Meet the Artists 2017
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.
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.”
FEATURED SOLOIST 2017Korean violinist Gyehee Kim won First Prize and two additional special prizes at the prestigious 2016 George Enescu International Violin Competition, one of which was the iPalpiti Prize to attend the iPalpiti Festival. She is also the prize winner of several international competitions, including Munetsugu Angel International Violin Competition (2017, First Prize, Audience Prize and Central Aichi Symphony Orchestra Prize), Torun International Violin Competition (2016, Second Prize and Best Performance of Bach Special Prize), Isang Yun Competition (2014, Seong-Yawng Park Special Prize), International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians (2009, Third Prize) and Gnessin International Competition for Young Pianists and Violinists (2008, First Prize and Virtuoso Special Prize). At the age of nine, she won the Grand Prize at the Korean Chamber Orchestra competition, becoming the youngest winner in the competition’s history, and, a year later, she made her Seoul recital on the Kumho Prodigy Concert Series. She has since won numerous national music competitions. Additionally, she has performed with numerous orchestras such as the George Enescu Philharmonic, Russian Symphony, Torun Symphony, Bulgaria Pleven Philharmonic, Sudettic Philharmonic, Euro-Asian Philharmonic, Central Aichi Symphonoy Orchestra and more. She has also been invited to perform at international festivals such as the George Enescu Festival (Romania), Moscow Meets Friends (Russia), Cichej Muzyki (Poland) and the iPalpiti Festival (USA), and she was invited to participate in the 2017 Kronberg Academy Violin Masterclasses & Concerts. Kim currently studies at Seoul National University under Young Uck Kim, and previously studied with Joseph Silverstein, Sunny Lee and Bon-jiu Koo. Kim plays on the “Rainville” Antonio Stradivarius 1697, kindly loaned by Munetsugu Collection. Website
Violinist/CanadaBorn and raised in Toronto, Conrad has established himself as a foremost performer and teacher in his native Canada. A review in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald praised “the full, sweet, seductive intensity of Chow’s sound,” and his performance alongside Ani Kavafian with the Columbia Festival Orchestra was hailed as “ornate and satisfying” by the Albany Times Union. He is a prize-winner of the 2006 International Stepping Stone Competition in Quebec and the David G. Whitcomb Foundation’s Young Artist of 2003. Conrad began his violin studies at the age of three at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. His Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are from Indiana University’s School of Music, where he studied with Miriam Fried. Conrad completed his DMA at the State University of New York, Stony Brook (under noted violinists Pamela Frank, Ani Kavafian, and Philip Setzer), and later pursued further post-doctoral work with Eduard Schmieder at Temple University in Philadelphia. He studied chamber music with the Grammy Award-winning Emerson String Quartet and is appearing in chamber music performances with Paul Biss, Christina Dahl, David Finckel, and Miriam Fried. His string quartet won the Indiana University Kuttner String Quartet Competition, performing as the quartet-in-residence for the 2001-2002 seasons. As a soloist, he has appeared with numerous orchestras. Recital performances include the St. Cecilia Concert Series, University of Toronto’s Hart House Sunday Concert Series (broadcast on CBC Radio), Mozarteum in Salzburg, Qingdao Music Hall in China, New York’s Staller Center for the Arts, Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio and George Weston Recital Hall, and, in 2010, Weill Recital Hall for his Carnegie Hall debut. As a member of the prestigious iPalpiti orchestral ensemble of international laureates since 2008, he has performed at Carnegie Zankel Hall, Disney Hall in LA, Philadelphia's Kimmel Center, and Israel. Conrad has been on the faculty of the Canadian Royal Conservatory of Music’s elite pre-college academy since 2010, as well as keeping up one of the leading pre-college private violin studios in Canada – his students are winners of many important national and provincial competitions and have made solo debuts with Canadian orchestras. He was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Violin at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia for the 2006-2007 seasons, and was a member of the faculty at the Summit Summer Music Festival in New York in 2010. Dr. Chow has served as a jury member and an adjudicator of various Canadian competitions and is a presenter of master classes in Canada, the United States, and Asia. www.conradchow.org
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/HungaryHungarian violinist Peter Mezo was born in 1982 to a family with a rich musical tradition. Peter Mezo holds a Master’s Degree in Violin Performance from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, from Madrid and Basel University of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Pécs in Hungary. He has been the first violinist of the Accord Quartet and the concertmaster of the Danubia Symphonic Orchestra since 2014. In 2017, he also joined the Danish National Chamber Orchestra. Since 2012, Mr. Mezo has been a professor of chamber music and string quartet at his alma mater, the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, and also has given master classes in the USA (Rutgers University, Youngstown State University), Denmark (Royal Academy Copenhagen), and in Slovenia (Music Academy). Peter Mezo’s musical career took a turn when, in 2001, he co-founded the Accord Quartet. They gained recognition by winning First Prize at the Leó Weiner Hungarian National Chamber Music Competition in 2003 and First Prize at the International Brahms Competition in Pörtschach, Austria in 2009. Numerous awards include the Thomastik-Infeld, the Kodály, and the Bartók Award from the Vienna-Budapest-Prague International Summer Music Academy; the Hungarian National Contemporary Music Artisjus Award in 2006, and the Junior Prima Award of Hungary in 2010. The quartet took master classes with the greatest representatives of the medium such as members of the Amadeus Quartet, Alban Berg Quartet, Janacek Quartet, Smetana Quartet, Mozaik Quartet, Hagen Quartet and Bartók Quartet. Peter plays on an Italian instrument of the Republic of Hungary.
Violinist/Finland“Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä, through means of her technical ability and passionate playing, proved why she is one of the most interesting Finnish violinists of our time.” — HBL (6/2014) Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä served as a concertmaster of the Danish National Chamber Orchestra and Vaasa City Orchestra and the Oulu Symphony Orchestra in Finland. Besides an extensive solo career, Heikkilä is also a recognized leader in Europe, holding engagements as a concertmaster in orchestras such as the London BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Arctic Philharmonic, the Norwegian National Opera and the Malmö Opera orchestras, the Copenhagen Philharmonic, the Stavanger and Trondheim Symphony orchestras, etc. As a guest concertmaster and a leader of the London BBC Symphony Orchestra, she was the featured soloist on Rufus Wainwright: Prima Donna and Take All My Loves – 9 Shakespeare Sonnets, with the London BBC Symphony Orchestra, released on Deutsche Grammophon in 2015. Heikkilä has soloed with orchestras and given recitals as soloist and chamber musician across Europe, South-Korea, the USA, and Russia. In recent years, she has performed at many leading festivals: the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, KuruFest, the Helsinki Festival, the Riga New Music Festival, the Classica NordicBaltic Conference in Latvia, the Ecuentro de Musica de Santander in Spain, the iPalpiti Festival of International Laureates in Los Angeles, the Gumi International Music Festival in Korea, the Music Alp Music Weeks in France, the Harmos Festival in Portugal and the Lake District Summer Music Festival in the UK. Kreeta-Julia is also the artistic director, founder and a violinist of the TEOS - Finnish Chamber Music Series in Helsinki and is currently a violinist in the Copenhagen-based Trio Nord along with iPalpiti alumnus cellist Jacob Shaw. The summer of 2017 inaugurates the 1st Helsinki Chamber Music Festival of which she is an artistic director and violinist. A prizewinner at numerous national and international competitions, including the prestigious Pro Musica and Nordea Awards, Kreeta-Julia graduated with distinction from the London Royal College of Music in 2012 and from the Sibelius Academy in 2015, where she studied under Jan Repko, Tuomas Haapanen, Mi-Kuyng Lee and Päivyt Meller. Heikkilä plays an Andrea Guarneri (1680), kindly on loan from The Finnish Cultural Foundation. Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä’s Website
Violinist/JapanNoco was born in Morioka, Japan. She started playing violin at the age of four, and received a Winner’s Medal at the Children’s Competition of Japan at age ten. Noco studied at the famous Toho Gakuen School of Music from 1998 to 2001 with Professor Kyoko Suzuki and continued at Toho Gakuen University in Tokyo where she received her Bachelor’s degree in 2005. She was selected as a soloist for the Graduation Concert, named Yomiuri New Young Artist in Tokyo, and awarded the Meiji Yasuda Quality of Life Scholarship. During her studies at the Toho, she had numerous chamber music classes with the Tokyo Quartet. After graduation, Noco worked as a first violin player in the New Japan Phiharmonic Orchestra and Tokyo Philharmony Orchestra, performing in concerts under eminent conductors such as Lorin Maazel and Myung-whun Chung. In 2007, she toured as a soloist with orchestras across Japan. While participating in the Mozarteum Summerakademie in Salzburg, she met Professor Eduard Schmieder and moved to the USA to study with him at the SMU Meadows School of Arts in Dallas in the Artist Certificate Program, and later followed him to Temple University in Philadelphia where she received her Master’s degree. As a soloist and chamber musician, Nobuko has performed in Switzerland, France, Germany, and Japan, in music festivals in France, Japan, Switzerland, Baden-Baden in Germany, and at the Lake George Music Festival in USA. She was invited to join iPalpiti in 2008 and has been playing in its Los Angeles festivals and East coast tours. As a member of iPalpiti, she has performed in prestigious concert halls, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Carnegie Hall in New York. She formed the piano “Primavera Trio” in 2011, which has been touring throughout Japan, with broadcasts and to great attention from the media. The trio released its debut CD album, “Chapel Concert,” in 2014 and, in May 2015, was invited to perform in the largest music festival in Japan, “La Folle Journee au Japon – Area Concert.” Noco actively performs in solo recitals and ensembles in Japan and USA, including the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra.
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.
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.
FEATURED SOLOIST 2017Born in Osaka, Japan, Mr. Takagi has studied music under Takayoshi Wanami, Yuko Mori, Eduard Wulfson and Eduard Schmieder. A laureate of the Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition in Brussels (1997), his other major awards and honors include the third prize at Geneva International Music Competition in 1998 at which no first prize was awarded) and the first prize as the first violinist of the “Eusia String Quartet” at Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, USA 2001. As a soloist, he has played with a number of national and international orchestras including the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, the Osaka Symphony Orchestra, the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra, the Japan Century Symphony Orchestra, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra and the Wuerttembergische Philfarmonie Reutlingen in Germany. Having served as a concertmaster of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago conducted by Daniel Barenboim and as a solo concertmaster of the Wuerttembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen in Germany, Kazuhiro Takagi has been invited to hold concertmaster positions by a number of orchestras all over the world, including as concertmaster of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra (2007-2012), and a solo concertmaster of the Yamagata Symphony Orchestra (2006-2013). Currently, Kazuhiro Takagi performs as a soloist and as a member of the Nagaokakyo Chamber Ensemble in Kyoto, as concertmaster of the Dallas Chamber Symphony Orchestra (USA), and as a member of the Izumi Sinfonietta Osaka. Kazuhiro joined iPalpiti in 1995, and was featured as a soloist in 1996 in Dallas and in 1999 at the iPalpiti Festival in Los Angeles. www.kazuhirotakagi.com
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.
FEATURED SOLOIST 2017“…tender, lyrical, loaded with personality” (Atlanta Journal Constitution), violist Juan-Miguel Hernandez is also recognized for drawing “...the sweetest, most sonorous tone...” (Washington Post). Juan-Miguel is a member of the legendary Fine Arts Quartet and the youngest Professor of Viola at the Royal Academy of Music in London. As a founding member of the Harlem Quartet he performed with them from 2006 to 2012. Winner of the First Prize at the 16th International Johannes Brahms Competition in Austria in 2009, Juan-Miguel is delighted to join as a juror for its 2017 edition. Other top prizes include the National Canadian Music Competition, and the 9th National Sphinx Competition in 2006. As a featured soloist, Juan-Miguel has appeared with orchestras in Atlanta, Seattle, Colorado, Rochester, and Chicago. Performances in recent seasons have brought Juan-Miguel on tour throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, South America, Canada, and the United States. Juan-Miguel has collaborated with distinguished artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Lynn Harrell, Kim Kashkashian, Gérard Caussé, Nicolas Dautricourt, Misha Dichter, the Weilerstein trio as well as Jazz living legends Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Stanley Clark and Paquito D’Rivera. Recent festival and program appearances as guest artist and teacher include the Festival Pablo Casals (Prades, France), the Festival Des Arcs (France), the Amalfi Coast Music Festival (Italy), Orford Academy (Canada), Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival (South Africa), the Salzburg Festival, the Brevard Summer Institute, the Mozaic Festival, Festicamara (Colombia), Montreal Jazz & Panama Jazz Festivals and Musica Mundi International Festival (Belgium). His strong commitment to educate and engage new audiences all around the globe have brought him to reach young musicians and various communities through art convoys in South Africa and Venezuela, various music festivals in South America and outreach projects in Europe and North America. He has appeared on NBC’s Good Morning America, the Today Show and the Telemundo Network. His discography includes three quartet CDs as well as multiple collaborations with Chick Corea, Gary Burton and Norah Jones. In 2010, he was honored with the medal of the National Assembly of Quebec. As a distinguished alumnus of the iPalpiti (2005 to 2010), he returns this season as a soloist in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante at the Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), and the Mozarteum (Salzburg).www.jmhernandez.com
Victor de Almeida*
Victor de Almeida
Violist/Australia-Brazil-USAA double prize winner of the 2008 Primrose International Viola Competition, violist Victor de Almeida makes his home in Los Angeles and is in demand throughout Southern California as a soloist, Principal Violist and chamber musician, as well as scoring in Film and Television. As a winner of the 2010 and 2011 Beverly Hills National Auditions, he was featured in numerous concert series throughout Southern California. Mr. Almeida has held positions as Principal Violist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Associate Principal Violist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. While studying at the Peabody Institute of Music of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, he was Principal Violist of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and a regular substitute violist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Born into a Brazilian and American musical family in Adelaide, Australia – where his parents were the Principal and Assistant Principal Cellists of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra - he began playing violin and piano at the age of three. Victor arranges virtuosic transcriptions for the viola, most recently Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” for Viola and Piano. He is also an avid collector of viola music and takes pride in performing and recording those rare selections. Victor was selected to join iPalpiti in 2012, and has been a member of the iPalpiti orchestra of international laureates and featured as a soloist and in chamber ensembles in 2013 and 2017 during its annual international laureates festivals in Los Angeles.
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.
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.
Violinist-violist/RussiaBorn in Omsk, Russia to a family of musicians, Alexandr began to play the violin at the age of five with Professor Muralev, an Honored Artist of the Russian Federation and the concertmaster of the Omsk Symphony Orchestra. Winner of a number of national and international competitions, including First Prize at the Jyvaskyla International Competition 2011 in Finland and numerous awards from prestigious Russian organizations, he has performed in concerts throughout Russia as a soloist with chamber and symphony orchestras. In 2009, Alexandr toured Finland as a member of a Novosibirsk “Bright Bows” ensemble and was assistant concertmaster of the International Symphony Orchestra, which participated in an International Forum Russia-Asia in Indonesia in 2011 and in Thailand in 2012. That same year, he graduated cum laude from the Novosibirsk Conservatory (under Professor Marina Kuzina-Koifman), where he was a concertmaster of the Symphony Orchestra from 2009. He participated and performed at the summer festivals, including the Mozarteum International Summer Academy in Salzburg. Prior to his arrival in the United States, he was the leader of a string quartet which premiered compositions of contemporary Russian composers. Alexandr received his Master’s Degree from the Temple University Center of the Arts, where he studied with Professor Schmieder (from 2012 to 2016), and served as a concertmaster of the Temple University Symphony Orchestra. He performs in chamber and solo music recitals in the Philadelphia area. With fellow “iPalpitians” Azer Damirov, Akhmed Mamedov, and Joseph Kauffman he founded BlueLine String Quartet, arranging popular compositions to promote classical music to everyday listeners. His interests include photography and he is also a certified personal trainer.
Cellist/IsraelA graduate of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music at Tel-Aviv University, the Hochschule für Musik in Köln, and the Mozarteum University, Salzburg, and working with, among others, Professors Hillel Zori and Clemens Hagen, Ofer receives regular guidance from his mentor Professor Uzi Wiesel. Ofer has performed as a soloist with many orchestras around the world, such as the Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss, the Jeaner Philharmonie, Georgische Kammerorchester Ingolstadt, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, and the Haifa Symphony. His debut recital in Carnegie Hall (New York) took place in February 2010. Ofer is regularly invited to teach and perform in many concerts, recitals and festivals around Europe and Israel, where he had the opportunity to collaborate with numerous appreciated musicians such as Howard Klug, Rudolf Koelman, Ida Bieler, Ludwig Mueller, Tomer Lev, James Maddox, Vladimir Ivanov, Boris Giltburg and many others. In 2015, Ofer joined the “Aviv” quartet for concert tours around Israel and Europe, including concerts in the “Gaia Festival” Switzerland and the Wigmore Hall in London. He is a prize winner of the “Bucchi” International Competition for Cello Playing in the 20th-21st Centuries (2011), the “Enerico Mainardi Competition,” Salzburg (2012), and the Buchman-Mehta School of Music competitions in the solo instrument and Chamber music categories, as well as of special prizes in the “Allegro Vivo” Festival in Austria, and the “Paul Ben-Haim” competition in Israel. Ofer is also a Winner with Excellence of the American-Israel Cultural Foundation. A founding member of the “Testore Quartet” and the “Testore Ensemble,” these ensembles won several prizes and have had the opportunity to perform in many festivals and concert venues such as the Arnold Schoenberg Center, Vienna and the ORF RadioKulturhaus, Vienna, the “35th Musical evenings of Piran,” the “Tartini Festival” in Slovenia, and in the 2nd “Salzburg Chamber Music Festival.” In 2014, Ofer was one of the principal cellists of the Jenaer Philharmonie, Germany. Since 2010, Ofer has been a Principal Cellist of the “Salzburg Chamber Soloists.” As part of his artistic values, Ofer puts emphasis on performing and recording Israeli compositions such as the full Cello repertoire by Paul Ben-Haim, “Kaddish” by M. Kopytman and “Confession” by N. Sheriff. www.ofercanetti.com
Cellist/AustriaBorn in Linz, Upper Austria to a musical family, Gundula studied cello from 1997 to 2013 under the guidance of professors Wilfried Tachezi, Enrico Bronzi and Clemens Hagen at Mozarteum Salzburg, graduating with distinction. Gundula attended post-graduate chamber music studies (2013-2015) at the Music University Vienna with Prof. Johannes Meissl, as well as master classes with eminent cellists Heinrich Schiff, Maria Kliegel, and Wolfgang Boettcher. Winner of the First Prize at the “Prima la Musica” in Salzburg (2001), Gundula continued garnering international prizes, including Third and Special Prize at the International Alpen-Adria Wettbewerb in Gorizia, Italy (2003-2004), and Third Prize at the Enrico Mainardi Wettbewerb in Salzburg, Austria (2012). Gundula performs regularly as a chamber musician throughout Europe and was featured as a soloist in the Haydn Concerto, Haydn Concertante, Beethoven Triple Concerto, Boccherini Concerto, Tschaikovsky Rokoko-Variations with orchestras including Tonkünstler Orchester Wien,Pro Musica Salzburg, and Sinfonieorchester of Mozarteum Salzburg. She has performed in prestigious festivals such as the Edinburgh Festival, Salzburg Festival, Mozartwoche Salzburg, Bergerac Festival and many more, with renowned musicians such as Barbara Bonney, Sophie Pacini, Fazil Say, Marian Migdal and Martin Grubinger. As an orchestral musician, she was the youngest talent to be offered a fixed contract with the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg (2009), played regularly in the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra since 2015 and, since 2016, has been a Guest Principal Cellist of the Royal Opera in Brussels. In the past years, she has performed under conductors such as Zubin Metha, Valery Gergiev, Gustavo Dudamel, Mariss Jansons, Yannick Nezet Seguin, and others.
Cello/FinlandMember of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and a faculty member at the Sibelius Academy, Jaani is an active and passionate soloist, chamber musician and teacher. Graduate of the Sibelius Academy in 2013, he has been a laureate of many competitions: in 2010 he was the first prize winner in the string competition at the ISA-festival in Austria and a second prize winner in the Turku National Cello Competition in Finland. He has been a soloist with many orchestras in Finland and in Austria with the Spirit of Europe. In 2013, he gave the Finnish premiere of Uljas Pulkkis’s “Dragonfly”concerto with the Nya Tidens Ensemble. Jaani has studied with Prof. Martti Rousi in Finland, Prof. Christoph Richter in Essen, Germany, and Prof. Natalia Gutman in Florence, Italy. Chamber music is Jaani’s true passion and he has performed at several festivals in Finland and abroad, in the USA and Greece, among others. He joined iPalpiti in 2016 as an “emergency” cellist, after being recommended by iPalpiti’s Finnish violinist Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä; “plucked” from his vacation in Zagreb, arriving on a day’s notice, Jaani was an instant, perfect fit. He and Kreeta-Julia launched the Helsinki Chamber Music Festival with its first season July 2017. Jaani Helander plays a Vincenzo Postiglione cello (1914), on loan to him from the Finnish-Swedish Instrument Foundation. WEBSITE
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.
Republic of South Africa
Bassist/Republic of South AfricaSouth African bassist Mariechen Meyer was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa in 1989. She started her double bass studies with Peter Guy in Bloemfontein, and graduated cum laude from the University of Stellenbosch in 2011 on a string scholarship under the Dutch pedagogue and performer, Roxane Steffen. From a young age, she was appointed principal bassist of several orchestras such as the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of South Africa, the World Youth Symphony Orchestra in USA, and the University of North Texas Symphony Orchestra. Mariechen has been invited to numerous international chamber festivals, among which are the International Chamber Festival in Stellenbosch (South Africa), MUSICA MUNDI International Chamber Music Course and Festival for Young Musicians in Belgium, the Stift Festival in The Netherlands, and the Interlochen Summer Camp in Michigan, USA, where she worked with Leon Bosch, Lawrence Hurst, Jack Budrow and Zoran Markovic. As a soloist, Mariechen has performed with the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra (2004) and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (2008). Currently, Mariechen is pursuing her Doctoral Degree at the University of North Texas in Denton, where she also completed her Master’s Degree, studying with the world-renowned double bass pedagogue and soloist Jeff Bradetich. In 2013, she was a winner of the University of North Texas Concerto Competition, second prize winner of the Mid-Texas Symphony Solo Competition and a semi-finalist in the prestigious solo competition if the International Society of Bassists. She plays on a modern Rumano Solano bass, owned by Gudrun Raschen. This is her third season with iPalpiti.
*iPalpiti Soloists in Encinitas
**iPalpiti Featured Soloists:
iPalpiti Alumnus Juan-Miguel Hernandez, violist/Canada
iPalpiti Junior Samuel Nebyu, violinist/Hungary
iPalpiti Alumnus Kazuhiro Takagi, violinist/Japan
iPalpiti Special Prize Gyehee Kim, violinist/Korea
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