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Tara Helen O'Connor
Acclaimed for her passionate, powerful performances, beautiful sound, and compelling command of her instrument, violinist Bella Hristova has performed extensively as a soloist with orchestras including the Charlotte, Milwaukee, and Kansas City symphonies as well as orchestras in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and New Zealand. Highlights of the 2023–24 season include performances of Wynton Marsalis’s Violin Concerto with the Charleston Symphony and Eugene Philharmonic, Prokofiev’s Second Concerto with the New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall, and the Barber Concerto with the Orlando Philharmonic. Hristova was the featured soloist for a concerto commissioned by a consortium of eight major orchestras and written for her by her husband, acclaimed composer David Serkin Ludwig, which she continues to perform. A sought-after chamber musician at festivals, she has performed at Australia’s Musica Viva, Music@Menlo, Chamber Music Northwest, and Marlboro Music. Following multiple tours of New Zealand with renowned pianist Michael Houstoun, she and Houstoun recorded the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Violin, and more recently the Brahms Sonatas, both released on Rattle. She received a 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant and first prizes in the Michael Hill International Violin Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and is a Laureate of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. Hristova attended the Curtis Institute of Music, where she worked with Ida Kavafian, and received her artist diploma with Jaime Laredo at Indiana University. She is an alum of CMS’s Bowers Program and plays a 1655 Nicolò Amati violin.
Violinist/violist Ida Kavafian recently retired after 35 successful years as artistic director of Music from Angel Fire, the renowned festival in New Mexico. She leaves a legacy of over 40 world premieres commissioned by the festival. Her close association with The Curtis Institute continues with her large and superb class, the endowment of her faculty chair by former Curtis Board President Baroness Nina von Maltzahn, and the awarding of the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching, which is presented in recognition of outstanding service in stimulating and guiding Curtis students. In addition to her solo engagements, she continues to perform with her piano quartet, OPUS ONE and Trio Valtorna. Co-founder of those ensembles as well as Tashi and the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival (which she ran for ten years), she has toured and recorded with the Guarneri, Orion, Shanghai, Harlem, and American string quartets (as violist); as a member of the Beaux Arts Trio for six years; and with such artists as Chick Corea, Mark O'Connor, and Wynton Marsalis. A graduate of The Juilliard School, where she studied with Oscar Shumsky, she was presented in her debut by Young Concert Artists with her long time chamber music partner, pianist Peter Serkin. Kavafian and her husband, violist Steven Tenenbom, have also found success outside of music in the breeding, training, and showing of champion Vizsla dogs, including the 2003 Number One Vizsla All Systems in the US, the 2007 National Champion, and a recent Gold Grand Champion as well as a master hunter. She has performed with the Chamber Music Society since 1973.
Alisa Weilerstein is one of the foremost cellists of our time. Since making her professional and Carnegie Hall debuts in her early teens, she has been in high demand as a solo recitalist, cham-ber musician, and concerto soloist with leading orchestras worldwide. She was recognized with a MacArthur Fellowship in 2011. An authority on Bach’s music for unaccompanied cello, she re-leased a best-selling recording of his solo suites on the Pentatone label in 2020, streamed them in her innovative #36DaysOfBach project, and deconstructed his beloved G-major prelude in a Vox video. Her discography also includes chart-topping albums and a winner of BBC Music’s “Recording of the Year” award. As Artistic Partner of the Trondheim Soloists, she regularly tours and records with the Norwegian orchestra. She is an ardent advocate of contemporary music, and has premiered and championed important new works by composers including Pascal Dusa-pin, Osvaldo Golijov, and Matthias Pintscher. Other career milestones include a performance at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at nine years old, Weilerstein is a staunch advocate for the T1D community. She lives with her husband, Ven-ezuelan conductor Rafael Payare, and their young child.
Tara Helen O'Connor is a charismatic performer noted for her artistic depth, brilliant technique, and colorful tone spanning every musical era. Recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a two-time Grammy nominee, she was the first wind player to participate in CMS’s Bowers Program. She regularly appears at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass, Spoleto Festival USA, Chamber Music Northwest, Mainly Mozart Festival, Music from Angel Fire, the Banff Centre, Rockport Music, Bay Chamber Concerts, Manchester Music Festival, the Great Mountains Music Festival, Chesapeake Music Festival, and the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. She is the newly appointed co-artistic director of the Music From Angel Fire Festival in New Mexico. She is a member of the woodwind quintet Windscape, the legendary Bach Aria Group, and is a founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning New Millennium Ensemble. She has premiered hundreds of new works and has collaborated with the Orion String Quartet, St. Lawrence Quartet, and Emerson Quartet. She has appeared on A&E's Breakfast for the Arts, Live from Lincoln Center and has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, EMI Classics, Koch International, CMS Studio Recordings with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Bridge Records. A Wm. S. Haynes flute artist, she is an associate professor at Purchase College. Additionally, she is on the faculty of Bard College, Manhattan School of Music, and is a visiting artist at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ontario.
Flutist and conductor Ransom Wilson has performed in concert with major orchestras the world over. As a flutist, he recently launched an ongoing series of solo recordings on the Nimbus label in the UK. As a conductor, he is starting his fourth season as music director of the Redlands Symphony in Southern California, and he is the Director of Orchestral Programs at Idyllwild Arts. He has led opera performances at the New York City Opera, and was for ten years an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. He has been a guest conductor of the London, Houston, KBS, Kraków, Denver, New Jersey, Hartford, and Berkeley symphonies; the Orchestra of St. Luke's; the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra; the Hallé Orchestra; and the chamber orchestras of St. Paul and Los Angeles. He has also appeared with the Glimmerglass Opera, Minnesota Opera, and the Opera of La Quincena Musical in Spain. As an educator, he regularly leads master classes at the Paris Conservatory, The Juilliard School, Moscow Conservatory, and Cambridge University. A graduate of The Juilliard School, he was an Atlantique Foundation scholar in Paris, where he studied privately with Jean-Pierre Rampal. His recording career, which includes three Grammy Award nominations, began in 1973 with Jean-Pierre Rampal and I Solisti Veneti. Since then he has recorded over 35 albums as flutist and/or conductor. Wilson is a professor at the Yale University School of Music, and has performed with the Chamber Music Society since 1991. He plays exclusively on a hand-made Haynes flute.
Stephen Taylor, one of the most sought-after oboists in the country, holds the Mrs. John D. Rockefeller III solo oboe chair at the Chamber Music Society. He is a solo oboist with the New York Woodwind Quintet, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble (for which he has served as co-director of chamber music), the American Composers Orchestra, the New England Bach Festival Orchestra, and Speculum Musicae, and is co-principal oboist of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. His regular festival appearances include Spoleto, Aldeburgh, Caramoor, Bravo! Vail Valley, Music from Angel Fire, Norfolk, Santa Fe, Aspen, and Chamber Music Northwest. Among his more than 200 recordings is Elliott Carter's Oboe Quartet for which Mr. Taylor received a Grammy nomination. He has performed many of Carter's works, giving the world premieres of Carter’s A Mirror on Which to Dwell, Syringa, and Tempo e Tempi; and the US premieres of Trilogy for Oboe and Harp, Oboe Quartet, and A 6 Letter Letter. He is entered in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities and has been awarded a performer's grant from the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University. Trained at The Juilliard School, he is a member of its faculty as well as of the Yale and Manhattan schools of music. Mr. Taylor plays rare Caldwell model Lorée oboes.
A Yale University faculty member since 1987, clarinetist David Shifrin is artistic director of Yale’s Chamber Music Society, the Yale in New York concert series, and the Phoenix Chamber Music Festival. He has performed with CMS since 1982 and served as its artistic director from 1992 to 2004, inaugurating CMS’s Bowers Program and the annual Brandenburg Concerto concerts. He was the artistic director of Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, Oregon, from 1981 to 2020. Winner of both the Avery Fisher Career Grant (1987) and the Avery Fisher Prize (2000), he is also the recipient of a Solo Recitalist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A top prize-winner in the Munich and Geneva competitions, he has held principal clarinet positions in numerous orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra and the American Symphony under Leopold Stokowski. His recordings have received three Grammy nominations and his performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra was named Record of the Year by Stereo Review. His most recent recordings are the Beethoven, Bruch, and Brahms clarinet trios with David Finckel and Wu Han on the ArtistLed label, a recording for Delos of works by Carl Nielsen, and an album of Poulenc’s music for clarinet. His 2012 Delos recording of Ellen Taaffe Zwillch’s Clarinet Concerto was chosen as culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant by the National Recording Preservation Act by the Library of Congress in 2023. Shifrin performs on clarinets made by Morrie Backun in Vancouver, Canada, and Légère synthetic reeds.
Called “superb” by the Washington Post and “stunningly virtuosic” by the New York Times, Peter Kolkay is the only bassoonist to receive an Avery Fisher Career Grant. In addition to performing with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, he regularly appears at the Music@Menlo and Bridgehampton summer festivals, and has performed on the Emerald City, Tertulia, and String Theory series. He actively engages with composers in the creation of new music for the bassoon and has premiered solo works by Joan Tower, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and Tania León, among others. His 2022–23 season included the premiere of a new work for bassoon and piano by Reinaldo Moya, and the release of two recordings: an album of contemporary works performed with the Calidore Quartet, and the Christopher Rouse Bassoon Concerto with the Albany Symphony. He is a member of the IRIS Collective in Germantown, Tennessee, and has also served as guest principal bassoon of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. A dedicated teacher, he is Associate Professor at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University and has given master classes throughout the United States and Mexico. Kolkay is an alumnus of CMS’s Bowers Program, and holds degrees from Lawrence University, the Eastman School of Music, and Yale University. A native of Naperville, Illinois, he currently calls the Melrose neighborhood of Nashville home, and is the recipient of a 2022–23 Individual Artist Fellowship in music performance from the Tennessee Arts Commission.
Radovan Vlatković has performed extensively around the globe and popularized the horn as a recording artist and teacher. He is the winner of numerous competitions, including the Premio Ancona in 1979 and the ARD Competition in 1983. He has premiered works by Elliott Carter, Sofia Gubaidulina, Heinz Holliger, and several Croatian composers; he premiered Penderecki's horn concerto, Winterreise, in Bremen in 2008 with the composer as conductor. As a chamber musician, he has performed at Gidon Kremer's Lockenhaus, Svyatoslav Richter's December Evenings in Moscow, and András Schiff's Mondsee, as well as the Marlboro Festival, Prussia Cove, and the Casals Festival. He has appeared as soloist with many orchestras, such as the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, Mozarteum Orchestra, Santa Cecilia Orchestra Rome, Melbourne Orchestra, the NHK Orchestra in Tokyo, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The recipient of several German Record Critics’ Awards, he has recorded Mozart and Strauss concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra and Jeffrey Tate for EMI, two-horn concertos by Leopold Mozart and Johann Friedrich Fasch with Hermann Baumann and Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, and the Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings with the Oriol Ensemble in Berlin. Vlatkovic is on the faculty of the Mozarteum Salzburg, Hochschule Zürich, and holds the Canón horn chair at the Queen Sofia School in Madrid. He recently became an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music.
Called the “Yo-Yo Ma of the harp,” by Vogue’s Senior Editor Corey Seymour, Bridget Kibbey is in demand for innovative, virtuosic programming that celebrates the expressive range of the instrument. She is the 2022–23 Artist in Residence at the Schubert Club, an alum of The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two), an Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, and a winner of the Premiere Prix at the Journées de les Harpes Competition in Arles, France, among others. Kibbey tours projects and programs of her own conception, including her own adaptations of J. S. Bach’s keyboard concertos alongside the Dover Quartet, as well as duo collaborations with mandolinist Avi Avital and violinist Alexi Kenney. This season she launches an all-French program with the Calidore String Quartet and tours her newest project, Persia to Iberia, showcasing the sounds of the Islamic Golden Era through 19th-century Spain alongside Persian vocalist Mahsa Vahdat and percussionist John Hadfield. She also creates projects with Latin Grammy–winning musicians that explore cultural narratives driving songs and dances from South America, and has toured and recorded with luminaries Placido Domingo, Dawn Upshaw, and Gustavo Santaolalla for Sony Records and Deutsche Grammophon. Kibbey made her NPR Tiny Desk Solo Debut in 2021. Her debut album, Love is Come Again, was named a Top Ten Release by Time Out New York. She appears frequently as soloist and chamber musician at festivals and series—and with orchestras as concerto soloist—across the globe.