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Gregory Fulkerson, Chair
Gregory Fulkerson rose to prominence as a major exponent of American contemporary music, taking the first prize in the International American Music Competition sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Kennedy Center (now sponsored by Carnegie Hall). As a result of that victory, Fulkerson began a very active performing career that included debuts in New York, London, Paris, Rome, and Brussels. He has performed in more than 30 concerti with orchestra, including the world premieres of the John Becker Concerto with the Chattanooga Symphony, the Roy Harris Concerto with the North Carolina Symphony, and the Richard Wernick Concerto with Riccardo Muti conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra. He performed the title role in the 1992 revival of the Philip Glass opera, Einstein on the Beach, for a total of 48 performances on four continents, and later recorded the work for Nonesuch.
Fulkerson began playing the violin at the age of four in the University of Texas String Project. His early studies were guided by Paul Kling, whose profound intelligence and deep love of music has proved a constant inspiration. Fulkerson is a 1971 double-degree graduate of Oberlin College (honors in mathematics), where he studied with David Cerone. His early career included three years in the Cleveland Orchestra, a year as the founder of the Audubon Quartet, four years with the New York New Music Ensemble, and two seasons as concertmaster of the Honolulu Symphony. He pursued graduate studies at the Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay.
His debut recording on New World Records was chosen one of the year's best by the New York Times, and his recording of the complete Violin Sonatas of Charles Ives has become the standard for that repertoire. Other Bridge recordings include the complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin by J.S. Bach (chosen one of the Best CDs of 2000 by the New Yorker magazine) and the Stephen Jaffe Violin Concerto, which won the Koussevitsky Award in 2006. His most recent recording is the Concerto No. 2 by Paul Creston, on Albany Records.
Fulkerson has been professor of violin at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music since 1982. He has also taught at Indiana University and New York University. His former students inhabit every level of musical life in America, including professional quartets, new music groups, teachers, crossover artists, and concertmasters, principal players, or section players in most American orchestras. He sat on the jury for the 2008 Postacchini competition, the 1999 Carl Nielsen competition, and the 1989 Rockefeller Competition, and has been a regular semifinal juror for the Concert Artists Guild annual competitions since 1996. He has participated in the Marlboro, Grand Teton, Bang on a Can, Round Top, AlexFest, Cabrillo, and Santa Fe Chamber music festivals, and taught for eight years at the Musicorda Summer School for Strings. Since 2007 he has been holding intensive bow-arm classes at the Aria Festival. He has concert representation by Melody Bunting International of New York. Fulkerson plays a violin by J. B. Guadagnini, Turin, 1774.
Violinist David Bowlin has won critical acclaim for his solo and chamber music performances from the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Sun-Times, among others. He is an accomplished performer of a broad range of repertoire, and has performed recitals and concertos across the United States. Among these are dozens of premieres, including the Weill Hall world premiere of Mahagoni, a violin concerto written for him by Austrian composer Alexandra Karastoyanova-Hermentin. Accolades include the 2007 Samuel Baron Prize from Stony Brook University and first prize in violin at the 2003 Washington International Competition.
In 2007 Bowlin joined the violin faculty of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, having previously taught at the Juilliard School as assistant to Ronald Copes. He has taught on the faculties of the Okemo Young Artist Program, the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, the Madeleine Island Chamber Music Camp, and the Mannes Beethoven Institute. He has given masterclasses at Stony Brook University, Cornell University, the North Carolina School for the Arts, Beijing's Central Conservatory, and the Conservatorio de las Rosas in Morelia, Mexico.
Bowlin is a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), which tours in the United States and abroad. He's also had educational residencies at New York University, Northwestern University, and others. He is a member of the Oberlin Trio with conservatory faculty members Haewon Song and Amir Eldan, and is a former member of the Naumburg Award-winning Da Capo Chamber Players, whose recording of music by Chinary Ung was named one of NPR's Top 5 Best American Classical Albums of the year in 2010.
Bowlin's extensive chamber music performances include concerts in New York at Weill Recital Hall, Zankel Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the 92nd St. Y, Bargemusic, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Merkin Concert Hall, Miller Theater, and Symphony Space. He has performed and recorded with members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, as well as toured in major east coast cities with Musicians from Marlboro. Recording credits include works of Stravinsky, Webern, Roger Sessions, George Crumb, Huang Ruo, Chinary Ung, Ursula Mamlok, Du Yun, Su Lian Tan, and many others.
He is also artistic director of Chamber Music Quad-Cities, an organization that brings chamber music performances to the community in eastern Iowa and western Illinois where Bowlin is a native. Major teachers include Roland and Almita Vamos, Ronald Copes, Pamela Frank, Philip Setzer, Ani Kavafian, and Stephen and Kimberly Sims.
David Cerone served as president of the Cleveland Institute of Music from 1985 until 2008. Born in Syracuse, New York, he began violin studies with his father, then went to Detroit at age 11 to study with Mischa Mischakoff, famed concertmaster of the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini. His studies were completed as a scholarship student at the Juilliard School of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music with the renowned pedagogue Ivan Galamian.
In 1967 he made his New York recital debut at Town Hall. For three summers Cerone was associated with the Dartmouth College Festival of the Arts program in Hanover, New Hampshire, as concertmaster of the Dartmouth Festival Orchestra and as a member of the Dartmouth String Quartet. He worked closely, in rehearsal and performance, with such eminent composers as Boris Blacher, Easley Blackwood, Aaron Copland, Ross Lee Finney, Hans Werner Henze, Zoltán Kodály, Ernst Krenek, Witold Lutoslawski, Frank Martin, Peter Mennin, and Walter Piston.
In addition to maintaining an active solo recital and chamber music career, Cerone served on the faculty of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music for 9 years and for 10 years was chair of the String Department at the Cleveland Institute of Music, holding the distinguished Kulas Professorship in Violin.
He was a director of the Meadowmount School of Music and member of its faculty for 19 summers. In 1975 Cerone joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and commuted to that city from Cleveland. He founded the prestigious Cleveland Chamber Music Seminar in 1974, and served as its director until 1981, when he moved to Philadelphia to accept a full-time position as chair of the Violin Department at Curtis, succeeding the late Ivan Galamian. In the summer of 1985, Cerone, with his wife, violinist Linda Sharon Cerone, artistic director of the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory String Department, founded the nationally acclaimed ENCORE School for Strings in Hudson, Ohio.
Upon returning to the Cleveland Institute of Music as president in 1985, Cerone initiated numerous new programs and activities, and combined administrative and teaching duties with his performing career. He was violinist in the Cleveland Chamber Players with colleagues Robert Vernon and Anne Epperson, and between the years 1984-89 was violinist of the Canterbury Trio under Columbia Artist Management and a participant in the St. Baarts Music Festival for several seasons. In October 1987, he world-premiered Donald Erb's View of Space and Time for violin and chamber ensemble, commissioned for Cerone to celebrate the Michelson-Morley Centennial Celebration. Cerone made his Cleveland Orchestra solo debut in 1987 playing Chausson's Poème and Saint-Saëns' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, with Christoph von Dohnányi, conducting.
Cerone's extremely popular recordings of the Suzuki Violin Method Books I through IV have been reissued by Alfred Publishing. He also serves as an auxiliary director of the International Board of the International Suzuki Association. Cerone has participated as a juror for many prominent national and international violin competitions, including the Paganini, Lipizer, Sion, Thibaud, Qin-Dao events.
Marilyn McDonald, a founding member of the Castle Trio and the Smithson and Axelrod quartets, has toured worldwide as a chamber musician playing repertoire that runs the gamut from baroque to contemporary.
Concertmaster of the Peninsula Music Festival and Boston Baroque, McDonald's appearances reflect her versatility: she has been soloist with the Milwaukee and Omaha symphonies, concerts at the Caramoor Festival, Yale University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian, the Mostly Mozart Festival, and the Utrecht Festival, among others.
Her students have been international prize winners in the Locatelli, Berkeley Bach, and Naumberg competitions. She has been artist in residence at Boston University and has held visiting professorships at the Eastman School of Music and at Indiana University. She teaches each summer at the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, and, this past year, was honored with the Excellence in Teaching award at Oberlin.
McDonald's recordings are heard on the Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Virgin Classics, Decca, Gasparo, Smithsonian, and Telarc labels.
Fan Tao began his musical training as a child. He is a graduate of both the composition and conducting departments of the Shanghai Music Conservatory, where he studied with the famous conductor and teacher Huang Xiaotong. In 1995, Fan graduated top of his class and took up an appointment as principal conductor of the Film Symphony Orchestra under the China Broadcasting Performing Arts Troupe.
Fan has worked with a variety of foreign and Chinese ensembles including the Helsinki Symphony Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Avanti Chamber Ensemble, the string orchestra of Sibelius Academy, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the Shanghai Opera, and China's Central Ballet Orchestra. He has collaborated with many outstanding Chinese and foreign solo artists and choirs, and has made many recordings of film scores and other works. Fan is recognized as an outstanding young conductor.
In May 2000, Fan took part in the Sibelius International Conducting Competition, at which he was judged by the concert masters of both the Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Helsinki Symphony Orchestra as having exceptional technique and control over the orchestra. The jury awarded Fan a special prize for his outstanding interpretation of the Rite of Spring as well as financial support enabling him to study with Esa-Pekka Salonen. Fan also was invited to conduct a concert in Finland's summer concert season. This concert was broadcast on national television, and critically acclaimed.
In 2001, Fan received a full scholarship to study at Florida State University with the renowned conductor and teacher Phillip Spurgeon. He also conducted the FSU Chamber Ensemble and the FSU Symphony Orchestra. During his time in the United States, Fan conducted the Florida Contemporary Chamber Ensemble in a concert of contemporary music at the Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim from the United States press and United States composers.
Dora Schwarzberg was born in the backstage of a Jewish Theatre where her musician parents worked. It is perhaps this fact which formed her artistic credo, expressed in the words of her father: "the violin must speak and cry!"
Personal and artistic communication with such musicians as Professor Yankelevich, Valent Berlinsky, Abram Shtern, Isaac Stern, Dorothy Delay, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Pablo Casals made such an impact on Dora Schwarzberg that the eminent American musician Felix Galimir exclaimed, "DS is a typical representative of the Odessa-Moscow-Jerusalem-NY violin school!"
In her early career, she won several major international competitions including Carl Flesch in London, ARD München (solo and duo), Paganini, and Romano Romanini Competitions in Italy.
For Schwarzberg, music is not only a profession but a lifestyle. It is a means of communication with people, as varied and individual as the artists with whom she has collaborated. They include Martha Argerich, Misha Maisky, Boris Berezovsky, Pavel Gililov, Nobuko Imai, David Geringas, Mark Drobinsky, Alexander Rabinovitch, Daniel Shafran, Jaime Laredo, Sasha Schneider, Valery Affanasiev, and Yuri Bashmet to name but a few.
Among her many recordings, the live performances published by EMI are especially acclaimed by audience and critics. Her recent album with Martha Argerich including works by Frank, Debussy, and Schumann received excellent reviews by several major magazines.
Performance and pedagogical activities have naturally complemented each other, as she holds a professorship at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, where she continues to explore music and life with her students. She is also very demanded to impart masterclasses around the world.
The great majority of her pupils are prizewinners of international competitions, and hold leading positions with major orchestras and chamber ensembles, such as Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, Tonkünstler Orchestra, Orchestre Philarmonique du Luxembourg, Orquesta de la Comunitad Valenciana, and Seoul Symphony Orchestra.
In the last years she has intensively collaborated with the composer Jorge Bosso, who dedicated to her a big number of compositions, including the world premiere of the arrangements of Ravel, Debussy, and Strauss sonatas for violin and orchestra. She has performed in major festivals and concert halls in Europe and abroad including the Martha Argerich Festival in Switzerland and the Moscow Conservatory among others.
Schwarzberg’s repertoire embraces music from baroque sonatas to Argentinian tangos, where the defining link in this extensive chain of works is her love for each of them and a desire to radiate this love to her audiences.
Tong Weidong is director of violin studies at the Central Conservatory Middle School in Beijing, China (BCC). He also is an associate professor and the leading player of the String Quartet of BCC.
A 1990 graduate of the String Faculty of BCC, he has been retained as a teacher. He has learned the art of violin—playing with many famous violinists, such as professor Shanxiu Wang, Weimin Hu, Keqiang Sui, Yaoji Lin, and Jorg-wolfgang John. He was the prizewinner of the second addition of the National Teenagers Violin Competition in 1984.
In 1996, he was awarded a scholarship from Germany’s DAAD Founding Association and sent by China’s Education Commission to Germany to study. In 1998, he received a master’s of music degree and returned home.
Many of his students have won awards in violin competitions organized successively by BCC, National Teenagers, and Japan. He was invited by China’s Ministry of Culture in 2001 to be one of the judges for National Teenagers Violin Competition.
During his student life in Germany and teaching career in China, he has regularly given solo performances and taken part in string quartet concerts. He has toured and given performances in France, Israel, and the former Yugoslavia, where the skill of his performance was highly commented.
In September 1999, he was involved in reestablishing the String Quartet Orchestra of BCC. He then held several concerts. He has cooperated with Hungarian Kodayi String Quartet Orchestra, Bartok String Quartet Orchestra in stage performance, and had refresher training in the masterclass run by violin master Sterner, and cello master Rusitobuvic.
He has participated in the Beijing International Music Festival and American Mansfield Music Festival and won a tremendous success. He undertook the job of being the judge in November 2003 for the National Adult Violin Competition of Gold Bell Cup organized by China’s Music Association. His student Lin Yue won the gold medal in this competition. In the second International Violin Competition of GYEONGNAM in South Korea in November 2004, his student Lin Yue won the fifth place in the competition.
Almita Vamos is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music where she studied with Mischa Mischakoff and Louis Persinger. She was a member of the Lydian Trio and the Antioch Quartet, and has recorded under Cornet and Rizzoli labels. She has concertized throughout North, Central, and South America, Europe, and Asia. Her recitals in New York won praise from the New York Times and Herald Tribune. She won the Concert Artist Guild Award, among many other prizes, and has performed recitals at the 92nd Street Y, Town Hall, and Carnegie Recital Hall. She continues to perform as soloist and chamber musician in America and abroad. Vamos and her husband have recently commissioned works for violin and viola by living composers in Chicago and are in the process of recording them.
Vamos' students have won top prizes in many national competitions including Klein, Stuhlburg, Johannsen, Corpus Christi, Kingsville; international competitions including Tchaikovsky, Tchaikovsky Youth, Carl Flesch, Menuhin, Bach, (Leipzig), Tchaikovsky, Szigeti, Kreisler, Neilsen, Paganini, and Montreal. Her students play in many orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston, St. Louis, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, Minnesota, Hong Kong, Oslo Philharmonic, and several other orchestras around the world.
Vamos has won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching six times, the ASTA Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award, and has been featured on "Sunday Morning" CBS.
Vamos has taught and performed concerts at many festivals including Meadowmount, Bowdoin, Schlern International Music Festival, Niagara International Festival, Amati Festival, Astona Festival in Swizerland, Sommersymfoni in Norway, and was cofounder of the Weatherfield Music Festival. She currently teaches full time at the Chautauqua Summer Music Institute. In the past, Vamos has been a part of the violin faculty at the University of Illinois, University of Minnesota, and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. At present she is professor of violin at Northwestern University and the Music Institute of Chicago.
Milan Vitek has been professor of violin at Oberlin College Conservatory since 2001, and is professor emeritus at the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Denmark. He was a professor at the Royal Danish Music Academy in Copenhagen from 1974 to 2001, and a guest professor at the Music Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden, from 1992 to 2001. Before moving to Denmark in 1968, Vitek was a founding member, concertmaster, and soloist with the Prague Chamber Soloists, and a member of the Czech Nonet and the piano trio Pro Camera.
In Denmark, he was alternate concertmaster with the Danish Royal Orchestra. Following two years as a professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, Vitek returned to Denmark in 1974 to become professor at the Royal Danish Music Academy. During this time, he cofounded the Trio Pro Arte, which made acclaimed recordings of the complete Brahms trios and trios by Smetana and Mendelssohn for the BIS label.
Vitek is much in demand as a teacher at masterclasses such as Aldeburgh (England), Keshet Eilon (Israel), Yokosuka Festival (Japan), a Yuriko Kuronuma Academy (Mexico City), Weikersheim (Germany), and Savonlinna (Finland). He also served as chair of the Danish Suzuki Society.
He has adjudicated international violin competitions in Denmark, where he is chair of the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competion and the Danish String Competition - Germany, Japan, Estonia, and Italy. His students are winners and laureates of among others the Carl Nielsen, J. Kocian, Heino Eller, Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, Washington International, Yehudi Menuhin International, the Jean Sibelius Violin Competitions, and the Fischoff National Chamber Music competitions.