Mei Li Co-Founder / CEO
Pianist Mei Li holds a doctorate in piano performance and piano literature from the University of Kansas. She was born in Chengdu, China into a musical family. She studied piano at the age of five and taught under the auspices of the famous Chinese piano pedagogue, Zhaoyi Dan. At the age of twelve, she entered the affiliated middle school of Sichuan Conservatory of Music and continued her rigorous and professional piano study. After graduating from Sichuan Conservatory of Music, Dr. Li obtained a full scholarship from the University of Northern Illinois the in United States and teaching under the direction of American pianist Professor William Goldenberg. After gaining a master's degree in piano performance and exploring the virtuoso repertoire, Dr. Li earned her DMA degree from the University of Kansas. She studied piano performance from famous American professors Jack Weinrock and concert artist Steven Spooner, and studied piano pedagogy methods from the famous American piano teaching expert, Scott McBride Smith. Dr. Li has won important awards at five separate international piano competitions, including the International IBLA Music Competition in Italy and the International Virtuoso Grand Prize Competition.
As an active pianist and soloist in China, Dr. Li performed at major venues as the Hong Kong Concert Hall, Guangzhou Xinghai Concert Hall, and Shenzhen Concert Hall. In the United States, Dr. Li was invited to perform as a soloist at the World Conference on Women in Chicago, the renowned Chicago Cultural Center, and Carnegie hall in New York City. She, along with her distinguished chamber partners were invited to perform in many concert halls and schools in the United States and received much critical praise. Dr. Mei Li has recently been invited to perform and give master classes in Mexico, and at the North American Liszt Society Festival. Mei Li is a member of the American Liszt Society and serves on the board of the KU American Liszt Society Chapter. She has written her doctoral research on the works of late Liszt under the direction of distinguished Liszt authority, Alan Walker.
Steven Spooner Co-Founder / Artistic Director
At the very fore of American pianists, critics and audiences have unanimously hailed the distinctive and compelling performances of pianist Steven Spooner describing him as “a pianist in the tradition that many believe died with the likes of Horowitz, Arrau, Bolet, Cziffra, and Wild. His talent, to my ears, is easily the equal of most major pianists of today and far superior to a large number of those “most exciting and dynamic pianists of their generation” (FANFARE MAGAZINE).
Passionately devoted to the recital as a platform for innovation, he has been engaged and often re-engaged at prestigious venues such as the Salle Cortot in Paris, the Shanghai Concert Hall, Budapest’s Great Hall of the Liszt Academy, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Rome’s Santa Cecilia, and Singapore’s Esplanade. During the past seasons he has daringly reinvented the solo recital by allowing audiences to vote on the spot for one of five programs he has prepared and like golden age pianists, his programs often feature his own glittering arrangements and compositions.
In 2016 he released a monumental project of 16 CDs honoring his heroes of the Russian School called Dedications. This mammoth project was met with enormous critical acclaim from all over the globe. His enthusiasm for new music has produced an ongoing collaboration with renowned Deutsche Grammophon composer, Mohammed Fairouz (commissioned by the ROKI Foundation) to premiere and record several of his works during the next few seasons. Steven is currently the co-star, along with his wife Jung, of their internet-based show about all things piano, A Life of Music.
Steven has served as guest artist-in-residence at Paris Conservatory Summer Sessions and has been appointed to the Artist Faculty of the Colburn Music Academy, Amalfi Coast Music Festival, Musicfest Perugia, the International Institute for Young Musicians, the Adam Gyorgy Castle Academy in Budapest, and even his own Steven Spooner Inspire Festival in Singapore.
Steven is increasingly in demand for his masterclasses at major music institutions all over the world such as the Paris Conservatory, Milan Conservatory, Liszt Academy of Music, and the Shanghai and Beijing Conservatories and in America at Rice, Indiana, Colburn, Oberlin, and many others. Steven serves as Professor of Piano at the Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University.
A dedicated and caring teacher of students from around the world, Steven’s pupils have been named winners of multiple prizes at important international and national piano competitions and enjoy performing careers of their own. Steven Spooner is a Steinway Artist.
Jury / Faculty
2021 Grammy winner, Alfred Walker, joins the jury of the Chicago International Music Competition and Festival. Mr, Walker enjoys a vibrant career at major opera houses all over the globe-In the 2019/20 season Alfred Walker returned to the Metropolitan Opera for Crown in Porgy and Bess, to San Francisco Opera for Vater in Hansel und Gretel, to Boston Lyric Opera for Oroveso in Norma, and to Washington National Opera for the title role in Porgy and Bess. Last season, Mr. Walker sang the Speaker in The Magic Flute with the Metropolitan Opera, sang the Ruler in Das Wunder der Heliane with Bard Summerscape, and joined the American Symphony Orchestra as the Man with the Helmet in Martinů’s Julietta at Carnegie Hall.
He also recently returned to San Francisco Opera for Orest in Elektra, to the Metropolitan Opera for Titurel in Parisfal and the Speaker in The Magic Flute, Seattle Opera for Amonasro in Aida and Porgy in Porgy and Bess, and to Portland Opera for Méphistophélès in Faust.
Mr. Walker is an equally versatile concert artist. He has sung Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Verdi’s Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Robert Spano as well as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Utah Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, and at the Sun Valley Music Festival. He has also presented recitals at the Manchester Music Festival. His recording credits include another collaboration with Semyon Bychov and the WDR Sinfonie Orchester Köln for Orest in Elektra on the Hybrid label as well as performances on Placido Domingo’s CD of Verdi tenor arias for Deutsche Grammophon.
A graduate of Dillard University, Loyola University, and the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Program, the New Orleans native is the recipient of awards from the George London Foundation, Palm Beach Opera Competition, Houston Opera Studio's Eleanor McCollum Competition, and the Sullivan Foundation career grant.
A performer well known to audiences in fifty countries on six continents, Boris Berman regularly appears with orchestras, on recital series, and at festivals around the world. He studied at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory with distinguished pianist Lev Oborin.
An active recording artist and Grammy Award nominee, Berman was the first pianist to record Prokofiev’s complete solo piano works. Some of Berman’s other acclaimed recordings include all of Scriabin’s piano sonatas and a performance of piano works by Shostakovich that received the Edison Classic Award (the Dutch equivalent of the Grammy). His double CD of Debussy Preludes and other works on Palais des Degustateurs label has received the Choc mark from the French Classica. His new double CD of Brahms Piano Pieces has just been released by the same label.
At the Yale School of Music, Berman teaches a studio of graduate students, coaches chamber groups, and heads the Piano Department. He is the Artistic Director of the School’s Horowitz Piano Series and frequently gives solo and collaborative performances as part of that series and others. Berman regularly teaches master classes throughout the world, and adjudicates national and international competitions.
Acclaimed for his "elegant poetry and virtuosic fire," Chow has wonmajor competitions including First Prize at the Concert Artists GuildInternational Competition and the Palm Beach International PianoCompetition.Chow also was a prizewinner in the William KapellInternational Competition and was Silver Medalist and AudienceFavorite at the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition.ASteinway artist, Chow has performed in recital and in concert withorchestras from coast to coast in major music centers in over 45 states.He regularly tours Asia with performances in China, Hong Kong, Japan,Taiwan and Singapore.Chow studied with Nelita True at the Universityof Maryland where he graduated Co-Valedictorian; with Sascha Gorodnitzki at The Juilliard School where he was awarded the Victor.Herbert Prize in Piano; and with Menahem Pressler at Indiana University where he received the Joseph Battista Memorial Scholarship.Previously on the piano faculty at Northwestern University for 19 years,Chow joined the faculty of the Eastman School of Music in fall 2017.
Robert McDonald tours extensively as a soloist and chamber musician throughoutthe United States,Europe, Asia, and South America.He has appeared with majororchestras in the United States and was the recital partner for many years to lsaacStern and other distinguished instrumentalists.He has played with the Takacs,Vermeer,Juilliard, Brentano, Borromeo,American, Shanghai, and St. Lawrencestring quartets, as well as Music from Marlboro.His discography includes.recordings for Sony Classical，,Bridge,Vox, Musical Heritage Society,ASV,andCRI.
Mr.McDonald's prizes include the gold medal at the Busoni lnternational PianoCompetition, the top prize at the William Kapell Ilnternational Competition, and theDeutsche Schallplatten Critics Award. With degrees from Lawrence University,the Curtis lInstitute of Music, the Juilliard School, and the Manhattan School ofMusic, he studied with Theodore Rehl, Seymour Lipkin，Rudolf Serkin,Mieczyslaw Horszowski，Beveridge Webster, and Gary Graffman. A member of the piano faculty at Juilliard since 1999,Mr. McDonald joined thefaculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2007.
Pianist Sasha Starcevich is currently enjoying a rewarding career as an international performer and teacher with his engaging performances and passionate teaching, both at home and around the globe. He has been affiliate professor of piano at the State University of New York-Purchase, and Department Chair of Music and professor of piano at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts. He has maintained highly successful private studios in New York City, New Canaan, Connecticut, and Vancouver, Canada. Currently, Starcevich has an extremely active and internationally recognized private studio in Bellevue, Washington, and gives masterclasses around the world.
Additional appointments include serving on juries for international competitions in North America, and faculty appointments to some of the more noted festivals in the United States and Canada. Recently, he has given several highly successful lectures, master classes and public teaching sessions in Asia, at the 2018 Taipei International Piano Masters Festival, the 2018 Southeastern Music Festival, the John Perry Academy, the Minnesota e piano music festival, and most recently a visit for Master classes and private lessons in conjunction with the Shanghai Conservatory in China.
His students have established themselves as grand prize winners in national and international piano competitions such as the Gina Bachauer International, Cooper International, Young Concert Artists International, Piano E Competition, Yamaha and Bosendorfer International, in addition to many others. These students have gone on to pursue serious study at the world’s most renowned musical institutions, such as the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute, the Peabody Conservatory, the Yale School of Music, and the Royal Academy of Music in England, to name a few.
Ji Hye Jung
Percussionist Ji Hye Jung has been praised as "spectacular" by the Los Angeles Times and "extraordinary" by the Ventura County Star, with the Times further describing her as "a centered player who can give the impression of being very still yet at all places at once." Jung began concertizing in her native South Korea at the age of 9, going on to perform more than 100 concerts, including solo appearances with every major orchestra in Korea. Soon after coming to the United States in 2004, Jung garnered consecutive first prizes at the 2006 Linz International Marimba Competition and the 2007 Yale Gordon Concerto Competition.
Jung frequently performs with many of today's most important conductors and instrumentalists. For six years she has served as principal percussionist with West Coast chamber ensemble Camerata Pacifica, with whom she has premiered works by Bright Sheng and Huang Ruo. She has also recorded Stravinsky’s Les Noces with JoAnn Falletta at the Virginia Arts Festival, performed as soloist with David Robertson conducting an all-Messiaen program at Carnegie Hall, and made her concerto debut with the Houston Symphony under the baton of Hans Graf in 2005.
In 2015, Jung was named Associate Professor of Percussion at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. She previously served as Associate Professor of Percussion at the University of Kansas for six years. An active educator and clinician, Jung has presented master classes at the Curtis Institute, the Peabody Conservatory, Rice University, Beijing's Central Conservatory, and the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, Poland. Jung completed a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.
Born in the Soviet Union, Faina Lushtak began studying piano and composition at the age of six. She graduated from the Stoliarsky School for Musically Gifted Children in Odessa, Ukraine under the instruction of her mother and later earned degrees in piano performance and composition from the Moscow Tchaikowsky Conservatory. Her teachers were the distinguished Eleonora Levinson, Genrietta Mirvis and Yakov Zak in piano, and Tikhon Khrennikov in composition. She later became a faculty member of the Moscow Conservatory until emigrating to the United Stales. She is currently Professor of Music at the Newcomb Music Department of Tulane University, where she heads the piano division, holds the Downman Chair, and is the music director of Tulane's Concert Piano Series and Tulane Piano Trio. Professor Lushtak is on the faculty of the Schlern International Music Festival in Italy.
The lyricism and romanticism of Ms. Lushtak's performances have brought her love and affection of audience and critical acclaim. Since her debut at the age of ten, Ms. Lushtak's performances have inspired audiences throughout her native Russia as well as those in Western Europe, Canada and the United States.
She has performed under the batons of Klauspeter Seibel, William Henry Curry, Maxim Shostakovich, Alfred Savia, John Paul, and Larry Cullison. She has also been featured in numerous solo recitals, including Lincoln Center and in major cities throughout this country. Ms. Lushtak can be heard on the Centaur label performing the works of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin. In October, 2004, Centaur Records will release her new CD featuring Fryderyk Chopin's Mazurkas.
Prof. Lushtak makes frequent guest artist appearances and conducts master classes on university campuses such as Emory University, San Francisco Conservatory, Oberlin College, Baylor University, Texas Christian University, University of North Texas. Ms. Lushtak performs as a guest artist for state conventions and festivals including Pro Mozart Society in Atlanta, The Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition Festival and Piano Month in Utah. She participated as a judge in the New Orleans International Piano Competition, Shreveport Symphony Nena Wideman Piano Competition, The Gina Bachauer International Junior Piano Competition, The Canadian National Music Competition and Eastman Young Artists International Piano Competition and Festival.
As a composer, Faina Lushtak has written works for chamber groups, voice, and violin, but her main focus has been on music for her first love, the piano. Her music has been performed in the USSR, United States and Western Europe. Ms. Lushtak's compositions were chosen for the LMTA piano tournaments and the New Orleans International Piano Competition. Her music has been published by Boosey & Hawkes Publishers LTD. (London), The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (London), Willis Publishing Co.(USA) and by Marsile Music Co. (New Orleans). Commenting on Ms. Lushtak's own Sonata in C, the New York Times described it as "a striking, eclectic essay... that embodied hints of jazz and a touch of bittersweet Russian humor."
A dedicated teacher, who is highly regarded for her master classes, she has presented master classes throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Ms. Lushtak's students have participated successfully at local, state, regional, national and international competitions and festivals. In 1989 one of her students became the youngest ever to participate in the Van Cliburn Festival in Fort Worth, Texas.
Prof. Lushtak is Nationally Certified Teacher of Music and active participant in the following professional associations: Music Teachers National Association; National Guild of Piano Teachers and New Orleans Music Teachers Association. Ms. Lushtak is currently under the Albert Kay Concert Artist Management. Albert Kay Associates, Inc.
Massimiliano Baggio was born in Naples in 1961. He studied at the Conservatorio 'G. Verdi' of Milan where he graduated with full marks cum laude.He continued his advanced musical studies with Sergio Fiorentino, attending master classes at Città di Castello with Antonio Ballista and at Fiesole with Maureen Jones and Dario de Rosa.
Since 1975, he has played in piano duo with Cristina Frosini performing in hundreds of concerts, orchestral recitals radio and television recordings for RAI and WDR, and recordings for Sarx Records. They are the only artists, in Italy, to have ever performed the complete works of Franz Schubert for piano four hands.Together they have won many international awards, including the 'Gian Battista Viotti International Music Competition 1982' in Vercelli and the 1986 International Competition 'Concorso Sergio Lorenzi' in Trieste.
In 1996 they made their debut at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan where they were again invited for a recital in 1999.In 2000 the musical magazine 'Amadeus' published a CD in which they play music by Franz Schubert for piano duo.
Currently they are playing for the most important musical societies in Italy including the 'Settimane Musicali di Stresa ', the' Istituzione Universitaria dei Concerti 'in Rome, the' Festival dei due Mondi 'in Spoleto, the' Società dei Concerti 'and the' Grande Orchestra Sinfonica 'G. Verdi' in Milan, the 'GOG' in Genoa, the 'Unione Musicale' in Turin, the 'Amici della Musica' in Palermo, along with many others. Recently, they have played in Berlin, Stockholm, Seoul and USA.
Massimiliano Baggio is a professor at the Conservatorio of Milan, and regularly conducts advanced master classes for piano duo. Recently he has been invited by the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater of Vilnius, the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst of Stuttgart, the Iceland Academy of the Arts of Reykjavik, the Kansas University School of Music, the John J. Cali School of Music - Montclair State University, NJ, the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana of Lugano, the Conservatorio Superior de Musica de La Coruña, the Sunhwa Arts School and the Sungshin University of Seoul.
Since November 2016 he has been appointed Associate Dean of the Conservatorio 'G. Verdi' of Milan. For nearly thirty years he has been responsible for the musical activities of the Società Umanitaria of Milan. In 2000 he conducted musical broadcasting programs for RAI RadioTre.
Daniel Paul Horn
An active and versatile pianist, Daniel Paul Horn is Professor of Piano and Chair of Keyboard Studies at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, where he was honored with a 2009 Senior Academic Achievement Award for sustained excellence in scholarship. As a solo recitalist, he has appeared at colleges and universities throughout North America, at the American Liszt Society Festival, and in live broadcasts over WFMT-FM, on its Pianoforte Foundation Fazioli Salon Series and 2010 Beethoven Piano Sonata series. As a concerto soloist, he has performed with various Midwestern orchestras, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; in 2015, he made his European orchestral debut with the Sarajevo Philharmonic, performing Lumen by Wheaton alumnus Jacob Bancks. An avid chamber musician, he regularly collaborates with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. With the MasterWorks Ensemble, he has played in Bermuda and at the 2010 Beijing Modern Music Festival; in addition, he has performed with the Ying String Quartet, the Rembrandt Chamber Players, cellist Stephen Balderston, pianist Alexander Djordjevic, and Guarneri Quartet violinist John Dalley.
He also works with noted singers. Working with living composers, he has premiered music by George Arasimowicz, Jacob Bancks, Delvyn Case, David M. Gordon, Neal Harnly, Patrick Kavanaugh, Daniel Kellogg, and Max Raimi.
As an early keyboardist, he was harpsichordist in performances of Handel’s Messiah under the baton of John Nelson, and has twice performed on the Historical Piano Concert series at the Frederick Collection in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. In 1997, he recorded the critically praised disc for Titanic Records on an 1829 Graf fortepiano, and in 2010 released Sehnsucht: Music of Robert Schumann; he also recorded for the Centaur label with CSO cellist Donald Moline, and for the Canadian Music Centre with soprano Carolyn Hart.
A Detroit native, Horn studied at Peabody with Walter Hautzig, and at Juilliard, where he studied with Martin Canin and Felix Galimir, and earned his doctorate. He has also coached with Jerome Lowenthal, Ann Schein, Joseph Bloch, Roy Howat, and Menahem Pressler, for whom he twice served as a guest assistant at Indiana University. In addition to his duties at Wheaton, he has been a faculty artist at the Sewanee, Adamant, Blue Mountain, and MasterWorks summer festivals.
Pianist Jay Hershberger has played throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. His domestic performances include the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Library of Congress. He has also been frequent guest artist at the Great Romantics Music Festival in Canada. In years past he performed in Europe, including the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in southern Italy and the South Bohemia Music Festival in the Czech Republic. Recent tours have included major cities in China, and at music festivals in Scotland and Italy.
He is a founding member of Excelsior! Trio, a chamber group that performs an eclectic mix of classical, folk, jazz, and fusion. Excelsior! Trio tours extensively in the US and in Europe. Jay is currently Professor of Piano at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. His undergraduate students regularly win competitions and have been accepted into prestigious graduate schools in piano performance and pedagogy, many with teaching assistantships.
An active adjudicator, Hershberger has judged for the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, the Phoenix Young Artist Competition, the San Angelo Symphony Sorantin Awards, the Lee Biennial Competition, the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Young Artist Competition, and the Music Teachers National Association. He is the president of the American Liszt Society. His first compact disc recording, featuring works by Franz Liszt was featured on Michael Barone’s New Releases radio program on Minnesota Public Radio.
Described as a “supremely nuanced” (Gramophone), “remarkable baritone” (Opera News), Chris Thompson is an international artist noted for compelling performances on stage and in the concert hall. He has performed leading lyric baritone roles ranging from Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia to the title role in Elijah to Carl Magnus in A Little Night Music. A frequent recitalist, Chris’s numerous performances of Schubert’s Winterreise with acclaimed concert pianist Steven Spooner, have generated excitement throughout the country.
A strong advocate of new music, Chris made his Carnegie Hall debut singing Posh, a song cycle by composer Mohammed Fairouz. The premiere performance of MSU colleague Michael F. Murray’s song cycle, Neutral Tones, at the Parma New Music Festival was received enthusiastically. Chris has appeared in several world premieres including Guest from the Future (Lincoln Center), The Scrimshaw Violin (92nd Street Y), Box and Cox (University of Utah) and Hester Prynne at Death (Mercantile Library, NYC). In addition, Chris made his Off-Broadway debut in Fermat’s Last Tango. His performances have been featured on recording labels such as: Naxos, Original Cast Recordings, Albany Records, Koch-Schwann, and Novana Records.
Chris is a graduate of the University of Kansas, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London), Loyola University (New Orleans), and Kansas State University. Chris is a devoted teacher with successful singers winning competitions, singing at major summer programs, and performing leading roles as young professionals. He presently serves as Coordinator of Vocal Studies at Missouri State University and is past-president of Ozark NATS.
“The gold standard of accompanying.” New York Times
"Martin Katz must surely be considered the dean of collaborative pianists," said the Los Angeles Times. As one of the world's busiest collaborators, he has been in constant demand by the world's most celebrated vocal soloists for four decades. In addition to Mr. Blumberg, he has appeared and recorded regularly with Marilyn Horne, Frederica von Stade, Samuel Ramey, Karita Mattila,, Piotr Beczala, Jose Carreras, Cecilia Bartoli, Kiri Te Kanawa, Soile Isokoski, Kathleen Battle, and Lawrence Brownlee, just to name a few. Season after season, the world's musical capitals figure prominently in his schedule.
Mr. Katz is a native of Los Angeles, where he began piano studies at the age of five. He attended the University of Southern California and studied the field of accompanying with its pioneer teacher, Gwendolyn Koldofsky. While yet a student, he was given the unique opportunity of accompanying the master classes and lessons of such luminaries as Lotte Lehmann, Pierre Bernac, and Gregor Piatigorsky. It was in his two-year appointment as pianist for the Jascha Heifetz classes that he first grew to know and love this afternoon’s sonatas.
The professional profile of Martin Katz is completed with his commitment to teaching. For three decades, the University of Michigan has been his home, where he has been chair for the School of Music's program in collaborative piano. He has been a pivotal figure in the training of countless young artists, both singers and pianists, who are working all over the world. In addition to his work there, he is a regular guest at innumerable music schools and institutes throughout North America, Canada and Europe. For many years he enjoyed being a regular guest at the Training Program of the New National Theatre in Shinjuku.
Mr. Katz is the author of a comprehensive guide to accompanying, “The Complete Collaborator,” published by Oxford University Press, which is widely regarded as the seminal textbook on this specialized subject.
Cameron F. LaBarr
Cameron F. LaBarr is director of choral studies at Missouri State University where he leads a comprehensive choral program including over 300 singers in eight choirs. He holds a Bachelor of Music from Missouri State University and he earned a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of North Texas. He has completed further study in choral music and conducting with Simon Carrington and Alice Parker. Choirs under his direction have been selected for performance at the Tennessee Music Education Association Conference, Tennessee ACDA Conference, Missouri Music Educators Association Conference, Piccolo Spoleto Festival, National Collegiate Choral Organization, National ACDA, Southwest ACDA, Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses National Seminar, the China International Chorus Festival and the IFCM World Voices Conference. Dr. LaBarr has worked as guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia, most recently presenting at the China International Chorus Festival (2016 and 2018). In 2019, Dr. LaBarr will serve on the jury panel for the 8th Bali International Choir Festival and will guest conduct the Limerick Sings International Choral Festival (Ireland).
A modern player with a “signature sound” and distinctive style of playing, cellist Mark Kosower embodies the concept of the complete musician performing as concerto soloist with symphony orchestras, in solo recitals, and as a much admired and sought-after chamber musician. He is Principal Cello of the Cleveland Orchestra and a scholar and teacher of cello. He has performed as soloist with some of the greatest conductors of our time including Herbert Blomstedt, Sir Andrew Davis, Christoph Eschenbach, and Franz Welser-Möst and has made appearances with the Orchestre de Paris, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Bamberg Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the China National Symphony Orchestra as well as the Detroit, Florida, Houston, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Oregon, North Carolina, Phoenix, and Seattle symphony orchestras. Festival appearances include the Aspen, North Shore Chamber, Pacific, Ravinia, and Santa Fe Chamber music festivals. Mr. Kosower has recorded for the Ambitus, Delos, Naxos, and VAI labels.
During the coronavirus pandemic Mark Kosower performed two livestream performances of the complete Bach Cello Suites from Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland to raise money for Covid-19 victims as part of his ongoing Bach for Humanity initiative that began in 2018. Bach for Humanity aims to bring people together though Bach’s music in presentations for diverse socioeconomic groups in churches, community organizations, educational institutions, homeless shelters, performing arts series, radio and television stations, and retirement communities. In 2021 he will perform the complete Bach Suites at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Other activities during the pandemic have included live and recorded chamber music performances for the North Shore Chamber Music Festival’s Onstage/Offstage series and for the Seattle Chamber Music Society in addition to other recordings and numerous social media projects.
An active educator Mr. Kosower teaches a series of master classes at Hidden Valley Music Seminars in Carmel Valley each summer. He also works with students in lessons and master classes around the world including the New World Symphony fellows, Carnegie Hall’s NYO-USA program, the Shanghai Orchestra Academy, and the Baccareli Institute in São Paulo among other institutions.
Cornelius Chiu joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1996. Born to Chinese parents in Ithaca, New York, he began violin lessons at the age of six. Chiu received bachelor’s and master's degrees with high distinction, a performance certificate and a fellowship from Indi ana University's Jacobs School of Music, where he studied with Josef Gingold, Franco Gulli and Yuval Yaron. The many acclaimed artists with whom Chiu has worked with include Josef Silverstein, János Starker and Menahem Pressler. Chiu received special recognition from Isaac Stern after a performance in his honor.
A winner in the Irving M. Klein International String Competition and the National Arts and Letters Competition, Chiu has performed as a soloist with the Indianapolis and Washington chamber symphonies and at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
An avid chamber musician, he frequently appears on the CSO Chamber Music series. He has performed at the Sarasota and Aspen music festivals, the Rencontres Musicales Festival, Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute for Young Artists and in France and Germany with the Ensemble Villa Musica. A dedicated teacher, Chiu has maintained a private studio for more than 35 years. He also teaches on the faculty of Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts.
Described as a violinist with 'chops to burn, and rock solid musicianship' (The Whole Note, Toronto), Canadian violinist Véronique Mathieu enjoys an exciting career as a soloist, chamber musician, and music educator. An avid contemporary music performer, she has commissioned and premiered numerous works by American, Brazilian, and Canadian composers, and has worked with composers such as Pierre Boulez, Hanz Holliger, and Krzysztof Penderecki. Current projects include the commission of a large-scale solo violin work by Odawa First Nations composer Barbara Croall and 12 pedagogical pieces by 12 internationally renowned composers.
Véronique has performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, Shenyang Symphony Orchestra, Saskatoon Symphony, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Montreal Contemporary Ensemble, and the Orquestra Sinfonica de Indaiatuba.She recorded for the labels of Radio-Canada, Parma, Centrediscs, Naxos, and Pheromone, as well as the CD series New Music at Indiana University.
Véronique Mathieu holds the David L. Kaplan Chair in Music at the University of Saskatchewan where she serves as an Associate Professor of Violin. She previously served on the faculty at State University of New York in Buffalo, and the University of Kansas.