Violinist So Jin Kim has been hailed by critics and audiences alike for her musical lyricism, technical brilliance, and lush tone. Following her successful solo debut with the Juilliard Orchestra in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in 2006, she has performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia in halls such as the Carnegie Hall in New York, Vienna’s Musikverein Golden Hall, KKL Luzern in Switzerland, Seoul Arts Center in Korea, and the Philharmonie in Berlin. She has appeared as a soloist with ensembles such as the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, I Musici de Montreal, Seoul Chamber Ensemble, and the Budpapest Symphony Orchestra.
As an active chamber musician, Ms. Kim has been invited to perform in Festival dei Due Mondi in Italy, Kissinger Sommer in Germany, MoMA Summergarden Concert Series, La Jolla Summerfest, and Sangat Chamber Music Festival in India, collaborating with artists such as Cho Liang Lin, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Lynn Harrell, and Roberto Diaz. She is also the founder and artistic director of Yeosu International Music Festival & Ensemble in South Korea since 2017.
At the age of 24, Ms. Kim was appointed as a concertmaster of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra in Switzerland, where she played until 2013, and has been a guest concertmaster with Bern Symphony Orchestra, Munich Chamber Orchestra, and as guest associate concertmaster with Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra SWR, the Munich Radio Orchestra.
Ms. Kim was born in Yeosu, South Korea and spent her childhood and educational years in America. She was accepted to the Juilliard School at the age of 16 to the Bachelor of Music Degree Program, and has received both Bachelor and Master of Music Degree at The Juilliard School with Cho-Liang Lin and Naoko Tanaka. She has also worked with Hyo Kang and Donald Weilerstein. In May 2016, she received a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, and has also worked with Krzysztof Wegrzyn at Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover as part of the prestigious Solo Klasse program. In 2014 she joined the faculty of Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover.
Her Debut CD recorded in Leipzig Gewandhaus was released worldwide in 2018 under Genuin Classics to critical acclaim.
American violinist Joan Kwuon is widely recognized for her commanding interpretations, graceful flair and deeply communicative voice. Her artistry is committed to a diversity of musical periods and styles ranging from Bach and Beethoven to Stravinsky and Takemitsu.
Joan Kwuon, whom the New York Times describes as “fiery, intensely musical and impassioned,” made her Tanglewood Music Festival concerto debut at the invitation of Sir André Previn in 2000 and her recital debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall the following season. She has since appeared with leading orchestras of North America, Europe and Asia and in recital and chamber music internationally. Ms. Kwuon’s virtuosity and radiant stage presence have been recognized by media ranging from The Today Show, CBS News and Lifetime Television to National Public Radio.
Celebrating Mozart’s 250th birthday, Ms. Kwuon toured the United States performing Mozart Violin Concerti with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit and Matthias Bamert. She performed the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra and André Previn in Cardiff, Wales and with Maestro Previn and the Prometheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall performing Mozart Violin Concerto No. 3. She also appeared with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, NHK Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo, Seattle Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Bulgarian National Academic Orchestra, Jyväskylä Sinfonia of Finland, Moscow State Radio Symphony, Orchestra Europa, Busan Philharmonic, State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, Louisiana Philharmonic, Amarillo Symphony, Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and International Sejong Soloists. Among the many conductors with whom she has worked are Günther Herbig, Joann Falletta, Heinz Wallberg, Patrick Gallois, Heiichiro Ohyama, Enrique Batiz, Theodore Kuchar, Christopher Seaman, Joel Smirnoff, Gürer Aykal, Arild Remmereit and Thierry Fischer.
Ms. Kwuon’s other recent debuts and return engagements included the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Venezuela, Bilkent Symphony Orchestra in Turkey and the Festival Internacional Cervantino in León, Mexico. Prokofiev Violin Concerto No 2 with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s “Turkish” Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Rochester Philhamonic, Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Reno Chamber Orchestra, Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the El Paso Symphony and Beethoven Violin Concerto in the Czech Republic with the Janacek Philharmonic.
Joan Kwuon made her Metropolitan Museum recital debut in 2006 and in 2008 returned to the Metropolitan Museum with pianist, André Previn in Sonata Recital. Ms. Kwuon and Mr. Previn also performed at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia and for the Anne Ratner Concert Series in NYC. She has opened the Mixon Hall Masters Series at CIM and has appeared on the Ravinia Festival Rising Stars, Caramoor’s Great Artists Series, San Francisco Performances, Hampton Arts Series, Tannery Pond Concerts, University of Illinois’ Krannert Center, The Peggy Rockefeller Concerts in New York City, Universities of Georgia, Long Beach, Iowa, George Mason, Hoam Art Hall, Wooster College and the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia. She has enjoyed collaborations with Cho-Liang Lin, Jaime Laredo, Sharon Robinson, the Juilliard String Quartet, Bright Sheng, Heidi Grant Murphy, Cecile Licad, Vladimir Feltsman and Tony Bennett with whom Ms. Kwuon has performed in duet at Jazz Lincoln Center, Tanglewood and most recently at the MusiCares Grammy Awards Gala.
Born in Los Angeles, Joan Kwuon began her musical studies at the piano at age five and violin at age six. She attended Crossroads School and studied at Indiana University with Miriam Fried, The Juilliard School with Joel Smirnoff and CIM with Donald Weilerstein. She has taught at The Juilliard School and has been guest artist/faculty at numerous music festivals including Great Mountains Music Festival in South Korea, La Jolla’s Summerfest, Bowdoin International Music Festival and this summer at the Heifetz International Music Institute. In 2009, Ms Kwuon was appointed to the violin faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music. She recently signed a multi-album contract with Azica Records.
For more information about Joan Kwuon, visit www.joankwuon.com
Julie Rosenfeld is “a force of nature” according to the American Record Guide review of her recently released disc “New Music for Violin and Piano”. As First Violinist of the Colorado String Quartet, winner of both the 1st Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award within ten days in 1983, she played more than 1200 concerts, touring throughout every part of the US and Canada, and in more than 20 other countries. Their recordings garnered praise from critics, most notably of the Complete Quartets of Beethoven, as did their championing of many of today’s leading composers. They held residencies at Bard, Oberlin, Swarthmore and Amherst Colleges, and taught masterclasses at the Cleveland Institute, the Eastman School and at Yale University, among others.
In the Fall of 2014, Ms. Rosenfeld joined the faculty at the School of Music at the University of Missouri, becoming a member of the resident Esterhazy String Quartet; previously she taught at the University of Connecticut and at Bard College. Ms. Rosenfeld has served on juries for the Fischoff, Banff and Coleman Chamber Music competitions, for Astral Artist and Young Concert Artist competitions, and has taught at the European Mozart Academy. She has performed at the Marlboro, Santa Fe, Newport and La Jolla Chamber Music Festivals and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and collaborated with André Previn on the West Coast premiere of his Violin Sonata and on two CDs of French chamber music for BMG. A native of Los Angeles, Rosenfeld attended the Curtis Institute, studying with Jascha Brodsky, received her BM from the University of Southern California, and her MM from Yale University, where her teachers were Szymon Goldberg and Raphael Hillyer.
She plays on a JB Guadagnini violin from 1750, and owns bows crafted in the early 19th Century by Dominique Peccatte and Nicolas Maire.
A native of Bulgaria, Moni Simeonov holds degrees from Yale University, Eastman School of Music, and USC’s Thornton School of Music and his main teachers include Ani Kavafian, Zvi Zeitlin, and MIdori. Moni has performed and taught alongside Midori for her Orchestra Residencies Program American and International tours. Until 2014, he served as a director of the program.
Mr. Simeonov has concertized and taught around the United States, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. His recordings have been archived by PBS, NPR, KUSC, Bulgarian National Radio and TV, as well as Japanese Broadcasting Company—NHK. His upcoming musical destinations include China, Canada, and England.
Moni served as Adjunct Instructor of Violin at USC’s Thornton School of Music until 2014. That year, he was appointed Director of String Studies and Violin Professor with the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach. He is also on the faculty of the Singapore Violin Festival, and the Interlochen Arts Academy.
Dr. Angel Valchinov is a soloist, concertmaster, chamber musician, and a teacher. Currently performing with orchestras in the U.S. and Europe, Dr. Valchinov is a soloist with wide a ranging repertoire. An avid recitalist and chamber musician, some of his recent performance highlights include performance of H. W. Ernst’s Six Polyphonic Etudes, and a concert with the Turtle Island Quartet in Boston’s Jordan Hall. He is currently concertmaster of several orchestras in the Boston area, including Claflin Hill Symphony and Boston Chamber Orchestra. He is String Faculty at Northern Essex Community College, and has a large private teaching studio. Mr. Valchinov also teaches at Illinois Chamber Music Festival and Youth & Muse Music Festival (Boston) throughout the summer. Bulgarian television has made a documentary about him and he has been featured on a number of television and radio stations across the U.S. A third generation musician, Dr. Valchinov regularly performs with his family and his wife, violist and pianist Dr. Chen Lin, and is a reader at his beloved Orthodox Church in Allston, MA.
Michelle LaCourse, violist, has appeared as soloist and chamber musician on four continents, including recent performances in France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and South Korea. Her playing has been described by critics in such terms as “a miraculous blend of intense passion and artistic elegance” and “has a mastery of the instrument like a sixth sense, and with it reveals to us the most profound secrets.” An enthusiastic advocate for new viola repertoire, she has also commissioned and premiered many new pieces for the instrument. Her 2009 recording with pianist Martin Amlin, “Chocolates: Music for Viola and Piano by James Grant” was released by MSR Classics (msrcd.com, MS1335) to rave reviews, praising “the raw emotion of her playing” and calling the disc “enough to make one reframe one’s image of the viola”. Her 2015 release on MSR, “An American Menagerie: Music for Viola and Piano by Martin Amlin, Robert Merfeld, and Monica Houghton” (MS1474) received high praise from Fanfare Magazine, noting “stellar performances,” including playing “in the sweetest and most exquisite way imaginable”, “stunningly realized”, and calling the recording “A surefire winner.” Audiophile Audition declared the disc “A gorgeous recital.”
LaCourse was formerly a member of the Lehigh Quartet, the Delphic String Trio and the Aeolian Trio. She has performed at numerous festivals such as Aspen, Bowdoin, Eastern, Interlochen, Skaneateles, Musicorda, the Heifetz Institute, and the International Festivals of Campos do Jordão, Brazil, of Positano, Italy, and of Vianden, Luxembourg, as well as at some of the world’s leading concert venues, such as Vienna’s Musikverein, Berlin’s Kammermusiksaal and Washington’s Kennedy Center. As an orchestral musician, she has performed with the Baltimore Symphony and the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and was formerly principal violist of the Chamber Orchestra of Grenoble France.
She holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where she studied with, and was for many years teaching assistant to renowned pedagogue Karen Tuttle. Ms. LaCourse currently teaches viola and chairs the String Department as well as the Performance & Applied Studies area at Boston University’s School of Music, where she was awarded BU’s 2009 Metcalf Cup and Prize, the university’s highest honor for excellence in teaching. She frequently presents master classes at music schools across the United States and internationally, and during the summer months she also teaches and performs at the annual Karen Tuttle Viola Workshops and BU’s Tanglewood Institute as well as a number of other festivals and appearances. Many of her former students currently enjoy playing and teaching positions around the globe.
Hailed by the New York Times for her “focused intensity” and “remarkable” performances, cellist Yeesun Kim enjoys worldwide acclaim as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher. A founding member of the Borromeo String Quartet, Ms. Kim has performed in over 20 countries, and in many of the world’s most illustrious concert halls and Festivals.
Highlights of her 2013-14 season include the World Premiere of Lera Auerbach’s String Quartet No. 7, “Désir”, performances of the Bela Bartok quartet cycle at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival and in Boston at Jordan Hall, and appearances at the Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa Festival in Mexico, the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, and the Terra di Siena Chamber Music Festival in Tuscany. The season welcomes multiple performances with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, and special collaborations with the Bill T. Jones Dance Company, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, and also with cellist Antonio Lysy in a special multimedia production, Te Amo, Argentina.
Recent highlights include a two-week residency at Suntory Hall in Tokyo to perform the complete Beethoven String Quartets, a cycle of Dvorak quartets at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, the complete Bartok quartet cycle at the Curtis Institute of Music, performances at the International MIMO Festival in Brazil, the Morgan Library in New York, the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C., and in Nara, Japan, Beijing and Shanghai, China.
Ms. Kim has performed throughout Europe and Asia with the Borromeo, in duo with violinist Nicholas Kitchen, and as a soloist, including engagements with the Philharmonie in Berlin, the Tonhalle in Zurich, the Opera Bastille in Paris, Wigmore Hall in London, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Suntory Hall and Casals Hall in Tokyo, the Saejong Cultural Center in Seoul, Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Jordan Hall in Boston, the Library of Congress and Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
A much sought after chamber musician, she has been invited to perform at many festivals including Spoleto in the United States and Italy, Ravinia, Marlboro, Santa Fe, La Jolla, Rockport, Music at Menlo, the Prague Spring Festival, the Vancouver Chamber Music, the Stavanger Festival in Norway, the Evian and Divonne Festivals in France, and the Sejong Spring Festival in Korea.
Her collaborations with other artists include appearances with Angelique Kidjo, violinist Joshua Bell and Pamela Frank; violists Roberto Dias, Kim Kashashian, Paul Neubauer, Roger Tapping; cellists Paul Katz, Gary Hoffman, Lawrence Lesser, and Alisa Weilerstein; pianists Christoph Eschenbach, Leon Fleisher, Gary Graffman, Wu Han, Menahem Pressler, Rudolph Serkin, and Russell Sherman; clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, and members of the Guarneri and Julliard String Quartets.
As a member of the Borromeo Quartet since its inception in 1989, Ms. Kim has had extensive involvement with NPR’s “Performance Today,” the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York, and the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Her radio and television credits also include “Live from Lincoln Center” and numerous appearances on WGBH in Boston, Radio France, and NHK Radio and Television in Japan. Recording credits include “Native Informant” featuring music of Mohammed Fairouz , “As it was, Is, And will be” featuring music of Gunther Schuller , “String Quartets” by Robert Maggio , “Speak Like the People, Write Like the King” featuring music by Steve Mackey , “Soul Garden: The Chamber Music of Derek Bermel”  “Beethoven: Serioso” , and “Ravel: String Quartet and Sonata for Violin & Cello” .
Ms. Kim currently serves on the faculty of the New England Conservatory, in the cello and chamber music departments, and teaches each summer at the Taos School of Music in New Mexico. She has also taught at the McGill International String Quartet Academy in Canada, the Suntory Hall Fellows Academy in Japan, at the Seoul National University and National University of Arts in Korea, and for the Foulger Institute in New Jersey .
A recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, Lincoln Center’s Martin Segal Award, and the Evian International String Quartet Competition as a member of the Borromeo Quartet, Ms. Kim has garnered numerous awards individually as well, including winner of the Ewha and Jungagng National Competitions in Korea, and the Seoul Young Artists Award for achievement in music and academics.
Kim is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, with advanced degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music. Her teachers include Lawrence Lesser, David Soyer, Peter Wiley, Hyungwon Chang, and Minja Hyun.
She plays a Peregrino Zanetto cello, circa 1576, one of the oldest in the world.
“Prynn has a particularly silken bowing arm and remarkable control. Everything he played was poised, seamless and impeccably shaped.” – Musical Toronto
During his career as a soloist, as a member of the Trio Fibonacci, and as a guest artist with diverse ensembles, notably the Ensemble Alternance in Paris, Gabriel has both resurrected forgotten masterpieces and premiered over sixty new works. Gabriel has performed at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Centre, Merkin Hall in New York, at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris in association with IRCAM and Radio-France, at the Aldeburgh Festival (UK) and at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing.
He is passionate about teaching, and in addition to his current position at Ohio University has given masterclasses, coached chamber music, and given workshops at such prestigious institutions as the École Normale de Musique (Paris), University of South Africa, University of Curitiba (Brazil), Royal Academy of Music (UK), Conservatory of Belgrade (Serbia), Conservatory of Nagoya (Japan), Hochschule Hanns Eisler (Berlin, Germany) and at the University of Oxford (UK).
Gabriel’s most influential teachers were Clive Greensmith (Tokyo Quartet), David Finckel (Emerson Quartet) and Daniel Domb, Principal Cellist of the Toronto Symphony from 1974 to 2009 and a protégé of Paul Tortelier. Gabriel also received invaluable chamber music coaching from Menahem Pressler, Valentin Erben (Alban Berg Quartet), Arnold Steinhardt (Guarneri Quartet), Richard Young (Vermeer Quartet) and Eberhard Feltz in Berlin.
Gabriel has collaborated with some of the most respected composers of our time, notably Mauricio Kagel, Pascal Dusapin, Jonathan Harvey, Georges Aperghis, Hannah Lash, George Tsontakis, and Henri Pousseur. From a pedagogical point of view, it can be said that new music presents the student musician with unique technical and interpretive challenges. Gabriel’s recent doctoral research on the subject, which won him the Luc Vinet Prize for Excellence from the University of Montreal, has led to his book, Taming the Cello, a handbook of contemporary cello for student string players and composers which is due to be published in 2017.
Alan Stepansky is recognized as one of the most gifted and versatile cellists of his generation. After a distinguished orchestral career playing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, serving as Principal Cellist of the Boston Pops, and culminating in a ten-year tenure as Associate Principal Cellist of the New York Philharmonic, he is in demand as a soloist, chamber musician, principal cellist, and recording artist. He is currently Chair of Strings and Professor of Cello at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, cello faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, and cello faculty artist of the one of the world’s most prestigious summer music festivals, the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.
Mr. Stepansky has performed as a guest artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Mostly Mozart Festival, and Jazz at Lincoln Center, and has appeared in concert with a diverse array of artists including Isaac Stern, Emanuel Ax, Renee Fleming, Frederika Von Stade, Leon Fleisher, Ruth Laredo, Glenn Dicterow, and the Takács and American String Quartets. He has recorded a series of chamber music and solo discs for EMI, which were honored by Gramophone Magazine, BBC Magazine, the New York Times, and the British Music Industry Association, and has been engaged as the solo cellist for numerous major motion picture soundtracks. He has also appeared on the albums of many noted recording artists across many genres, including Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Merchant, David Byrne, Audra McDonald, Joss Stone, and Sting, with whom he has also appeared in concert. Recently, Mr. Stepansky served as the Principal Cellist for six major fund-raising events held in Carnegie Hall: Beethoven’s Ninth for South Asia, Requiem for Darfur, Mahler for the Children of AIDS, Beethoven for the Indus Valley, Shostakovich for the Children of Syria, and the Scheherazade Initiative, which featured an international orchestra drawn from leading symphonic, chamber music, and solo artists from around the world. He has appeared as soloist with many orchestras and frequently as Guest Principal Cellist of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. After studies at the Curtis Institute of Music and the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Stepansky graduated from
Harvard University with the Horblit Prize, conferred for his outstanding musical accomplishments.
A guest at many summer festivals, he has appeared at the Texas Music Festival, Domaine Forget Festival in Quebec, the Heifetz Institute, the National Orchestral Institute, and as the international cello artist of the Beijing International Music Festival in Beijing and Shanghai. He has given master classes in conservatories and university music departments around the world, including the Hong Kong Academy, Tokyo’s Toho School, and Faculdades De Artes Alcantara Machado in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as well as at Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts, University of Delaware, Boston University, and Harvard University; he has also served as a visiting faculty artist at the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida. As a teacher, Alan Stepansky works intensely and energetically with his students to help them reach their potential both as expressive artists and as instrumentalists seeking the mastery of technique and style necessary to meet the practical demands of a multi-faceted career as a cellist active in many genres. His students have won positions in numerous orchestras in the United States, Europe, and Asia, including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Houston Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Shanghai Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec, Los Angeles Philharmonic and many others, and have successful careers as soloists, chamber musicians, and teachers.
Donald Palma has an active career as a double bassist, conductor and educator. A native New Yorker, Don attended the Juilliard School and at the age of nineteen joined Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony. As a member of the newly formed new music ensemble, Speculum Musicae, he went on to win the Naumburg Competition and secure management with Young Concert Artists. A founding member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Don has toured the globe and recorded over fifty compact discs for Deutsche Grammophon, including the Grammy Award winning Stravinsky CD, Shadow Dances. Don has also been a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and was Principal Bass of the National Arts Centre Orchestra under Trevor Pinnock. He played principal bass for Leonard Bernstein on his recoding of West Side Story and was a featured artist on Kathleen Battle’s recording Grace. As a performer devoted to contemporary music he has played and conducted dozens of premieres and recordings of important works. Elliott Carter’s Figment III , Mario Davidovsky’s Synchronism No.11, Charles Wuorinen’s Spin-Off and Robert Ceely’s Harlequin are among the many works composed for him. He has conducted three critically acclaimed CDs of American music with the Odense Symphony in Denmark and his recent activities include conducting Ives Symphony No.2 and Strauss Four Last Songs with the Xalapa Symphony in Mexico, conducting/playing in concerts celebrating Mario Davidovsky’s 80th Birthday at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and recording Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale for SONY with Roger Waters narrating. He performs regularly with Orpheus in Carnegie Hall and is Music Director of the Symphony by the Sea in Beverly, MA. An active chamber musician, Don has appeared with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, the Da Camera Society and is a member of Mistral and the Walden Chamber Players. He also performs regularly at the Norfolk, Bridgehampton and White Mountains festivals. Don is on the faculty of the Yale School of Music and the New England Conservatory, where he directs the NEC Chamber Orchestra. His students occupy positions in major orchestras, ensembles and universities across the globe.
James Van Demark
One of the most brilliant virtuosi ever to perform on the double bass, James VanDemark was hailed by the New York Times at his Lincoln Center recital debut as “an exceptionally gifted string player and a musician of taste, intelligence and the best spontaneous musical instincts, with an unerring sense for exact intonation.” The San Francisco Chronicle praised his “wonderful facility for making really musical phrases, relaxing, building, shading with unlimited subtleties – and a capacity to dig into whole pages of rip-roaring coloratura and make every note count.”
VanDemark began his musical studies at the age of 14 in his hometown of Owatonna, Minnesota, making such rapid progress that just 18 months later he made his solo debut with the Minnesota Orchestra. Subsequently, VanDemark has performed as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Grant Park Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Chautauqua Festival Orchestra, New Mexico Symphony, Quebec Symphony, National Symphony of Mexico, Netherlands Radio Symphony, and in numerous other concerto appearances.
VanDemark’s duo recitals with André Watts—including one on Lincoln Center’s Great Performer Series—and also with Samuel Sanders, Anthony Newman, Barry Snyder, and Robert Spillman have won him great acclaim. Chamber music collaborations with the Guarneri, Cleveland, Colorado, Muir, Ying, and Audubon Quartets, the Los Angeles Piano Quartet, Vienna Schubert Trio, Kandinsky Trio, Gryphon Trio and pianists Gary Graffman, Alfred Brendel, Anton Nel, Anton Kuerti, and Jeffrey Kahane highlight VanDemark’s versatility.
The recipient of numerous commissioned works, including those by three Pulitzer Prize winners – Gian-Carlo Menotti, Joseph Schwantner, and Christopher Rouse – VanDemark also performed the American premieres of Nino Rota’s
Divertimento Concertante (Charlotte Symphony) and Edvard Tubin’s Double Bass Concerto (Queens Symphony). VanDemark’s most recent commission is a solo double bass work by Adrienne Elisha, which he recently performed with the Rochester City Ballet.
In demand as a narrator with orchestra, VanDemark has had more more than thirty appearances with the Rochester Philharmonic, as well as the Texas Festival Orchestra, the Eastman Philharmonia and ESSO, the NEO Ensemble, and many others.
A sought-after guest artist at summer festivals, VanDemark performs at the Mostly Mozart, Spoleto, Seattle Chamber Music, Montreal Chamber Music, Round Top, Maverick, Norfolk, South Bank (London), and Newport festivals.
An important direction in VanDemark’s career has been his involvement with Native American performers in Circle of Faith, composed by Alton Clingan. VanDemark commissioned this unique musical and cultural collaborative work, developing it in conjunction with respected Native artists and elders. He also produces the work, which has had more than 30 performances since its 1992 premiere with the Muir Quartet.
Appointed Professor of Double Bass at the Eastman School in 1976 at age 23, VanDemark became the youngest person ever to hold such a position at a major music school. VanDemark is recognized as a renowned teacher; his students have held positions with many of the world’s major orchestras – Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Minnesota, San Francisco, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Rochester Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Oregon Symphony, and the orchestras of Syracuse, Buffalo and Wichita. VanDemark’s guest master classes have included Northwestern University, Oberlin, Bard College, Cleveland Institute of Music, McGill University, University of Southern California, University of Michigan, Carnegie-Mellon, Duquesne, Louisiana State University, Shanghai Conservatory, Central Conservatory Beijing, and many others.
As a recording artist, VanDemark can be heard on d’Note Records, Philips, Telarc, Vox, Pantheon, and NEXUS.
The New York Times, in the first of its three profiles of VanDemark, also wrote that “Some people seemed destined to lead unconventional lives, and James VanDemark is one of them.” To that end, VanDemark (with legendary boxing coach Dominic Arioli) developed a boxing and conditioning program for Eastman students, subsequently profiled on ESPN, FoxSports, and in The Wall Street Journal. VanDemark’s other boxing accomplishments have been profiled on CBC’s _Q, _WNYC’s _SoundCheck, _and, at the request of violinist Hilary Hahn, in The Strad.
The producer of the highly acclaimed Weill Style Gala _for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, VanDemark has also collaborated with Oscar winning writers Ernest Thompson and Ron Harwood, Oscar nominated writer Hesper Anderson, and television Sir David Frost in developing film and television projects. VanDemark produced the music video _The Gift, with music by Frank Wildhorn, for Atlantic Records.
A high school dropout, VanDemark graduated in 1976 from SUNY Buffalo (BFA, Magna cum Laude). His principal teachers include bassist James Clute and cellist Paul Katz, with additional study with bassist Gary Karr and cellists Gabor Rejto and Leonard Rose.
Mari Kimura is at the forefront of violinists who are extending the technical and expressive capabilities of the instrument. As a performer, composer, and researcher, she has opened up new sonic worlds for the violin. Notably, she has mastered the production of pitches that sound up to an octave below the violin’s lowest string without retuning. This technique, which she calls Subharmonics, has earned Mari considerable renown in the concert music world and beyond. She is also a pioneer in the field of interactive computer music. At the same time, she has earned international acclaim as a soloist and recitalist in both standard and contemporary repertoire.
Born in Tokyo, Japan to two professors (father, architecture; mother, law), Mari began violin lessons at the age of five with Armand Weisbord, a student of Eugène Ysaÿe and former concertmaster of the CBC Orchestra in Ottawa. After earning a Bachelors’ degree in violin performance from the Toho School, Japan’s top conservatory where she studied with Toshiya Eto, she moved to the US to study with Roman Totenberg at Boston University. One semester away from a Masters’ degree, she needed an extra credit to maintain her student visa. Out of curiosity, she chose an electronic music course, setting her on a new artistic path – in her words, “carrying on the old traditions of the violin while using the tools of our age.”
Mari entered the Juilliard School’s doctoral program on a full scholarship, studying with principal teacher Joseph Fuchs and serving as an assistant in Juilliard’s electronic music studio. She began composition studies with Mario Davidovsky at Columbia University, and served as a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). There she was introduced to computer-based live signal processing, and wrote “U” (The Cormorant), her first major work for violin and tape.
In 1992, she composed ALT, an acoustic solo violin work that incorporated her newly-developed Subharmonics technique for the first time. A series of important recitals followed, including her Japanese debut in Tokyo’s Casals Hall and a League of Composers/ISCM Recital Award concert at Merkin Hall. The latter program included ALT, introducing the public to Subharmonics and resulting in a rave review by Edward Rothstein in The New York Times. Mari’s breakthrough drew international attention from both the musical and scientific communities. Her work was mentioned in Physics and Physics Today, and she was invited to demonstrate Subharmonics at the Acoustical Society of America’s 1995 meeting. Since then, more than a dozen articles about Subharmonics have appeared in musical and scientific journals, including several authored by Mari.
Following her graduation from Juilliard in 1993, Mari began to gain increasing prominence as a soloist and recitalist, performing her own music and others’ in more than 20 countries throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. She has premiered many notable works, including John Adams’s Violin Concerto (Japanese premiere), Luciano Berio’s Sequenza VIII (US premiere), Tania Léon’s Axon for violin and computer (world premiere), and Salvatore Sciarrino’s 6 Capricci (US premiere), among others. In 2007, Mari introduced Jean-Claude Risset’s violin concerto, Schemes, at Suntory Hall with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. The cadenza she wrote for the concerto, incorporating advanced Subharmonics, was subsequently published in Strings. In November 2010, Mari appeared as a soloist with the Hamburg Symphony performing John Adams’ Dharma at the Big Sur, under the direction of Jonathan Stockhammer, conductor.
Her star has risen steadily as a composer: she was chosen as a Composer-in-Residence at the Other Minds Festival in San Francisco, and was commissioned by American Composers Forum to write her first orchestral work, a Violin Concerto premiered at the Callejon de Ruído Festival in Guanajuato, Mexico in 1999. She also won a commission from the International Computer Music Association, resulting in her Cuban-inspired Descarga Interactiva, premiered in Göteborg, Sweden. Further commissions followed from the AMDaT dance compony, baritone Thomas Buckner, Harvestworks, Music from Japan, and others. Mari won the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship in Composition, and spent the summer 2010 in Paris as a Composer-in-Residence at IRCAM. As one of her Guggenheim Fellowship project, her latest projects include a violin/cello “Duet x2” with interactive computer, and a commission by the Cassatt String Quartet, "I-Quadrifoglio" for which she was just awarded the Fromm Commission grant 2010. In May 2011, Mari was presented in a solo recital at the Bohemian National Hall in NYC by the Vilcek Foundation (vilcek.org), in recognition of her ground-breaking work as a foreign-born artist. She was featured on NY1 news and two major articles featuring Ms. Kimura’s work appeared: in the New York Times (written by Matthew Gurewitsch) and in Scientific American (written by Larry Greenemeier).
Mari’s multifaceted career is compellingly documented on her most recent commercial recording, Polytopia (Bridge, 2007), which includes music by Jean-Claude Risset, Conlon Nancarrow, Tania León, Milica Paranosic, Frances White, Robert Rowe, and Mari herself. Various tracks find her accompanied by electronic sound, interactive computer, and the GuitarBot, a computer-controlled mechanical stringed instrument created by the League of Electronic Music Urban Robots (LEMUR). Allmusic praised Polytopia as “a highly satisfying debut from a superlative artist who recognizes that the twenty-first century has turned a new page in the relationship between music and technology; she is utilizing all of her super powers to guarantee that her instrument -- the violin -- doesn't get left behind.” Mari’s latest CD, The World Below G and Beyond (Fall 2010 on Mutable Music), is devoted entirely to her own compositions. As the title suggests, it focuses on works using Subharmonics, including the premiere recording of ALT, as well as her interactive computer works. Her works have been supported by grants including New York Foundation for the Arts, Arts International, Jerome Foundation, Meet The Composer, Japan Foundation, Argosy Foundation, and New York State Foundation for the Arts.
Mari is also active as an improvising musician; three recordings feature her in that role. Her first CD, Acoustics, released in 1993 on the Victo label, is a collaboration with guitarist/world music producer Henry Kaiser, together with guitarist Jim O’Rourke (formerly of Sonic Youth) and saxophonist John Oswald. Irrefragable Dreams, an album of improvisations with avant-garde flutist Robert Dick, followed in 1996; Allmusic called it “poetic…highly recommended.” Mari teamed up with improvising multi-instrumentalist Roberto Morales Manzanares for Leyendas (1999), described by Strings magazine as “simply stunning… Kimura brings a rare level of excitement and grandeur to improvised music.”
Since 1998, Mari has been teaching a graduate course in Interactive Computer Music Performance at Juilliard.