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2017-18 Guest Artists

Itzhak Perlman Born in Israel in 1945, Mr. Perlman completed his initial training at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. He came to New York and soon was propelled into the international arena with an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958. Following his studies at the Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay, Mr. Perlman won the prestigious Leventritt Competition in 1964, which led to a burgeoning worldwide career. Since then, Itzhak Perlman has appeared with every major orchestra and in recitals and festivals around the world. 

In February 2008, Itzhak Perlman was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in the recording arts. His recordings regularly appear on the best-seller charts and have garnered fifteen Grammy Awards. Over the past decade Mr. Perlman has become more actively involved in educational activities. He has taught full time at the Perlman Music Program each summer since it was founded and currently holds the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Chair at the Juilliard School.


Carmen Bradford, born July 19, 1960, in Austin, TX, raised in Altadena, CA, is the daughter of trumpeter/ composer Bobby Bradford and vocalist/composer Melba Joyce. Her grandfather Melvin Moore sang with Lucky Millender’s Big Band in the 1940’s, making Carmen the third generation of incredible musicians. She was hired by Count Basie as featured vocalist in his Orchestra for 9 years. She performed and recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Shelly Berg, John Clayton and the Clayton Hamilton Orchestra, Nancy Wilson, Doc Severinsen, Tony Bennett, James Brown, Patti Austin, Byron Stripling, Dori Caymmi, George Benson, Lena Horne, Frank Sinatra, Joe Williams, DIVA Jazz Orchestra, the National Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and countless artists worldwide.

Carmen performed on two Grammy Award winning albums with the Basie Band in the 1980’s, and collaborated on a third Grammy Award winning album, “Big Boss Band,” with guitarist George Benson in 1991, and her soulful voice warmed the hearts of Americans on the duet, “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?” on the Johnny Carson Show that same year. Carmen began another chapter in her illustrious career as a solo artist with her critically acclaimed debut album “Finally Yours” (Evidence Records) in 1992. The 1995 release of her second album, “With Respect,” established the Atlanta-based singer as one of jazz’s most diverse and exciting vocal stylists.


Herb Smith is third trumpet with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a graduate of The Eastman School of Music and began playing in the orchestra after graduating in 1991.

He works with students through the Young Audiences of America and Rochester City School District Artist in Residence program. Smith travels all over upstate N.Y. doing workshops and presentations on classical music and the accessibility of this music for non-musicians. He also is a regular presenter on world music and jazz.

Smith also plays many gigs with his jazz quartet and is a frequent substitute player for the Chautauqua Symphony and Buffalo Philharmonic orchestras. He is trumpet instructor for the Eastman Community Music School, and teaches trumpet from his home studio. He has played with many notable artists, including Al Jarreau, Natalie Cole, Doc Severinsen, and The O’Jays.

He also has played for many commercial jingles recorded in Rochester, N.Y. Other ventures include composing music for silent films, writing musical arrangements for local bands in the area, and a recent collaboration composing a full-length ballet for Garth Fagan Dance.


Brian Scanlon is a saxophonist and woodwind doubler who has made his mark in recording studios, concert stages and nightclubs. Born in Queens, New York and raised in New Jersey, he started playing the saxophone at age eight. Career highlights include regular appearances on The Tonight Show  as a member of the NBC Orchestra, and soundtrack recordings that include Monster's Inc., A Bug's Life, Moulin Rouge and Analyze This.



Joe Locke is widely considered to be one of the major voices of his instrument. He has performed and recorded with a diverse range of notable musicians, including Grover Washington Jr, Kenny Barron, Eddie Henderson, Cecil Taylor, Dianne Reeves, Ron Carter, The Beastie Boys, the Münster Symphony Orchestra and the Lincoln, Nebraska Symphony.

Locke has topped polls and won numerous awards (see below), including two Earshot Golden Ear Awards for “Concert of the Year”, the 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2016 “Mallet Player of the Year” award from the Jazz Journalists Association. In 2016 he was honoured with the induction into the Music Hall of Fame of his home town Rochester, NY. He is active as a clinician / educator. In 2008 and was appointed International Vibraphone Consultant by the Royal Academy of Music, London – a position which he holds on a visiting basis – and received the title of Honorary Associate of the Academy (Hon ARAM) in 2014.


One of the most admired pianists of his generation" (New York Times), Inon Barnatan is celebrated for his poetic sensibility, musical intelligence, and consummate artistry. He was a recipient of Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award in 2015, recognizing "young artists of exceptional accomplishment," as well as the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2009. He recently completed his third and final season as the inaugural Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic, a position created by former Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert, who calls him "the complete artist: a wonderful pianist, a probing intellect, passionately committed, and a capable contemporary-music pianist as well." Gilbert and Barnatan have since collaborated numerous times and are in the process of recording the complete cycle of Beethoven piano concertos with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, marking that orchestra's first complete recorded Beethoven concerto cycle.

The summer of 2017 saw Barnatan make his BBC Proms debut, playing Ravel's Piano Concerto in G with conductor Kazushi Ono and the BBC Symphony in Royal Albert Hall. He also played the world premiere in Aspen of a new concerto by Alan Fletcher, and opens the 2017-18 season performing the same piece with the commissioning Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl under the baton of Ken-David Masur. Later in the season he will play it again with the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Spano. Another season highlight is a New Year's Eve performance of Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto in Minneapolis with the Minnesota Orchestra led by Osmo Vänskä, followed by a tour of the Midwest with the orchestra culminating at Chicago‘s Symphony Hall. He debuts with the London and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestras; returns to the Cincinnati Orchestra to play the notoriously difficult Barber Piano Concerto; and plays solo recitals at London's Wigmore Hall and South Bank Centre, New York's 92nd Street Y, and the Vancouver Recital Society, among others. As a chamber musician he will curate and play in a multi-concert Schubert festival for La Jolla Music Society, and tour the U.S. and Europe with his frequent recital partner, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, including concerts at Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall.


Highly acclaimed for her “passionate intensity and remarkable vocal beauty,” the Grammy Award winning Isabel Leonard continues to thrill audiences both in the opera house and on the concert stage.  In repertoire that spans from Vivaldi to Mozart to Thomas Ades, she has graced the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Paris Opera, Salzburg Festival, Bavarian State Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Angelina in La Cenerentola, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Blanche de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites, the title roles in Griselda, La Périchole, and Der Rosenkavalier, as well as Sesto in both Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito and Handel’s Giulio Cesare.

She has appeared with some of the foremost conductors of her time:  James Levine, Valery Gergiev, Charles Dutoit, Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Franz Welser-Möst, Edo de Waart, James Conlon, Andris Nelsons, and Harry Bicket with the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Vienna Philharmonic, among others.

Ms. Leonard is in constant demand as a recitalist and is on the Board of Trustees at Carnegie Hall.  She is a recent Grammy Award winner for Thomas Ades’ The Tempest (Best Opera Recording) and the recipient of the 2013 Richard Tucker Award. 


Blessed with “poetic and sensitive pianism” (Washington Post) and a “wondrous sense of color” (San Francisco Classical Voice), pianist Joyce Yang captivates audiences with her virtuosity, lyricism, and interpretive sensitivity. As a Van Cliburn International Piano Competition silver medalist and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, Yang showcases her colorful musical personality in solo recitals and collaborations with the world’s top orchestras and chamber musicians.

Yang came to international attention in 2005 when she won the silver medal at the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The youngest contestant at 19 years old, she took home two additional awards: the Steven De Groote Memorial Award for Best Performance of Chamber Music (with the Takàcs Quartet) and the Beverley Taylor Smith Award for Best Performance of a New Work.

Since her spectacular debut, she has blossomed into an “astonishing artist” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung). She has performed as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, the Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Sydney, and Toronto symphony orchestras, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and the BBC Philharmonic (among many others), working with such distinguished conductors as Edo de Waart, Lorin Maazel, James Conlon, Leonard Slatkin, David Robertson, Bramwell Tovey, Peter Oundjian, and Jaap van Zweden. In recital, Yang has taken the stage at New York’s Lincoln Center and Metropolitan Museum; the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; Chicago’s Symphony Hall; and Zurich’s Tonhalle.


Tereasa Payne is a flutist, world flutist, clarinetist & saxophonist who flawlessly transitions between styles and instruments. A typical month of performances will take her from playing flute and piccolo with symphony orchestras and as a recitalist, to playing saxophone accompanying world-renowned artists on tour, to playing flutes, world flutes, clarinet, and saxophone in Broadway shows in NYC and on tour throughout the country. She is/has been a substitute with Broadway shows:  Disney's "The Lion King," "The Phantom of the Opera," "Something Rotten," "Amazing Grace," and "Allegiance."

Tereasa has appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" as panflute soloist with musical guest, Kygo. She was also a member of the "Bombshell" orchestra on the NBC hit series, "Smash." 

Tereasa has played with the Orlando Symphony, the Southwest Florida Symphony, The Tuacahn Center for the Arts Orchestra (recently presenting the World premiere of Disney's "When You Wish"), numerous National Broadway tours, and artists throughout the United States. A few favorite performances have been: “Wicked,” Johnny Mathis, The Temptations, Frank Sinatra Jr, Bernadette Peters, Dennis DeYoung of STYX, Robert Goulet, “A Chorus Line,” The Four Tops, and “Billy Elliot.”


Russian-American pianist Olga Kern is now recognized as one of her generation’s great artists.  With her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship and extraordinary technique, the striking pianist continues to captivate fans and critics alike.  Olga Kern was born into a family of musicians with direct links to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff and began studying piano at the age of five. She jumpstarted her U.S. career with her historic Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas as the first woman to do so in more than thirty years.

n recent seasons, Ms. Kern has performed with Tokyo’s NHK Symphony, Orchestre National De Lyon, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, the symphonies of Detroit for Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos 1, 2 & 3, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Nashville, Colorado, Madison, and Austin, and gave recitals in New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Louisville, and alongside Renée Fleming and Kathleen Battle. Ms. Kern’s performance career has brought her to many of the world’s most important venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Salzburger Festspielhaus, La Scala in Milan, Tonhalle in Zurich, and the Châtelet in Paris.

Ms. Kern’s discography includes Harmonia Mundi recordings of  the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Christopher Seaman (2003), her Grammy Nominated recording of Rachmaninoff’s Corelli Variations and other transcriptions (2004), a recital disk with works by Rachmaninoff and Balakirev (2005), Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Warsaw Philharmonic and Antoni Wit (2006), Brahms Variations (2007) and a 2010 release of Chopin Piano Sonatas No. 2 and 3 (2010). Most recently, SONY released their recording of Ms. Kern performing the Rachmaninoff Sonata for Cello and Piano with cellist Sol Gabetta. She was also featured in the award-winning documentary about the 2001 Cliburn Competition, Playing on the Edge, as well as Olga’s Journey, Musical Odyssey in St. Petersburg and in They Came to Play. In 2012, Olga and her brother, conductor and composer, Vladimir Kern, co-founded the “Aspiration” foundation whose objective is to provide financial and artistic assistance to musicians throughout the world.


Cellist Andrei Ionita, born in 1994 in Bucharest, began taking piano lessons at the age of five and received his first cello lesson three years later. He studied under Ani-Marie Paladi at the Music School “Iosif Sava“ in Bucharest and is currently studying under Professor Jens Peter Maintz at the Universität der Künste Berlin.

 Andrei Ionitaƒ draws his musical inspiration from the greatest cellists of our time, among them David Geringas, Steven Isserlis, Heinrich Schiff, Wolfgang Boettcher, Gary Hoffman and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt. In June 2014, he collaborated with Gidon Kremer and Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy’s Festival, "Chamber Music Connects the World“.

 In the past few years, Andrei Ionitaƒ has been heard in such venues as the Carnegie Hall, the Cadogan Hall in London, the Chamber Music Hall of the Berliner Philharmonie, or the Gasteig and Herkulesaal in Munich. In 2015, he gave his debut in the Berlin Philharmonic as soloist with the Deutschen Symphonieorchester.

 Ionitaƒ is prizewinner of many international competitions. In June 2013, he was awarded First Prize at the Aram Khachaturian International Competition; in September 2014, he won Second Prize and the Special Prize for the interpretation of a commissioned composition at the International ARD Music Competition in Munich. He received the Second Prize at the Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann 2014 in Berlin two months later. Ionitaƒ won international recognition in June 2015 as the winner of the First Prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.


Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry, as both a singer and an actress. The winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and an Emmy Award, she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2015 and received a 2015 National Medal of Arts – America’s highest honor for achievement in the arts – from President Barack Obama. Blessed with a luminous soprano and an incomparable gift for dramatic truth telling, she is as much at home on Broadway and opera stages as she is in roles on film and television. In addition to her theatrical work, she maintains a major career as a concert and recording artist, regularly appearing on the great stages of the world.

On the concert stage, McDonald has premiered music by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams and sung with virtually every major American orchestra—including the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony—and under such conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Leonard Slatkin. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1998 with the San Francisco Symphony under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas in a season-opening concert that was broadcast live on PBS. Internationally, she has sung at the BBC Proms in London (where she was only the second American in more than 100 years invited to appear as a guest soloist at the Last Night of the Proms) and at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, as well as with the London Symphony Orchestra and Berlin Philharmonic.


Ashley Brown originated the title role in “Mary Poppins” on Broadway for which she received Outer Critics, Drama League and Drama Desk nominations for Best Actress.  Ms. Brown also starred as Mary Poppins in the national tour of Mary Poppins where she garnered a 2010 Garland award for “Best Performance in a Musical”. Ms. Brown’s other Broadway credits include Belle in "The Beauty and The Beast", and she has starred in the national tour of Disney's "On The Record". Ashley recently returned to the Lyric Opera of Chicago to star in the role of Laurey in “Oklahoma”.   She previously played Magnolia opposite Nathan Gunn in Francesca Zembello’s “Showboat” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago

.Ashley has performed with virtually all of the top orchestras in North America including the Boston Pops, the New York Philharmonic, The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra at Disney Hall, The Pittsburgh Symphony, the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall (three times), Fort Worth Symphony, the Cincinnati Pops, Philadelphia Orchestra (two times), the Milwaukee Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony (three times), Seattle Symphony, the Houston Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, and the Philly Pops. She has also performed with the BBC orchestra opposite Josh Groban.


Born in Bellevue, Ohio, David Halen grew up in Warrensburg, Missouri.  His father, the late Walter J. Halen, was also his violin professor at Central Missouri State University, where Halen earned his bachelor’s degree at the age of 19.  In that same year, he won the Music Teachers National Association Competition and was granted a Fulbright scholarship for study with Wolfgang Marschner at the Freiburg Hochschule für Musik in Germany, the youngest recipient ever to have been honored with this prestigious award. 

During the summer, Halen teaches and performs extensively, serving as concertmaster at the Aspen Music Festival and School under Robert Spano. He has also soloed, taught and served as concertmaster extensively at the Orford Arts Centre in Quebec, the Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University, the National Orchestra Institute at the University of Maryland, the Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. In 2007 he was appointed Distinguished Visiting Artist at Yale University and at the new Robert Mcduffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. 


Mambo Kings, together since 1995, are enjoying great success as Upstate New York's foremost Latin jazz ensemble, and have rapidly earned a national reputation for their explosive blend of Afro Cuban rhythms and jazz improvisation. 

Since their orchestral debut in 1997 with the Rochester Philharmonic and Conductor Jeff Tyzik, Mambo Kings have appeared at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and in Pops concerts with orchestras in Baltimore, Vancouver, Detroit, Dallas, Naples (FL) and Portland (OR), among many others, performing original compositions and arrangements by pianist Richard DeLaney.

As a quintet, Mambo Kings have appeared as featured soloists at the 2003 and 2008 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Fest, the Music In The Mountains Festival in Colorado and the Lewiston (NY) Jazz Fest.

The 2015-16 season has included performances with the Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic and the Tucson Symphony. The 2016-17 season opens with shows in Chattanooga and Fort Lewis (AR) and includes return performances with the Vancouver (BC) and Dallas Symphony Orchestras.


In repertoire ranging from Mozart to tango, and in collaboration with artists ranging from Plácido Domingo to Sting, Camille Zamora has garnered a passionate following for her “magnificent voice and impeccable technique” (Diario Dan Luis).

In concert, Camille has appeared with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, London Symphony Orchestra, Guadalajara Symphony, Aberdeen Festival Orchestra, Boston Festival Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, and in live recital broadcasts on NPR, BBC Radio, Deutsche Radio, and Sirius XM. Highlights on the concert stage include Brahms’ Liebeslieder with Leon Fleisher at Aspen Music Festival, Beethoven’s Mass in C at Alice Tully Hall, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 “The Resurrection” with Chattanooga Symphony, and Schubert Lieder for the opening night of American Ballet Theater in a performance The New York Post called “one of the best received moments of the evening… quiet, monumentally serene Schubert art songs, beautifully rendered by soprano Camille Zamora.” Camille has sung Bach’s Magnificat at Carnegie Hall, and, also at Carnegie Hall, the premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’ Song of Elos, a performance she repeated at the American Academy in Rome. She made her Lincoln Center Festival debut in Bright Sheng’s Poems from the Sung Dynasty for Soprano and Orchestra in a performance praised by The New York Times as “dramatic and nuanced,” and premiered Grammy-winner Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein’s Away but Not Far Away as part of The AIDS Quilt Songbook @ 20 at Cooper Union’s Great Hall.


With a “dark-hued tone and razor-sharp technique” (The New York Times), Russian-American violinist Yevgeny Kutik has captivated audiences worldwide with an old-world sound that communicates a modern intellect. Praised for his technical precision and virtuosity, he is also lauded for his poetic and imaginative interpretations of standard works as well as rarely heard and newly composed repertoire.

Yevgeny Kutik’s 2014 album, Music from the Suitcase: A Collection of Russian Miniatures (Marquis Classics), features music he found in his family’s suitcase after immigrating to the United States from the Soviet Union in 1990, and debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Classical chart. The album garnered critical acclaim and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and in The New York Times. His 2012 debut album, Sounds of Defiance, also on the Marquis label, features the music of Achron, Pärt, Schnittke, and Shostakovich. Funded in large part by a Kickstarter campaign initiated by Kutik, the album focuses on music written during the darkest periods of the lives of these composers. Kutik releases his third solo album, Words Fail, on Marquis Classics in October 2016.

A native of Minsk, Belarus, Yevgeny Kutik immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of five. He is an advocate for the Jewish Federations of North America, the organization that assisted his family in coming to the United States, and regularly speaks and performs across the United States to both raise awareness and promote the assistance of refugees from around the world.


Now in the fifth decade of an illustrious international career, Misha Dichter traces his musical heritage to the two great pianistic traditions of the 20th century: the Russian Romantic School as personified by Rosina Lhevinne, his mentor at The Juilliard School, and the German Classical style that was passed on to him by Aube Tzerko, a pupil of Artur Schnabel.  Mr. Dichter reveals this dual legacy in his solo recitals and appearances with virtually all of the world’s major orchestras, performing the grand virtuoso compositions of Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, as well as music from the central German-Viennese repertoire–works by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms--which embody more introspective qualities.

An active chamber musician, in addition, Mr. Dichter has collaborated with most of the world’s finest string players and frequently performs with Cipa Dichter in duo-piano recitals and concerto performances throughout North America and in Europe, as well as top summer music festivals in the U.S., such as Ravinia, Caramoor, Mostly Mozart, and the Aspen Music Festival.  They have brought to the concert stage many previously neglected works of the two-piano and piano-four-hand repertoires, including the world premiere of Robert Starer's Concerto for Two Pianos, the world premiere of the first movement of Shostakovich’s two-piano version of Symphony No. 13 (Babi Yar)*, and the world premiere of Mendelssohn’s unpublished Songs Without Words, Op. 62 and 67 for piano four hands. Mr. Dichter’s master classes at music festivals and at such conservatories and universities as Juilliard, Curtis, Eastman, Yale, Harvard, and the Amsterdam Conservatory, are widely attended.

Mr. Dichter was born in Shanghai in 1945, his Polish parents having fled Poland at the outbreak of World War II.  He moved with his family to Los Angeles at the age of two and began piano lessons four years later. In addition to his keyboard studies with Aube Tzerko, which established the concentrated practice regimen and the intensive approach to musical analysis that he follows to this day, Mr. Dichter studied composition and analysis with Leonard Stein, a disciple of Arnold Schoenberg.  He subsequently came to New York to work with Mme. Lhevinne at The Juilliard School.

At the age of 20, while still enrolled at Juilliard, he entered the 1966 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, where his choice of repertoire—music of Schubert and Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky—reflected the two major influences on his musical development.  Mr. Dichter’s stunning triumph at that competition launched his international career.  Almost immediately thereafter, he performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at Tanglewood with Erich Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony, a concert that was nationally broadcast live on NBC and subsequently recorded for RCA.  In 1968, Mr. Dichter made his debut with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, performing this same concerto.  Appearances with leading European ensembles, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, and the principal London orchestras, as well as regular performances with major American orchestras, soon followed.


The American soprano Emily Birsan has been praised by the Chicago Tribune for her “fineness of expression...” and by the London Telegraph as singing with "radiant delicacy". She is a critically acclaimed recitalist, and an international interpreter of concert and operatic repertoire.

 A recent alumna of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, Emily covered the roles of Violetta, Lucia, Adele, Musetta, and Armida, among others. She sang the roles of Servillia in La Clemenza di Tito, which gained much acclaim, Xenia in Boris Godunov and the Sandman in Hansel and Gretel, all at Lyric. Equally at home on the concert stage, Ms. Birsan has performed with the Madison Symphony Orchestra for a series of concerts titled The Gershwin Legacy, as the soprano soloist in Schubert’s Mass in Eb with the Grant Park Symphony, Bach’sMatthäus-Passion as well as a concert of Bach Cantatas No. 22 and 32 with the Madison Bach Musicians, and triumphed in A Mirror on Which to Dwell by Elliot Carter at the Ravinia Festival in July of 2013. “…Birsan trace(d) the jagged intervals of Carter’s six settings of Elizabeth Bishop poems with amazing clarity of diction, accuracy of intonation and fineness of expression…”- John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune 2013. She was also featured as a soloist on the Rush Hour Concert Seriesand has recorded arias for composer Jimmy Lopez’ new opera Bel Canto which will have its world premiere at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2015. Additionally, she is featured in the recording of The Saga of St. Olaf with Sir Andrew Davis and the Bergen Philharmonic.


For over twenty-five years, including five solo albums, countless musical collaborations, and multiple awards, Cathie Ryan has been in the vanguard of Irish music. She is blessed with a voice of luminous clarity and a gift for unearthing gems from Irish and American song traditions, creating her own heart-stirring originals, and for showcasing writers whose work deserves wider recognition. Wrap this musical integrity into a consummate entertainer and it is no wonder the Wall Street Journal calls her music, “a revelation.”

Cathie is a captivating performer whose shows are renowned for their intimacy and power, as well as her witty banter. “There is nothing like a live show. I love the energy, the give and take, of being with an audience. And I love to have fun up there!” she says. Cathie happily shares the stage, and the show, with her award-winning band. Featuring Patsy O’Brien on guitar, Matt Mancuso on fiddle, and Brian Melick on percussion, the band weaves subtle arrangements and harmonies around Cathie’s vocals and match her charming repartee with dazzling sets of traditional tunes.

Cathie Ryan Band has built a loyal following by touring internationally and singing “songs of the heart” at performing arts centers, festivals, folk clubs, and with symphony orchestras. They have been featured on national and public television throughout the world. Their radio highlights include NPR’s Mountain Stage and Thistle and Shamrock, PRI’s The World, BBC in England and Northern Ireland, Radio Scotland, and RTÉ and RnaG in Ireland.

Cathie’s fifth CD, Through Wind and Rain, is bringing her music to a much wider audience. Irish America Magazine twice named her one of the “Top 100 Irish Americans” and liveireland.com has twice honored her as “Irish Female Vocalist of the Decade.” When not singing, Cathie leads tours of Ireland for Rick Steves’ Europe. She also hosts pledge programming for PBS whenever possible.


Erik Behr was appointed principal oboe of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in May 2007. Prior to joining the RPO, he was principal oboe of the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet. Behr has performed as guest principal with the San Francisco Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, and as a guest with the Seattle and Houston symphonies. During the summer, he performs alongside his wife, RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde, at the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and the Mainly Mozart Festival. Other festivals appearances include the Casals and Spoleto festivals.

In addition to numerous concerto appearances with the RPO and Houston Ballet, Behr has recorded Honegger’s Concerto da Camera with the RTV Slovenia Orchestra. Along with his wife, he was appointed artistic director of the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester in 2013. He has given chamber recitals nationally and internationally at the Edinburgh International Festival, Kilkenny Festival, and Maribor Festival. His playing has been praised by critics as “bold and graceful” (Washington Post), “immaculate” (Sunday Tribune), for its “tremendous musicianship and sense of style” (Irish Examiner) and “ease and eloquence” (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle).

Behr has served on the oboe faculty at the University of Houston and was a visiting lecturer at Cornell University. He is presently adjunct professor at Roberts Wesleyan College. He received his bachelor’s degree (cum laude) at Arizona State University, his master’s from Temple University, and doctorate from Rice University. His principal teachers have been Robert Atherholt, Richard Woodhams, and Martin Schuring.


Intense athleticism, gravity-defying acrobatics, and soulful artistry – award-winning PUSH Physical Theatre, the genre-defining masters of physical storytelling, express what it means to be human: the joy and sorrow, humor and tragedy, the big questions and the simple things.

PUSH’s repeated sold-out performances have led to creative collaborations with the National Institute for the Deaf and Rochester Institute of Technology, during which PUSH created “Red Ball,” using iPad technology. Choreography for the Pulitzer-nominated cantata "Comala" resulted in a Mexico and US tour. TruTV’s national series, Fake Off, in which PUSH became the season finalist, elicited this from judge and Glee star Harry Shum Jr.: “You guys are superhuman!”

Unparalleled performers bring the narratives of our lives to the stage with hope and optimism: The strength of the human soul expressed by the power of the human body.


Known for their adrenalized performances, original compositions, and notorious music videos, Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe are revolutionizing the piano duo experience for the 21st century. Described as “the most dynamic duo of this generation” (San Francisco Classical Voice) and "the very model of complete 21st-century musicians" (The Washington Post), the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo aims to make classical music a relevant and powerful force around the world. Their recent albums on the Steinway Label (When Words Fade, An Amadeus Affair, and The Art of Bach) were all released to critical acclaim and have spent dozens of weeks at the top of the Billboard Classical Charts, while their Emmy-nominated, self-produced music videos have been viewed by millions on YouTube and at international film festivals.

Since forming their dynamic musical partnership in 2002 as students at The Juilliard School, the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo has appeared on NPR and MTV, toured extensively worldwide as recitalists and orchestral soloists, and presented at numerous international leader symposiums. A performance by the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo was handpicked to appear on the Sounds of Juilliard CD celebrating the school’s centenary. Highlights of the 2016/17 season include tours throughout North America, Asia, and Europe; appearances with the San Francisco Symphony, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Chicago Sinfonietta, and more; serving as webcast hosts for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition; and the DVD release of their ambitious—and literally explosive—music film, The Rite of Spring.


Yolanda Kondonassis is celebrated as one of the world’s premier solo harpists and is widely regarded as today’s most recorded classical harpist. Hailed as “a brilliant and expressive player” (Dallas Morning News), she has performed around the globe as a concerto soloist and in recital, appearing with numerous major orchestras such as The New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, and Hong Kong Philharmonic, to name a few. Also a published author, speaker, professor of harp, and environmental activist, she weaves her many passions into a vibrant and multi-faceted career.

With hundreds of thousands of albums sold worldwide, Kondonassis’ extensive discography includes nineteen titles and her 2008 release, Air (Telarc), was nominated for a Grammy Award. Her latest album, Ginastera One Hundred, celebrated Ginastera's 2016 centennial and was released in October 2016 on Oberlin Music. Her many recordings have earned universal critical praise as she continues to be a pioneering force in the harp world, striving to make her instrument more accessible to audiences and to push the boundaries of what listeners expect of the harp.

The recipient of two Solo Recitalists Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2011 recipient of the Cleveland Arts Prize, Kondonassis has been featured on CNN and PBS as well as Sirius/XM Radio’s Symphony Hall, NPR’s All Things Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts, St. Paul Sunday Morning, and Performance Today. In addition to her active solo, chamber music, and recording schedule, Kondonassis heads the harp departments at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and The Cleveland Institute of Music, and presents master classes around the world.


Michael Grandinetti is not your ordinary magician.  With performances on national and international television, in stadiums, arenas, casinos, and theaters around the country, with Oscar-winning composers and symphony orchestras, for NFL and NBA halftime shows and major sporting events, in large-scale parades, for Fortune 500 companies, and even at The White House, Michael has made a name for himself around the world as a talented entertainer with a unique style, a compelling creative vision, and an engaging personality.

Over the past 20 years, Michael has been driven to make magic contemporary and to give it a wide, mainstream appeal.  He has had starring roles NBC’s “The World’s Most Dangerous Magic II” television special, The CW’s “Masters of Illusion” series, and Pop TV’s “Don’t Blink” series, and his magic has been featured on the Emmy-nominated FOX series “Bones”, “The Today Show”, “Access Hollywood”, “Entertainment Tonight”, “The Hollywood Christmas Parade”, “The Bold and the Beautiful”, ESPN’s “SportsCenter”, “NBA on TNT”, “FOX & Friends”, and “The Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon”.  He has also appeared as a guest on national radio shows and in media including Parade Magazine, Starpulse, The Huffington Post, MAGIC Magazine, TV Media Insights, Young Hollywood, Pittsburgh Magazine, The Beverly Hills Times Magazine, Go! Magazine, Tucson Living, and The Marilu Henner Show.  

Michael was recently featured on CNBC’s “Make It”, a series about people who have achieved success in challenging industries, as well as on the cover of TV Times magazine, released nationally in newspapers across the U.S.  In addition, Entertainment Weekly named Michael as “a great magician who can truly communicate with a TV audience” and Hidden Remote called Michael a “fan favorite…with charisma and an easy rapport with an audience”.


The four musicians in Classical Mystery Tour look and sound just like The Beatles, but Classical Mystery Tour is more than just a rock concert. The full show presents some 30 Beatles tunes sung, played, and performed exactly as they were written. Hear “Penny Lane” with a live trumpet section; experience the beauty of “Yesterday” with an acoustic guitar and string quartet; enjoy the rock/classical blend on the hard edged “I Am the Walrus.” From early Beatles music on through the solo years, Classical Mystery Tour is the best of The Beatles like you’ve never heard them: totally live.

Classical Mystery Tour features Jim Owen (John Lennon) on rhythm guitar, piano, and vocals; Tony Kishman (Paul McCartney) on bass guitar, piano, and vocals; David John (George Harrison) on lead guitar and vocals; and Chris Camilleri (Ringo Starr) on drums and vocals. Martin Herman, who transcribed the musical scores note for note from Beatles recordings, conducts many of the Classical Mystery Tour concerts.

From the recent success of The Beatles Rock Band to the release of the re-mastered Beatles albums, the demand for Beatles material is greater than ever. Many Beatles fans never had the opportunity to experience a live Beatles show; Classical Mystery Tour offers that live experience in the comfort of a concert hall.

The Los Angeles Times called the show “more than just an incredible simulation…the swelling strings and soaring French horn lines gave Saturday’s live performance a high goose-bump quotient…the crowd stood and bellowed for more.”


CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 100 Appointed concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra 2005 at age twenty-four, Juliana Athayde became the youngest person to hold the position since the orchestra’s inception in 1922.

She has appeared as guest concertmaster for the Houston, Kansas City and Santa Barbara Symphonies as well as the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, Ontario. Prior to joining the RPO, Athayde was concertmaster of the Canton (OH) and Plymouth (MI) Symphonies. In 2002, she served as concertmaster of the New York String Seminar under the direction of Jaime Laredo for concerts at Carnegie Hall. For five years, she was a member of the Iris Chamber Orchestra in Memphis and she has performed with The Cleveland Orchestra in the United States and Europe.  A fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and School for six years, Athayde was awarded the prestigious Dorothy DeLay fellowship in 2005 and was subsequently invited to return in 2010 to deliver the festival’s convocation speech.

Athayde’s numerous solo appearances with the RPO have covered a wide range of composers from Mozart and Brahms to Barber and Prokofiev as well as the 2010 premiere of Allen Shawn’s violin concerto, commissioned by the RPO and specifically written for her. She has also performed as a soloist with the Asheville, Canton, Diablo, Fayetteville, Flint, Mid-Texas, New Bedford, Palo Alto, Plymouth and Wyoming Symphony Orchestras.

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Athayde made her solo debut at the age of 16 performing with the San Francisco Symphony. In demand as a chamber musician locally and nationally, she has collaborated with artists including Michael Tilson Thomas, Joseph Silverstein, Jon Nakamatsu, William Preucil, Jon Kimura Parker, Anton Nel, Orion Weiss and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Together with her husband, RPO principal oboist Erik Behr, Athayde is Artistic Director of the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester.

A passionate educator, Athayde is an Associate Professor of Violin at the Eastman School of Music, a Visiting Teacher at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and previously served as a Visiting Professor at Cornell University. Recently named a Distinguished Member of Sigma Alpha Iota and presented with the 2012 University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance Emerging Artist Alumni Award,  Athayde also received the Albert A. Stanley Award, the school’s highest undergraduate honor, upon graduating from the University of Michigan where she studied with Paul Kantor. Completing her graduate work at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster William Preucil, she is the first graduate of CIM’s Concertmaster Academy. She spends her summers performing with her husband at San Diego’s Mainly Mozart Festival and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho.She performs on a 1948 Celeste Farotte violin and a J.B. Vuilliaume bow.


CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 100 W. Peter Kurau was appointed Principal Horn of the RPO in 2004. He had previously served as Assistant Principal Horn (1983-1995) and Acting Assistant Principal Horn (2002-2004).   He also serves as Professor of Horn at the Eastman School of Music.  A prizewinner in the Heldenleben International Horn Competition (1977) and a recipient of an I.T.T. International Fellowship for study in the United Kingdom (1974-75), he also served as an Artistic Ambassador for the United States Information Agency, presenting concerts and classes with esteemed colleague Joseph Werner in Serbia-Montenegro, Kazakstan, Syria, and Macedonia (1997). Active also as a soloist, chamber musician, and clinician, he has appeared at numerous professional symposia, as well as at leading universities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.  His festival activities include appearances at the Chautauqua Music Festival, Bravo! Colorado, Grand Teton Festival, Skaneateles Festival, Texas Music Festival, and the International Festival Institute at Round Top (TX), among others.

He resides in Honeoye Falls with his wife, soprano Pamela Kurau, and a variable number of feline companions.

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