Artists

Audrey Andrist, piano
Audrey Andrist Photo

Canadian pianist Audrey Andrist grew up on a farm in rural Saskatchewan. While still in high school, she commuted three hours one-way for piano lessons with William Moore, himself a former student of famed teachers Rosina Lhevinne and Cécile Genhart. Ms. Andrist went on to study at the University of Regina on a full scholarship with Moore, and later traveled to New York, where she completed Masters and Doctoral degrees at the Juilliard School with Herbert Stessin. Now a busy soloist and chamber player, Ms. Andrist has performed with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, and the Juilliard Orchestra in Alice Tully Hall. With the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, she and Maestro Mario Bernardi presented the world premiere of a piano concerto written especially for her by Canadian composer Andrew MacDonald. She is the first prize winner of the San Antonio International Competition, the Mozart International Competition, and the Juilliard Concerto Competition. She has toured Canada, performing over 20 solo recitals as the winner of the Eckhardt- Gramatté competition, and has recorded for Summit Records, Albany Records, Capstone, Centrediscs, CRI, Arizona University Recordings, CBC Radio, and NPR’s “Performance Today”. For NPR she presented a live broadcast recital with internationally acclaimed violinist Anne Akiko Meyers.

A truly versatile and adventurous musician, Ms. Andrist has performed and recorded music for synthesizer, harmonium and harpsichord, and has served as orchestral pianist in both Canada and New York. An ardent exponent of new music, Ms. Andrist has many world premieres to her credit, and has had several works composed for her and the ensembles with which she plays. She is a member of the Stern/Andrist Duo with her husband, violinist James Stern, and Strata, a trio with Stern and clarinetist Nathan Williams. She has performed on such prestigious series as the Phillips Collection in Washington, Rising Stars at Ravinia in Chicago, and the People’s Symphony Concerts in New York. Ms. Andrist is the recipient of grants from the Canada Council and the Saskatchewan Arts Board, and has spent several summers as a resident artist at the Banff Center. Her many recent engagements include a concert tour of China, concerto appearances in California, and an extensive tour of Quebec for Jeunesses Musicales. Highlights of Ms. Andrist’s 2004-2005 season include recitals in Washington, DC, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Virginia. She currently resides in the Washington, DC area, with her husband and their son, Kenneth. In Washington, Ms. Andrist has appeared with the 21st Century Consort, the Kennedy Center Chamber Players and the Left Bank Concert Society.

Paul Cigan, clarinet
Paul_Cigan

Paul Cigan began his musical education at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, studying with San Francisco Symphony clarinetists David Breeden and David Neuman. After transferring to
Temple University in Philadelphia to continue studies with Anthony Gigliotti, former principal clarinetist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mr. Cigan began freelancing with local groups including the
Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra. Professional orchestra positions soon followed, serving as principal clarinetist of the Virginia Symphony, Colorado Symphony, and San Antonio Symphony.
Appointed by Maestro Leonard Slatkin, Mr. Cigan is currently second clarinetist with the National Symphony Orchestra and an active chamber musician and teacher in the Washington, DC area. During his tenure with the NSO, Mr. Cigan has appeared as concerto soloist and given chamber music performances and master classes across the United States as part of the orchestra’s American Residencies program. He can be heard performing regularly with the 21st Century Consort, Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, Theater Chamber Players, Eclipse Chamber Orchestra and in concert sat the Library of Congress. Recent recordings include performances with the 21st Century Consort, Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, and Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Cigan is currently on the faculties of the University of Maryland at College Park, The Catholic University of America, and was
an acting faculty member with the Peabody Institute from 2001-2004.

Larissa Dedova, piano
Larissa Dedova Photo

For over 25 years, Larissa Dedova has performed extensively as a soloist and in duo with her husband Mikhail Volchok in concert halls throughout the world. She has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras including St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic,Orchestre de Chambre de Budapest, Moscow Philharmonic, Estonian State Symphony Orchestra, and many others.

As a recitalist, Ms. Dedova appears frequently in major venues throughout Europe, Russia and the United Stated. She has appeared as festival artist for numerous music festivals such as the William Kapell International Piano Competition at Maryland, Semaines Musicales de Tours in France, White Nights in Russia and Russian Stars in South Korea. Her chamber music activities include performances with the Guarneri String Quartet, flutist Raimond Guiot and cellist Menahem Meir.

By the age of five, Ms. Dedova had begun her studies at the Gnessin Special Music School and then continued her education at the Moscow State Gnessin College. She holds both a Master’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory where she studied with Lev Oborin and Evgeny Malinin. A prodigious technique and musical aplomb have earned her the most important honors and awards from both the Moscow State Conservatory Beethoven Concerto Competition and the Bach International Competition of Leipzig.

The lyricism, romanticism and virtuosity of Ms. Dedova’s performances have brought her critical acclaim and the love and affection of her audiences. Recently, the Washington Post described Ms. Dedova’s performance of the Brahms Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor with the Fairfax Symphony as a “performance that went straight to the heart of the music.”

A dedicated teacher who is regarded highly for her masterclasses presented throughout the US, Europe and Asia, Ms. Dedova has prepared many winners of most notable international piano competitions. Her recording credits include releases for the “Melodia” label in her native country as well as for ConClaRec and Morning Storm labels.

Evelyn Elsing, cello
Evelyn Elsing Photo

Cellist Evelyn Elsing has won prizes in the Munich International Cello Competition and the Washington International String Competition. She has concertized across the United States, Europe, and Japan. A chamber music enthusiast, Ms. Elsing has collaborated with members of the Cleveland, Muir, and Guarneri Quartets. She is cellist of the Ecco Trio and the Left Bank Quartet.

Washington area solo engagements have included performances at the Phillips Collection, the National Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress, the Corcoran Gallery, and the Kennedy Center. Recognitions include the University of Michigan’s highest award to a performer – the Stanley Medal, a Solo Recitalist Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Citation for Exceptional Leadership and Merit from the American String Teachers Association. A member of the summer faculties of the Interlochen Center for the Arts and International Workshops, Ms. Elsing has participated in the Aspen, Ravinia, and Spoleto Festivals. She is Professor of Cello at the University of Maryland School of Music, College Park.

For fifteen years, Ms. Elsing was principal cellist of the Handel Festival Orchestra. Currently Artistic Co-Director of the Left Bank Concert Society, she was a regular performer with the historic Theater Chamber Players, birthplace of the Left Bank Quartet.

Chris Gekker, trumpet
Chris Gekker Photo

Chris Gekker is Professor of Trumpet at the University of Maryland. He has been featured as a soloist at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. Mr. Gekker appears as a soloist on more than twenty recordings and on more than a hundred Chamber music, orchestra, and jazz recordings. CD review called his recording of Copland’s Quiet City “a model of quiet perfection,” and in an overview of several solo recordings, Gramophone Magazine described his performances as “astonishingly poised.”

Mr. Gekker was a member of the American Brass Quintet for eighteen years and on the faculties of the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and Columbia University. He was principal trumpet with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and frequently performed and recorded as principal of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. He has been a guest principal trumpet with the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony and is in demand with these and many other groups such as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Mr. Gekker has performed and recorded with many jazz and commercial artists and often for television and movies.

Many of Mr. Gekker’s former students occupy orchestral positions in major symphonies throughout the world, as well as being prominent in jazz, chamber and commercial music. His Articulation Studies, 44 Duos, and Endurance Drills are available from Colin Publications and are sold worldwide. Mr. Gekker holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Maryland; his teachers include Emerson Head, Sidney Mear, Adel Sanchez, and Gerard Schwarz.

Mark Hill, oboe, English horn
Mark Hill Photo

Mark Hill has distinguished himself as an accomplished oboe and English horn soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player, recording artist and teacher. He has been invited to perform with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Academy of St Martins in the Fields, the National Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. He was for many years a member of the New York Chamber Symphony and the Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic. Locally, he performs with such groups as the Washington Bach Consort, Concert Opera of Washington, and the National Philharmonic.

Mr. Hill’s extensive chamber music experience includes collaborations and appearances with the such artists as the Guarneri String Quartet, the Bach Aria Group, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Mendelssohn String Quartet, Claude Frank, Paula Robison, Michael Tree, and the New York Woodwind Quintet. He has appeared with Chamber Music Northwest and has long been associated with the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. Currently he is a summer faculty artist at the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival in Vermont. He has been a member of the Sylvan Winds since 1982.

Mr. Hill is currently Associate Professor of Oboe and Chamber Music at the University of Maryland, and he has previously served on the faculties of Ithaca College, the Mannes College of Music, Columbia University, and the State University of New York at Purchase.

Loren Kitt, clarinet
Loren Kitt Photo

Principal Clarinetist Loren Kitt is a native of Washington State and a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music. Before joining the National Symphony Orchestra in 1970, he performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, and served as principal clarinetist of the Milwaukee Symphony from 1966 until 1969. He has been professor of music at the Oberlin Conservatory and the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University and, in 1997, joined the faculty of the University of Maryland. Among Mr. Kitt’s solo performances are the Washington premieres of Roque Codero’s Mansaje Funebre and Messaien’s La Transfiguration de Nôtre Seigneur Jesus-Christ, performances of the Copland Clarinet Concerto, Copland conducting, Debussy’s Rhapsody for Clarinet, and Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major.

Mr. Kitt, who was a featured artist at the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in 1976, has also been a guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He is frequently heard in Washington at the Library of Congress. He is also a member of the American Chamber Players. He was the soloist for the first of the Orchestra’s “An American Festival/Concerts at the Capitol” in 1979, performing the Copland Clarinet Concerto before an audience of 26,000 people. He returned to the Capitol Concert series twice more as soloist, in 1982 and 1988. He has also appeared as soloist with the Orchestra at Wolf Trap Farm Park as well as on the Orchestra’s subscription series at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, including performances of the Copland Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra in 1996 with Leonard Slatkin conducting. Another highlight of his Kennedy Center appearances was a week of performances of Winter’s Concertino for Clarinet, Cello, and Orchestra with Mstislav Rostropovich as cellist and Hugh Wolff conducting.

Mr. Kitt has performed at festivals in Colorado and Wyoming, and for the past four years has been involved in Maine’s Bay Chamber Concerts, in the series “First Chair All-Stars,” featuring principal players from major orchestras around the country.

Left Bank Quartet, LBCS resident string quartet
Quartet Photo
David Salness and Sally McLain, violin,
Katherine Murdock, viola, Evelyn Elsing, cello. These four musicians, with their diverse and colorful backgrounds, came together through the auspices of the Theater Chamber Players, and rather unexpectedly discovered the joys of a vibrant and enthusiastic collaboration. They have been a quartet since 1999, taking their name from the fact that the Kennedy Center, their first regular venue, is situated on the left bank of the Potomac.Their combined experiences include participation in the major festivals of the musical world — Aspen, Banff, Chautauqua, Marlboro, Mostly Mozart, Prussia Cove, Ravinia, Santa Fe, and Spoleto to name just a few. Their teaching experiences, collaborations, national and international tours, recital and concerto performances, and success in international competitions give this quartet a rich and varied tapestry as they weave their musical message.The repertoire of the Left Bank Quartet encompasses an eclectic range, with quartets of Bartók, Crumb, Durkó, Ginastera, Kurtág, Ligeti, Nancarrow, Stravinsky and Webern augmenting the standard fare. In 2003 they premiered Metamorphosis, written for them by Mark Wilson. This season they add quartets by Korngold, Chavez and Revueltes to the collection. Several recording projects are under way.
Maria Lambros, viola
Maria Lambros

Violist Maria Lambros has performed as a chamber musician throughout the world as a member of three of the country’s finest string quartets in venues such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, New York’s Lincoln Center and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. She was a member of the renowned Ridge String Quartet, which was nominated for the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance for their recording of the Dvorak Piano Quintets with pianist Rudolf Firkusny on the RCA label. The recording won Europe’s prestigious Diapason d’Or in the same year. She was also a founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning Meliora String Quartet, which was Quartet-in-Residence at the Spoleto Festivals of the U.S., Italy and Australia, and which recorded Mendelssohn’s Octet with the Cleveland Quartet on the Telarc label. She was most recently a member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet, and currently performs with the New York based chamber ensemble, La Fenice.

Maria Lambros appears regularly at a number of major chamber music festivals, including those of Helsinki, Aspen, Vancouver, Santa Fe, Tanglewood, La Jolla, Caramoor, Norfolk, Rockport, Skaneateles, Bard, Chamber Music West and New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival. She has performed with the Peabody Trio and the Guarneri, Cleveland, Juilliard, Muir, Brentano, Borromeo, Colorado and Orion Quartets, among others. A native of Missoula, Montana, she was named one of “Montana’s Leading Artists and Entertainers of the 2oth Century,” a millenial list highlighting the last 100 years of Montanans’ exceptional contributions to art and culture. A devoted teacher, Ms. Lambros is currently a member of the chamber music faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music and the Yellow Barn Music School.

David Lonkevich, flute
David Lonkevich Photo
David Lonkevich is a versatile flutist who enjoys performing in solo, chamber, orchestral and contemporary music settings.  He has performed with the Baltimore Symphony, Washington National Opera Orchestra, National Symphony, Key West Symphony, Wolftrap Opera Orchestra, National Theatre Orchestra, Post Classical Ensemble, Contemporary Music Forum, Third Millennium Ensemble.  He enjoys working in the pit for musical theater productions and has been flutist at the Kennedy Center for “Showboat”, “The Dead”, “Broadway-Three Generations” and “Ragtime” as well as “Les Miserables”, “Man of LaMancha”, “Beauty and the Beast” at the National Theatre.David was the solo flutist in a PBS production with Jessye Norman and has also performed on soundtracks for several Discovery Channel productions.  He is active as a clinician and teacher and is on the faculty of the George Washington University and the Washington Conservatory of Music.  His studied at the Manhattan School of Music and his primary teachers were Jeanne Baxtresser and Julius Baker.
Gary Louie, saxophone
Gary Louie Photo

Internationally recognized as one of the leading saxophone virtuosi of our time, Gary Louie possesses a lively interpretive imagination, coupled with a remarkably understated artistry and a warm, supple tone, qualities that have earned him consistent praise from audiences and critics alike.

Gary Louie’s career has long been distinguished by his successful efforts to integrate the saxophone and its repertoire into the mainstream of classical music life, both here and abroad. He has appeared as soloist with Hugh Wolff and the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, under the batons of Daniel Hege, David Lockington, Juanjo Mena and Yan Pascal Tortelier, in performances of Milhaud’s La création du monde, Debussy’s Rhapsody for Saxophone and Orchestra and Glazunov’s Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra. He has also appeared with the orchestras of Allentown, Annapolis, Bozeman, Harrisburg, Long Island, Olympia, Pensacola, Richmond, Roanoke and Southeast Texas, as well as the National Philharmonic, Ohio and Manhattan chamber orchestras and Washington Chamber Symphony.

An avid supporter and interpreter of contemporary music, Gary Louie is actively involved in the commissioning and performing of new scores for the saxophone. He has premiered new works by the distinguished composers William Albright, John Harbison, Lori Laitman and John Anthony Lennon.

Gary Louie began serious studies on the saxophone with George Etheridge in Washington, DC, and went on to study at the University of Michigan with the legendary saxophonist/teacher, Donald Sinta. He currently serves as Professor of Saxophone at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.

Linda Mabbs, soprano
Linda Mabbs Photo

Internationally recognized for her interpretation of Mahler and Strauss, Linda Mabbs has sung with many of the worlds leading orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica de Bilbao, Orchestre Bayonne, Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra and the American orchestras of Chicago, Dallas, Saint Louis, New York, Washington, Baltimore, Cleveland, Miami, Houston, San Antonio, Vancouver and Minnesota; collaborating with such esteemed conductors as Riccardo Chailly, Sir Neville Marriner, Neeme Jërvi, Mstislav Rostropovich, Sir Georg Solti, David Robertson, Robert Shaw, Claus Peter Flor, Franz Welzer-Möst, Andrew Litton, Günter Herbig, and Leonard Slatkin among many others. She has presented recitals in some of the finest venues throughout the world singing a wide range of repertoire but with special emphasis on American and British Song. Robert Hanson composed his Songs of Ame rica for her and while in England, Sir Peter Pears asked her to give the American premiere of Britten’s Cabaret Songs. Her CD recording with Delores Ziegler of these and other Britten songs will be released later this year.

In recent seasons Ms. Mabbs has sung the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier with the New York City Opera and again with Opera Carolina. The Washington Post cited her 1997 world premiere recording of Argento’s Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night on Koch International as “the most brilliant opera recording of the year.” Her chamber music performances have included appearances with the Guarneri String Quartet, Tafelmusik, the Rembrandt Chamber Players, The 21st Century Consort, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra. She has appeared at the Aldeburgh Festival in England, Ravinia, Marlborough, Chautauqua, Grant Park and Berkshire Choral festivals in America as well as numerous appearances at the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria.

Named a Distinguished Scholar/Teacher by the University of Maryland in 2000, Professor Mabbs has taught master classes around the world. Her students have been heard in many of the greatest opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Berlin Statsoper and Covent Garden. She is the recipient of the National Opera Institute Achievement Award, and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Fund, The Maryland Arts Council, and the Creative and Performing Arts Board and Graduate Research Board of the University of Maryland.

Sally McLain, violin
Sally McLain Photo

Violinist Sally McLain received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees with High Distinction from Indiana University, where she studied with and was assistant to James Buswell.  She has participated in the Tanglewood Music Center, the Bach Aria Festival and Institute and the New York String Orchestra Seminar, under the direction of Alexander Schneider.  She served as concertmaster of the Washington Chamber Symphony for ten seasons and has appeared as concertmaster with the Cathedral Choral Society, Choral Arts Society, City Choir of Washington, Washington Bach Consort, Washington Concert Opera and  Wolf Trap Opera. Ms. McLain was a long-time member of the Theater Chamber Players, under the direction of co-founders Leon Fleischer and Dina Koston.  She is a founding member of the Left Bank Quartet , which originated as an ensemble in the Theater Chamber Players and is now the resident quartet of the Left Bank Concert Society. The Left Bank Quartet has collaborated with an array of artists, including Leon Fleischer, Santiago Rodriguez and the Guarneri Quartet.  The quartet has recorded works written for them by composers Larry Moss and Mark Wilson. Ms. McLain is also a member of the Potomac String Quartet, which has recorded the complete quartets of David Diamond and Quincy Porter for Albany Records. Of these cycles American Record Guide wrote, “The admirable Potomac Quartet has done a great service for American chamber music in recording the complete quartets of both Porter and Diamond.  These superb musicians play with sensitivity, lustrous tone, and the joy of discovery”.  Other chamber groups she has appeared with include the National Musical Arts, Post-Classical Ensemble, Poulenc Trio, Smithsonian Chamber Music Society and U.S. Holocaust Museum Chamber Series. Ms. McLain has performed as soloist to critical acclaim in a variety of venues that include the Clarice Smith Center Gildenhorn Hall, Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, Lisner Auditorium, National Gallery of Art and  Smithsonian American Art Museum.  She was honored to give the premiere performance of “Solo for Violin – Homage to Bela Bartok”, written for her by Dina Koston.  Ms McLain plays on a violin made by Vincenzo Postiglione circa 1888.

Katherine Murdock, viola
Katherine Murdock Photo
Katherine Murdock, violist, has performed throughout the world with such groups as Music from Marlboro, the Boston Chamber Music Society, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Brandenburg Ensemble, and the New York Philomusica. She has been a participant in numerous festivals, including the Edinburgh, Salzburg, and Gulbenkian Festivals, the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove, and in the U.S. at Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, Saratoga, La Musica, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. She has recorded as soloist for West German Radio and the BBC, and has appeared on the ‘Great Performers at Lincoln Center’ series as a guest of the Beaux Arts Trio. During the past seasons she has performed with the Muir and Vermeer String Quartets, has toured New Zealand with the New Zealand Quartet, South America with the New York Philharmonic, and Europe with a chamber ensemble from the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. From 1988 to 1994 Ms. Murdock was a member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet. With this group she toured internationally as well as held the positions of Artist in Residence at Harvard University and the University of Delaware. She is currently on the faculty of SUNY Stony Brook and the University of Maryland; in the summer she is on the artist faculty of the Yellow Barn and Kneisel Hall festivals. Currently violist with the Left Bank Quartet, and longtime performer with the historic Theater Chamber Players, Ms. Murdock also performs and records as a member of the Los Angeles Piano Quartet.
Jonathan Richards, violin, viola
Jonathan Richards received his Bachelor’s degree in violin performance from
Northern Illinois University where he studied with Mathias Tacke and Shmuel Ashkenasi of the Vermeer Quartet. He has won numerous competitions including the CSA Symphonia Concerto Competition, Elgin Symphony Young Artist Competition, Northern Illinois University Philharmonic Concerto Competition, and the Mary Graham Lasley Scholarship Competition. He has also appeared as soloist with the Kishwaukee Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Vincent’s of Chicago, the Judson College Symphony, and the Northern Illinois University Philharmonic. As an orchestral musician Jonathan has performed with the Quad City Symphony, Rockford Symphony, and Elgin Symphony. He now performs regularly with the Fairfax Symphony, Annapolis Symphony, Alexandria Symphony, Chesapeake Symphony, and National Philharmonic along with other ensembles such as Concert Artists of Baltimore and the New Music Ensemble of DC. An avid chamber musician, Jonathan performs frequently with various ensembles throughout the DC area in addition to performing regularly with the Annapolis Chamber Players. He is also a member of the Adelphi String Quartet, formerly the Graduate Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Maryland. Jonathan received his Master of Music degree in violin performance at Maryland under James Stern and is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree studying with David Salness.
David Salness, violin
David Salness Photo

Soloist, concertmaster and chamber musician for over twenty-five years, violinist David Salness has attained international recognition as a performing artist and teacher. He has appeared in such renowned venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy and Lincoln Centers, Salle Pleyel, Concertgebouw, and Wigmore Hall. His performances are broadcast by National Public Radio, Radio France, and the British and Canadian Broadcast Corporations. Mr. Salness’ recordings are found on the RCA, Telarc, and Centaur labels among others.

Mr. Salness has collaborated with members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, and Cleveland Quartets. He has enjoyed a long association with New York’s Chautauqua Festival and has participated in the Aspen, Ravinia, Newport, Banff, and Mostly Mozart Festivals. He has appeared with such noted ensembles as the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Orpheus, and the Brandenburg Ensemble of New York. Mr. Salness was for twelve years a member of the Audubon Quartet and won the Deuxieme Grand Prix as a member of Nisaika in the 1984 Evian International String Quartet Competition.

He began his teaching career as assistant to David Cerone at the Curtis Institute and also the Meadowmount School of Music in New York, where Mr. Salness returned to serve for five years as a member of the Artist Faculty from 1998 to 2002. Having also been a guest faculty member at John Hopkins’ Peabody Conservatory, Mr. Salness is currently Associate Professor of Violin at the University of Maryland and Distinguished Teacher of Violin at the Brevard Music Center and is Head of Chamber Music Activities at both institutions. Mr. Salness’s students have garnered top prizes from such major international compositions as Indianapolis, Evian/Bordeaux, Portsmouth, Naumburg, Menuhin, Schneider, and Banff. Violinist with the Left Bank Quartet, Mr. Salness is Artistic Co-Director of the Left Bank Concert Society.

Ken Slowik, harpsichord and cello
Ken Slowik Photo
Artistic director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, Kenneth Slowik first established his international reputation as cellist and viola da gamba player as a founding member of the Smithsonian Chamber Players, the Axelrod and Smithson quartets, the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, and the Castle Trio. Subsequently, he has appeared frequently with the Amsterdam-based ensemble Archibudelli, and has been a soloist and/or conductor with numerous orchestras, including the National Symphony, the Baltimore, Vancouver, and Québec Symphonies, and the Cleveland Orchestra. Since becoming conductor of the Santa Fe Bach Festival in 1998, and serving as conductor of the Santa Fe Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra from 1999-2004, he has been devoting increasing amounts of time to conducting the orchestral, oratorio, and operatic repertoire with both modern- and period-instrument ensembles on both sides of the Atlantic. His performances in this capacity have also elicited enthusiastic responses from audiences and critics alike. His extensive discography, spanning composers from Monteverdi and Bach to Schönberg and Mahler, includes more than sixty fortepianist, organist, harpsichordist, and conductor. His latest recording in the latter role (Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde) received a 2008 Grammy Award nomination. Dr. Slowik has presented lectures at colleges and universities throughout the Americas and has organized and contributed to a number of symposia and colloquia at the Smithsonian Institution. He serves on the faculties of the University of Maryland and L’Académie de musique du Domaine Forget and has been Artistic Director of the Baroque Performance Institute at the Oberlin College Conservatory since 1993.
Sara Stern, flute
Sara Stern Photo
Sara Stern is a flutist based in the Washington, D.C. area. She leads an active and varied career as a chamber musician as well as performing with many different musical ensembles. As solo flutist with the 21st Century Consort, in residence at the Smithsonian Institution, she has performed, premiered and recorded many significant contemporary compositions. She performs throughout the United States and abroad as solo flutist with the American Chamber Players, has presented solo recitals at Carnegie Recital Hall, the Kennedy Center and many other concert halls, and has appeared as guest artist with the Emerson Quartet and other fine chamber groups. Ms. Stern is one half of the flute and harp duo, “Stern and Levalier” with NSO principal harpist Dotian Levalier, and is a founding member of The Eastwind Consort, a critically acclaimed woodwind ensemble.
Naoko Takao, piano
Naoko Takao Photo

Pianist Naoko Takao has been enjoying a versatile career as a recitalist, orchestral soloist, and chamber musician both in the United States and abroad. Since coming to the U.S. in 1984, she has been a recipient of many awards and scholarships including the gold medal at the 2000 San Antonio International Piano Competition as well as accolades at the Missouri Southern and New Orleans international competitions. Most recently, she was chosen as the recipient of the “Washington Award” from the S&R Foundation in recognition of her contribution towards furthering Japanese-American understanding through music.

Ms. Takao’s recent appearances include concerto performances with orchestras such as Alexandria Symphony and Ohio Valley Symphony, numerous local solo and chamber music performances at venues such as the Smithsonian Chamber Music Series, Strathmore, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Wintergreen Performing Arts, and the Kreeger Gallery, as well as appearances at various colleges and universities as an invited artist and clinician. She is highly sought after as an enthusiastic advocate of newly composed music and has premiered many works, performing for organizations such as the Society of Composers, College Music Society, and International Alliance for Women in Music.

She has studied with Nathan Schwartz at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, with Raymond Hanson at the Hartt School of Music, and with Anne Koscielny and Santiago Rodriguez for her Master’s and Doctorate degrees at the University of Maryland at College Park. Her recording of the complete piano sonatas by Vincent Persichetti will soon be released by Elan Recordings. Ms. Takao is currently on the faculty at the Levine School of Music in Washington, D. C., and at the Rocky Ridge Music Center in Colorado during the summer.

Colette Valentine, piano
Colette Valentine Photo

Pianist Colette Valentine, one of the most active professional collaborative pianists in the United States, joined the faculty of the newly created Collaborative Piano Department at the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music in the fall of 2008. She completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance at Stony Brook University in New York with Gilbert Kalish after earning Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Maryland where she studied with Nelita True. In the summers, she joins other professional colleagues as a coach at the Interlochen Adult Chamber Music Camp in Michigan.

Critically hailed for her “clean, sparkling technique” (Salt Lake Tribune) and for her “consummate skill and musicianship” (Classical New Jersey), Colette Valentine has performed in such important venues as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, the Phillips Collection, the Corcoran Gallery, and internationally in Paris, Zurich, Tokyo, Seoul, and Hong Kong. As pianist of the Ecco Trio, praised by the Washington Post for capturing “the intimacy of chamber music at its best”, she has toured the United States and Japan. She has also collaborated in chamber concerts with the New York Philharmonic Winds, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, the Washington Chamber Society, the Left Bank Concert Society, the Grand Teton Music Festival and the Rembrandt Chamber players, among others. For many years, she has been official staff pianist for the William Kapell International Piano Competition, the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, the Washington International Competition for Strings, and the National Flute Association National Convention. She has also served in that capacity for the Leonard Rose International Cello Competition, the Marian Anderson International Vocal Competition, and the Music Teachers National Association Competitions. She has recorded for the Albany, Fontec, Antara, Well-Tempered and CRI labels.

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