The Toronto Summer Music Academy is a one of North America’s pre-eminent summer training programs for chamber musicians and singers 18-35 years old who are on the verge of a professional performance career.
Enrollment is limited, and Fellows study and perform with international guest artists. Thanks to our generous donors, we are able to offer these talented young musicians this experience without the financial burden of tuition. Meet the 2018 Academy Fellows below, and hear them perform on Saturdays throughout the Festival at our reGENERATION concerts.
Art of Song Fellows
Frances Armstrong began her piano studies at age ten in Vancouver, BC, and discovered her love of working with singers when she was a teenager. In April 2017, she graduated with distinction with her Bachelor’s Degree in Solo Piano Performance from the University of Victoria, where she studied with Bruce Vogt. Throughout her university studies, she received scholarships to study a broad range of repertoire at intensive programs such as the Vancouver International Song Institute, Orford Summer Music academy, Franz Schubert Institute, Stratford Vocal Academy, Tapestry Opera’s Songbook, and Opera NUOVA. In August 2017, Frances made her debut as music director in Muskoka Summer Theatre Festival’s 2017 production of La Bohème. She is now in her first year of a Master’s Degree in Collaborative Piano Performance at the University of Toronto, where she studies with Helen Becqué and Steven Philcox.
Florence Bourget is a young contralto from Lévis, Quebec. She recently completed her Master degree with distinction at the University of Montréal under the tutelage of Mrs. Sévigny and Mr. Fanning. Over the last few years, she has performed several roles: «The Sorceress» in Dido and Aeneas, three roles in L’enfant et les Sortilèges from Ravel and «Marcellina» in Le Nozze di Figaro. This Mozart performance received positive reviews from renowned critic Christophe Huss, who gave particular mention to the young contralto. Florence is currently pursuing an artist diploma et UdeM and will be singing two major roles in their opera productions. In November she will be part of the Final of the Gala young talent of the Opéra de Montréal.
Leona Cheung is a native of Hong Kong. She is now working on her Master’s Degree in collaborative piano, studying with Cameron Stowe and Jonathan Feldman.
Her enthusiasm in accompanying vocal repertoire brought her to the summer program Songfest in Colburn College. She has played in the masterclasses with Martin Katz, Margo Garrett, Alan Smith, Warren Jones, John Moriarty, Roger Vignoles, Graham Johnson, Libby Larsen and Jake Heggie. She also enjoyed performing in the Liederabend concert series at the New England Conservatory.
In summer 2016, with her passion in opera accompanying, she joined the CoOPERAtive operatic coach/accompanying program at the Westminster Choir College. She was the rehearsal pianist of the Opera Hong Kong, and participated in the production of Gounod’s Faust, Verdi’s Aida and Otello.
As a collaborative pianist in the Boston area, she has keen interest in choral accompanying. She has been working with the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Children’s Chorus, Coro-Dante, NEC Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and Preparatory School Children’s Chorus.
She has played in chorus rehearsals and choral conducting masterclasses under renowned conductors including William Weinert, Rolf Beck, Wolfgang Katschner, Richard Kaufman and Ko Matsushita. Between 2012 and 2016, she enjoyed working closely with German choral conductor Helmuth Rilling during his visit to Hong Kong. Her piano recording with Cantoria Hong Kong was featured on the website Half Moon Rising and Edition Peters CD in 2015.
Praised for his colourful playing and fascinating pen, pianist and writer Pierre-André Doucet is one of Canada’s most captivating young artists. His recent musical projects have seen him perform across Canada, as well as in Europe, South Africa and the United States. He has been a laureate of the Knigge Piano Competition, the Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition, the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto Career Development Award Competition, the Prix d’Europe and the Ibiza International Piano Competition.
Mr. Doucet recently completed doctoral studies with Maneli Pirzadeh at l’Université de Montréal, and has also perfected his craft at the Music Academy of the West, Songfest, the Tanglewood Music Center, and the Franz-Schubert-Institut. As a writer, he has written for Ancrages, Impossible Archetype and Voix plurielles. In 2012, he published his first collection of short stories, Sorta comme si on était déjà là, and began his tenure as Co-Artistic Director of Barachois Summer Music in his native New Brunswick.
Renee Fajardo was born in Manila, Philippines and currently studies with Susan Waters at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
She was recently awarded the Stonevale Concert Series and the City Lit Institute Prizes in the Musical Odyssey Masterclasses in Greece, after working with soprano Nuccia Focile. Last March, she won first prize at the Courtney Kenny Award held in Kent. In Manila, she performed in the choruses of La Boheme (MusicArtes Inc.), L’elisir d’amore (Filfest Cultural Foundation) and Filipino composer Felipe de Leon’s Noli me Tangere (Resorts World Manila). She concertized widely with the VivaVoce Ensemble and was a recurring soloist of the Manila Symphony Orchestra.
Most recently, Renee was a company member of the British Youth Opera 2017 production of Don Giovanni and was featured in the London Song Festival AESS Winners’ Concert. She is a recipient of a scholarship from the Guildhall School Trust and the National Commission of Culture and the Arts of the Philippines.
Joey Jang is a 21-year-old Korean-Canadian tenor who resides in Toronto. He is currently in his fourth year of the Bachelor of Music (Performance) program at the University of Toronto, where he is the recipient of the Robert William Bygrave Voice Studies Bursary (full tuition) and the Lillian Florence Blanch Scholarship. He currently studies with Laura Tucker. At the University of Toronto, Joey has been selected as a soloist for performances of Bach’s Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12 (with MacMillan Singers) and Handel’s Messiah (with Schola Cantorum). He has also sung the role of Pete Peterson in U of T Opera’s production of Britten’s Paul Bunyan.
Outside of U of T, Joey has performed solo recitals at the Metropolitan United Church, as part of the Noon at Met Concert Series. He is currently the principal cantor/organist at St. Mark’s Catholic Church, a section lead in the Metropolitan Festival Choir, and a Sidgwick Scholar in the Orpheus Choir of Toronto. In the past, Joey has been a cantor at St. Michael’s Cathedral. He is a graduate of St. Michael’s Choir School.
Described in recent reviews as “scintillating”, “exciting”, and “superb”, Maeve Palmer is a soprano in the Rebanks Family Fellowship and International Performance Residency Program at the Glenn Gould School, and the soprano Sidgwick Scholar with Orpheus Choir of Toronto. Maeve is the second prizewinner of the 2017 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, and a recent graduate of the Masters of Music (University of Toronto), under Mary Morrison, O.C.
Maeve has performed as a soloist in concert with Opera Atelier, Off-Centre Music, Tapestry Opera, Chorus Niagara, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Orpheus Choir of Toronto, and with the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music competition, among others. Recent roles include Zerlina (Don Giovanni), soprano in Derek Holman’s Laudes Creationis, Matriarch (The Farthest Shore), The Angel of Death (No Mortal Business), Leah (Swoon), Satirino (La Calisto), and soloist in Bach's B minor mass, and Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecelia. Soundtrack credits include The Space Between Us, and Aftermath.
Born in South Korea in 1991, Jinhee Park began piano at the age of 6. She graduated from Yewon School and Seoul Arts High School in 2006 and 2009. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Seoul National University where she studied with Ikjoo Moon. As a collaborative pianist, she has performed with numerous musicians throughout Korea, China, Taiwan, U.S.A, and other countries. She participated in the 2013 Aspen Music Festival, and has played in the masterclass of Alan Smith, Brian Zeger, Robert McDonald, Rita Sloan and Roger Vignoles. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree at The Juilliard School studying with Jonathan Feldman, Margo Garrett, Andrew Harley, Dianne Richardson, and Roger Tapping, and performs with talented vocalists and instrumentalists from the school in recital series such as the Liederabend and Sonatenabend at Juilliard, and the Midday Masterpieces Series at the Greene Space of WQXR.
Mezzo-soprano Lyndsay Promane is a winner of the 2017 Symphony on the Bay Young Artists’ Competition. In the 2017/2018 season, she will appear as a soloist in concert with the Pax Christi Chorale, The Choral Connection, the Oakville Choral Society, and the St. Anne’s Festival Orchestra. Lyndsay will also appear in recital at the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto and as a featured artist in the Toronto Mozart Festival.
In the 2016/2017 season, Lyndsay was awarded second place in the Toronto Mozart Vocal Competition and selected as a finalist in the Atelier Lyrique de l'Opéra de Montréal National Auditions. Recent opera credits include Poppet (Paul Bunyan), Larina (Eugene Onegin), the title role of the Medium, Golde (Fiddler on the Roof) and Endimione (La Calisto) among others. Lyndsay is a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Music and currently studies with Wendy Nielsen and Nathalie Paulin.
American soprano Karen Schriesheim grew up in Chicago, Illinois, where she was introduced to classical music by the Lyric Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A student of Helen Donath, she completed the Artist Masters course with Yvonne Kenny at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she was a finalist for the Schubert Song Prize. A passionate recitalist, Karen Karen appears regularly in her piano duo and chamber ensemble, specializing in Baroque and 21st century music. Recent performances include recitals in Sachrang and Berlin, Germany; London; and with the Ravenswood Orchestra in Chicago. Karen was a young artist at the Berlin Opera Academy, the Miami Summer Music Festival, and at the Castleton Festival under Lorin Maazel. Operatic repertoire includes Eurydice (Orfée et Eurydice- Gluck), Poppea (Agrippina - Händel), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte- Mozart), Zerlina (Don Giovanni- Mozart), Ännchen (Der Freischütz- Weber), Sophie (Werther- Massenet), and Suor Genovieffa (Suor Angelica- Puccini).
Since moving to Toronto in the fall of 2014, Sri Lankan tenor Asitha Tennekoon has firmly established himself as a versatile singer and actor, performing in a wide range of repertoire. He drew critical acclaim as Paul in Tapestry Opera’s Rocking Horse Winner and received the Dora Award for Best Male Performance. As Gernando in Haydn’s L’Isola disabitata in is debut with Voicebox: Opera in Concert, he was “ Clearly an artist on the fast track to stardom, a singer gifted with a brilliant, incandescent instrument and appealing stage manners.” (Ian Ritchie, Opera Going Toronto)
In 2018, Asitha makes his role and company debut as Polidoro in performances of Scarlatti’s Erminia with Opera Lafayette in Washington and New York and joins the cast in the world premiere of The Overcoat (Panych/ Rolfe) in a co-production with Tapestry Opera, Canadian Stage Company and Vancouver Opera.
Renowned for her rich and velvety timbre, mezzo-soprano Danielle Vaillancourt is rapidly making her place as one of the most sought after young artists in Québec, and the rest of Canada as well as in Europe. Originally from a small town in Ontario, Danielle graduated from the Montreal Conservatory of Music. Ms. Vaillancourt has participated in many singing competitions where she stood out and won major awards [Maria Callas Competition in Athens, GR and the Prix d'Europe in 2015 as a semi-finalist). Although Ms. Vaillancourt has sung several operatic roles, her heart leans towards recital and oratorio repertoire. Recently we heard her in Ottawa as a finalist in the Brian Law singing competition and she has been invited to sing with the exalted Ottawa Bach Choir directed by Lisette Canton for their 2017/18 season.
Recent engagements include: Handel’s Messiah with the Deep River Symphony conducted by Peter Morris, performing the role of one of the step-sisters in Massenet’s Opera Cendrillon with the South Ottawa Performing Collaborative and as well as the role of Fidalma in Cimarosa’s opera Il Matrimonio Segreto with the Compagnie Baroque Montréal.
Chamber Music Institute Fellows
Cellist John Belk is a first-year Masters student at Rice University, where he studies with Desmond Hoebig. He has won competitions and awards as both a soloist and chamber musician, recently performing the Walton Cello Concerto with Leon Botstein and The Orchestra Now as the winner of the Bard Conservatory Concerto Competition. In lessons and masterclasses, John has worked with teachers including Matt Haimovitz, Timothy Eddy, Richard Aaron, Ida Kavafian, and the Brentano String Quartet. He has also had the opportunity to collaborate with distinguished musicians and composers including David Shifrin, David and Philip Ying, Peter Serkin, and Joan Tower. At Bard College Conservatory, John completed a degree in Computer Science with the senior thesis An Overview of a Driving Profile Based on Mobile Phone Sensor Data, and a degree in Cello Performance studying with Peter Wiley.
Originally from Gatineau, Quebec, violist Maxime Despax studied at the Conservatoire de musique de Gatineau, the Conservatoire de music de Montréal and the University of Toronto, where he studied with Emmanuel Beaudet, Jocelyne Bastien and Teng Li. He completed his Master’s Degree in Viola Performance at the University of Toronto on full scholarship, studying with Teng Li with who he is now pursuing a Doctorate in Musical Art. Currently, his career is focused on orchestral and chamber music. He has subbed with the Toronto Symphonic Orchestra and is a member of the Orchestre Symphonique de Gatineau. He also often collaborates with current composers from Canada and has perform the national premiere of the Opera “Luci Mie Traditrici” by the Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino in Toronto. He also has a family string quartet, the Quatuor Despax. They have been invited to perform in several festivals such as the Ottawa Chamber Fest and have performed widely throughout the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, as well as in France and Italy. Maxime has attended the Orford Quartet Program, the Domaine Forget, the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar at Stanford University, the Banff Centre and the Mozarteum Summer Academy in Salzburg.
Cassia Drake is native to Southwest Florida and began studying the viola at age 7 after starting on violin. She made her orchestral debut in 2010 at age 14 with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and performed again in 2015. Ms. Drake is a recent winner of the Southwest Florida Symphony concerto competition, SWFL Bach Festival, Florida Arts For Life! scholarship and the National YoungArts Foundation. Chamber music continues to be a passion for Ms. Drake as her quartet was honored to compete in the 2014 Fischoff National Chamber Competition, as well as receiving first place in the FSMTA Florida State Competition. Ms. Drake is a Bachelor of Music candidate at the Colburn Conservatory of Music, where she studies with Paul Coletti.
A native Taiwanese, Heng-Han’s professional violin career has seen him performing around the world including Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Israel, Argentina, America and Canada. For solo violin, he has played in public masterclasses for notable soloists such as Berlin Philharmonic concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley and esteemed violinist Midori Goto. Heng-Han also has considerable experiences in chamber music and orchestra playing. He has attended chamber master classes with internationally renowned ensembles such as American String Quartet, New Orford String Quartet and Ebene String Quartet. He also played in numerous professional orchestras such as National Taiwan Philharmonic, Canadian Opera Company, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Windsor Symphony Orchestra. He received his master’s degree from New England Conservatory in Boston and is now pursuing his doctorate degree in University of Toronto and holding teaching assistant positions for Toronto Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Jonathan Crow and University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Violinist Janny Joo is a multifaceted musician who is equally at home in chamber, orchestra, and solo recital settings. She is the founding member of the Meadowlark Piano Trio, a recent semi-finalist of the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition, and enjoys performing works from the established repertoire as well as championing works from contemporary composers with the trio. An active chamber musician, Janny has studied chamber music with members of the Chiara, Muir, and St. Lawrence String Quartets as well as the Triple Helix Piano Trio. She has also performed with such artists as Bayla Keyes, Cho-Liang Lin, Kim Kashkashian, Hsin-Yun Huang, Desmond Hoebig, Rhonda Rider, William Fitzpatrick, and Norman Fischer.
Janny is currently pursuing her Doctorate degree in Violin Performance. She received her M.M degree from Shepherd school of music at Rice University and her B.A degree with minors in Math and History from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her primary teachers include Bayla Keyes, Cho-Liang Lin, Hye-Yung Yoon of the Chiara String Quartet, and Hal Grossman
Being a passionate performer and teacher, Steve is currently an Adjunct Instructor at University of Toronto, where he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. After finishing his Bachelor’s degree at Rice University, Steve continued his studies and received his Master’s in String Performance and Pedagogy at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois (U.S.A.), where he was the recipient of the coveted Emily Boettcher and Yule Bogue Endowed Fund and the Dick Eickstein Grant. At University of Toronto, he was the Palmason Graduate Fellow in Violin and the teaching assistant to professor Annalee Patipatanakoon of the Gryphon Trio. An avid chamber and orchestral musician, Steve has collaborated with violists Leslie Robertson and Teng Li, pianist Philip Chiu, cellist Antonio Lysy, bassoonist Nadina Jackson, and violinist Nikki Chooi. He has also performed with Symphony S.O.N.G., Kitchener- Waterloo Symphony, and the Windsor Symphony Orchestra.
Romanian-born pianist Ana Manastireanu began her musical journey at the age of five. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Music (Honours) at the Royal College of Music in London, studying with Kathron Sturrock and Niel Immelman. Ana’s international competition successes include the First Prize at the “Ville de Gagny” International Piano Competition in France, the Second Prize at the “Rosario Marciano” International Piano Competition in Austria and the Second Prize at the “Carl Filtsch” International Piano Competition in Romania. In 2016, she was a semi-finalist of the Orford Award in Canada. Festival appearances include the Orford Music Festival in Canada, the British Isles Music Festival in the UK, the Vienna International Pianists Festival in Austria and the George Enescu International Festival in Romania. Ana has participated in masterclasses with Yoheved Kaplinsky, André Laplante, Kathryn Stott, Ian Brown, Leslie Howard, Lilya Zilberstein, Pavel Gililov and Edna Golandsky, amongst others.
Francesca McNeeley is in high demand as a collaborator and soloist. As a New Fromm Player she premiered quartets by Harbison, Neikrug, and Kui Dong, and gave the “excellent” American premiere of Joseph Phibbs’ first quartet (Boston Globe). As a chamber musician she’s had the honor of learning from Kim Kashkashian, Lucy Chapman, and the Cleveland, Concord, Juilliard, Brentano, and Borromeo Quartets. She someday hopes to play in a quartet professionally, championing modern works alongside traditional ones. She is currently completing her graduate diploma studies at the New England Conservatory in the studio of Yeesun Kim.
A Toronto native, Julia Mirzoev is currently finishing her Bachelor’s degree in the University of Toronto, under the tutelage of Jonathan Crow. A winner of multiple first prizes across national and provincial competitions; including first and grand prizes at the Canadian Music Competition, Julia was granted the University of Toronto Concerto Competition prize, the Orchestra Toronto Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition first prize, and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra concerto competition first prize, granting her a series of solo engagements with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Julia has also performed solo with the Scarborough Philarmonic, Sinfonia Toronto, and the Canadian Sinfonietta. A participant in international music festivals, Julia has been a part of the Orford music festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, as well as the Aspen Summer Music Festival. This upcoming fall, Julia will pursue her Master’s Degree in Music at the Yale University School of Music, in the studio of Ani Kavafian.
Irish violinist Jennifer Murphy has performed in the Barbican Centre, London, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, and the National Concert Hall, Ireland, and has had performances aired on BBC Radio (UK) and CBC (Canada). Recent solo engagements include a performance of the Korngold Violin Concerto conducted by Bramwell Tovey in Koerner Hall, Toronto, and Chausson’s Poeme with the RTÉ National Concert Orchestra, Ireland. Jennifer was a 2016-2017 Rebanks Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, London, in 2014, where she was awarded a Master of Arts in Violin Performance with distinction, along with the prestigious Dip. RAM accolade. She also holds degrees from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and the Glenn Gould School, Toronto. Jennifer has performed at the Music by the Sea Festival, the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Domaine Forget Chamber Music Festival and the Banff Centre Masterclasses, and has been a guest artist with Art of Time Ensemble and Amici Ensemble, Toronto.
Cellist Timothy Paek is an enthusiastic chamber musician and dedicated teacher. Recent highlights of Timothy’s career include a tour of Qatar with Carnegie Mellon’s Honors String Quartet as well as appearances on the Cleveland HeightsARTS chamber music series. He has also performed as a guest on numerous faculty recitals at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Timothy completed degrees at Carnegie Mellon University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the University of Nebraska—Lincoln; his primary mentors include Anne Martindale Williams, Melissa Kraut, and Gregory Beaver.
As an educator, Timothy has worked at the St. Margaret’s School for the Art’s summer music programs as a chamber music coach, private cello instructor, and eurhythmics professor. He also completed Suzuki teacher training and certification at the Cleveland Institute of Music. As the founding cellist of the Meadowlark Piano Trio, Timothy has performed in concert venues and outreach programs throughout nation. Summer festivals include: Garth Newel Music Center, Round Top Festival Institute, Mimir Chamber Festival, and St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar. Aside from music, Timothy loves exploring new cuisines and enjoys basketball, baseball, Frisbee, soccer, hiking, dancing, and playing board games.
Samuel Park started playing the violin at the age of five. Since then, Sam appeared as a soloist with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra at the age of 15 and was a finalist in the East Connecticut Symphony Orchestra Competition in 2011 and 2012. He also participated in prestigious music festivals such as the New York String Orchestra Seminar, Tanglewood, and Music Academy of the West. Sam served concertmaster positions at the Rice University Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra. Notable recent performances include collaborations with renowned artists such as Gil Shaham, the Orion Quartet, and members of the Ying Quartet.Sam holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Juilliard School. He is currently a doctoral student at Rice University with Paul Kantor. Other previous major teachers include Joel Smirnoff, Joan Kwuon, and Catherine Cho.
Canadian violinist Katya Poplyansky is currently pursuing her Artist Diploma at the Glenn Gould School, with Paul Kantor and Barry Shiffman. She completed her Masters at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2016, with David Takeno, and her Bachelors at the Curtis Institute of Music in 2014, with Shmuel Ashkenasi, Victor Danchenko, Ida Kavafian, and Joseph Silverstein. She has participated in the Festival Jong Talent Schiermonnikoog, Banff Master Class Program, and IMS Prussia Cove Masterclasses and Open Chamber Music. She received second prizes at the Isabel Bader Violin Competition and Tunbridge Wells Competition in April 2017 and April 2016. Katya is a grateful recipient of the Temerty Family Foundation Scholarships.
Among his prizes in Germany, Austria, Finland, Czech Republic, Russia and Ukraine, Pianist ALEXEY PUDINOV has been nominated for the German Piano Award 2013, received the Steinway Award 2014 and First LMN Menuhin Prize 2016 in Frankfurt, and was awarded the Gershwin Best Performance Prize 2015 in New York. Alexey regularly concertizes across Europe. He has performed in such venues as Alte Oper Frankfurt, Cankarjev Dom Ljubljana, Mozartsäle Hamburg, Opera Comique Paris, Dukes Hall London, Walter Hall Toronto, Schloss Johannisberg, Schloss Weikersheim. Festival appearences have included Leeds Lieder, Manchester Chamber Music Festival, Kasseler Musiktage, Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival, Rheingau Musikfestival, Kronberger Musiktage, Seligenstädter Klosterkonzerte, and Toronto Summer Music. His performances have been broadcast on the SWR, HR and Wartburgradio.
Although a native of Russia, Alexey has made his home in Germany since 2006. He completed a Chamber Music Degree and Konzertexamen in Piano Performance at the HfMDK Frankfurt, and an Artist Diploma at the RCM London. Alexey is currently attending the prestigious “International Artist” Program at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Norma Fisher, Angelika Merkle, Leon Fleisher, Anne Le Bozec, John Perry, Bernhard Wetz and composers Kelly-Marie Murphy and Jörg Widmann paved his artistic imprints. Alexey has performed with the Simfonični orkester RTV Slovenija, Frankfurter Museumsorchester, Hochschulorchester Frankfurt, Starkenburg Philharmoniker and Sinfonieorchester Gießen. Pudinov is founding member of NEBEL-PUDINOV Duo, ‘two4piano‘ - Piano Duo, the Frankfurt Piano Trio and the Artistic Director of AD Festival Days Manchester.
A passionate chamber musician, cellist Emma Schmiedecke has been a visiting artist at Le Domaine Forget, The Banff Centre, the Atlantic, Heifetz, Round Top, Bowdoin, and Summit festivals, the Fresh Inc. New Music Festival, the Vermont Mozart Festival, the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, and the Oxford Cello School in Oxford, England. Awards and prizes include the Temerty Family Foundation Scholarship, the George Martin/Hans Thatcher Clark Scholarship, the Ingeborg and Angela Kramer Award, a McGill University Graduate Dean’s Award, and first prize in the Bravura Philharmonic and Bergen Philharmonic Young Artist Competitions. As guest soloist, Emma has performed with the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, and Bravura Philharmonic. She has performed in masterclasses for Colin Carr, Raphael Wallfisch, David Geringas, Denis Brott, Leon Fleisher, and Arnold Steinhardt, among others.
Emma holds a Master of Music from the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music, a Bachelor of Music from the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Bard College. Her primary teachers include Matt Haimovitz, Desmond Hoebig, Andrés Diaz, Peter Wiley, Luis Garcia-Renart, and Sophie Shao.
Praised for the “maturity and sensitivity” of her playing (Casa Magazine), Cleveland based cellist Rebecca Shasberger performs as a solo artist, is a founding member of the Kalos String Quartet, and is a member of the West Coast Symphony of Santa Barbara, California. Rebecca also teaches cello at Thrive Arts Center in Cleveland and serves as the Outreach Coordinator/Artist in Residence for Credo Music based in Oberlin, Ohio. Rebecca appears regularly on Cleveland’s Musical Upcoming Stars in the Classics (M.U.S.i.C) series, and has appeared as a Fellow at the Toronto Summer Music Festival Chamber Music Institute, the McGill International String Quartet Academy, the Aspen Music Festival, the Banff Centre, and Credo Chamber Music.
Rebecca received a Master of Music Degree in Cello Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy from the Cleveland Institute of Music after graduating summa cum laude and Outstanding Music Department Senior from Westmont College.
A native of Bozeman, Montana, pianist April Sun finds inspiration in wilderness, and her creativity is naturally boundless. She is a DMA candidate in collaborative piano under the guidance of Anita Pontremoli at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she previously studied with Daniel Shapiro and received both a MM in piano performance and a certificate in pedagogy. She is a founding member of The Meadowlark Piano Trio--a semifinalist in the 2017 Fischoff Competition and the first ensemble-in-residence at Caroga Lake Music Festival. Passionate about music education and community service, April teaches throughout the Cleveland metropolitan area, and she is an Artist-in-Residence at Judson Park Retirement Community. Away from the piano, she enjoys tinkering with recordings, hiking, reading poetry, and savoring food with spirit(s).
Julia Swain began studying music performance in the fall of 2015 at the Robert Mcduffie Center for Strings. She began her musical studies on violin at age six in her hometown, Oak Park, Illinois. At age ten, she switched to viola and participated in the IMEA’s annual district and state festivals throughout her early schooling, the CYSO and chamber music program, and performed as a winner of local competitions such as the MacDowell Young Artists Competition and OPRF School’s concerto competition. In the fall of 2016, Miss Swain recorded Mike Mill’s Concerto for Rock Band, Orchestra, and Solo Violin as well at Phillip Glass’ Symphony No. 3 as a part of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings. In February of 2017, she performed in Carnegie Hall with the Center for Strings and proceeded to accompany Robert McDuffie in the summer of 2017 during her attendance at the Aspen Music Festival.
Swedish-born violist Damon Taheri made his solo debut with Norrköping Symphony Orchestra at the age of 18. Today he is an established and sought after freelancer and has subbed with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. He has performed in the live broadcast Nobel Peace Prize Concert and has made several performances for the Norwegian Royal Family.
With chamber music being his biggest passion, he is known for his energetic and enthusiastic playing and for being a sensitive collaborator. In 2016, he won the New England Conservatory’s Honors Ensemble competition together with his string quartet, Chroma Quartet.
Damon has a Bachelor’s degree from the Norwegian Academy of Music, where he studied with Lars Anders Tomter and Ida Bryhn, and a Master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Karen Ritscher. He is currently attending New England Conservatory where he is pursuing a Graduate Diploma with Dimitri Murrath and Jessica Bodner.
Born in Vancouver, Canada, Sarah Yang started playing the violin at the age of eight, and spent most of her studies under the guidance of Professor Taras Gabora and Lucia Schipperus. She was the recipient of several awards from both solo and chamber festivals and competitions, and she performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at their 26th annual Symphony Ball. As a nineteen-year-old, she has already given multiple recitals in the lower mainland of British Columbia, and she was a participant in the 19th, 20th and 21st editions of the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival in Italy. Sarah is currently studying under Professor Carolin Widmann at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Leipzig, Germany.
Janny Joo, violin; Timothy Paek, cello; April Sun, piano
The Meadowlark Trio hails from America’s heartland. Formed by three best friends in 2012, the trio has since performed nationwide to great acclaim, and they were named semi-finalists in the 2017 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition. Festival appearances include: Garth Newel Music Center, St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar, Avaloch Music Residency, and Caroga Lake Music Festival, where they were the first ensemble-in-residence. The trio has performed in diverse concert venues, ranging from the Carnegie Room Concerts and Spectrum Music Series in New York, to Bing Concert Hall in California, to house concerts in Montana. The trio’s members received advanced degrees from the Shepherd School at Rice University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Their mentors have been musicians from the Chiara Quartet, Cavani Quartet, Bayla Keyes, and Daniel Shapiro.