2019 Festival Artists

Natalya Rose Vrbsky
Lera Auerbach
Garrett Arney


Garret Arney, percussion





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Lera Auerbach, piano/composer

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Igor Begelman, clarinet

Clarinetist Igor Begelman's virtuosity and imagination on his instrument have been praised by critics as "remarkable display of music making" and have earned him an impressive list of prizes, engagements, and honors, including Avery Fisher Career Grant awarded to outstanding American artists.

In recent seasons Mr. Begelman appeared as a soloist with the I Musici de Montreal, Houston Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Boston Classical Orchestra, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Sinfonia Celestis, Astral and Chappaqua Chamber Orchestras as well as in recitals at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center, New York's Merkin Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie, Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, 92nd Street Y, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, Boston's Faneuil Hall, LA's Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, at Caramoor and Ravinia Festivals. Mr. Begelman has also soloed with the Bangor, Key West, Fairbanks and Ridgefield Symphonies, Bienne Symphony Orchestra, Odense Simfoniker, New Haven, Savannah and Greenwich Symphonies. He has performed recitals in Western and Eastern Europe, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Israel.

Equally accomplished as a recitalist and a chamber musician, Mr. Begelman performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and has appeared at numerous festivals throughout the world, including Casals, Marlboro, Moab, Alpenglow, Juneau, Caramoor, Tucson, Tanglewood, and Schleswig-Holstein. An avid proponent of new music, he has also premiered compositions by Jennifer Higdon, Anton Kuerti, Alex Krasotov, David Robert Coleman, Meyer Kupferman, Elliot Schwartz, and Ralph Shapey.

Mr. Begelman was awarded top prizes at the Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition in Denmark and the Geneva International Competition in Switzerland. In addition, he has earned top prizes at William C. Byrd Competition, Koussevitsky Competition, International Clarinet Society Competition, Heida Hermanns International Competition, Tilden Prize Competition and Crane New Music Competition among others. His honors also include the Special Prize at the 41st Munich International Competition and awards from the Altamura/Caruso Foundation and Salon de Virtuosi. Mr. Begelman is the five-time recipient of the BRIO award from the Bronx Council for the Arts. He was also featured as a special guest in the Music section of "Lifestyles" magazine.

An active educator, Mr. Begelman has served as a professor of Clarinet at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and as the Director of Woodwind Program at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. He also taught at Brooklyn College and Sarah Lawrence College and guest lectured at Yale, Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music in addition to many master classes throughout the US. Currently, Mr. Begelman serves as the Artist-in-Residence at the Peace Center in Greenville, SC.

Raised in Kiev, Ukraine, Igor Begelman came to the United States in 1989. He received his education from The Manhattan School of Music, The Juilliard School, and the CUNY Graduate Center.

His affiliation with the Piatigorsky Foundation allows him to perform and teach classical music in less traditional settings. Mr. Begelman shares his musical adventures with his wife Larisa, daughter Eve and son Joshua.

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Hsuan-Fong Chen, oboe

Oboist Hsuan-Fong Chen enjoys a diverse career performing in concert halls, theaters, and studios in New York City. She is the oboist on "Rocktopia" Broadway in April, 2018. She was recently invited to perform as a guest principal oboist with the Metropolitan Opera. She has also appeared with Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Lukes, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Knights, hit Broadway show “Wicked”.  Other orchestral highlights include California Tour 2016 with the New York Philharmonic and her performance with Rihanna at the Met Gala hosted by Vouge in 2015. 

Hsuan-Fong has given solo recitals and appeared as soloist with orchestras in Taiwan, USA and Germany. A passionate chamber musician, she has given multiple world premieres of new music in New York City and Tristate area. She has performed with the Talea Ensemble, Trinity Church Wall Street’s Novus, NY, and ensemble mise-en. She has performed at the Phoenix Chamber Music Society Winter Series and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and she will appear with Yale faculties on Naxos produced album featuring Beethoven’s serenade for winds to be released in 2020. 

Prior to joining the Kingston Music Festival, Hsuan-Fong has appeared in Aspen Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, Spoleto Festival, USA, Schloss Beuggen, Germany, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Atlantic Music Festival, New York Symphonic Ensemble Japan Tour, Lake George Music Festival.

Hsuan-Fong is also a passionate educator, from teaching oboe and piano privately to substitute teaching at the Calhoun School in NYC; In February, 2017, She joined the administrative team of the National Youth Orchestra of China’s inaugural year as an Artistic Coordinator and Orchestra Manager.  She worked closely with 105 students age ranged from age 14 to 21 in 2017 summer and throughout the season, programmed music for NPR From the Top and WQXR artist showcase for NYO-China. NYO-China’s 2017 debut at Carnegie Hall conducted by Ludovic Morlot and featuring pianist Yuja Wang received pronounced critical acclaim from various American music columns and publications. 

A native of Taiwan, Hsuan-Fong came to the United States to pursue her musical studies and graduated from the Walnut Hill School in Natick, MA. She received her Bachelor of Music degree at The Juilliard School, where she studied with Nathan Hughes, Elaine Douvas, Pedro Diaz, and Linda Strommen. She received her Masters of Music as well as Artist Diploma at Yale School of Music, studied with Stephen Taylor. Hsuan-Fong then concluded her studies at Manhattan School of Music, studied with Liang Wang. 

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Che-Hung Chen, viola

Violist Che-Hung Chen has been a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra since the spring of 2001, when he was hired by then-Music Director Wolfgang Sawallisch, becoming the first Taiwanese citizen ever to join the Orchestra. He has also served as acting associate principal viola under former Music Director Christoph Eschenbach. 

Mr. Chen was the first-prize winner at the Seventh Banff International String Quartet Competition as the founding member of the Daedalus Quartet; the Quartet was also awarded the Pièce de Concert prize for the best performance of a commissioned work and the Székely Prize for the best performance of a Beethoven quartet. A three-time, top-prize winner at the Taiwan National Instrumental Competition, Mr. Chen is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with the legendary Joseph dePasquale. Mr. Chen has served as principal viola of the Curtis Symphony and recently appeared as guest principal viola with Japan’s Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Chen’s recording of Chiayu’s Twelve Signs for solo viola on the Naxos Label was praised in Gramophone magazine’s Awards 2015 issue for its ‘“mesmerizing intensity.’”

As a chamber musician, Mr. Chen was a participant at Marlboro Music, performing in its 50th anniversary concerts in Boston and New York’s Carnegie Hall, and in several “Musicians from Marlboro” national tours. He performs annually at the Kingston Chamber Music Festival in Rhode Island with his wife, pianist and Artistic Director Natalie Zhu, and has also participated in such festivals as Ravinia, Caramoor, Saratoga, Bridgehampton, and Music from Angel Fire. With Ms. Zhu, Philadelphia Orchestra colleague and First Associate Concertmaster Juliette Kang, and cellist Clancy Newman, he is a member of the Clarosa Piano Quartet, dedicated to exploring and enriching the piano quartet repertoire. Their debut performance earned praise from the Philadelphia Inquirer as “a combination of easy cohesion and unfettered, expressive freedom.” The Quartet made their debut for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society in May 2016.

Mr. Chen serves on the faculty of Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music. He performs on a viola by Carlo Antonio Testore in Milan, Italy, c. 1756. He and Natalie resides in Narberth, PA, with their daughter, Clara.

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Zachary DePue, violin


Known for his virtuosic, high‐energy performances, violinist Zachary DePue successfully balances his roles as concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, soloist, chamber musician, fiddler, community leader and mentor with passion and dedication.   

A rising star among both classical and crossover music fans, he was appointed concertmaster of the ISO in 2007 and became one of the youngest concertmasters in the country. He graduated in 2002 from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied with renowned violinists Ida Kavafian and Jaime Laredo. He earned a full‐tuition scholarship to Curtis and he also held the David H. Springman Memorial Fellowship. He served as concertmaster of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra before becoming a violinist in The Philadelphia Orchestra. Prior to entering Curtis, he attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with William Preucil, concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra.

With an innate talent for improvisation and arranging, Mr. DePue found much of his inspiration from his three older brothers, all violinists and fiddlers. In 1985, the four classically‐trained brothers formed their own acclaimed group, which combines classical and bluegrass for an eclectic, fun concert experience. The group’s father is Wallace DePue, a composer and professor emeritus at Bowling Green State University.

Mr. DePue was a founding member of Time for Three, ISO’s first ever ensemble-in-residence, alongside his fell Curtis colleagues, violinist Nick Kendall and double bassist Ranaan Meyer. With its dynamic energy and unique mash-ups of bluegrass, jazz and classical music, Time for Three has reinvented the ISO’s Happy Hour Series and has introduced a new audiences to the symphony experience.

This season, Mr. DePue became a member of the 40th Class of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series, a prestigious program that connects Indianapolis’ emerging leaders to the issues and needs of the community.

His violin was made by Ferdinand Gagliano of Naples, Italy, in 1757.

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Roberto Diaz, viola







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Jordan Dodson, guitar







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Nathan Farrington, double bass

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Noah Geller, violin

Violinist Noah Geller has performed extensively throughout the United States and abroad. At the invitation of Music Director Michael Stern, Geller became the Kansas City Symphony concertmaster in 2012. He has since appeared frequently as soloist with the Symphony. He made his solo recording debut on the Kansas City Symphony’s recent release with Reference Recordings featuring music by Saint-Saëns. In addition to his activities at the Symphony, Geller is an enthusiastic music educator. Upon his arrival in Kansas City, he was appointed adjunct associate professor of violin at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. Geller began his professional career in the first violin section of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2007 while still pursuing his master’s degree. He served as acting assistant concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Geller also has performed as guest concertmaster with the orchestras of Pittsburgh, Houston and Beijing (China National Symphony). In addition to his orchestral activities, Geller appears regularly with the dynamic, spirited and conductorless East Coast Chamber Orchestra. An active chamber musician, Geller has performed at the Marlboro, Kingston, Saratoga, Heartland and Skaneateles festivals, and he has appeared on the Lyon and Healy (Chicago), Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Lyric Chamber Music Society (New York) series, among others. He is an original member of Shir Ami, an ensemble dedicated to the music of composers whose lives were adversely affected by the Holocaust. Geller has organized and presented concerts by Shir Ami for the Kansas City community, garnering remarkable support and enthusiasm. Geller grew up in the Chicago area, studying privately with Jennifer Cappelli. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School where he studied with Hyo Kang, Donald Weilerstein and Cho-Liang Lin. Geller currently lives in Kansas City with his wife, percussionist Mari Yoshinaga, and their dog Monkey. He performs on a violin made by Andreas Postacchini c. 1840.

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Hilary Hahn, violin

Three-time Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn is renowned for her virtuosity, expansive interpretations, and creative programming. Her dynamic approach to music-making and her commitment to sharing her musical experiences with a broad global community have made her a fan favorite. Hahn's sixteen feature recordings have received every critical prize in the international press and have met with equal popular success. Her seventeenth album will be a retrospective collection that also contains new live material and art from her fans, in keeping with a decades-long tradition of collecting fan art at concerts.

Hahn’s distinct stylistic choices honor the traditional violin literature while delving into the unexpected. In the past two seasons in recital tours across the United States, Europe, and Japan, she premiered six new partitas for solo violin by composer Antón García Abril. The works were Hahn's first commissioning project for solo violin and her first commission of a set of works from a single composer. García Abril was also one of the composers for “In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores,” Hahn's multi-year commissioning project to revitalize the duo encore genre.

In 2017-18 Hahn returns to repertoire from the 19th and 20th centuries, performing the Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, and first Prokofiev violin concertos, in addition to Bernstein's Serenade (after Plato's “Symposium”) for Bernstein's centennial season. As part of recent residencies at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Seattle Symphony, and National Orchestra of Lyon, Hahn piloted free – and sometimes surprise – concerts for parents with their babies, as well as a knitting circle, a community dance workshop, a yoga class, and art students. She will continue to create these community-oriented concerts as the 2017-18 Artist-in-Residence at the Philadelphia Orchestra, encouraging music lovers to combine live performance with their interests outside the concert hall and providing opportunities for parents to enjoy live music with their infants. She also plays a free concert to promote a college membership program and participates in the Philadelphia Orchestra's ongoing educational activities.

Hahn is an avid writer, having posted journal entries for two decades on her website, hilaryhahn.com, and published articles in mainstream media. On her YouTube channel, youtube.com/hilaryhahnvideos, she interviews colleagues about their experiences in music. Her violin case comments on life as a traveling companion, on Twitter and Instagram at @violincase. In 2001, Hahn was named “America’s Best Young Classical Musician” by Time magazine, and in 2010, she appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. Hahn was featured in the Oscar-nominated soundtrack to The Village and has participated in a number of non-classical productions, collaborating on two records by the alt-rock band ….And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, on the album Grand Forks by Tom Brosseau, on tour with folk-rock singer-songwriter Josh Ritter, and on the album Silfra with experimental prepared-pianist Hauschka, which they entirely improvised following an intensive period of development.

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Maria Ioudentich, violin







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Juliette Kang, violin

Appointed first associate concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2005, Canadian violinist Juliette Kang enjoys an active and varied career. Previously assistant concertmaster of the Boston Symphony and a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Ms. Kang’s solo engagements have included the San Francisco Symphony, l’Orchestre National de France, the Baltimore Symphony, the Boston Pops, the Omaha Symphony, the Syracuse Symphony, and every major orchestra in Canada. Internationally she has performed with the Czech Philharmonic, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the KBS Symphony in Seoul. She has given recitals in Philadelphia, Paris, Tokyo, and Boston. In 1994 she won first prize of the 1994 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis and was presented at New York's Carnegie Hall in a recital that was recorded live and released on CD. She has also recorded the Schumann and Wieniawski violin concertos with the Vancouver Symphony for CBC Records.

In 2012 Ms. Kang was again a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall for the visit of her hometown orchestra, the Edmonton Symphony, and that season she made her Philadelphia Orchestra subscription debut with guest conductor Gianandrea Noseda.

Ms. Kang has been involved with chamber music since studying at the Curtis Institute of Music. Festivals she has participated in include Bravo! Vail, Bridgehampton (Long Island, NY), Kingston (RI), Marlboro, Moab (UT), Skaneateles (NY), and Spoleto USA. In New York she has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; at the Mostly Mozart Festival with her husband, cellist Thomas Kraines; and at the Bard Music Festival. With Philadelphia Orchestra colleague violist Che Hung Chen, pianist Natalie Zhu, and cellist Clancy Newman she is a member of the Clarosa Quartet, dedicated to exploring and enriching the piano quartet repertoire.

After receiving a Bachelor of Music degree at age 15 from Curtis as a student of Jascha Brodsky, Ms. Kang earned a Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Dorothy Delay and Robert Mann. She was a winner of the 1989 Young Concert Artists Auditions, and she subsequently received first prize at the Menuhin Violin Competition of Paris in 1992. She serves on the Central Board of Trustees at Philadelphia's Settlement Music School, one of the oldest and largest community schools of the arts in the country, founded in 1908 and having served more than 300,000 students since. She lives in Queen Village with her husband and two daughters.

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Stephen Kim, violin

Violinist Stephen Kim has received rave reviews from the critics. Following his performance at San Francisco’s Davies Hall when he was thirteen, the San Francisco Classical Voice proclaimed, “Stephen’s maturity of phrasing, not unlike Yehudi Menuhin’s, was the very soul of Romantic tastefulness.” Stephen has been commended for his abilities of “holding an audience spellbound” (Indiana Tribune-Star) and as “a fire-breathing, passionate communicator with his instrument” (The Aspen Times).

Stephen has been presented in many venues throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has appeared as a soloist with the American Academy of Conducting Orchestra and Philharmonic Orchestra at the Aspen Music Festival, Indiana’s Carmel and Terre Haute Symphony Orchestras, Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra in Korea, Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra in Japan, and l’Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice in Italy, among many others. From December 2016 to January 2017, Stephen embarked on a nation-wide tour, performing Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Curtis Chamber Orchestra, as part of the all-Mozart Curtis on Tour in nine cities across the United States.

In the past season, Stephen was featured in the Stradivari Society recipient recital series, at the Verbier Festival Academy, as an artist-in-residence at the Hic et Nunc! festival in Korea, as well as with return performances in Japan, among others. In June, Stephen will perform at the Award Presentation Ceremony of Korea’s prestigious Ho-Am Prize.

Stephen has the singular distinction of being the first person in the history of the Aspen Music Festival to win all three of the violin competitions. He was the winner of the Festival’s 2014 Brahms Violin Concerto Competition, the youngest-ever recipient of the 2013 Dorothy DeLay Memorial Fellowship, awarded to only one violinist of the Festival, at age 16, and the winner of the Festival’s 2011 AACA Mozart Violin Concerto Competition.

He has won major prizes at the 2014 Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition and the 2015 Seoul International Violin Competition, the second prize at the 2016 Sendai International Violin Competition in Japan, and mostly recently the third prize at the 2018 Premio Paganini International Violin Competition in Genoa, Italy.

Stephen studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with Shmuel Ashkenasi and Aaron Rosand. At Curtis, he was also a student of the late Joseph Silverstein.

Stephen currently plays the Guarnerius del Gesu violin, “ex-Moller” 1725, on generous loan from the Samsung Foundation of Culture of Korea and the Stradivari Society of Chicago.

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Gabriel Kovach, french horn

Gabriel Kovach, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is active as both a chamber and orchestral musician. Mr. Kovach has been Principal Horn of the Phoenix Symphony since 2006. He has served as Principal Horn of the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa Canada, under the direction of Pinchas Zukerman. Other previously positions include Principal Horn of The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Opera Company of Philadelphia and Delaware Symphony. During the summers he travels to Cooperstown, N.Y. as Principal Horn of the Glimmerglass Opera Festival and to Arkansas as Principal Horn of the Artosphere Festival Orchestra. Additionally, he has toured with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, sharing duties as Principal and Second Horn. He has also appeared as Principal Horn with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.

Mr. Kovach continues to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra as an active member of their substitute pool and joining them for tours of Asia in 2005 while also serving as guest Associate Principal for a series in 2015. More recently, Mr. Kovach had the distinction of being guest Principal Horn with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for the final series of Maestro Jeffrey Kahane’s tenure as Music Director.

Along with his orchestral duties, Mr. Kovach has been a member of many prominent festivals. For three consecutive summers he was a participant of the prestigious Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. During the summer of 2003, Mr. Kovach and four of his Marlboro colleagues founded the Sonoro Winds, making their debut performance at the 92nd street Y in Manhattan. Additionally, he has participated at the Norfolk, Sarasota, National Repertory Orchestra, Verbier(Switzerland) and Casals Festivals. Also enjoying an active teaching role, Mr. Kovach has given clinics and masterclasses for The Southwest Regional Horn Conference and Universities such as Arizona State University, The University of Arizona, New Mexico State University, and The Interlochen Arts Academy.

In 2001 Mr. Kovach had the honor of being invited to Poland to record a world premiere solo with the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Esquisses en désarroi, rhapsody for cello, french horn & orchestra, with cellist Inbal Segev and composer Max Schubel for Opus One Records. Additionally, he has been a featured soloist with The Phoenix Symphony performing the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 on two separate occasions and Mozart’s 3rd Horn Concerto in March of 2018.

Recently Mr. Kovach has finished the exciting process of developing his own line of French Horn mouthpieces, through master craftsman David Houser at Houser Mouthpieces. And, after the culmination of a 2-year project, a newly designed Triple Horn with master horn builder Jim Patterson at Patterson Hornworks. It is this combination that Mr. Kovach uses on stage and in concert. In 2008 Gabriel Kovach was also named as an Endorsing Artist for Conn-Selmer.

After being awarded a Bachelor's degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Myron Bloom and Barry Tuckwell, Mr. Kovach received his Masters Degree at The Juilliard School, studying with both Julie Landsman and Jerome Ashby.

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Priscilla Lee, cello

Priscilla Lee joined The Philadelphia Orchestra with the start of the 2016-17 season. A 2005 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, she began studying at the age of five and made her solo debut in 1998 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A native of California, she studied with Ronald Leonard at the Colburn School of Performing Arts and in 1998 went on to the Curtis Institute of Music to study with David Soyer. In 2005 she received a Master of Music degree from the Mannes College of Music, where she studied with Timothy Eddy.

Ms. Lee has participated in the festivals of Marlboro, Santa Fe, Seattle, Delaware, St. Denis in Paris, Kingston, Lexington, and Taos. She was a member of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two from 2006 to 2009. She was a founding member of Trio Cavatina, a piano trio that won the Grand Prize at the 2009 Naumburg International Competition. The Trio made its debut at the New School and Merkin Hall’s Rising Star Series, along with Boston’s famed Jordan Hall and Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. Ms. Lee was the principal cello of both Opera Philadelphia (2014-16) and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia (2015-16). She resides in Newtown Square, PA, with her husband, Philadelphia Orchestra violist Burchard Tang, and their two daughters.

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Ren Martin-Dolke, viola

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Clancy Newman, cello

Cellist Clancy Newman, first prize winner of the prestigious Naumburg International Competition and recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, has had the unusual career of a performer/composer. He received his first significant public recognition at the age of twelve, when he won a Gold Medal at the Dandenong Youth Festival in Australia, competing against people twice his age. Since then, he has performed as soloist throughout the United States, as well as in Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia. He can often be heard on NPR’s “Performance Today” and has been featured on A&E and PBS. A sought after chamber musician, he is a member of the Clarosa piano quartet and a former member of Chamber Music Society Two of Lincoln Center and Musicians from Marlboro. As a composer, he has expanded cello technique in ways heretofore thought unimaginable, particularly in his "Pop-Unpopped" project, which has gained over eighty thousand views on youtube. He has also written numerous chamber works, and has been a featured composer on series by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Chicago Chamber Musicians. In March 2019, his piano quintet, commissioned by the Ryuji Ueno Foundation, was premiered at the opening ceremony of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC. Mr. Newman is a graduate of the five-year exchange program between Juilliard and Columbia University, receiving a M.M. from Juilliard and a B.A. in English from Columbia.

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Ayano Ninomiya, violin

Praised by The New York Times as "deeply communicative and engrossing," violinist Ayano Ninomiya is committed to creating invigorating live performance experiences from concert stages to private homes and public schools. Winner of numerous prizes including the Walter Naumburg International Competition,  Tibor Varga International Competition, Astral Artists National Auditions, Young Performers Career Advancement, and Lili Boulanger awards, Ayano has performed with orchestras across the U.S., Switzerland, Bulgaria, and most recently in Carnegie Hall. She has performed at the Marlboro, Ravinia, Moab, Bowdoin, Kingston, Adams (New Zealand), Canberra International (Australia), and Prussia Cove (England) festivals, among others.  She has been featured on Musicians from Marlboro Festival tours in the U.S. and France, and gave a TEDx talk in 2012 at the University of Tokyo. She was first violinist of the Ying Quartet and was Associate Professor at the Eastman School of Music until 2015 after which she joined the violin faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music. As a recipient of the Beebe Fellowship, Ayano studied in Budapest, Hungary, at the Liszt Academy after graduating from Harvard University and The Juilliard School. Because of her own experience beginning the violin in a public school program in Boston, Ayano has given numerous programs for children. In her spare time, she loves to paint and practice Aikido.

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Sarah Rommel, cello

Cellist Sarah Rommel is a top prizewinner of the 2014 George Enescu International Cello Competition. She has been the recipient of several awards and grants including a Williamson Foundation Grant, Frank Huntington Beebe Fund Grant, Anna Sosenko Trust Grant, and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artists Award, which led to a subsequent appearance on NPR’s “From the Top”.

Sarah has given recitals at Caramoor’s Evnin Rising Stars Showcase and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in addition to performances in Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, France, Italy, England, and Romania. She has actively participated in classes at the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, Academie Musicale de Villecroze, and IMS Prussia Cove where she has worked closely with distinguished professors such as David Geringas, Gary Hoffman, Frans Helmerson, and Paul Katz.

An enthusiastic chamber musician, Sarah was a founding member of the cello quintet SAKURA and has appeared with the Chameleon Arts Ensemble and SHUFFLE Concert. She has also recently toured with the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO) and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Sarah has been invited to perform at festivals such as Music from Angel Fire, NM, Music in May Festival, Santa Cruz Chamber Players, Chamber Music Palisades, Chamber Music Sedona, as well as Caramoor’s Evnin Rising Stars Series, Chamber Music New Zealand, Yellow Barn, Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute and Marlboro Music Festival. Sarah has collaborated with composers John Adams, Sofia Gubaidulina, Jennifer Higdon, Steve Mackey, and Kaija Saariaho, pianist Jonathan Biss and Gil Kalish, violinists Lucy Chapman, Pamela Frank, Joseph Lin, Scott St. John, and Don Weilerstein, violists Atar Arad, Kim Kashkashian and Nobuko Imai, and cellists Peter Wiley and Ralph Kirshbaum.

Sarah began her musical studies on the piano at age nine and was later introduced to the cello at age twelve. She is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she pursued a Bachelor of Music studying with Peter Wiley. Previous teachers include Efe Baltacigil and Hans Jørgen Jensen. She recently received her Master’s Degree from the USC Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles studying under the tutelage of Ralph Kirshbaum. Sarah is currently based in New York City and Seattle, WA.

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Albert Seo, cello







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Joshua Smith, flute







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Flutist Mimi Stillman, acclaimed by The New York Times as “not only a consummate and charismatic performer, but also a scholar whose programs tend to activate ear, heart, and brain”, is renowned for her virtuosity, insightful interpretation, and adventurous programming. As soloist, she has appeared with orchestras including The Philadelphia Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Bach Collegium Stuttgart, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Orquesta Sinfónica de Yucatán, Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, and Orchestra 2001, and as recitalist and chamber musician at venues including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Sawdust, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Symphony Space, La Jolla Chamber Music Society, The Kimmel Center, The Verbier Festival, and Kol HaMusica. Ms. Stillman is the founding Artistic Director of the popular Dolce Suono Ensemble, “one of the most dynamic groups in the US” (The Huffington Post), performing Baroque to new music with 53 world premieres in 13 seasons in Philadelphia and on tour. At the invitation of Plácido Domingo, Ms. Stillman and Dolce Suono Ensemble enjoy a partnership with the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program

A wide-ranging and innovative artist, Ms. Stillman celebrates the canon while deeply exploring new music and Latin genres.  She is highly regarded for expanding the repertoire through her commissions, arrangements, and compositions. She can be heard on several recordings including Odyssey: 11 American Premieres for Flute and Piano and Freedom, both with her longstanding duo pianist Charles Abramovic, and American Canvas performed by her Dolce Suono Trio (Innova). Her Syrinx Journey project, a tribute to Claude Debussy on his 150thanniversary, garnered an international following.

Mimi Stillman made the leap from child prodigy to inimitable artist. At age 12, she was the youngest wind player ever admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with the legendary Julius Baker and Jeffrey Khaner and earned her Bachelor of Music degree. She received a MA and PhD (abd) in History at the University of Pennsylvania, and is a published author on music and history.

Mimi Stillman has won numerous competitions and awards including Young Concert Artists International Auditions, the Bärenreiter Prize for Best Historical Performance for Winds, Astral Artists Auditions, and the Philadelphia Women in the Arts Award. A Yamaha Performing Artist and Clinician, strongly committed to excellence in education, she has taught masterclasses at institutions including the National Flute Association, Eastman School of Music, Cornell University, Southern Methodist University, Indiana University, the universities of Texas, California, Virginia, Florida, and Arizona, and at conservatories worldwide. A Spanish-speaker, Ms. Stillman won the Knight Foundation grant for her Música en tus Manos (Music in Your Hands) project to introduce chamber music to the Latino community of Philadelphia. She is on faculty at Temple University, Curtis Summerfest, and Music for All National Festival. www.mimistillman.com.

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Burchard Tang, viola

Burchard Tang began his musical studies on the violin at the age of three and, at 16, switched to viola, studying with Choong-Jin Chang, principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He continued his musical education at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Joseph de Pasquale, former principal violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Upon graduation, he was appointed to the viola section of the Philadelphia Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Mr. Tang has appeared at many of the country’s top festivals, including Marlboro, Ravinia, Music from Angel Fire, Seattle, Kingston and Caramoor. He has toured with Music from Marlboro, and the Brandenburg Ensemble.

As the winner of the 1992 Albert M. Greenfield student competition, Mr. Tang appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has also appeared with the Temple University Orchestra, where he presently is on the faculty, teaching viola and chamber music.



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Reiko Uchida, piano

Pianist Reiko Uchida enjoys an active career as a soloist and chamber musician, performing regularly throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. The New York Times has described her playing as “refined and exquisite.”  Ms. Uchida has appeared as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Santa Fe Symphony, Greenwich Symphony, and the Princeton Symphony, among others. A passionate chamber musician, she is a member of Camera Lucida and the ARK Trio. She is a past member of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two and has toured with Musicians from Marlboro, as well as with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society. She has collaborated with many of the leading artists of today including Jaime Laredo, Pinchas Zukerman, Oslo Vänskä, and members of the Tokyo String Quartet. She has performed as guest artist with the American Chamber Players, and the Borromeo, Talich, Formosa, Daedalus, and St. Lawrence String Quartets. She has partnered in recital with Jennifer Koh, Jessica Lee, Thomas Meglioranza, Anne Akiko Meyers, Anthony McGill, David Shifrin, and Sharon Robinson. "String Poetic,” her recording with Jennifer Koh, was nominated for a Grammy Award. A graduate of Curtis Institute of Music, Mannes College of Music and the Juilliard School, Ms. Uchida studied with Claude Frank, Leon Fleisher, Edward Aldwell, Sophia Rosoff, and Margo Garrett. She has taught at the Brevard Music Center, and is currently a Music Associate at Columbia University.

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Natalya Rose Vrbsky, basson

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Mari Yoshinaga, percussion





Percussionist Mari Yoshinaga performs actively as a member of arx duo, a contemporary music ensemble she formed with percussionist Garrett Arney. Their recent performances together include Dominic Murcott’s The Harmonic Canon at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in the UK, as well as performances and master classes across the country.

arx duo is in residence at the Artosphere Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and they serve on the faculty of the Young Artist Summer Program at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Mari is also a member of The Robert van Sice Percussion Collective. In it’s inaugural season, The Percussion Collective is enjoying a busy performing schedule across the country, premiering a large scale percussion sextet with film by Garth Neustadter, and a percussion group concerto by Christopher Theofanidis, scheduled for premier in 2019.

Mari has had the privilege of working with a number of composers on new works. Currently, Pulitzer Prize finalist Ted Hearne is writing a double percussion concerto for arx duo and the Yale Concert Band. Mari recently commissioned and video recorded Table Talk by Alyssa Weinberg, available for viewing courtesy of Vic Firth on Youtube. arx duo is currently working on a new commission called Kalavinka Duos by James Wood for premier this Fall. Mari’s recording work includes Partita: Suite for Guitar and Percussion by Paul Lansky with guitarist David Starobin (Bridge Records), Cloud Polyphonies by James Wood (NMC Recordings), and The Harmonic Canon by Dominic Murcott will be released from the Nonclassical label in 2019.

Mari was born in Kagoshima, Japan. Immersed in music from an early age, she began studying piano at age three, marimba at age five, euphonium at ten, cello at eleven, and percussion at twelve. She moved to the United States when she was twenty years old to attend The Curtis Institute of Music where she earned her bachelor’s degree, and later she earned her master’s degree at Yale School of Music. With gratitude, she proudly endorses Adams instruments, Evans drumheads, Pearl drums, and Vic Firth sticks and mallets.

For more information, please visit www.arxduo.com

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 Natalie Zhu, piano 

The recipient of both 2003 Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award, pianist Natalie Zhu is a winner of Astral Artistic Services' 1998 National Auditions. The Philadelphia Inquirer heralded Astral's recent presentation of Ms. Zhu in recital as a display of "emotional and pianistic pyrotechnics." The recital was later broadcast on National Public Radio's "Performance Today."

Ms. Zhu has performed throughout North America, Europe, and China as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. She has performed in the United States with the Pacific Symphony, the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Astral Chamber Orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic, and with the Colorado Philharmonic National Repertory Orchestra. Ms. Zhu made her European debut in 1994 at the Festival de Sully et d'Orleans in France, and has toured in Austria, Holland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, France and Turkey.

She collaborated with renowned violinist Hilary Hahn, stepping in for pianist Garrick Ohlsson in several performances of Ms. Hahn's October 2000 U.S. tour. Subsequently, Ms. Zhu and Ms. Hahn have maintained a partnership to this day with tours of the U.S., Europe, and Japan, including a hugely successful Carnegie Hall recital debut. The duo recorded the Mozart Sonatas for the Deutsche Grammophon label.

Natalie Zhu has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the grand prize in the both the 1988 and 1989 Young Keyboard Artists Association Competition. She was the first prize winner in the Johanna Hodges Piano Concerto Competition in 1988 and 1991, having also received its 1991 Concert Series Award. In 1994, she was the top prize winner in the first China International Piano Competition. An active chamber musician, she is a frequent soloist at the Amelia Island Festival and has appeared at both the Great Lake Music and Marlboro Music festivals. In the year 2000 she was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival.

Ms. Zhu began her piano studies with Xiao-Cheng Liu at the age of 6 in her native China and made her first public appearance at age nine in Beijing. At age 11 she immigrated with her family to Los Angeles, and by 15 was enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music where she received the prestigious Rachmaninoff Award and studied with Gary Graffman. In 2001 she joined the Curtis faculty as staff pianist. She received a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music where she studied with Claude Frank.

For further information, go to www.nataliezhu.com.

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