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Tara Helen O'Connor
Michael Stephen Brown
Tara Helen O'Connor is a charismatic performer noted for her artistic depth, brilliant technique, and colorful tone spanning every musical era. Recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a two-time Grammy nominee, she was the first wind player to participate in CMS’s Bowers Program. She regularly appears at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass, Spoleto Festival USA, Chamber Music Northwest, Mainly Mozart Festival, Music from Angel Fire, the Banff Centre, Rockport Music, Bay Chamber Concerts, Manchester Music Festival, the Great Mountains Music Festival, Chesapeake Music Festival, and the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. She is the newly appointed co-artistic director of the Music From Angel Fire Festival in New Mexico. She is a member of the woodwind quintet Windscape, the legendary Bach Aria Group, and is a founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning New Millennium Ensemble. She has premiered hundreds of new works and has collaborated with the Orion String Quartet, St. Lawrence Quartet, and Emerson Quartet. She has appeared on A&E's Breakfast for the Arts, Live from Lincoln Center and has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, EMI Classics, Koch International, CMS Studio Recordings with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Bridge Records. A Wm. S. Haynes flute artist, she is an associate professor at Purchase College. Additionally, she is on the faculty of Bard College, Manhattan School of Music, and is a visiting artist at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ontario.
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.
Clarinetist Sebastian Manz has been praised for his “enchantingly beautiful intonation and technical prowess” by Fono Forum. He has performed as a soloist with major European orchestras such as the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, and the National Youth Orchestra of Germany. On the chamber music stage, he has given performances at Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Beethovenhaus Bonn, and has appeared at festivals including the prestigious Festspiele Mecklenburg Vorpommern and the MDR Musiksommer in Germany, collaborating with artists like Sebastian Studnitzky, Sarah Christian, Julian Steckel, Danae Dörken, the Danish String Quartet, and the Armida Quartett. At the ARD International Music Competition in 2008, he won not only first prize in the clarinet category, which had not been awarded for 40 years, but also the coveted Audience Prize and other special prizes. He is Principal Clarinet of the SWR Symphony Orchestra in Stuttgart. He is also active in the “Rhapsody in School” organization founded by Lars Vogt, which is committed to bringing classical music into schools. His recording A Bernstein Story was awarded with the Opus Klassik award in 2020. He recently released his recording of clarinet concertos by Carl Nielsen and Magnus Lindberg, as well as a recital recording of works by Brahms and Schumann with pianist Herbert Schuch. Manz was born in Hanover, and his teachers include the acclaimed clarinetists Sabine Meyer and Reiner Wehle. He is an alum of CMS's Bowers Program.
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.
Radovan Vlatković has performed extensively around the globe and popularized the horn as a recording artist and teacher. He is the winner of numerous competitions, including the Premio Ancona in 1979 and the ARD Competition in 1983. He has premiered works by Elliott Carter, Sofia Gubaidulina, Heinz Holliger, and several Croatian composers; he premiered Penderecki's horn concerto, Winterreise, in Bremen in 2008 with the composer as conductor. As a chamber musician, he has performed at Gidon Kremer's Lockenhaus, Svyatoslav Richter's December Evenings in Moscow, and András Schiff's Mondsee, as well as the Marlboro Festival, Prussia Cove, and the Casals Festival. He has appeared as soloist with many orchestras, such as the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, Mozarteum Orchestra, Santa Cecilia Orchestra Rome, Melbourne Orchestra, the NHK Orchestra in Tokyo, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The recipient of several German Record Critics’ Awards, he has recorded Mozart and Strauss concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra and Jeffrey Tate for EMI, two-horn concertos by Leopold Mozart and Johann Friedrich Fasch with Hermann Baumann and Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, and the Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings with the Oriol Ensemble in Berlin. Vlatkovic is on the faculty of the Mozarteum Salzburg, Hochschule Zürich, and holds the Canón horn chair at the Queen Sofia School in Madrid. He recently became an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music.
Michael Stephen Brown has been described as “one of the leading figures in the current renaissance of performer-composers” (New York Times). Winner of a 2018 Emerging Artist Award from Lincoln Center and a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, he is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and an alum of CMS’s Bowers Program. He makes regular appearances with orchestras such as the National Philharmonic and the Seattle, Phoenix, North Carolina, and Albany symphonies, and recently has made European recital debuts at the Beethoven-Haus Bonn and the Chopin Museum in Mallorca. He has received commissions from many organizations and some of today’s leading artists, and recently toured his own Piano Concerto around the US and Poland with several orchestras. He performs regularly with his longtime duo partner, cellist Nicholas Canellakis, and has appeared at festivals worldwide. A prolific recording artist, he has three albums in the works, including Mendelssohn+, featuring world premieres of music by one of Mendelssohn’s muses, Delphine von Schauroth. He was the composer- and artist-in-residence at the New Haven Symphony, and winner of the Concert Artists Guild and Copland House Awards. He holds degrees in piano and composition from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal, Robert McDonald, and Samuel Adler. Additional mentors include András Schiff and Richard Goode. An Artist Ambassador for Creatives Care, Brown lives in New York City with his two 19th-century Steinway D pianos, Octavia and Daria.
Recorded live in Alice Tully Hall on February 25, 2020.
Video produced by Ibis Productions.