Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Front Row:
A Portrait of Paul Neubauer
CMA presented a concert film featuring the celebrated violist Paul Neubauer from March 1 through March 7. The video has now completed its run. Program information, program notes and artists' biographies remain available below.
Join us again in early April for another performance in this series.
Tristan Cook Photo
Paul Neubauer, violist
ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Märchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales) for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano, Op. 132 (1853)
Lebhaft, nicht zu schnell
Lebhaft und sehr markiert
Ruhiges Tempo, mit zartem Ausdruck
Lebhaft, sehr markiert
Romie de Guise-Langlois, clarinet • Paul Neubauer, viola • Inon Barnatan, piano
BENJAMIN DALE (1885-1943)
“Romance” from Suite for Viola and Piano (1906)
Paul Neubauer, viola • Gloria Chien, piano
INTERMISSION (Q and A with the artist)
JOAQUÍN TURINA (1882-1949)
Escena andaluza for Viola, String Quartet, and Piano, Op. 7 (1912)
Crepuscule du Soir: Allegretto mosso—Serenata: Allegro
A La Fenetre: Andantino mosso
Paul Neubauer, viola • Ida Kavafian, violin • Daniel Phillips, violin • Richard O'Neill, viola • Paul Watkins, cello • Alessio Bax, piano
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Impromptu for Viola and Piano (1931)
Paul Neubauer, viola • Wu Han, piano
FRITZ KREISLER (1875-1962)
Liebesleid for Three Violins, Viola, and Cello
Sean Lee, violin • Benjamin Beilman, violin • Danbi Um, violin • Paul Neubauer, viola • David Finckel, cello
GEORGES BOULANGER (1893-1958)
American Vision for Viola and Piano Trio
Paul Neubauer, viola • Arnaud Sussmann, violin • Paul Watkins, cello • Gilles Vonsattel, piano
Featured Artist Paul Neubauer welcomes you
"It is a great pleasure to present some of my favorite works and performances in collaboration with so many friends and colleagues from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
"We start with the beautiful Märchenerzählungen or Fairy Tales by Robert Schumann. The title is meant to invoke feelings of fantasy and youth which play out in the intimate melodies that permeate this work.
"Next we hear the music of the English composer Benjamin Dale. Dale wrote many works for the viola that he dedicated to the great violist Lionel Tertis. This gorgeous Romance from his three movement Suite was often played as a separate work in performances by Tertis as well as by the eminent violist William Primrose, and it is one of my absolute favorite works to perform.
"Our second half starts with the music of the Spanish composer Joaquín Turina, whose early music was influenced by the French Impressionist school. While studying in Paris, Isaac Albéniz and Manuel de Falla encouraged Turina to turn to the music of Spain and Andalusia for inspiration, and as the title suggests, Escena andaluza abounds with the colors of Andalusia.
"The next work recalls that in 1976 at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, violist Walter Trampler and pianist Richard Goode gave the U.S. premiere of Shostakovich’s monumental Viola Sonata. It was my great privilege to perform the U.S. premiere of Shostakovich’s newly discovered Impromptu with Wu Han in this performance.
"Next comes the bittersweet Liebesleid or Love’s Sorrow, one of Fritz Kreisler’s most popular works. The Viennese charm that Kreisler imbued in his playing and compositions never fails to inspire me. The program ends with the charming American Vision by Georges Boulanger, who was quite possibly the greatest salon violinist of all time."
-- Paul Neubauer
Notes on the Program
Märchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales) for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano, Op. 132 (1853)
Robert Schumann (Zwickau, 1810 – Endenich, 1856)
These four Fairy Tales were some of Schumann’s last pieces; five months after he wrote them he attempted suicide and spent the rest of his life in an institution. Schumann was increasingly unstable by that time but these pieces don’t represent his inner turmoil. Instead they are an escape to another world. A world that is simple, innocent, perhaps even naïve. The straightforward harmonies and uncomplicated melodies belie the complicated emotions that the piece must have evoked for Schumann. He had been obsessed with childhood and he wrote many pieces—especially for his instrument, the piano—that evoke the simple joy, wonder, and curiosity of youth. The Fairy Tales go a step further, yearning for a far-off land that never existed. The first, second, and fourth movements have mostly upbeat, march-like melodies with simple accompaniments while the third movement is slower and more retrospective. The piece, however, never veers far from its calm, composed message of unruffled happiness—something that Schumann must have yearned for but never achieved.
“Romance” from Suite for Viola and Piano (1906)
Benjamin Dale (London, 1885 – London, 1943)
Benjamin Dale was part of a generation of English composers who came of age at the turn of the 20th century. His contemporary Edwin Evans quoted an unknown source in saying, “He has written fewer and better works than any English composer of his generation.” Dale indeed wrote a small number of carefully considered works. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music, enrolling the same year, 1900, that violist Lionel Tertis joined the faculty. Tertis’ championing of viola repertoire clearly rubbed off on Dale because he wrote three works for the viola—this one, a phantasy, and an Introduction and Andante for six violas for Tertis and some of his students. The first two works were popularized by Tertis. He liked the suite so much that he had the first two movements (including the Romance) orchestrated so he could play it at the Royal Philharmonic Society. The Romance is structured yet free, powerful yet sensitive, tuneful yet improvisatory.
Escena andaluza for Viola, String Quartet, and Piano, Op. 7 (1912)
Joaquín Turina (Seville, 1882 – Madrid, 1949)
Escena andaluza was part of Turina’s first group of works after embracing a Spanish style. Turina spent his early years in his native Spain before moving to Paris to study and absorb the many influences of the artistic capital. His Piano Quintet, Op. 1, of 1907 came from his Parisian schooling—it was in the style of Vincent d’Indy’s Schola Cantorum under the late Romantic influence of César Franck. Afterward his Spanish compatriots Falla and Albéniz convinced him to write Spanish-sounding music and over the next few years his works took on a Spanish flair. Escena andaluza is for the same unusual instrumentation as Chausson’s Concert, Op. 21, except the main solo instrument is a viola rather than a violin. In the first movement, Twilight, the piano sets the stage before the viola takes over with a sultry serenade. A habanera sneaks into the middle of the movement. The second movement, At the Window, has an impassioned start that leads to a main section with two enticingly interdependent voices. The work is a colorful portrait of southern Spain for a composer who needed to travel far away to embrace the flair of his homeland.
Impromptu for Viola and Piano (1931)
Dmitri Shostakovich (St. Petersburg, 1906 – Moscow, 1975)
This previously unknown work of Shostakovich was discovered by Russian musicologist Olga Digonskaya in 2017 in the collection of the Moscow Central State Archives. Shostakovich wrote it down on May 2, 1931 and dedicated it to Aleksandr Ryvkin, violist of the Glazunov Quartet, which would go on to premiere Shostakovich’s First Quartet seven years later. Ryvkin isn’t known to have performed the work and there’s no mention of it in any surviving correspondence. It was ignored or forgotten about (Shostakovich labeled it his Op. 33 but then reassigned that number to his film score for The Counterplan the following year) and somehow made its way to Vadim Borisovsky, violist of the Beethoven Quartet, which premiered all of Shostakovich’s quartets after the first. In 2003, 30 years after Borisovsky’s death, his widow donated some of his papers to the Moscow State Archive where they were catalogued incorrectly but eventually discovered by Digonskaya. This performance from May 20, 2018 was the US premiere of this previously unknown gem.
Liebesleid for Three Violins, Viola, and Cello
Fritz Kreisler (Vienna, 1875 – New York, 1962)
Austrian violin phenomenon Fritz Kreisler had an immeasurable impact on string style and technique in the early part of the 20th century. He composed a number of short works that he used as encores. Also, always one for a good story, he pretended to discover many previously unknown works from composers of the past, associating himself with such historical figures as Vivaldi, Padre Martini, and Tartini. Liebesleid for Violin and Piano was published in 1905 as part of a set of works attributed to Joseph Lanner (1801-43), an Austrian dance music composer specializing in waltzes, who was a contemporary of Johann Strauss I and a precursor to waltz-king Johann Strauss II. Kreisler didn’t keep up the ruse for long, republishing the popular works in 1910 under his own name. Liebesleid (Love’s Sorrow) shows Kreisler’s charismatic style, idiomatic writing, inviting melodies, and effortless virtuosity.
American Vision for Viola and Piano Trio
Georges Boulanger (Tulcea, Romania, 1893 – Buenos Aires, 1958)
Georges Boulanger was a Romanian violinist famous for his salon music. No relation to Nadia Boulanger, Georges given name was Pantazi and Boulanger was a stage name that he and his father (also a musician) used. He studied under the great virtuoso Leopold Auer and then went to St. Petersburg, where he serenaded Russian aristocrats in cafés in the years before the Russian revolution. He spent the interwar period in Berlin where he found his greatest fame playing on the radio, writing music for publication, leading a light orchestra, and entertaining in some of the most fashionable venues of Weimar Berlin. He stayed in Germany during the Second World War and afterward he immigrated to South America. He died in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1958. His magnetic playing style was described by ensemble Prima Carezza, “No one could sob so effusively on the violin, sigh so deeply, and break out of the darkest sorrow into almost screaming jubilation.”
Program notes by Laura Keller, CMS Editorial Manager
© Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
About the Artists
“One of the most admired pianists of his generation” (New York Times), Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan is celebrated for his poetic sensibility, musical intelligence, and consummate artistry. He inaugurated his tenure as Music Director of California’s La Jolla Music Society Summerfest in 2019. He is the recipient of both a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant and Lincoln Center’s 2015 Martin E. Segal Award, served as the inaugural artist-in-association of the New York Philharmonic, and is an alum of CMS’s Bowers Program. His recent concerto collaborations include those with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony, and the Cincinnati Symphony. Last season he played Mendelssohn, Gershwin, and Schubert for his solo recital debut at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. He reunited with his frequent recital partner, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, for tours on both sides of the Atlantic, including performances of Beethoven’s complete cello sonatas in San Francisco and other US cities. His latest album is Beethoven’s complete piano concertos, recorded with Alan Gilbert and London’s Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Other recent releases include a live recording of Messiaen’s 90-minute masterpiece Des canyons aux étoiles (From the Canyons to the Stars) at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Schubert’s late piano sonatas on the Avie label, winning praise from such publications as Gramophone and BBC Music.
Pianist Alessio Bax—a First Prize winner at both the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions, and the recipient of a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant—has appeared with more than 100 orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Houston Symphony, Japan’s NHK Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and City of Birmingham Symphony. In summer 2017 he launched a three-season appointment as artistic director of Tuscany’s Incontri in Terra di Siena festival, having also appeared at such festivals as Music@Menlo, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Switzerland’s Verbier Festival, Norway’s Risør Festival, Germany’s Klavier-Festival Ruhr and Beethovenfest, and England’s Aldeburgh Festival, Bath Festival, and International Piano Series. An accomplished chamber musician, he regularly collaborates with his wife, pianist Lucille Chung, superstar violinist Joshua Bell, Berlin Philharmonic principals Daishin Kashimoto and Emmanuel Pahud, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, where he is an alum of The Bowers Program. Last season brought the release of Italian Inspirations, his 11th recording for Signum Classics, whose program was also the vehicle for his solo recital debut at New York’s 92nd Street Y. Last season, he undertook Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano at CMS and on a forthcoming Signum Classics release with Paul Watkins of the Emerson String Quartet. At age 14, Mr. Bax graduated with top honors from the conservatory of Bari, his hometown in Italy, and after further studies in Europe, he moved to the US in 1994.
Violinist Benjamin Beilman has won praise both for his passionate performances and deep, rich tone which the Washington Post called “mightily impressive,” and the New York Times described as “muscular with a glint of violence.” Highlights of his 2018-19 season included play-directing and curating a program with the Vancouver Symphony; making his debut at the Philharmonie in Cologne with Ensemble Resonanz and with the Munich Chamber Orchestra in Koblenz; performing Four Seasons with the Cincinnati Symphony and Richard Egarr; returning to the City of Birmingham Symphony; and debuting with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Elim Chan. In recital, he was presented by Lincoln Center in New York, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and performed Mozart sonatas at Philadelphia’s Perelman Theater and Carnegie Hall with pianist Jeremy Denk. His European recital and chamber music engagements included the Moritzburg Festival, Concertgebouw, and Wigmore Hall for a BBC Radio 3 live broadcast. He released his first disc for Warner Classics in 2016, titled Spectrum and featuring works by Stravinsky, Janáček, and Schubert. An alum of CMS’s Bowers Program, Mr. Beilman studied with Ida Kavafian and Pamela Frank at the Curtis Institute of Music, and Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy. He plays the "Engleman" Stradivarius from 1709 generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.
Taiwanese-born pianist Gloria Chien has a diverse musical life as a noted performer, concert presenter, and educator. She was selected by the Boston Globe as one of its Superior Pianists of the year. She made her orchestral debut at the age of 16 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra with Thomas Dausgaard, and performed again with the BSO with Keith Lockhart. In recent seasons she has performed as a recitalist and chamber musician at Alice Tully Hall, the Library of Congress, the Phillips Collection, the Kissinger Sommer festival, the Dresden Chamber Music Festival, and the National Concert Hall in Taiwan. She performs frequently with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and is an alum of CMS’s Bowers Program. In 2009 she launched String Theory, a chamber music series at the Hunter Museum of American Art in downtown Chattanooga that has become one of Tennessee's premier classical music presenters. The following year she was appointed Director of the Chamber Music Institute at the Music@Menlo festival, a post she held for the next decade. In 2017, she joined her husband, violinist Soovin Kim, as Co-Artistic Director of the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont. The duo serves as the new Artistic Directors at Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, OR. Ms. Chien received her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music as a student of Russell Sherman and Wha-Kyung Byun. She is an artist-in-residence at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee and is a Steinway Artist.
Praised as “extraordinary” and “a formidable clarinetist” by the New York Times, Romie de Guise-Langlois has appeared as soloist and chamber musician on major concert stages internationally. She has performed as soloist with the Houston Symphony, Ensemble Connect, the Burlington Chamber Orchestra, and the Guanajuato Symphony Orchestra, as well as at Festival Mozaic, Music@Menlo, and the Banff Center for the Arts. She was awarded first prize in the Houston Symphony Ima Hogg competition, the Yale University Woolsey Hall Competition, the McGill University Classical Concerto Competition, and the Canadian Music Competition. She has performed as principal clarinetist for the Orpheus and Saint Paul chamber orchestras, NOVUS NY, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the New Haven and Stamford symphony orchestras, and The Knights Chamber Orchestra. She is an alum of Astral Artists, Ensemble Connect, and CMS's Bowers Program, and has appeared at series such as the Boston and Philadelphia chamber music societies, Musicians from Marlboro, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and Chamber Music Northwest, among others. A native of Montreal, Ms. de Guise-Langlois earned her bachelor’s degree from McGill University and her master’s degree from Yale School of Music. She is currently assistant professor of clarinet at UMass Amherst.
Co-artistic director of the Chamber Music Society, cellist David Finckel is a recipient of Musical America’s Musician of the Year award, one of the highest honors granted to musicians from the music industry in the United States. He leads a multifaceted career as a concert performer, recording artist, educator, administrator, and cultural entrepreneur that places him in the ranks of today’s most influential classical musicians. He appears annually at the world’s most prestigious concert series and venues, as both soloist and chamber musician. As a chamber musician, he appears extensively with duo partner pianist Wu Han and in a piano trio alongside violinist Philip Setzer. He served as cellist of the nine-time Grammy Award-winning Emerson String Quartet for 34 seasons. His wide-ranging musical activities also include the launch of ArtistLed, classical music’s first musician-directed and Internet-based recording company, whose catalogue has won widespread critical praise. Along with Wu Han, he is the founder and artistic director of Music@Menlo, Silicon Valley’s acclaimed chamber music festival and institute. The first American student of Rostropovich, Mr. Finckel serves on the faculty at The Juilliard School and Stony Brook University. His new website now hosts Resource, an innovative exploration of challenges and opportunities facing today’s classical musicians.
Violinist/violist Ida Kavafian just recently retired after 35 successful years as artistic director of Music from Angel Fire, the renowned festival in New Mexico. She leaves a legacy of over 40 world premieres commissioned by the festival. Her close association with The Curtis Institute continues with her large and superb class, the endowment of her faculty chair by former Curtis Board President Baroness Nina von Maltzahn, and the awarding of the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching, which is presented in recognition of outstanding service in stimulating and guiding Curtis students. In addition to her solo engagements, she continues to perform with her piano quartet, OPUS ONE and Trio Valtorna. Co-founder of those ensembles as well as Tashi and the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival (which she ran for ten years), she has toured and recorded with the Guarneri, Orion, Shanghai, and American string quartets; as a member of the Beaux Arts Trio for six years; and with such artists as Chick Corea, Mark O'Connor, and Wynton Marsalis. A graduate of The Juilliard School, where she studied with Oscar Shumsky, she was presented in her debut by Young Concert Artists. Ms. Kavafian and her husband, violist Steven Tenenbom, have also found success outside of music in the breeding, training, and showing of champion Vizsla dogs, including the 2003 Number One Vizsla All Systems in the US and the 2007 National Champion. She has performed with the Chamber Music Society since 1973.
Violinist Sean Lee has captured the attention of audiences around the world with his lively performances of the classics. A recipient of a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, he is one of few violinists who dares to perform Niccolò Paganini’s 24 Caprices in concert, and his YouTube series, Paganini POV, continues to draw praise for its use of technology in sharing unique perspectives and insight into violin playing. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony, Israel Camerata Jerusalem, and Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice; and his recital appearances have taken him to Vienna's Konzerthaus, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. As a season artist at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and an alum of CMS’s Bowers Program, he continues to perform regularly at Lincoln Center, as well as on tour. Originally from Los Angeles, Mr. Lee studied with Robert Lipsett of the Colburn Conservatory and legendary violinist Ruggiero Ricci before moving at the age of 17 to study at The Juilliard School with his longtime mentor, violinist Itzhak Perlman. He currently teaches at The Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division, as well as the Perlman Music Program. He performs on a violin originally made for violinist Ruggiero Ricci in 1999 by David Bague.
Violist Paul Neubauer has been called a “master musician” by the New York Times. He recently made his Chicago Symphony subscription debut with conductor Riccardo Muti and his Mariinsky Orchestra debut with conductor Valery Gergiev. He also gave the US premiere of the newly discovered Impromptu for viola and piano by Shostakovich with pianist Wu Han. In addition, his recording of the Aaron Kernis Viola Concerto with the Royal Northern Sinfonia was released on Signum Records and his recording of the complete viola/piano music by Ernest Bloch with pianist Margo Garrett was released on Delos. Appointed principal violist of the New York Philharmonic at age 21, he has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras including the New York, Los Angeles, and Helsinki philharmonics; National, St. Louis, Detroit, Dallas, San Francisco, and Bournemouth symphonies; and Santa Cecilia, English Chamber, and Beethovenhalle orchestras. He has premiered viola concertos by Bartók (revised version of the Viola Concerto), Friedman, Glière, Jacob, Kernis, Lazarof, Müller-Siemens, Ott, Penderecki, Picker, Suter, and Tower and has been featured on CBS's Sunday Morning, A Prairie Home Companion, and in Strad, Strings, and People magazines. A two-time Grammy nominee, he has recorded on numerous labels including Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, RCA Red Seal, and Sony Classical and is a member of SPA, a trio with soprano Susanna Phillips and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott. Mr. Neubauer is the artistic director of the Mostly Music series in New Jersey and is on the faculty of The Juilliard School and Mannes College.
Violist Richard O’Neill is an Emmy Award winner, two-time Grammy nominee, and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient. He has appeared with the London, Los Angeles, Seoul, and Euro-Asian philharmonics; the BBC, KBS, Hiroshima and Korean symphonies; the Moscow, Vienna, Württemburg and Zurich chamber orchestras; and Kremerata Baltica and Alte Musik Köln with conductors Andrew Davis, Vladimir Jurowski, François-Xavier Roth, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Highlights of last season include the complete Beethoven string quartet cycle for the Seattle Chamber Music Society with the Ehnes Quartet, and a South Korean recital tour with harp player Emmanuel Ceysson. As a recitalist he has performed at Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, Disney Hall, Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, Louvre, Salle Cortot, Madrid’s National Concert Hall, Teatro Colón, Hong Kong’s Cultural Center, Tokyo’s International Forum and Opera City, Osaka Symphony Hall, and LOTTE Concert Hall and Seoul Arts Center. A Universal/DG recording artist, he has made nine solo albums that have sold more than 200,000 copies. His chamber music initiative DITTO has introduced tens of thousands to chamber music in South Korea and Japan. An alum of CMS’s Bowers Program, he was the first violist to receive the artist diploma from Juilliard and was honored with a Proclamation from the New York City Council for his achievement and contribution to the arts. He serves as Goodwill Ambassador for the Korean Red Cross, the Special Olympics, and UNICEF and runs marathons for charity. He recently joined the Takács Quartet as their new violist.
Violinist Daniel Phillips enjoys a versatile career as a chamber musician, solo artist, and teacher. A graduate of Juilliard, his major teachers were his father, Eugene Phillips, Ivan Galamian, Sally Thomas, Nathan Milstein, Sandor Vegh, and George Neikrug. He is a founding member of the Orion String Quartet, which performs regularly at the Chamber Music Society. Available on recording are the complete quartets of Beethoven and Leon Kirchner. Since winning the 1976 Young Concert Artists Competition, he has performed as a soloist with many orchestras, including the Pittsburgh, Boston, Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio, and Yakima symphonies. He appears regularly at the Spoleto USA Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Chesapeake Music Festival, and Music from Angel Fire, has participated in the International Musicians Seminar in Cornwall, England since its inception, and recently returned to the Marlboro Music Festival. He has served on the faculty of the Heifetz Institute and the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar at Stanford. He was a member of the renowned Bach Aria Group, and has toured and recorded in a string quartet for Sony with Gidon Kremer, Kim Kashkashian, and Yo-Yo Ma. A judge in the 2018 Seoul International Violin Competition and the 2019 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, he is a professor at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and on the faculties of the Mannes College of Music, Bard College Conservatory, and The Juilliard School. He lives with his wife, flutist Tara Helen O'Connor, on Manhattan's upper west side.
Winner of a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Arnaud Sussmann has distinguished himself with his unique sound, bravura, and profound musicianship. Minnesota’s Pioneer Press writes, “Sussmann has an old-school sound reminiscent of what you'll hear on vintage recordings by Jascha Heifetz or Fritz Kreisler, a rare combination of sweet and smooth that can hypnotize a listener.” A thrilling musician capturing the attention of classical critics and audiences around the world, he has recently appeared as a soloist with the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev, the Vancouver Symphony, and the New World Symphony. As a chamber musician, he has performed at the Tel Aviv Museum in Israel, London’s Wigmore Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the White Nights Festival in Saint Petersburg, the Dresden Music Festival in Germany, and the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. He has been presented in recital in Omaha on the Tuesday Musical Club series, New Orleans by the Friends of Music, and at the Louvre Museum in Paris. He has also given concerts at the OK Mozart, Moritzburg, Caramoor, Music@Menlo, La Jolla SummerFest, Mainly Mozart, Seattle Chamber Music, Chamber Music Northwest, and Moab Music festivals. He has performed with many of today’s leading artists including Itzhak Perlman, Menahem Pressler, Gary Hoffman, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Wu Han, David Finckel, and Jan Vogler. An alum of The Bowers Program, he regularly appears with CMS in New York and on tour. Mr. Sussmann is Co-Director of Music@Menlo’s International Program and teaches at Stony Brook University.
Praised as an “utterly dazzling” artist (The Strad), with “a marvelous show of superb technique” and “mesmerizing grace” (New York Classical Review), violinist Danbi Um captivates audiences with her virtuosity, individual sound, and interpretive sensitivity. A Menuhin International Violin Competition Silver Medalist, she showcases her artistry in concertos, chamber music, and recitals. After winning the Music Academy of the West Competition in 2014, she made her concerto debut performing the Walton Violin Concerto with the Festival Orchestra, conducted by Joshua Weilerstein. Highlights of her 2019-20 season included solo appearances with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia (Kimmel Center) and Brevard Philharmonic, a national tour with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and debut performances at premier national series including Wolf Trap, Cincinnati’s Linton Chamber Series, and Chicago’s Dame Myra Hess Concerts. An avid chamber musician, she is an alum of CMS's Bowers Program. Her festival appearances have included those at Marlboro, Ravinia, Yellow Barn, Moab, Seattle, Caramoor, Moritzburg, and North Shore. Her chamber music collaborators have included Vadim Gluzman, Pamela Frank, Frans Helmerson, Jan Vogler, David Shifrin, and Gilbert Kalish. Admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music at the age of ten, Ms. Um graduated with a bachelor’s degree. Her teachers have included Shmuel Ashkenasi, Joseph Silverstein, Jaime Laredo, and Hagai Shaham. She is a winner of Astral’s 2015 National Auditions and plays on a 1683 “ex-Petschek” Nicolò Amati violin, on loan from a private collection.
Swiss-born American pianist Gilles Vonsattel is an artist of extraordinary versatility and originality. He is the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, winner of the Naumburg and Geneva competitions, and was selected for the 2016 Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award. In recent years, he has made his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, and San Francisco Symphony while performing recitals and chamber music at Ravinia, Tokyo’s Musashino Hall, Wigmore Hall, Bravo! Vail, Chamber Music Northwest, and Music@Menlo. Deeply committed to the performance of contemporary music, he has premiered numerous works both in the United States and Europe and has worked closely with notable composers including Jörg Widmann, Heinz Holliger, and George Benjamin. Recent projects include appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety), Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg (Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue), Beethoven concertos with the Santa Barbara Symphony and Florida Orchestra, as well as multiple appearances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. An alum of CMS's Bowers Program, Mr. Vonsattel received his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Columbia University and his master’s degree from The Juilliard School. He currently makes his home in New York City and serves as a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Acclaimed for his inspirational performances and eloquent musicianship, Paul Watkins enjoys a distinguished career as concerto soloist, chamber musician, and conductor. He performs regularly with major British orchestras, and has made eight concerto appearances at the BBC Proms, most recently in the world premiere of the cello concerto composed for him by his brother Huw Watkins. He has performed with prestigious orchestras worldwide including the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Netherlands Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, and the Orchestra Nazionale Sinfonica della RAI Torino. The 2019-20 season saw his debut with the Minnesota Orchestra, a tour of Sweden and the UK with Västerås Sinfonietta, chamber recitals with Simon Crawford-Philips, Lawrence Power, and Marianne Thorsen in Switzerland, and performances with pianist Alessio Bax at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Festival Incontri in Terra di Siena. A dedicated chamber musician, he was a member of the Nash Ensemble from 1997 until 2013, when he joined the Emerson String Quartet. Since 2014, he has been artistic director of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Detroit. He also maintains a busy career as a conductor, with recent highlights including appearances with the Detroit Symphony, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, and Kristiansand Symphony. He has held the positions of music director of the English Chamber Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the Ulster Orchestra. Mr. Watkins plays a cello made by Domenico Montagnana and Matteo Goffriller in Venice, c. 1730.
Co-artistic director of the Chamber Music Society, pianist Wu Han is among the most esteemed and influential classical musicians in the world today. She is a recipient of Musical America’s Musician of the Year award and has risen to international prominence through her wide-ranging activities as a concert performer, recording artist, educator, arts administrator, and cultural entrepreneur. In high demand as a recitalist, soloist, and chamber musician, she appears at many of the world’s most prestigious venues and performs extensively as duo partner with cellist David Finckel. Together, they co-founded ArtistLed, classical music’s first musician-directed and Internet-based recording company, whose catalogue has won widespread critical praise. Recent recordings include a set of three Wu Han LIVE albums, a collaborative production between the ArtistLed and Music@Menlo LIVE labels. The latest captures her live performances of Fauré's piano quartets from the festival. Complementing her work as a performing artist, Wu Han’s artistic partnerships bring her in contact with new audiences in the US and abroad: she is Artistic Advisor of The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts’ Chamber Music at the Barns series and co-founder and artistic director of Music@Menlo Chamber Music Festival and Institute in Silicon Valley. In recognition of her passionate commitment to music education, Montclair State University has appointed her a special artist-in-residence.