2018 ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE: BEN SOLLEE, CELLO
Kentucky-born cellist and composer Ben Sollee came to prominence ten years ago singing Sam Cooke while playing the cello. The NPR sensation was a not a backwoods novelty — Sollee’s spare, exultant interpretation of “A Change is Gonna Come” announced the arrival of a relentlessly curious musical soul for whom change constantly comes. In the decade following, Sollee has recorded roughly an album a year (and nearly that many EPs), in a daunting variety of settings. He has played with trance bluesman Otis Taylor, with banjo virtuosos Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck (in the Sparrow Quartet, with Casey Driessen), and collaborated with Jim James of My Morning Jacket, with DJs, acoustic musicians, visual artists, software specialists and environmentalists. He has helped raise his son and support his family with an ambitious tour schedule. He has cycled 5,000 miles by bike, towing his cello “Kay” behind him as part of the “Ditch The Van” tours. He has been invited to perform and speak on sustainability at a number of festivals including South by Southwest Music (2011) and TEDx San Diego (2012), as well as working with Patagonia Clothing and Oxfam America on musical activism projects. Like his contemporaries Chris Thile and Abigail Washburn, Sollee’s music is difficult to pin down. Following a performance at the Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, the New York Times remarked how Sollee’s “...meticulous, fluent arrangements continually morphed from one thing to another. Appalachian mountain music gave way to the blues, and one song was appended with a fragment from a Bach cello suite, beautifully played.” Ben’s music can be heard in film and on TV, including the shows Parenthood and Weeds and the film Killing Season starring John Travolta and Robert De Niro. Within the past year he has written music for plays, worked on The Vanishing Point virtual reality app, film scores, and completed an interactive sculptural installation. Through the innovative facets of his artistic portfolio he teaches is audience that the modern artist has no boundaries.
Nathan Cole, violin First Associate Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has appeared as guest concertmaster with the orchestras of Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Houston, Ottawa, Seattle, and Oregon. He was previously a member of the Chicago Symphony and Principal Second Violin of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. A native of Lexington, KY, he made his debut with the Louisville Orchestra at the age of ten while studying with Donna Wiehe. After eight years working with Daniel Mason, Cole enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music. In addition to his studies there with Pamela Frank, Felix Galimir, Ida Kavafian, and Jaime Laredo, Cole formed the Grancino String Quartet, debuting in New York’s Weill Hall. Several summers at Marlboro enriched his love of chamber music. While in Chicago, Cole taught at Roosevelt University and coached the Chicago Civic Orchestra. He is currently on the faculty at the Colburn Community School for Performing Arts and Azusa Pacific University, with classes at the Colburn Conservatory and USC. He is also an online teaching artist with ArtistWorks. His articles and photographs have appeared in Strings, Symphony, and Chamber Music magazines. Additionally, the Nathan Cole School of Violin includes a video curriculum of all major orchestral excerpts, plus concertos, etudes, and fundamental lessons. Visit him at natesviolin.com.
Pianist Alessio Bax—a First Prize winner at the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions and a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient—has appeared as soloist with more than 100 orchestras worldwide, including the London Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Japan’s NHK Symphony, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic under Yuri Temirkanov, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Sir Simon Rattle. Recent highlights include inaugurating a new three-year appointment as Artistic Director of Tuscany’s Incontri in Terra di Siena festival; launching Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s 2017-18 season in company with his wife and fellow pianist Lucille Chung; duo recital tours with violinist Joshua Bell and flutist Emmanuel Pahud; solo recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall and the Leeds Piano Festival; collaborations with many US orchestras, including the Minnesota Orchestra and the North Carolina Philharmonic; international engagements with orchestras in Armenia and Hong Kong; and Signum Classics’ release of his recording of Beetoven’s “Emperor” concerto with the Southbank Sinfonia, paired with rarely heard solo works by the master composer. Bax’s acclaimed discography includes a Mussorgsky and Scriabin solo disc; Lullabies for Mila, a collection dedicated to his baby daughter; Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” and “Moonlight” Sonatas (a Gramophone “Editor’s Choice”); Bax & Chung, featuring Stravinsky’s four-hand Pétrouchka; Mozart’s Piano Concertos K. 491 and K. 595; Alessio Bax plays Brahms (a Gramophone “Critics’ Choice”); Rachmaninov: Preludes & Melodies (American Record Guide “Critics’ Choice”); Bach Transcribed; and Baroque Reflections (Gramophone “Editor’s Choice”). At age 14, he graduated with top honors from the conservatory of Bari, his hometown in Italy, and after further studies in Europe he moved to the U.S. in 1994. A Steinway artist, he resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Lucille Chung, and their daughter.
Burchard Tang, viola, joined The Philadelphia Orchestra in September 1999. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in May 1999 from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Joseph dePasquale, retired Philadelphia Orchestra principal viola, and Choong-Jin Chang, the Orchestra’s current principal viola. Mr. Tang has served as principal viola with the Curtis Symphony and the New York String Seminar, and he has performed with the Brandenburg Ensemble. A 1993 winner of the Philadelphia Orchestra Albert M. Greenfield Student Competition, Mr. Tang performed with the Orchestra as a soloist in a Student Concert in November 1993. Other honors include the Temple University Preparatory Division Concerto Competition and second prize in the Senior Division of the Fischoff Competition in 1996 (this is the premier Chamber Music competition in the US). As a chamber musician, Mr. Tang has appeared at many of the country’s top festivals, including Marlboro, Ravinia, Music from Angel Fire, Seattle, and Caramoor. He is a founding member of the Dolce Suono Ensemble. He is currently on faculty at Temple Music Prep, where he teaches viola and chamber music.
Akiko Tarumoto, violin, began her violin studies at age five. Her principal teachers have been Masao Kawasaki, Dorothy DeLay, and Glenn Dicterow. A native of Eastchester, New York, Tarumoto studied at the preparatory division of the Juilliard School and received her Bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature with honors from Harvard University in 1998. In 2000 she received her Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School and joined the second violin section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 2004 she was appointed to the first violin section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim. While in Chicago, she performed on the Rush Hour and Chicago Symphony chamber series, at the Winter Chamber Music Festival at Northwestern University, and on the MusicNOW contemporary series. Tarumoto returned to the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the fall of 2011 as a member of the second violin section, and was appointed to fifth chair of the first violin section in March 2015. In January 2017 she was named Assistant Concertmaster. She is a frequent performer on the LA Phil’s Chamber Music and Green Umbrella series and has been featured as a soloist with the orchestra. She has been heard on the radio stations WFMT in Chicago and KROQ in Los Angeles, and received a platinum record for her participation in the Weezer album Make Believe. Tarumoto has performed in the summer festivals of Aspen, Taos, and Spoleto, Italy. She has also appeared at the Mimir Festival in Fort Worth, Texas, and at the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington in Kentucky.
Priscilla Lee, cello,
joined The Philadelphia Orchestra with the start of the 2016-17 season. A 2005 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, she began studying at the age of five and made her solo debut in 1998 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A native of California, she studied with Ronald Leonard at the Colburn School of Performing Arts and in 1998 went on to the Curtis Institute of Music to study with David Soyer. In 2005 she received a Master of Music degree from the Mannes College of Music, where she studied with Timothy Eddy. Ms. Lee has participated in the festivals of Marlboro, Santa Fe, Seattle, Delaware, St. Denis in Paris, Kingston, Lexington, and Taos. She was a member of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two from 2006 to 2009. She was a founding member of Trio Cavatina, a piano trio that won the Grand Prize at the 2009 Naumburg International Competition. The Trio made its debut at the New School and Merkin Hall’s Rising Star Series, along with Boston’s famed Jordan Hall and Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. Ms. Lee was the principal cello of both Opera Philadelphia (2014-16) and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia (2015-16). She resides in Newtown Square, PA, with her husband, Philadelphia Orchestra violist Burchard Tang, and their two daughters.
Hailed by the Houston Chronicle as “revolutionary chamber musicians,” WindSync is internationally recognized for their dramatic and engaging interpretations of classical music. The young, adventurous group plays exclusively from memory, including elements of staging and choreography, and focuses on building a connection with audiences through dynamic concert programming and charismatic stage presence. Gold Medalist in the National Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and winner of the Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh International Competition the group received the Sylvia Ann Hewlett Adventurous Artist Prize and numerous performance prizes from the CAG competition, including the ensemble’s New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Chautauqua Institution, Washington Performing Arts Society’s Music in the Country series, and the Music in the Park Series of The Schubert Club (St. Paul, MN). Recent performance engagements include the Library of Congress in Washington DC, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center in China, and the Met Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, as well as radio broadcasts by New York Public Radio’s McGraw Hill Financial Young Artists Showcase and Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media’s Performance Today. WindSync is strongly committed to educational enrichment and promoting arts engagement through concerts dedicated to inspiring children, members of the community, and audiences with disabilities. Set in diverse spaces including concert halls, museums, outdoor venues, libraries, hospitals, and schools WindSync has been featured in educational performances presented by The Seattle Symphony Orchestra, The Midland Symphony Orchestra, and the Rockport Chamber Music Festival. As the 2013 Music for Autism "Spotlight Artist", WindSync traveled to five cities across the United States performing concerts specifically developed to provide a safe environment for children or individuals on the autistic spectrum and their families. Past residencies include Ensemble-in-Residence for the Da Camera of Houston Young Artist Program and the Grand Teton Music Festival during the summers of 2012 and 2013, as well as a recurring residency with the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington.
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