Paul Neubauer, viola
Violist Paul Neubauer’s exceptional musicality and effortless playing led the New York Times to call him “a master musician.” He recently made his Chicago Symphony subscription debut with conductor Riccardo Muti and his Mariinsky Orchestra debut with conductor Valery Gergiev. He also gave the US premiere of the newly discovered Impromptu for viola and piano by Shostakovich with pianist Wu Han. In addition, his recording of the Aaron Kernis Viola Concerto with the Royal Northern Sinfonia was released on Signum Records and his recording of the complete viola and piano music by Ernest Bloch with pianist Margo Garrett was released on Delos. Appointed principal violist of the New York Philharmonic at age 21, he has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras including the New York, Los Angeles, and Helsinki philharmonics; National, St. Louis, Detroit, Dallas, San Francisco, and Bournemouth symphonies; and Santa Cecilia, English Chamber, and Beethovenhalle orchestras.
He has premiered viola concertos by Bartók (revised version of the Viola Concerto), Friedman, Glière, Jacob, Kernis, Lazarof, Müller-Siemens, Ott, Penderecki, Picker, Suter, and Tower and has been featured on CBS’s Sunday Morning, A Prairie Home Companion, and in Strad, Strings, and People magazines. A two-time Grammy nominee, he has recorded on numerous labels including Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, RCA Red Seal, and Sony Classical and is a member of SPA, a trio with soprano Susanna Phillips and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott. Mr. Neubauer is the artistic director of the Mostly Music series in New Jersey and is on the faculty of The Juilliard School and Mannes College.
Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu, violin
Heralded by the Seattle Times as “simply marvelous,” violinist/violist Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu is a renowned soloist and chamber musician who has performed at many of the world’s leading venues and festivals. Cindy is the recipient of several awards, including the Milka Violin Artist Prize from the Curtis Institute of Music and third prize at the International Violin Competition of David Oistrakh. As an educator, she has taught violin, chamber music, and string pedagogy at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California and currently serves as Artistic Partner of the Da Camera Society in Los Angeles.
Bella Hristova, violin
Acclaimed for her passionate, powerful performances, beautiful sound, and compelling command of her instrument, violinist Bella Hristova is a young musician with a growing international career. The Strad has praised, “Every sound she draws is superb” and The Washington Post wrote she is “a player of impressive power and control”.
Her appearances with orchestras in recent seasons include the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s with Pinchas Zukerman at Lincoln Center, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Chautauqua, Columbus, Hawaii, Kansas City, Milwaukee and Winnipeg symphonies as well as orchestras in Asia, Europe, Latin America and New Zealand. In recital, Ms. Hristova has performed at some of the premier venues in the world, including Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston, and Kennedy Center. In 2017 she toured New Zealand, performing and recording Beethoven’s 10 Sonatas with renowned pianist Michael Houstoun. A sought-after chamber musician, Ms. Hristova performs frequently with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and is an alum of The Bowers Program.
Ms. Hristova’s recording Bella Unaccompanied (A.W. Tonegold Records) features works for solo violin by John Corigliano, Kevin Puts, Piazzolla, Milstein, and J. S. Bach, and her Naxos release of de Bériot solo works received impressive critical recognition. A passionate proponent of new music and composers, Ms. Hristova commissioned iconic American composer Joan Tower, to write “Second String Force” for Unaccompanied Violin, which she premiered and performed throughout the US. Her husband, acclaimed composer David Serkin Ludwig was commissioned by a consortium of eight major orchestras across the United States to write a violin concerto for her, which she continues to actively perform.
She is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including a 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant, First Prize in the 2009 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, First Prize in the 2007 Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand, and was a Laureate of the 2006 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.
Born in Pleven, Bulgaria to Russian and Bulgarian parents, Ms. Hristova began violin studies at the age of six. At twelve, she participated in master classes with Ruggiero Ricci at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. In 2003, she entered the famed Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she studied with Ida Kavafian. She received her Artist Diploma with Jaime Laredo at Indiana University in 2010.
Ms. Hristova lives in Philadelphia with her husband and their four cats. She performs on a 1655 Nicolò Amati violin.
Nick Canellakis, cello
Hailed by the New Yorker as a “superb young soloist,” Nicholas Canellakis has become one of the most sought-after and innovative cellists of his generation. Canellakis’s recent highlights include a Carnegie Hall concerto debut with the American Symphony Orchestra; concerto appearances with the Albany Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, Pan-European Philharmonia in Greece, and New Haven Symphony as Artist-in-Residence; and a recital of American cello-piano works at New York’s Lincoln Center. His 2018-19 season includes solo debuts with the Lansing, Bangor, and Delaware symphony orchestras; Europe and Asia tours with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, including appearances in London’s Wigmore Hall, the Louvre in Paris, the Seoul Arts Center, and the Shanghai and Taipei National Concert Halls; and recitals throughout the United States with his long-time duo collaborator, pianist-composer Michael Brown. Canellakis is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and is a regular guest at many of the world’s leading music festivals, including Santa Fe, Ravinia, Music@Menlo, Bard, La Jolla, Bridgehampton, Hong Kong, Moab, Music in the Vineyards, and Saratoga Springs. He was appointed the prestigious position of Artistic Director of Chamber Music Sedona. Filmmaking and acting are special interests of Mr. Canellakis. He has produced, directed, and starred in several short films and music videos, including his popular comedy web series “Conversations with Nick Canellakis.”
Michael Brown, piano
Michael Brown has been described as “one of the most refined of all pianist-composers” (International Piano) and “one of the leading figures in the current renaissance of performer-composers” (The New York Times). His unique artistry is reflected in his creative approach to programming, which often interweaves the classics with contemporary works and his own compositions.
Mr. Brown is a winner of the 2018 Emerging Artist Award from Lincoln Center and a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant. Recent highlights include solo appearances with the Seattle Symphony, the National Philharmonic, and the Grand Rapids, North Carolina, Maryland and Albany Symphonies; and recitals at Carnegie Hall, Caramoor, and the Gilmore Festival. He was selected by András Schiff to perform on an international solo recital tour, including debuts in Berlin, Milan, Florence, Antwerp, Zurich’s Tonhalle and New York’s 92nd Street Y.
Mr. Brown is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, performing frequently at Alice Tully Hall and on tour, and is a former member of CMS Two. He regularly performs recitals with his longtime duo partner, cellist Nicholas Canellakis, and has appeared at numerous festivals including Tanglewood, Marlboro, Music@Menlo, Ravinia, Saratoga, Bard, Sedona, Moab, and Tippet Rise.
A prolific recording artist, Mr. Brown can be heard as soloist with the Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot in music by Messiaen, and as soloist with the Brandenburg State Symphony in Samuel Adler’s First Piano Concerto. Other albums include an April 2018 release of Mendelssohn and Beethoven on First Hand Records; an all-George Perle CD; a debut solo recording; and collaborative albums with pianist Jerome Lowenthal, cellist Nicholas Canellakis, and violinist Elena Urioste.
Brown was recently named the Composer and Artist-in-Residence at the New Haven Symphony, which will premiere his newly commissioned symphony in 2019. A 2018 Copland House Residency Award recipient, he has received commissions from the NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä, Shriver Hall, and Bargemusic; pianists Adam Golka, Roman Rabinovich and Orion Weiss; and a consortium of gardens including Wave Hill, Longwood, and Desert Botanical.
Mr. Brown was First Prize winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, a recipient of the Juilliard Petschek Award, and is a Steinway Artist. He earned dual bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano and composition from The Juilliard School, where he studied with pianists Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald and composers Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser. Additional mentors have included András Schiff and Richard Goode as well as his early teachers, Herbert Rothgarber and Adam Kent.
A native New Yorker, he lives there with his two 19th century Steinway D’s, Octavia and Daria.