Meet the Artists 2018
Peter Rainer, Concertmaster
Peter Rainer, Concertmaster
Violinist/GermanyPeter has been iPalpiti’s Concertmaster since 1994. In his native Germany, he is a concertmaster and a founder of the Kammerakademie Potsdam, and leads an active career as a chamber musician, soloist, and teacher. Since 2007, Peter has been on the faculty of the “Universität der Künste” (University of the Arts) in Berlin and of the “Stern Institute” for young talented students. Most recently, he was chosen by “Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik" to head the string department of “Musikgymnasium Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach,” a school for highly talented musical kids. He is the founder and leader of the Persius Ensemble, focusing mainly on repertoire written for the classical nonet, and has released three CDs; a CD with nonets by Spohr, Clementi and Mozart was chosen by Berlin-Brandenburg Radio (RBB) as one of the best releases of 2007. In 2008, he founded the Merlino String Quartet and has been a member of the Max Brod piano trio from 2012. In 2016, the piano trio released a CD of compositions by Robert Kahn, a wonderful discovery of romantic music in style of Johannes Brahms. Peter has worked as the assistant to Professor Schmieder at the Holland Music Sessions, at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas and at Temple University in Philadelphia. Music-loving children know Peter Rainer through the many interactive concerts he developed for them in the past 20 years, such as Till Eulenspiegel, Ferdinand the Bull, The Horse on the Violin, to mention a few. In the past 3 years, he has appeared at the Festival International de Musique de Chambre en Charente together with iPalpiti artist Jacob Shaw, and continues to collaborate with iPalpiti alumni on international musical projects. Peter studied violin in the U.S. with Professor Eduard Schmieder at the Meadows School of the Arts, where he received his Artist Certificate in 1994 and his Master of Violin Performance degree in 1995. Upon his return to Germany, he was concertmaster of the Brandenburgische Philharmonie in Potsdam from 1996 to 2000. In 2005, he received a commendation from the City of Los Angeles for his leadership of iPalpiti and his contributions to culture.
violinist/GermanyA protégé and a student of iPalpiti Concertmaster Peter Rainer since 2015 at the University of the Arts Berlin, Stephanie is a First Prize winner of numerous competitions, including the International Spohr Competition in 2009. As a soloist with orchestras she performed major concertos such as Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Prokofiev, and Barber throughout Germany and Scotland and, in 2014, performed Martinu’s Sinfonia Concertante under Sir Neville Marriner in a live broadcast on “Radio Suisse Romande.” Prestigious scholarships such as Erasmus, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and German Academic Exchange Service enabled Stephanie to study at famous institutions such as the “Hanns Eisler” Music School Berlin and the Guildhall School of Music in London. She also took violin master classes with Vesselin Paraschkevov, Petru Munteanu, Heime Müller, Pierre Amoyal, Boris Brovtzyn and performed chamber music with Pavel Gililov, Kolja Blacher, Fabio Bidini, and the Belcea Quartet. A concertmaster of Westfälische Kammerphilharmonie Gütersloh since 2012, Stephanie’s orchestral leadership experience include concertmaster and soloist of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie (2014-15 seasons), Radio Orchestra Frankfurt, German Radio Orchestra Berlin, concertmaster of the festival orchestra ORFF-Festspiele Andechs, and most recent 2015-2017 seasons with Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Kammerakademie Potsdam. Stephanie’s community activities include volunteering in Guatemala, teaching a youth orchestra of indigenous kids and, since 2016, singing weekly with refugee kids.
Davide De Ascaniis*
Davide de Ascaniis
Violinist/Italy“Exquisite control” — Baltimore Sun Winner of the AGIMUS Prize in Rome, the Szeryng International Violin Competition in Mexico, and the Grand Prix at the LISMA Foundation in New York City, among other numerous awards, Davide has been concertizing extensively. Following performances with symphonies and solo appearances at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Music Center in New York, de Ascaniis performed in Taiwan at the Taipei Arena for an audience of 15,000 and played to great media acclaim in concert halls in Tokyo (Suntory Hall), Rome (Auditorium Parco della Musica), Venice (Teatro La Fenice), Milan (Teatro dal Verme) and across America. In the United States, de Ascaniis made his debut with the Gateway Orchestra in May, 2014, prompting a Brooklyn Eagle reviewer to write: “His dazzling finger work, musicality, pizzicato and incredible cadenzas evoked the wizardry of Paganini.” He also participated and performed in international music festivals including Orford in Canada, Mozarteum in Salzburg, and the Nippon Foundation festival in Japan. Davide has been an iPalpiti artist since 2012, performing at iPalpiti festivals in prestigious venues throughout Los Angeles, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Soka Performing Arts Center. Born in Italy in 1991 to a family of pianists, Davide's first professional engagement was in 2000 in France, performing Bruch’s concerto with orchestra. After earning a Master's Degree cum laude from the Conservatorio in Vicenza at the age of 16, he was awarded a Diploma at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, and studied in New York with Albert Markov. Last September, de Ascaniis toured Mexico playing the Paganini Concerto with Maestro Franz Krager and received press accolades such “...after this memorable performance, the conductor knelt before de Ascaniis, as never seen, and congratulated him… the audience offered him an endless standing ovation.”
Niv, based in Los Angeles, has made several Carnegie Hall appearances, and has performed in Europe and the Middle East. In recent seasons he has performed recitals and chamber music across the United States, taught masterclasses at universities, soloed with orchestras, and been a featured performer at the Kennedy Center. He is the winner of numerous competitions, including the 2010 American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition and the 2007 VSA International Young Soloist Award. An active member of the Perlman Music Program’s Chamber Music Workshop, Niv is a graduate of The Juilliard School (under Itzhak Perlman and Glenn Dicterow). He serves on the board of the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra (LAYO) and works as a coach with several other local youth ensembles. He has also collaborated with dance companies as a soloist and an arranger for multimedia performances, and collaborated on chamber music with members of the LA Philharmonic for the charitable organization Street Symphony. iPalpiti member since 2013. https://nivashkenazimusic.com/
Azer began his musical studies at the age of eight. At 14, he was accepted in the Musical College of the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory in the class of Professor Maria Keselman from which he graduated in 2007 at the age of 20 with an equivalent of a Bachelor Degree Diploma. Azer participated in master classes and festivals in Dortmund in Germany, Britten-Pearce Orchestra in Great Britain, and Volga Regional Young Symphony festival.
Recipient of the Ministry of Culture Russian Federation’s Stipend, Azer is a Laureate of numerous national competitions. In 2007 Azer received a Diploma at the 14th Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition in Fermo, Italy, and a special iPalpiti prize for participation in the iPalpiti Festival of International Laureates in Los Angeles. In the fall 2010, Azer was accepted into Bachelor of Music Program at Boyer College at Temple University in the class of Professor Schmieder, where, subsequently he completed his Master's degree in 2013, and currently pursues a Doctoral degree in Music Performance. Last year, Azer formed the Philadelphia-based The Amaranth Piano Trio with several performances in its debut season. He is a member of iPalpiti since 2009, including East Coast residency and in concerts at the Kimmel Center and Carnegie Hall, and Los Angeles festivals. In 2012, he performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall as a winner the American Protégé International Competition of Romantic Music. Upcoming engagements include special invitation by the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan to give solo recitals and master class in September 2018
Violinist-violist/USABorn in Oakland, California, Joseph began his violin studies at the age of five. He has studied with Yayoi Numazawa of the Philadelphia Orchestra, James Lyon and Max Zorin of The Pennsylvania State University, and Eduard Schmieder of Temple University. A graduate of the Pennsylvania State University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance, he was honored to receive the Creative Achievement Award, given to only one exceptional student. Winner of many competitions in Pennsylvania, Joseph received first prize in the PSU Philharmonic Concerto Competition performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto (2008). He returns to State College every summer for the Penn’s Woods Music Festival under the direction of Maestro Gerardo Edelstein. Kauffman founded and performed with the “Valens” Piano Quartet, which received First Prize in the MTNA Chamber Music Competition. Most recently, Kauffman (along with his cellist colleague Yoni Draiblate) founded a chamber music concert series in Wayne, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb. As a chamber musician – both as violinist and violist - Kauffman was featured live on classical radio in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. In 2008, Kauffman was accepted into the international class of Prof. Eduard Schmieder in the Master’s Degree program at Temple University, which he completed in 2011, with distinction and received the Albert Tashjian Prize for excellence in performance. He frequently served as concertmaster for the TU Symphony Orchestra and TU Opera Theater. In 2010, Kauffman was selected to join the acclaimed iPalpiti orchestral ensemble of international musicians. He has performed on major concert stages including Disney Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kimmel Center, and the Kennedy Center, among others. He has participated in master classes with world-class soloists and ensembles, including Jaime Laredo, Philip Setzer, Martin Chalifour, the Shanghai, Emerson, the American, the Tokyo quartets, and many others. Currently, Joseph is continuing his violin studies in the DMA program at Temple University, where he is also a teaching assistant. He teaches a talented class of students at the NBS School, maintains a thriving private violin studio, and leads an active performance career. Together with iPalpiti alumnus and cellist Yoni Draiblate, he founded the MUSIC TRANSFORMS concert series in Philadelphia.
violinist/ItalyBorn in Catania in 1986, Lorenzo graduated in 2005 from the Vincenzo Bellini Musical Institute of Catania with cum laude as a student of Professor Vito Imperato, with a solo debut with an orchestra at the age of 11. In 2013, he graduated from the famous Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory with the highest scores in the class of the People’s Artist of Russia Sergey Girshenko. Lorenzo has taken part in over 25 national and international musical competitions, obtaining in all either first prize or absolute first prize. Under the patronage of the President of the Italian Republic, at the age 14, he received a special merit admission to study with Maestro Salvatore Accardo at the Senior Specialization Course of the Walter Stauffer Academy of Music; the honor which is given only with a performance degree, exempts younger students who are deemed by to possess exceptional talent. Lorenzo’s talent has on many occasions been encouraged by famous international musicians, such as Igor Oistrach, Michail Kugel, Rocco Filippini, Katia Ricciarelli, Giuliano Carmignola, Glenn Dicterow, Bruno Canino, Vladimir Skanavi, Irina Bochkova, etc. Lorenzo has given recitals for many important concert associations in Italy, Europe, Russia and in the U.S.A. As a soloist with orchestra, he performed the Ploesti Symphony Orchestra, the Kiev's Camerata, the Russian chamber orchestra and others. Since October 2004, he has been first violinist with "L'offerta Musicale Ensemble." The ensemble, under the guidance of Riccardo Insolia, focus in 20th century and contemporary music. In Russia, he has played in White Hall, Rachmaninov Hall, Small Hall and Big Hall of the Moscow conservatory. He plays a Claude Lebet Violin of 2010.
violinist/Canada-ArmeniaAn emerging violinist on the international stage, Nuné Melik made her solo debut at the Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall in 2016. Based in Montreal and New York, Nuné has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Russia, Canada, the United States, Germany, Denmark, Italy, France and Armenia. An Artist-in-Residence in the Miami Chamber Orchestra since 2015, Nuné has collaborated with Konstantin Orbelian, Nurhan Arman, David Gilbert and has appeared as a soloist with the Sinfonia Toronto, Senior Orchestra of New York and Moscow State Chamber Orchestra. Nuné advocates and promotes the music of her heritage, performing and lecturing about music of the Caucasus in venues like Columbia University (New York), Wayne State University (Detroit), Naregatsi Arts Institute (Erevan), Harvard Club of New York, and on the Jeunesses Musicales Canada tour. Her CD “Hidden Treasure” features the unknown works of Armenian composers for violin and piano. Nuné Melik was chosen as a cultural representative of Canada for the Armenian Genocide’s 100th anniversary in 2015. Nuné has been an invitee artist in multiple musical festivals and series such as Montreal Chamber Music Festival, Passion Classica, Musical Armenia, Strad for Lunch (New York), and 1000 violins de Maurienne (France). Top prize winner of various international competitions, she has received numerous awards in her country, including the Canada Council for the Arts Competition and the Prix D'Europe Competition in Montreal (2015). A multi-diverse artist, Nuné has published a self-written book of poetry in Russian and French, later translated to Armenian. She also starred in the short movie “Where is Music ” (director Serge Gabian) which has won the "Award of Merit" at the Accolade Global Film Competition. Nuné has studied in the Moscow State Conservatory and holds her Masters from the University of Montreal. Her teachers include Albert Markov, Vladimir Landsman, with occasional advises from Maxim Vengerov, James Ehnes and Shmuel Ashkenasi. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate Degree at the McGill University. She plays on a Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi violin (1750) on loan from the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank.
Sami Merdinian, Violinist
Violinist/ArgentiniaHailed by La Nacion for his “beautiful sound and exquisite musicality”, Argentinian violinist Sami Merdinian was named Outstanding Artist of the Year by the Argentinian Press. As a soloist, Sami has recently appeared with the Montevideo Philharmonic, the Argentinian National Symphony, The Gagneung Philharmonic in South Korea, Philharmonia of the Nations at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, and number of the orchestras in the USA. As recitalist and chamber musician he has performed at Spoleto Festival in Italy, Chuncheon Festival in South Korea, Ravinia, Aspen, and iPalpiti festivals in the US, and as a member of the string quintet Sybarite5, he has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, Lincoln Center, and toured throughout United States, Canada, Asia and South America. A prize winner in several international competitions including a Gold Medal in the XII International Young Solo Instrumentalists Competition in Argentina, the European Radio New Talent Competition in Slovakia, First Prize and Gold Medal at the New England International Chamber Music Competition in Boston, he has been featured on WQXR in New York, “Spiegenzall” live from the Concertgebouw, America’s NPR, and the BBC. Together with a fellow iPalpitian cellist Yves Dharamraj and his sister, soprano Solange Merdinian, he founded NEW DOCTA international music festival in Cordoba Argentina, now in its 6th season. Also highly sought-after as tango violinist, Mr. Merdinian has received a Grammy Nomination for "Masters of the Bandoneon" for Best Tango Album. Graduate of The Juilliard School and Yale University, Sami studied with Dorothy Delay and Peter Oundijan. iPalpiti artist since 2009. .
Ryo Mikami, Violinist
Violinist/JapanRyo Mikami has served as a concertmaster of the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra (2007 -2011), currently leads career as an international soloist and chamber musician. After graduating from Tokyo National University of the Arts, he completed his studies in United States (Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas with Prof. Eduard Schmieder) and Switzerland (With Prof. Amoyal in Lausanne), returning to Japan in 2007 to start full-fledged performance career in Japan. http://ryomikami.com/
FEATURED SOLOIST 2017Samuel Nebyu is the Grand prize winner of the 2015 National ASTA (American String Teachers Association) Solo Competition, the “Remember Enescu” International Violin Competition (Romania, 2013), the Flame International Violin Competition (Paris, 2008), and a winner of the Beverly Hills National Auditions (CA, 2014). Born in Hungary of Ethiopian-Jewish descent, Samuel spent most of his early childhood in Asia. He began playing the violin at the age of six. At fifteen, he was admitted to the Young Talents Program at the Brussels Royal Conservatory where he received tutelage from renowned musicians, including Igor Oistrakh. He was a violinist-in-residence for several years at the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Belgium. Currently, he is studying at Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University under Laura C. Carnell Professor of Violin and Artistic Director of Strings, Dr. Eduard Schmieder. Samuel has performed at important international music festivals, including the Eilat Music Festival (Israel), the Mozarteum Festival (Salzburg), the Ravello Festival (Italy), and the Summit Music Festival (New York). As a soloist, he has performed with orchestras such as the Bacau Philharmonic and the Valcea Symphony (Romania), the Brussels Philharmonic, and with the iPalpiti orchestra in Los Angeles. He has given recitals and performed as a soloist in venues such as the Centre of Performing Arts in Brussels (BOZAR), Peles Castle in Romania, the Wiener Saal in Salzburg, the Alice Tully Hall in New York, and the Wallis Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills. In 2016, he received the prestigious Clifton Emerging Artist Award, gave a recital at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, and became a prize winner of the Mozarteum Salzburg Festpiel competition – the only one of 291 violinists to be selected as one of the eight prize winners – and was further honored to conclude the winners concert at the Mozarteum Grosse Saal. His new CD “Violin Gems from Black Composers” was released on BCM+D label this spring.
Violinist/RussiaIn 2015, Semyon was named a principal soloist of the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Society, giving concerts throughout Russia, Finland and Israel. From 2013 to 2015, he served as the assistant concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of the Novosibirsk Philharmonic and toured Switzerland, Germany, France, and Belgium. As a member of the ensemble of violinists “Bright Bows” Semyon performed in numerous international festivals, including the Summit Music festival in New York. Promoe is an Honors Graduate of the Novosibirsk Glinka State Conservatory (with the qualifications of Life Performer, Orchestral Performer, Ensemble Performer, Teacher of Instrumental Performance Majoring in Instrumental Performance) from the class of Professor and Honored Art Worker of the Russian Federation Marina Kuzina. He has also completed Postgraduate studies in performance and musicology. He taught a violin class at the Novosibirsk Music College from 2011 to 2013 and participated in the International Forum Musical Performance and Pedagogy in Jyvaskyla, Finland. As a soloist, he has performed with numerous symphony orchestras throughout Siberia’s major cities such as Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk, Barnaul, and his home city of Novosibirsk. He is a founder of the string quartet Phaeton.
Violinist/Georgia-GERMANYConcertmaster of the Georgian Chamber Orchestra since 2013, Irakli has been calling Ingolstadt home when Audi and the City of Ingolstadt teamed up in 1990 to offer the Tbilisi musicians a new home in the heart of Bavaria. The company and orchestra have been inextricably linked ever since. Born into a musical family in Tbilisi, Georgia, Irakli’s first music training started with Tamaz Batiaschvili and Konstantin Vardeli, both members of the Georgian State Quartet. Since the age of eight, he received regular lessons in Moscow and Germany with Galina Turchaninova, who also taught Maxim Vengerov. At thirteen, Irakli was accepted as a student at the Munich Conservatory, where he also attended the master classes of Alexander Brussilovsky, Boris Garlitzky, Felix Andrievsky and Victor Tretjakov. In 2002, he continued his studies with Professor Victor Tretjakov at the “Hochschule für Musik Köln”. First Prize winner at the music competition “Jugend musiziert” in Germany, he received diplomas in the Louis-Spohr International Violin Competition in Weimar (1999) and at the Paganini International Competition in Moscow (2006), and won Second Prize at the International Violin Competition Valsesia Musica in Italy (2008). In 2007, he recorded a CD of Four Seasons by Astor Piazolla (released by Sony BMG), performing as a soloist with “Kölner Klassik Ensemble.” Irakli is performing as a soloist and in chamber music with eminent musicians and conductors. His concert performances of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Saint-Saëns, Zigeunerweisen by Sarasate and Four Seasons by Astor Piazolla were recorded for Radio and Television and broadcast on ARD, SWR, BR (Bayerischer Rundfunk), and in Tbilisi, Georgia. He was selected to join iPalpiti in 2010. In 2012, he was a selected as one of ten prize winners from 1,003 participants at the Mozarteum Summer Academy Salzburg and concluded the finale concert of the Salzburg Festspiele. Irakli plays Giovanni Paolo Maggini violin of the 17th century as a competition winner in the instrumental foundation of the “Hochschule für Musik Köln” which offers young musicians an opportunity to perform on high quality instruments.
Midori Maruyama started playing violin at the age of four and has studied at the Tokyo college of Music from 2004-2010 with Prof. Takashi Shimizu and Saiko Azuma. During these years she attended many master classes in Japan, Portugal, Italy, and Austria. In 2008 she won the third prize at the Japan Players Competition and also began to study the viola and play a lot of chamber music. She won the 2nd prize at the Osaka International Competition and received a Special award at the Japan Ensemble Competition with quartet.
Since 2010 Midori continues her studies at Scuola di musica di Fiesole in Italy with Antonello Farulli and Felice Cusano as a scholarship student in Corso di Perfezionamento. In 2011, she was awarded the “Grand Prix d’Honneu” at the Concours International de Musique Léopold Bellan in Paris, France, with piano quintet, followed with the invitation to perform at the “Julita Music Festival” in Sweden. As a soloist, Midori received First Prize at the 4th Concorso Musicale Europea Città di Filadelfia and 10th International Music Competition Premio Vittoria Caffa Righetti in 2012.
In 2013, as a member of chamber music ensemble in duo, Midori received First Prize at Concorso Internazione di Musica “Euterpe” di Corato and VII Concorso Internazionale di Musica da Camera Città di Chieti. She participated in master class of Jürgen Kussmaul and in summer course of Jurij Bashmet at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena. As Mozarteum Summerakademie "praistreger", Midori performed in prestigious concert halls in Salzburg Festspiele. Beginning 2014 season, she is a leading violist at The Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra,Japan.
Francesca McGinnis Gilbert
Viola/UKFrancesca Gilbert was born in London and began playing the viola aged 6 at the Junior Guildhall's String Programme. She has studied with Susan Thompson, David Takeno, and has recently graduated from the Advanced Instrumental Studies masters course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Francesca enjoys a varied performance career and has performed in major venues across the UK and Europe, taking part in many chamber music festivals and collaborating with artists and chamber ensembles in the UK such as the London Chamber Collective and the Janus Ensemble. As a member of the Manciu Trio since 2013, she has performed in venues across the UK and also undertaken a concert tour of Germany. Francesca first joined iPalpiti on its Israel tour in November-December 2017.
Violist/TurkeyBorn in 1987 in Ankara, Turkey, Can is a member of the Eskisehir Greater Municipality Symphony Orchestra. His M.A.in Viola is from the Lausanne Conservatory (Bruno Pasquier’s class) and his B.M. in Viola is from the Bilkent University Faculty of Music and Performing Arts, where he was awarded a full scholarship. He also attended master classes of James Creitz, Rusen Gunes, and Tatiana Masurenko at the Ayvalik International Music Academy. Can joined the Bilkent Youth Symphony Orchestra in 2001 and was its Principal Viola from 2005 to 2008. Other leading positions were at Bilkent Youth Virtuosos (2006-2008), touring Turkey and Germany as Co-Principal with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Damiano Guiranna (2007), and as Principal Viola in the Greek-Turkish Youth Orchestra, conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy (Summer 2008). In 2009, he became a member of the Camerata de Lausanne under the leadership of Pierre Amoyal. He has performed in many chamber music and solo concerts all over the world including Turkey, Switzerland, France, Russia, Singapore, Greece, Germany, and Cyprus and has participated in festivals such as the Cannes Festival, the Montebello Festival, the Saint-Riquier Festival, the International Students Chamber Music Festival in Stuttgart, the Youth Composers and Youth Performers, World Music Day, the Festival of Castle of Ankara, and VEKAM Art Festival. He has also performed at television and radio broadcasts on Mezzo, Radio Suisse Romande (La Tribune des Jeunes Musiciens) and Turkish National Television and Radio.
Violist/USA-Germany19 year-old violist Emma Wernig is from Los Angeles, California and a first generation American in her Austrian-German family. Emma is the first place winner of the 2017 Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition and as a result will perform a series of high profile recitals and release a debut CD through Champs Hill. She recently won the Colburn Concerto Competition and will perform with the Colburn Orchestra in Fall 2018. She is a prizewinner of the Rising Stars Grand Prix 2016 International Music Competition Berlin and was the 2016 Leiber & Stoller Scholarship Recipient, receiving $10,000 towards her musical education. As an alumna of the Heifetz Institute, she performed with their Heifetz-On-Tour-Program in Washington, DC and Virginia. She recently participated in the 2017 Gstaad Menuhin Festival Academy, IMS Prussia Cove Masterclasses in Cornwall, England, and the Taos School of Music Festival. Emma’s greatest passion lies in chamber music. She has collaborated with renowned artists such as Lynn Harrell, Clive Greensmith, Ettore Causa, Robert Chen, among others. As a part of the “Chimera Quartet” she won first place at the 2016 Saint Paul String Quartet Competition, the WDAV’s Young Chamber Musicians Competition, and the inaugural 2016 M-Prize Chamber Music Competition at the University of Michigan in the Junior Strings Category as part of the Chimera Quartet. As a member of the Incendium Quartet, she won the Gold Medal at the 2015 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, subsequently featured on NPR’s From the Top. Emma plays on a Viseltear viola generously loaned to her by the Colburn Foundation. Emma Wernig is a Bachelor of Music candidate at the Colburn Conservatory where she studies with Paul Coletti. This is her first season with iPalpiti.
cellist/Kazakhstan-Switzerland-GermanyEldar Saparayev was born in Kazakhstan in 1980 to an artistic family and continues the tradition of playing cello in the 4th generation handed down on his father’s side of the family for nearly 80 years. His father, Professor Zaur Saparayev, began teaching cello to Eldar when he was six. In 1987 Eldar entered the Baiseitova Music School for gifted children in Almaty, Kazakhstan. After completing the School with Honours in 1998, he joined The Kazakh National Music Academy under the tutelage of his father. By 2004, Eldar obtained his Bachelor and two Masters of Arts degrees with honors at the Hochschulle für Musik und Theater in Zurich. Throughout his successful studies in Zurich, Eldar Saparayev completed two years of the exchange program in the class of David Geringas in Hanns Eisler’s Hochschule für Musik in Berlin where he was a recipient of a stipend from the Bernhard Greenhouse Fund. In 2016, he earned the Masters of Arts Degree in Conducting at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana under Marc Kissoczy. Currently, Eldar holds the position of the Chief cellist at the Südwestsdeutschen Philharmonie Orchestra in Konstanz, Germany and is a member of the Philharmonishe Cellisten Köln. He is regularly invited to perform as a guest principal cellist with the New European Strings, the Bayerische Staatsoper München, the Münchener Rundfunkorchester, the Bachakademie Orchester Stuttgart and the Zürich Kammerorchester. In 2015, Mr. Saparayev founded the Lyra Festival Orchestra in Zürich. He is the Chief Conductor of the Euro Sinfonietta Wien, a member of the Wilhelm Furtwängler Foundation, and an artistic director of “Klassik Konstanz,” initiated in 2017 by Saparayev Series of Chamber Music Concerts. Winner of only first prizes in every competition he entered, including 1st Prize in The International Anthonio Janigro Competition in Croatia in 2000, Eldar received numerous international awards and recognitions. In chamber music he had the honor performing with a number of true virtuosos in classical performance, such as Dmitri Sitkovetsky, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Dimitri Ashkenazy, Heinrich Schiff, Bobby McFerrin, and David Geringas. http://www.eldarsaparayev.com
Cellist/Ecuador“Vila brought out the fervour and vitality…consummate projection.” — The Strad Magazine, April 2012 Francisco Vila began playing the cello at age eight and had his solo debut with an orchestra at age fourteen. Having performed in concerts throughout Europe, North and South America, Vila has been described by cellist Janos Starker as “an exceptionally talented young cellist and musician. He is heading for an important place in the world of music.” As a chamber musician, Mr. Vila has collaborated with Nobuko Imai, Zakhar Bron, Gary Hoffman, Wolfram Christ, Martin Chalifour, Michel Arrignon, and others. As a soloist, he has appeared with the Liège Royal Philharmonic, the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia, the Bolivia Clásica Youth Orchestra, the Santander Festival Orchestra, and the Indiana University Philharmonic. He has been a guest artist at the Beaumaris International Music Festival, the Santander Music Festival, and the Stavelot Music Festival, among others. He has also performed at Carnegie Hall with the New York String Orchestra (directed by Jaime Laredo), Japan’s Phoenix Hall (at the invitation of Nobuko Imai), and Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall with Apostolos Paraskevas in a performance of the composer/guitarist’s modern works. As an iPalpiti artist since 2010, he has performed at Zankel Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in a radio broadcasted recital celebrating the bicentennial anniversary of F. Chopin. Francisco’s principal teachers include Janos Starker, Sharon Robinson and Gary Hoffman. He has performed chamber music with Menahem Pressler at Indiana University, where he was also the first-prize winner of the 2009-2010 concerto competition. He is a co-director of the International Music Festival of Esmeraldas (Ecuador) – supported by a grant from iPalpiti Artists International -- an initiative to bring high-level musical performances and master classes free of charge to the region. In its inaugural 2015 season, iPalpiti alumnus violinist Daniel Austrich was among its international guest artists. Currently Principal Cellist of the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra in Denmark - a happy collaborations with iPalpiti alumni concertmaster Vesselin Demirev and Principal 2nd Alexander Dzyubinsky -Vila performs on a fine 1790 Vincenzo Panormo cello, on generous loan from the Saul B. and Naomi R. Cohen Foundation, as well as the “ex-Janos Starker” E. Tubbs bow.
cellist/GermanyConcert soloist/Chamber musician. Graduate of Hochschule Cologne under Prof. Maria Kliegel and Mozarteum Salzburg under Prof. Enrico Bronzi, Heike is a recipient of numerous awards, including 2nd Prize at Brahms International Chamber Music Competition. She has participated and performed at international festivals such as Kronberg Cello Festival and Verbier, including a solo debut in Salzburg Festspiele. Ms. Schuch performs with Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss. Selected to join iPalpiti Artists International, she toured Israel with iPalpiti in November –December 2017.
Cellist/RussiaRussian- born cellist, Egor Antonenko has distinguished himself as a versatile soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. Making his solo debut at the age of eight with the Kaliningrad Chamber Orchestra, he continued to perform with many of the prestigious Eastern European orchestras including the Moscow and Ryazan chamber orchestras, and the Petrozavodsk, Yaroslavi and Volograd Symphonies. Egor has made his American orchestral solo debut at the Longy School of Music performing the Dvorak Cello Concerto with Bard College Symphony, and most recently, performed Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations with the Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist, Egor has performed under the baton of Marius Stravinsky, Leon Botstein, Miguel Etchegoncelay, Gil Rose, Benjamin Zander, Terry King amongst many others. A prize winner in numerous competitions including the International Competition of Moscow’s Young Musicians “Rising Stars”, the 18th “Citi di Barletta” Italian International Young Artist Competition, and “Gradus ad Parnassum” of Lithuania 2nd International competition, he has collaborated in performances with Shanghai and Hausmann String Quartets, William Preucil, the Newport and Lyrica chamber music festivals and the International Music Festival of St. Marks. Egor received diplomas from the Moscow State Conservatory and Central Music School as a student of Maria Zhuravleva, an undergraduate diploma in cello performance at Longy School of Music of Bard College as a student of Dr. Terry King and currently continues at the Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University as Teaching Assistant to his mentor Dr. King. In 2016, Egor toured more than 30 countries, performing over two hundred chamber music concerts through a partnership of the Lincoln Center Stage and the Holland America Line. He also participated in a live performance collaboration between BBC Earth and Holland America Line for a documentary series known as “Frozen Planet Live”. Currently, Egor is a member of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra under maestro Benjamin Zander, as well as principal cellist of Lyrica Chamber Orchestra and has participated as acting principal cellist with Boston Modern Orchestra Project. This is his first season with iPalpiti.
cellist/IrelandA prizewinner of numerous competitions, both in Ireland and the USA, Sinéad O’Halloran is one of Ireland’s most exciting young musicians. After graduation from CIT Cork School of Music, she was offered an Artistic Merit Scholarship for a postgraduate Performer’s Diploma at SMU Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, and currently works with Gregor Horsch (Principal cellist of Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra) at the Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf. Performing in many international festivals including Banff and Prussia Cove, Sinéad is a co-founder and Artistic Director of the Ortús Chamber Music Festival in Ireland. She tours regularly with the European Union Youth Orchestra, Spira Mirabilis and the Irish Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of Bernard Haitink, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Vasily Petrenko. Sinéad is playing on a Robert Brewer Young cello, kindly on loan to her by Steven Isserlis. Sinead first joined iPalpiti on its Israel tour in November-December 2017.
A native of New York, Samuel Shuhan currently resides in Los Angeles where he stays active performing, teaching, recording and composing on upright and electric bass. Shuhan completed his Master’s Degree at the University of Southern California, and is finishing a Graduate Certificate with professor David Allen Moore. As winner of state and national competitions, Sam performed as a soloist with orchestras. He studied classical and jazz and has been performing professionally in and round the upstate New York area, and in various music festivals, including Domaine Forget in Québec, where he also studied with master and pedagogue François Rabbath.
Sara De Ascaniis*
Sara De Ascaniis
pianist/ItalyBorn in Italy in 1987 into a family of musicians, Sara began to play by ear and improvise on the piano at the age of two. At seven years old she entered the Music Conservatory Arrigo Pedrollo in Vicenza, and two years later she gave her first solo recital. By the time she was eleven, Sara was already appearing as a soloist with orchestras throughout Italy. Her performances of Beethoven Piano Concerto n.3 and Schumann Concerto have been broadcast on the national radio and television with high acclaim. After the Master's Degree summa cum laude at the age of 18, she studied at the Santa Cecilia Music Academy in Bergamo with Konstantin Bogino and at the University Mozarteum in Salzburg under Claudius Tanski and Imre Rohmann. In addition, she has worked with outstanding musicians and pedagogues, such as Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Pavel Gililov, Leonid Margarius, Benedetto Lupo and Lilya Zilberstein. Winner of prestigious awards in Italy and abroad, including the Mozartpreis at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and the Baden-Württemberg International Piano Competition (Germany), Sara has been performing as a soloist in prestigious venues in Europe. As chamber musician, she performed with various ensembles from Duo up to Quintet, working together with great artists such as Rainer Schmidt, Wolfgang Redik, Igor Ozim, Enrico Bronzi and Alois Brandhofer. Her numerous appearances have included Aurora Chamber Music Festival (Sweden), Internationaler Konzertverein Bodensee (Germany), Salzburger Kammermusikfestival, LeXGiornate in Brescia, La Societá dei Concerti in Milan. During her studies she developed her skills as a teacher, earning the Master's Degree in Piano Pedagogy at the Mozarteum in 2014. She has recently been appointed Piano Professor at the Music Conservatory Cesare Pollini in Padua. Upcoming engagements include concerts in Europe, USA and Mexico, also with her brother, renowned violinist Davide de Ascaniis. Sara and Davide have been performing together in concert halls worldwide since their childhood.
piano/South KoreaThree-time Beverly Hills National Auditions winner, So-Mang is in demand in Southern California as a soloist, chamber musician, and collaborative artist. As Grand Prize winner in the 61st Washington International Competition So-Mang Jeagal was awarded $10,000, a concerto appearance at the Kennedy Center, and a solo recital on the prestigious Phillips Collection Recital Series. So-Mang also won the 2014 Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, presenting a solo recital at the Liszt Museum in Budapest, Hungary. He performed in many international music festivals and concert series at major concert halls, such as Salzburger Schloss Konzerte of Austria, Konzerthaus of Germany, La Madeleine of France, Seoul Arts Center, J. F. Kennedy Center and Walt Disney Concert Hall. A winner of several national and international competitions, Mr. Jeagal is a recipient of the Grand Prize at the Korea Music Foundation Competition and the First Prize at the Dong-A Music Competition and Asia-Pacific Young Artist Competition. Born in Daegu, South Korea, he began studying the piano at the age of five and gave his debut recital at the age of eleven. He attended the prestigious performing arts high school in Korea, Seoul Arts High School, and received the Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees with highest honors from the Seoul National University. He received Artist Diploma at the Thornton School of Music of USC as a full scholarship student under Professor Kevin Fitz-Gerald, and has participated in masterclasses with eminent concert pianists including Leon Fleisher, Murray Perahia, and John O’Conor.
*iPalpiti Soloists in Encinitas
**iPalpiti Featured Soloist:
iPalpiti Alumnus Eldar Saparaev, cellist/Kazakhstan-Switzerland
Critics around the world say
“iPalpiti provides polish for talented young professional musicians from around the world.”
Los Angeles Times
“…a fitting name for the vibrant string orchestra from which the conductor Eduard Schmieder elicited a lively pulse…the ensemble was particularly noteworthy for its unity of purpose and blend. It was as if the musicians’ hearts were beating to the same buoyant rhythm…lustrous, polished tone and graceful phrasing.”
New York Times
“…rich sonorities [of iPalpiti] audibly took the audience’s breath away – especially whenever concertmaster Peter Rainer, whose technically immaculate tone throughout the night was sweet and thrilling, had a few bars to play – showed that iPalpiti had charms to soothe a hall well filled with music lovers of all ages.”
“This was an invigorating world-class performance by young players with technique to burn and a palpable desire to live every note.”
Los Angeles Times
“…the highlight of this astonishing musical odyssey was the sold-out performance at Disney Hall with elegant Maestro Eduard Schmieder at the helm, conducting this world-class group with a brilliant sense of balance, tension and phrasing.”
Beverly Hills Outlook
“…The musicians played with vivid unanimity and committment… The playing was masterly…”
Los Angeles Times
“iPalpiti played with striking unity and spirit and had an infectious way of making music…All [artists] clearly stimulated each other musically, showing mutual inspiration and respect.”
The Strad Magazine
“…cool display of virtuosity… unified to an often a startling degree…”
Los Angeles Times
“[iPalpiti] performance can be called righteously overwhelming…”
Noord Holland Dagblad
“Exhilaration, thrills, and awe conquer audiences…. These are the stock and trade of Young [iPalpiti] Artists International.”
Los Angeles Times
“When one hears these musicians play, one realizes there is a connection between the title and the musical outcome…when it comes to 24 very talented string players (some have independent successful careers) and a conductor who leads them with great musicality, the result is naturally captivating and exciting.”
Ora Binur, Ma’ariv Daily, Jerusalem
“…an astounding demonstration of seamless and beauteous string playing… memorable, luminous, deeply moving performance…”
Los Angeles Times