JACK Quartet completes a tour of the States, then takes American music to Europe!

JACK Quartet completes a tour of the States, then takes American music to Europe!

JACK Quartet launched into the new year with a bi-coastal tour: University of Washington, Santa Cruz with the Lightbulb Ensemble, and Wallis Center in LA on the west coast, and on the East Coast: Boston University, Treetops Chamber Music Society in Connecticut, and Carnegie Hall's Neighborhood Concert series in Brooklyn.

"...the JACKs captured the fleeting gossamer essence of music seemingly impossible to capture."

 - Mark Swed, LOS ANGELES TIMES, January 16, 2017 

After stops for performances at University of Maryland and Eastman School of Music, the Quartet returns to Wigmore Hall, where they will perform a day-long marathon of the complete quartets (plus one quintet) of Iannis Xenakis. Next is Italy for concerts in Florence and Genoa, featuring music by Ruth Crawford Seeger, Julia Wolfe, Derek Bermel, Morton Feldman, and Cenk Ergün.

 Mark Kosower wraps up a series of orchestral dates across the states

Mark Kosower wraps up a series of orchestral dates across the states


Cellist Mark Kosower enjoyed a rich fall season with performances of Elgar's and Dvörak's cello concerti; Bloch's Schelomo; and Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme; with symphony orchestras in Buffalo, Naples, Toledo, Las Cruces, and Phoenix

"Kosower’s cello sang with a fervent voice against a sea of brooding emotion: moving, prayerful, artistically driving toward a higher plane." 
Wayne F. Anthony, TOLEDO BLADE, October 29, 2016

Last year, Mark celebrated the release of his album of Victor Herbert Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, recorded with the Ulster Orchestra led by JoAnn Falletta.  

"An elegant player with fine-grained tone, sensitive phrasing, and fluent technique, Mark Kosower is the perfect advocate for these two concertos. Never aggressive in his playing, his lyrical gifts shine through even in the climaxes." 
- Timothy Robson, CLEVELAND CLASSICAL, July 22, 2016

Having recorded the two discs comprising the complete Ginastera works for Cello on Naxos (one of his two cello concerti, the other of solo pieces), Kosower also celebrated the Ginastera legacy in recital at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

"Kosower's virtuosity was on almost relentless display. Time and again, one's jaw dropped as the cellist, suavely bolstered by his partner, exploited his instrument in ways almost beyond belief, to stunning and haunting effect." 
Zachary Lewis, THE PLAIN DEALER, September 26, 2016

Next up, Mark plays a subscription week with the Cleveland Orchestra as the soloist in Strauss's Don Quixote from April 20-22.

Yolanda Kondonassis releases her latest album, performs concertos, concerts with Jason Vieaux, and prepares for her next harp concerto commission

Yolanda Kondonassis releases her latest album, performs concertos, concerts with Jason Vieaux, and prepares for her next harp concerto commission


In 2016, Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis released her album Ginastera: One Hundred, a centennial celebration of the composer, Alberto Ginastera, featuring his harp concerto written in 1956.  Yolanda spoke with Mike Goldberg from NPR about the album, Ginastera's contributions to harp repertoire, and how she approaches new projects. Listen to the interview here.

"He created the work that pushed the harp out of its box and gave us the kind of indelible, substantive composition that makes or breaks a solo career like mine."
Yolanda Kondonassis (from the liner notes of Ginastera: One Hundred)

"The album is a masterpiece. Kondonassis’s playing in the concerto is rhythmically exact, yet passionate. It is mesmerizing..." 
– Jeremy Reynolds, Ginastera: One Hundred, CLEVELAND CLASSICAL, October 14, 2016

"Kondonassis has done a service to Ginastera's legacy with One Hundred and we are the beneficiaries of her advocacy. I would say if you own one record of Ginastera it should be this one." 
JEREMY SHATAN, November 1, 2016

Yolanda's next project is a harp concerto commission with Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Jennifer Higdon. Yolanda premieres the concerto in the spring of 2018 and performances with commissioning partners are slated for the 18/19 season.

Yolanda began 2017 with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, performing Mozart's Concerto for Flute and Harp, as part of the orchestra's Mozart Festival.  Watch the performance on the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's website here.

Next month, Yolanda and her recording partner, guitarist Jason Vieaux, visit the Schubert Club of Saint Paul for an educational program about preserving the environment on March 3, and a program from their album, Together, on March 5, for the Music in the Park series.

Zuill Bailey wins 2017 "Best Classical Instrumental Solo" GRAMMY Award for Tales of Hemingway!

Zuill Bailey wins 2017 "Best Classical Instrumental Solo" GRAMMY Award for Tales of Hemingway!

“Psychologically, I am bound to this piece,” Bailey says. “Most things we play, we’re reinterpreting the past. This is new music. This was written for me. This is the present and the future, and that excites people.”
As told to byTed S. McGregor Jr, February 13, 2017

Congratulations to the golden man of the hour! We are excited to share that cellist Zuill Bailey won the "Best Classical Instrumental Solo" GRAMMY for his live recording of Michael Daugherty's Tales of Hemingway with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and music director, Giancarlo Guerrero. The recording also won in the category "Best Contemporary Classical Composition".

Zuill enjoyed the GRAMMY Awards ceremony with his son, Mateo, in LA last weekend, and dedicated the award to his mother.

Inspired by the adventures, literature, and life of American author and journalist Ernest Hemingway, Michael Daugherty composed Tales of Hemingway, an homage to the 20th century writer.  In four parts, Daugherty takes the piece from the American grassroots tradition of where Hemingway grew up, to a more exotic flavor as the narrative travels from Michigan to Spain and Cuba.

In addition to the two GRAMMYs, the album has also won a GRAMMY in the category "Best Classical Compendium".  Widely performed across North America already, Tales of Hemingway has been heard with Zuill Bailey and the symphony orchestras in Detroit, Erie, Virginia, Asheville, Evansville, Roanoke, and with the Busan Istanbul Philharmonic in Turkey. 

Listen to Tales of Hemingway performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, here.
Learn more about the piece and orchestration, here.

Daniel Meyer leads orchestras in Germany and North America!

Daniel Meyer leads orchestras in Germany and North America!

Conductor Daniel Meyer appears in Germany three times during January and February. He returns to the Württembergische Philharmonie in Reutlingen for concerts of Gerswhin, Mintzer and Rachmaninoff; debuts with the Staatsorchester Darmstadt in concerts of JC Bach, Ligeti, Janacek and Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with pianist Joseph Moog; and debuts with the Nuremberg Symphony in a program of Strauss, Beethoven and the Higdon Percussion Concerto.

"My family's roots are in Bavaria and Alsace-Lorraine.  On a Rotary International Scholarship, I was fortunate enough to study conducting at the Hochschule fur Musik in Vienna and, during the same period, sang Mozart, Schubert and Haydn on a regular basis as a member of the St. Augustine Choir; an up close and personal immersion experience, if you will, in a language and culture that had always fascinated me.  Those student days set me up on a good path to feel at home in the German speaking world -- and I love it that I'm getting to conduct there more frequently these days." 
Daniel Meyer

Highlights in North American this winter/spring include guest conducting engagements with the Detroit Symphony and the West Virginia Symphony.  As music director of the Erie Philharmonic, he leads their residency with Emanuel Ax in early March. Also Music Director of the Asheville Symphony, Meyer leads the 2nd annual Amadeus Festival there March 10-19, 2017 featuring a residency by Midori.

 Dashon Burton's album named one of the best classical recordings of 2016, and he returns to the role of Sarastro in France

Dashon Burton's album named one of the best classical recordings of 2016, and he returns to the role of Sarastro in France

"...Burton’s account of “The trumpet shall sound” was the high point of the evening, delivered with sovereign certitude and the fervor of a revivalist preacher. It was an astonishingly stirring piece of singing, and one that will live long in the memory."
- Terry Blaine, STAR TRIBUNE, December 18, 2016

Dashon Burton closed out 2016 singing Handel's Messiah with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Indianapolis Symphony, and Beethoven 9 with the Oregon Symphony on New Year's Eve.  Dashon achieved yet another milestone at year's end, with James R. Oestreich of The New York Times, naming Dashon's album, Songs of Struggle and Redemption, one of 2016's best classical music recordings.

"For each had at least one exceptional solo, most notably bass Dashon Burton’s captivatingly quiet air..." - Rob Hubbard, TWIN CITIES PIONEER PRESS, December 17, 2016

At the end of the month, Dashon recaps his role of "The Fence" in Craig Hella Johnson's Considering Matthew Shepard.  The Harmonia Mundi recording with vocal group Conspirare is nominated for a Grammy.  In February, Dashon is re-invited by "A Far Cry" chamber orchestra in Boston to sing Samuel Barber's Dover Beach, and Ernste Gesaenge by Hans Eisler, then travels to France to prepare for his return to the role of Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with the Opera de Dijon in March.

"I'm so happy to be returning to the role of Sarastro: strong, stoic, confident! I'm so excited to see what the team at Les Talens Lyriques has planned, it's always such a joy to work with brilliant and passionate people who understand that now, more than ever, we need to keep arts in the forefront of culture. I love getting on the stage and embodying these masterful opera works. There's no greater feeling than traveling across the world to share a little bit of culture through all of the many lenses that I've been so lucky to have in my life!"
Dashon Burton

Adam Golka performs New Year's Eve with Fort Worth Symphony, and begins 2017 in New York

Adam Golka performs New Year's Eve with Fort Worth Symphony, and begins 2017 in New York

"With fine backing from the winds, Golka gave a performance that was both subtle and true to the spirit of Gershwin."
- Olin Chism, STAR-TELEGRAM, December 31, 2016

On New Year's Eve, Adam Golka returned to his home state of Texas to perform Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with the Fort Worth Symphony. A favorite and frequent guest of the orchestra, Adam was chosen by the symphony to celebrate the breaking of their strike in a festive performance. To further welcome in the new year on a playful note, Adam and Music Director, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, performed a Victor Borge-esque comedic music routine at the closing of the concert.

"... on New Year's Eve, I was extremely humbled to be asked as a guest artist for Rhapsody in Blue with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by their Music Director, Miguel Harth-Bedoya. This was their first concert after a four-month silence; the orchestra had declared a strike when their salaries received a devastating cut. It is wonderful news for the Fort Worth community and the musicians that they have re-started their season, and I am crossing my fingers that the electric atmosphere of the New Year's concert is a promise of great things to come. This was my ninth concerto performance with Miguel and the FWSO; this group of musicians has been an instrumental part of my growth." 
– Adam Golka

Last August, following a recital at the Duszniki International Chopin Festival, Adam reconnected with Alfred Brendel, in a return to the Krzyzowa Festival in Poland. This collaboration was documented in a short film.  

This year, Adam continues solo and chamber performances in New York at Merkin Hall and at Barge Music in Brooklyn, and performed last week at (Le) Poisson Rouge and 11th Street Arts.  A frequent guest at the Cliburn, Adam returns to give a repeat performance of the program, An American Hero, in the upcoming 55th anniversary of the international piano competition this June.

Adam launched his newsletter at the end of the year, in which he delves into the process of recording his new album of Schubert and Schumann with his friends, pianists Michael Brown and Roman Rabinovich, at the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  Read the entire story of his recording adventure with other updates in his newsletter and watch it in action in this video!




Jayce Ogren steps up to Orchestra 2001!

Jayce Ogren steps up to Orchestra 2001!

"He introduced each piece invitingly with explanations that didn't spoil your own discovery. John Adam's Son of Chamber Symphony, for one, combines the skipping rhythm of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 with modern funk. Knowing that made you appreciate how the composer had fused those elements to create his own distinctive idea with no debts to the antecedents." 
- David Patrick Stearns, THE INQUIRER, October 31, 2016

In his position as the newly appointed Music Director of Orchestra 2001, Maestro Jayce Ogren opened their season last month with the Philadelphia premiere of Sebastian Currier's Bodymusic.  This piece for 15 players and electronics sets the tone of contemporary and mixed media music that make up the programs for the rest of the season.

In-between concerts and touring with Orchestra 2001, Jayce leads the music for Casa de Musica's screening of Charlie Chapin's "City Lights", in Portugal in February, returns to his alma mater St. Olaf College to lead the St. Olaf Orchestra, conducts and records Harold Meltzer's Variations On a Summer Dayfor Nine Instruments and Mezzo-Soprano at National Sawdust in March, then travels to Europe to lead Rufus Wainwright's Prima Donna with the Philharmonie de Paris in June.

An award-winning athlete, Jayce runs the Philadelphia Marathon on November 20 (as will JACK Quartet's Austin Wulliman).

Paul Jacobs performs with major orchestras across North America!

Paul Jacobs performs with major orchestras across North America!

Paul Jacobs gives the world premiere of the Organ Concerto by Christopher Rouse on November 17 with the Philadelphia Orchestra led by their Music Director, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, in an organ extravaganza program that also includes Barber's Toccata Festiva for Organ and Orchestra, and Saint Saën's Symphony No. 3.  Paul will repeat the Rouse Concerto later this season with co-commissioners Los Angeles Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra.

"It was touching to see Mr. Jacobs use all his weight and force to squeeze every ounce of sound out of the grand final chord."  
- James R. Oestreich, THE NEW YORK TIMES, September 19, 2016

He spends Thanksgiving weekend this month playing Barber's Toccata Festivawith the Montreal Symphony.  Other fall highlights included a return to the Cleveland Orchestra to open their season with Copland's Symphony for Organ and Orchestra led by Music Director, Franz Welser-Most, and a return to the Kansas City Symphony with Music Director, Michael Stern, for Alexander Guilmant's Symphony No. 1.  

"Whether interacting subtly with individual musicians or letting the organ rip in regal displays with the full ensemble, Jacobs displayed perfect senses of balance and registration in addition to technical fluidity and musical insight. Through often strange, winding, and unpredictable territory, the organist proved an assured and compelling guide, taking care to point out all the music's curious wonders." 
- Zachary Lewis, CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, September 30, 2016

Wearing a different hat, Paul Jacobs added a journalistic twist to his career, advocating for the re-institution of the pipe organ in the New York Philharmonic concert hall with his piece published in the Wall Street Journal:

"Many people think of the organ as a solemn, lonely instrument, and organists as primarily a support for congregational singing. The organ’s sacred setting over the past millennium should not be underestimated or diminished, and church organists continue to play an indispensable role. But the artistic possibilities for organ music have blossomed significantly beyond the sanctuary." – Paul Jacobs (to view the full article on the Wall Street Journal site, click here)

Marc-André Hamelin in concerts throughout the month

Marc-André Hamelin in concerts throughout the month

Pianist Marc-André Hamelin earned accolades for a recent Festival performance at La Jolla Music Society:

"One moment Hamelin demonically crashed out chords in the lowest register, the next teased out pianissimo plaintive utterances in the treble. He emphasized the wildness of Liszt’s narrative without derailing it.

It was a heroic journey, and at its quiet conclusion, Hamelin was given a hero’s celebration by the audience." 
- Christian Hertzog, THE SAN DIEGO TRIBUNE, August 25, 2016

In the next weeks, Hamelin launches a globe-trotting round of recitals including performances at San Francisco Performances -- his 10th recital there since Ruth Felt first presented him in 2003; at  The Gilmore, where his November 5concert will be live-streamed (be sure to like our Facebook page for the link to this special event!); at Roosevelt University in Chicago; an all-Mozart program at the 92nd St Y in New York;  his China debut in a pair of recitals at the Shanghai Concert Hall; and a return to the Berlin Philharmonie.


San Francisco Performances on October 21, 23
Roosevelt University on November 2
The Gilmore in Kalamazoo, Michigan on November 5
92nd St Y in New York City on November 12
The Shanghai Concert Hall in China on November 18, 19
The Berlin Philharmonie on November 29

Marc-André finishes up his European tour in December with performances of Brahms 2 with the Warsaw Philharmonic, and begins 2017 in a return to theMontreal Symphony to play Ravel G Major and Shostakovich Cto. No. 1 with Kent Nagano.

Read Marc-André Hamelin's thoughts on his Twitter!

~ We would like to take this occasion to celebrate Ruth Felt, who established San Francisco Performances 37 years ago and has nurtured it creatively -- and with great acumen, style, and good spirit --  every day since.  We are grateful for her manifold and excellent efforts to present artists always in the very best way possible, building trust and respect with her audiences every step of the way.  Ruth Felt's  legacy is fine, and huge -- and we honor it. ~

Jeannette Sorrell conducts subscription weeks and celebrates Apollo's Fire

Jeannette Sorrell conducts subscription weeks and celebrates Apollo's Fire


Conductor Jeannette Sorrell leads the Jacksonville Symphony this week in a program that includes Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, selections from Handel's Water Music Suites, and her own arrangement of Vivaldi's La Follia, a wild and colorful touchstone piece to bring to orchestra. Watch Jeannette leading her arrangement of La Follia here.

Next month, Sorrell will conduct the North Carolina Symphony, where she will lead Mozart's Ballet Music from Idomeneo, in addition to Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi. In April of 2017, Sorrell conducts the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in Vivaldi concertos, selections from Terspichore by Handel, Bach, and Rameau'sChaconne from Dardanus.

Sorrell also celebrates the 25th anniversary of Apollo's Fire, the period-instrument orchestra she founded to carry forth the "baroque ideal that music should evoke the various Affekts or passions in the listeners".

Juilliard String Quartet and their 16/17 season!

Juilliard String Quartet and their 16/17 season!

"Every detail, from technical virtuosity to balance, is set nakedly in front of the listener. And each of these hurdles, big and small, were navigated with grace by these four fine players. The music pulsed and sang. This was a deeply burnished performance that captured the full emotional spectrum while also displaying ensemble playing that would be hard to surpass." 
- John Terauds, MUSICAL TORONTO, Oct. 14, 2016

After return engagements at Howland Chamber Music Society, Music for Food, Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music, the Detroit Chamber Music Society, Music Toronto, and the Tilles Center, the Juilliard String Quartet marked their 70th anniversary with a performance at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall earlier this week. Presenters had nothing but great words following their concerts.


"The Juilliards gave a great performance and received an enthusiastic standing ovation from our audience.  Astrid Schween seems like a great fit for the quartet."

"Completely wonderful, the quartet sounds amazing."

"The concert was a huge success, totally sold out.  The new cellist fits in perfectly, gives the quartet a better foundation and her agility and musicianship is a great match overall.  The program choices were fantastic and very well executed, I particularly loved their Bartok.  They seem to enjoy themselves and it came across in their performance."


The Juilliard Quartet after their performance at Alice Tully

Later on this Fall, they will also make returns to:

Wooster Chamber Music Series on October 23
Peoples' Symphony on November 5
University of Hartford on November 10
Chamber Music Society of Louisville on November 20
Cleveland Chamber Music Society on December 6
Chamber Music in Napa Valley on December 8
Chamber Music Albuquerque on December 11
Arizona Friends of Chamber Music on December 14


And in that December 14 concert, the quartet will  perform the world premiere of a new work by Mario Davidovsky, FragmentsThis work was commissioned by Arizona Friends of Chamber Music for the Quartet; the Quartet performs it together throughout the rest of the season.

Soyeon Kate Lee and Ran Dank; in solo and duo concerts throughout the season

Soyeon Kate Lee and Ran Dank; in solo and duo concerts throughout the season


Three years ago, pianists Soyeon Kate Lee and Ran Dank were wed, and marked that year by performing together at (Le) Poisson Rouge for the first time. Those three years have seen them from Cincinnati to Hawaii, and now they are together in the same city, as they celebrate their third anniversary and return to (Le) Poisson Rouge for another exhilarating concert.  
After kicking off the season in New York City, Ran Dank and Soyeon Kate Lee have a full 16/17 season, with duo concerts interspersed within a series of solo engagements.  
Soyeon Kate Lee ended her summer with a recital at Mänttä Music Festival in Finland, and began fall with two performances at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, performing Schumann's Piano Quintet with the Ariel String Quartet, and Chopin'sPiano Concerto No. 2. She will be performing Bartok's Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Erie Philharmonic, and Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Asheville Symphony later this season.
After a concert at Ravinia performing a program of Chopin Mazurkas and Polonaises, and Bolcom's Twelve Etudes Books I&II, Ran Dank will be performing Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra on October 29, and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Toledo Symphony on March 25.

Soyeon Kate Lee and Ran Dank say hi from Finland!

Tonight, they will perform a program of duo piano pieces (Kaleidoscope by Corigliano, the New York premiere of Seven Impromptus by Alexander Goehr, and Ravel's La Valse) and solo pieces (Scriabin's Fantasy by Kate, and Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 13 in A minor by Ran). See their concert tonight at (Le) Poisson Rouge.  Hear a preview of their concert here.
Their series of duo concerts continues at the Smithsonian American Art Museum Steinway Series, where they are performing a program of Mozart, Scriabin, Liszt, and Stravinsky on October 9.  They continue their series, Music By The Glass, an intimate recital series developed and curated by Lee and Dank, on September 22 at the Louis Meisel Gallery, and go on tour to perform at Chamber Music Cincinnati on November 20.


Watch Kate and Ran's perform Brahms Waltzes Op. 39 at Le Poisson Rouge in 2013!

Michael Stern with the KC Symphony

Michael Stern with the KC Symphony


Conductor Michael Stern took the podium with Yo-Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony for the penultimate concert at Tanglewood this summer in a program of Bernstein, Haydn, John Williams, and Respighi:

"The program was designed for popular appeal, with Ma as the chief attraction. In the end, conductor Michael Stern seemed the most interesting part of the evening. He lit up the BSO, whether accompanying Ma or going to the movies with Bernstein." 
THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE, August 28, 2016

Stern began September leading the Shanghai Symphony in the inaugural Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition, and now heads Down Under to lead the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in performances of Elgar, Haydn, and Prokofiev.  Stern opens his 12th season as Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony in the remarkable Helzberg Hall of the architectural icon that is the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in K.C.  Stern also continues as Music Director of IRIS, the ground-breaking orchestra he founded in Memphis to champion new American music -- played by extraordinary rosters of musicians -- alongside the Classical canon.  Mo. Stern also leads weeks with the Nationaland Atlanta Symphonies this season.

Mahan Esfahani debuts at Aspen and Mostly Mozart, has a profile in The New York Times, and more

Mahan Esfahani debuts at Aspen and Mostly Mozart, has a profile in The New York Times, and more


Photo by Bernhard Musil / DG

Dubbed a "Harpsichord Ninja" by the BBC, Mahan Esfahani returned to North America for debuts at the Aspen Music Festival with works by de Falla and Saariaho on August 1 and a Little Night Music recital for the Mostly Mozart Festival's 50th anniversary on August 5.  This was followed by a profile in The New York Times on his work bringing the harpsichord into modern times.

Esfahani has two CD releases this month: the Seattle Symphony's third disc of the music of Henri Dutilleux featuring Mahan in Les Citations and Deutsche Grammophon's release of Bach's Goldberg Variations, a work that will serve as the start to his 5-year exploration of the keyboard works of Bach at London's Wigmore Hall beginning on December 21.

Mahan begins his three-year residency with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra as Baroque Conversations Artist-in-Residence on October 6 and in November joins Les Violons du Roy for concerti of Bach and Górecki and a recital at the Isabel Bader Center for the Performing Arts in Kingston, ON.