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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.
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.
Alexander Fiterstein is recognized as one of today’s most exceptional clarinetists. He has been praised by the New York Times for possessing a “beautiful liquid clarity,” and the Washington Post wrote, “Fiterstein treats his instrument as his own personal voice, dazzling in its spectrum of colors, agility, and range. Every sound he makes is finely measured without inhibiting expressiveness.” A recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, he performs with orchestras and chamber groups throughout the world. He appeared as a soloist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, China National Symphony Orchestra, Czech Chamber Orchestra, Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Lincoln Center, Tokyo Philharmonic, and Vienna Chamber Orchestra. A dedicated performer of chamber music, he frequently collaborates with distinguished artists and regularly performs with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Among the highly regarded artists he has performed with are Daniel Barenboim, Emanuel Ax, Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode, Pinchas Zukerman, Steven Isserlis, and Elena Bashkirova. Fiterstein has made several recordings for Naxos, Bridge, and Orchid Classics, and his latest album, A Clarinet in America, was released in 2021. He graduated from the Juilliard School and is now Chair of Winds and Professor of Clarinet at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
Called “superb” by the Washington Post and “stunningly virtuosic” by the New York Times, Peter Kolkay is the only bassoonist to receive an Avery Fisher Career Grant. In addition to performing with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, he regularly appears at the Music@Menlo and Bridgehampton summer festivals, and has performed on the Emerald City, Tertulia, and String Theory series. He actively engages with composers in the creation of new music for the bassoon and has premiered solo works by Joan Tower, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and Tania León, among others. His 2022–23 season included the premiere of a new work for bassoon and piano by Reinaldo Moya, and the release of two recordings: an album of contemporary works performed with the Calidore Quartet, and the Christopher Rouse Bassoon Concerto with the Albany Symphony. He is a member of the IRIS Collective in Germantown, Tennessee, and has also served as guest principal bassoon of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. A dedicated teacher, he is Associate Professor at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University and has given master classes throughout the United States and Mexico. Kolkay is an alumnus of CMS’s Bowers Program, and holds degrees from Lawrence University, the Eastman School of Music, and Yale University. A native of Naperville, Illinois, he currently calls the Melrose neighborhood of Nashville home, and is the recipient of a 2022–23 Individual Artist Fellowship in music performance from the Tennessee Arts Commission.
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.
Recorded live in Alice Tully Hall on May 15, 2016.
Video produced by Ibis Productions.