principal with organizations such as the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Munich Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and Bergen Philharmonic. Recent solo appearances include Moscow’s 2014 Mozart-Marathon with the State Hermitage Orchestra of Saint Petersburg. Mr. Johansen is frequently invited to give masterclasses, lectures and recitals at leading institutions of higher education. In recent years, he often performs recitals comprised of his own original compositions. He has also has collaborated with composers in bringing new solo and chamber music repertoire to life: Wolfgang Plagge, David del Tredici, Bruce Adolphe, Billy Childs, Marc-Antonio Consoli and others. (website)
Violinist LEANNE KELSO LEAGUE is the assistant concertmaster of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and associate concertmaster of the Madison Symphony Orchestra. She also teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and is a member of the Ancora String Quartet. Ms. League was a fellow at the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas for three seasons, where she served as concertmaster and principal second violin. During that time, she also performed at the Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi in Italy for two summers. Ms. League enjoys playing the Baroque violin and has performed regularly with the Madison Bach Musicians, the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble, and the Tallahassee Bach Parley. (website)
Violin STEPHANIE SANT’AMBROGIO enjoys a varied performing and recording career as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral leader. Professor of violin and viola at the University of Nevada, Reno, she is also concertmaster of the Fresno Philharmonic and artistic director of Cactus Pear Music Festival, which she founded in 1997 while serving as concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony. Former first assistant principal second violin of the Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnanyi, she toured and recorded internationally with this ensemble for eight seasons. Ms. Sant’Ambrogio has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in the U.S., Canada, Estonia, Sweden, Ghana, Italy, Peru, Chile and Mexico and has a discography of over 75 orchestral and chamber music CDs. In addition to her performing career, she is devoted to teaching string players, many of whom have won positions in symphony orchestras and at universities. Ms. Sant' Ambrogio performs on a violin crafted in 1757 by J.B. Guadagnini of Milan. (website)
In 1998, violinist AXEL STRAUSS became the first German artist ever to win the Naumburg Violin Award. Mr. Strauss made his American debut at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and his New York debut at Alice Tully Hall in 1998. Since then he has given recitals in major North American cities, including Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. In 2007 he was the violinist in the world premiere performance and recording of Two Awakenings and a Double Lullaby, written for him by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis. Mr. Strauss's discography includes the Brahms violin concerto, the three last violin concertos by Kreutzer, the complete Caprices for solo violin by Pierre Rode, and the complete works for violin and piano by George Enescu. Mr. Strauss has performed as soloist with orchestras in Budapest, Hamburg, New York, Seoul, Shanghai, Bucharest, and Cincinnati, and has served as guest concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic and the Montreal Symphony. In 2012 Mr. Strauss was appointed professor of violin at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal. Before moving to Canada, he was professor of violin and chamber music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.