Artists & Faculty


Katie Althen, Flute
Jonathan Cziner, Composition
Paul Frucht, Composition + Percussion
Graeme Steele Johnson, Clarinet
Eric Mahl, Trumpet
Priscilla Rinehart, Horn
Rémy Taghavi, Bassoon

Jonathan Borden, Double Bass
Marika Bournaki, Piano
Molly Carr, Viola
Julia Choi, Violin
Emily Levin, Harp
Mitch Lyon, Cello
Francesca McNeeley, Cello
George Meyer, Violin
Ariana Nelson, Cello
Anna Petrova, Piano
Mika Sasaki, Piano
Julian Schwarz, Cello
Jeremías Sergiani-Velazquez, Violin
Jacob Shack, Viola
Chelsea Starbuck-Smith, Violin + Viola

(CIMF Artist-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-Faculty)

Double bassist Jonathan Borden is a member of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra bass section, a position he has held since 2014. Jonathan received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Juilliard School that same year as a scholarship student of Albert Laszlo. During his studies, Jonathan particularly enjoyed performing chamber music, and had the opportunities to learn from notable musicians such as Sylvia Rosenberg and Steven Doane. Since joining the BPO, Jonathan has also performed with the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra and with the Caroga Lake Chamber Festival, where he can often be heard transposing cello parts to the double bass. Prior to joining the BPO, Jonathan has performed with the Aspen Chamber Orchestra, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, and the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in Sapporo, Japan.

Beyond his regular duties performing with the orchestra, Jonathan participates in various committees within the orchestra, including the education, marketing, and artistic committees, in order to work towards expanding the orchestra’s audience and maintaining the relevancy of the arts within the city of Buffalo. He is also currently serving as a musician member on the BPO Board of Trustees.

Jonathan grew up in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and found his passion for the double bass while studying with Joseph Russo and Kurt Muroki at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. Other than music, his interests include photography, website design, curling, tennis, table tennis, and making weird sounds with digital synthesizers.
(CIMF Artist – Fall 2022)

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 Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees 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 – Spring 2022)

Violist Molly Carr enjoys a diverse musical career as recitalist, chamber musician, educator, and artistic director. Hailed as “one of the most interesting interpreters of the viola today” (Codalario Spain) and praised for her “intoxicating” (New York Times) and “ravishing” (STRAD) performances, she has been the recipient of numerous international prizes and awards from the Primrose International Viola Competition, Chamber Music America, ProMusicis Foundation, Davidson Institute, Virtu Foundation, MAW Alumni Enterprise Awards, ASTA, and ARTS among many others.

Her performances have taken her across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and been broadcast on BBC World News, CNN, Forbes, PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center, Good Morning America, and National Public Radio in the US, as well as on Canadian, Bulgarian, Israeli, Argentinian and Hungarian National Television and Radio. In 2018 she was named by the Sandi Klein Show as one of America’s leading “Creative Women,” honored at the United Nations and awarded the International Father Eugène Merlet Award for Community Service for her work in prisons and with refugees around the globe as the Founding Director for the nonprofit Project: Music Heals Us.

Ms. Carr is the violist of the Juilliard String Quartet and the Carr-Petrova Duo and is the former violist of the Iris Trio and the Solera Quartet – the first and only American chamber ensemble chosen for the ProMusicis International Award, and the recipient of Chamber Music America’s 2018 Guarneri Quartet Residency Award. She has appeared as both performer and guest faculty in festivals around the world, including the Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Mozartfest, Huberman Course, Hyderabad SOTA Music Festival, Yellow Barn Music Festival, Music@Menlo, the International Musicians Seminar and Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove, and the Perlman Music Program. Ms. Carr has collaborated with such renowned artists as Itzhak PerlmanPinchas ZukermanCarter BreyPeter WileyIda KavafianDonald and Alisa WeilersteinPamela Frank, and the Miro, Orion and American Quartets, performing in such premier venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Princeton’s McCarter Theatre, Chicago’s Symphony Center, and the Jerusalem Music Center.

Highlights of recent seasons included the Carr-Petrova Duo’s sold-out debut in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, praised by the Classical Post as “deeply moving […] categorically astonishing in its beauty, ensemble, artistry, quality of sound, and almost uncanny ability to draw into the music.” Other appearances included recitals in the Smithsonian Museum, Jerusalem Music Center, Malaga’s Sociedad Filarmonica Chamber Music Series, Clarke Arts Center at the Perlman Music Program, and Sala Clemente in Valencia. Future engagements include a tour of China, performances and masterclasses in Germany, Spain, Israel, and the US.

Both the Carr-Petrova Duo and Iris Trio recently released debut albums to international critical acclaim. The Duo’s Novel Voices, released on the Melos label, was immediately chosen by Spain’s Classical Music Magazine Ritmo as one of its “Top 10 CDs of the Month,” praising the Duo’s performance of the Rebecca Clarke Sonata as “the best interpretation of this sonata to date.”  Codalario Magazine also gave the album its “Superior Quality” award, named it as their “Top Album of 2020,” and stated, “It would be hard to debut better than this.” Fanfare Magazine listed the album as a “recording to have and hold dear, […] one of the most compelling and successful viola and piano recitals – technically perfect and musically involving.” The Iris Trio’s release of Hommage and Inspiration on the Coviello Classics label was chosen by CBC as one of its “Top 10 Classical Albums to Get Excited About,” and reviewed by Fanfare as “superb […] a five-star stand-out release, writ large with the spirit of chamber music.” Other discography includes the Solera Quartet’s debut studio album Every Moment Present on Contact Point Records, as well as an album of the Viola Sonata and early chamber works of Jennifer Higdon on the NAXOS label in 2012.

Ms. Carr serves on the Viola Faculties of The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and Bard College Conservatory.  She is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the award-winning non-profit Project: Music Heals Us (PMHU) – an organization which brings free chamber music performances and interactive programming to marginalized populations with limited ability to access the Arts themselves.

While Ms. Carr has had the great honor of performing around the globe in such revered venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, etc., through her work with Project: Music Heals Us she has had the even greater honor and privilege of stepping behind prison walls to witness “hardened criminals” soften and weep at the sound of Beethoven’s string quartets; of standing at the bedside of hospital ICU patients to hold their hands and offer her best in their final minutes of life; of seeing opposing gang members in a federal correctional institution miraculously becoming musical bandmates through composers workshops; and of visiting refugee camps to offer the creative space for traumatized children to dance, sing, smile and freely express themselves for the first time in years.

Ms. Carr resides with her husband Oded Hadar in Harlem, where she is mother to six plants and a crazy oversized pooch named Moochie.
(CMIF Artist-Faculty)

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 Artist-Faculty)

Jonathan 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, Jon’s 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 Artistic Director)

Hailed as a “composer with a career to follow” by the Ridgefield Press, Paul Frucht is an American composer whose music has been acclaimed for its “sense of lyricism, driving pulse, and great urgency” (WQXR) and “excellent orchestration” (Ridgefield Press). His music has been commissioned and performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Atlantic Music Festival Orchestra, Chelsea Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Weill-Cornell Music and Medicine Orchestra, Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra, American Modern Ensemble, Asian American New Music Institute, Euclid Quartet, Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music, LONGLEASH Trio, New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute, Utah Arts Festival, Buffalo Chamber Music Society, and the Eastern Music Festival among numerous other performing ensembles and organizations.

This summer, Paul will be a Composition Fellow at Midsummer’s Music in Door County, WI and the 2021-2022 season will feature the premiere of two songs commissioned by the Boston Opera Collaborative, new commissions for Ulysses and Carpe Diem String Quartets, and the premiere of an orchestral song cycle to be written for bass-baritone Kenneth Kellogg, commissioned by Yuga Cohler and the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra.

Paul has been the recipient of a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Brian H. Israel Prize from the Society of New Music, an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, Juilliard’s Palmer Dixon, Arthur Friedman, and Gena Raps Prizes, the American Composers Orchestra’s 2016 Audience Choice Award and has been recognized for his work by the American Modern Ensemble, the Nashville Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Red Note New Music Festival, Chelsea Symphony,  Periapsis Music and Dance, and the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra.

Paul prioritizes cultural engagement in his music and artistic leadership activities. He is the artistic director of the Charles Ives Music Festival (CIMF) based in Ridgefield, CT, a position he has held since he founded the program in 2015. CIMF explores the rich history of Ives and his legacy, American music, through dynamic artist concerts and interactive educational events, with a particular focus on presenting the works of living American composers. In addition to CIMF, these goals have been realized through his role as the organizer and director for the 2016 Danbury Concert Across America to End Gun Violence, his representation of the Juilliard School and the United States at the Kyoto International Music Festival, and through his work, Dawn, which was written in memory of Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal, Dawn Hochsprung. The work has received over 15 performances and has been heard around the United States. He has also appeared for interviews with the Hartford Courant, “Fifteen” Questions, and CT NPR and his writing has appeared in NewMusicBox, an online publication.

A passionate educator of all ages, he has been a faculty member at New York University’s Steinhardt School since 2015 and before that was a music theory teaching fellow in Juilliard’s College Division and an instructor in Juilliard’s Pre-College Division. From 2014-15, he was composer-in-residence at the pianoSonoma Music Festival for amateur adult musicians and in 2015, founded the Charles Ives Music Festival, for both youth and adult musicians. He was also the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence for the 2017-18 season, where he worked with student musicians and led readings of student composers’ orchestral works. Paul received his doctoral of musical arts and master of music degrees at the Juilliard School and a B.M. from New York University. His two primary teachers have been Robert Beaser and Justin Dello Joio.
(CIMF Artist-Faculty)

Praised for his “elegant and rounded sound” (Albany Times Union) and “effortless…unmatched” technique (The Clarinet Online), Graeme Steele Johnson is an artist of uncommon imagination and versatility. His diverse artistic endeavors range from a TEDx talk comparing Mozart and Seinfeld, to his reconstruction of a forgotten 125-year-old work by Charles Martin Loeffler, to his performances of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in its original form on a rare elongated clarinet that he commissioned. He has appeared in recital at The Kennedy Center and Chicago’s Dame Myra Hess series, and as a chamber musician at festivals and concert series around the country, including Chamber Music Northwest, Ravinia, Phoenix Chamber Music Festival, Maverick Concerts, Music Mountain, Kallos Chamber Music Series and Yellow Barn. He is also a regular performer at the Annapolis Chamber Music Festival, Archipelago Collective Chamber Music Festival and Caroga Lake Music Festival. As a concerto soloist, he has performed twice with the Vienna International Orchestra, as well as with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Caroga Arts Ensemble, Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra and the CME Chamber Orchestra. He is the clarinetist of the award-winning quintet WindSync, one of only two American wind quintets with a full-time, international touring schedule. WindSync is represented by MKI Artists.

Johnson is the winner of the Hellam Young Artists’ Competition and the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition; other recent accolades include the Saint Botolph Club Foundation’s Emerging Artist Award and the inaugural Lee Memorial Scholarship from the Center for Musical Excellence. He has recorded commercially for Hyperion Records, MSR Classics and Musica Solis Productions, as well as a recent recording project at Abbey Road Studios with WindSync.

Driven by his interest in shedding fresh perspective on familiar music, Johnson has authored numerous chamber arrangements of repertoire ranging from Mozart and Debussy to Gershwin and Messiaen, and performed them around the country with such artists as the Miró Quartet, Valerie Coleman and Han Lash. Other distinguished chamber music collaborators include Ani Kavafian, Anthony Marwood, David Shifrin, Lucy Shelton, Allan Vogel, William Purvis and Bridget Kibbey, and ensembles such as the Imani Winds, the Callisto and KASA Quartets, New York New Music Ensemble, Frisson Ensemble, Metropolis Ensemble and American Modern Ensemble. As an orchestral musician, he performs regularly with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Pegasus: The Orchestra.

ohnson’s writing about music has been published by the international journal The Clarinet, as well as in program booklets by Carnegie Hall, Chamber Music Northwest, Yale and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and as liner notes accompanying albums by David Shifrin, Ricardo Morales, Lloyd Van’t Hoff and the Center for Musical Excellence. He holds graduate degrees from the Yale School of Music, where he was twice awarded the school’s Alumni Association Prize. His major teachers include David Shifrin, Nathan Williams and Ricardo Morales, and he is now a doctoral candidate at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York under the mentorship of Charles Neidich. In 2021, Johnson joined the faculty of the Mahanaim School in Huntington, New York as Adjunct Professor of Clarinet.
(CIMF Artist-Faculty)

Harpist, Emily Levin, is the Principal Harpist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Bronze Medal Winner of the 9th USA International Harp Competition. Her playing has been praised for its “communicative, emotionally intense expression” (Jerusalem Post) and the Herald Times commended her “technical wizardry and artistic intuition.” As a soloist, orchestral musician, and chamber collaborator, Levin brings the harp to the forefront of a diverse musical spectrum, using her instrument to connect with all audiences.

Now in her third season with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Emily has also performed as Guest Principal Harp with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Houston Symphony, and regularly appears with the New York Philharmonic. As a soloist, she has performed throughout North America and Europe, in venues including Carnegie Hall (New York), the Kimmel Center (Philadelphia) and Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Rugen, Germany). At the request of conductors Jaap van Zweden and John Adams, she appeared as soloist with the DSO in 2018 and 2019; other concerto performances include the Jerusalem, Colorado and West Virginia Symphony Orchestras, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Lakes Area Music Festival, and the Indiana University Festival Orchestra, among others. Her debut album, Something Borrowed, explores the art of musical borrowing with works inspired by language, literature, and culture. For the album, the Classical Recording Foundation named her their 2017 Young Artist of the Year.

Emily is a top prize winner at the two most prestigious harp competitions—the 2013 USA International Harp Competition, where she won the Bronze Medal, and the 2009 International Harp Contest in Israel, where at age 18 she was a Finalist and recipient of the Renie Prize.  She is a 2016 Winner of the Astral Artists national auditions. In 2019, Emily was appointed Artistic Director of the Fine Arts Chamber Players, a concert chamber music series presented at the Dallas Museum of Art. Her artistic vision will be presented in the 2019-2020 FACP concert series, with seven chamber concerts presented free of charge to the general public. Other notable chamber music performances include the BRAVO! Vail Music Festival, the Lyric Chamber Music Society, the Colorado Chamber Players. Most recently, she recorded a live concert in New York City with her duo partner, guitarist Colin Davin, for video release in spring 2020.

A strong believer in music’s powerful impact, Levin organized a concert series in early 2017 with her fellow Dallas musicians, with all profits benefiting the International Rescue Committee and the Refugee Services of Texas. As Artistic Director of FACP, she presents chamber music concerts to the community that are free of charge and open to all. She is passionate about sharing music in schools, and is currently working with the Dallas Symphony to offer free harp lessons as part of their South Dallas Education Initiative.

Emily works extensively with established and emerging composers alike, which led to commendation from the New York Times for “singing well and playing beautifully,” She is a core member of the New York-based new music group Ensemble Échappé and is the harpist for the Dallas new music group Voices of Change. In 2012, The Indiana University Composition Department recognized her for her collaboration and performance of new music. Emily was named Adjunct Associate Professor of Harp at Southern Methodist University in 2019, and is also on Faculty at the Young Artist’s Harp Seminar. She received her Master of Music degree in 2015 at the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Nancy Allen, where she was a teaching fellow for both the Ear Training and Educational Outreach departments. A self-described bookworm, she completed undergraduate degrees in Music and History at Indiana University with Susann McDonald. Her honors history thesis discussed the impact of war songs on the French Revolution.
(CIMF Artist-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 Artist-Faculty & Orchestra Conductor)

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-Faculty)

Haitian-American cellist Francesca McNeeley has received critical acclaim as a collaborator and soloist, and enjoys an eclectic career in the Boston area. She has premiered dozens of works, solo and chamber music—including pieces by John Harbison, Mark Neikrug, Augusta Read Thomas, and Joseph Phibbs. Recent musical collaborations have included soloing with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra and touring with the Grammy-nominated A Far Cry chamber orchestra as a guest principal cellist. She is frequently featured with Castle of Our Skins, the New Gallery Concert Series, and the Celebrity Series of Boston. She has been invited to participate in various artist residencies at the Longy School of Music, Yellowbarn, the Grand Teton Music Festival, Marquette University, and Keene State College. She has performed with the Boston Symphony and Sarasota Orchestras, and can be heard on BMOP/sound with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.

Ms. McNeeley graduated Princeton University Phi Beta Kappa, and went on to receive scholarships to attend the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and the New England Conservatory for her graduate degrees in cello performance. She has earned fellowships and prizes from the Tanglewood Music Center, where she also served as a New Fromm Player. With her Fromm colleagues she has founded the Chroma Trio, championing modern string trio repertoire. She has received fellowships to attend the Music Academy of the West, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, & Toronto Summer Music. She has been awarded multiple grants from the Sphinx Organization, and now serves on The Artist Council for the National Alliance for Audition Support. Her teachers and mentors have included Tom Kraines, Darrett Adkins, Norman Fischer, Yeesun Kim, and Astrid Schween.

Francesca is dedicated to community engagement through teaching and mentoring. In addition to her private teaching studio, she serves on the faculties for the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Intensive Community Program and Project STEP.
(CIMF Artist-Faculty)

George Meyer plays the violin and writes music. He has performed his own compositions in a variety of settings, including Chamber Music Northwest, Bravo! Vail, the Savannah Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Telluride and RockyGrass Bluegrass Festivals, the Charles Ives Concert Series, the Rome Chamber Music Festival, and the Kyoto International Festival. He has appeared in performance with his father Edgar Meyer, and with Mike Marshall, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Fred Sherry, and Paul Neubauer. 

He has been commissioned by Chamber Music Northwest, Astral Artists, and Bravo! Vail. In 2016, Quodlibet Ensemble premiered his Concerto Grosso, a 15-minute work for string orchestra with solo string quartet, in New York City.

His violin teachers have included Naoko Tanaka, Laurie Smukler, Stephen Miahky, Lucy Chapman, Jennifer Frautschi, Carolyn Huebl, and Carol Smith. He holds degrees from Harvard College and the Juilliard School. He is from Nashville, TN.
(CIMF Artist-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-Faculty)

Bulgarian pianist, Anna Petrova, is praised for her “artistic, clear and enlightened” performances [BBC Magazine.] At her New York orchestral debut with conductor Philippe Entremont, Petrova was noted for her “ultra-smooth playing style”- New York Fine Arts Examiner. She is an Assistant Professor of Piano at University of Louisville, KY and performs extensively as a soloist and chamber musician. In October 2018, Petrova was honored at the United Nations for her work with refugees around the globe through the Carr-Petrova Duo’s Novel Voices Refugee Aid Project; she was also chosen as one of America’s leading “Creative Women” – subsequently appearing on the Sandi Klein Show “Conversations With Creative Women.”

In the 2021 – 2022 season, Petrova will present solo performances with the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra with Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto and conductor Jonathan Pasternack, as well as the Karel Husa Concertino with the UofL Wind Ensemble in Prague, Czech Republic. Her first solo album Slavic Heart, featuring works by Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Vladigerov will be released on the Solo Musica label in Germany. Additionally, Petrova is working on a two-CD set of the complete piano sonatas of Russian composer Samuil Feinberg for NAXOS. She is the Artistic Director and piano professor of the Alberto Jonás International School of Music in Valencia, Spain and is on the faculty of Musical Arts Madrid, Spain.

Highlights of recent seasons include performances of Grieg Piano Concerto with the Louisville Orchestra and Roderick Cox, a recording of Stravinsky’s Les Noces with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and conductor JoAnn Falletta, Virginia Arts Festival (NAXOS, 2016); a solo tour of China and Chile; performances of Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini and the Second Concerto, Prokofiev First and Third Piano Concertos, and the Beethoven Fourth Concerto and the Triple Concerto. At her return engagement with the Monterey Symphony Orchestra, CA, the Peninsula Reviews wrote: “There was a lot of vitality in her crisp playing […]bringing out in Petrova an impetuous excitement that stirred the audience to its feet!”- Lyn Bronson.

Prizewinner of numerous international competitions, including the José Roca (Spain), Bösendorfer (Bulgaria) and Maria Yudina (Russia), Petrova was a semifinalist at the Queen Elizabeth International Piano Competition in Belgium, where she performed as a soloist with the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia under Paul Goodwin. Other conductors she has worked with include Max Bragado-Darman, Bruno Aprea, Ramón Tébar, and Francisco Valero – Terribas.

She has given solo recitals in halls such as Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Brussels’ Conservatoire Royal, Chicago’s Preston Bradley Hall, Vienna’s Bösendorfer Hall, Auditorio Ciudad de Leon, Spain and Palau de la Musica Valencia, Spain. Her performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio Performance Today, New York’s WQXR, Chicago’s WFMT, and Bulgarian National Radio and Television. A passionate chamber musician, Petrova is a member of two ensembles: the award-winning viola-piano Carr-Petrova Duo and the clarinet-viola-piano Iris Trio.

In the 2019-2020 season the Carr-Petrova Duo and Iris Trio released debut albums to critical acclaim. The Carr-Petrova Duo’s “Novel Voices” album was chosen by Spain’s Classical Music Magazine “Ritmo” as one of their “Top 10 CDs of the Month” hailing the duo’s performance of the Rebecca Clarke Sonata as “the best interpretation of this sonata to date.” Fanfare Magazine listed the album as “magical” and a “recording to have and hold dear, […] one of the most compelling and successful viola and piano recitals – technically perfect and musically involving.” In February 2020, the Iris Trio released “Hommage and Inspiration” on Coviello Classics label, Germany. The album was hailed by Fanfare as “superb […] a five-star stand-out release, writ large with the spirit of chamber music,” and was chosen by CBC as one of its “Top 10 Classical Albums to Get Excited About.”

Petrova holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Manhattan School of Music, where her main teachers have been Horacio Gutiérrez and André-Michel Schub.
(CIMF Artist-Faculty)

Florida native Priscilla Rinehart came to the Sarasota Orchestra from Miami Beach, where she was a Fellow at the New World Symphony. Playing the horn has allowed her to travel across the globe and have countless opportunities to deepen her understanding of people and our different societies. In 2019, she performed for the first time with Chineke! Orchestra in London, Sphinx Symphony Orchestra in Detroit and Gateways Music Festival in Rochester, NY. These three organizations assert cultural variety in the representation of classical music through programming choices and dynamic concerts. Motivated by their efforts and the Black Lives Matter movement, Priscilla is working to better advocate for marginalized people inside and outside of performance spaces. She will seek community with those who share a similar vision for the future — a vision that demands action in order to achieve and maintain liberation for everyone.

Priscilla has many people to thank for their support, but special recognition goes to Carolyn Wahl of The Florida Orchestra for teaching her from day one through the present, and to Erik Ralske and Jen Montone (Principal Horns of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and The Philadelphia Orchestra, respectively), as major mentors during her undergraduate and graduate studies at The Juilliard School.
(CIMF Artist-Faculty)

Pianist Mika Sasaki is an imaginative and versatile soloist, chamber musician, and educator whose performances and teaching have taken her to the U.K., Italy, Japan, Switzerland, and throughout the U.S. Her 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 playing has been broadcasted on WQXR, WFMT, KQAC, and Radio Sweden, and she has performed concertos with the Sinfonia of Cambridge (U.K.), New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, 92Y Orchestra, and more recently with the InterSchool Symphony Orchestra of New York.

Dr. Sasaki has won awards at the Peabody Conservatory, Soleil Music Competition in Tokyo, All Japan Classical Music Competition, and the NJSO Young Artists Audition. Her festival appearances include Music@Menlo, Tanglewood, Accademia Musicale Chigiana, pianoSonoma, Taos, Yellow Barn, Aspen, Focus!, Icicle Creek, Rushmore, SoundWaves (Omaha), Mannes Beethoven Institute, Caramoor, Shandelee, Weekend of Chamber Music, and Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard in Geneva, Switzerland. She is the pianist of Ensemble Mélange and frequently concertizes with the Chameleon Arts Ensemble in Boston, Manhattan Chamber Players, Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect, and with her duo partners. She is an artist faculty member at Music@Menlo’s Young Performers Program and the Charles Ives Music Festival at the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra during the summer.

She is an alumna of the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University (B.M., M.M.), Ensemble Connect—a two-year fellowship program of Carnegie Hall, Juilliard, and Weill Institute in partnership with the NYC Department of Education—and The Juilliard School (D.M.A.), where she was awarded 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 Juilliard, where she teaches piano, chamber music, and keyboard skills courses in the Evening Division, and Piano Topics and keyboard skills for pianists in the College Division.
(CIMF Artist-Faculty)

Violnist Jeremías Sergiani-Velázquez has performed classical, contemporary, and tango music around the world. As soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral performer, he has been heard in 16 countries across four continents. He was recently appointed Principal Second Violin of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

Born in Córdoba, Argentina, a teenage Jeremías’ big break nearly got him expelled. While he had finally been accepted to study with the vaunted violinist Fernando Hasaj, Jeremías needed to commute to Buenos Aires—a 20 hour round trip by bus which forced him to miss multiple days of school at a time. When threatened with losing his musical education, the young violinist underwent rigorous study to attain his high school diploma at 15, freeing himself to focus on music as his love.

His hard work paid off. Eventually plucked out of Argentina to join the New England Conservatory and later The Juilliard School, Jeremías quickly developed a deep orchestral resume: he was a member of both the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Chicago’s Grant Park Symphony. Throughout his career, Jeremías has been invited to the world’s most elite summer festivals, including the Perlman Music Program, Music@Menlo, Taos, Kneisel, Aspen, and Schleswig-Holstein.

Outside the symphony orchestra, Jeremías remains in demand from a variety of ensembles. Highlights include touring with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra to Carnegie Hall, Germany, and Canada; and making his National Sawdust debut with contemporary violinist Miranda Cuckson. He is a founding member of the Frisson Ensemble—with whom he was featured in NPR’s Performance Today—and has served as concertmaster of the New York Classical Players. Jeremías is also a member of the NYC based Sonora Collective, a musicians collective that collaborates with contemporary artists to create vibrant performance experiences in special venues and installation spaces. Holding close to his Argentinian roots, Jeremías also enjoys performing with several tango groups in New York. Most notably, he is a founding member of the Pedro Giraudo Tango Quartet, winners of the 2018 Latin GRAMMY® Award. 

In 2016, following the previous year’s devastating earthquake, Jeremías joined the acclaimed violinist Midori in Nepal for a benefit string quartet tour of refugee camps, hospitals, and schools, culminating in a performance at the United Nations in Kathmandu. Later in 2017, the same group would conduct a quartet tour across Japan, with feature performances in Tokyo’s Oji Hall and Osaka’s Phoenix Hall.

After picking up his violin at the age of 3, Jeremías first toured his home country as a soloist at 10, and returned to win First Prize at the Argentine Hebrew Foundation Competition. He owes much of his great fortune to the violinist Miriam Fried who, upon their meeting at a music festival in Brazil, encouraged a young Jeremías to study with her at the New England Conservatory, where he received his Bachelor of Music. Jeremías holds additional degrees from The Juilliard School (M.M.) and the Manhattan School of Music (P.S.C.) and is also deeply grateful to his other primary teachers: Ronald Copes, Glenn Dicterow, Lisa Kim, Sylvia Rosenberg, and Fabricio Valvasori. 

He is based in New York City, where he lives with his girlfriend, the flutist and social media influencer Katherine Althen, and their Havanese dog Miguel.
(CIMF Artist – Fall 2022)

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-Faculty)

Violist Jacob Shack is based in Baltimore, Maryland, where he is Associate Principal Viola of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Appointed to this position in 2022, Jacob was previously Fourth Chair Viola of the BSO. He maintains a highly varied career of orchestral, contemporary, and chamber music performance.

As an orchestral musician, Jacob has appeared with symphony orchestras across the United States, including those of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, the National Symphony, New World Symphony, and New York Philharmonic. His festival appearances include Arizona MusicFest, Aspen Music Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, Lake George Music Festival, New York String Orchestra Seminar, Sarasota Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, and Tanglewood Music Center, where he was a recipient of the Maurice Schwarz Prize. As a passionate proponent of contemporary music, Jacob was a member of the New Fromm Players at Tanglewood, which also served as the ensemble-in-residence at Bright Sheng’s Intimacy of Creativity Festival in Hong Kong.

When not performing, Jacob is a devoted educator. In addition to maintaining a private studio in Baltimore, Jacob has been an instructor of viola at Baltimore School for the Arts since 2018. He is also an artist-faculty member of the Charles Ives Music Festival, an intensive chamber music program for youth and adults in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

A native of Andover, Massachusetts, Jacob earned his bachelor’s degree in Comparative Religion from Harvard University in 2014. While an undergraduate, Jacob studied with Martha Strongin Katz of the New England Conservatory. He went on to pursue a master’s degree at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Heidi Castleman and Misha Amory.
(CIMF Artist-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.
(CIMF Artist-Faculty)

Rémy Taghavi is a highly sought-after bassoonist based in the Northeast, and has performed, toured and recorded with numerous groups across North America, South America, and Asia. Praised for his “precise fingerwork…and impeccable breath support” (Washington Classical Review), Rémy has held the position of principal bassoon with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra since 2018 and has performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Las Vegas Philharmonic, Orchestra New England (ONE), and the Cape and Princeton Symphonies, among others. He has previously been an associate member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and a substitute member of Symphony in C. His playing can be heard on ONE’s upcoming album of the orchestral music of Charles Ives on the NAXOS label. Rémy has performed as a soloist with the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra and the New York Symphonic Ensemble at Fukuoka Symphony Hall (Japan) and the United Nations (NY). 

As a chamber musician, Rémy has given performances at the Banff Centre, Domaine Forget, Bravo! Vail, the White Mountains Chamber Music Festival, the Atlantic Music Festival, FIMAC, Montréal/New Musics Festival, the Bermuda Festival, and the Annapolis Chamber Music Festival, of which he is co-director and founder. Mr. Taghavi is the bassoonist in Frisson, the New York-based chamber ensemble whose performances have been called “musical perfection” (Royal Gazette, Bermuda). He is also a member of SoundMind, a modern wind quintet which performs music by living composers alongside re-imagined works from across an expanse of style, genre, and instrumentation. Rémy is an alumnus of Ensemble Connect, a chamber music and career-development fellowship of Carnegie Hall and The Juilliard School. 

Mr. Taghavi is Assistant Professor of Bassoon at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and faculty at the Rocky Ridge Music Center’s Young Artist Seminar (Colorado). From 2014 to 2019 he was an instructor of music technology in the Evening Division at The Juilliard School. In addition to his faculty positions, he has given masterclasses at numerous colleges and universities across the country. Rémy graduated with a Bachelor’s in Music from the University of Southern California, received a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School, and completed his doctorate at Stony Brook University. His primary teachers include Dr. Frank Morelli, Judith Farmer, and Norbert Nielubowski. For more information visit