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Michael Stephen Brown
Clarinetist Jose Franch-Ballester is a captivating performer of “poetic eloquence” (The New York Sun) and “technical wizardry” (The New York Times). He plays regularly at the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, the Skaneateles Festival, Camerata Pacifica, and Music from Angel Fire. He has also appeared at the Usedomer Musikfestival in Germany, the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, the Cartagena Festival Internacional de Música in Colombia, and the Young Concert Artists Festival in Tokyo, Japan. As a soloist, he has appeared with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Santa Barbara Orchestra, and numerous Spanish orchestras. Winner of the 2004 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, he was presented in debut recitals in New York and in Washington, DC at the Kennedy Center. In 2008, he won a coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant. He was awarded the Cannes Midem Prize, which aims to introduce artists to the classical recording industry. With the Chamber Music Society, he has recorded Bartók’s Contrasts on the Deutsche Grammophon label. Born in Moncofa, Spain into a family of clarinetists and Zarzuela singers, Mr. Franch-Ballester graduated from the Joaquin Rodrigo Music Conservatory. He earned a bachelor’s degree from The Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Donald Montanaro and Pamela Frank. He is a former member of CMS’s Bowers Program.
Nicholas Canellakis has become one of the most sought-after and innovative cellists of his generation, praised as a “superb young soloist” (New Yorker) and for being “impassioned . . . the audience seduced by Mr. Canellakis's rich, alluring tone” (New York Times). A multifaceted artist, Canellakis has forged a unique voice combining his talents as soloist, chamber musician, curator, filmmaker, and composer/arranger. His recent highlights include solo debuts with the Virginia, Albany, Bangor, Stamford, and Delaware symphony orchestras; concerto appearances with the Erie Philharmonic, the New Haven Symphony as artist-in-residence, and the American Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall; Europe and Asia tours with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; and recitals throughout the United States with his longtime duo collaborator, pianist-composer Michael Stephen Brown. An alum of CMS’s Bowers Program, Canellakis is a regular guest artist at many of the world’s leading music festivals, including Santa Fe, Ravinia, Music@Menlo, Bard, Bridgehampton, La Jolla, Hong Kong, Moab, Music in the Vineyards, and Saratoga Springs. He is the Artistic Director of Chamber Music Sedona in Arizona and is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and New England Conservatory. Filmmaking and acting are special interests of his; he has produced, directed, and starred in several short films and music videos. Canellakis plays on an outstanding Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume cello, circa 1840.
Michael Stephen Brown has been described as “one of the leading figures in the current renaissance of performer-composers” (New York Times). Winner of a 2018 Emerging Artist Award from Lincoln Center and a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, he is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and an alum of CMS’s Bowers Program. He makes regular appearances with orchestras such as the National Philharmonic and the Seattle, Phoenix, North Carolina, and Albany symphonies, and recently has made European recital debuts at the Beethoven-Haus Bonn and the Chopin Museum in Mallorca. He has received commissions from many organizations and some of today’s leading artists, and recently toured his own Piano Concerto around the US and Poland with several orchestras. He performs regularly with his longtime duo partner, cellist Nicholas Canellakis, and has appeared at festivals worldwide. A prolific recording artist, he has three albums in the works, including Mendelssohn+, featuring world premieres of music by one of Mendelssohn’s muses, Delphine von Schauroth. He was the composer- and artist-in-residence at the New Haven Symphony, and winner of the Concert Artists Guild and Copland House Awards. He holds degrees in piano and composition from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal, Robert McDonald, and Samuel Adler. Additional mentors include András Schiff and Richard Goode. An Artist Ambassador for Creatives Care, Brown lives in New York City with his two 19th-century Steinway D pianos, Octavia and Daria.
Recorded live in the Kaplan Penthouse on November 5, 2015.