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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 Alexander Sitkovetsky was born in Moscow into a family with a well-established musical tradition. His concerto debut came at the age of eight and in the same year he moved to the UK to study at the Menuhin School. Last season he debuted at Vienna’s Musikverein with the Tonkünstler Orchester, made return visits to Anima Musicae Budapest and Russian Philharmonic Novosibirsk and appeared with the Sitkovetsky Trio at festivals throughout Spain, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, and Germany. Recent concerto performances include appearances with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Moscow and St Petersburg Symphony Orchestras, Orquesta Filarmónica de Bolivia, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Orchestra. He directs and performs as a soloist regularly with chamber orchestras, including the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, London Mozart Players, New York Chamber Players, Camerata Zurich, and most recently with the Romanian Sinfonietta. He is a founding member of the Sitkovetsky Trio, which regularly performs throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The trio’s fourth disc for BIS Records, Ravel’s Piano Trio and Saint-Saëns’s Second Trio, was released to great critical acclaim in July 2021. Sitkovetsky is an alum of CMS’s Bowers Program and plays the 1679 ‘Parera’ Antonio Stradivari violin, kindly loaned to him through the Beare’s International Violin Society by a generous sponsor.
Praised by The Strad as an “utterly dazzling” artist, violinist Danbi Um captivates audiences with her virtuosity, individual sound, and interpretive sensitivity. She is a Menuhin International Violin Competition Silver Medalist, a winner of the prestigious 2018 Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant, and a recent top prizewinner of the Naumburg International Violin Competition. Recent and upcoming engagements include appearances with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and her Washington, DC, recital debut at the Phillips Collection. This season will also see her return to the Rockport, Moab, Saratoga Performing Arts (SPAC), Santa Fe, and North Shore Music Festivals, as well as her debuts at the Cleveland Chamber Music Society, Chamber Music San Francisco, and the Mostly Music, Newburyport, La Musica (Sarasota), and Chelsea Music Festivals. In addition, she embarks on a duo recital tour with guitarist Jiji to Delaware, Houston, New York, and Nova Scotia. Her debut album, Much Ado: Romantic Violin Masterworks, will be released in fall 2023. Past concerto engagements include appearances with the Israel Symphony, Auckland Philharmonic, Vermont Symphony, and Dartmouth Symphony. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Ms. Um moved to the United States to study at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she earned a bachelor’s degree. She also holds an Artist Diploma from Indiana University. Her teachers have included Shmuel Ashkenasi, Joseph Silverstein, Jaime Laredo, and Hagai Shaham. She is an alum of CMS’s Bowers Program and plays a 1683 “ex-Petschek” Nicolo Amati violin, on loan from a private collection.
Violist Hsin-Yun Huang has forged a career performing on international concert stages, commissioning and recording new works, and nurturing young musicians. She has been a soloist with the Berlin Radio Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, China NCPA Orchestra, Taiwan Philharmonic, Russian State Symphony, Zagreb Soloists, Bogota Philharmonic, Brazil Youth Symphony, Puerto Rico Symphony, International Contemporary Ensemble, and the London Sinfonia. She performs regularly at Marlboro, Santa Fe, Music@Menlo, Seoul Spring, and Spoleto USA. She also tours extensively with the Brentano String Quartet. Recent highlights include concerto performances under the batons of Osmo Vänskä, David Robertson, Xian Zhang, and Max Valdés, and appearances with the Shanghai and Guangzhou Symphonies. She has commissioned compositions from Steven Mackey, Shih-Hui Chen, and Poul Ruders. Her 2012 recording for Bridge Records, titled Viola Viola, won accolades from Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine. Upcoming projects includes FantaC with the Ashkenazy Ballet as well as the world premiere of a duo with pipa virtuoso Wu Man written by Lei Liang. Gold medalist in the 1988 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition and the 1993 ARD International Competition in Munich, Huang was awarded the Bunkamura Orchard Hall Award. She has been a contributor to Strad magazine and was featured in one of its podcasts discussing time and space. A native of Taiwan and an alum of Young Concert Artists, she was inspired to play the viola by Haydn quartets. She currently serves on the faculties of The Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music.
Cellist Keith Robinson is a founding member of the Miami String Quartet and has been active as a chamber musician, recitalist, and soloist since his graduation from the Curtis Institute of Music. He has had numerous solo appearances with orchestras including the New World Symphony, the American Sinfonietta, and the Miami Chamber Symphony, and in 1989 won the P.A.C.E. “Classical Artist of the Year” Award. His most recent recording released on Blue Griffin Records features the complete works of Mendelssohn for cello and piano with his colleague Donna Lee. In 1992 the Miami String Quartet became the first string quartet in a decade to win First Prize of the Concert Artists Guild New York Competition. The quartet has also received the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award, has won the Grand Prize at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, and was a member of CMS’s Bowers Program. He regularly attends festivals across the United States, including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Kent Blossom Music, Bravo! Vail, Savannah Music Festival, and the Virginia Arts Festival. Highlights of recent seasons include international appearances in Bern, Cologne, Istanbul, Lausanne, Montreal, Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Paris. He also teaches chamber music at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Robinson hails from a musical family and his siblings include Sharon Robinson of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, and Hal Robinson, principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He plays a cello made by Carlo Tononi in Venice in 1725.
Anthony Manzo’s vibrantly interactive and highly communicative music-making has made him a ubiquitous figure in the upper echelons of classical music, performing at noted venues including Lincoln Center, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and the Spoleto Festival in Charleston. He appears regularly with the Chamber Music Society, both in New York and across the country. He serves as the solo bassist of San Francisco’s New Century Chamber Orchestra and as a guest with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and A Far Cry. He is a regular guest with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Smithsonian Chamber Society, and the Baltimore Symphony when he happens to be near his home in Washington, DC. Formerly the solo bassist of the Munich Chamber Orchestra in Germany, he has also been guest principal with Camerata Salzburg in Austria, where collaborations have included a summer residency at the Salzburg Festival and two tours as soloist alongside bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff, performing Mozart’s “Per questa bella mano.” He is an active performer on period instruments, with groups including the Handel & Haydn Society of Boston (where his playing was lauded as “endowed with beautiful and unexpected plaintiveness” by the Boston Musical Intelligencer), Philharmonia Baroque in San Francisco, and Opera Lafayette in Washington, DC. He is on the double bass and chamber music faculty of the University of Maryland. Manzo performs on a double bass made around 1890 by Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy in Paris (which now has a removable neck for travel!).
Recorded live in Alice Tully Hall on March 4, 2016.
Video produced by Ibis Productions.