We are delighted to welcome the following artists to Portland for our 2018–19 season!
Melissa ReardonArtistic Director
Artistic Director Melissa Reardon is an internationally renowned performer whose solo and chamber playing spans all musical genres. Founding member of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO) and a sought-after collaborative musician, the Massachusetts native has been lauded for her “elegant” and “virtuosic” performances. She performed around the world as a member of the Ensō String Quartet from 2006 until its final season in 2018, has appeared in numerous festivals nationally and internationally, and toured with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and with Musicians from Marlboro. First prize winner at the Washington International Competition and the only violist to win top prizes in consecutive HAMS International viola competitions, Melissa is married to the cellist Raman Ramakrishnan, and they live in New York City with their son Linus.
Praised by critics for his passionate expression and dazzling technique, Andrew Armstrong has delighted audiences across Asia, Europe, Latin America, Canada, and the United States, including performances at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, and Warsaw's National Philharmonic. He has released several award-winning recordings with his longtime recital partner James Ehnes, has performed with the Elias, Alexander, American, and Manhattan String Quartets, and as a member of the Caramoor Virtuosi, Boston Chamber Music Society, Seattle Chamber Music Society, and the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players.
Efe Baltacigil was a 2006 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, named 2013 String Player of the Year in Turkey, and, as a member of the European Concert Hall Association's Rising Stars program, he performed at Carnegie Hall and toured Europe in the 2006-08 seasons. Efe has appeared with Pinchas Zukerman and Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall, participated in Ma's Silk Road Project, and performed at the Marlboro Festival. A member of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, he was the associate principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra until 2011 and is currently the principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony.
Georgia native Gabriela Diaz began her musical training at the age of five, studying piano with her mother, and the next year, violin with her father. As a childhood cancer survivor, Gabriela is committed to supporting cancer research and treatment in her capacity as a musician, and is a fierce champion of contemporary music. Acclaimed by critics as “a young violin master,” and “one of Boston’s most valuable players," she is on the violin faculty of Wellesley College and co-artistic director of the Boston-based chamber music organization Winsor Music.
Mezzo-soprano Kara Dugan has been praised by the New York Times for her “vocal warmth and rich character.” Recent performances include Michael Tilson Thomas’ Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind at Carnegie Hall with the New World Symphony, and at Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Kara also enjoys recital work with her husband, pianist Peter Dugan, and the duo recently made a guest appearance with crossover group Time for Three at Joe’s Pub in New York City.
Pianist Peter Dugan has appeared as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician across North America and abroad. Prizing versatility as the key to the future of classical music, Peter is equally at home in classical, jazz, and pop idioms. The Wall Street Journal described his collaboration with violinist Charles Yang as a “classical-meets-rockstar duo.” Peter's recent chamber music recitals include the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach, Music at Menlo, St. John’s College Recital Series, and a Weill Hall debut presented by Carnegie Hall.
Clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein is considered one of today’s most exceptional artists. Fiterstein has performed in recital, with distinguished orchestras, and with chamber music ensembles throughout the world. He won first prize at the Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition and received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant Award. A dedicated performer of chamber music, Alex frequently collaborates with distinguished artists and ensembles and regularly performs with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Grammy award winning violinist and producer Johnny Gandelsman's musical voice reflects the artistic collaborations he has been a part of since moving to the United States in 1995. Richard Brody of The New Yorker has called Gandelsman "revelatory" in concert, placing him in the company of "radically transformative" performers like Maurizio Pollini, Peter Serkin and Christian Zacharias. As a founding member of Brooklyn Rider and a member of the Silkroad Ensemble, Johnny has closely worked with such luminaries as Bela Fleck, Martin Hayes, Kayhan Kalhor, Yo-Yo Ma, Mark Morris, Anne Sofie Van Otter, Alim Qasimov & Fargana Qasimova, Joshua Redman, Suzanne Vega, Abigail Washburn and Damian Woetzel. He has appeared with Bono, David Byrne, Renee Fleming, Rhiannon Giddens, I'm With Her, Christian McBride, and many others.
Soloist, co-founder of Time for Three, East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO), and the Dryden String Quartet. Nick picked up his ﬁrst violin at the age of three. With an insatiable appetite for a diversity of expression, he went to the streets of Washington D.C. to play trash cans for lunch money as a teenager. By college, he was forming pick-up rock bands at Curtis Institute between concert debuts at the most prestigious halls in the world. Trained in the Suzuki method, which his grandfather, John Kendall, helped to bring to America in the 1960s, Nick continues the teaching tradition.
The recipient of a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Alexi Kenney has been named "a talent to watch" by the New York Times. Alexi has performed as soloist with symphony orchestras around the country, and appeared in recital on Carnegie Hall’s ‘Distinctive Debuts’ series, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Jordan Hall in Boston. Chamber music is a major focus of Alexi’s life, performing at festivals including Marlboro, Bridgehampton, Music@Menlo, Ravinia, and Yellow Barn. He is a member of The Bowers Program at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (formerly CMS 2).
Did you know? Portland Ovations presented Alexi in recital in April 2019.
Hailed for her “magnetic, wide-ranging tone” and her “rock solid technique” (Philadelphia Inquirer), violist Ayane Kozasa enjoys a career that spans a broad spectrum of musical personas. A violinist turned violist, she was inspired to dedicate herself to the alto clef when she discovered the beauty of playing the viola part in string quartets during her undergraduate studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her commitment to pursue a life in viola led to a graduate degree from the Curtis Institute of Music as well as a Further Masters Degree from the esteemed Kronberg Academy Masters School in Germany.
Marta Hortobagyi Lambert is PCMF's inaugural Emerging Artist. She has performed as soloist with her local orchestra and youth orchestra in her native Greenville, North Carolina, received first prize at the 2011 ASTA Junior Division competition, and served as the principal of the Eastern Regional Orchestra and the North Carolina State Orchestra. Marta studied Viola Performance with Melissa Reardon at East Carolina University and is currently a Masters student at the Yale School of Music.
Violinist Tessa Lark, recipient of a 2018 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Silver Medalist in the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and winner of the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition, is one of the most captivating artistic voices of our time. A budding superstar in the classical realm, she is also a highly acclaimed fiddler in the tradition of her native Kentucky. Since making her concerto debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at sixteen, Tessa has appeared with dozens of orchestras, festivals, and recital venues including Carnegie Hall, Ravinia, San Francisco Performances, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and Marlboro Music.
Pianist Robert McDonald has toured extensively as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, and South America. He has performed with major orchestras in the U.S. and was a recital partner with violinist Isaac Stern for many years. A member of the piano faculty at Juilliard since 1999, Robert has taught at the Curtis Institute since 2007. During the summer, he is the artistic director of New Mexico’s Taos School of Music and Chamber Music Festival.
Two-time Grammy nominated violinist Jesse Mills enjoys performing music of many genres, from classical to contemporary, as well as composed and improvised music of his own invention. As a chamber musician Jesse has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada, and in many prestigious European venues. He is co-founder of Horszowski Trio and Duo Prism, a violin-piano duo with Rieko Aizawa, which earned 1st Prize at the Zinetti International Competition in Italy in 2006. Jesse is co-artistic director (with Ms. Aizawa) of the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Colorado.
Winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2004, Tai Murray was named a BBC New Generation Artist (2008 through 2010). She has performed as guest soloist on the stages of such halls as the Barbican, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens, and Shanghai’s Concert Hall, performing with such ensembles as the Atlanta Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, and Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar. As a recitalist Tai has appeared in Berlin, Chicago, Hamburg, London, New York, and Washington D.C. among many others. As a chamber musician, she toured with Musicians from Marlboro and was a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s prestigious CMS Two program.
Did you know? Tai performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Portland Symphony Orchestra in March 2011. The conductor was Eckart Preu, who was recently named the PSO's new Music Director!
Cellist Clancy Newman, first prize winner of the prestigious Walter W. Naumburg International Competition and recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, has performed as soloist throughout the United States, as well as in Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia. A sought after chamber musician, he is a member of the Clarosa piano quartet, and a former member of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's CMS Two program and the Weiss-Kaplan-Newman trio. His wildly successful "Pop-Unpopped" project, in which he writes solo cello caprices based on pop songs, has led to an exploration of cello techniques heretofore unimagined, gaining over 80,000 views on Youtube.
Described as “radiant” and “expressive” (The New York Times), cellist Karen Ouzounian approaches music-making with a deeply communicative and passionate spirit. Winner of the S&R Foundation's 2016 Washington Award, she is drawn towards unusual collaborations and eclectic contemporary repertoire. Karen is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Aizuri Quartet, which was awarded the Grand Prize at the 2018 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition. Karen also performs with Silkroad, the organization founded by Yo-Yo Ma, and is a member of both the Grammy-nominated chamber orchestra A Far Cry and the critically-acclaimed new music collective counter)induction.
Clarinetist Todd Palmer is honored to have appeared on the very first PCMF season in 1994, as well as many others in its history. A three time Grammy nominated artist, he has appeared as soloist, recitalist, chamber music collaborator, educator, arranger, and presenter in a variety of musical endeavors around the world. He’s collaborated with many acclaimed string ensembles such as the St. Lawrence, Brentano, Borromeo, Pacifica, Daedalus and Ying quartets; and has shared the stage with sopranos Kathleen Battle, Renée Fleming, Elizabeth Futral, Heidi Grant Murphy and Dawn Upshaw, and many other notable instrumentalists.
Australia native Susie Park first picked up a violin at age three, made her solo debut at five, and, by the time she was a teenager, had performed with every major orchestra in her country. Her international career was launched at age 16, when she took first place in the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition. Susie today performs internationally as an orchestral, chamber, and solo artist. She is first associate concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra, a founding member of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, and joined the Enso String Quartet as first violinist for their final season.
Raman Ramakrishnan is a founding member and current cellist of the Horszowski Trio. As a former founding member of the Daedalus Quartet, Mr. Ramakrishnan won the grand prize at the 2001 Banff International String Quartet Competition. With the quartet, he has performed coast-to-coast in the United States and Canada, in Japan, Hong Kong, and Panama, and across Europe. Mr. Ramakrishnan holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard University and a Master’s degree in music from The Juilliard School. He lives in New York City with his wife, the violist Melissa Reardon. He plays a Neapolitan cello made by Vincenzo Jorio in 1837.
First Prize winner of the 2008 Naumburg International Violoncello Competition, David Requiro has emerged as one of today’s finest American cellists. An avid chamber musician, he is a founding member of the Baumer String Quartet and has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Seattle Chamber Music Society, Concertante Chamber Players, ECCO (East Coast Chamber Orchestra), and the Alexander String Quartet. David has frequently performed with the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players Series, and is a Bowers Program Artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (formerly CMS Two).
Acclaimed by the New York Times as an “extraordinary violist” of “immense flair,” Dov Scheindlin is a member of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and an associate member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He has also been violist of the Arditti, Penderecki and Chester String Quartets. His chamber music career has brought him to 28 countries around the globe, and won him the Siemens Prize in 1999. He has regularly participated in summer festivals such as Salzburg, Luzern, and Tanglewood, and has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Met Chamber Ensembles.
Peter Stumpf is professor of cello at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Prior to his appointment, he was principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Peter's tenure in Los Angeles followed 12 years as associate principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. A dedicated chamber music musician, he was a member of the Johannes String Quartet and has appeared on the chamber music series at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, the Boston Celebrity Series, the Da Camera Society in Los Angeles, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Casals Hall in Tokyo, and at the concert halls of Cologne.
Diane Walsh has toured the globe with performances in 46 of the 50 states and in 21 other countries. In 2009 she was the onstage pianist in the Broadway production of Moisés Kaufman's play 33 Variations, starring Jane Fonda, during which she gave 113 performances of Beethoven’s Variations on a Waltz of Diabelli. She also was artistic director of the Skaneateles Festival for five years and associate professor at Mannes College of Music in New York for 32 years. Diane is a member of the quintet La Fenice and of the Walsh-Drucker-Cooper Trio.
Paul Wiancko has led an exceptionally multi-faceted musical life as a cellist, composer, and collaborator. While earning cello performance degrees at the University of Southern California and the Colburn School with Ronald Leonard, Paul won top prizes at several international cello competitions which led him, most notably, to Poland to perform the Lutoslawski Cello Concerto with the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and to Brazil where he performed the Shostakovich Concerto with the Bahia Symphony at the Teatro Nacional.
Recipient of the 2018 Leonard Bernstein Award and member of the genre-defying string band Time for Three, Charles Yang has performed as a soloist with orchestras and in concert in the United States, Europe, Brazil, Russia, China, and Taiwan, and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Not only confined to classical violin, Charles's improvisational crossover abilities as a violinist and vocalist have led him to featured performances with a variety of artists.