(CIMF Artist & Youth Program Faculty)

An award-winning flutist, content creator, and educator, Katherine (Katie) Lee Althen enjoys a rich career with a multifaceted impact on the arts. Widely recognized as a unique musician, the Boston Musical Intelligencer has praised her performances for their “great sinuous magic,” while flute legend Paula Robison describes Katie as “a true, intelligent artist with a wonderful sense of humor and awareness of life’s surprises.”

A Juilliard graduate, she has performed alongside Sir James Galway during his live 75th birthday celebration and shared the stage with Renée Fleming. She appeared on the exclusive 2018 of Rocktopia on Broadway, a fusion of classical and classic rock music, and was the principal flutist of Yeethoven II’s Lincoln Center premiere, the Beethoven-Kanye West fusion concert that drew attention from TIME Magazine, The Atlantic, and more. She has also performed across the United States and US East Coast, appearing with the Reading Symphony Orchestra, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, The Orchestra Now, Berks Sinfonietta, Artosphere Festival Orchestra, among others, as well as with the chamber music ensemble Frisson, with whom she toured across five US states and Bermuda. 

Eager to diversify her impact, Katie is known to a wide audience for her contributions to the flute community on Instagram and Youtube, where she has amassed over 52,000 followers and subscribers. On Instagram, she uses her platform to serve as a mentor to younger musicians and she currently serves as a Brand Ambassador for the Flute Center of New York. Having grown her account since the summer of 2014, she is recognized as one of the first flute Instagram content creators as well as the originator of the #flutelyfe hashtag, and can be found @katieflute. On YouTube, she produces content demonstrating flutes from the Flute Center of New York, as well as full-length performances, vlogs, and more.

Since her early days on the school bus voraciously consuming Beethoven symphonies via Walkman player, Katie has eagerly sought out how to bring the joy she experiences with music to everyone. As a student, she gave intimate performances with fellow colleagues to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, and was deeply moved by the experience. She has thereafter actively sought to continue contributing to her community—since then, she has given performances in assisted-living facilities, high schools, and food banks in Boston and her hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania. Her community outreach efforts have been supported by grants from the New England Conservatory and The Juilliard School. Most recently, she performed a duo recital for a sold-out audience in Guadalajara, Mexico benefiting the “Adopte una Obra de Arte” organization.

A firm believer in sharing her talent and love of music, Katie maintains a private flute studio in New York City where she teaches students from ages 8 to over 60. She has also taught at the New York Music School and at the JCC Thurnauer of School of Music, both in Tenafly, New Jersey.  Furthermore, she is frequently invited to the country’s most prominent summer music festivals, including the Atlantic Music Festival, with whom she was a Resident Artist, and the Sarasota Music Festival.

Now based in New York City, Katie is from outside of Reading, Pennsylvania, and holds a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory, with additional studies at the Peabody Conservatory. Her principal teachers include Robert Langevin, Paula Robison, and Marina Piccinini, and she is grateful for the additional tutelage of Ann Cusano, Dr. David McConnell, Robin Kani, Robin Lilarose, and Kathryn Wadsworth. She is the winner of the Yamaha Prize at the 2011 Julius Baker Masterclasses, and won third prize at the 2016 New York Flute Club Competition. Katie plays on a 9-karat rose gold Muramatsu flute and a copper Trevor James alto flute.

(CIMF Artist & Adult Chamber Workshop Faculty)

With unparalleled technical, musical and communication skills, Marika Bournaki is at once, a world class performer, outstanding pianist, vivacious young woman… and the freshest face on the classical music scene. Marika’s innovative approach to her art and performance is reflected in her recent collaboration, “Let’s Play”, with cutting-edge and world-renowned multimedia creative shop, Moment Factory. Her role as Ambassador to the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s summer event, “A Cool Classical Journey” was an exceptional opportunity to explore new and exciting ways to share her music with the public. Marika not only brings distinctive interpretations to favourite standards, she also extends her passion for music by commissioning works by younger composers and collaborating with artists from various fields.

The award-winning documentary, “I am not a rock star”,  directed by Bobbi Jo Hart and featuring Marika, has captivated audiences of all ages in festivals around the world. The feature-length film… (see it at… chronicles Marika’s evolution as an artist from the age of 12 to 20. A runaway success at multiple international film festivals, “I am not a rock star” was screened at, among others, the 30th International Festival of Films on Art in Montreal, the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival in Greece, the Barcelona Music Documentary Film Festival, the DocsDF Festival in Mexico, the Napa Valley Film Festival in California. Marika’s unique approach and intense passion have also been heard over the airwaves on Radio-Canada, Radio-France, BBC, WQXR in New York City, and Toronto’s Classical 96.3 FM. She has been featured on television networks such as ERT, TF1, France 2, CTV, Global, Radio-Canada, CBC, and Canal+.

Recent performances include a recital at the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens, Greece, a recital at Plaza Hidalgo in Mexico, a benefit recital for the Glenn Gould Foundation at New York’s Carnegie Hall, a guest solo appearance in Montreal with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, recitals at the National Arts Center in Ottawa, at the Flanders Festival in Belgium, the Konzert Accordate Series in Aachen Germany, the EMMA Concert Association in Florida, Chamber Music Northwest in Oregon, and the Luminato Festival in Toronto. Other engagements include performances with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra in Russia, as well as recitals in South Korea, Romania, Italy,Switzerland, and England. Marika holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music, in New York. She participated in the International Academy Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, as well as the Internationale Mendelssohn Akademie in Leipzig, playing in master classes for Dmitri Bashkirov, Andras Schiff, Karl-Heinz Kammerling and Arie Vardi.

(CIMF Artist)

Korean-American violinist Julia Ahyoung Choi joined the First Violin section of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the 2019 season. Prior to her appointment with the MET, she performed extensively with The Philadelphia Orchestra, has been seen in performances with the New York Philharmonic, Montclair Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, San Diego Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and has appeared as Guest Assistant Concertmaster of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Choi has also served as the Concertmaster, Principal Second, and other leadership positions for the Juilliard Orchestra, Juilliard Opera, New York String Orchestra Seminar, Music Academy Festival Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, and the Manhattan Chamber Sinfonia.

A versatile and well-rounded musician, Ms. Choi enjoys a varied musical career of solo, chamber, and orchestral appearances throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Ms. Choi has been recognized and praised for her “narrative sweep and involving performance” (NY Times), and “delightful idiosyncrasy” (The Classical Source). She was a co-founding member of the Hyon Trio, with Kevin Ahfat on piano and her sister Jennifer Choi on cello, who made their Alice Tully Hall debut in 2015. Together with her sister, a cellist currently with the Dallas Symphony, Ms. Choi has performed the Brahms Double Concerto in Santa Barbara, and presented several duo recitals throughout New York City. Ms. Choi has premiered works as a member of the New Juilliard Ensemble and AXIOM, and has collaborated with various groups in New York City, including the Korea Society, Manhattan Chamber Players, BalletX, OnSite Opera, Scandinavia House Events, Music on Park Avenue, and Music for Life International.

Ms. Choi has spent her summers performing at the Verbier Festival, Artosphere Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, Spoleto Festival USA, Great Mountains Music Festival, and Meadowmount School of Music. She is also a prizewinner of competitions including the LISMA International, NJ ASTA, Music Academy Concerto, and Caprio Young Artists Competitions.

A third-generation educator, Ms. Choi has served for three years as a Teaching Assistant in the Ear Training Department for both the College and Pre-College Divisions at The Juilliard School, alongside Mary Anthony Cox, Dr. Kyle Blaha, and Dr. Wayne Oquin. She has taught and led coachings for NYC Music School, Juilliard Pre-College, and Friends with Music. Ms. Choi has maintained a private violin studio for over a decade, with student accomplishments including regional competitions, orchestral auditions, and acceptance to Pre-College programs throughout NYC.

A native of New Jersey, Ms. Choi began her studies at the Juilliard Pre-College Division, and went on to receive her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Glenn Dicterow, Sylvia Rosenberg, and Sally Thomas. She was generously awarded the Juilliard Alumni Scholarship and the Irene Diamond Graduate Scholarship for her studies. In 2017, Ms. Choi earned a Professional Studies Degree in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Glenn Dicterow and Lisa Kim of the New York Philharmonic.

(CIMF Youth Program & Adult Chamber Workshop Faculty)

Jon Cziner is an American composer based in New York City. His music combines colorful harmony and texture with nostalgic lyricism, creating a sound-world that ranges from dark and mysterious to vibrant.

A 2018 Charles Ives Scholarship recipient from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, his orchestral work Resonant Bells, premiered by David Robertson and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, was awarded the William Schuman Prize for most outstanding score at the BMI Student Composer Awards as well as the 2018 Palmer Dixon Prize, awarded to the most outstanding work composed at the Juilliard School. The piece was then selected by the Minnesota Orchestra for performance at the 2018-2019 Minnesota Orchestra Composer’s Institute with Maestro Osmo Vänskä. Cziner’s most recent orchestral piece, flowers of fire, was written to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the World War I armistice and was premiered by the Juilliard Orchestra with soprano Kathleen O’Mara and Maestro Jeffery Milarsky in February 2019.

Cziner began formal composition training upon his acceptance to New York University, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree studying with Justin Dello Joio. He completed his Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Robert Beaser, and is in the midst of his studies in Juilliard’s prestigious C.V. Starr doctoral program.

(CIMF Youth Program & Adult Chamber Workshop Faculty)

Paul is an American composer whose music has been acclaimed for its “sense of lyricism, driving pulse, and great urgency” (WQXR). His music has been commissioned and performed by the American Composers Orchestra, Juilliard Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Weill-Cornell Music and Medicine Orchestra, American Modern Ensemble, Asian American New Music Institute, Euclid Quartet, New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute, cellist Julian Schwarz, and violinist Rachel Lee Priday. Paul has been the recipient of the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, the Brian H. Israel Prize, Juilliard’s Palmer Dixon, Arthur Friedman, and Gena Raps Prizes, and the American Composers Orchestra’s Audience Choice Award. 2019-2020 season highlights include performances by the Minnesota Orchestra, Bowling Green Festival Orchestra, violinist Alice Ivy Pemberton, cellist Julian Schwarz, the Ulysses Quartet on the Mostly Music Series and at the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, and the world premiere of an orchestral song cycle commissioned for Kenneth Kellogg and the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra. Paul is the artistic director of the Charles Ives Music Festival at the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra, where he was previously composer-in-residence during the 2017-2018 season. He has been an adjunct faculty member at New York University’s Steinhardt School since 2015. Paul’s two primary composition teachers have been Robert Beaser and Justin Dello Joio and he holds D.M.A. and M.M. degrees from the Juilliard School as well as a B.M. from New York University.

(CIMF Artist & Youth Program Faculty)

Hailed by the Boston Music Intelligencer as a “heroic piano soloist” with “stunning virtuosity”, Chinese-American pianist George Xiaoyuan Fu has performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the National Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. George has collaborated with conductors such as Michael Tilson Thomas, Stefan Asbury, Kensho Watanabe, Vinay Parameswaran, and Jonathan Berman, while performing across the Americas and Europe at venues such as Wigmore Hall, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood. His live performances and interviews have been featured on several public television and radio broadcasts around the world, such as In Tune on BBC Radio 3, Performance Today on National Public Radio,and On Stage At Curtis in Philadelphia.

After a chamber music tour of Latin America in the summer of 2019 in a trio with violist Roberto Diaz, this season sees George make important solo debut performances in London (Steinway Hall), Washington D.C. (Phillips Collection), and Chicago (Chicago Cultural Center), while giving world premieres of piano works by renowned British composers Mark-Anthony Turnage, Robert Saxton, and Philip Cashian. 2020 also marks the second year of the TaoArts Chamber Music Festival, an annual series in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area of which George is the Founder and co-Artistic Director.

Interested in collaborative work, George has performed in various capacities: from conducting ensembles, to being an active chamber musician with duo partners and ensembles around the world, to collaborating with choreographers in interdisciplinary dance productions. An avid performer of contemporary music, George has collaborated with Krzysztof Penderecki, Harrison Birtwistle, Unsuk Chin, Matthew Aucoin, and Freya Waley-Cohen. In addition, he is an active composer himself, having completed several works for solo piano and performing his own cadenzas to Mozart piano concerti.

After a widely acclaimed performance as piano soloist in Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie at the Tanglewood Music Festival, George was then selected as a New Fromm Player, being featured as a piano soloist in Messiaen’s Oiseaux Exotiques, as well as studying the solo piano works of Messiaen and Debussy with Pierre-Laurent Aimard.

A native of Frederick, Maryland, George holds degrees from Harvard College, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Royal Academy of Music, having studied with Meng-Chieh Liu, Jonathan Biss, Christopher Elton and Joanna MacGregor. He is currently the piano fellow at the Royal Academy of Music.

(CIMF Artist & Youth Program Faculty)

Molly Goldman started playing violin at age 4, studying with her mother. She holds a Master of Music from the Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Music in Applied Music, Music Education and a Performance Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. Her primary teachers include Roger Tapping, Jeffrey Irvine, Carol Rodland and Stephen Sims. She obtained her Suzuki Certification at the School for Strings under Allan Lieb and Ecaterina Gerson. Molly recently returned to teaching at Silver Music and the Diller-Quaile School of Music after taking a sabbatical to go on the National Broadway Tour of “Miss Saigon.” Molly is currently a member of the orchestra for the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, plays on Broadway and is an active freelancer in New York City. Molly strives to make music exciting, engaging and accessible for all audiences.

(CIMF Artist & Youth Program Faculty)

Cellist Mitchell Lyon approaches music making with a zeal for harnessing the unique power of musical experience. At home with audiences of all types, he has performed in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to intimate private homes. An accomplished chamber musician, Mitch specializes in ensemble collaborations that run the gamut from classical piano trios, to crossover string quartets, to jazz combos, to dance and theater collaborations. His crossover trio project, Empire Wild, is currently recording their debut EP featuring original music and songs for cellos, voice and piano.

A native of Philadelphia, Mitch has performed extensively as a soloist, chamber musician, and in orchestras throughout the United States, France and the United Kingdom. As a recipient of Juilliard’s Gluck Community Service Fellowship, he brought music to new and underserved audiences, including patients in New York area hospitals, nursing homes and alternative care facilities.  Mitch arranges, organizes and performs house concerts at private residences throughout the boroughs of New York City and in other locations by arrangement. Passionate in his quest to spread the joy of music to young performers, Mitch has taught the children of New York through various Juilliard-funded fellowship programs at schools including Children’s Promise Zone and Harlem Promise Academy II. As a director of Juilliard’s student-run outreach organization, ARTreach, Mitch led several Juilliard teams to New Orleans, reaching out to children displaced by Hurricane Katrina and doing hands-on labor with Habitat for Humanity. Mitch continues his educational outreach mission in his current role as Teaching Artist Faculty for the New York Philharmonic School Partnership Program.

Mitch earned his MM degree with Timothy Eddy at the Juilliard School in May of 2014 as a Margaret J. & Roy H. Pollack and William R. Hearst Scholar. He earned his BM degree from the Juilliard School in May of 2012 as a student of Bonnie Hampton, where he held scholarships from the foundations of the Juilliard Alumni, Ruth Katzman, Presser, J & B Werter, and Stephen E. Somers. His former teachers include Jeffrey Solow and Deborah Reeder. For four years, Mitch held the Myer-Schwartz Piano Trio cello scholarship at Settlement Music School. His awards include the Ambler Symphony Menges Scholarship, the Bach Atonement Scholarship, and others. The summer of 2017 will find Mitch performing from  Connecticut to California.  During past summers, Mitch has performed as a fellow of the Fontainebleau School in France, as a visiting artist at the Finchcocks Museum of Keyboard Instruments in Kent, UK, at Music in the Mountains in Eagles Mere, PA, as a fellow at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and at the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School in Santa Cruz, CA. Mitch spent four summers as a counselor at the Meadowmount School of Music, studying with Melissa Kraut and Hans Jorgen Jensen. During previous summers he studied at the Castleman Quartet Program, the Montecito Summer Music Festival, and Music in the Mountains. He has performed in master classes for Mark Kosower, Steven Isserlis, Christopher Rex, Andres Diaz, Timothy Eddy, Ko Iwasaki and Anne Martindale-Williams. He has worked privately with Gary Hoffman and Clive Greensmith. Mitch plays on a Jules Grandjon cello dating from 1880, except when he is rocking out, when he uses a Quintus carbon-fiber cello built by Tony Cook of GraceStrings with an Acoustic Combo Amp, model AG120S and a ceramic under-bridge pickup.

(CIMF Youth Program Faculty)

Currently, Eric Mahl is the Conductor and Artistic Director of OrchestraOne, Associate Conductor of the Greenwich Village Orchestra, Music Director of the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra and Music Director/Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra at Third Street Music School, and the Orchestra at Turtle Bay Music School. Eric’s past positions include artistic director of the New Jersey Young Artists Ensembles, the Harmony Program North Orchestra, assistant conductor to the contemporary music ensemble Orchestre 21, in Montreal QC, Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra in NYC, Conductor of the Fredonia Symphonia, cover conductor for the Orchard Park Symphony in Buffalo, NY, assistant to all orchestral and operatic activities at SUNY Fredonia, in Fredonia, NY, and assistant to orchestras at Universite de Montreal. He has had guest conducting experiences with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Ridgefield Symphony, New Amsterdam Symphony, Greenwich Village Orchestra, The Chelsea Symphony, Urban Playground orchestra, and the University Orchestras of the College Conservatory of Music (CCM), Orchestra de l’Universite de Montreal, and SUNY Fredonia.

Eric’s dedication to contemporary music is evident in his many collaborations and commissions with professional and student composers including the world premieres of fully-staged operas, experimental ballet, and countless small and large ensemble pieces of all genres. As a passionate educator, he has taught all ages and instruments at public and private schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City, and frequently works with student musicians from under-served communities.

Mr. Mahl received his Bachelors of Music in Education from Ithaca College and continued his studies both at Universite de Montreal and the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he received his master’s degree.

(CIMF Artist & Youth Program Faculty)

George Meyer plays the violin and writes music. He has performed his own compositions at Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, OR; the Savannah Music Festival, in Georgia; the Rome Chamber Music Festival, in Italy; the Kyoto International Music Students Festival, in Japan; and the Aspen Music Festival, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and the RockyGrass Bluegrass Festival, in Colorado. In 2016, Ensemble Quodlibet premiered his Concerto Grosso, a 15-minute work for string orchestra with solo string quartet, in New York City. Recent works include short pieces for violin-cello duo and for string quartet. He has appeared in concert with his father Edgar Meyer, and with Jerry Douglas, Mike Marshall, and Sam Bush.

His violin teachers have included Stephen Miahky, Lucy Chapman, Jennifer Frautschi, Naoko Tanaka, Carolyn Huebl, and Carol Smith. He graduated from Harvard in 2015 with a degree in English. In the fall of 2018, completed a master’s degree in violin at Juilliard, where he studied with Naoko Tanaka and Laurie Smukler. He is from Nashville, TN.

(CIMF Artist & Youth Program Faculty)

Ariana Nelson, cellist, is primarily based in Houston where she is a member of the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra. She frequently performs with other ensembles in the Houston area, including the Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet, and is a core member of the new music collective Loop38. Ariana teaches cello as an adjunct faculty member at Texas Southern University, and is a coach for AFA’s Chamber Music Academy. She is an avid proponent of new music and loves experimenting with different styles, including improvisation and folk music. Her eclectic tastes have led her to appearances at Jazz at Lincoln Center, performances for patients recovering in Mount Sinai Hospital’s transplant ward, and a performance with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble at Tanglewood.

A native of Seattle, Washington, Ariana grew up in a musical family and was exposed to chamber music at a very young age. Her extensive chamber music experience has included coaching with renowned musicians such as Emanuel Ax, James Dunham, David Finckel, John Harbison, Desmond Hoebig, Jon Kimura-Parker, Joseph Lin, and Roger Tapping.

In recent summers Ariana has performed at Grand Teton Music Festival, Strings Music Festival, Fontainebleau Conservatoire Américain, Spoleto Festival USA, Tanglewood Music Center, Aspen Music Festival and School, Le Domaine Forget Chamber Music Festival, the Olympic Music Festival and the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Italy. 

Ariana received her Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School in May of 2017 where she studied with Darrett Adkins. She completed her Bachelor of Music degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where she graduated cum laude in May of 2015. There she had the privilege of studying cello with Norman Fischer of the Concord Quartet.

(CIMF Artist & Youth Program Faculty)

Pianist Mika Sasaki is a recitalist, chamber musician, and educator whose performances and teaching have taken her to the U.K., Italy, Japan, Switzerland, and throughout the U.S. Her solo debut album, Obsidian: Mika Sasaki plays Clara Schumann, released on Yarlung Records in 2016, was highly acclaimed by the Online Merker as “illuminat[ing] the artistic inspiration and creative exchange between three Romantic souls,” Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms. Her performances have been broadcasted live on WQXR, WFMT, KQAC, and on Radio Sweden, and she has appeared as concerto soloist with the Sinfonia of Cambridge (U.K.), New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, 92Y Orchestra, and more recently, with the InterSchool Symphony Orchestra of New York, performing Amy Beach’s Piano Concerto in February 2019.

A versatile pianist praised for her musicianship, Dr. Sasaki has been invited to festivals and concert series such as Music@Menlo, Tanglewood, Icicle Creek, Rushmore, Accademia Musicale Chigiana, pianoSonoma, Taos, Yellow Barn, Aspen, Estherwood, Focus! Festival, Mannes Beethoven Institute, the Metropolis Ensemble “5 Nights, 11 Pianists,” the Charles Ives Music Festival, and the Weekend of Chamber Music series in the Catskills. During the summers, she serves on the artist faculty for the Charles Ives Music Festival at the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra and the Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard program in Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr. Sasaki is the pianist of Ensemble Mélange, a sextet ensemble that uniquely invites audience members to choose what they want to hear from a “menu” comprised of more than two dozen chamber music and vocal works of various styles, from Baroque, Classical, Romantic, original commissions, to Broadway staples. She is an alumna of the Peabody Conservatory (B.M., M.M.), The Juilliard School (D.M.A.), and Ensemble Connect, a fellowship program of Carnegie Hall, Juilliard, and the Weill Institute in partnership with the NYC Department of Education. Upon completing her doctorate at Juilliard, Dr. Sasaki won the Juilliard Career Advancement Fellowship as a graduate who demonstrated outstanding artistry and achievement in leadership, entrepreneurship, and breadth of engagement.

Based in New York City, Dr. Sasaki is a faculty member at The Juilliard School, where she teaches piano and keyboard skills courses in the Evening Division, and Piano Topics and keyboard skills for pianists in the College Division.

(CIMF Artist & Adult Chamber Workshop Faculty)

Julian Schwarz was born to a multigenerational musical family and heralded from a young age as a cellist destined to rank among the greatest of the 21st century, Julian’s powerful tone, effortless virtuosity, and extraordinarily large color palate are hallmarks of his style.

After making his concerto debut at the age of 11 with the Seattle Symphony and his father Gerard Schwarz on the podium, he made his US touring debut with the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2010. Since being awarded first prize at the inaugural Schoenfeld International String Competition in 2013, he has led an active career as soloist, performing with the symphony orchestras of Annapolis, Boise, Buffalo, Charlotte, Columbus, Des Moines, Hartford, Jacksonville, Louisville, Memphis, Modesto, Omaha, Puerto Rico, Richmond, Rochester, San Antonio, Sarasota, Seattle, Syracuse, Toledo, Tucson, Virginia, West Virginia, Wichita, and Winston-Salem, among others. Internationally, he made his Australian debut with the Queensland Symphony, his Mexican debuts with the Boca del Rio Philharmonic in Veracruz and the Mexico City Philharmonic with frequent collaborator Jorge Mester, and his Hong Kong debut at the Intimacy of Creativity Festival. He has also appeared at the Salzburg Mozarteum, and the Verbier festival in Switzerland.

As a chamber musician, Mr. Schwarz performs extensively in recital with fiancée Marika Bournaki. In 2016 the Schwarz-Bournaki duo was awarded first prize at the inaugural Boulder International String Competition’s “The Art of Duo”, and subsequently embarked on an extensive 10-recital tour of China in March 2017. Mr. Schwarz is a founding member of the New York based Frisson Ensemble (a mixed nonet of winds and strings), and the Mile-End Trio with violinist Jeff Multer and Ms. Bournaki. He performs frequently at Bargemusic in Brooklyn with violinist Mark Peskanov, on the Frankly Music Series in Milwaukee with violinist Frank Almond, as a member of the Palladium Chamber Players in St Petersburg FL, and has appeared at the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, and the Seattle Chamber Music Festival. In addition, he is the co-coordinator of chamber music at Eastern Music Festival, running programming for the Tuesday evening chamber music series.

Julian Schwarz is an ardent supporter of new music, and has premiered concertos by Richard Danielpour and Samuel Jones (recorded with the All Star Orchestra for public television in 2012, subsequently released as a DVD on Naxos). In the 17-18 season, he gave the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s first Cello Concerto with a consortium of six orchestras. Other premieres include recital works by Paul Frucht, Scott Ordway, Jonathan Cziner, Gavin Fraser, Alex Weiser, Ofer Ben-Amots, and the US Premiere of Dobrinka Tabakova’s Cello Concerto. On record, he has recorded Bright Sheng’s “Northern Lights” for Naxos, the complete cello/piano works by Ernest Bloch for the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music, and an album of concertos with the Seattle Symphony.

A devoted teacher, Mr. Schwarz serves as Asst. Professor of Cello at Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University (Winchester, VA) and on the artist faculty of New York University (NYU Steinhardt). He spends his summers teaching and performing at the Eastern Music Festival (Greensboro, NC). Past faculty appointments include artist-in-residence at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (Nova Scotia, Canada), faculty teaching assistant to Joel Krosnick at The Juilliard School, and artist-In-residence at the piano Sonoma Festival.

Born in Seattle, WA, Mr. Schwarz studied at the Academy of Music Northwest and the Lakeside School. He continued to the Colburn School in Los Angeles under Ronald Leonard, and then moved to New York City to study with mentor Joel Krosnick at The Juilliard School (BM 14, MM 16). Other influential teachers include the late David Tonkonogui, the late Toby Saks, Lynn Harrell, Neal Cary, and chamber music mentors Andre Roy, Arnold Steinhardt, Jonathan Feldman, Toby Appel and Paul Coletti. Julian plays a Neapolitan cello made by Gennaro Gagliano in 1743 and an American bow made by Paul Martin Siefried. He is an active contributor to Strings Magazine’s Artist Blog, and sits on the music committee of the National Arts Club. A Pirastro artist, he endorses and plays the “Perpetual” medium and edition sets of cello strings. Julian also proudly endorses Melos Rosin.

(CIMF Artist & Youth Program Faculty)

Appointed Fourth Chair Viola of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 2016, Massachusetts native Jacob Shack earned his Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School as a student of Misha Amory and Heidi Castleman and frequently performed as co-principal of the Juilliard Orchestra. As an undergraduate at Harvard College, Jacob enjoyed playing with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra as principal violist, including on their tours to Cuba and the Middle East.

Jacob has toured the world as a chamber and orchestral musician, performing on four continents, most recently in Hong Kong at Bright Sheng’s Intimacy of Creativity Festival and in Colombia at the Medellín International Music Festival. He has performed at several other music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, and the Tanglewood Music Center, where he was the recipient of the Maurice Schwarz Prize in 2013. In addition, he was selected to participate in Jaime Laredo’s New York String Orchestra Seminar at Carnegie Hall in both 2010 and 2012.

In addition to his dedication to orchestral playing, Jacob has been recognized in solo and chamber music competitions, including the Washington International Competition for Strings and the Stulberg International String Competition. He has collaborated in performance with such world-renowned artists as James Buswell, Steven Doane, James Dunham, Joseph Kalichstein, Robert Levin, and Joseph Silverstein, and has received numerous awards and scholarships from Harvard University, as well as from his alma mater Phillips Academy. In the summer of 2015, Jacob served as the violist of the New Fromm Players, an ensemble-in-residence at the Tanglewood Music Center devoted to contemporary music performance. Jacob is also an instructor of viola at the Baltimore School for the Arts and is currently performing with the New York Philharmonic.

(CIMF Artist & Youth Program Faculty)

Caeli Smith (called “intense, precise, and full of personality,” after performing the Penderecki Viola Concerto with The Juilliard Orchestra – OperaClick), is a violist and violinist who was born in Philadelphia and made her debut as a soloist at age ten with the Philadelphia Classical Symphony. She holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Juilliard, where she was a principal violist of the Juilliard Orchestra, and received the William Schuman Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music.

A dedicated journalist, Caeli’s articles have appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as Strings and Symphony magazines. Caeli is a teaching assistant at The Juilliard School; a New York Philharmonic Teaching Artist; and on the faculty of HeifetzPEG. Caeli is a fellow with Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect for the 2018-2020 seasons.

(CIMF Artist & Youth Program Faculty)

Acclaimed as a violinist of “compelling presence, fearless attack, and technical aplomb and bravado” (New London’s The Day),Chelsea Starbuck Smith is a young artist becoming recognized for her infectious enthusiasm for the violin.  She has performed as solo and chamber artist in venues across the United States and abroad, including David Geffen Hall, Elbphilharmonie, Musikverein Wien, Citi Field, Carnegie Hall, Palais de Fontainebleau, and Centre National des Arts.

As a chamber and orchestral musician, Chelsea is at home with both classical and crossover styles.  Recent collaborators include Baz Luhrmann for the Met Gala 2019, Chris Thile of the Punch Brothers, Kelly Clarkson, Debbie Harry & Blondie, and The Knights Chamber Orchestra.  Chelsea is a section-member of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular orchestra pit as well as concertmaster for Broadway’s A Christmas Carol.

Beyond the concert stage, Chelsea can be seen in such television series as Glee and, perhaps most recognizably, as the featured violinist in the long-running NYU Langone national television commercial set in New York’s Grand Central Station.  

Chelsea holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Juilliard, and graduated with the Norman Benzaquen Career Advancement Grant for “talent, creativity, and potential to make a significant impact in the performing arts.”  A third-generation teacher, Chelsea is on faculty at Temple Emanu-El’s Nursery School, is a teaching artist with the New York Philharmonic.  Her album, Les Deux, is available on iTunes and Spotify.