View biography in full page >
Nicole Cabell, the 2005 Winner of the BBC Singer of the World Competition in Cardiff and Decca recording artist, is one of the most sought-after lyric sopranos of today. Her solo debut album, “Soprano” was named “Editor’s Choice” by Gramophone and has received an incredible amount of critical acclaim and several prestigious awards, including the 2007 Georg Solti Orphée d’Or from the French Académie du Disque Lyrique.
Nicole Cabell opens the new season with her first stage performances of Bess in Porgy and Bess with the English National Opera. She will also make her Pittsburgh Opera debut as Mimi in La Bohème before returning to the Minnesota Opera for Violetta in La Traviata and to the Cincinnati Opera for Juliette in Roméo et Juliette. In concert, Ms. Cabell will perform a set of songs on texts by Langston Hughes at the Metropolitan Museum, will sing the Mozart Requiem with the Cincinnati Symphony and David Robertson before joining Master Voices and Ted Sperling at New York’s Alice Tully Hall. Future engagements include returns to Atlanta, Japan, Montreal and Detroit.
Ms. Cabell’s last season included performances of the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro with the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Flavia in Eliogabalo with the Dutch National Opera, the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro with Michigan Opera Theatre, and Micaela in Carmen with the Atlanta Opera. Ms. Cabell was also heard in recital at the Frankfurt Opera, Carnegie Hall, the Harris Theater for Music in Dance in Chicago, the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, and in Louisville, Kentucky. In concert, Nicole Cabell performed with the Lake Forest Symphony (Sisters in Song, a joint program with Alyson Cambridge, which was just commercially released by Cedille Records), the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, and in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Cabell’s 2016-2017 season featured her debut as Bess in Porgy in Bess with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, as well as performances of Mimi in La Bohème with the Minnesota Opera and the Cincinnati Opera and of the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro with Angers Nantes Opera in France. In concert, she sang Shéhérazade with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Nashville Symphony and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Oregon Bach Festival.
The 2015-2016 season included Ms. Cabell’s debut at the Grand Théâtre de Genève in the title role of Handel’s Alcina and returns to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Violetta in La Traviata, to the Atlanta Opera as Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, to the Michigan Opera Theatre as Mimi in La Bohème and to the Cincinnati Opera in a new role: Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus. On the concert stage, Ms. Cabell performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a solo recital in Baltimore.
Nicole Cabell’s 2014-2015 season included semi-staged concerts of Don Giovanni with Edo de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony, her Opéra National de Paris debut (and role debut) as Mimi in La Bohème and Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore with the Minnesota Opera as well as a return to Washington Concert Opera as Giulietta in I Capuleti ed i Montecchi. In concert, she was heard with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5, with the Orchestre National de Lille in Poulenc’s Stabat Mater, with the San Diego Symphony in Strauss’ Four Last Songs, with the London Symphony Orchestra in Debussy’s La Damoiselle Elue, in a Puccini-Strauss gala concert in Hong-Kong, as Bess in an abridged version of Porgy and Bess at Ravinia with Bobby McFerrin, at the Oregon Bach Festival in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, at Bard’s Music Festival in Villa-Lobos’ Forest of the Amazon and at SUNY Potsdam in Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem.
In the previous season Nicole Cabell made some exciting role debuts: first as Violetta in La Traviata with Michigan Opera Theatre (seen again later in the season at the San Francisco Opera), then as Medora in Il Corsaro with Washington Concert Opera. She reprised the role of her triumphant San Francisco Opera debut: Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. In concert, Ms. Cabell made her Paris debut in Poulenc’s Stabat Mater, appeared several times in Spain, first with the Orquesta de Galicia in a Barber/Mahler program, then on tour with the RPO and Charles Dutoit in Poulenc’s Gloria. In London, she was heard with the RPO in the same Poulenc piece as well as with the BBC Orchestra, first in Barber’s Knoxville, Summer of 1915 with Keith Lockhart and later in Elgar’s The Apostles with Sir Andrew Davis. Further concert appearances included duke Ellington’s Sacred Music at Carnegie Hall, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Boston Symphony and Charles Dutoit at Tanglewood, and finally in a Barber/Brahms program in Nashville with GianCarlo Guerrero. Nicole Cabell also appeared in recital in Chicago.
Awards include first place in both the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition and the Women's Board of Chicago Vocal Competition. Nicole Cabell was a semi-finalist in the 2005 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and earned first place in the American Opera Society competition in Chicago. She is the 2002 winner of the Union League's Rose M. Grundman Scholarship, and the 2002 Farwell Award with the Woman's Board of Chicago. Nicole Cabell holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music.
Nicole Cabell, host
View biography in full page >
Yo-Yo Ma’s multi-faceted career is testament to his enduring belief in culture’s power to generate trust and understanding. Whether performing new or familiar works from the cello repertoire, collaborating with communities and institutions to explore culture’s role in society, or engaging unexpected musical forms, Yo-Yo strives to foster connections that stimulate the imagination and reinforce our humanity.
In August 2018, Yo-Yo began a new journey, setting out to perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s six suites for solo cello in one sitting in 36 locations around the world, iconic venues that encompass our cultural heritage, our current creativity, and the challenges of peace and understanding that will shape our future. Each concert is an example of culture’s power to create moments of shared understanding, as well as an invitation to a larger conversation about culture, society, and the themes that connect us all.
The Bach Project continues Yo-Yo’s lifelong commitment to stretching the boundaries of genre and tradition to explore music as a means not only to share and express meaning, but also as his contribution to a conversation about how culture can help us to imagine and build a stronger society and a better future.
It was this belief that inspired Yo-Yo to establish Silkroad, a collective of artists from around the world who create music that engages their many traditions. In addition to presenting performances in venues from Suntory Hall to the Hollywood Bowl, Silkroad collaborates with museums and universities to develop training programs for teachers, musicians, and learners of all ages.
Through his work with Silkroad, as well as throughout his career, Yo-Yo Ma has sought to expand the classical cello repertoire, frequently performing lesser-known music of the 20th century and commissions of new concertos and recital pieces. He has premiered works by a diverse group of composers, among them Osvaldo Golijov, Leon Kirchner, Zhao Lin, Christopher Rouse, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Giovanni Sollima, Bright Sheng, Tan Dun, and John Williams.
In addition to his work as a performing artist, Yo-Yo partners with communities and institutions from Chicago to Guangzhou to develop programs that champion culture’s power to transform lives and forge a more connected world. Among his many roles, he is the artistic director of the annual Youth Music Culture Guangdong festival and a UN Messenger of Peace, and is the first artist ever appointed to the World Economic Forum’s board of trustees.
Yo-Yo’s discography of over 100 albums (including 19 Grammy Award winners) reflects his wide-ranging interests. In addition to his many iconic renditions of the Western classical canon, he has made several recordings that defy categorization, among them “Appalachia Waltz” and “Appalachian Journey” with Mark O’Connor and Edgar Meyer, and two Grammy-winning tributes to the music of Brazil, “Obrigado Brazil” and “Obrigado Brazil–Live in Concert.” Yo-Yo’s recent recordings include: “Songs from the Arc of Life,” with pianist Kathryn Stott; “Sing Me Home,” with the Silkroad Ensemble, which won the 2016 Grammy for Best World Music Album; “Bach Trios,” with Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile; “Brahms: The Piano Trios,” with Emanuel Ax and Leonidas Kavakos; and “Six Evolutions-Bach: Cello Suites.”
Yo-Yo was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four and three years later moved with his family to New York City, where he continued his cello studies with Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School. After his conservatory training, he sought out a liberal arts education, graduating from Harvard University with a degree in anthropology in 1976. He has received numerous awards, including the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the Glenn Gould Prize (1999), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), the Dan David Prize (2006), the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award (2008), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010), Kennedy Center Honors (2011), the Polar Music Prize (2012), and the J. Paul Getty Medal Award (2016). He has performed for eight American presidents, most recently at the invitation of President Obama on the occasion of the 56th Inaugural Ceremony.
Yo-Yo and his wife have two children. He plays three instruments, a 2003 instrument made by Moes & Moes, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice, and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius.
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
View biography in full page >
Born in modern day Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. His studies at the Juilliard School were supported by the sponsorship of the Epstein Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America, and he subsequently won the Young Concert Artists Award. Additionally, he attended Columbia University where he majored in French. Mr. Ax made his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series, and captured public attention in 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists followed four years later by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize.
In partnership with colleagues Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma, he begins the current season with concerts in Vienna, Paris and London with the trios of Brahms recently released by SONY Classical. In the US he returns to the orchestras in Cleveland, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Washington, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Nashville and Portland, OR, and to Carnegie Hall for a recital to conclude the season. In Europe he can be heard in Munich, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Vienna, London, and on tour with the Budapest Festival Orchestra in Italy.
Always a committed exponent of contemporary composers, with works written for him by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, and Melinda Wagner already in his repertoire, most recently he has added HK Gruber's Piano Concerto and Samuel Adams' "Impromptus".
A Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987, recent releases include Mendelssohn Trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, Strauss' Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart, and discs of two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman. In 2015 Deutche Grammophon released a duo recording with Mr. Perlman of Sonatas by Faure and Strauss, which the two artists presented on tour during the 2015/2016 season. Mr. Ax has received GRAMMY® Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn's piano sonatas. He has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. His other recordings include the concertos of Liszt and Schoenberg, three solo Brahms albums, an album of tangos by Astor Piazzolla, and the premiere recording of John Adams's Century Rolls with the Cleveland Orchestra for Nonesuch. In the 2004/05 season Mr. Ax also contributed to an International EMMY® Award-Winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2013, Mr. Ax's recording Variations received the Echo Klassik Award for Solo Recording of the Year (19th century music/Piano).
A frequent and committed partner for chamber music, he has worked regularly with such artists as Young Uck Kim, Cho-Liang Lin, Mr. Ma, Edgar Meyer, Peter Serkin, Jaime Laredo, and the late Isaac Stern.
Mr. Ax resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Yoko Nozaki. They have two children together, Joseph and Sarah. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Skidmore College, Yale University, and Columbia University.
Emanuel Ax, piano