Michael Tilson Thomas is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy; Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony; and Conductor Laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra. In addition to these posts, he maintains an active presence guest conducting with the major orchestras of Europe and the United States.
Born in Los Angeles, Mr. Tilson Thomas is the third generation of his family to follow an artistic career. His grandparents, Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky, were founding members of the Yiddish Theater in America. His father, Ted Thomas, was a producer in the Mercury Theater Company in New York before moving to Los Angeles where he worked in films and television. His mother, Roberta Thomas, was the head of research for Columbia Pictures.
Mr. Tilson Thomas began his formal studies at the University of Southern California where he studied piano with John Crown and conducting and composition with Ingolf Dahl. At age 19 he was named Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra. He worked with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen and Copland on premieres of their compositions at Los Angeles’ Monday Evening Concerts. During this same period he was a pianist and conductor for Gregor Piatigorsky and Jascha Heifetz.
In 1969, after winning the Koussevitzky Prize at Tanglewood, he was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. That year he also made his New York debut with the Boston Symphony and gained international recognition after replacing Music Director William Steinberg in mid-concert. He was later appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra where he remained until 1974. He was Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic from 1971 to 1979 and a Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1981 to 1985. His guest conducting includes appearances with the major orchestras of Europe and the United States.
His recorded repertoire of more than 120 discs includes works by composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Mahler, Prokofiev and Stravinsky as well as his pioneering work with the music of Charles Ives, Carl Ruggles, Steve Reich, John Cage, Ingolf Dahl, Morton Feldman, George Gershwin, John McLaughlin and Elvis Costello. He also recorded the complete orchestral works of Gustav Mahler with the San Francisco Symphony.
Mr. Tilson Thomas’ television work includes a series with the London Symphony Orchestra for BBC Television, the television broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts from 1971 to 1977 and numerous productions on PBS’ Great Performances. Mr. Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony produced a multi-tiered media project, Keeping Score, which includes a television series, web sites, radio programs and programs in schools.
In 1990 Mr. Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony were presented in a series of benefit concerts for UNICEF in the United States, featuring Audrey Hepburn as narrator of From the Diary of Anne Frank, composed by Mr. Tilson Thomas and commissioned by UNICEF. This piece has since been translated and performed in many languages worldwide. In August 1995 he led the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in the premiere of his composition Showa/Shoah, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Thomas Hampson premiered his settings of poetry by Walt Whitman, Renée Fleming premiered his settings of the poetry of Emily Dickinson and the San Francisco Symphony premiered his concerto for contrabassoon entitled Urban Legend. As a Carnegie Hall Perspectives Artist from 2003 to 2005, he had an evening devoted to his own compositions which included Island Music for four marimbas and percussion, Notturno for solo flute and strings and a new setting of poems by Rainer Maria Rilke. Other compositions include Street Song for brass instruments and Agnegram, an overture for orchestra.
Among his many honors and awards, Mr. Tilson Thomas is a Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, was Musical America’s Musician of the Year and Conductor of the Year, Gramophone Magazine’s Artist of the Year and has been profiled on CBS’s 60 Minutes and ABC’s Nightline. He has won 11 Grammy Awards for his recordings. In 2008 he received the Peabody Award for his radio series for SFS Media, The MTT Files. In 2010 President Obama awarded him the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the United States Government.
A violist of international reputation, Roberto Díaz is president and CEO of the Curtis Institute of Music, following in the footsteps of renowned soloist/directors such as Josef Hofmann, Efrem Zimbalist, and Rudolf Serkin. As a teacher of viola at Curtis and former principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mr. Díaz has already had a significant impact on American musical life and continues to do so in his dual roles as performer and educator.
As a soloist, Mr. Díaz collaborates with leading conductors of our time on stages throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia. He has also worked directly with important 20th- and 21st-century composers, including Krzysztof Penderecki, whose viola concerto he has performed many times with the composer on the podium and whose double concerto he premiered in the United States; and Edison Denisov who invited Mr. Díaz to Moscow to work on his viola concerto. Ricardo Lorenz, Roberto Sierra, and Jennifer Higdon have all written concerti for Mr. Díaz.
As a frequent recitalist, Mr. Díaz enjoys collaborating with young pianists, bringing a fresh approach to the repertoire and providing invaluable opportunities to artists at the beginnings of their careers. In addition to performing with major string quartets and pianists in chamber music series and festivals worldwide, Mr. Díaz has toured Europe, Asia, and the Americas a member of the Díaz Trio with violinist Andrés Cárdenes and cellist Andrés Díaz. The Díaz Trio has recorded for the Artek and Dorian labels.
Mr. Díaz's recordings on the Naxos label with pianist Robert Koenig include the complete works for viola and piano by Henri Vieuxtemps and a Grammy-nominated disc of viola transcriptions by William Primrose. Also on Naxos are Brahms sonatas with Jeremy Denk and Jonathan Leshnoff's Double Concerto with violinist Charles Wetherbee and the Iris Chamber Orchestra led by Michael Stern. On the New World Records label is a live recording of Mr. Díaz's performance of Jacob Druckman's Viola Concerto with Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philadelphia Orchestra. On the Nimbus label is a recording of the Walton Viola Concerto with the New Haven Symphony and William Boughton. On the Bridge Records label are works for viola and orchestra by Peter Lieberson with the Odense Symphony Orchestra and Scott Yoo.
Since founding Curtis on Tour eight seasons ago, Mr. Díaz has taken the hugely successful program to North and South America, Europe and Asia, performing chamber music side-by-side with Curtis students and other faculty and alumni of the school. His tenure as president of Curtis has also seen the construction of a significant new building which doubled the size of the school's campus; the introduction of a classical guitar department and new conducting and string quartet programs; the launch of Curtis Summerfest, summer courses open to the public; and the debut of an online stage called Curtis Performs. In the fall of 2013 Curtis became the first classical music conservatory to offer free online classes through Coursera.
Also under Mr. Díaz’s leadership, Curtis has developed lasting collaborations with other music and arts institutions in Philadelphia and throughout the world and established a dynamic social entrepreneurship curriculum, supported by a prestigious Advancement Grant from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. Designed to develop the entrepreneurial and advocacy skills of young musicians, this curriculum includes the project-based Community Artist Program (CAP) and post-graduate Curtis ArtistYear Fellowship Program. Curtis was the first higher-education arts institution to join ArtistYear and respond to the challenge issued by the Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project: to foster a 21st-century national service system, with a goal of one million service-year positions created by 2023.
Mr. Díaz received an honorary doctorate from Bowdoin College and was awarded an honorary membership by the National Board of the American Viola Society. In 2013 Mr. Díaz became a member of the prestigious American Philosophical Society founded by Benjamin Franklin. As a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he was selected by Music Director Christoph Eschenbach to receive the C. Hartman Kuhn Award, given annually to "the member of the Philadelphia Orchestra who has shown ability and enterprise of such character as to enhance the standards and the reputation of the Philadelphia Orchestra." Mr. Díaz received a bachelor's degree from the New England Conservatory of Music where he studied with Burton Fine, and a diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music where his teacher was his predecessor at the Philadelphia Orchestra, Joseph de Pasquale. Mr. Díaz also has a degree in industrial design.
In addition to his decade-long tenure as principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he performed the entire standard viola concerto repertoire and gave a number of Philadelphia Orchestra premieres, Mr. Díaz was principal viola of the National Symphony under Mstislav Rostropovich, a member of the Boston Symphony under Seiji Ozawa, and a member of the Minnesota Orchestra under Sir Neville Marriner. Mr. Díaz plays the ex-Primrose Amati viola.
Kim Kashkashian, internationally recognized as a unique voice on the viola, was born of Armenian parents in Michigan. She studied the viola with Karen Tuttle and legendary violist Walter Trampler at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. Since fall 2000 she has taught viola and chamber music at New England Conservatory.
Following Grammy Award nominations for several previous recordings, Ms. Kashkashian received a 2012 Grammy Award in the "Best Classical Instrumental Solo" category for Kurtág and Ligeti: Music for Viola, on the ECM Records label. Ms. Kashkashian's recording, with Robert Levin, of the Brahms Sonatas won the Edison Prize in 1999. Her June 2000 recording of concertos by Bartók, Eötvös and Kurtág won the 2001 Cannes Classical Award for a premiere recording by soloist with orchestra.
In 2016 Ms. Kashkashian was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Ms. Kashkashian has worked tirelessly to broaden the range of technique, advocacy, and repertoire for the viola. A staunch proponent of contemporary music, she has developed creative relationships with György Kurtág, Krzysztof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, Giya Kancheli, and Arvo Pärt, and commissioned works from Peter Eötvös, Ken Ueno, Thomas Larcher, Lera Auerbach and Tigran Mansurian.
Marlboro and the Viennese school represented by her mentor, Felix Galimir, were major influences in developing Ms. Kashkashian’s love of chamber music. She is a regular participant at the Verbier, Salzburg, Lockenhaus, Marlboro and Ravinia festivals. She has long-standing duo partnerships with pianist Robert Levin and percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky, and played in a unique string quartet with Gidon Kremer, Daniel Phillips and Yo-Yo Ma.
As a soloist, Ms. Kashkashian has appeared with the great orchestras of Berlin, London, Vienna, Milan, New York and Cleveland, and in recital at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, Kaufmann Hall, New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, as well as in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Frankfurt, Berlin, Paris, Athens and Tokyo.
Ms. Kashkashian's musicianship has been well represented on recordings through her association with the prestigious ECM label in a fruitful collaboration that has been continuous since 1985.
Ms. Kashkashian has taught in Bloomington, Indiana, and in Freiburg and Berlin, Germany, and now resides with her daughter in Boston. She is a founding member of Music for Food, an initiative by musicians to fight hunger in their home communities.
American violist Matthew Lipman is recognized as one of the world’s leading young instrumentalists. He has been hailed by The New York Times for his "rich tone and elegant phrasing" and by the Chicago Tribune for his "splendid technique and musical sensitivity.”
A 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, Mr. Lipman has appeared as soloist with the Minnesota, Illinois Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony, Wisconsin Chamber, Juilliard, Ars Viva Symphony, and Montgomery Symphony orchestras, and in recital at the WQXR Greene Space in New York City and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Lipman released the world-premiere recording of the newly discovered Impromptu by Dmitri Shostakovich, debuted in recital at Lincoln Center’s Rose Studio with pianist Henry Kramer. He also headlined a tour of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and performed Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante as special guest artist at the Royal Northern College in Manchester, U.K. His debut solo album Ascent—that features a new commission by Brazilian composer Clarice Assad—was released by Cedille Records in February 2019. The Telegraph praised Mr. Lipman as “gifted with poise and a warmth of timbre” on his Avie recording of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with violinist Rachel Barton Pine and the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields with the preeminent Mozart scholar Sir Neville Marriner, which topped the Billboard charts. He was the only violist featured on WFMT Chicago’s list of "30 Under 30" of the world’s top classical musicians and has been profiled by The Strad, Strings and BBC Music magazines.
Mr. Lipman performs internationally as a chamber musician with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and regularly at the prominent Music@Menlo, Marlboro, Ravinia, Bridgehampton, Seattle, Cleveland and White Nights festivals. A top prizewinner of the Primrose, Tertis, Washington, Johansen and Stulberg International Competitions, he received his bachelor's and master's degrees as an inaugural Kovner fellow from The Juilliard School as a student of Heidi Castleman, and was further mentored by Tabea Zimmermann at the Kronberg Academy. A native of Chicago, Mr. Lipman was recently appointed viola faculty at Stony Brook University and performs on a fine 1700 Matteo Goffriller viola loaned through the generous efforts of the RBP Foundation and a Dominique Peccatte viola bow.
Cynthia Phelps has Principal Violist with the New York Philharmonic since 1992. Her solo appearances with the orchestra have included performances on the 2006 Tour of Italy and the 1999 premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Two Paths, which the Philharmonic commissioned for her and the orchestra’s associate principal violist Rebecca Young. Other solo engagements have included the Minnesota Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic and Orquesta Sinfónica de Bilbao. Ms. Phelps performs with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Boston Chamber Music Society and Bargemusic. She has toured internationally with the Zukerman and Friends Ensemble, appeared with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Guarneri, American, Brentano and Prague string quartets. She has given recitals in the music capitals of Europe and the U.S. Her honors include the Pro Musicis International Award and first prize in the Lionel Tertis International Viola and Washington International String competitions. Her most recent album, for flute, viola and harp, on Telarc, was nominated for a Grammy Award. She has a solo album on Cala Records. She has performed on PBS’s NPR, Radio France and RAI in Italy. Ms. Phelps studied at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.
Violist Nadia Sirota’s varied career spans solo performances, chamber music, curation and broadcasting. In all branches of her artistic life she aims to open classical music up to a broader audience. Her singular sound and expressive execution have served as muse to dozens of composers, including Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, Missy Mazzoli, Daníel Bjarnason, Judd Greenstein, Marcos Balter and David Lang. Ms. Sirota won a 2015 Peabody Award, broadcasting’s highest honor, for her podcast Meet the Composer, “the world’s best contemporary classical music podcast” (Pitchfork), which deftly profiled some of the most interesting musical thinkers living today.
Since 2018 Ms. Sirota has served as the New York Philharmonic’s Creative Partner, a position created for her. In this role, she helped create and hosts two series: Nightcap and Sound ON, the latter of which she also curates. In addition, she works with the Philharmonic on contemporary music initiatives across the organization.
As a soloist, Ms. Sirota has appeared with acclaimed orchestras around the world, including the Detroit Symphony, Colorado Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Spanish National Orchestra and Orchestre National d’Île-de-France. To date, she has released four solo albums of commissioned music, first things first (2009), Baroque (2013), Keep In Touch (2016) and Tessellatum (2017). She is a member of Bedroom Community, a collective of musically diverse artists who work and collaborate at Reykjavik’s Greenhouse Studios. She has also lent her sound to recording and concert projects by such artists as The National, David Bowie and Björk.
Ms. Sirota is a member of the acclaimed chamber sextet yMusic. Their virtuosic execution and unique configuration have attracted high profile collaborators including Paul Simon, Ben Folds and Anohni, and inspired an expanding repertoire of original works by prominent composers including Andrew Norman, Caroline Shaw and Chris Thile.
Ms. Sirota has received the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for her work in radio, and Southern Methodist University’s Meadows Prize, awarded to pioneering artists and scholars with an emerging international profile. She sits on the board of directors of Chamber Music America, the national service organization for ensemble music professionals. She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School, where she studied with Heidi Castleman, Misha Amory and Hsin-Yun Huang.
Jonathan Vinocour joined the San Francisco Symphony as Principal Viola in 2009, having previously served as Principal Viola of the Saint Louis Symphony and Guest Principal Viola of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. A native of Rochester, he graduated from Princeton University with a degree in chemistry. He completed his master’s degree at the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Kim Kashkashian.
With the San Francisco Symphony, Mr. Vinocour has appeared as soloist in Britten’s Double Concerto and Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante (both with Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik), Berlioz’ Harold in Italy and Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel. He has also performed as a soloist with the Saint Louis Symphony. His first solo album, featuring works of Britten and Shostakovich, was recorded with the support of the Holland America Music Society. Mr. Vinocour was also a featured recitalist at the 2012 International Viola Congress, and he performs frequently in recital throughout the Bay Area.
Mr. Vinocour has been a regular participant at the Marlboro Music Festival and has toured extensively with Musicians from Marlboro. He enjoys a busy chamber music schedule during summer seasons, participating in many festivals such as Seattle Chamber Music, Aspen Music Festival, Bay Chamber Concerts, Music in the Vineyards and the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, among others. He has been a guest of the Da Camera Society of Los Angeles, Boston Chamber Music Society, International Sejong Soloists, and is a frequent guest artist with the Saint Lawrence String Quartet. He is a founding member of ECCO (East Coast Chamber Orchestra), based in New York.
A dedicated and increasingly active pedagogue, Mr. Vinocour has presented master classes at conservatories around the country and abroad. He is a regular coach at the New World Symphony, has been on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School, and is currently on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He plays a 1784 Lorenzo Storioni viola, on loan from the San Francisco Symphony.
For many years, Tabea Zimmermann has been regarded as one of the most renowned musicians of our time. Audiences and fellow musicians value her charismatic personality and deep musical understanding. Arguably the finest violist in the world today, she owes her success not only to her exceptional talent, but also to the support of her parents, thorough training by excellent teachers, a tireless enthusiasm to communicate her understanding and love of music to her audience and an uncompromisingly high quality standard.
As a soloist Ms. Zimmermann regularly works with the most distinguished orchestras worldwide such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, London Symphony, Israel Philharmonic and the Czech Philharmonic. Following residencies in Weimar, Luxembourg, Hamburg and with the Bamberg Symphony, she was artist-in-residence with the Ensemble Resonanz from 2013-15, and continues this close collaboration. In the 2015-16 season, she was artist-in-residence of the Frankfurt Museums-Gesellschaft.
Ms. Zimmermann kicked off the 2018-19 season with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra at the BBC Proms. Further highlights of the current season include her concerts with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under Susanna Mälkki, the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest under Markus Stenz and at the Philharmonie de Paris with Les Siècles under Francois-Xavier Roth. On a tour of Asia, she will perform Mantovani‘s Double Concerto together with Antoine Tamestit and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, and appear with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in York Höller’s new Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, which she premiered in 2018 with the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne under François-Xavier Roth.
The Arcanto Quartet, in which Ms. Zimmermann performs with violinists Antje Weithaas and Daniel Sepec and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, has provided a special focus for her chamber music activities. On the label Harmonia Mundi, they have released CDs of works by Bartók, Brahms, Ravel, Dutilleux, Debussy, Schubert and Mozart.
Ms. Zimmermann has inspired numerous composers to write for the viola and has introduced many new works into the standard concert and chamber music repertoire. In 1994 she gave the highly successful world premiere of the Sonata for Solo Viola by György Ligeti, a work composed especially for her. The subsequent premieres of this work in London, New York, Paris, Jerusalem, Amsterdam and Japan attracted great critical and public acclaim. In recent seasons, Ms. Zimmermann has premiered Recicanto for Viola and Orchestra by Heinz Holliger, the viola concerto Über die Linie IV by Wolfgang Rihm, Monh by George Lentz, Notte di pasqua by Frank Michael Beyer, a double concerto by Bruno Mantovani with Antoine Tamestit, and Filz by Enno Poppe with Ensemble Resonanz. She played the premiere of Michael Jarrell’s Viola Concerto at Festival Musica Strasbourg 2017 with the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire under Pascal Rophé; and subsequent performances with the Vienna Symphony under Ingo Metzmacher, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Pascal Rophé and the Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin under Mario Venzago.
To mark Hindemith’s anniversary in 2013, Ms. Zimmermann released a highly acclaimed complete recording of the composer’s works for viola on myrios classics. Following the success of her recording of solo works by Reger and Bach with myrios classics in 2009 – for which she received an Echo Klassik prize as Instrumentalist of the Year – she has released three albums with pianists Kirill Gerstein and Thomas Hoppe. Ms. Zimmerman’s artistry is documented on approximately 50 CDs for labels such as EMI, Teldec and Deutsche Grammophon. A live recording of her performance on Beethoven’s own viola at the Beethovenhaus Bonn, accompanied by Hartmut Höll, was released by Ars Musici.
Ms. Zimmermann has received several national and international awards for her outstanding artistic achievements. These include the Federal Cross of Merit, Frankfurter Musikpreis, Hessischer Kulturpreis, Rheingau Musikpreis, International Prize Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Sienna, the Paul-Hindemith-Prize from the city of Hanau and most recently as Artist of the Year by the ICMA International Classical Music Awards 2017. She is a foundation board member of the Hindemith Foundation in Blonay (Switzerland) as well as ambassador for the German Foundation for Children’s Hospices. In 2013 she was appointed chairwoman of the board of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn. Under her aegis, the Beethoven-Woche Bonn has taken place every year since January 2015.
Ms. Zimmermann began learning the viola at the age of three, and two years later began playing the piano. She studied with Ulrich Koch at the Musikhochschule Freiburg and subsequently with Sandor Vegh at the Mozarteum Salzburg. Following her studies, she received several awards at international competitions, amongst them first prizes at the 1982 Geneva International Competition and the 1984 Budapest International Competition. As a result of winning the 1983 Maurice Vieux Competition in Paris, she received a viola by the contemporary maker Etienne Vatelot, on which she has been performing ever since. From 1987 to 2000, she regularly gave concerts in Düsseldorf, Jerusalem and Luxembourg with the late David Shallon, father of her two sons Yuval and Jonathan. Ms. Zimmermann has held teaching posts at the Musikhochschule Saarbrücken and Hochschule für Musik Frankfurt. Since 2002 she has been a professor at the Hochschule für Musik ‘Hanns Eisler’ in Berlin, where she now lives with her three children.
Nico Muhly (b.1981) is an American composer and sought-after collaborator whose influences range from American minimalism to the Anglican choral tradition. The recipient of commissions from The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Tallis Scholars and St. John’s College, Cambridge and others, he has written more than 100 works for the concert stage, including the opera Marnie (2017), which premiered at the English National Opera and was staged by the Metropolitan Opera in the fall of 2018.
Mr. Muhly is a frequent collaborator with choreographer Benjamin Millepied and, as an arranger, has paired with Sufjan Stevens, Antony and the Johnsons and others. His work for stage and screen include music for the Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie and scores for films including the Academy Award-winning The Reader. Born in Vermont, Mr. Muhly studied composition at The Juilliard School before working as an editor and conductor for Philip Glass. He is part of the artist-run record label Bedroom Community, which released his first two albums, Speaks Volumes (2006) and Mothertongue (2008). He lives in New York City.
Conductor, composer and curator Christopher Rountree has distinguished himself as one of classical music’s most forward-thinking innovators in programming, conducting and community building. Whether presenting his beloved chamber group wild Up in a museum bathroom or leading the country’s most renowned ensembles through new music’s most exciting works at the world’s greatest concert halls, Mr. Rountree is the linchpin between orchestral music and the future of performance.
Mr. Rountree founded the renegade ensemble wild Up in 2010. The group’s eccentric mix of new music, pop and performance art quickly jumped from raucous DIY bar shows to being lauded as the vanguard for classical music by critics for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and public radio’s Performance Today. The success of wild Up has led Mr. Rountree to collaborations with Björk, John Adams, David Lang, Scott Walker, and many of the planet’s greatest orchestras and ensembles.
Last season, Mr. Rountree’s vision was fully realized as he curated and conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 16-concert FLUXUS Festival, the experimental music component of the Philharmonic’s 100th season in collaboration with the Getty Research Institute. Mr. Rountree’s 2018-19 season also included debuts with the Cincinnati and Berkeley symphonies, and the New York premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up. He takes wild Up on tour with audience-interactive programs, celebrating local communities and the intersection of art and social justice; unveils an evening-length program with Ted Hearne, George Lewis, Jen Hill and Weston Olencki about religion, space and the Internet called of Ascension; makes his debut on the Ecstatic Music Festival; plays a live radio show at the ACE Hotel with Nadia Sirota, Andrew Norman and Caroline Shaw; curates a joint program with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Four Larks; and conducts a new program called Eve with Martha Graham Dance Company.
In 2018 Mr. Rountree debuted with Martha Graham Dance Company and Opéra national de Paris conducting The Rite of Spring, Barber’s Medea, and the Paris premiere of the Graham-Copland Appalachian Spring at Palais Garnier. Recently, he made his Lincoln Center debut premiering Ashley Fure’s Pulitzer Prize-finalist piece Bound to the Bow on the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial; conducted Ted Hearne’s Law of Mosaics with the Chicago Symphony; gave the world premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s opera Proving Up; conducted the world premiere of David Lang’s opera anatomy theater at Los Angeles Opera; and premiered Annie Gosfield and Yuval Sharon’s War of the Worlds with Sigourney Weaver and Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, simultaneously performed across downtown Los Angeles and at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
A seventh-generation California native, Mr. Rountree lives in Los Angeles.
Michael Linville enjoys a varied career as pianist, percussionist, harpist, conductor, educator and arranger. The Dean of Chamber Music and Fellow Development at the New World Symphony, Mr. Linville programs and coaches much of its extensive non-orchestral performance activities. Additionally, he is the conductor and coordinator of the New World Percussion Consort and acts as curator of MUSAIC, the New World Symphony’s website of educational videos featuring outstanding artists and educators in classical music.
Mr. Linville first came to the New World Symphony in 1993 as its Piano Fellow. In 1997 he was invited to join the Symphony’s administrative staff and has served in several capacities, including Director of Admissions and Dean of Musicians. As a performer, Mr. Linville has appeared with NWS, the symphonies of San Francisco and Honolulu, the Florida Orchestra and the former Florida Philharmonic. Since 1993 he has been a member of the Breckenridge Music Festival in Colorado, performing concerts as pianist, percussionist and conductor during the summer season and in chamber music and educational projects during the winter. In 2016 he was named an Artistic Partner of the Festival, co-curating its chamber music series with violinist Kate Hatmaker.
Acclaimed cellist/gambist Caroline Nicolas enjoys an active and multifaceted career as one of the outstanding performers of music from the Renaissance to the Romantic eras. She regularly appears with leading ensembles as a soloist, chamber musician and music director, and has collaborated with such eminent musicians as Andrea Marcon, Amandine Beyer, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Jordi Savall, William Christie, Rachel Podger, Harry Bicket and Stephen Stubbs. Noted for her “eloquent artistry and rich, vibrant sound” (Gainesville Times), she has been praised for her ability to combine emotionally rich interpretations with a historically inquisitive spirit.
Ms. Nicolas’ awards include having been selected as a fellow of The English Concert in America, given to young musicians “who appear likely to make significant contributions to the field of early music.” As the winner of The Juilliard School’s Historical Performance concerto competition, she made her solo debut in New York’s Alice Tully Hall. Ensembles she has worked with include Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Mercury Baroque Orchestra, Ars Lyrica, Juilliard Baroque, Kammerorchester Basel and Sinfonieorchester Liechtenstein. Festival appearances include the Boston Early Music Festival, Bach Festival Leipzig and Styriarte Festival in Austria. Her performances have been broadcast on KUHF in Texas, WDIY in Pennsylvania, and CCTV in China.
For the 2019-20 season, Ms. Nicolas looks forward to debut collaborations with the New World Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas) and the Seattle Baroque Orchestra (Alexander Weimann). She will also be engaged in return performances with Pacific MusicWorks (Stephen Stubbs), Victoria Baroque (Jeanne Lamon) and The English Concert in America. She will be embarking on a variety of tours with programs ranging from English broken consort pieces to sonatas of Beethoven and Schubert.
A dedicated educator, Ms. Nicolas is often invited to lecture on various topics in historical performance practice, from Renaissance improvisation to bow technique. This year, she has also been appointed Music Director of the New Baroque Orchestra, where she will be leading programs that explore the musical life of the radical intellectual, Christina, Queen of Sweden. Her commitment to bringing classical music to the community has led her to curate a wide range of programs for elementary schools, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and bars. She has also assisted in developing school music curriculum for children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
A native of Winnipeg, Canada, Ms. Nicolas was first introduced to the cello by her mother, an elementary school music teacher. After falling in love with the expressive possibilities of gut strings, she studied with Phoebe Carrai at The Juilliard School and Christophe Coin and Paolo Pandolfo at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. She lives in Seattle with her husband, lutenist Kevin Payne, where she serves on the board of Pacific Northwest Viols. More information can be found at: www.carolinenicolas.com.
Gold medalist of the 7th International Bach-Abel Competition, Arnie Tanimoto is equally at home on the viola da gamba and Baroque cello. He was the first-ever viola da gamba major at The Juilliard School, where he soloed on both instruments. Described by The New York Times as a “fine instrumental soloist” he performs in venues across the United States, Europe and Japan. The recipient of a 2017 Frank Huntington Beebe Fund Fellowship, he has also performed and recorded with Barthold Kuijken, the Boston Early Music Festival Ensemble and the Smithsonian Consort of Viols.
Mr. Tanimoto is an advocate for the viola da gamba, and can be found giving lecture demonstrations and premieres of new works for the instrument around the country. As a teacher, he serves on faculty at the Mountainside Baroque Summer Academy, as well as maintaining a private studio. He holds degrees and certificates from Oberlin Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School and the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.
Michael Beattie has received international attention for his work as a conductor and keyboardist specializing in the music of the Baroque period. In 2009 he made his Glimmerglass Opera debut conducting Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with Jonathan Miller as stage director, and in 2012, he conducted Handel’s Teseo for the Chicago Opera Theater. With the Pittsburgh Opera and Chatham Baroque, he conducted Handel's Rinaldo in 2011, Rodelinda in 2015, and returned in January 2017 to conduct Handel’s Riccardo Primo. For many years as Associate Conductor of Boston’s Emmanuel Music, he has conducted Handel's Ariodante, Bach's St. John Passion and the complete Bach Motets, as well as more than one hundred Bach cantatas in the weekly series at Emmanuel Church.
A highly regarded keyboard player, Mr. Beattie has performed as harpsichordist and organist with the Boston Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Boston Baroque, Handel and Haydn Society, Mark Morris Dance Group, Boston Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Glimmerglass Opera Festival and the Carmel Bach Festival. In 2009 he joined Les Violons du Roy for their 25th anniversary tour (with performances of Messiah and Bach's Christmas Oratorio in Quebec, Montreal, Carnegie Hall and Walt Disney Concert Hall). Keyboard highlights of recent seasons include concerts with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in Alice Tully Hall, Pegasus Early Music, Emmanuel Music, La Jolla SummerFest, TENET and the Sebastians. In 2014 he joined the National Symphony of Mexico as keyboardist for Bach’s St. John Passion.
In demand as a continuo player and vocal coach, Mr. Beattie has been on the music staff of Glimmerglass Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Pittsburgh Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Florida Grand Opera and the Carmel Bach Festival (where he is Director of the Virginia Best Adams Master Class). He has served as musical assistant to Harry Bicket, Jane Glover, Emmanuelle Haïm, Bernard Labadie, Raymond Leppard, and Antony Walker. He is a founding member and harpsichordist of Favella Lyrica and the Baroque chamber ensemble Très.
Mr. Beattie has been associated with several projects of director Peter Sellars. He was Assistant Conductor for Sellars's staging of the Mozart/da Ponte operas conducted by Craig Smith, which were performed throughout the United States and Europe, recorded for television and released on DVD. He was organist for Sellars’s staging of two Bach cantatas featuring Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, performed at the Mostly Mozart Festival, Lucerne Festival, Barbican Centre, and Cité de la Musique, and subsequently recorded for Nonesuch records.
Ljubinka Kulisic is an accordion artist based in New York City. She has won several awards at competitions performing modern pieces for accordion. She received her bachelor and master of arts in music performance from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland in Lugano. She has performed as a soloist and with contemporary music ensembles across Europe, Canada and United States.
Ms. Kulisic focuses on modern pieces originally written for accordion, as well as chamber music pieces with classical free bass accordion. Her first collaboration with Italian composer Giovanni Santini in 2011 led to the creation of a new work, Combat de Centaures for accordion solo.
Ms. Kulisic has participated in numerous festivals such as Act Performance Festival in Dampfzentrale in Bern, Switzerland, where she performed pieces for accordion by Arne Nordheim, and Contemporary Music Festival “900 e presente’’ in Radio of Italian Switzerland (RSI), where she performed pieces of John Cage.
In 2012 Ms. Kulisic gave the world premiere performance, recording and direct radio broadcast of the newly written piece for modern ensemble with accordion Al’ angelo blu by Giovanni Santini.
She also participated at Lungolago Festival 2014 for the world premiere of Round, written for four sopranos, two accordions, piano and percussions by Italian composer and accordionist Gabriele Marangoni.
Besides her involvement in music originally written for her instrument, Ms. Kulisic also transcribes Baroque and Classical pieces written for harpsichord, piano and organ.
In 2014 Ms. Kulisic earned a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Music Pedagogy from Halvetic Music Institute- Private Institute for Continuing Education in Music Pedagogy and Music Therapy in Bellinzona, Switzerland. From 2015 to 2017 she studied at the University of Toronto, where she worked as a teaching assistant for the Contemporary Music Ensemble (CME) at the Faculty of Music. She led the ensemble of graduate students and introduced them to new music literature, new compositional techniques and ways of interpreting contemporary musical pieces. She sat in a committee for the admission of new members and participated in the organization and preparation of concerts.
In 2017 during a U.S. tour, Ms. Kulisic participated in the Cotati Accordion Festival in California. Her collaboration with American jazz accordionist Cory Pesaturo led to a presentation of the accordion in Google in San Francisco. In Google Talks, two accordionists presented the differences between electronic and acoustic accordion.
Ms. Kulisic speaks English, German, Italian and Serbian.
Samuel Zygmuntowicz was already a prize-winning sculptor before beginning his instrument-making studies at age 13. Since 1985 he has made instruments by advance commission for violin soloists such as Cho-Liang Lin, Joshua Bell, Maxim Vengerov, Leila Josefowicz; cellos for Yo-Yo Ma, David Finckel and the Montreal Symphony’s Principal Cellist Brian Manker; and violas for The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Principal Viola Choong-Jin Chang, the Detroit Symphony’s Principal Viola Eric Nowlin and the Emerson Quartet’s violist Lawrence Dutton. A 1994 violin that he made for Isaac Stern set a record for the highest auction price paid for a musical instrument by a living maker. The Harper Collins book The Violinmaker documents his making of a violin for Eugene Drucker.
Mr. Zygmuntowicz is a graduate of the SLC Violinmaking School, and he has studied advanced making and restoration with Carl Becker and Rene Morel. His faithful copies of classic violins won early acclaim and he has designed many personal models as well. In addition to his extensive studies of traditional violinmaking, he has worked closely with acoustic researchers and is often on staff at both the Violinmaking and Violin Acoustics Workshops at Oberlin College, where he explores the intersections of science, craft, tradition and music.
Mr. Zygmuntowicz is Creative Director of Strad3D Project, under the direction of physicist George Bissinger, which featured the first 3D laser vibration studies of Stradivari and Guarneri violins. The Strad3D.org research publication includes scientists, violinmakers, musicians, filmmakers and designers, and was called by The Strad “The most groundbreaking and comprehensive studies of the violin form ever conceived.”
Mr. Zygmuntowicz has presented his findings throughout the U.S., including at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The Juilliard School, Friends of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Music@Menlo and La Jolla Chamber Music festivals, and the St. Lawrence String Qt. Chamber Music Program at Stanford. He has presented at conferences including the American Society of Acoustics, Arts and Science at CUNY, E.G. Conference, Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix and MOMATH in NYC, and presented internationally in Italy, Sweden, England, Belgium, Spain, Australia and Canada, including at the Banff International String Quartet Competition.
Mr. Zygmuntowicz lives in Brooklyn and plays fiddle with a variety of performing folk music groups. His recordings include Grand Picnic and Jump When the Trumpets Blow.
Opera News praises tenor Jason Ferrante for “singing up a stylish storm” and for getting “the gold star for trills,” and the Berkshire Eagle says he “seems to brighten every stage he mounts.” Mr. Ferrante created the role of Little Victor Farrell in the world premiere of Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Elizabeth Cree with Opera Philadelphia to open their O17 Festival and he repeated Little Victor for his debut with Chicago Opera Theater.
On the concert stage, Mr. Ferrante has appeared with the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, National Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Boise Philharmonic, Tucson Symphony, Traverse Symphony at Interlochen, Key Chorale of Sarasota and Juilliard Orchestra in operas and concerts, as well as masterpieces such as Handel’s Messiah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Mass in C, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Bach’s Magnificat.
Mr. Ferrante holds both bachelor of music and master of music degrees from The Juilliard School, where he held the Alice Tully Voice Scholarship. His professional training includes summers at Wolf Trap, Aspen Music Festival and Tanglewood. His primary vocal studies were with legendary vocal pedagogue Beverley Peck Johnson with additional studies with Rita Shane, Phyllis Curtin and Cynthia Hoffmann.