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Tara Helen O'Connor
James Austin Smith
Escher String Quartet
At the forefront of a new generation of wind soloists, Adam Walker was appointed principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra in 2009 at the age of 21 and received the Outstanding Young Artist Award at MIDEM Classique in Cannes. In 2010 he won a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship Award and was shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society Outstanding Young Artist Award. An ambassador for the flute with a ferocious appetite for repertoire, he regularly performs with the major UK orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony, Hallé, Bournemouth Symphony, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Elsewhere he has performed with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Grant Park Festival, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico, Seoul Philharmonic, Auckland Philharmonia, Malaysian Philharmonic, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Solistes Européens, Luxembourg, and the RTE National Symphony Orchestra. A committed chamber musician with a curious and creative approach to repertoire, 2018 saw Adam take up his place on the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Bowers Program. Recital highlights over recent seasons have included Wigmore Hall, LSO St. Luke’s, De Singel, Musée du Louvre, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Frankfurt Alte Oper, and the Utrecht, West Cork, Delft, and Moritzburg Chamber Music Festivals. Born in 1987, Adam Walker studied at Chetham’s School of Music with Gitte Sorensen and later at the Royal Academy of Music with Michael Cox. He was appointed professor at the Royal College of Music in 2017.
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.
A member of the New York Woodwind Quintet and St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Marc Goldberg is principal bassoonist of Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, American Ballet Theater, NYC Opera, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and a member of the American Symphony Orchestra. Previously the associate principal bassoonist of the New York Philharmonic, he has also been a frequent guest of the Metropolitan Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, touring with these ensembles across four continents and joining them on numerous recordings. Solo appearances include performances throughout the US, in South America, and across the Pacific Rim with the Brandenburg Ensemble, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Saito Kinen Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Riverside Symphony, Jupiter Symphony, New York Chamber Soloists, and the New York Symphonic Ensemble. A longtime season artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, he has been a guest of the Da Camera Society of Houston, Musicians from Marlboro, Music@Menlo, the Brentano Quartet, Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Band, and the Boston Chamber Music Society. Summer festival appearances include Spoleto, Ravinia, Chautauqua, Tanglewood, Caramoor, Saito Kinen/Ozawa Music Festival, Bard Music Festival, and Marlboro. Goldberg is on the faculty of the Juilliard School Pre-College Division, Mannes College, New England Conservatory, the Hartt School, and the Bard College Conservatory of Music.
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.
A chamber musician praised for his “virtuosic,” “dazzling,” and “brilliant” performances (New York Times) and his “bold, keen sound” (New Yorker), James Austin Smith is driven by the communicative nature of live performance. As an oboist and on-stage host he appears regularly at leading national and international chamber music festivals, at Carnegie Hall and on tour as Co-Principal Oboe of the conductor-less Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and as an artist of the International Contemporary Ensemble. As Artistic and Executive Director of Tertulia Chamber Music he curates intimate evenings of food, drink, and music designed to engage audiences hungry for singular cultural experiences in New York, San Francisco, and Serenbe, Georgia. He mentors graduate-level musicians as a professor of oboe and chamber music at Stony Brook University and the Manhattan School of Music, and as a regular guest at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama. An alum of CMS’s Bowers Program, he holds a master’s degree from the Yale School of Music and bachelor’s degrees in political science and music from Northwestern University. He spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Conservatory in Leipzig, Germany, and is an alum of Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect. Born in New York and raised in Connecticut, Smith’s principal teachers are Stephen Taylor, Christian Wetzel, Humbert Lucarelli, and Ray Still.
Romanian-born cellist Mihai Marica is a first-prize winner of the Dr. Luis Sigall International Competition in Viña del Mar, Chile, as well as the Irving M. Klein International Competition, and is a recipient of Charlotte White’s Salon de Virtuosi Fellowship Grant. He has performed with orchestras such as the Symphony Orchestra of Chile, Xalapa Symphony in Mexico, the Hermitage State Orchestra of St. Petersburg in Russia, the Jardins Musicaux Festival Orchestra in Switzerland, the Louisville Orchestra, and the Santa Cruz Symphony in the US. He has also appeared in recital performances in Austria, Hungary, Germany, Spain, Holland, South Korea, Japan, Chile, the United States, and Canada. A dedicated chamber musician, he has performed at the Chamber Music Northwest, Norfolk, and Aspen music festivals where he has collaborated with such artists as Ani Kavafian, Ida Kavafian, David Shifrin, André Watts, and Edgar Meyer. He is a founding member of the award-winning Amphion String Quartet. A recent collaboration with dancer Lil Buck brought forth new pieces for solo cello written by Yevgeniy Sharlat and Patrick Castillo. He recently joined the acclaimed Apollo Trio. Marica studied with Gabriela Todor in his native Romania and with Aldo Parisot at the Yale School of Music, where he was awarded master's and artist diploma degrees. He is an alum of CMS's Bowers Program.
Swiss-born American pianist Gilles Vonsattel is celebrated for his versatility and originality. He has been honored with an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the 2016 Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award, and top prizes in the Naumburg and Geneva competitions, and has performed alongside world-renowned orchestras like the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, San Francisco Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg. He has performed recitals and chamber music at venues including Ravinia, Tokyo’s Musashino Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Lucerne Festival, Bravo! Vail, Chamber Music Northwest, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and Music@Menlo. An advocate of contemporary music, he has premiered compositions in the United States and Europe, collaborating closely with composers Jörg Widmann, Heinz Holliger, Anthony Cheung, and George Benjamin. Recent milestones in his career encompass a performance of Carlos Chávez’s Piano Concerto at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium with The Orchestra Now, a debut at Mostly Mozart, and a critically acclaimed recording of Richard Strauss and Kurt Leimer’s music with the Bern Symphony Orchestra and Mario Venzago for Schweizer Fonogramm. An alum of CMS’s Bowers Program, he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Columbia University and a master’s degree from the Juilliard School. Vonsattel is Professor of Piano at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is on the faculty at Bard College Conservatory of Music.
The Escher String Quartet has received acclaim for its profound musical insight and rare tonal beauty. A former BBC New Generation Artist and recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, the quartet has performed at the BBC Proms at Cadogan Hall and is a regular guest at Wigmore Hall. In its hometown of New York, the ensemble serves as season artists of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The 2021-2022 season found the Escher Quartet touring the U.S. extensively, performing in numerous cities and venues including Alice Tully Hall and Rockefeller University, the Kennedy Center, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, La Jolla Music Society, Savannah Music Festival, and Chamber Music Society of Detroit. Internationally, the quartet returns to Wigmore Hall in London and the Sociedad Filarmonica de Bilbao. The Escher Quartet has made a distinctive impression throughout Europe, with recent debuts including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Berlin Konzerthaus, London’s Kings Place, Slovenian Philharmonic Hall, Les Grands Interprètes Geneva, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and Auditorium du Louvre. The group has appeared at festivals such as the Heidelberg Spring Festival, Budapest’s Franz Liszt Academy, Dublin’s Great Music in Irish Houses, the Risør Chamber Music Festival in Norway, the Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival, and the Perth International Arts Festival in Australia. Alongside its growing European profile, the Escher Quartet continues to flourish in its home country, performing at the Aspen Music Festival, Bravo! Vail, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Bowdoin Music Festival, Toronto Summer Music, Chamber Music San Francisco, Music@Menlo, and the Ravinia and Caramoor festivals. The quartet has held faculty positions at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and the University of Akron, OH. Recordings of the complete Mendelssohn quartets and beloved romantic quartets of Dvorak, Borodin and Tchaikovsky were released on the BIS label in 2015-18 and received critical acclaim, with comments such as “…eloquent, full-blooded playing... The four players offer a beautiful blend of individuality and accord” (BBC Music Magazine). In 2019, Dance, an album of quintet’s with Grammy award winning guitarist Jason Vieaux, was enthusiastically received. The Escher’s most recent recording, the complete quartet of Charles Ives and Samuel Barber, was met with equal excitement, including “A fascinating snapshot of American quartets, with a recording that is brilliantly detailed, this is a first-rate release all around” (Strad Magazine). The quartet has also recorded the complete Zemlinsky String Quartets in two volumes, released on the Naxos label in 2013 and 2014. Within months of its inception in 2005, the ensemble came to the attention of key musical figures worldwide. Championed by the Emerson Quartet, the Escher Quartet was invited by both Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman to be Quartet-in-Residence at each artist's summer festival: the Young Artists Program at Canada’s National Arts Centre; and the Perlman Chamber Music Program on Shelter Island, NY. The Escher Quartet takes its name from the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, inspired by Escher’s method of interplay between individual components working together to form a whole.