Elmar Oliveira - Mr. Oliveira is one of the most distinguished violinists in the world today. His commitment to a wide spectrum of the violin world manifests itself in numerous ways, such as consistently expanding repertoire boundaries as a champion of both contemporary music and rarely-heard works of the past, devoting considerable energy to the development of younger artists, and enthusiastically supporting the art of violin making.
Mr. Oliveira recorded two CDs that become favorites to many violin lovers: the Miracle Makers (Stradivari- Guarneri- Oliveira) released by Bein & Fushi, featuring him performing on some of the world's greatest violins (fifteen Stradivaris and fifteen Guarneris del Gesus) including sound comparing in music excerpts. Another is a CD of short pieces highlighting the Library of Congress's collection of rare violins.
Mr. Oliveira performs on a 1729/30 Guarneri del Gesu called the “Stretton,” and on several outstanding contemporary instruments including a Feng Jiang violin.
Weigang Li - First violinist of the renowned Shanghai Quartet, A native of Shanghai, Weigang Li has been a featured soloist with the Asian Youth Orchestra, the Shanghai Symphony, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony. Mr. Li began studying the violin with his parents at the age of five and went on to attend the Shanghai Conservatory at age 14. He then came to the United States in 1981 to study at the San Francisco Conservatory and later at Northern Illinois University. From 1987-1989, Mr. Li studied and taught at the Juilliard School as teaching assistant to the Juilliard Quartet. His playing was featured in the documentary film "From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China."
Mark Fewer - Formerly the concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony from 2004-2008, Mr. Fewer is currently Chair of the String Area at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University. His playing is regularly heard on CBC Radio Two, NPR, RTVE, BBC 3, and ABC, he is often referred to as one of Canada’s most important artists.
A superbly versatile artist whose recent and upcoming concerts include world premieres, early music, jazz and many genres in between. As a chamber musician, he is a regular member of the SuperNova String Quartet, the Duke Piano Trio, and the Smithsonian Chamber Players. When not performing with these groups, he is regularly invited to perform with some of the world’s best musicians.
The 2011-2012 season will see Mr. Fewer make his conducting debut with I Musici de Montreal, as well as perform the Canadian premiere of Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto (new version). He will also tour as a member of the St. Lawrence String Quartet for performances in Canada and the United States.
Jessica Lee - A native of Virginia, she studied with Weigang Li of the Shanghai Quartet, and was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music at age fourteen and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree under the tutelage of Robert Mann and Ida Kavafian. In May 2003, she completed her studies with Robert Mann for a Master of Music Degree at the Juilliard School. She was the First Prize Winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition in 2005.
Jessica Lee is a member of the Johannes String Quartet, which toured with the legendary Guarneri String Quartet in its farewell season. She joined the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS 2 program in the 2009-10 season and makes numerous appearances at Alice Tully Hall and the Rose Studio. Jessica was also featured at the Seoul Spring Festival in Seoul. She has toured frequently with ‘Musicians from Marlboro,’ including appearances at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston’s Gardner Museum, and she is a member of the conductor-less string ensemble East Coast Chamber Orchestra, with which she has performed at Town Hall and the Kennedy Center.
Taras Gabora - Mr. Gabora enjoys a worldwide reputation as a violinist and teacher of great distinction. As soloist and chamber musician throughout his career, Mr. Gabora performed in major cities in Canada, USA, Itly, France, England, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Greece, Japan and China. He is the founder and former music director of Casalmaggiore International Music Festival in Italy. He was professor of violin (emeritus) at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, McGill University (Montreal), Conservatoire de Montréal, St. Louis Conservatory of Music, University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Academy of Music.
Mr. Gabora frequently represents USA and Canada on juries of national and international competitions including the Tchaikovsky International Competition (Moscow), Paganini International Violin Competition (Genoa), 1989, 1996, 2001, the Sarasate International Competition (Bilbao, Spain), 1989, 2003, 2011, the Ifrah Neaman International Violin Competition (Mainz), the Yenkelevich International Violin Competition (Omsk, Russia), the Whitaker International Competition (St. Louis, USA) and others.
Taras Gabora is a graduate of the Vienna State Academy of Music. His teachers include Yuri Yankelevich (Moscow), Henryk Szeryng, Szymon Goldberg, Rene Benedetti (Paris), Ernst Morawec (Vienna).
Nancy Zhou - Miss Zhou was the first prize winner of the 2009 Johansen International Competition, a semi-finalist in the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, and a finalist and recipient of the Rastor special award for the best performance of Kaija Sariaaho's Tocar at the 2010 Sibelius International Violin Competition in Helsinki, Finland. Miss Zhou has performed as a soloist with the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Baden-Baden Philharmonic, Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, and several other orchestras, and has performed recitals in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the United States.
Born in San Antonio, Texas, Nancy Zhou began violin study at age four with her father, Long Zhou, who continued to be her teacher throughout her youth. She is currently a student of Miriam Fried at New England Conservatory and also attends Harvard University.
Rodney Friend - Mr. Friend is recognized internationally as one of the most outstanding English born violinists. As a soloist, chamber musician, concertmaster, director and teacher he has appeared worldwide with the greatest musicians of the last forty five years. He made his London debut playing Sibelius concerto with the Halle Orchestra and his American debut playing Britten concerto with the New York Philharmonic. He has performed extensively as concerto soloist with major orchestras in Europe, North and South America, Scandinavia and the Far East under such conductors as Haitink, Barbirolli, Mehta, Leinsdorf, Solti, Giulini, Davis and Boult. Amongst his many recordings, his performances with the London Philharmonic of the Britten and Bach concertos for EMI received the highest critical acclaim.
In 1991 he formed the Solomon Trio with whom he toured Europe extensively, playing at such venues as La Scala Milan and recording much of the great trio literature for Carlton Records. It is however as a Concertmaster where his experience and reputation is legendary. In 1964 he became the youngest ever leader of the London Philharmonic, working closely with Bernard Haitink, Barenboim, Solti and Giulini. In 1975 he received the unique honour for a British player when he was invited by the New York Philharmonic to be their Concertmaster, playing concerts and recording worldwide with Bernstein, Boulez and Mehta. It is with these two orchestras that he recorded almost the entire orchestral repertoire.
On his return to London he became concertmaster of the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Roszdestvensky and a senior lecturer and consultant of violin at the Royal College of Music, where he formed and directed The RCM String Ensemble, touring and performing with many great artists. Since 1990 he has worked solely in the areas of teaching, solo and chamber music performances, travelling regularly as a professor and jury member at the international violin competitions. His students continue to achieve success in all areas of violin playing.
“Your violin I acquired during The International Violin Competition of Indianapolis is wonderful, and in many ways comparable to the violins that I have owned during my career: Guadagnini, Amati, Joseph filius Andrea Guarneri and, Guarnerius del Gesu.”
Hahn-Bin - Dynamic violin virtuoso Hahn-Bin embodies the 21st Century of classical music, fusing his highly evocative repertoire with pop performance art in "extraordinary, intelligent and beautiful" concerts (The Washington Post) of his "inspired, innovative and bracing programs”(The New York Times).
Born in Seoul, Hahn-Bin made his international debut at age twelve at the 42nd Grammy Awards in an event honoring Isaac Stern. Following a decade under the tutelage of Itzhak Perlman at the Juilliard School, Hahn-Bin made his critically-acclaimed New York debut in 2009 in the Peter Marino Concert at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, presented by Young Concert Artists. His highly acclaimed recital project "The Five Poisons,” included performances in New York, Los Angeles, and Berlin. He performed “Soliloquy for Andy Warhol” to huge crowds at the Museum of Modern Art throughout the show’s installation in New York.
“Hahn-Bin is an extremely talented violinist who is very, very individual. He combines music with drama and a visual element. It’s very personal to him. When an artist feels it that personally, the audience does, too.” - Itzhak Perlman
“A Prodigious Talent" - The New Yorker
"Striking and Astonishing" - The Washington Post
"There Was No Resisting Hahn-Bin" - The New York Times
Ning Feng - He was the first prize winner in the 2006 International Violin Competition “Premio Paganini” in Italy. There he was given Nicolo Paganini's own violin – the 1743 Guarneri del Gesu "Cannone" to play in the final concert. He was loaned a 1699 “Long Pattern” A. Stradivari violin to play after winning the first prize at the Michael Hill International Violin Competition. He has also won prizes at the Hannover International Violin Competition, the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition, the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition.
Ning Feng studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and graduated with “Full Mark” for his final recital. While there he had the opportunity to play for the late Lord Yehudi Menuhin. Menuhin commented on him as: "I was most impressed with his performance... and feel that he has real talent and the musicianship to go very far."
Fred Albrecht - A cardiologist by profession, Dr. Albrecht is also a passionate amateur violinist in Buffalo area. He plays regularly in the Cheektowaga Community Symphony Orchestra, and joined the World Doctor’s Orchestra in 2009, he has toured with it in the cities in US, Europe and Asia.
Dr. Albrecht’s appreciation of violin goes beyond playing - he maintains a collection of fine Classic Italian violins and French bows, and several contemporary instruments.
Russell Hershow - A native of New York City, Russell Hershow took his first music lessons from his father, an amateur violinist. He went on to attend the Juilliard School and the Indiana University School of Music, graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree. He received private instruction from Josef Gingold and Yuval Yaron at Indiana University and Joseph Fuchs at Juilliard. Mr. Hershow joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1989.
Benny Kim - Whether playing in the intimate setting of a string quartet or performing a concerto on the stage of a concert hall, Benny Kim’s “emotional depth and musical carriage are his real drawing cards. His is a style that touches the peak of romantic violin playing.” (The Washington Post) Known for his versatility as soloist, chamber musician and teacher, Benny’s performances include recital appearances at the 92nd Street Y and the Kennedy Center, festival appearances in Santa Fe, Savannah, Angel Fire, NM and Trondheim, Norway and concerto appearances with the orchestras of Chicago, Boston and St. Louis. Benny serves as first violinist of the Miami String Quartet, appears on recordings of EMI, Koch International and Centaur and is associate professor at the University of Missouri/Kansas City Conservatory of Music.