Director and Jury Chair
Gregory Fulkerson rose to prominence as a major exponent of American contemporary music, taking first prize in the International American Music Competition sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Kennedy Center. As a result of that victory, he began a very active performing career that included debuts in New York, London, Paris, Rome, and Brussels.
Fulkerson began playing violin at age 4 in the University of Texas String Project. His early studies were guided by Paul Kling, whose profound intelligence and deep love of music proved a constant inspiration. Fulkerson is a 1971 double-degree graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory. 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.
Fulkerson was a professor of violin at Oberlin Conservatory from 1982 through 2017 and continues to teach at New York University.
Sibbi Bernhardsson is an esteemed educator and Grammy Award-winning member of the Pacifica Quartet who joined the Oberlin Conservatory faculty in 2017. A native of Iceland, he has performed in major concert halls and festivals around the world and has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Menahem Pressler, Jörg Widmann, the Emerson Quartet, and members of the Guarneri and Cleveland quartets, as well as with Icelandic rocker Björk. He frequently presents master classes, and he has performed as a soloist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra.
Bernhardsson was a 17-year-member of the Pacifica Quartet, which has long been recognized among the most accomplished string quartets in the world. In 2006 Pacifica became only the second chamber ensemble to earn an Avery Fisher Career Grant. The quartet won the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance for its recording of Elliott Carter’s String Quartets Nos. 1 and 5 (Naxos). That same year, it was named Ensemble of the Year by Musical America.
Bernhardsson is a 1995 graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied with Roland and Almita Vamos.
David Bowlin’s solo and chamber music performances of a wide-ranging repertoire have won him widespread critical acclaim. First-prize winner of the 2003 Washington International Competition, he has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and ensemble leader across the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has made dozens of premieres, including the world premiere at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall of Mahagoni, a violin concerto written for him by Austrian composer Alexandra Karastoyanova-Hermentin.
A 2000 graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, Bowlin is a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble, a current member of the Oberlin Trio, and 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 Best American Classical Albums of 2010. In 2014 Bowlin released a recording on the Oberlin Music label featuring compositions by Luciano Berio and Huang Ruo, and a 2016 Oberlin Music release by the Oberlin Trio included works by Dvořák, Shostakovich, and Tower. Recently, Bowlin has toured with Musicians from Marlboro and performed as guest concertmaster of ensembles including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the IRIS Chamber Orchestra.
Bowlin joined the Oberlin faculty in 2007 and has taught at summer festivals including the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, and the Mannes Beethoven Institute.
Chenxing Huang is a professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, from which she graduated as the top student in 1997 before attending the Moscow State Conservatory as a government-sponsored scholar. After completing her studies abroad, she performed with Shanghai Opera House, Shanxi Symphony Orchestra, Nanchang Ensemble, and the Russia String Orchestra, and has held concerts in Shanghai Concert Hall, Shanghai He Luting Concert Hall, Ningbo Grand Theatre, Nanchang Art Theatre, Shanxi Grand Theatre, and Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, among other venues.
As a teacher, Huang has guided numerous students to titles in national and international competitions including the George Enescu International Violin Competition (Romania), Brahms International Violin Competition, Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition (Italy), and the Kazakhstan International Violin Competition. She became the youngest violin teacher to win China’s National Excellent Teacher Award. She has also earned the Shanghai Conservatory of Music President Award and is a seven-time winner of Tang’s Teacher Award.
Haik Kazazyan was born in Yerevan, Armenia, and trained at the Moscow Conservatory under Eduard Grach and at the Royal College of Music in London under Itzhakh Rashkovsky. He is a prize winner of many international competitions, including the 12th International Tchaikovsky Competition, where he won fourth prize in 2002; the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition in Sion, Switzerland (first prize and three special prizes in 2004); the Isang Yun Competition in Tongyeong, South Korea (first prize and audience favorite award in 2007); and the George Enescu Competition in Bucharest (second prize in 2011).
Kazazyan performs in the world’s major concert venues and has participated in the Verbier Festival, the Stars on Baikal Festival, and the Arts Square Festival, among many others. In 2010 his solo album Opera Fantasies was released by the American Delos label. Since 2002 he has been a soloist for the Moscow Philharmonic and since 2008 has taught at the Moscow Conservatory.
A founding member of the Smithson Quartet and the Castle Trio, Marilyn McDonald has toured the world as a chamber musician in repertoire ranging from Baroque to contemporary. A former student of Angel Reyes and Josef Gingold, she is well known for her interest in performing on historical instruments. Her former students in this area occupy positions of importance worldwide—including roles with the Boston and Houston symphonies and in several active string quartets—and have been international prize winners in the Locatelli, Berkeley Bach, Naumberg, Stulberg, and Fischoff competitions.
McDonald has been artist in residence at Boston University and has held visiting professorships at the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University. She teaches each summer at the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute and has been honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award at Oberlin, where she is professor of violin. McDonald’s recordings can be heard on the Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Virgin Classics, Decca, Gasparo, Smithsonian, and Telarc labels.
An internationally recognized soloist, conductor, teacher, and chamber musician, Mark Messenger has worked with Yehudi Menuhin, Ivy Gitlis, Maxim Vengerov, Bernard Greenhouse, Natalie Clein, Raphael Wallfisch, Thomas Carroll, Yonty Solomon, Howard Shelley, John Lill, Dame Thea King, Michael Collins, David Campbell, Chris Garrick, and Sir John Dankworth. In 2004 he was appointed artistic director of London String Quartet Week and was on the board of the London String Quartet Foundation. He has also undertaken work for Oxford University Press, New Holland Publishing, and the Associated Board, for which he recently edited the complete works for violin and piano by Elgar.
Messenger is the head of strings at the Royal College of Music in London and a consultant for the Norwegian Academy in Oslo. Students travel from across the world to study with him, and his students have an enviable track record of competition success and international acclaim. Messenger has performed with the Bochmann and Bingham Quartets since 1984.
Jan Mark Sloman
Jan Mark Sloman is a highly regarded violinist and teacher who has enjoyed a distinguished career leading orchestral violin sections throughout the United States and around the world. He is based in Dallas, Texas, where he has long held the title of principal associate concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed as guest concertmaster with the Pittsburgh Symphony and internationally with orchestras in Florence, Italy; Lugano and Geneva, Switzerland; and Melbourne, Australia.
In the past two decades, Sloman’s attention has increasingly turned to teaching. He has a large private studio, and for nine years taught both graduate and undergraduate students as an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University. Since 2010 he has been on the faculty of the Meadowmount School of Music, and in March 2015 he accepted an appointment to the violin faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music. His students have been selected to participate in the Indianapolis International Violin Competition, Queen Elizabeth Competition, Sendai International Music Competition, and the Geneva International Music Competition.
In 2004 Sloman received the Pre-Collegiate Teaching Achievement award given by the Texas Music Teachers Association, and in 2010 he was named YoungArts Performing Arts Educator of the Year by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.
Naoko Tanaka is on the faculty at The Juilliard School, New York University, and Aspen Music Festival and School. Born in Tokyo, she began her studies at Toho Gakuen School of Music. She won several prizes and competitions as a young violinist before moving to the United States to study with Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School.
Tanaka is a founding member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and has led them as concertmaster in performances at Carnegie Hall, throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia, and on more than 30 Deutsche Grammophon recordings. She is currently a member of St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble and the Raphael Trio.
Tanaka’s former students have won prizes at the international violin competitions of Long-Thibaud-Crespin, the ARD in Munich, and the Pablo Sarasate and have gone on to win positions in numerous orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, the St. Louis, San Francisco, and Houston symphonies, Berlin Philharmonic, and the Lucerne Symphony in Switzerland.
Milan Vitek has been professor of violin at Oberlin Conservatory since 2001 and is emeritus professor 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 and a founder of the Danish Chamber Orchestra. Following two years as a professor and member of the Czech String Quartet at McMaster University in Canada, Vitek returned to Denmark in 1974 to become professor at the Royal Danish Music Academy. During this time, he co-founded the Trio Pro Arte, which made acclaimed recordings of the complete Brahms trios and trios by Smetana and Mendelssohn for the BIS label. He also founded the Royal Danish Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, giving concerts with performers like Jehudi Menuhin, J.P. Rampal, and Michel Debost.
Vitek is in demand as a teacher at master classes throughout the world and as conductor of orchestras in Scandinavia, Czech Republic, and Switzerland.