Faculty

 LAURIE SMUKLER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Violin: David Bowlin, Ronald Copes, Joel Smirnoff, Laurie Smukler, Axel Strauss

Viola: Doris Lederer, Katherine Murdock, Ira Weller

Cello: Jerry Grossman, Dmitry Kouzov, Joel Krosnick, Barbara Mallow,

Piano: Jane Coop, Qing Jiang, Ieva Jokubaviciute, Robert McDonald, Matti Raekaillo

 LAURIE SMUKLER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Admired for her vivid musical intensity and the beauty of her sound, violinist and artistic director, LAURIE SMUKLER is an artist who is active as soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. She began her studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Margaret Randall. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School where she studied with Ivan Galamian. Other teachers who have had a powerful influence on her development have been Josef Gingold, Donald Weilerstein and Robert Mann. As the original and founding first violinist of the Mendelssohn String Quartet, she spent eight years with that group, traveling and performing internationally. She also performed and toured as the first violinist of two school-affiliated string quartets: the Bard Festival String Quartet and the Purchase Faculty String Quartet. She has performed and toured with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society and Music From Marlboro. With her husband, violist Ira Weller, she directed and performed in the respected series “The Collection in Concert,” at the Pierpont Morgan Library for over ten years. She plays regularly at the chamber series, Da Camera of Houston. Laurie Smukler is a dedicated and passionate teacher. In addition to her new appointment to the faculty of The Juilliard School, she is a respected member of the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music and the Conservatory of Music at Bard College. She also spent 18 years as a Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Purchase College Conservatory of Music; ten as Head of the String Department. She has been on the Kneisel Hall faculty since 1997. Laurie Smukler also has a particular interest in contemporary music and has premiered works by many composers including Ned Rorem, Morton Subotnik, Steven Paulus, Shulamit Ran and Bruce Adolphe. Ms. Smukler plays a Petrus Guarnerius violin made in Venice in 1738 and has recorded for Music Masters. She will be on campus the entire season.


VIOLIN

Violinist DAVID BOWLIN’s performances of a wide-ranging repertoire both old and new have brought him across North America, Europe and Asia. Bowlin is a founding member of the acclaimed International Contemporary Ensemble, member of the Oberlin Trio and a former member of the Naumburg award-winning Da Capo Chamber Players. Recordings include solo and chamber music by over a dozen composers for the Bridge, Naxos, New Focus, Arsis and Mode labels. Honors include first prize at the 2003 Washington International Competition, and a 2010 NPR Top 5 American Classical Albums award for his work with the Da Capo Chamber Players. Bowlin is currently on the violin faculty of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and artistic director of Chamber Music Quad Cities, which brings chamber music performances to the midwestern region where he is a native. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, The Juilliard School and Stony Brook University. He will be on campus the last three weeks of the season.


RONALD COPES, a member of the Juilliard String Quartet since 1997, has toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia and North America, and serves on the violin and chamber music faculties of The Juilliard School in New York City. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Michigan, he toured widely with Music From Marlboro ensembles and the Los Angeles and Dunsmuir Piano Quartets. Mr. Copes has received prizes in several competitions including the Merriweather Post and the Concours International d’Execution Musical in Geneva, and has recorded for CRI, Orion, New World, ECM, Klavier and Sony. He served on the faculty of the University of California at Santa Barbara from 1977 – 1997, and has been on the faculty at Kneisel Hall since 1987. He will be on campus the first four weeks of the season.


 

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Conductor, violinist and eminent pedagogue Joel Smirnoff, is former President of the Cleveland Institute of Music and is presently on The Juilliard School faculty. A long-time member of the Juilliard String Quartet (JSQ), joining the Quartet in 1986 and moving to 1st Violin from 2nd Violin in 1997. In addition to his Grammy-nominated SONY disks with the Juilliard Quartet, Mr. Smirnoff also has an extensive catalog of solo recordings, including world premiere recordings of 20th century works. As a music educator, Mr. Smirnoff served on the chamber music faculty of The Juilliard School since 1986 and on the violin faculty since 1989. Mr. Smirnoff was Chair of the Juilliard Violin Faculty from 1992 until 2008 and served as conducting assistant to Maestro Seiji Ozawa and Head of String Studies at the Tanglewood Music Center from 1993-2000. Mr. Smirnoff made his official American conducting debut with the San Francisco Symphony, conducting an all-Tchaikovsky program. Engagements quickly followed with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Chicago Philharmonic, New World Symphony and others n Europe and Asia. Mr. Smirnoff received the Lifetime Grammy Award for his many recordings with the Juilliard String Quartet and the Alumni Professional Achievement Award from the University of Chicago, his Alma Mater. Mr. Smirnoff has served on the juries of the Naumburg and Indianapolis Violin Competitions. He will be on campus the last three weeks of the season.


axelstrauss1The first German artist to ever win the international Naumburg Violin Award in New York, AXEL STRAUSS has been equally acclaimed for his virtuosity and his musical sensitivity. Mr. Strauss made his American debut at the Library of Congress in Washington DC and his New York debut at Alice Tully Hall in 1998. Since then he has given recitals in major cities across North America. In 2007 he was the violinist in the world premiere of “Two Awakenings and a Double Lullaby” – written for him by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis. Mr. Strauss frequently performs at various festivals in the US and abroad. His chamber music partners have included ‪Menahem Pressler, ‪Kim Kashkashian, Joel Krosnick, Robert Mann and Bernard Greenhouse. Since his European debut in Hamburg in 1988, Axel Strauss has been heard on concert stages throughout Europe. At the age of seventeen he won the silver medal at the Enescu Competition in Romania and has been recognized with many other awards, including top prizes in the Bach, Wieniawski and Kocian competitions. Mr. Strauss studied at the Music Academies of Lübeck and Rostock with Petru Munteanu. In 1996 he began working with the late Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School and became her teaching assistant in 1998. He has also worked with such artists as ‪Itzhak Perlman, Felix Galimir, and Ruggiero Ricci, and at the Marlboro Music Festival with Richard Goode, Mitsuko Uchida and Andras Schiff. Mr. Strauss has been residing in North America since 1996. He maintains a busy performance schedule and serves as Professor of Violin and Chair of the String Area at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montreal. Before moving to Canada he was Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Axel will be on campus the first session. Axel will be on campus for the first session.


VIOLA

A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, violist DORIS LEDERER has performed and toured with the Marlboro Music Festival and has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras including the Seattle Symphony and the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. Released by Centaur Records, Ms. Lederer’s four CD albums of viola music featuring 20th century British composers such as Arnold Bax, Arthur Bliss, Frank Bridge and York Bowen have received widely published international critical acclaim. Currently professor of viola and director of chamber music at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA, Ms. Lederer also serves on the faculty of the University of Maryland. Ms. Lederer has presented viola and chamber music Master Classes at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Indiana University, the Yale School of Music, the Eastman School of Music, the Kansas City Conservatory of Music, the Chautauqua Institution, Idyllwild Arts, the Marrowstone Music Festival and the Beijing and Shanghai Conservatories. Ms. Lederer represented the United States as a jury member at the Eighth Banff International String Quartet Competition in Canada and the Coleman Chamber Music Competition in Pasadena, California. As the violist of the Audubon Quartet since 1976, Ms. Lederer has performed throughout the world and has recorded extensively on the RCA, Telarc, Centaur and Opus One labels. She will be on campus for the entire season.


KATHERINE MURDOCK, violist, is recognized as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher. She has performed throughout the world with such groups as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the New York Philomusica and the Brandenburg Ensemble. For seven years, Ms. Murdock was a member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet. As a participant in the Marlboro Festival, she toured with Music From Marlboro, and performed in their fortieth anniversary concerts. As soloist she has performed with the Fairfax Symphony, the Reading Symphony and the New England Chamber Orchestra, among others, and with the Boston Musica Viva on West German Radio and the BBC. Ms. Murdock received her musical training at Oberlin College and the Yale School of Music. She has studied with Karen Tuttle, Joseph Silverstein and William Primrose. Ms. Murdock is on the faculty of the University of Maryland; during the summers she is also on the artist faculty of the Yellow Barn Festival. She is currently a member of the Los Angeles Piano Quartet and the Theater Chamber Players. She will be at Kneisel Hall for the final three weeks of the season.


A member of the acclaimed Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, IRA WELLER has a wide range of performing experience and is highly regarded as a chamber musician. He was the founding violist of Mendelssohn String and has been a guest artist at the Bard Music Festival. Mr. Weller has also been an invited artist with Bargemusic, DaCapo, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, New York Chamber Soloists, Music From Marlboro and Chamber Music Northwest. He has collaborated with many distinguished artists, including James Levine, Leon Fleischer, Dawn Upshaw, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Janos Starker and Robert Mann. His vital interest in contemporary music has led to premieres of works by Rorem, Laderman, Dello Joio, Picker, Ran and Zwilich. He has edited several works from the collection of music manuscripts in the Pierpont Morgan Library including a rare 18th-century original viola sonata by Felice Giardini and a newly discovered Scherzo from Mendelssohn’s A major string quintet. Mr. Weller is on the viola faculty of the Mannes College of Music and the Conservatory of Music at Bard College. He will be on campus the first four weeks of the season.


CELLO

JERRY GROSSMAN, principal cellist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 1986, has appeared in recital and with symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the United States. He has appeared as soloist with the Met Orchestra under James Levine playing Don Quixote by Richard Strauss, which they have also recorded. He has had a long association with the Marlboro Music Festival, including numerous Music From Marlboro tours and recordings. He is a former member of Orpheus and Speculum Musicae, and has also appeared as a guest artist with the Guarneri, Vermeer and Emerson String Quartets. He was the founding cellist of both the Chicago String Quartet and the Chicago Chamber Musicians. Mr. Grossman was a member of the Chicago Symphony (1984 – 1986) and the New York Philharmonic (1974 – 1976). His teachers include Judith Davidoff, Joan Esch and Benjamin Zander. He attended the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied cello with David Soyer, and chamber music with the other members of the Guarneri Quartet. He will be on campus the final three weeks of the season.


Cellist DMITRY KOUZOV, a versatile performer, has performed on five continents with orchestras, in solo and duo recitals, and in chamber music performances. He was awarded First Prize at the International Beethoven Competition in the Czech Republic and he is a two-time laureate of the International Festival-Competition “Virtuosi of the Year 2000” in Russia and is winner of the New York Cello Society Rising Star Award. His credits include numerous performances at many prominent concert venues throughout his native Russia. Mr. Kouzov made his New York orchestral debut at Alice Tully Hall in 2005, under the baton of Maestro Raymond Leppard. Since that time, he has also made recital appearances in New York at 92nd Street Y and Bargemusic. A consummate chamber musician, Mr. Kouzov has collaborated with Joshua Bell, Yuri Bashmet, Krzysztof Penderecki, Donald Weilerstein, Ilya Gringolts and Pacifica Quartet among others. Mr. Kouzov is a founding and active member of the Manhattan Piano Trio (with Kneisel Hall alumnus violinist Wayne Lee) with whom he has toured extensively throughout the United States and captured First Prizes at the Plowman and Yellow Springs National Chamber Music Competitions. In addition to his concert activities, Mr. Kouzov is a devoted teacher. Currently Mr. Kouzov is an Assistant Professor of Cello at the University of Illinois. Prior to this appointment he was on faculty at The Juilliard School and Oberlin Conservatory. Mr. Kouzov holds Bachelors and Masters of Music degrees from the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki and Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School in New York. His principal teachers have included Professors Mark Reizenshtock, Victoria Yagling, Joel Krosnick and Darrett Adkins. He will be on campus the first four weeks of the season.


JOEL KROSNICK, Kneisel Hall Artistic Advisor, was cellist of the renowned Juilliard String Quartet (1974 -2015), and with them has recorded most of the great quartet literature on the Sony label and has performed it throughout the world. With his sonata partner of over forty years, pianist Gilbert Kalish, Mr. Krosnick has recorded a great deal of the cello sonata literature. Additionally, the duo has presented annual New York recitals, the last of which on March 16, 2015 at Juilliard, featuring performances of Mieczeslav Weinberg Sonata No. 2 and Ralph Shapey Evocation II with percussionist Daniel Druckman. While a student at Columbia College he began a life-long involvement with composers and new music. Krosnick has performed and premiered many new works including Donald Martino’s Cello Concerto and Ralph Shapey’s Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra and Concerto for Cello, Piano and Double String Orchestra. He also premiered Richard Wernick’s Cello Concerto #2 with the Juilliard Orchestra. Mr. Krosnick was appointed to the faculty of The Juilliard School in 1974 and has been chair of the cello department since 1994. He has been associated with the Aspen and Marlboro Festivals, Yellow Barn and the Tanglewood Music Center. He has recorded for the Sony Classical, Nonesuch, Orion, CRI, New World, Koch International and Arabesque labels. He will be on campus the entire season.


BARBARA STEIN MALLOW, cellist and alumna of Kneisel Hall, is recognized as a distinguished chamber musician, recitalist and soloist. From her early years she has been an accomplished pianist and was twice winner of the New York Philharmonic Young Composers Award. Her composition studies were with Bohusiav Martinu, Quincy Porter and Nadia Boulanger. She received her Bachelor and Master Degrees at the Yale School of Music where she studied with Luigi Silva; other teachers include Bernard Greenhouse and Zara Nelsova. She was a founding member of the Carnegie String Quartet in residence at Brooklyn College and a founding member of the Chamber Arts Trio with her twin sister, violinist Carol Stein Amado. A respected teacher of cello and chamber music, she has been a professor at Bennington College and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. She is currently on the faculty at Mannes College of Music. She taught also at the Perlman Music Program where she established the cello and chamber music programs. She is Vice President of the New York Violoncello Society. Ms. Mallow’s mother, Lillian Fuchs, and uncle, Joseph Fuchs, were instrumental in re-establishing Kneisel Hall with Marianne Kneisel in 1953. She will be on campus the entire season.


PIANO

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JANE COOP, one of Canada’s leading pianists, has appeared in some twenty countries as recitalist, chamber musician and orchestral soloist. Her extensive discography includes works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin and Brahms, as well as concerti by Bartók, Prokofiev and Britten. Her release of the complete Sonatas for Piano and Violin by Beethoven, with Kneisel Hall former faculty member Andrew Dawes, was nominated for a Juno Award, her fourth such honor. She has been invited to collaborate with the Audubon, Manhattan, Penderecki, Lafayette, Orford, Angeles, Miami, Pacifica and Afiara String Quartets, as well as many distinguished instrumentalists and singers. Ms. Coop has recently left her long-time teaching position at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver to devote herself full-time to her performance career. In 2012 she was awarded the Order of Canada, in recognition of her lifetime achievement. She will be on campus the first four weeks of he season.


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Chinese-born pianist Qing Jiang enjoys a diverse career in solo, chamber, and contemporary music. Since 2014, Ms. Jiang has maintained a close relationship with England’s Britten-Pears Program, giving numerous solo and chamber performances of traditional and contemporary repertoire. Ms. Jiang has collaborated with Itzhak Perlman, Donald Weilerstein, Anthony Marwood, Gil Kalish, and Susan Narucki, as well as with members of the Peabody Trio and the Emerson, Juilliard, Kronos, and Parker string quartets. Performing alongside her duo partner, violinist Ying Xue, Ms. Jiang was featured in Christian Tetzlaff’s Carnegie Hall Workshop, and she has also coached closely with composers Jennifer Higdon, Oliver Knussen, and Jörg Widmann. Committed to mentoring the next generation of musicians, Ms. Jiang has taught piano, chamber music, and theory, at New England Conservatory, the NEC Preparatory School, the Curtis Institute of Music, and Yellow Barn’s Young Artist Program. She has also been a guest artist, lecturer, and clinician at numerous universities in the U.S. and abroad, and she is currently at Bucknell University. She studied at Arizona State University with Caio Pagano, completed her Master’s at Juilliard with Robert McDonald, and her Doctorate at New England Conservatory with Wha-kyung Byun and the late Patricia Zander. She will be on campus the last four weeks of the season.


ievaLithuanian pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute’s intricately crafted performances and ability to communicate the essential substance of a work has led critics to describe her as possessing ‘razor-sharp intelligence and wit’ (The Washington Post) and as ‘an artist of commanding technique, refined temperament and persuasive insight’ (The New York Times).  In 2006, she was honored as a recipient of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. Over the last several seasons, Ieva gave solo recitals across the US, Vilnius, and Toulouse, and made her orchestral debuts with the Chicago Symphony and in Brazil.  Ieva’s piano trio—Trio Cavatina—(with alumna violinist Harumi Rhodes and cellist Priscilla Lee) won the 2009 Naumburg International Chamber Music Competition. A much sought after chamber musician, Ieva’s collaborative endeavors have brought her to major stages around the and she regularly appears at international music festivals including: Marlboro, Ravinia, Bard, Caramoor, Chesapeake Chamber Music, Prussia Cove in England, and the Katrina Festival in Finland. Earning degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and from Mannes College of Music, her principal teachers have been Seymour Lipkin and Richard Goode.  Last fall, Ieva began her tenure as Assistant Professor, Piano at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA. She will be on campus the last three weeks of the season.


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Robert McDonald is a graduate of Lawrence University, the Curtis Institute of Music , The Juilliard School, and Manhattan School of Music. He counts among his teachers , Seymour Lipkin, Rudolf Serkin, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, Beveridge Webster and Gary Graffman. McDonald is chair of piano studies at the Curtis Institute of Music, is on the faculty at The Juilliard School and is director of the keyboard program of the Taos, NM, School of Music and Chamber Music Festival.

McDonald has performed extensively as a soloist and as recital partner with Isaac Stern, Midori and other celebrated instrumentalists. He has had appearances with San Francisco, Baltimore, Curtis Symphony Orchestras. He has performed at important international festivals: Aldeburgh, Marlboro, Brevard, Caramoor, Luzerne, Salzburg, Montreux, Besançon, Schleswig-Holstein. He often plays in chamber music groups and has guested with the Juilliard, American, Takács, Brentano, Borromeo, Shanghai, St. Lawrence, and Vermeer String Quartets. He won the Busoni International Piano Competition Gold Medal. Other awards and prizes include the gold medal at Busoni International Competition (1983); top prizes at the William Kapell International Competition and Washington International Competition; National Federation of Music Clubs Artist Award; Deutscher Schallplatten Critic’s PrizeRecordings: Sony Classical, Musical Heritage Society, Bridge, Vox, ASV, and CRI. His compact discs have been released on the Bridge, Vox Cum Laude, Musical Heritage, Stradivari, and CRI labels.

 He will be on campus the final week of the season.


matti-raekallioMATTI RAEKALLIO, who didn’t start playing the piano until he was 11, didn’t have much enthusiasm for it until he heard Sviatoslav Richter perform a few years later—and, he told The Journal, his life changed. At the time, he said, he couldn’t “analytically process anything of what I heard that night, but the immense energy, concentration and some kind of strange electricity of the performances gave me an experience that just wouldn’t go away.” From that moment, he started to be obsessed with music and piano playing, so much so that by age 14 or 15, “I knew that there would be no other choice for me.” Born in Helsinki, Matti grew up in nearby Turku and went abroad to study when he was 17, first in London with Maria Curcio, then at the Vienna University of Music, the Leningrad Conservatory, and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where he earned his D.M.A. Matti joined the Juilliard faculty in 2007 and he also teaches at Bard. He will be on campus the first three weeks of the season.


Program for ME Students Faculty:

Marisa Solomon received cello performance degrees from the Oberlin College and San Francisco Conservatories of Music, studying with Norman Fischer and Bonnie Hampton, respectively. She is an avid chamber musician, teacher and performer, and was a founding member of the Hancock St. Quartet, the Nor’easter Quartet and the Cormier Trio. She has participated in many festivals, including Kneisel Hall, Aspen Music Festival, New York String Seminar, Round Top, Festival dei Due Mondi, Spoleto USA and the Breckenridge Music Festival. Marisa teaches privately and performs in the Bangor area, as well as being on the adjunct faculty at the University of Maine-Orono. She lives in Bangor with her husband, Jack Burt, professor of trumpet at the University of Maine-Orono, and their two sons, Ben and Lucas. Marisa is a Kneisel Hall alumna.


Patricia Stowell is well known in the Bangor region where she resides as an independent performing artist, chamber musician and teacher. She is the director of Kneisel Hall’s chamber music Program for Maine Musicians and is a year-round faculty member at the Bay Chamber Community Music School in Rockport, Maine. In addition to her two degrees from Indiana University and a doctorate from Northwestern University, Patricia also studied in Vienna, Austria and Stuttgart, Germany. She has taught at Husson University in addition to performing on their Kilgore Kenduskeag Series numerous times. Patricia presents master classes and adjudicates competitions in New England and is also a founding member of the Chamber Music Society at the Collins Center for the Arts. Her European appearances include performances in Bulgaria, Austria, Germany, Poland and Russia, where she lectured on composer Alexander Scriabin and the Russian Symbolist Movement.


Scott Woolweaver, viola, Director of ACMI, graduated with distinction from the University of Michigan School of Music where he won the Joseph Knitzer and Earl V. Moore awards for outstanding participation in chamber music. After moving to Boston for graduate studies with Walter Trampler, he founded the Boston Composers String Quartet, which won the silver medal at the 1993 String Quartet Competition and Chamber Music Festa in Osaka, Japan. He also founded the Vaener String Trio, which won the Grand Prize at the Joseph Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. From 1999 – 2006 he was a member of the Ives Quartet, based in San Francisco, CA, and for over 25 years he was a member of the New England Piano Quartette. A champion of the music of our time, Scott has premiered many new works, including pieces written especially for him. Since 1980 he has been a member of Alea III, a contemporary music ensemble in residence at Boston University. Current affiliations also include the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston and the Grammy-nominated period chamber orchestra Boston Baroque. Scott is Artist Associate at Williams College, and Lecturer in Viola and Chamber Music at Tufts University. He is a regular guest of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society and the Meetinghouse Chamber Music Series on Cape Cod. Scott plays a Johan Georg Thir viola made in Vienna, 1737.


ADULT CHAMBER MUSIC INSTITUTE:

Jan Pfeiffer-rios, a native Missourian, is the founder and director of the Lavazza Chamber Ensemble. In the New England area she plays with the Boston Lyric Opera, the Rhode Island Philharmonic and the Portland Symplony.

Ms. Pfeiffer-Rios was concerto soloist in Carnegie Hall, toured Italy with Musicisti Americani and was featured on Charles Kuralt’s television program. A frequent performer of contemporary music, she has had pieces written for her by John Carbon, Simon Andrews and John McDonald. Ms. Pfeiffer-Rios has performed chamber music with Michael Tilson Thomas, members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and pianist Hung Kuan Chen. She teaches and coaches at her home.

Ms. Pfeiffer-Rios studied at the University of Southern California and the New England Conservatory. Her cello teachers include Gabor Rejto, Ronald Leonard, Laurence Lesser and Harvey Shapiro; she studied chamber music with Eugene Lehner, Louis Krasner and Robert Koff. She was the first holder of the Emanuel Feuermann Cello Chair with the National Orchestra of New York, as well as the first recipient of the Claus Adam Award. Her cello is a Santino Lavazza, made in Milan in 1751.


Pianist Lora Tchekoratova was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. She began her piano studies at age four. Soon after, she became a pupil of the legendary piano pedagogue Lydia Kuteva. At age nine, Lora gave her first solo recital at the State Music School “Lubomir Pipkov” where she received her high-school education. In Bulgaria she also studied with Vessela Marinova and Prof. Jenny Zaharieva. In 1992 Lora moved to the United States where she continued her studies at The Juilliard School in New York. As a student of Seymour Lipkin, Ms. Tchekoratova earned her Bachelor, Master and Doctor of Musical Arts Degrees, thus becoming the first Bulgarian musician to hold a Doctorate from Juilliard. While still a student, she won numerous scholarships, awards, grants and the first prize at the 1996 Washington International Competition for Pianists. Her solo debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. was followed by recitals and chamber music appearances throughout the United States and in Europe.

Lora Tchekoratova has been praised for her virtuoso performances of piano music from the 19th and 20th centuries. In her vast repertoire, she shows a particular interest towards the music from Eastern Europe. Although she is a sought-after soloist, she spends significant time performing chamber music. Ms. Tchekoratova appears regularly in performances with her husband, violinist Georgy Valtchev, and as a guest artist at major international chamber music festivals. She has made numerous recordings for radio and television stations in the United States, Finland, Sweden and Bulgaria. In 2005, together with distinguished Bulgarian musicians and the American Foundation for Bulgaria, she co-founded the concert series Bulgarian Concert Evenings in New York at the Consulate General of the Republic of Bulgaria in New York.


Violinist Georgy Valtchev has appeared as soloist, recitalist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Mr. Valtchev has appeared as Guest Concertmaster with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Madrid Symphony Orchestra. He is a member of the Mark Morris Dance Group Music Ensemble and a founding member of Bulgarian Concert Evenings in New York.Born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Georgy Valtchev began his violin studies at the age of six and gave his first performance with orchestra six years later at the music academy of his native city. In 1992 Georgy Valtchev moved to the United States as a scholarship student of Dorothy Delay and Masao Kawasaki at The Juilliard School in New York, where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees.


Scott Woolweaver, viola, Director of ACMI, graduated with distinction from the University of Michigan School of Music where he won the Joseph Knitzer and Earl V. Moore awards for outstanding participation in chamber music. After moving to Boston for graduate studies with Walter Trampler, he founded the Boston Composers String Quartet, which won the silver medal at the 1993 String Quartet Competition and Chamber Music Festa in Osaka, Japan. He also founded the Vaener String Trio, which won the Grand Prize at the Joseph Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. From 1999 – 2006 he was a member of the Ives Quartet, based in San Francisco, CA, and for over 25 years he was a member of the New England Piano Quartette. A champion of the music of our time, Scott has premiered many new works, including pieces written especially for him. Since 1980 he has been a member of Alea III, a contemporary music ensemble in residence at Boston University. Current affiliations also include the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston and the Grammy-nominated period chamber orchestra Boston Baroque. Scott is Artist Associate at Williams College, and Lecturer in Viola and Chamber Music at Tufts University. He is a regular guest of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society and the Meetinghouse Chamber Music Series on Cape Cod. Scott plays a Johan Georg Thir viola made in Vienna, 1737.