JULIAN SCHWARZ, CELLO
(“Variation” – November 2, 2019 Concert)
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. julianschwarz.com
MARIKA BOURNAKI, PIANO
(“Variation” – November 2, 2019 Concert)
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 http://vimeo.com/50312292) … 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. marikabournaki.com
CHARLES YANG, VIOLIN
(Concert Fundraiser – January 25, 2020)
Recipient of the 2018 Leonard Bernstein Award and described by the Boston Globe as one who “plays classical violin with the charisma of a rock star”, Juilliard graduate Charles Yang began his violin studies with his mother in Austin, Texas, and has since studied with world-renowned pedagogues Kurt Sassmanshaus, Paul Kantor, Brian Lewis and Glenn Dicterow. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras and in concert in the United States, Europe, Brazil, Russia, China, and Taiwan, and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. On June 9th of 2005, the Mayor of Austin presented Mr. Yang with his own “Charles Yang Day”. In 2016 Mr. Yang joined the crossover string-band, Time for Three.
Not only confined to classical violin, Mr. Yang’s improvisational crossover abilities as a violinist, electric violinist, and vocalist have led him to featured performances with a variety of artists in such festivals as The Aspen Music Festival, The Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, The Crested Butte Music Festival, The Cayman Arts Festival, The YouTube Music Awards, The Moab Music Festival, TED, Caramoor, The EG Conference, Oncue Conference, Google Zeitgeist, YouTube Space Los Angeles, Interlochen, and onstage at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House, David H. Koch Theater, Dizzy’s and David Rubinstein Atrium; The Long Center, The Royal Danish Theatre, Le Poisson Rouge, Highline Ballroom, Ars Nova, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Forbidden City in Beijing among many others. He has performed in the presence of two former US Presidents, the Queen of Denmark and has recently shared the stage in collaborations with artists including Peter Dugan, CDZA, Steve Miller, Jesse Colin Young, Jake Shimabukuro, Ray Benson, Michael Gordon, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Marcelo Gomes, Twyla Tharp, Misty Copeland and Jon Batiste. His career has been followed by various news media including The New York Times, The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Playbill, The Boston Globe, Fortissimo, The Financial Times, The Austin-American Statesman, The Austin Chronicle, Shenzhen Daily, The Strad, Dallas Daily, Cincinnati Enquirer, and Juilliard Journal. Mr. Yang is featured in Nick Romeo’s book, Driven as well as Discovery Channel’s Curiosity.
Regarding Mr. Yang, The Texas Observer has noted, “Mr. Yang is a true crossover artist, a pioneer who can hop between classical and popular music and bring fresh ideas to fans of both genres. Rather than maintaining an insular focus and simply assuming that an audience for classical music will always exist, he wants to actively create that audience, to persuade and seduce others into enjoying a type of music as passionately as he does.” charlesyangmusic.com
PETER DUGAN, PIANO
(Concert Fundraiser – January 25, 2020)
Pianist Peter Dugan’s 2017 debut solo performances with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony were described by the Los Angeles Times as “stunning” and by the SF Chronicle as “fearlessly athletic.” He has appeared as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician across North America and abroad. Prizing versatility as the key to the future of classical music, Mr. Dugan is equally at home in classical, jazz, and pop idioms.
A sought-after crossover artist, Mr. Dugan has performed in duos and trios with artists ranging from Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell to Jesse Colin Young and Glenn Close. The Wall Street Journal described Mr. Dugan’s collaboration with violinist Charles Yang as a “classical-meets-rockstar duo.” Mr. Dugan’s recent chamber music recitals include the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach, Music at Menlo, St. John’s College Recital Series, and a Weill Hall debut presented by Carnegie Hall. His debut album with baritone John Brancy – A Silent Night: A WWI Memorial in Song – pays homage to composers who lived through, fought in, and died in the Great War. Brancy and Dugan won first prize at the 2018 Montreal International Music Competition and second prize at the 2017 Wigmore Hall International Song Competition.
Mr. Dugan advocates the importance of music in the community and at all levels of society. As a founding creator and the pianist for Operation Superpower, a superhero opera for children, he has travelled to dozens of schools in the greater New York area, performing for students and encouraging them to use their talents – their superpowers – for good.
Mr. Dugan holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Juilliard School, where he studied under Matti Raekallio. He resides in New York with his wife, mezzo-soprano Kara Dugan, and serves on the piano faculty at the Juilliard School Evening Division. Mr. Dugan is a Yamaha Artist. peterduganpiano.com
(Concert – March 29, 2020)
The Mivos Quartet, “one of America’s most daring and ferocious new-music ensembles” (The Chicago Reader), is devoted to performing works of contemporary composers and presenting new music to diverse audiences. Since the quartet’s beginnings in 2008 they have performed and closely collaborated with an ever-expanding group of international composers representing multiple aesthetics of contemporary classical composition. They have appeared on prestigious series such as the New York Phil Biennial, Wien Modern (Austria), the Darmstadt Internationalen Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (Germany), Asphalt Festival (Düsseldorf, Germany), HellHOT! New Music Festival (Hong Kong), Shanghai New Music Week (Shanghai, China), Edgefest (Ann Arbor, MI), Música de Agora na Bahia (Brazil), Aldeburgh Music (UK), and Lo Spririto della musica di Venezia (La Fenice Theater, Italy). Mivos is invested in commissioning and premiering new music for string quartet, striving to work closely with composers over extended periods of time; recently Mivos has collaborated on new works with Sam Pluta (Lucerne Festival Commission), Dan Blake (Jerome Commission), Mark Barden (Wien Modern Festival Commission), Richard Carrick (Fromm Commission), George Lewis (ECLAT Festival Commission), Eric Wubbels (CMA Commission), Kate Soper, Scott Wollschleger, Patrick Higgins (ZS), and poet/musician Saul Williams. Every year, the quartet additionally awards the Mivos/Kanter String Quartet Composition Prize, established to support the work of emerging and mid-career composers, and the I-Creation prize, a competition for composers of Chinese descent. Beyond expanding the string quartet repertoire, Mivos is also committed to working with guest artists, exploring multi-media projects involving live video and electronics, and performing improvised music. In addition to collaborations with the aforementioned Blake and Williams, this has led to performances with artists such as Ambrose Akinmusire, Ned Rothenberg, Timucin Sahin, Cécile McLorin Salvant, and Nate Wooley. The quartet is the recipient of the 2019 Dwight and Ursula Mamlok Prize for Interpreters of Contemporary Music.
In addition to their performance season, Mivos is active in education and has conducted workshops at UC Berkeley, Duke University, CUNY Graduate Center, Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, Royal Northern College of Music (UK), Shanghai Conservatory (China), University Malaya (Malaysia), Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (Singapore), the Hong Kong Art Center, and MIAM University in Istanbul (Turkey). The members of Mivos are: violinists Olivia De Prato and Maya Bennardo, violist Victor Lowrie Tafoya, and cellist Tyler J. Borden. mivosquartet.com
CHELSEA STARBUCK SMITH, VIOLIN
(Concert – April 26, 2020)
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 in Hamburg, Musikverein Wien in Vienna, Alice Tully Hall, Citi Field, Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, Palais de Fontainebleau in France, and Centre National des Arts in Ottawa.
Chelsea recently made solo appearances with the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra in Charleston, SC, and the Southern Finger Lakes Orchestra in Corning, NY. Her solo debut in 2013 with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto was called a “show-stopper,” and she was described by music critic Milton Moore as “dominating the stage and electrifying her audience with her high-powered and knowing performance.”
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 in-concert crossover experience, Rocktopia. She is also one-half of the crossover violin duo, Les Deux, and has been hailed as “unarguably gifted with a keen ear for arranging” by the New York Examiner. In 2015 the duo dazzled Citi Field with their original arrangement of the “Star-Spangled Banner” at a New York Mets home game. 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. Other appearances include American Public Media’s Live from Here, The Today Show, WMNR Fine Arts Radio and Connecticut Public Radio, and The String Fingers Band’s debut bluegrass album Don’t Forget.
Chelsea completed her studies at The Juilliard School in 2016, receiving a Master of Music degree under the tutelage of David Chan and Laurie Smukler, and graduating with the Norman Benzaquen Career Advancement Grant for “talent, promise, creativity, and potential to make a significant impact in the performing arts.” She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Juilliard where she studied with Sally Thomas. A third-generation teacher, Chelsea is on faculty at Temple Emanu-El’s Nursery School, is a teaching artist with the New York Philharmonic’s “Philharmonic Schools” program, and has taught in the NYC public schools as a Morse Teaching Fellow. You can listen to Chelsea’s debut album, Les Deux, featuring original arrangements, available on iTunes and Spotify. chelseastarbuckmusic.com
ADAM ROTHENBERG, PIANO
(Concert – April 26, 2020)
Hailed by Opera News as a pianist of “jaw-dropping virtuosity,” Adam Rothenberg is a versatile young artist and sought-after collaborator.
Adam has performed throughout the United States and Europe in a wide array of solo, collaborative, and orchestral concerts. Dedicated to innovative programming, Adam curated and performed a program at Juilliard entitled Regime in Recital, a presentation of poetry, art song, and chamber music from totalitarian regimes. Other recent performances include art song recitals in Alice Tully Hall and a tour to Dublin and London, where he performed in Drums and Guns, a concert production devised by Iain Burnside.
An avid ensemble musician, he has played with the the New York Philharmonic, the Juilliard Orchestra, and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. He can be heard with the renowned Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble on their newest album, Reflections, released by Summit Records. Adam has also worked extensively as a music director and conductor for musical theatre and opera. He is currently the Associate Conductor of the national tour of Miss Saigon. Other recent productions include A Quiet Place at the Tanglewood Music Center, West Side Story with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor and Flight at Juilliard Opera.
Adam holds a master’s degree in Collaborative Piano from the Juilliard School, where he was the proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship and studied with Margo Garrett, Jonathan Feldman, and Brian Zeger. He is a proud alumnus of Northwestern University and spent two summers at the Tanglewood Music Center as a Vocal Piano Fellow.
(Concert – June 8, 2020 in NYC)
(Concert – August 5, 2020 in Ridgefield)
The Ulysses String Quartet has been praised for their “textural versatility,” “grave beauty,” and “gentle blanket of colour,” (The Strad) as well as “avid enthusiasm … [with] chops to back up their passion” and a “vibrant sonority” (San Diego Story).
Founded in the summer of 2015, the group won the grand prize at the Vietnam International Music Competition in 2019, first prize in the 2018 Schoenfeld International String Competition and the grand prize and gold medal in the senior string division of the 2016 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Ulysses also finished first in the American Prize and won second prize at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in 2017. The quartet garnered a career development grant in the 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition. In 2019, they were named Graduate Quartet in Residence at the Juilliard School. Ulysses is very pleased to have recently signed with Judson Management Group, Inc. for exclusive worldwide representation.
Hailing from Canada, the United States and Taiwan, the Ulysses String Quartet has performed in such prestigious halls such as the Harbin Grand Theatre, Jordan Hall, and the Taiwan National Recital Hall. Recent season highlights have included appearances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, La Jolla Music Society Summerfest, debuts at Premiere Performances Hong Kong, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and the Vietnam Connection Festival, as well as a quartet residency for the Zukerman Young Artist Program. Upcoming engagements include a debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Buffalo Chamber Music Society, and the Eastman School of Music. For the last three years, Ulysses was in residence at the Louis Moreau Institute in New Orleans, working with the composer Morris Rosenzweig. As a special project, the group will record the quartets of composer Joseph Summer at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, over the next several years.
The group’s name pays homage to Homer’s hero Odysseus and his 10-year voyage home.
Additionally, the quartet’s members live in close proximity to the resting place of former U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant in Upper Manhattan. The Ulysses String Quartet believes intensely in the power of music to inspire, enlighten and bring people together. The quartet is committed to sharing this passion by increasing access to and appreciation for classical music while enhancing audience engagement. To this end, the quartet offers interactive programs and workshops for all ages that serve to demystify the traditional repertoire while introducing audiences to exciting new works. Their programs frequently enable participants to learn about the inner workings of a string quartet, and to explore the connections between classical music and our world today.
The members of Ulysses hold degrees from the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory and Yale University. The musicians perform on instruments and bows graciously on loan from the Canada Council of the Arts Instrument Bank and the Maestro Foundation. ulyssesquartet.com