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James Austin Smith
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.
Violist Paul Neubauer has been called a “master musician” by the New York Times. He recently made his Chicago Symphony subscription debut with conductor Riccardo Muti. He also gave the US premiere of the newly discovered Impromptu for viola and piano by Shostakovich with pianist Wu Han. In addition, his recording of the Aaron Kernis Viola Concerto with the Royal Northern Sinfonia was released on Signum Records, and his recording of the complete viola/piano music by Ernest Bloch with pianist Margo Garrett was released on Delos. Appointed principal violist of the New York Philharmonic at age 21, he has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras including the New York, Los Angeles, and Helsinki philharmonics; National, St. Louis, Detroit, Dallas, San Francisco, and Bournemouth symphonies; and Santa Cecilia, English Chamber, and Beethovenhalle orchestras. He has premiered viola concertos by Bartók (revised version of the Viola Concerto), Friedman, Glière, Jacob, Kernis, Lazarof, Müller-Siemens, Ott, Penderecki, Picker, Suter, and Tower, and has been featured on CBS's Sunday Morning and A Prairie Home Companion as well as in Strad, Strings, and People magazines. A two-time Grammy nominee, he has recorded on numerous labels including Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, RCA Red Seal, and Sony Classical, and is a member of SPA, a trio with soprano Susanna Phillips and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott. Neubauer is the artistic director of the Mostly Music series in New Jersey and is on the faculty of the Juilliard School and Mannes College.
Alessio Bax catapulted to prominence with First Prize wins at both the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions. He has appeared with more than 150 orchestras, including the London, Royal, and St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestras, the Boston, Dallas, and Sydney Symphonies, and the NHK Symphony in Japan, collaborating with such eminent conductors as Marin Alsop, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Simon Rattle, Yuri Temirkanov, and Jaap van Zweden. He released his 11th Signum Classics album, Italian Inspirations, whose program was also the vehicle for his solo recital debut at New York’s 92nd Street Y as well as on tour. He and his regular piano duo partner, Lucille Chung, have given recitals at Lincoln Center and were featured with the St. Louis Symphony and Stéphane Denève. This season he makes his debut with the Milwaukee Symphony, and will return for the fourth time for two recitals at the historic Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Last summer he made return appearances at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival and at the Bravo! Vail Music Festival with the Dallas Symphony and Fabio Luisi conducting. At age 14, Bax graduated with top honors from the conservatory of Bari, his hometown in Italy, and after further studies in Europe, he moved to the United States in 1994. A Steinway artist, he lives in New York City with pianist Lucille Chung and their daughter, Mila. He is a former member of CMS’s Bowers Program and on the faculty at the New England Conservatory.
Recorded live in Alice Tully Hall on April 24, 2016.
Video produced by Ibis Productions.