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Tara Helen O'Connor
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.
Winner of a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Arnaud Sussmann has distinguished himself with his unique sound, bravura, and profound musicianship. Minnesota’s Pioneer Press writes, “Sussmann has an old-school sound reminiscent of what you'll hear on vintage recordings by Jascha Heifetz or Fritz Kreisler, a rare combination of sweet and smooth that can hypnotize a listener.” A thrilling musician capturing the attention of classical critics and audiences around the world, he has recently appeared as a soloist with the Vancouver Symphony and the New World Symphony. As a chamber musician, he has performed at the Tel Aviv Museum in Israel, London’s Wigmore Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the Dresden Music Festival in Germany, and the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. He has been presented in recital in Omaha on the Tuesday Musical Club series, in New Orleans by the Friends of Music, and at the Louvre Museum in Paris. He has also given concerts at the OK Mozart, Moritzburg, Caramoor, Music@Menlo, La Jolla SummerFest, Mainly Mozart, Seattle Chamber Music, Chamber Music Northwest, and Moab Music festivals. He has performed with many of today’s leading artists including Itzhak Perlman, Menahem Pressler, Gary Hoffman, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Wu Han, David Finckel, and Jan Vogler. An alum of CMS’s Bowers Program, Sussmann is Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach and Co-Director of Music@Menlo’s International Program, and teaches at Stony Brook University. In September 2022, Sussmann was named Founding Artistic Director of the Boscobel Chamber Music Festival.
Violinist Ani Kavafian enjoys a prolific career as a soloist, chamber musician, and professor. She has performed with many of America’s leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony. In the 2019-20 season, she continued her longtime association as an artist of the Chamber Music Society with appearances in New York and on tour. Last summer she participated in several music festivals, including the Heifetz International Institute and the Sarasota Chamber Music, Bridgehampton, Meadowmount, Norfolk, and Angel Fire festivals. She and her sister, violinist and violist Ida Kavafian, have performed with the symphonies of Detroit, Colorado, Tucson, San Antonio, and Cincinnati, and have recorded the music of Mozart and Sarasate on the Nonesuch label. She is a Full Professor at Yale University and has appeared at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall numerous times with colleagues and students from Yale. She has received an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions award and has appeared at the White House on three occasions. Her recordings can be heard on the Nonesuch, RCA, Columbia, Arabesque, and Delos labels. Born in Istanbul of Armenian heritage, Kavafian studied violin in the US with Ara Zerounian and Mischa Mischakoff. She received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School under Ivan Galamian. She plays the 1736 Muir McKenzie Stradivarius violin.
Violinist/violist Yura Lee is a multifaceted musician, as a soloist and as a chamber musician, and one of the very few that is equally virtuosic on both violin and viola. She has performed with major orchestras including those of New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Cleveland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. She has given recitals in London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Salzburg’s Mozarteum, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. At age 12, she became the youngest artist ever to receive the Debut Artist of the Year prize at the Performance Today awards given by National Public Radio. She is the recipient of a 2007 Avery Fisher Career Grant and the first prize winner of the 2013 ARD Competition. She has received numerous other international prizes, including top prizes in the Mozart, Indianapolis, Hannover, Kreisler, Bashmet, and Paganini competitions. Her CD Mozart in Paris, with Reinhard Goebel and the Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie, received the prestigious Diapason d’Or Award. As a chamber musician, she regularly takes part in the festivals of Seattle, Marlboro, Salzburg, Verbier, and Caramoor. Her main teachers included Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, Miriam Fried, Paul Biss, Thomas Riebl, Ana Chumachenko, and Nobuko Imai. An alum of CMS's Bowers Program, Lee is on the faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles. She lives in Los Angeles with her dog Nugget.
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.
Recorded live in the Kaplan Penthouse on April 17, 2014.