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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.
Recipient of a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant and a 2017 Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists, violinist Paul Huang’s recent appearances include the Detroit Symphony with Leonard Slatkin, Baltimore Symphony and Seoul Philharmonic with Markus Stenz, and Houston Symphony with Andrés Orozco-Estrada. In the 2023–24 season, he returns to the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan with Jun Markl and makes debuts with Rotterdam Philharmonic with Lahav Shani, Vancouver Symphony with Otto Tausk, and Dallas and NHK Symphonies with Fabio Luisi. In addition, he returns to the Kennedy Center for a recital evening as well as his recital debut in Singapore at the Victoria Concert Hall. He recently stepped in for Anne-Sophie Mutter at the Bravo! Vail Music Festival, playing Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 with Chamber Orchestra Vienna-Berlin, and made recital debuts at the Lucerne and Aspen Music Festivals, all to critical acclaim. In fall 2021, he also became the first classical violinist to perform his own arrangement of the US national anthem for the opening game of the NFL at the Bank of America Stadium to an audience of 75,000. Winner of the 2011 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Huang earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Juilliard School. He plays on the legendary 1742 ex-Wieniawski Guarneri del Gesù on loan through the Stradivari Society of Chicago. He is on the faculty of Taipei National University of the Arts and resides in New York.
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.
Violist Richard O’Neill is an Emmy Award winner, two-time Grammy nominee, and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient. He has appeared with the London, Los Angeles, Seoul, and Euro-Asian philharmonics; the BBC, KBS, Hiroshima and Korean symphonies; the Moscow, Vienna, Württemburg and Zurich chamber orchestras; and Kremerata Baltica and Alte Musik Köln with conductors Andrew Davis, Vladimir Jurowski, François-Xavier Roth, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Highlights of this season include the complete Beethoven string quartet cycle for the Seattle Chamber Music Society with the Ehnes Quartet, and a South Korean recital tour with harp player Emmanuel Ceysson. As a recitalist he has performed at Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, Disney Hall, Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, Louvre, Salle Cortot, Madrid’s National Concert Hall, Teatro Colón, Hong Kong’s Cultural Center, Tokyo’s International Forum and Opera City, Osaka Symphony Hall, and LOTTE Concert Hall and Seoul Arts Center. A Universal/DG recording artist, he has made nine solo albums that have sold more than 200,000 copies. His chamber music initiative DITTO has introduced tens of thousands to chamber music in South Korea and Japan. An alum of CMS’s Bowers Program, he was the first violist to receive the artist diploma from Juilliard and was honored with a Proclamation from the New York City Council for his achievement and contribution to the arts. He serves as Goodwill Ambassador for the Korean Red Cross, the Special Olympics, and UNICEF and runs marathons for charity.
Acclaimed for his inspirational performances and eloquent musicianship, Paul Watkins enjoys a remarkably varied and distinguished career as soloist, chamber musician, and conductor. He is the Artistic Director of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, and in 2019 he was appointed Professor of Cello at the Yale School of Music. He has performed as concerto soloist with prestigious orchestras throughout the world under eminent conductors including Bernard Haitink, Paavo Berglund, Leonard Slatkin, Sakari Oramo, Gianandrea Noseda, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Charles Mackerras, Andris Nelsons, Edo de Waart, Hannu Lintu and Vasily Petrenko. A dedicated chamber musician, Paul was a member of the Nash Ensemble from 1997 until 2013, when he joined the Emerson String Quartet. With the Quartet he has travelled extensively, performing at major international festivals including Tanglewood, Aspen, Ravinia, Edinburgh, Berlin, and Evian, and has collaborated with artists such as Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Evgeny Kissin, Renée Fleming, and Barbara Hannigan. He is a regular guest artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
He took first prize in the 2002 Leeds Conducting Competition, and has held the positions of Music Director of the English Chamber Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra. In recent seasons he made his conducting debuts with the Minnesota Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, and Omaha Symphony. His extensive discography as a cellist includes more than 70 recordings, including 18 solo albums for Chandos. His first recording as a conductor, of the Britten and Berg violin concertos with Daniel Hope, received a Grammy nomination.
Paul’s future plans include solo performances and recordings with, among others, Alessio Bax, Anthony Marwood, Lawrence Power, Leila Josefowicz, Edward Gardner, and Sir Andrew Davis. He is also in demand as a visiting teacher and has residencies this season at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin.
Recorded live in Alice Tully Hall on February 22, 2019.
Video produced by Ibis Productions.