Flying Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Into the Serenity Now

June 15, 2024 7:30 PM

CARLOS ALVAREZ STUDIO THEATER–TOBIN CENTER

Embark on a journey of musical exploration and emotional resonance with Flying Over the Cuckoo's Nest Into the Serenity Now, a captivating music drama premiering on June 15 at the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater, Tobin Center. This innovative performance weaves together a tapestry of musical narratives, featuring Peter Maxwell-Davies' haunting "Eight Songs for a Mad King," the poignant melodies of Richard Strauss' "Four Last Songs," the evocative works by Philip Glass, and the profound symphonic expressions of Gustav Mahler. Immerse yourself in an evening of transcendent beauty and introspective reflection as we traverse the depths of the human experience through the transformative power of music.

This performance is directed by Paul Montalvo and Mariana Vela.

Program

Philip Glass/Michael Riesman

Symphony No. 3: Movement III

PETER MAXWELL-DAVIES

Eight Songs for a Mad King

RICHARD STRAUSS

Four Last Songs

GUSTAV MAHLER

Symphony No. 5: Adagietto

Artists

Francisco Fullana

Violin

Artist Website

Spanish-born violinist Francisco Fullana, winner of the 2018 Avery Fisher Career Grant, has been hailed as an "amazing talent" (Gustavo Dudamel) and "frighteningly awesome" (Buffalo News). His solo violin album Bach’s Long Shadow, was named BBC Music Magazine’s Instrumental Choice of the Month. Its five star review stated: ‘Fullana manages to combine Itzhak Perlman's warmth with the aristocratic poise of Henryk Szeryng'

A native of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands of Spain, Francisco is making a name for himself as both a performer, fearless leader and a founder of innovative educational residencies. As a soloist, he has performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Bayerische Philharmonie led by the late Sir Colin Davis, the Sibelius Concerto with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester, and the Brahms Violin Concerto with Venezuela’s Teresa Carreño Orchestra under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel. His versatility as a performer, both with and without conductor, has brought him to perform with numerous ensembles across the artistic spectrum: from major orchestras such as the City of Birmingham, Vancouver, Aachen, Pacific and Buffalo Symphony Orchestras, the chamber orchestras of Saint Paul and Philadelphia, to the baroque ensemble Apollo’s Fire and the new music driven Metropolis Ensemble. Francisco has worked under the batons of Hans Graf, Pablo Mielgo, José Luis Gómez, Alondra de la Parra, Christoph Poppen, Jeannette Sorrell, Keitaro Harada and Joshua Weilerstein, among many others.

Fullana is one of the first international solo violinists to fully embrace and absorb the baroque language of historical performance. His passion for the gut strings has blossomed into fruitful collaborations with Baroque groups all over the world. Last season, Fullana was the Artist-in-Residence with the Grammy-winning ensemble Apollo’s Fire, performing 18 concerto performances on tour, including stops at Carnegie Hall and Severance Hall among many others. They recently released Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on Avie Records to great success: The album debut at #2 of the Billboard Charts and was named Top Ten Album Of the Year by the Sunday Times. BBC Music Magazine’s review stated: ‘Francisco Fullana reveals Vivaldi’s poetry with effortless refinement.’ The partnership continued this spring, performing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons on tour around the UK, including stops at Aldenburgh Festival & St. Martin in the Fields.

Highlights of Francisco’s upcoming orchestral engagements in 2024 include debuts with The Florida Orchestra, Budapest MAV, Lodz, Pasadena, Rosario, Saarbrucken Radio and Simón Bolivar Symphonies among many others, as well as returns to Austin and Xalapa Symphonies, Boulder Philharmonic and the Symphony of the Americas. Fullana will also return to play/conduct the Chamber Orchestras of Philadelphia and San Antonio and the Balearic Islands Symphony, leading programs from Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony and Chevalier de St. Georges’ concerti to Beethoven symphonies and Bartók Divertimento.  Recent and upcoming recital debuts include the Phillips Collection in Washington DC and Palm Beach’s Kravis Center, Barcelona’s L’Auditori  as well as recitals debuts at the Heidelberg, Darmstadt, Dresden, Mecklenburg-Vorlpolmmern and Geizeitenkonzerte festivals with his duo partner, pianist Matthias Kirchnerheit. In Asia, Fullana will make his awaited return this spring, performing recitals throughout western and southern Japan.

His passion for working with youth orchestras through the Fortissimo Youth Initiative will be at full display this season affter recently making his concerto debut at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Perelman Hall, where he performed  Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole with the Grammy-award winning New York Youth Symphony. This summer Francisco will embark on a month long tour with the Spanish National Youth Symphony JONDE, premiering a new concerto by Mikel Urkiza under the baton of Pablo Gónzalez and recording a new concerto album for Orchid Classics.

In 2018 Orchid Classics released Francisco’s acclaimed debut recording Through the Lens of Time performed with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Carlos Izcaray. Fullana’s new double album on Orchid, Bach’s Long Shadow, juxtaposes two of the monumental Bach’s Partitas on gut strings and baroque setup with virtuoso solo violin works from the next 3 centuries. His most recent project, Spanish Light, showcases staples and hidden gems of the Spanish repertoire alongside the Spanish pianist Alba Ventura.

Active as a chamber musician, Francisco is a performing artist at NYC’s Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and has participated in the Marlboro Music Festival, the Musicians from Marlboro tours, the Perlman Music Program, the Da Camera Society, and the LaJolla, Moab, Music@Menlo, Mainly Mozart, Music in the Vineyards, and Newport music festivals. He recently formed a musical duo with guitar extraordinaire Jason Vieaux, touring the United States through 2024-25. His musical collaborators have included Viviane Hagner, Nobuko Imai, Mitsuko Uchida, and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Takács, and Cleveland quartets. Francisco’s Spanish roots are also often explored in collaboration with Hispanic artists such as guitarist Pablo Sainz-Villegas and bandoneonist JP Jofre. Their recital for The Violin Channel’s Vanguard Concerts at Merkin Hall was just released for worldwide release on all major streaming platforms. Francisco Fullana has been named as the recipient of the 2023 the Darioush and Shahpar Khaledi Prize from the Festival Napa Valley.

Born into a family of educators, Francisco is a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Madrid, where he matriculated under the tutelage of Manuel Guillén. He received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from The Juilliard School following studies with Donald Weilerstein and Masao Kawasaki, and holds an Artist Diploma from the USC Thornton School of Music, where he worked with the renowned violinist Midori.

In 2015 Francisco was honored with First Prize in Japan’s Munetsugu Angel Violin Competition, as well as all four of that competition’s special prizes including the Audience and Orchestra awards. Additional awards include First Prizes at the Johannes Brahms and Julio Cardona International Violin Competitions, the Pro Musicis International Award, and the Pablo Sarasate National Competition.

Francisco is a committed innovator, leading new institutions of musical education for young people. He is a co-founder of San Antonio’s Classical Music Summer Institute, where he currently serves as Artistic Leader and Advisor. He also created the Fortissimo Youth Initiative, a series of music seminars and performances with youth orchestras, which aims to explore and deepen young musicians’ understanding of conductorless chamber orchestra playing. The seminars are deeply immersive, thrusting youngsters into the sonic world of a single period while inspiring them to channel their overwhelming energy in the service of vibrant older styles of musical expression. The results can be galvanic, and Francisco continues to build on these educational models.

Francisco Fullana performs on the 1735 "Mary Portman" ex-Kreisler Guarneri del Gesù violin, kindly on loan from Clement and Karen Arrison through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.

Brendan Speltz

Violin

Artist Website

NYC-based violinist Brendan Speltz, second violinist of the world renowned Escher String Quartet, has toured the globe with groundbreaking ensembles such as Shuffle Concert, the Manhattan Chamber Players, A Far Cry, and the Harlem Quartet. As founder of FeltInFour Productions, Mr. Speltz has produced innovative concert events across the New York City area that have been described by The New Yorker as “Thrilling, poignant, unexpected, and utterly DIY.” Most recently, Mr. Speltz co-created a cross-disciplinary presentation of Steve Reich’s Different Trains with aerial dance troupe ABCirque which was sponsored by Meyer Sound Labs.

In NYC he has performed as guest with the New York New Music Ensemble, Mark Morris Dance Group, American Ballet Theatre, the American Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and as a founding member of the conductorless string orchestra Shattered Glass. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and his Master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music. Mr. Speltz plays a 1925 Carl Becker violin.

Kristin Lee

Violin

Artist Website

Kristin Lee is a violinist of remarkable versatility and impeccable technique who enjoys a vibrant career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, and artistic director. “Her technique is flawless, and she has a sense of melodic shaping that reflects an artistic maturity,” writes the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Strad reports, “She seems entirely comfortable with stylistic diversity, which is one criterion that separates the run-of-the-mill instrumentalists from true artists.”

As a soloist, Lee has appeared with leading orchestras including The Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, Hawai’i Symphony, Tacoma Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Nordic Chamber Orchestra of Sweden, Ural Philharmonic of Russia, Korean Broadcasting Symphony, Guiyang Symphony Orchestra of China, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional of Dominican Republic, Singapore National Youth Orchestra, and many others.

She has performed on the world’s finest concert stages, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Kennedy Center, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Steinway Hall’s Salon de Virtuosi, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Ravinia Festival, Philadelphia’s World Cafe Live, (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York, the Louvre Museum in Paris, Washington, D.C.’s Phillips Collection, and Korea’s Kumho Art Gallery.

An accomplished chamber musician, Kristin Lee became a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center after winning The Bowers Program audition and completing the program's three-year residency. Kristin performs at Lincoln Center in New York and on tour with CMS throughout each season. For seven years, she was a principal artist of Camerata Pacifica in Santa Barbara, sitting as The Bernard Gondos Chair. Lee has also appeared in chamber music programs at Music@Menlo, La Jolla Festival, Medellín Festicámara of Colombia, Moab Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, Chamber Music Sedona, Music in the Vineyards, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern of Germany, the Hong Kong Chamber Music Festival and the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, among many others.

In addition to her prolific performance career, Lee is also a devoted educator. She is on the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music as an Assistant Professor of Violin. She has also been in residence with the Singapore National Youth Orchestra, the El Sistema Chamber Music Festival of Venezuela, and is a summer faculty member at Music@Menlo’s Chamber Music Institute.

Kristin Lee will release her debut album, American Journey, with acclaimed pianist-composer Jeremy Jordan in the 2023-24 season. As a foreign-born citizen of America, she was compelled to create American Journey to express her pride in the country she now calls her own, showcasing works that have a distinct and recognizable sound of American music and its rich history. The album will include works by H.T. Burleigh, Kevin Puts, Amy Beach, Thelonious Monk, Scott Joplin, and George Gershwin. American Journey encapsulates both Kristin Lee's journey as an American, as well as the journeys of these composers in the United States.

Lee is the founding artistic director of Emerald City Music (ECM), a chamber music series that presents authentically unique concert experiences and bridges the divide between the highest caliber classical music and the many diverse communities of the Puget Sound region of Washington State. Since 2015, she has crafted unconventional and captivating programs that have led to Emerald City Music’s renown for its eclectic, intimate, and vibrant classical chamber music experiences. The series was recently deemed "the beacon for the casual-classical movement" (CityArts). Recent highlights for ECM include a national collaborative commission with Grammy-winning composer John Luther Adams; performances of Steve Reich’s iconic Music for 18 Musicians; a pitch-black performance of Georg Haas’s quartet, In the Dark; and the West Coast debut of the Danish folk group, Dreamers’ Circus.

An advocate for living composers, Kristin Lee has collaborated with many of today’s prominent composers, including Vivian Fung, Andy Akiho, Patrick Castillo, Jakub Ciupiński, Shobana Raghavan, Steve Coleman, Jeremy Jordan, and more. She made the world premiere recording of Vivian Fung’s Violin Concerto, written for her, which won a Juno Award and is available on Naxos. Current projects include commissioning a new double concerto for violin, piano, and strings from pianist-composer Michael Stephen Brown. Of the new work, Brown says, "This work combines my love of intimate chamber music and the excitement of the concerto genre, exploring the totality of sonic possibilities with this combination of instruments.” Lee is also commissioning a new concerto for violin, saxophone, and spoken words from GRAMMY-award winning musician/producer/composer Anthony Tidd. Tidd’s concerto will incorporate the spontaneous and expressive nature of jazz, the groove and aesthetics which he learned as a hip-hop producer, and the compositional techniques, structures and orchestration skills he has learned by studying Western Classical music over the years. Of the new work, he says, “Kristin will not only execute any composition I write on the highest of levels, but also bring her own deep knowledge of music and the violin, her thirst for experimentation, her knowledge of classical repertoire, many welcome suggestions, and of course her passion, to any project.”

Kristin Lee’s honors include an Avery Fisher Career Grant, top prizes in the Walter W. Naumburg Competition and the Astral Artists National Auditions, and awards from the Trondheim Chamber Music Competition, Trio di Trieste Premio International Competition, the SYLFF Fellowship, Dorothy DeLay Scholarship, the Aspen Music Festival’s Violin Competition, the New Jersey Young Artists’ Competition, and the Salon de Virtuosi Scholarship Foundation. Her performances have been broadcast on PBS’s “Live from Lincoln Center,” the Kennedy Center Honors, WFMT Chicago’s “Rising Stars” series, WRTI in Philadelphia, and on WQXR in New York. She also appeared on Perlman in Shanghai, a nationally broadcast PBS documentary that chronicled a historic cross-cultural exchange between the Perlman Music Program and Shanghai Conservatory.

Born in Seoul, Lee moved to the United States and studied under prestigious teachers including Sonja Foster, Catherine Cho, Dorothy DeLay, Donald Weilerstein, and Itzhak Perlman. Lee holds a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School. Lee’s violin was crafted in Naples, Italy in 1759 by Gennaro Gagliano and is generously loaned to her by Paul & Linda Gridley.

Anna Lee

Violin

Artist Website

Delighting her listeners with "her warm, humane musicianship" and "sweet spot of grace", Anna Lee is an active concert violinist, chamber musician, and teacher. She began violin studies at the age of four with Alexander Souptel and debuted as soloist performing the Paganini Violin Concerto No. 1 a year and a half later with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Lan Shui. She spent a large part of her childhood in Japan and Singapore even though she was born in South Korea, and at the age of six moved to New York after being accepted to the Juilliard School Pre-College Division under the tutelage of Masao Kawasaki.

Concert venues that Anna Lee has appeared in are the Carnegie-Weill, Carnegie-Zankel, Wigmore, Beethoven-Haus, Avery Fisher, Victoria, Lotte, and Esplanade Concert Halls, as well as Merkin Hall and Peter Jay Sharp Theater. She has claimed top prizes in the 2022 Ysaÿe, 2022 Classic Strings Dubai, 2019 Montréal Competition, 2018 Indianapolis Competition, 2011 Sion-Valais Competition, 2011 Kronberg Violin Masterclasses, 2010 and 2012 Menuhin Competition (Junior and Senior Divisions, respectively), and Aspen Music Festival AACA Competition. Anna Lee has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts, awarded by Office for the Arts at Harvard, the Bernhard and Mania Hahnloser Violin Prize at the Verbier Festival Academy, and the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award.

She has also been featured in music festivals around the world such as the Gstaad Menuhin Festival and the Marlboro Music Festival, and on radio shows such as “From the Top” with host Christopher O’Riley and NPR Performance Today with host Fred Child. She has also been the cover page feature of the Wall Street Journal Magazine.

Notable chamber music collaborations include Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet and Steven Isserlis in the Kronberg Academy's "Chamber Music Connects the World" festival. Anna Lee was also presented by Sir András Schiff at the BeethovenFest in Bonn. As a soloist, Anna Lee made her New York Philharmonic debut in April 2011, as well as her Frankfurt debut in 2016 with maestro Christoph Eschenbach and the Hessische Rundfunk Radio Orchestra. She has also appeared with the Singapore, Indianapolis, Park Avenue Chamber, and Montreal Symphony Orchestras.

Anna Lee’s teachers were Masao Kawasaki and Cho-Liang Lin at the Juilliard School Pre-College Division, Ana Chumachenco at the Kronberg Academy, Ani Kavafian at the Yale School of Music, and Miriam Fried and Don Weilerstein in Boston, where she completed her Comparative Literature degree at Harvard College. Currently, she is an Artist in Residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel. She has also taught as a chamber music teacher, most notably at the Kronberg Academy's Mit Musik—Miteinander festival in Germany, Classical Music Institute San Antonio in Texas, and Festival MusicAlp in France.

Siwoo Kim

Violin

Artist Website

SIWOO KIM is an “incisive” and “compelling” (Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times) violinist who plays with “stylistic sensitivity and generous tonal nuance” (John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune). Siwoo performs as soloist and chamber musician, and he is the co-founding artistic director of VIVO Music Festival in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

Siwoo gave the world premiere performance of Samuel Adler’s violin concerto which was written for him. He recorded the work on Linn Records to commemorate the composer’s 90th birthday, and the BBC Music Magazine praised his “notable fire & impassioned playing.” Siwoo made his Carnegie Hall concerto debut in Stern Auditorium with the Juilliard Orchestra. He has since performed with orchestras around the world including the Staatsorchester Brandenburgisches Frankfurt, Columbus Symphony, Gangneung Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Johannesburg Philharmonic, Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic, Orchestre Royal de Chambre, Seongnam Philharmonic, Springfield Symphony, and Tulsa Symphony in venues such as Walt Disney Concert Hall and Lotte Concert Hall.

As a chamber musician, Siwoo formed the “whip-smart” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker) Quartet Senza Misura, which performed at the Phillips Collection, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Seoul Arts Center and more during their three years together. He has had the honor of collaborating with artists such as Dénes Várjon, Itzhak Perlman, Jeremy Denk, Joyce DiDonato, Mitsuko Uchida and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard and Takács Quartets. Siwoo spent numerous summers at the Marlboro Music Festival, and he has been featured internationally as guest artist at the Tivoli Festival in Denmark, the Bergen International Festival in Norway, the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in South Africa, the Fundación Juan March in Spain and with Ensemble DITTO in South Korea.

Siwoo was named the recipient of the 2012 King Award for Young Artists. He took second place at the 2010 Corpus Christi International Competition for Piano and Strings, where he was also awarded special prizes for the best performance of solo Bach and violin performance. He has also been named top prizewinner in the California, Chengdu, Crescendo, Hellam, Ima Hogg, Juilliard, NFAA youngARTS, Schadt, Sejong, and WAMSO competitions.

Siwoo received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Juilliard School where he studied under Robert Mann and Donald Weilerstein with full scholarship. He went on to complete a two-year fellowship with Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect. Prior to college, Siwoo studied under Roland and Almita Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago.

Siwoo performs on a 1753 “ex-Birgkit” Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin on generous loan through Rare Violins In Consortium.

Yung Hsuan Lo

Violin

Artist Website

Bio Coming Soon.

Sam Frois

Violin

Artist Website

Bio Coming Soon

Angeles Hoyos

Violin

Artist Website

Bio Coming Soon

Ramón Carrero-Martínez

Viola

Artist Website

Venezuelan violist Ramón Carrero-Martínez is a prize winner of numerous competitions in the US, Italy, Australia, Japan, and Venezuela, including the Grand Prize at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, Second Prize in the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and Third Prize in Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and Festa.

Mr. Carrero-Martinez recently was appointed as a member of Ensemble Connect at Carnegie Hall for their 2023-2025 season. He has toured with the Grammy Award-winning, conductorless Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, premiered James Ra’s Concerto for Three Violas with the New York Classical Players, was a Senior Seminalist of Sphinx Competition 2023. In the summer of 2023, he performed Peteris Vasks’ Viola Concerto with the Classical Music Institute Orchestra of San Antonio.

A versatile soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician, he has performed with Terra String Quartet, Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, Exponential Ensemble, Mark Morris Dance Group as well as New York City Ballet, Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, New York Classical Players, Experiential Orchestra, and Riverside Symphony among many others.

As an educator, Mr. Carrero-Martinez is a faculty artist at the San Antonio Classical Music Institute as well as a member of the faculty of the Bronx-based music program UpBeat NYC, and the Orchestrating Dreams Program in Inwood. Both of these New York City programs are inspired by the philosophy of Venezuela’s National System of Youth and Children Orchestras, “El Sistema.”

Ramón was a member of “El Sistema” and holds a B.A. and M.M. from the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Daniel Avshalomov. Beyond his musical activities, he enjoys cooking, playing chess and is an incurable salsa dancer.

Jesse Morrison

Viola

Artist Website

Violist Jesse Morrison is currently a member of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Prior to that he graduated with a Masters degree from the New England Conservatory (NEC) in Boston, studying with Kim Kashkashian. During his time at NEC, Jesse was the winner of the NEC Concerto Competition in 2017 with the Bartók Viola Concerto and the Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition in 2016 with Britten's Lachrymae. Recipient of the 2016 Sylva Gelber Award, Mr. Morrison is an avid chamber musician and is an alumnus of festivals such as Yellow Barn, Kneisel Hall, the Banff Centre and Domaine Forget. He was a member of the Neruda String Quartet in 2015-16, which won the chamber music competition at NEC, resulting in a debut recital in Jordan Hall. Additionally, from 2011-2015, he was the violist in the Arkadas String Quartet, a Toronto-based ensemble which won the Felix Galimir Award at the University of Toronto. A native of Toronto, Ontario, Jesse received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto under Teng Li and an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School under Steven Dann. An active supporter of outreach and community engagement, Jesse was an intern for Music for Food (2015-17), a ground-breaking organization focused on raising resources to support unprivileged communities in Boston.

Valeria Serrano

Viola

Artist Website

Valeria Serrano (viola), 17 lives in Arlington, Virginia, and is a student at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, where she studies music with Renee Skerik. Born in Anzoategui, Venezuela, Valeria began her music studies in 2014 with “El Sistema Nacional de Orquestas,” and she moved to the U.S.A. with her mother in 2017. Though her passion lives in her viola playing, Valeria also composes, sings, plays guitar, piano, and traditional Venezuelan instruments. She has participated in multiple orchestras, chamber groups, and music programs, including the NSO Youth Fellowship Program, the DC Youth Orchestra, American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, Sphinx Performance Academy, and Fortissima at the Colburn School. Valeria plans to pursue a degree in viola performance and is determined to make this her profession while also continuing her work as a composer and on additional personal projects as a proud woman of color in the arts.

Check out Val’s YouTube channel for more of her songwriting!

Brook Speltz

Cello

Artist Website

Praised for his “fluid virtuosity” and “soulful melodies,” Los Angeles native Brook Speltz has been inspired since childhood by the long tradition of deep musical mastery of artists such as Jascha Heifetz, Pierre Fournier, and the Guarneri String Quartet.  Mr. Speltz is the cellist of the internationally renowned Escher String Quartet—Quartet-in-Residence at Southern Methodist University in Dallas–and an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

An extremely versatile cellist, Mr. Speltz has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and recitalist throughout the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. First Prize winner of the prestigious Ima Hogg Competition, he has performed as a soloist with the Houston Symphony, Colorado Music Festival Orchestra and International Contemporary Ensemble, among others, and is a regular performer at England’s IMS Prussia Cove and on tour with Musicians from Marlboro. An avid and sought after chamber musician, Mr. Speltz has been personally invited by musical giants such as Itzhak Perlman and Richard Goode to collaborate in chamber music recitals and tours throughout the country. As a result of these collaborations, he has been nominated for the inaugural Warner Music Prize, a newly established prize presented by Warner Music and Carnegie Hall.

A lover of all facets of the music world, Mr. Speltz has enjoyed performing on extensive tours with the cello rock band Break of Reality, whose online video of the Game of Thrones cover immediately went viral and has already received over 8.5 million views. Their recent U.S. tour raised funds and awareness for music programs in public schools all around the country. Mr. Speltz studied at the renowned Curtis Institute of Music with Peter Wiley and at the Juilliard School with Joel Krosnick, after his formative years of study with Eleanor Schoenfeld in Los Angeles. He performs on a 1756 J.C. Gigli on loan from his father, a cellist and his first inspiration in a family of professional musicians.

Pedro Bonet

Cello

Artist Website

Bio Coming Soon

Clare Bradford

Cello

Artist Website

Praised for her “beauty of tone and musical line” (South Florida Classical Review), cellist Clare Bradford enjoys a career as an orchestral player and chamber musician. This is Clare’s first season performing with the Lakes Area Music Festival. In previous years she has played with the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra and has had a long-standing collaboration with the Classical Music Institute (CMI) of San Antonio where she is a teacher and guest artist. She is a recent alumna of the New World Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.

Ms. Bradford has always had a particular love for works by living composers which has led her to collaborate closely in chamber music settings with some of the most recognized composers of our time such as Marcos Balter, Missy Mazzoli, Caroline Shaw and Joan Tower. She was also a guest at the 2021 Ojai Music Festival which was led by John Adams. Clare has performed 21st century cello concertos, such as Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon concerto with the New World Symphony and Dobrinka Tabakova’s Cello Concerto with the CMI Chamber Orchestra.

Clare completed her conservatory training with a Bachelor degree at New England Conservatory and a Masters degree at the Juilliard School. She is currently in the process of moving to Calgary, Alberta as she continues to build her musical career.

Luis Primera

Artist Website

Christopher Besch

Bass Baritone

Artist Website

Bass-baritone Christopher Besch is proud to have performed in eight countries on three continents with such conductors as Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, and Jeffrey Thomas. His “commanding stage presence and rich resonance of deep bass sound” (DC Theatre Scene) has been heard in over 80 works running the gamut of musical styles such as early music, grand opera, and modern art song. Notable engagements have included Apollo in Anthony Brandt’s Kassandra (recently released on the Navona Records label,) Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera Colorado, Frederik in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music with the Castleton Festival, Ashby in Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West with Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, and many others. As a frequent performer of concert repertoire, his recent performances have included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Symphony of the Hills, Verdi’s Requiem with the Green Bay Civic Symphony, Haman in Handel’s Esther with Ars Lyrica. Additionally, he is a frequent soloist with Bach Society Houston, appearing with them at the 2017 Leipzig Bach Festival in Leipzig, Germany and will be again at the 2023 festival. Notable upcoming engagements include the debut concert of the early music group Harmonica Stellarum, an all-Purcell concert with Ars Lyrica Houston, Haydn’s Creation in Louisville, KY, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Classical Music Institute in San Antonio, and many others.

As a pedagogue, his students have found success as performers and teachers on a national and international level. He currently serves as Lecturer in Voice at the Texas State University and is the Vocal Fellowship Coordinator for the Classical Music Institute, an education and performance organization serving the San Antonio area. Dr. Besch has previously held teaching appointments at Rice University, The University of Memphis, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Lone Star College – Kingwood. His research and expertise lie in science-informed pedagogy as it relates to the singing voice. He has presented on the subject at the Texoma NATS Conference, Lawrence University, the University of Kentucky, and is a frequent lecturer at the Donald Gray Miller Singing Voice Science Workshop in New York. His primary research interests include the acoustics and psychoacoustics of the voice with a particular bent towards how hearing influences the perception of the sung voice. Dr. Besch has also done extensive work with the implementation of the voice analysis software VoceVista as a teaching tool both in the studio and the pedagogy classroom.

Dr. Besch has earned both his Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from Rice University and his Bachelor of Music Cum Laude from Lawrence University. He was a semi-finalist for the 2012 Eleanor McCollum Competition at the Houston Grand Opera, one of the Rocky Mountain and Gulf Coast Regional Finalists for the Metropolitan National Council Auditions, placed in the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition, and was awarded the Harold Norblum Award for his work with Opera Colorado.

Chelsea Helm

Soprano

Artist Website

With spirit and sensitivity, soprano Chelsea Helm brings a versatile voice to the concert stage. An active choral artist, Ms. Helm appears regularly with Seraphic Fire, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, True Concord Voices & Orchestra, and Conspirare, with whom she was nominated for a GRAMMY® award for Best Choral Album. Last season she was also heard with Kinnara, the Carmel Bach Festival, the American Soloists Ensemble, and Voices of Ascension, and this season she makes ensemble debuts with the Concordia Chamber Players, The Thirteen, and Spire Chamber Ensemble.

As an oratorio soloist, she recently made her international debut performing Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony at the Seoul Arts Center in South Korea. Her latest concert appearances around the United States have included the Brahms Requiem, Haydn’s Theresienmesse and Paukenmesse, the Bach B Minor Mass, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and the Verdi Requiem in a new chamber arrangement.

This year Ms. Helm presented art song recitals in New Mexico, Virginia, and Utah. A Michigan native, she is now based in New York City.

Viktor Toth

Clarinet

Artist Website

Bio Coming Soon

Wayne Ching

Piano

Artist Website

Born in Poughkeepsie, New York, Taiwanese-American pianist Wayne Ching enjoys a diverse musical career. Dr. Ching completed his bachelor and master’s degrees in Piano Performance at the University of Texas at Austin and doctoral degree at the University of Minnesota, where his primary mentors were Gregory Allen, Anton Nel, and Lydia Artymiw. Other influential mentors include Norman Krieger and the late Seymour Lipkin. Dr. Ching has performed extensively across the United States, including music festival appearances at Sarasota, Kneisel Hall, Brevard, Sunflower, Garth Newel, Clear Creek, and Cactus Pear. His performances can be heard on Texas Public Radio, WQXR(NY), WSMR(FL), and KPAC(TX). Recent performance highlights include concerto appearances with New Horizons Symphony and the University of Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, and recital appearances with violinists Francisco Fullana, Sandy Yamamoto, and violist Jordan Bak. As a passionate chamber musician, Dr. Ching regularly collaborates with some of the most outstanding performers of his generation, including members of the Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center and principal musicians of Minnesota, St. Paul Chamber orchestras.

Dr. Ching resides in San Antonio, Texas. He is on the faculty at Trinity University and Resident Artist-Faculty for the Classical Music Institute in San Antonio, where he also serves as Fellowship Coordinator.

Tomomi Sato

Piano

Artist Website

Japanese pianist Tomomi Sato enjoys her diverse career as a highly sought-after solo and collaborative pianist of various genres, ranging from classical to jazz to global popular music.

A prize winner of the 2013 Seattle International Piano Competition, Tomomi has performed in the US, as well as in Europe, Asia, and South America. Her recent engagements as a classical pianist include a performance in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, a broadcasted solo recital at LACMA’s Bing Theater as a part of their Sunday’s Live Series. She is also a festival artist for the inaugural season of Mellon Music Festival in Davis, CA. Her recently attended festivals include the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, Dino Ciani Festival and Academy in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, California Institute of Music in Engers, Germany, among others.

Tomomi’s interests in crossing genres has additionally taken her to China, where she performed a series of holiday shows that reflected the American pop culture; and to Brazil, where she was invited to take part in GLOMUS–a performing festival that exchanges culture and music from all over the world. She has also served as a musical director and keyboardist for musical theatre productions including Into the Woods, Grease, Footloose, Urinetown, and Avenue Q.

Currently based in New York City, Tomomi is pursuing her Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano at The Juilliard School, where she studies with Jonathan Feldman and Margo Garrett. She holds a Bachelor and a Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance from University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where she was a Graduate Teaching Assistant and received the Keyboard Studies Departmental Award for both degrees, given to the most outstanding graduate. Her past teachers include Bernadene Blaha, Dr. Mark Sullivan, and Kazuko Yasukawa.

Isaac Fernandez

Percussion

Artist Website

Isaac Fernandez Hernandez was appointed section percussionist of the Southwest Florida Symphony in October 2014. He has an extensive free-lancer career performing with every professional orchestra in the state of Florida such as the Naples Philharmonic, Jacksonville Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Opera, Orlando Philharmonic, The Florida Orchestra, Palm Beach Opera, etc... Isaac is a former student of Ted Akatz and studied at the Lynn Conservatory where he got his Performance Diploma. He received his Master of Music degree from Boston University where he studied with Tim Genis and completed his undergraduate studies at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Isaac is also an alumnus from the Interlochen Arts Academy where he originated his percussion studies after moving away from his home country, Costa Rica. In the past years, he has performed under various renowned conductors such as Lorin Maazel, Valery Gergiev, Krystof Penderecki, Donald Runnicles, Giancarlo Guerrero within others. He has attended major festivals all over the world ranging from the Pacific Music Festival in Japan (2 consecutive years) to Lyrique-en-Mer in France and the Penderecki Musik Akademie in Germany and Poland. In September 2015, Isaac made his Carnegie Hall debut as the principal timpanist of the International Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.

Julie Woolfolk

Harp

Artist Website

Julie (Eichelberger) Woolfolk is a pianist and harpist native to Houston, Texas. A long time student of music, Julie began piano lessons at age five and harp lessons at age ten. She began her childhood study of the harp with Beatrice Rose, renowned Concert Harpist of the Houston Symphony. As an active participant in the Houston Angelus Harp Ensemble, Julie performed for many organizations including the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Ballet, and the Houston Youth Symphony.

After studying Piano Performance and Spanish at Abilene Christian University, Julie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with minors in Music and Business. In Abilene, she was the principal harpist for the Abilene Collegiate Orchestra, the ACU Philharmonic Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, and the Hardin Simmons Symphony Orchestra. She went on to complete her Master of Arts in Spanish Linguistics at Baylor University. While at Baylor, she performed as a harpist with the Baylor Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble.

Julie is passionate about classical music and collaborating with other musicians. Considering herself to be a hobby harpist, Julie has been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunities to perform with such phenomenal ensembles. A few of her favorite orchestral works that she has performed are Debussy’s La Mer, Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, and Ravel’s arrangement of Pictures at an Exhibition. In recent years, she has been privileged to perform harp with the Classical Music Institute and Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio.

A former high school Spanish teacher, Julie now stays at home raising her children. Julie and her husband, Preston Woolfolk (Documation Inc.), live on the northside of San Antonio with their three young sons, the oldest of whom has started piano lessons. Julie is excited to pass on her legacy of music to the next generation.