Grandmentors are luminaries that provide guidance to our staff, teachers, and students. Our roster includes renowned performers, educators, social workers, and beyond. By drawing on their wisdom and experience, we seek to deepen, expand, and improve the ways we can be Musical Mentors.
Lucinda E. Ali-Landing (violin)
Lucinda E. Ali-Landing, violinist and founder of the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute.
As a child, Lucinda stayed close to home, being a member of the South Side Family Chamber Orchestra, Leo C. Harris, Music Director, Gary Civic Symphony, Naomi Millender, Music Director and her own family chamber ensemble. As a student at Kenwood Academy in Hyde Park, Lucinda played with All City Orchestra, and won the All City Division I of the Instrumental Solo Festival in 1984. She auditioned, and won a full-tuition scholarship at Northern Illinois University where she studied with Pierre Menard and the Vermeer Quartet.
Lucinda chose to pursue her professional career at DePaul School of Music in Chicago. There she blossomed with Mark Zinger, being a Fellowship student of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the DePaul Symphony Orchestra where she was the concertmaster of the Opera Orchestra at DePaul. This afforded her the opportunity to get her Master of Music degree in violin performance on a full tuition scholarship.
At DePaul, Lucinda discovered her love for teaching children. She obtained her teacher training at the Chicago Suzuki Institute in Deerfield with Craig Timmerman, and later that same summer studied at Indiana University with MiMi Zwieg. Embracing the methods of these pioneers of teaching very young children, Lucinda started teaching at Sherwood Conservatory of Music in Chicago with Stacia Spencer. As the Director of the Chicago Young Violinist Program at Sherwood, Lucinda inspired many parents to be excited about having musical children. Incorporating parent classes, concerts, field trips and other community activities, she laid the groundwork for what would be her life’s passion.
Currently, Mrs. Ali-Landing is in the first violin section of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chicago Sinfonietta, the world’s most diverse orchestra. As part of the Chicago Sinfonietta, she is in the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra. She is a freelance artist who has performed with other artists such as Ray Charles, Barry White, Brian McKnight, Oprah Winfrey, Ben Vereen and more.
Mrs. Ali-Landing is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Chicago Music Association, and other professional organizations.
Emmanuel Ax (piano)
Born in Poland, Emanuel Ax attended the Juilliard School with the sponsorship of the Epstein Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America and later received the Young Concert Artists Award. Mr. Ax made his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series, and captured public attention in 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. The next year, he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists followed, four years later, by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize.
An advocate for contemporary composers, he’s performed works written for him by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, and Melinda Wagner. Most recently he has added HK Gruber’s Piano Concerto and Samuel Adams’ “Impromptus” to his repertoire.
A Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987, recent releases include Brahms Trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Leonidas Kavakos, Mendelssohn Trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, Strauss’ Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart, and discs of two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman.
Mr. Ax has received GRAMMY® Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas, as well as his series of recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. His other recordings include the concertos of Liszt and Schoenberg, three solo Brahms albums, an album of tangos by Astor Piazzolla, and the premiere recording of John Adams’s Century Rolls with the Cleveland Orchestra for Nonesuch.
Mr. Ax also contributed to an International EMMY® Award-Winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2013, Mr. Ax’s recording Variations received the Echo Klassik Award for Solo Recording of the Year (19th century music/Piano).
A frequent and committed partner for chamber music, he has worked regularly with such artists as Young Uck Kim, Cho-Liang Lin, Mr. Ma, Edgar Meyer, Peter Serkin, Jaime Laredo, and the late Isaac Stern.
Mr. Ax resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Yoko Nozaki. They have two children together, Joseph and Sarah. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Skidmore College, Yale University, and Columbia University.
Magdalena Stern-Baczewska (piano)
Hailed by the press as “One of the most innovative, even radical classical keyboardists in the U.S.” and described as “Columbia University professor by day, musical sorceress by night,” pianist and harpsichordist Magdalena Baczewska [ba-CHEV-ska] enjoys a multifaceted career as a concert artist, educator, and speaker. Having made her solo debut with the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra at age 12 in her native Poland, Baczewska performed internationally with the world’s leading orchestras.
The first pianist to play J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations twice in one evening–first on the harpsichord, then on piano–since Rosalyn Tureck’s 1977 double-bill Carnegie Hall performance, Baczewska has toured Europe and the U.S with double performances of the Variations, having also recorded them along with Strauss’ Sonata Op. 5 for her critically-acclaimed album A Tribute to Glenn Gould.
She collaborates extensively with the Oscar and Grammy Award-winning composer Tan Dun, performing his music internationally. Performance highlights include a debut at the Tanglewood Music Festival, soloist appearances with the San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, China National Symphony, and a Canadian premiere of Tan Dun’s Piano Concerto with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. At the invitation of the composer, Baczewska also recorded his chamber music and the Sonata for Piano Solo in Shanghai’s famous Water Heavens Hall.
Dr. Baczewska is Professor of Music and Director of the Music Performance Program at Columbia University. She is a recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski, for promoting Polish culture abroad.
She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Mannes College The New School for Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Manhattan School of Music. Her doctoral dissertation, In Search of Bach’s Cantabile: The Role and Aspects of Oratory and Singing in Keyboard Interpretation was published by Lambert Academic Publishing.
Lizzy Burns (upright bass)
Lizzie Burns is an experienced and sought after bassist and chamber musician who performs in Chamber Orchestras, Continuo Sections, Rhythm Sections, and New Music Ensembles. She has performed with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, recorded for major Record Labels and Motion Picture Soundtracks, given dozens of World Premieres, is a member of The Knights and A Far Cry, and is on faculty at the Hartt School of Music and the Mannes Conservatory at The New School.
Drawing abundant inspiration from her colleagues, Lizzie works with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, New Century Chamber Orchestra, East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO), The Orchestra of St Luke’s, and The New York City Ballet Orchestra, in addition to The Knights and A Far Cry. As an experienced historical bassist she has performed with the Handel and Haydn Society, Tafelmusik Baroque, and Teatro Neuovo. She is energized by collaborations with composers and has premiered works by Julia Wolfe, Caroline Shaw, Pauline Oliveros, Andy Akihio, and Jörg Widmann among many others. She played on Broadway in Dave Malloy’s “Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812” alongside Josh Groban. Burns has recorded with soloists Edgar Meyer, Yo-Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, Pekka Kuusisto, Avi Avital and Nicholas Phan. She has performed and/or recorded with popular artists including Jon Batiste, Chris Thile, Phoebe Bridgers, Ingrid Michaelson, Emily King, Wye Oak, and Joe Jackson, as well as making appearances on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. She has recorded for the Sony Masterworks, Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, New Amsterdam, and Nonesuch record labels and can be heard on popular film and television soundtracks including HBO’s “Succession”.
As an alum of Ensemble Connect, a rigorous two-year fellowship program based at Carnegie Hall, Lizzie is an experienced Teaching Artist who equally enjoys engaging with audiences from the stage of Carnegie Hall as she does performing in homeless shelters and for incarcerated communities.
Lizzie attended the New England Conservatory and Boston University. Her primary teachers were Don Palma and Ed Barker, to whom she is eternally grateful.
Rodger Carter (drums)
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Rodger Carter created a path in music from early on. From his first tour with Lita Ford at the age of 21 to his years of studio work and non-stop touring that followed, Rodger’s powerful and consistent style has always kept him working in one of the most competitive cities for music in the world. Rodger has worked with artists Meredith Brooks, Glen Campbell, Justin Guarini, Lisa Loeb, Eddie Money, Rick Springfield, The Temptations, and many more. In 2002, Rodger opened The Doghouse Studio in Los Angeles. When Rodger is not running The Doghouse Studio, he is frequently on the road touring internationally with various artists.
Victoria Chiang (violin)
VICTORIA CHIANG is an artist-faculty member of the Peabody Conservatory of Music where she serves as coordinator of the viola department. Her most recent recording of the viola concertos of Stamitz and Hoffmeister was released for Naxos to critical acclaim. Other recordings include Pleyel Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola also on Naxos as well as a recording of Shostakovich and Roslavets Viola sonatas. Career highlights include appearances with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, Romanian State Philharmonics of Constantsa and Tirgu Muresh, Duluth Superior Symphony, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, the Acadiana Symphony and the National Gallery Orchestra in Washington DC. Ms. Chiang has appeared as guest artist with the Guarneri, Takács, Tokyo, American, Arianna and Pro Arte string quartets and is a founding member of the Aspen String Trio, an internationally touring string trio. Ms Chiang spends her summers at the Aspen Music Festival as well as other music festivals, and teaches with Becca Albers at the McDuffie Center.
Cliff Goldmacher (songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer)
In the music business for over thirty years, Cliff Goldmacher is a GRAMMY- recognized, #1 hit songwriter, producer, author and owner of recording studios in
Nashville, Tennessee and Middle River, Maryland. A multi-instrumentalist and session musician, Cliff has recorded, played on and produced thousands of recordings for major and independent publishers, record labels, from up and coming songwriters to GRAMMY winners. Cliff worked as a staff songwriter on Nashville’s Music Row and his songwriting collaborators include multi-platinum selling and GRAMMY-winning artists Ke$ha, Keb’ Mo’, Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead), Chris Barron (Spin Doctors) & Lisa Loeb. Cliff’s songs have been recorded by major label artists in genres ranging from country, pop, blues and jazz to classical crossover. His music has also been used on NPR’s “This American Life” and in national advertising campaigns. Along with multiple songs in the top 40 on the jazz charts, Cliff’s song “Till You Come To Me,” went to #1. Most recently, Cliff’s song “Cold Outside” – a collaboration with Keb’ Mo’ – was included on Keb’ Mo’s GRAMMY-winning album, “Oklahoma.” As an educator, Cliff teaches workshops for BMI, ASCAP, The Stanford Jazz Workshop, The Recording Academy, The Songwriter’s Guild of America and the
Nashville Songwriter’s Association International (NSAI). Cliff also served as a multi- term governor on the San Francisco Board of the Recording Academy.
Cliff’s book, The Reason for the Rhymes, explores how learning to write songs can not only enhance creativity and problem-solving skills but also improve the ability to innovate.
Giancarlo Guerrero (conducting)
Giancarlo Guerrero is a six-time GRAMMY® Award-winning conductor, Music Director of the Nashville Symphony and NFM Wrocław Philharmonic and Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon. Guerrero has been praised for his “charismatic conducting and attention to detail” (Seattle Times) in “viscerally powerful performances” (Boston Globe) that are “at once vigorous, passionate, and nuanced” (BachTrack).
Maestro Guerrero has appeared with prominent North American orchestras, including those of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Montréal, Philadelphia, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, and the National Symphony Orchestra. Internationally he has worked in recent seasons with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Brussels Philharmonic, Deutsches Radio Philharmonie, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Netherlands Philharmonic, Residentie Orkest, NDR in Hannover, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Queensland Symphony and Sydney Symphony in Australia. Guerrero was honored as the keynote speaker at the 2019 League of American Orchestras conference.
Born in Nicaragua, Guerrero immigrated during his childhood to Costa Rica, where he joined the local youth symphony. He studied percussion and conducting at Baylor University in Texas and earned his master’s degree in conducting at Northwestern. Given his beginnings in civic youth orchestras, Guerrero is particularly engaged with conducting training orchestras and has worked with the Curtis School of Music, Colburn School in Los Angeles, National Youth Orchestra (NYO2) and Yale Philharmonia, as well as with the Nashville Symphony’s Accelerando program, which provides an intensive music education to promising young students from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Christine Goerke (voice)
Soprano Christine Goerke has appeared in the major opera houses of the world including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh Opera , New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Théâtre du Châtelet, Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, Deutsche Oper Berlin, La Scala, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Teatro Real in Madrid, Teatro Municipal de Santiago, and the Saito Kinen Festival. She has sung much of the great soprano repertoire, starting with the Mozartand Handel heroines and now earning critical acclaim for the dramatic Strauss and Wagner roles. She has received praise for her portrayals of the title roles in Elektra, Turandot, and Ariadne auf Naxos, Brünnhilde in the Ring Cycle, Kundry in Parsifal, Ortrud in Lohengrin, Leonora in Fidelio, Eboli in Don Carlos, The Dyer’s Wife in Die Frau ohne Schatten, Cassandre in Les Troyens, Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes, Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, Alice in Falstaff, and Madame Lidoine in Dialogues des Carmelites.
Ms. Goerke has also appeared with a number of the leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra (in Boston, Carnegie Hall, and the Tanglewood Festival), Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Radio Vara (at the Concertgebouw), Sydney Symphony, New Zealand Symphony, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms, and the Hallé Orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival. She has worked with some of the world’s foremost conductors including James Conlon, Sir Andrew Davies, Sir Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Claus Peter Flor, James Levine, Sir Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Andris Nelsons, Seiji Ozawa, David Robertson, Donald Runnicles, Esa-Pekka Salonen, the late Robert Shaw, Patrick Summers, Jeffery Tate, Christian Thielemann, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Edo de Waart.
Ms. Goerke’s recording of Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra won the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Classical Recording and Best Choral Performance. Her close association with Robert Shaw yielded several recordings including Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, Poulenc’s Stabat Mater, Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater, and the Grammy-nominated recording of Dvorak’s Stabat Mater. Other recordings include the title role in Iphigenie en Tauride for Telarc and Britten’s War Requiem, which won the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance.
This season, Ms. Goerke returns to the Metropolitan Opera for Turandot, the Houston Grand Opera for Les Dialogues des Carmelites, and to the Opéra National de Paris for Elektra. She also appears in concert with the Bayreuther Festspielorchester on a European tour, and with the Baltimore Symphony.
Ms. Goerke was the recipient of the 2001 Richard Tucker Award, the 2015 MusicalAmerica Vocalist of the Year
Award, and the 2017 Opera News Award.
Ida Kavafian (violin)
Internationally acclaimed as a violist as well as violinist, the versatile Ida Kavafian is an artist-member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and former violinist of the Beaux Arts Trio. For 34 years she has been artistic director of Music from Angel Fire in New Mexico, where some 200 Curtis students have participated in the Young Artist Program to date. She was a founder of the Bravo! Colorado festival, serving as its artistic director for ten years; and co-founded the chamber ensembles Opus One, Tashi, and Trio Valtorna. She also performs as a soloist and in recital with her sister, violinist Ani Kavafian.
Ms. Kavafian has premiered numerous works, including concertos by Toru Takemitsu and Michael Daugherty, whose Fire and Blood she recorded with the Detroit Symphony. She has toured and recorded with jazz artists Chick Corea and Wynton Marsalis, and with fiddler/composer Mark O’Connor.
Born in Istanbul of Armenian parentage, Ms. Kavafian is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where she studied with Oscar Shumsky. She made her debut through Young Concert Artists with the pianist Peter Serkin, and also received the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant. She resides with her husband, violist Steven Tenenbom, in Philadelphia and Connecticut, where they breed and train prizewinning Hungarian vizsla show dogs.
Since 1998 Ms. Kavafian has served on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she received the 2013 Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching. She also teaches at the Juilliard School and the Bard College Conservatory of Music.
Adam Levy (guitar)
“A famous musician.” “A musician’s musician.” “A people’s musician.” Adam Levy is that rare soul who both embodies and transcends all these truisms. His work is popular enough that even a casual listener has heard him play and sing on recordings by Tracy Chapman and Norah Jones that possess radio fanbases and a supermarket-aisles audience. Yet Levy is neither defined by, nor avoids the riffs and songs everyone may know. Outside his sideman fame, the 56 year-old musical lifer is an acknowledged artist and songwriter, an inventive collaborator whose guitar sound carries a specific feel and personal style distinguishing him from colleagues, a musician who transcends easy labels. Is he a folk artist? Jazz guitarist? Country, blues, or Americana guy? The answer is, “Yes!” Levy’s purpose, as he makes clear over and over, is to serve the song, and his joy comes from making music with a multitude of others – at times helping them make music of their own.
Levy has spent a lifetime bringing his Gibson ES-335 into a variety of situations: playing partner, music teacher, song ally. Occasionally, as on Spry, a new album of instrumental jazz-trio pieces he recently wrote for and recorded with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Joey Baron, Levy plays the part of session-leader. Spry is his first jazz-oriented studio session album in nine years, showcasing a set of tunes with the “authenticity of emotion” that he repeatedly identifies as one of his creative hallmarks. Or as Levy says in a typically reserved remark which echoes the way he approaches both his own guitar-playing style, and the tutoring he does at various music camps and on his own popular YouTube channel (Adam Levy Guitar Tips): “[Spry is] not a record of solos for transcribing, but maybe a record full of future covers.”
Adam Levy knows about “future covers” because he’s been fluent in various approaches to the American songbook pretty much his entire life, and was partly shaped by the mid-century Los Angeles music business. Levy’s grandfather, George Wyle, was the music director of television variety shows (Andy Williams, Flip Wilson, Donnie & Marie) and introduced young Adam to the values of song, musicianship and studio efficiency. When a childhood music-camp attraction to the guitar blossomed into teenage obsession — more riffing and power-pop hooks than Eddie Van Halen hammer-ons — Levy’s grandfather would jam with him on standards. In jazz orchestra at Thousand Oaks High School, Levy picked up Miles and Monk tunes, and embraced playing just outside the spotlight; at LA’s Dick Grove School of Music, he focused on lyrical accompaniment, not the soloing. Yet he’d still read Guitar Player magazine cover-to-cover, and by the time he moved to the Bay Area in the late ‘80s, with Bill Frisell and John Scofield’s tones in his head and folk-jazz singer-songwriters like Tuck & Patti all the rage, he already knew more tunes and changes than most of his contemporaries.
Levy’s time in San Francisco cemented his core values as a musician and introduced him to like-minded players that helped pave his future. One was jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter, who’d pass on Levy’s name to Tracy Chapman, then looking for a new lead guitar player. (This is how Levy ended up playing on her 1995 album, New Beginning — famously responsible for the signature electric solo on “Give Me One Reason.”) Another was drummer Kenny Wollesen, who became a life-long colleague once the pair moved to New York in the late ‘90s. Wollesen would play on Levy’s debut as a jazz bandleader (2001’s organ-trio date, Buttermilk Channel), and would introduce Levy to a then-unsigned Norah Jones, whose phone-number-on-a-napkin invitation to “let’s play together” fostered a long-term musical partnership that culminated in Levy’s voice, guitar and songs being all over Jones’ first three break-out albums, and touring in her “Handsome Band” until 2008.
The Bay Area was also where Levy acquired his taste for teaching – initially, because of the additional income it provided a young musician, but soon for its social qualities; teaching at weekend camps, retreats and guitar workshops – which he still occasionally does, and relishes. Upon returning to San Francisco years later, Levy would even become a staff-writer/columnist for Guitar Player, writing the magazine’s guitar lessons. (Levy’s relationship with formal schooling would peak in his short tenure as the guitar chair at the Los Angeles College of Music, which is where he says he discovered himself “a fish out of water” in “academic administration.”)
One thing that continually connects Adam Levy’s composing, playing and educating is its approach to music as a social activity, a way to interact with people. He’s spent much of the past 20 years being an in-demand writer and session guitarist, sharing studios and credits with the like of Allen Toussaint, Rosanne Cash, Meshell Ndegeocello, Vulfpeck, Rufus Wainwright, Gaby Moreno, Amos Lee, and numerous others. And though Spry is Levy’s first full album as a bandleader since 2014’s Town & Country, he’s hardly twiddled his tunings when it comes to recording under his own name. Even before lockdown began, Levy’s Bandcamp page was filling up with new songs, sketches and collaborations, an output that grew exponentially as the pandemic went on. The time away from people doubled-down his desire to get into a studio with friends and trusted acquaintances to make new sounds.
Spry is the result, ten new additions to Levy’s songbook that were written specifically for the album with Grenadier and Baron in mind. A guitar-bass-drums trio record was exactly what Levy wanted to do coming out of lockdown; and he’d played with both through the years, alongside Baron in his turn-of-the-century group Killer Joey, and with Grenadier in Rebecca Martin’s group. Levy calls the rhythm section “my dream jazz band.” They certainly fit the mood of the songs — spare, airy, woodsy, blue — three focused instrumentalists threading lines, playing off, around and through each other. They help Levy’s noir-roots reverberate, spotlighting some of his most soulful playing — the backwoods roll of “King Pleasure,” a Delta swing on “And They All Sang,” and “Mitchum” with its sky-is-crying glide — while Grenadier plays the rock, collecting Baron’s back-of-a-bar swing and ride, blues as perfect construction. A damn good trio record of crafted songs.
Craftsmanship, warmth and songs also guide Levy’s thinking when he teaches guitar and songwriting. He says the level of musicianship does not necessarily matter — Levy speaks as warmly about guiding weekend warriors to play ukuleles and sing together at guitar camps, as about budding New School jazz kids learning how to accompany singer-songwriters. It’s clear that what is important to him as a tutor is a dedication to an “always be song-ing” attitude, and to the collaborative coming-together. This is also an energy that Levy brings to his YouTube channel, which is unabashedly for people who play guitars regularly, but also showcases Levy’s relaxed gravitas in his regard for the wonder of music and all of its practitioners. What Levy quietly conveys through his guitar tips and his manner is an unspoken wish for people to go play a song together — and the hope that there is still an audience interested in listening to folks playing songs together.
Danny Matsukawa (woodwinds)
Mr. Matsukawa is principal bassoon of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has been a recipient of numerous awards and prizes, including a solo concerto debut in Carnegie Hall at age eighteen. Since then he has appeared as a soloist with several orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra; the National, Virginia, and Curtis symphony orchestras; the New York String Orchestra under Alexander Schneider; the Auckland Philharmonia in New Zealand; and the Sapporo Symphony in Japan. He has participated in the Marlboro, Tanglewood, Aspen, Saito Kinen, and Pacific (Japan) music festivals.
Mr. Matsukawa was principal bassoon of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., for three seasons. He has also served as principal with the Saint Louis, Virginia , and Memphis symphony orchestras. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he was a pupil of Bernard Garfield. He also studied at the Juilliard School and with Harold Goltzer and at the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division with Alan Futterman.
Mr. Matsukawa joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2002.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin (conducting)
Montreal-born Yannick Nézet-Séguin was appointed as Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera, New York in 2018, adding this to his Music Directorship of The Philadelphia Orchestra (where he has served since 2012) and to the Orchestre Métropolitain (Montreal), of which he has been Artistic Director and Principal Conductor since 2000. He joined Harnoncourt and Haitink to become the third-ever Honorary Member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in 2016-17, and was made Honorary Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra after being their Music Director from 2008 to 2018. Yannick is an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon Recording Artist.
Yannick enjoys close collaborations with Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, Bayerischer Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester and Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and is a mainstay at Carnegie Hall in a variety of settings. In equally high demand as a teacher, he works regularly with students at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, and The Philadelphia All-City Orchestra.
Yannick studied piano, conducting, composition, and chamber music at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec in Montreal and choral conducting at the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey before going on to study with renowned conductors, most notably the Italian maestro Carlo Maria Giulini. By the time he made his European debut in 2004, he had already founded his own professional orchestra and vocal ensemble, La Chapelle de Montréal, going on to conduct all the major ensembles in Canada. His honours include Musical America’s Artist of the Year (2016), and he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada, Companion of the Order of Arts and Letters of Québec, Officer of the Order of Québec, Officer of the Order of Montreal and Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Arturo O’Farrill (piano)
Arturo O’Farrill, pianist, composer, and educator, was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. He received his formal musical education at the Manhattan School of Music and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. Arturo’s professional career began with the Carla Bley Band and continued as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte.
In 2007, he founded the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the performance, education, and preservation of Afro Latin music. Learn more about ALJA here: http://www.afrolatinjazz.org
In December 2010 Arturo traveled with the original Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra to Cuba, returning his father’s musicians to his homeland. He continues to travel to Cuba regularly as an informal Cultural Ambassador, working with Cuban musicians, dancers, and students, bringing local musicians from Cuba to the US and American musicians to Cuba.
Arturo has performed with orchestras and bands including his own Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and Arturo O’Farrill Sextet, as well as other Orchestras and intimate ensembles in the US, Europe, Russia, Australia, and South America.
An avid supporter of all the Arts, Arturo has performed with Ballet Hispanico and the Malpaso Dance Company, for whom he has written three ballets. In addition, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company is touring a ballet entitled “Open Door,” choreographed by Ron Brown to several of Arturo’s compositions and recordings. Ron Brown’s own Evidence Dance Company has commissioned Arturo to compose New Conversations, which premiered in the Summer of 2018 at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, MA.
Arturo has received commissions from Meet the Composer, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Philadelphia Music Project, The Apollo Theater, Symphony Space, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Young Peoples Chorus of New York, Columbia University and the New York State Council on the Arts.
Arturo’s well-reviewed and highly praised “Afro-Latin Jazz Suite” from the album CUBA: The Conversation Continues (Motéma) took the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition and the 2016 Latin Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. His powerful “Three Revolutions” from the album Familia-Tribute to Chico and Bebo was the 2018 Grammy Award (his sixth) winner for Best Instrumental Composition. Arturo’s current album “Four Questions” (ZOHO) is the first to embody all original compositions, including the title track, which features the brilliant orator Dr. Cornel West.
In 2019, Arturo was Artist in Residence for The Greene Space in New York City, for which he created a four-concert series including a newly commissioned composition. The series title was “Radical Acts and Musical Deviancy.”
In 2020 Arturo’s weekly concerts with the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, dubbed “Virtual Birdland,” top the list of 10 Best Quarantine Concerts in the New York Times.
Arturo is Professor of Global Jazz Studies and Assistant Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and has been honored as a Steinway Artist for many years.
Salome Raheim (social work)
Salome (PhD, ACSW) is Professor at the University at Albany-SUNY School of Social Welfare and Dean Emeritus at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. Her scholarship and teaching include increasing cultural competence to improve quality and effectiveness of health care and human services, as well as integrative mind-body-spirit approaches to health and healing. Nationally and internationally, she has served as a trainer and consultant to educational institutions, health and human service organizations and businesses to increase their ability to work effectively in the context of diversity. Details of an on-going international project in which she is a collaborator can be found at: The Privilege Project http://www.dulwichcentre.com.au/privilege.htm.
Dr. Raheim has held many national leadership positions, including National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work Board of Directors, Council on Social Work Education National Nominating Committee, and Corporate Board of Directors, Women and Social Work, Inc., sponsor of the Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work. She is a New York Academy of Medicine Leadership in Aging Academy Fellow.
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Raheim holds the PhD in Communication Studies from the University of Iowa, the Master of Social Work from Catholic University of America, and the Bachelor of Social Work from Bowie State University, a historically black college. She recently completed a Master of Arts degree in Integrative Health and Healing at The Graduate Institute.
Astrid Schween (cello)
Cellist Astrid Schween has gained a rich following and enjoys a varied career as a soloist, chamber artist and teacher. Since joining the Juilliard String Quartet in 2016, she has appeared at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Berlin Konzerthaus, London’s Wigmore Hall, Yamaha Hall in Tokyo, and in Hong Kong, Singapore, Greece, China, Spain, Scandinavia and throughout the US, with concerts at the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, New York’s 92nd Street Y, Ravinia, Tanglewood and the Kennedy Center. With degrees from the Juilliard School, Astrid Schween received her training under the guidance of Leonard Rose, Harvey Shapiro, Bernard Greenhouse, Ardyth Alton and Dr. H.T. Ma, and was mentored as a young cellist by Jacqueline Du Pré and Zubin Mehta. She participated in the Marlboro Music Festival, the William Pleeth Cello Master Classes in Aldeburgh and made her debut at the age of 16 with the New York Philharmonic.
This season, Astrid Schween appears as soloist-special guest artist at the Violoncello Society of New York, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Cleveland Cello Society, Gather NYC, Aronson Cello Festival, in Minneapolis at the 20th Biennial Suzuki Association of the Americas Conference, and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to host a special event in honor of the Guarneri String Quartet. Last season, her solo engagements took her around the US, with a performance of the Elgar Concerto in Boulder, CO, and recitals and master classes at the Boston Conservatory, the University of Maryland, Smith College, the Four Seasons concert series in Oakland, CA and Friends of Music in Kalamazoo, MI. Previously, she appeared as soloist with the Memphis Symphony and at the Peninsula, Interlochen and Sewanee festivals. In recent seasons, Astrid Schween was featured in Strings and Strad magazines, on National Public Radio, and was a guest speaker on Women in Music at the Library of Congress. She appears regularly on Classical music internet platforms such as “Living the Classical Life,” The Violin Channel and CelloBello. Her current collaborations include frequent appearances at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, recitals with pianists Victor Asuncion, Randall Hodgkinson and a soon-to-be-released CD of Romantic cello sonatas with pianist Michael Gurt. She recently recorded Rhapsody for Cello and Electronics with her husband, composer Gordon Green, and a highly acclaimed album with The Boston Trio. Recent collaborative releases appear on the Sony, Centaur and JRI labels.
Astrid Schween is a member of the cello faculty at Juilliard and the Perlman Music Program on Shelter Island. She was for many years on the faculty at Interlochen, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Mount Holyoke College and the Hartt School of Music. She was also cellist of the Boston Trio, a frequent guest with the Boston Chamber Music Society and a longtime member of the Lark Quartet, with whom she earned the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, appeared at Carnegie Hall, Lockenhaus, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival and other prestigious venues. Additional recordings appear on the Arabesque, Decca/Argo, New World, CRI and Point labels. She is represented by Thomas Gallant of General Arts Touring.
John Rojak (bass trombone)
John D. Rojak (BM ’80, trombone) has been a member of the American Brass Quintet since January 1991. He has worked as a bass trombonist with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New York Pops, Little Orchestra Society, Riverside Symphony, and Stamford Symphony. He has performed with the Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic, and has performed and recorded with the N.Y. Philharmonic, Orpheus, N.Y. Chamber Symphony, and Solisti N.Y. He has performed with ballet companies including the San Francisco, China, Royal, Bolshoi, Kirov, and Moiseyev ballets. Rojak has also been the solo bass trombonist in Les Misérables on Broadway, for numerous studio recordings, and has played with the big bands of Mel Lewis, Bob Mintzer, and Gerry Mulligan.
Rojak’s solo discography includes The Romantic Bass Trombone with Robert Koenig, piano (MMC Records); Rhapsody for Bass Trombone and Strings on Eric Ewazen’s Bass Hits (Albany); The Essential Rochut (Belle Records); and Walter Ross’s Trombone Concerto No. 2 (MMC).
Born in New York City, Rojak received his bachelor’s degree from Juilliard, where he studied with Don Harwood. His other teachers were John Coffey, David Taylor, and Sam Pilafian. Rojak was a fellowship student at the Waterloo and Tanglewood festivals.
Peter Susser (composition, cello)
Peter is a Senior Lecturer at the Columbia University Department of Music, where he’s also served as Director of Undergraduate Musicianship since 2011. He has a long association with Columbia, where he earned his DMA and where he has taught as an adjunct instructor for many years. As a composer and producer, Dr. Susser has been commissioned by a variety of orchestras, ensembles and soloists including the Queen’s Chamber Band, the Sage City and New Amsterdam Symphonies, and Speculum Musicae. He is on the faculties of Columbia University and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). In 1990, Dr. Susser was a resident of the MacDowell Colony. He received his Doctorate in Music in composition from Columbia University and holds a Master’s Degree in cello performance from the Manhattan School of Music, where he won the Pablo Casals Prize and the Ravel Competition. His music is available on Albany and Capstone Records. Dr. Susser is a member of MMC’s Board of Directors, and has served as a pedagogical coach to MMC’s volunteer university music instructors since 2010.
Jeanine Tesori (composition, theatre)
Jeanine won the Tony Award for Best Original Score with Lisa Kron for the musical Fun Home. She has also written Tony-nominated scores for Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center; Thoroughly Modern Millie (lyrics, Dick Scanlan); Caroline, or Change (lyrics, Tony Kushner); and Shrek The Musical (lyrics, David Lindsay-Abaire). The production of Caroline, or Change at the National Theatre in London received the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. Her 1997 Off-Broadway musical Violet (lyrics, Brian Crawley) opened on Broadway in 2014 and garnered four Tony nominations, including Best Musical Revival. Opera: A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck (libretto, Tony Kushner; Glimmerglass) and The Lion, The Unicorn, and Me (libretto, J. D. McClatchy, Kennedy Center). Music for plays: Mother Courage (dir. George C. Wolfe, with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline), John Guare’s A Free Man of Color (Lincoln Center Theater, dir. George C. Wolfe), and Romeo and Juliet (Delacorte Gala). Film scores: Nights in Rodanthe, Every Day, and You’re Not You. Ms. Tesori is a member of the Dramatists Guild and was cited by the ASCAP as the first female composer to have two new musicals running concurrently on Broadway. She was the founding artistic director of Encores! Off-Center at New York City Center, and a lecturer in music at Yale University. Most of all, she is the proud parent of Siena Rafter.
Tazewell Thompson (directing, opera/theatre, playwriting)
Tazewell Thompson is an internationally acclaimed director for opera and theatre, an award-winning playwright, librettist, teacher and actor.
His opera Blue with composer Jeanine Tesori, won the 2020 MCANNA Award for Best New Opera in North America. The New York Times listed Blue as Best in Classical Music for 2019. He has more than 150 directing credits, including 30 world and American premieres, in major opera houses and theaters across the USA, France, Spain, Italy, Africa, Japan and Canada, including Glimmerglass, New York City Opera, Teatro Real, La Scala, L’Opera Bastille, Cape Town, Tokyo, Vancouver and San Francisco Opera. His award-winning play, Constant Star has had 16 national productions, garnering 9 Barrymore Awards, 5 NAACP Awards and 3 Carbonell Awards; Mary T & Lizzy K, commissioned and produced at Arena Stage, is the recipient of The Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award; author of Jam & Spice: The Music of Kurt Weill; an adaptation of A Christmas Carol; and a contributing writer to Our War, short plays for Washington DC. His a cappella musical Jubilee: Fisk Jubilee Singers had its world premiere spring of 2019 and played to SRO audiences at Arena Stage. He has play commissions from Lincoln Center Theatre, South Coast Rep and People’s Light & Theatre Company. His production of Porgy and Bess, broadcast Live from Lincoln Center, received EMMY Award nominations for Best Director, and Best Production: Classical Music. He holds the record for directing three productions: Appomattox/ Philip Glass, Lost in the Stars/ Kurt Weill, and his American premiere production from Glimmerglass Festival of Cato in Utica/ Vivaldi all in the same season in three different theaters at The Kennedy Center. He was chosen to rewrite the libretto and direct the premiere staging of Aaron Copland’s The Second Hurricane as part of a New York State-wide celebration of Copland’s 85th birthday. A select list of operas directed: Dialogues of the Carmelites, Death in Venice, Xerxes, Carmen, Don Giovanni, The Tender Land, Street Scene, Pearl Fishers, Norma, Margaret Garner, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Patience, Freedom Ride. He is commissioned by Seattle Opera to write a song cycle and his opera Blue is rescheduled for future productions at Washington National Opera, Chicago Lyric, Minnesota Opera and Mostly Mozart Festival. At schools and conservatories, directed productions and held master classes at NYU, Juilliard, Yale, Dartmouth, Columbia, Tulane, Indiana/ Bloomington, and Kansas/ Lawrence. Chair of Theater Department: St. Ann’s School and Columbia Prep.
His national theatre directing credits include nearly every major theatre across the country including: the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, Roundabout Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Arena Stage, the Goodman, Seattle Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Cleveland Play House, Hartford Stage, Second Stage, Guthrie, Indiana Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Huntington Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company, Syracuse Stage, Playmakers Rep, City Theatre, Virginia Stage, and the Old Globe.
He is a member of SDC, SAG, AFTRA, AEA, AGMA and CAE.
Qiang Tu (cello)
Chinese-born cellist Qiang Tu enjoys a multi-faceted career as a performer, teacher, and advocate for classical music. Now in his third decade as a member of the New York Philharmonic, he has also concertized as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician in Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. In the United States he has performed at major venues in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Honolulu, and Princeton. He has shared the stage with numerous distinguished artists including pianists Garrick Ohlsson, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Lukas Foss; former New York Philharmonic Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow; and former Principal Clarinet Stanley Drucker. As a recording artist, Mr. Tu has released multiple solo albums on the China Record Corporation label and chamber music recordings on the Bridge Records, Cala Records, and EMI labels. A dedicated teacher, he is a member of the orchestral performance faculty at the Manhattan School of Music; early in his career he taught at the Beijing Central Conservatory.
Qiang Tu was raised in a musical family and began cello studies with his father, Zeguang Tu. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Beijing Central Conservatory and a master of music degree from Rutgers University. He is an alumnus of the Music Academy of the West. His major cello teachers have included Bernard Greenhouse, Zara Nelsova, and Paul Tortelier.
When not at work Mr. Tu is a gourmet chef and enjoys the study of rare Chinese art.
Stephen Wadsworth (directing, opera/theatre)
Stephen Wadsworth, a native New Yorker, is the James S. Marcus Faculty Fellow and the director of the Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program at Juilliard. He is an adjunct professor of directing at Columbia University School of the Arts, and a long-time Master Teacher in the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Mr. Wadsworth has directed opera at the Met, La Scala, Covent Garden, Vienna State Opera, Netherlands Opera, Edinburgh Festival, San Francisco Opera, as well as many others, and plays on and off Broadway, in London’s West End, and in U.S. regional theater. He wrote A Quiet Place with Leonard Bernstein, and The Flood with Korine Fujiwara, and is the author of Marivaux: Three Plays and Moliere/Wadsworth: Don Juan (published by Smith and Kraus). He recently translated and directed the first two Beaumarchais Figaro plays—Le Barbier de Séville and Le Mariage de Figaro. He was named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, and is a Creative Advisor for the Sundance Institute Theatre Program. He received Juilliard’s Erskine Faculty Prize in 2009.