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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
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Violinist and composer Colin Jacobsen is
"one of the most interesting figures on the classical music scene"
(Washington Post). An eclectic composer who draws on a range of
influences, he was named one of the top 100 composers under 40 by
NPR listeners. He is also active as an Avery Fisher Career
Grant-winning soloist and a touring member of Yo-Yo Ma's famed Silk
Road Ensemble. For his work as a founding member of two
game-changing, audience-expanding ensembles - the string quartet
Brooklyn Rider and orchestra The Knights - Jacobsen was recently
selected from among the nation's top visual, performing, media, and
literary artists to receive a prestigious and substantial United
States Artists Fellowship.
In 2005, the violinist founded Brooklyn
Rider with violinist Johnny Gandelsman, violist Nicholas Cords, and
his brother, cellist Eric Jacobsen. Hailed as "one of the wonders
of contemporary music" (Los Angeles Times), the quartet combines
true new-music chops and genre-bending innovation with an equal
mastery of the classics. Together its members have presented a
wealth of world premieres and toured extensively across North
America, Asia and Europe, in venues ranging from clubs and rock
festivals to Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. The group's artistic
partnerships span the musical spectrum from Philip Glass and
Osvaldo Golijov to John Zorn, and from singer-songwriter Suzanne
Vega to banjo legend Béla Fleck and Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man.
Brooklyn Rider's recordings Passport, Dominant Curve and Seven
Steps all made NPR's best-of-the-year lists; the group's Silent
City, its collaboration with Iranian kamancheh player Kayhan
Kalhor, was named one of Rhapsody's Best World Music Albums of the
Decade; and with Brooklyn Rider Plays Philip Glass, the four
musicians proved themselves "stunning interpreters" (Time Out
Chicago) of the composer's music. In 2006, they founded Minnesota's
Stillwater Music Festival as a place to unveil new repertoire and
collaborations, and the quartet enjoys educational residencies at
Dartmouth College, UNC Chapel Hill, and the University of
It was to foster the intimacy and
camaraderie of chamber music on the orchestral stage that Jacobsen
and his brother, conductor and cellist Eric Jacobsen, founded The
Knights. As the New Yorker reports, "few ensembles are as adept at
mixing old music with new as the dynamic young Brooklyn orchestra."
The "consistently inventive, infectiously engaged indie ensemble"
(New York Times) has appeared at New York venues ranging from
Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the 92nd Street Y to Central
Park and (Le) Poisson Rouge, storied concert halls worldwide
including Dresden Musikfestspiele, Cologne Philharmonie, Düsseldorf
Tonhalle, and National Gallery of Dublin. The orchestra recently
added an all-Beethoven album to its Sony Classical discography,
their third on the label, with Jacobsen as soloist with Jan Vogler
and Antti Siirala in the Triple Concerto. The Knights' discography
also includes Jan Vogler and The Knights Experience: Live from New
York, juxtaposing Shostakovich with Jimi Hendrix; New Worlds, a
celebration of the Americas that features works by Copland, Ives,
Dvorák, Golijov, and Gabriela Lena Frank; and A Second in Silence,
pairing Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony with the minimalism of
Philip Glass, Erik Satie, and Morton Feldman. We Are The Knights, a
documentary film produced by Thirteen/WNET and hosted by Paula
Zahn, premiered in September 2011.
Colin Jacobsen's work as a composer
developed as a natural outgrowth of his chamber and orchestral
collaborations. Jointly inspired by encounters with leading
exponents of non-Western traditions and by his own classical
heritage, his writing reveals an eclectic personal voice with a
"knack for spinning lines with an elasticity that sounds uncannily
like improvisation" (New York Times). Among Jacobsen's most notable
compositions for Brooklyn Rider are Brooklesca, an homage to his
Brooklyn home; Beloved, do not let me be discouraged..., as heard
on the quartet's acclaimed recording with Kayhan Kalhor; and
Achille's Heel, which is showcased on Dominant Curve. His most
recent compositions for the group include Three Miniatures -
"vivacious, deftly drawn sketches" (New York Times), which were
written for the reopening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's
Islamic art galleries. Jacobsen collaborated with Iran's Siamak
Aghaei to write a Persian folk-inflected composition, Ascending
Bird, which he performed as soloist with the YouTube Symphony
Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House, in a concert that was streamed
live by millions of viewers worldwide. His work for dance and
theater includes music for Compagnia de' Colombari's theatrical
production of Walt Whitman's Song of Myself.
As a touring member of Yo-Yo Ma's
venerated Silk Road Project since its founding in 2000, Jacobsen
has participated in residencies and performances at the Art
Institute of Chicago, the Hollywood Bowl, and across the U.S., as
well as in Azerbaijan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and
Switzerland. Highlights of his journeys with the ensemble include
performances in front of the world's largest wooden Buddha statue
in Nara, Japan; as part of Lincoln Center's 50th anniversary
celebrations; at the opening of the Shanghai Special Olympics; and
at the Red Fort in Agra, India. He appears on all six of the Silk
Road Ensemble's albums.
As a violin soloist, Jacobsen was "born
to the instrument and its sweet, lyrical possibilities" (New York
Times). He has collaborated with orchestras including the New York
Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony, and has premiered
concertos by Kevin Beavers and Lisa Bielawa. He has performed with
such prominent artists as Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Steven Isserlis,
Yo-Yo Ma, Christian Tetzlaff, Mitsuko Uchida, and composer Tan Dun,
with whom he toured China. With Pink Floyd's Roger Waters as
narrator, Jacobsen recently performed Stravinsky's L'histoire du
soldat. He has regularly appeared with the Chamber Music Society of
Lincoln Center, at Bargemusic, and as a member of the Metropolitan
Museum Artists in Concert, besides enjoying cross-disciplinary
explorations with dance and theater companies including the New
York City Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Group, and Bill T. Jones/Arnie
Zane Dance Company. His numerous summer festival engagements
include Caramoor, Marlboro, Mostly Mozart, Moritzburg, Ravinia,
Salzburg, Tanglewood and Taiwan's National Concert Hall.
A graduate of the Juilliard School and
the Royal Conservatory of the Hague, Jacobsen's principal teachers
have included Doris Rothenberg, Louise Behrend, Robert Mann and
Vera Beths. He received an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2003.
Colin Jacobsen plays a Joseph Guarneri
filius Andreae violin dating from 1696 and a Samuel Zygmuntowicz
violin made in 2008.
Colin Jacobsen, violin
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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, Mr. Ma strives to foster connections that stimulate the imagination and reinforce our humanity.
Mr. Ma maintains a balance between engagements as a soloist with orchestras, recital and chamber music activities, and collaborations with a wide circle of artists and institutions. With partners from around the world and across disciplines, Mr. Ma creates programs that stretch the boundaries of genre and tradition to explore music-making as a means not only to share and express meaning, but also as a model for the cultural collaboration he considers essential to a strong society.
Expanding upon this belief, in 1998 Mr. Ma established 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. Silkroad has commissioned more than 100 new works from composers and arrangers around the globe, and released seven albums, most recently a collection of music recorded for The Vietnam War, a documentary film from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.
Through his work with Silkroad, as well as throughout his career, Yo-Yo Ma seeks 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, Mr. Ma 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 Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant; artistic advisor at large to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; artistic director of the annual Youth Music Culture Guangdong festival; and UN Messenger of Peace. He is the first artist ever appointed to the World Economic Forum's board of trustees.
Mr. Ma'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." Mr. Ma'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."
This year, Mr. Ma begins 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 will be 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.
Yo-Yo Ma 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 Leonie Sonning Music 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), the Vilcek Prize in Contemporary Music (2013), 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.
Mr. Ma and his wife have two children. He plays two instruments, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius.
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
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The winner of the 2015 Richard Tucker
Award, the winner of both the Main and the Song Prizes at the 2013
BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, a winner of the 2007
Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a Grammy nominee,
American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton has been described by The
Guardian as "a great artist, no question, with an imperturbable
steadiness of tone, and a nobility of utterance that invites
comparison not so much with her contemporaries as with mid-20th
century greats such as Kirsten Flagstad."
Jamie Barton's 2015 -2016 season opens with a house debut at
Seattle Opera as Fenena in Nabucco, a role that will also serve as
her Royal Opera House Covent Garden debut. This fall, she will
return to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, bringing her
celebrated Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena to the Met stage. Other
major house debuts include LA Opera as Adalgisa in Norma and
Washington National Opera as Waltraute and 2nd Norn in
Götterdämmerung. She will make role debuts as Cornelia in Giulio
Cesare at Oper Frankfurt and as Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible
at Glimmerglass Opera. Ms. Barton will make her BBC Proms debut
with Marin Alsop and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at
Royal Albert Hall, before appearing as the 2015 Richard Tucker
Award Winner at the Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala at Lincoln
Center. Other concert engagements include a debut with the Moscow
Philharmonic Orchestra and returns to the Iceland Symphony
Orchestra and Ars Lyrica Houston. In recital, Ms. Barton will
appear with San Francisco Performances, Ann Arbor's University
Musical Society, Vocal Arts DC, Baylor Distinguished Artist Series,
Seattle Opera's Wagner and More, and the Tucson Desert Song
Festival. Future projects include a debut at the Deutsche Oper
Berlin, as well as returns to Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco
Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Opera.
The 2014-2015 season began with a debut at San Francisco Opera as
Adalgisa in Norma, followed by a return to the Lyric Opera of
Chicago in a new role, Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena. Ms. Barton
returned to the Houston Grand Opera as Fricka in Die Walküre and
made her house and role debut as Azucena in Il Trovatore with the
Cincinnati Opera. Concert engagements included the world premiere
of Jake Heggie's The Work at Hand with the Pittsburgh Symphony and
the Verdi Requiem with the Toronto Symphony and Sir Andrew Davis.
As the 2014 recipient of the Marian Anderson Award, Ms. Barton
appeared in recital at the Kennedy Center. Further recital dates
included Carnegie's Zankel Hall, Worcester, MA, Frankfurt, Germany
and a benefit for the Wolf Trap Foundation.
The 2013-2014 season included a triumphant return to the
Metropolitan Opera as Adalgisa in Norma, and to the Houston Grand
Opera as Fricka in Das Rheingold as well as as Katisha in Opera
Memphis' The Mikado. In the summer, Ms. Barton made her Japanese
debut as Meg Page in a new production of Falstaff at the Saito
Kinen Festival. In concert, she sang the Verdi Requiem with the
Melbourne Symphony and Sir Andrew Davis, Britten's "Spring
Symphony" with the Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst, a
Concert of Verdi Arias and Ensembles at the Lanaudière Festival
with Jean-Marie Zeitouni and Elgar's Sea Pictures at the Aspen
Music Festival. Last, but not least, Ms. Barton was heard in
recital in Pace University's new series as well as at Atlanta's
prestigious Spivey Hall before returning to Carnegie Hall for
Marilyn Horne's 80th birthday gala celebration.
The 2012-2013 season saw her return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago
as Magdalene in a new production of Die Meistersinger conducted by
Sir Andrew Davis. In concert, Ms. Barton made her UK debut at the
Barbican Centre performing Elgar's Sea Pictures with the London
Schools Symphony Orchestra followed by Mozart's Requiem with the
Atlanta Sacred Chorale and the Orchestra of St. Luke's at Carnegie
Hall. In recital she appeared with tenor Russell Thomas and the
Atlanta Vocal Arts Society, as well as in the role of Julia Child
in Bon Appétit! as part of the first annual Chamber Opera Festival
with Opera Memphis. Prior to that, Ms. Barton made her debut with
the Lyric Opera of Chicago in productions of Les Contes d'Hoffmann
(voice of the Mother), Boris Godunov (Nurse), and Ariadne auf Naxos
(Dryade), followed by Grandma Josephine and Mrs.Teavee in The
Golden Ticket with Atlanta Opera and 2nd Norn in Götterdämmerung
with the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich. Recently Ms. Barton
returned to record Scarlatti's La Dirindina with Ars Lyrica in
In recent seasons she has performed Second Lady in The Magic Flute
with the Metropolitan Opera, Mère Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites
with the Bayerische Staatsoper, appeared in productions of Faust
and Gian Carlo Menotti's The Last Savage with Santa Fe Opera, and
Emilia in Otello with the Canadian Opera Company. Concert
appearances include: Bernstein's Opening Prayer and Jeremiah
Symphony with the Colorado Symphony under Marin Alsop, Domenico
Scarlatti's rarely performed comic intermezzo La Dirindina with Ars
Lyrica (Music of the Baroque), Mozart's Requiem with Milwaukee
Symphony Orchestra under Edo de Waart, Schubert's Mass No. 6 with
San Diego Symphony and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Omaha
Symphony. In recital she appeared with the Vocal Arts Society at
the Kennedy Center, under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne
Foundation, as well as Carnegie Hall as part of their Great Singers
III: Evenings of Song series. She also appeared as a guest soloist
in the Marilyn Horne Foundation Gala at Carnegie Hall.
A former member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Ms. Barton
appeared as Ursula in Béatrice et Bénédict, Giovanna in Rigoletto,
and Mary Norton in the world premiere of André Previn's Brief
Encounter. With the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis she performed
Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro.
With the Wolf Trap Opera Company she performed the role of Penelope
in Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria, as well as a series
of recitals with pianist Steve Blier. With the Aspen Music
Festival, Ms. Barton appeared as the Witch in Hansel and Gretel as
well as a recital with bass-baritone Ryan McKinny, and a concert of
Bernstein/Bruce Coughlin: Arias and Barcarolles with the Aspen
An avid recitalist, Ms. Barton has appeared with the Marilyn Horne
Foundation at Weill Hall with tenor Russell Thomas as well as a
solo recital with On Wings of Song. She made her Spivey Hall debut
singing Brahms' "Alto Rhapsody", which was also broadcast on NPR.
Ms. Barton has received extensive training as a recitalist at the
Tanglewood Music Center, where she was a Fellow in Vocal Studies
for the summers of 2006 and 2007. At the Tanglewood Music Center,
she worked with such artists and coaches as James Levine, Dawn
Upshaw, Phyllis Curtin, Kayo Iwama, Ira Siff, Lucy Shelton, Alan
Smith, and Olly Wilson. As a member of the Houston Grand Opera
Studio, she participated in several recital series including the
popular "Recital at Rienzi."
Additional concert performances include the world premiere of
Chris Theofanidis's The Refuge with the Houston Grand Opera,
Duruflé's Requiem, Bach's Cantata 197 with the ensemble Kammerbach,
Handel's Alexander's Feast, Honegger's King David, and Mozart's
A graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Ms. Barton attended
Indiana University in Bloomington, where she performed roles such
as Tisbe in La Cenerentola, Buttercup in HMS Pinafore, and Mrs.
Soames in the 2006 world premiere of Ned Rorem's Our Town.
Jamie Barton, mezzo-soprano