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.
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.
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.
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.
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.