iPalpiti 2014 Artists

Artists From Previous Seasons

Peter Rainer, Concertmaster


PETER RAINER is iPalpiti Concertmaster since 1994. In his native Germany, he is a concertmaster and founder of the Kammerakademie Potsdam since 2000, and leads an active career as a chamber musician, soloist, and teacher. He was the founder and leader of the popular Persius Ensemble, focusing mainly on a repertoire written for the classical nonet, and has released three CDs. The latest CD with nonets by Spohr, Clementi and Mozart was chosen by Berlin-Brandenburg Radio (RBB) as one of the best in 2007. In 2008 he founded the Merlino String Quartet, which is touring throughout Germany. Since 2007 he has been on the faculty of the “Universitat der Kunste” in Berlin and of the “Stern Institute” for young talented students and is assistant to Prof. Uwe-Martin Haiberg. Music-loving children know Peter Rainer through the many interactive concerts he developed for them in the past 10 years. His upcoming children project is a new concert-version of “Ferdinand the Bull” commissioned by the Kammerakademie Potsdam. In 2010 he appeared at the “Musikfest Schloss Wonfurt” together with “iPalpiti” alumni Tibi Cziger, Caroline v. Bismarck and Eliah E. Sakakushev. 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. He has been a faculty member at the University of Potsdam since 1997 and has worked as the assistant to Professor Schmieder at the Holland Music Sessions and at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Peter has been a member and leader of iPalpiti since 1994. In 2005 he received a commendation from the City of Los Angeles for his leadership of iPalpiti and his contributions to culture. During recent seasons Peter led iPalpiti in a special concert at the Nestle Center in Vevey, Switzerland, on its US East coast tour at the Kimmel Center and Carnegie Hall, and to the Bay Area in Northern California.

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Davide de Ascaniis


Davide de Ascaniis is considered one of the most promising emerging Italian violinists for his exceptional talent and strong, passionate personality.

He began studying the violin when he was eight years old and graduated with highest honors under the guidance of Stefano Antonello by the age of sixteen.

Davide earned Master’s Degree at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, and participated in master classes with Zakhar Bron, Sonig Tchakerian, Michael Frischenschlager and Igor Volochine.

He made his solo debut playing Bruch concerto  with orchestras  in France, and has since toured in Europe, Canada and Asia both as a soloist and as a member in chamber ensembles.

Winner of International Violin Competitions such as “Alpe Adria”, “Duchi d’Acquaviva”, “Rovere d’Oro”, and the AGIMUS, Davide has held solo concerts in Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, Zurich, Graz, Vienna and Salzburg. He has been featured as a guest artist for major musical institutions and events such as the Musical Afternoons in Milan (Teatro dal Verme), the “Great Performers” in the Bologna Festival (Teatro Manzoni),  the Cini Foundation, the Archivio Musicale G.A. Fano Foundation in Venice, the International Festival Dino Ciani in Cortina d’Ampezzo, the Friends of Music in Padova, the International Music Festival Bled (Slovenia), the International Festival of the Arts Campus in San Gemini, the Mozarteum in Salzburg (Wiener Saal), the “City of Lucca” Festival, the Musical Weeks at the Olympic Theatre in Vicenza and more. More recently he performed at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, at the National Theater and at the National Concert Hall of Taipei and the Taipei Arena, as well as in Montreal (Canada), International Festival of Asahikawa in Hokkaido, and in Tokyo for the Nippon Foundation (Suntory Hall). Prior to iPalpiti Festival, Davide will perform at the Chelsea Music Festival in New York at the invitation of Maestro Kurt Masur.

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Niv Ashkenazi


NIV’s Website 

– I fell in love with the violin in Israel while my parents and I were strolling down a cobble-stoned street corner. We stopped in front of a street violinist and listened to his music.
I was enthralled.  My world shrank to include only the violinist and his music.  Even after he stopped playing, I didn’t want to leave. Though I was only two and a half years old, I knew then and there that I wanted to play the violin. I began playing the violin at the age of 6 and by the time I was 13, I knew I wanted a career as a violinist.

Niv Ashkenazi, winner of the 2010 American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition, had his Carnegie Hall debut at the Weill Recital Hall in March 2010.   Currently, he is studying at The Juilliard School with Itzhak Perlman and Glenn Dicterow for his M.M., where he also received his B.M. in 2012.

Highlights of 2011-2012 season included a performance at Carnegie Hall, honoring Nobel Prize winner Ralph Steinman, two recitals at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. (one as part of the 50th Anniversary of President Kennedys Inauguration and the other in honor of International Day of Persons with Disability).

As a winner of the 2007 VSA [Very Special Arts] International Young Soloist Award he performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., at the U.S. Department of Education and in front of Members of Congress. VSArts also invited Niv to perform for the 2009 Congressional Arts Breakfast, in conjunction with National Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.

As an orchestral musician, Niv has played at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Royce Hall, Disney Hall, and Alice Tully Hall under the baton of such maestri as Alan Gilbert, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, John Williams, and James Depreist. Niv studied chamber music with many teachers including Zvi Zeitlin, Vivian Weilerstein, Earl Carlyss, and his violin teachers include Ronald Copes, Stephen Clapp, and Linda Rose. Niv has participated in many master classes and festivals such as Music Academy of the West, Encore School for Strings, Keshet Eilon in Israel, performing alongside violinists such as Vadim Gluzman, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Itzhak Perlman, Zvi Zeitlin, Shlomo Mintz, Joel Smirnoff, and Monica Huggett. In 2013, Niv attended the Perlman Music Program’s Chamber Music Workshop.

Niv performs for many fundraisers such as  the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), and Shanes Inspiration – an organization which builds universally accessible playgrounds for children living with disability.

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Catharina Chen


Catharina Chen’s Website 

“…beautiful tone, technically brilliant…charismatic and elegant…”

Born in Oslo, Norway in 1985, Catharina began studying violin at the age of 5 with her father. A soloist since the age of 8, she has soloed with all major orchestras in Norway.  Well known to Norwegians through television and radio broadcast programs, Catharina is the recipient of numerous awards, and the youngest musician in Norway ever to be awarded the highly respected and prestigious Oslo City Culture Prize (2004).

Catharina is a Grand Prize winner in the third International Gnessin Violin Competition in Moscow, Russia (2003), and the 2nd Prize winner at the Jeuness Musicale International Violin Competition in Bucharest, Romania (2007).

As participant in different international arts festivals she has given solo and chamber concerts in Norway, Italy, China, Malaysia, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, France, and South Africa. She has been a soloist with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in Tchaikovsky  and Beethoven Violin Concertos  in consecutive seasons 2008-09.  A Graduate of Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo, a leading institution in Norway, where she studied with Arve Tellefsen and Henning Kraggerud, she continued her music education in the USA with the renowned Professor Eduard Schmieder, earning an Artist Diploma from Temple University in Philadelphia.

An iPalpiti artist since 2004, she has performed on the stages of Mozarteum Grosse Hall Salzburg, Carnegie Hall in New York, was a featured soloist at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in 2008, Carnegie Zankel Hall in 2009, and in Israel in 2011. Catharina has been invited as solo recitalist to numerous concert series in California, including THE PREVIEWS in Manhattan Beach, Sundays Live! Broadcast series in the Bing Theatre of the Los Angeles County Art Museum, and Music in the Mansion in Beverly Hills.

In her native Norway, Catharina continues to be an attraction for the important musical and government occasions: in May 2008, she was the only artist invited to perform atthe opening of the prestigious Bergen International Arts Festival,with King and Queen of Norway in attendance. Winning the prestigious “Intro Classic” prize from State Concert Norway resulted in 2009-2011 engagements from solo recitals in New York, Washington, Milan to “Live Classical, Catharina with friends” in Tønsberg, Eurovision in Oslo, and tours with The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra” and Oslo Camerata in Spain and Brazil, recitals in Holland, four weeks of touring across Norway, tour across China, India, and world premiere of “the Moon” by Martin Romberg during Expo in Shanghai.
In October 2011 Catharina was appointed concertmaster of the Norway National State Opera.

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Irina Chepizhnaya


Born in Ukraine, Irina began her violin studies at the age of six. Between 1996 and 2009 she became First and top-prizes winner in eleven international and national competitions, including Grand-prix at the International violin competition “Forte-Maestro.” In 2007 her name was chronicled in the State book of Ukraine “The Pride of Nation.”In 1998 she entered the Music College of the famed Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory, graduating cum laude from the Conservatory in 2007, and receiving postgraduate diploma in 2010 (with Professors Ivanov/violin and Bonduryansky/chamber music).

As a member of chamber music ensemble in duo with pianist Elena Kuznetzova, she won First prizes at the 16th International Chamber Music Competition in Thesaloniki, Greece, International Competition of Slavonic Music in Moscow, Russia (2006), and the 2nd International Chamber Music Competition named after T. Gaydamovich in Magnitogorsk (2009). She is a grant-recipient of the “Russian Performing Art” Foundation and the music foundation by Elina Bystrizkaya.  Irina has received full scholarships and participated in summer festivals such as Mozarteum Summeracademie, Holland Music Sessions, “Zeist music days”, in International Master-classes in Weimar, with Jerusalem and Ysaye Quartets, and eminent violin professors.

Irina was selected to join iPalpiti orchestral ensemble of international laureates in 2010 and since, performed with iPalpiti in Los Angeles, Israel, Philadelphia and New York. As a member of “Young Russian Talents” program she is engaged in touring Russia as a recitalist and giving master-classes to gifted children. Irina has performed in major halls throughout Russia, and has appeared as soloist with such renown orchestras as Russian National Orchestra and Moscow Chamber Orchestra (under Maestros Pletnev and Nikolaev), and with Moscow Philharmonic. Irina has been named a Soloist with the Moscow Philharmonia in 2010.

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Conrad Chow



Born 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, studying with Miriam Fried. Conrad completed his DMA from 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 was winner of the Indiana University Kuttner String Quartet Competition, performing as the quartet-in-residence for the 2001-2002 seasons. As soloist, he appeared with numerous orchestras. Recital performances have included 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 2010 Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall debut. As a member of the prestigious iPalpiti orchestral ensemble of international laureates since 2008, he performed at Carnegie Zankel Hall, Disney Hall in LA, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and Israel.   Being a teacher of one of the leading precollege private violin studios in Canada; his students are winners in many important national and provincial competitions and have made solo debuts with Canadian orchestras, in 2010 he has been appointed to a faculty position at the Canadian Royal Conservatory of Music’s elite pre-college academy.He was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Violin at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia for the 2006-2007 seasons, and was member of the faculty at the Summit Summer Music Festival in New York in 2010.  Dr. Chow has served as jury member and adjudicator of various Canadian competitions, at the international “Remember Enescu” in Romania, and is a presenter of master classes in Canada, the United States, and Asia.

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Azer Damirov


AZER DAMIROV 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. He was a member of iPalpiti in its winter East Coast residency and concerts at the Kimmel Center and Carnegie Hall, its Northern California tour, and iPalpiti festival of international laureates in Los Angeles. As a Winner of the American Protege International Competition of Romantic Music 2012 he performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

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Francesca Dardani

FRANCESCA DARDANI was born in 1988 in Parma, Italy, and began her violin studies at the age of ten. Following studies at the Conservatorio “A.Boito” in Parma, she left Italy aged seventeen and was accepted at the Mannes College of Music in New York to study with Lewis Kaplan. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music in 2010 and continued her studies with Krzysztof Wegrzyn in Hannover (Germany).Francesca received a Master of Arts degree from the Royal Academy of Music, London, in 2013 under the tutelage of Richard Deakin.

The versatility of her playing has allowed her to expand her musical career as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. She has performed throughout Italy, the United States of America, France, Sweden, Holland, Germany and Switzerland. Performances include venues such as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, the London BBC Proms, the Royal Albert Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Ingolstadt “Audi Sommerkonzerte” in Germany and the Snape Maltings Concert Hall in England. Francesca currently performs alongside members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.

Francesca is an avid chamber musician and was invited to participate and perform in many festivals including the Mozarteum Sommerakademie in Salzburg, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, the International Holland Music Session, Aldeburgh Festival, the London Masterclasses, the Aurora Chamber Music Festival (Sweden) and ultimately at the IMS Prussia Cove 2013.

She has had lessons and masterclasses with Maxim Vengerov, Pamela Frank, Pavel Vernikov, Mauricio Fuks, Miriam Fried,Oliver Knussen,Orion string quartet,Gyorgy Pauk, Gerhard Schulz, Thomas Brandis, Latica-Honda Rosenberg, Philippe Graffin, David Takeno, Itzhak Rashkovsky, Werner Hink, James Buswell, Frank Morelli, Hartmut Rohde, and the Ying Quartet.

She collaborated with artists such as Robert Levin, Joseph Silverstein, Vladimir Feltsman, Sir Mark Elder, Pablo Heras Casado, Antonello Manacorda, Paul Nadler, Joann Falletta, Joseph Colaneri, Marin Alsop, Edwin Outwater,Edward Gardner etc..

She is a member of the orchestra Archi “DeSono” String Orchestra in Torino, the Britten-Pears Orchestra in England and was Co-principal of the Orchestra Teatro Regio in Parma.

Francesca’s studies are generously supported by the DeSono Association for Music, the Anna Sosenko Trust, The Derek Hill Trust and the Seary Charitable Trust.

Recently Francesca performed for Yahoo on the Road with pop star John Legend in New York and with Elvis Costello and the Roots on the Jimmy Fallon Show on NBC TV.
Recently Francesca played solo for Andrea Bocelli on Good Morning America.

She is currently violin/piano faculty at the Brooklyn Music House and Tone Academy of Music and still maintains a private studio.

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Nora Hapca


Nora Hapca has won awards in many national and international competitions, including second Grand Prize at the “Remember Enescu” International Competition in 2003 and the Special Artist Prize from Young Artists International in 2004 and 2005. As a soloist, Nora has soloed with numerous Romanian orchestras, and has given concerts and recitals in Romania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, France, Germany. In May 2006, she was invited to represent her country in the “National Music Students Festival” in Kyoto, Japan.

Born in Romania in 1986, she began playing violin at the age of 6. She received her Bachelor Degree in 2008 at the National Music University in Bucharest and continued with the Master program at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz, Köln, under Prof. Mihaela Martin.

As an iPalpiti member with iPalpiti Artists International since 2004, Nora toured the USA, Slovenia, Austria and Israel, performing in prestigious concert halls of Mozarteum in Salzburg, YMCA in Jerusalem, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and Carnegie Hall in New York.

Currently she lives in Germany and is playing in the Academy of the Staatskapelle Berlin. She is also actively involved with the International Mahler Orchestra both as an orchestra player, as well as a regular member of their chamber music concert series in Berlin.

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Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä


KREETA-JULIA HEIKKILÄ (-86) graduated with distinction of London Royal College of Music in summer 2012, where she studied as an AHRC Scholar under Prof. Jan Repko. In 2014 she will graduate also from Sibelius Academy, where she has studied with Prof. Tuomas Haapanen, Mi-Kuyng Lee and Päivyt Meller.

She has recently been appointed as the 2nd concertmaster of the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, which before she worked as a principal concertmaster in Vaasa City Orchestra in Finland. Last seasons she has performed as a guest chamber musician with ensembles such as Jakobstads Sinfonietta, Athelas Sinfonietta and DiamantEnsemble and as an orchestra musician in Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Next season she will perform as an artistic director, founder and a violinist in TEOS Chamber Music Series in Helsinki.

Kreeta-Julia has won a numerous national and international awards, including ‘Kees Wiebenga Prize’ at the Kuhmo Chamber Music Course,’The Young soloist of the Summer Prize’ at Levi Music Weeks, ’The Resital Prize’ at the Suolahti International Music Course and the prestigious Pro Musica and Nordea Awards. In 2003 and 2004 she has been selected as a Young Chamber Musician in Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival. She has played as a soloist with several orchestras such as Danish National Chamber Orchestra, Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra.

Besides her home country, she has appeared as soloist and chamber musician in several European countries and Russia, which include festivals such as Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, KuruFest and Helsinki Festival in Finland, Riga New Music Festival and Classica NordicBaltic Conference in Latvia, Ecuentro de musica de Santander in Spain, Music Alp Music Weeks in France, Harmos Festival in Portugal and Lake District Summer Music Festival in the UK.

Kreeta-Julia has found inspiration and studied chamber music under Paavo Pohjola, Ferenc Rados (IMS Prussia Cove), Johannes Meissl and Hatto Beyerle (ECMA). She is also a first violinist of Copenhagen based Trio Nord (Jacob Shaw, cello and Kristoffer Nyholm Hyldig, piano). With a Finnish pianist Roope Gröndahl (Duo Teos) she has played concerts in Finland and abroad, concentrating in the repertoire of Finnish chamber music for violin and piano. Heikkilä plays an Antonio Stradivarius (1691), kindly on loan from Sibelius Academy.

Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä’s Website

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Ellen Jung


Born in Toronto,Violinist Ellen Jung has performed as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician all over the world. She has been featured with the Korean Philharmonic, Taejon Symphony, Republic of Tatarstan Symphony, North York Symphony Orchestra, the Korean-Canadian Symphony Orchestra, and both the University of Toronto Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. An active chamber musician, Ms. Jung is a member of the award-winning Jung Trio with her two sisters, Jennie and Julie. Together, they have performed throughout North America, Germany, Austria, Russia, South Korea, Kenya and Mauritius. The Jung Trio was awarded the Grand Prize at the Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition, and the Bronze Medal at the Fischoff Competition. They were selected as Debut Artists for the 10th annual iPalpiti Festival of International Laureates, and perform regularly throughout the Los Angeles area. The trio is currently ensemble-in-residence, and Head of Chamber Music at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA. Their first album was released by Groove Note Records.
She has worked with members of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Tokyo String Quartet, Emerson String Quartet, Menahem Pressler, Claude Frank, Peter Frankl, Paul Katz, and while in residence at the Banff Centre, she collaborated with Krystof Penderecki, which culminated in the performance of many new works. She also performed the premiere of “A” for solo violin, written for her by the Canadian composer Lusiana Lukman.
Ms. Jung has participated in summer programs at the Meadowmount, the Banff Centre for the Arts, Mozarteum, and the Norfolk, Orford Festivals. Recipient of numerous awards, Ms. Jung completed her Bachelor of Music in Performance at the University of Toronto with Lorand Fenyves, and Master of Music degree and an Artist Diploma from Yale University School of Music studying with Syoko Aki. Ms. Jung lives in Southern California, and is on faculty at Vanguard University. Ellen Jung’s Website

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Alexandr Kislitsyn


ALEXANDR KISLITSYN  was born in Omsk, Russia in a family of musicians, in 1989. He began to play the violin at the age of five, taking classes 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 concertized 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 that took part in an International Forum Russia-Asia in Indonesia in 2011 and in Thailand in 2012. That same year he graduated cum laude from Novosibirsk Conservatory (under Professor Marina Kuzina-Koifman) where he was a concertmaster of the Symphony Orchestra from 2009.  He also took part in Mozarteum International Summer Academy in Salzburg. Currently, he is attending Temple University’ Center of the Arts, continuing his violin studies with Professor Schmieder. Before he moved to the United States, he was a leader of a string quartet which premiered compositions of contemporary Russian composers.

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Irakli Tsadaia


IRAKLI TSADAIA was born into a musical family in Tbilisi, Georgia. His first music training started with Tamaz Batiaschwili and Konstantin Vardeli – both members of the Georgian States Quartet and teachers at the Tiflis Conservatory. Since the age of eight he received regular lessons with Galina Turchaninova in Moscow and Germany, who also was the first teacher of Maxim Vengerov. In 1997, Irakli was accepted as a student at the Munich Conservatory, being only thirteen. While studying at the conservatory, 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” (Cologne). He received first prize at the music competition “Jugend musiziert” in Germany, diplomas in the Louis-Spohr International Violin Competition in Weimar (1999) and at the Paganini International Competition in Moscow (2006), and the 2nd prize at the International Violin Competition Valsesia Musica in Italy (2008). He was a winner of a competition in the instrumental foundation of the “Hochschule für Musik Köln” that gives young musicians an opportunity to perform on high quality instruments and was awarded with a G P. Maggini violin. 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 internationally known musicians and conductors such as Alexandre Brussilovsky, Ivan Monighetti, Lev Markiz and Vakhtang Kakhidze. His concert performances of Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Saint-Saens, Zigeunerweisen by Sarasate and the 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 for its 2010 annual Los Angeles Festival of International Laureates. In 2012, he was  a selected Prizewinner among ten from 1003 participants at the Mozarteum Summer Academy Salzburg, and concluded the finale concert of the Salzburg Festspiele.

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Joseph Kauffman


 Joseph was born in Oakland, California. He began studying the violin when he was five with Dejin Sun, and later with Yayoi Numazawa of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  During the summers, Joseph participated in international music festivals such as Interlochen, Luzerne, Music in the Mountains, Kinhaven, and Recontres Musicales International des Graves where he worked with many fine musicians and teachers.

Joseph graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 2008 with a BM in Violin Performance, and was honored to receive the Creative Achievement Award given out to one exceptional student.  Joseph was a winner of the Beene, Kroulik, and Brewster competitions in Pennsylvania, and in 2008, received first prize in the PSU Philharmonic Concerto Competition where he performed the Sibelius Violin Concerto.  He returns to Penn State every summer for the Penn’s Woods Music Festival under the direction of Maestro Gerardo Edelstein. Joseph founded “Valens” Piano Quartet which earned 2st Prize in the MTNA Chamber Music Competition.

Kauffman was accepted into the class of Professor Eduard Schmieder in 2008 where he began his studies in the master’s degree program at Temple University, where he is currently is in DMA program. With Prof. Schmieder’s encouragement, he began playing viola and was invited to join iPalpiti as violist for its Los Angeles festivals and on the east coast. As violinist, he often serves as concertmaster for Temple Orchestra in opera and symphonic performances. In 2010 Joseph was violin soloist with the Wayne Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra, and his newly formed piano trio premiered a new commissioned work for violin, piano, and horn. He is on the faculty at NBSM  and actively performs in ensembles, including Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra.

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Midori Maruyama


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 Kussumaul 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.

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Can Sakul


CAN SAKUL, born in 1987, Ankara, Turkey, is a member of Eskisehir Greater Municipality Symphony Orchestra. His M.A.in Viola is from Lausanne Conservatory (Bruno Pasquier’s class) and B.M. in Viola from Bilkent University Faculty of Music and Performing Arts, where he has been awarded with 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 2005- 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 in summer 2008, as the Principal Viola in the Greek-Turkish Youth Orchestra, conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy. 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, Cyprus and 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.

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Adelya Shagidullina


A graduate of the Kazan State Conservatoire, Adelya Shagidullina is a First Prize winner of the International Music Competition in Toglliatty, Russia (2007), winner of the second prize at the All Russian Music Competition (2005), and a First Prize winner and special prize at the international J.S. Bach competition (2003), among others. Named Fellow of the Art Department of Russia (2003-2006), and Fellow of Russian Performing Art (2007-2008), Adelya has performed in Moscow, Paris, and extensively throughout her native Tatarstan and its capital, Kazan. Selected as a principal violist of numerous youth international orchestras under direction of prominent conductors such as Yuri Simonov, most recently in International Youth Symphony of Commonwealth of Independent States, and the Russian and European Symphony Orchestra, Adelya has been working professionally in the Kazan State Chamber Orchestra “La Primavera” and the Kazan State Symphony Orchestra. Adelya was selected to join iPalpiti for its east coast residency in 2009, and since, performed in concerts at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and Carnegie Hall in New York, Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and on tour in Northern California. Adelya is a student of Professor Schmieder at Boyer College, where she received Artist Dimploma in 2010,  Bachelor’s Degree, and from the fall of 2011 is enrolled in the Master’s Degree Program.

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Yoni Draiblate


Born in 1986 to a family of musicians, Yoni began his musical education at the age of five. Since the age of 9, he has won numerous prizes and scholarships, including America-Israel Cultural Foundation prestigious scholarships. As a soloist he has appeared with orchestras such as: the Israel Philharmonic, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Israel Camerata, Tel-Aviv Soloists, has collaborated with renowned artists such as Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta, Pierre Boulez, Kurt Mazur, and has appeared in numerous live recordings for Israel’s main classical music radio station Kol Israel. During 2008, Yoni was the Principal Cellist of the Haifa Symphony Orchestra.  After completing his mandatory 3-year service in the IDF under the title “outstanding musician”, Yoni continued studying in the Tel-Aviv University, graduating with Bachelors degree in Music Performance. He received Master of Music Degree from New England Conservatory in May 2011 working with Prof. Lawrence Lesser.  His other major teachers include Neomi Enoch, Schmuel Magen, Hillel Zori, as well as master classes with eminent cellists and artists as Bernard Greenhouse, Janos Starker, Natalia Guttman, Uzi Wiesel, Gary Hoffman, Wolfgang Boetcher, Alban Berg Quartet, and Amadeus Quartet. A diverse musician, Yoni enjoys a career playing various genres of music including Rock, Folk, Jazz and more. He has performed numerous times in well known music scenes today such as “Rockwood Hall of Music”, “the Red Fish” (Le Poisson Rouge), and “Songs from a room” (‘SOFAR’), New York. This includes a Television performance for NBC network with Andrew Lipke, who was voted Philadelphia’s best singer-songwriter for the year of 2012. Yoni is playing on a 1849 “Jacout” Cello, on loan from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.

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Lars Hoefs


Lars Hoefs hails from Appleton, WI. He attended high school at the North Carolina School of the Arts, received a B.M. from Northwestern University, and a M.M. from the University of Southern California. Lars earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts, also at USC, studying cello with Ronald Leonard. At USC, Lars was teaching assistant for the Contemporary Music Ensemble, winner of LA Weekly’s “Ensemble of the Year.”  As cellist of the Blue Rose Trio, Lars has performed and taught in China, Israel, Brazil, and France, and commissioned works from young composers. With pianist Marek Zebrowski, Director of the USC Polish Music Center and improvisation-partner to filmmaker David Lynch, Lars has championed rare Polish works in New York, London, and Southern California. He has performed quartets with Midori at Disney Hall, toured with Chamber Music America Founder Peter Marsh, collaborated with members of the Ysaÿe Quartet, and has recently joined the California String Quartet. Lars plays regularly with Camerata Pacifica, “the best chamber music reason to get out of the house” – LA Times. Honors include top prizes in the Fischoff, MTNA, Coleman, and Peninsula Chamber Music Competitions. Lars plays an 1822 Thomas Kennedy cello, on loan from the Peter Mandell Collection of Southern California. In demand as a writer, Lars is the program annotator for the Pasadena Symphony. Also a composer, his works and improvisations reveal an interest in musics of the world, and are shaped by the philosophy of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Recent highlights included cello/piano works by Villa-Lobos for festivals in Alaska and Texas, and solo appearances with Brazilian orchestras in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and the Amazonas Filarmônica in Manaus. Lars has performed for iPalpiti’s benefactors events, and in 2011 joined iPalpiti orchestra on its tour to Israel.

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Jacob Shaw


Award-winning British cellist Jacob Shaw has given acclaimed concerts across Europe, USA and Asia, establishing himself as one of the most prominent young soloists based in Scandinavia. “Music Ambassador” for Dulwich College International and highly dedicated to helping and promoting young talents in his own field, Jacob supports the next generation of musicians.

His unique program ideas, original style, and enthusiasm have gained him huge support and admiration as a performer from the public and professional colleagues alike. Jacob Shaw has performed in some of the worlds greatest concert halls; Berlin Konzerthaus, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Guangzhou Opera House, Salle Gaveau, Royal Albert Hall; at top music festivals – Lockenhaus, Kronberg, iPalpiti Festival of International Laureates; as well as with orchestras and conductors such as Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Harbin Symphony Orchestra, Portuguese Radio Orchestra, Michael Sanderling and Adrian Leaper.

In contemporary music Jacob works with composers such as Phillipe Hersant, Alexandre Benéteau, Philip Henderson, Giovanni Bonato, and Sofia Gubaidulina, who personally invited him to her 80th birthday celebration concert series performing her works. After this performance, she described his playing as “wonderful sensitivity, just perfect, absolutely perfect…” Last season Jacob gave one of the first Danish performances of Sir John Taveners piece “The Protecting Veil” for cello and orchestra, the world premiere of a new cello concerto in Beijing by Philip Henderson, and in 2014 he will give the Danish premiere of “Herma”, a concerto for cello and strings by Hafliði Hallgrímsson.

Together with his family, Jacob Shaw in 2009 founded the “Festival International de Musique de Chambre en Charente”. It has grown steadily, continuing to expand, and is now the most important festival dedicated to chamber music based in south-west France.

He frequently gives masterclasses at conservatories and universities all over the world for both cello and chamber music, recently giving classes at CCOM (Chinese Conservatory of Music, Beijing), Sage Concert Hall (Newcastle), Royal Irish Academy of Music (Dublin), Royal Scottish Conservatoire (Glasgow), Shanghai Conservatory, etc. Jacob is a jury member at the FLAME international competition in Paris.

During his studies in London, Paris, Augsburg and Copenhagen Jacob Shaw became a laureate of numerous national and international prizes – 1st prize and 2 special prizes: FLAME international competition (France), Silver Medal: David Popper International Competition (Hungary), 1st prize: Andreas Stein Wettbewerb (Germany), Winner of the Fondation Groupe Banque Populaire prize (France), laureate of the Suggia International Prize for Cello (Portugal), Raphael Sommer Memorial Scholarship, 1st Prize and special prize: Danish String Soloists Competition, “Virtuoso of the Future” from the Sommets-du-Classique festival, “Harby Foundation Prize 2012”, and many other awards and prizes.

Jacob Shaw plays a cello by Carlo Giuseppe Testore, kindly on loan to him from the collection of the Royal Danish Academy of Music (presided by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark).     www.jacobshaw.de

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Dmitry Silvian

Born in 1987 in Odessa (Ukraine), Dmitry Silvian began his cello studies at the age of 7 at the famed Stoliarsky School of Music. Two years later, he was accepted into at a music school for gifted children affiliated with the St. Petersburg Conservatory, in a class of Mark Reizenshtok, and at twelve, was giving concerts in Estonia, France, and at numerous venues with orchestras in St. Petersburg. In 2003, Dmitry moved to France where he entered the Boulogne Conservatory in France under Michel Strauss, and three years later was unanimously awarded a diploma of the highest degree.
In 2006, he entered the Conservatoire National Superior de Musique et de Dance in Paris under Michel Strauss and chamber music with Itamar Golan, earning Diplome Formation Superieur with special mention in 2010, and a Masters Degree in 2013 from Prof. Roland Pidoux and Marc Coppey classes. In France, Dmitry was invited to give a recital at the V. Spivakov Festival in Colmar, performed the Haydn Concerto in C major with the orchestra in Levallois, and soloed with Orchestra of Toulouse with Saint-Saens Concerto at the Halle aux Grains in Toulouse. Recipient of numerous awards, in 2011 Dmitry was named a Laureate of Banque Populaire Foundation and young artist scholarship. In May 2013, Dmitry gave his Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall debut as a First Prize winner of the American Protégé International Competition.

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Mariechen Meyer, bassist

Bassist/Republic of South Africa

Mariechen Meyer was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa in 1989. After winning the coveted Avigail Bushakovich bursary, she started her studies at the University of Stellenbosch in 2008 with Roxane Steffens, completing her Bachelorr’s Degree Cum Laude in 2011.

From the age of 13 she was a principal bassist of the Free State Youth Symphony Orchestra, and in 2006 she joined the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of South Africa on a tour through Germany, also acting as principal bassist.   Winner of numerous competitions in  South Africa, including Musicon Soloists Competition, Mariechen received many grants to attend international chamber festivals, and took part in the MUSICA MUNDI International Chamber Music Course and Festival for Young Musicians, in Brussels, Belgium, and the Stift Festival in The Netherlands. At Interlochen Summer Camp in Michigan, USA, she was appointed as principal bassist for the World Youth Symphony Orchestra.

As a soloist Mariechen performed with the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra, the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. She was one of three South Africans who have been invited to attend a Music Festival with a German Youth Orchestra, performing in Leipzig, Weimar and Dresden. In May 2011 she was one among five selected to attend the Pirastro Strings Elite Soloist Program held annually by Jeff Bradetich in Denton at the University of North-Texas, where she is currently in a second year toward her Master’s degree. This year Mariechen was chosen as one of ten semi-finalists to compete in the International Society of Bassists solo competition.

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Dísella Lárusdóttir, soprano


Described by The New York Times as “reliably breathtaking” and Opera News as having a voice of “bewitching beauty and presence,” Icelandic soprano Dísella Làrusdóttir is quickly gaining international attention for being one of the most promising talents of her generation. With her beautiful voice, compelling artistry, charismatic stage presence, and unusual musical stylistic versatility, Ms. Làrusdóttir is successfully redefining what it means to be an opera singer in this day and age.

Following her critically acclaimed performance in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2007 National Council Auditions and the subsequent documentary filmThe Audition, Ms. Làrusdóttir began an important relationship with the company. During the 2011-2012 season, she was invited to cover the roles of Miss Schlesen in Philip Glass’ Satyagraha and Servilia in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito. During the 2012-2013 season, Ms. Làrusdóttir makes her Metropolitan Opera debut as Garsenda in Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini, starring Eva-Maria Westbroek and Marcello Giordani, and will also perform the role of Woglinde in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung and Das Rheingold. During the 2013-2014 season, she will return to the Metropolitan Opera for its productions of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Strauss’ Die Frau Ohne Schatten, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Dvořák’s Rusalka, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Bellini’s La Sonnambula, and the Baroque pastiche, The Enchanted Island. 

Ms. Làrusdóttir currently resides in New York City.

Website: http://www.disella.org/

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Daniel Bubeck, Countertenor

Countertenor / U.S.A.

Acclaimed American countertenor Daniel Bubeck has emerged as a singer of international distinction in opera and oratorio in repertoire spanning from the baroque to contemporary works. Mr. Bubeck made his professional debut to critical acclaim in the world premiere of John Adams’s El Niño, conducted by Kent Nagano at the Théâtre Musical de Paris-Châtelet. He has since performed the work on four continents with such esteemed orchestras as Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, BBC Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester-Berlin, Orchestra of St. Lukes, Radio Filharmonisch Holland, Adelaide Festival, St. Louis Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Estonian National Philharmonic and Royal Flemish Philharmonic. He has collaborated with such renowned conductors as Esa Peka Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel, Robert Spano, Kent Nagano and David Robertson.

In 2012 he premiered the role of 1st Countertenor in Adams’ newest oratorio, The Gospel According to the Other Mary with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. He will reprise the role with the LA Phil in Spring 2013 for an international tour of a staged version directed by Peter Sellars. This tour includes performances in Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, London and Lucerne. Other upcoming performances include El Niño with the London Philharmonic and The Gospel According to the Other Mary in Amsterdam and the Ravinia Festival.

A noted Handelian, Mr. Bubeck has interpreted numerous operatic and oratorio roles including Giulio Cesare, Rinaldo, Solomon, David (Saul), Guido (Flavio) Armindo (Partenope) and Tauride (Arianna in Creta), Didymus (Theodora) Israel in Egypt and Messiah for companies including New York City Opera, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Carmel Bach Festival, St. Thomas Fifth Ave and Opera Vivente. In February 2013 he will sing Arsamene in Handel’s Serse with Indiana University Opera Theater.

Other career highlights include excerpts from Phillip Glass’ Akhnaten with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by John Adams, Henze’s Das verratene Meer with the Tokyo Symphony, the role of Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Princeton Festival, the American Premiere of Lost Objects with Concerto Köln, music by David Lang, Julia Wolfe and Michael Gordon, a recital tour in China with the Suzaka Trio, Messiah and St. Matthew Passion with American Bach Soloists, Carmina Burana in São Paulo, Brazil and New York City Opera’s VOX new music project.

Daniel Bubeck can be heard on recordings of John Adams’ El Niño (Nonesuch CD /Art Haus Musik DVD), The New Four Seasons with Musica Sequenza (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Sony Music) and on the soundtrack of the Warner Brothers thriller, I Am Legend, music by James Newton Howard.

A native of Wilmington, Delaware, he holds music degrees from Indiana University, Peabody Conservatory and the University of Delaware. He also studied at the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh, UK, and at the Salzburg Mozarteum.


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