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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 Aaron Boyd enjoys a versatile career as soloist, chamber musician, orchestral leader, recording artist, lecturer, and teacher. Since making his New York recital debut in 1998, he has concertized throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Formerly a member of the Escher String Quartet, he was a recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Martin E. Segal prize from Lincoln Center, and was also awarded a Proclamation by the City of Pittsburgh for his musical accomplishments. A passionate advocate for new music, he has been involved in numerous commissions and premieres, and has worked directly with such legendary composers as Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, and Charles Wuorinen. He is also founder of the Zukofsky Quartet (quartet-in-residence at Bargemusic); the only ensemble to have played all of Milton Babbitt's notoriously difficult string quartets. As a recording artist, he can be heard on the BIS, Music@Menlo Live, Naxos, Tzadik, North/South and Innova labels. He has been broadcast in concert by NPR, WQXR, and WQED, and was profiled by Arizona Public Television. Born in Pittsburgh, Mr. Boyd began his studies with Samuel LaRocca and Eugene Phillips and graduated from The Juilliard School where he studied with Sally Thomas and coached extensively with Paul Zukofsky and cellist Harvey Shapiro. He now serves as Director of Chamber Music and Professor of Practice in Violin at the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University and lives in Dallas with his wife Yuko, daughter Ayu, and son Yuki.
Violinist Sean Lee has captured the attention of audiences around the world with his lively performances of the classics. A recipient of a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, he is one of few violinists who dares to perform Niccolò Paganini’s 24 Caprices in concert, and his YouTube series, Paganini POV, continues to draw praise for its use of technology in sharing unique perspectives and insight into violin playing. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony, Israel Camerata Jerusalem, and Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice, and his recital appearances have taken him to Vienna's Konzerthaus, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. As a season artist at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and an alum of CMS’s Bowers Program, he continues to perform regularly at Lincoln Center and on tour. Originally from Los Angeles, Lee studied with Robert Lipsett of the Colburn Conservatory and legendary violinist Ruggiero Ricci before moving at the age of 17 to study at the Juilliard School with his longtime mentor, violinist Itzhak Perlman. Lee performs on violins made by Samuel Zygmuntowicz in 1995 and David Bague in 1999, with bows made circa 1890 by Joseph Arthur Vigneron and circa 1910 by W. E. Hill & Sons.
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.
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.
Timothy Cobb is the principal bass of the New York Philharmonic, prior to which he served as principal bass for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He has appeared at numerous chamber music festivals worldwide, and as a former participant in the Marlboro Music festival, has toured with the Musicians from Marlboro series. He is a faculty member of the Sarasota Music Festival and serves as principal bass for Valery Gergiev’s World Orchestra for Peace, an invited group of musicians from around the world, from which he has earned the title UNESCO Artist for Peace. He also served as principal bass for the Mostly Mozart festival orchestra. He can be heard on all Met recordings after 1986, as well as on the Naxos label in a recording of Giovanni Bottesini’s duo bass compositions with fellow bassist Thomas Martin, of London. Mr. Cobb graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Roger Scott. In his senior year he became a member of the Chicago Symphony under Sir Georg Solti. He serves as bass department chair for The Juilliard School and on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music, Purchase College, and Rutgers University. He also holds the title ‘Distinguished Artist in Residence’ at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.
Swiss-born American pianist Gilles Vonsattel is celebrated for his versatility and originality. He has been honored with an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the 2016 Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award, and top prizes in the Naumburg and Geneva competitions, and has performed alongside world-renowned orchestras like the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, San Francisco Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg. He has performed recitals and chamber music at venues including Ravinia, Tokyo’s Musashino Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Lucerne Festival, Bravo! Vail, Chamber Music Northwest, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and Music@Menlo. An advocate of contemporary music, he has premiered compositions in the United States and Europe, collaborating closely with composers Jörg Widmann, Heinz Holliger, Anthony Cheung, and George Benjamin. Recent milestones in his career encompass a performance of Carlos Chávez’s Piano Concerto at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium with The Orchestra Now, a debut at Mostly Mozart, and a critically acclaimed recording of Richard Strauss and Kurt Leimer’s music with the Bern Symphony Orchestra and Mario Venzago for Schweizer Fonogramm. An alum of CMS’s Bowers Program, he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Columbia University and a master’s degree from the Juilliard School. Vonsattel is Professor of Piano at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is on the faculty at Bard College Conservatory of Music.
Recorded live in Alice Tully Hall on May 20, 2018.
Video produced by Ibis Productions.