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 beloved cats. She performs on a 1655 Nicolò Amati violin.
Arnaud Sussmann, Violin
Winner of a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Arnaud Sussmann has distinguished himself with his unique sound, bravura and profound musicianship. Minnesota’s Pioneer Press writes, “Sussmann has an old-school sound reminiscent of what you’ll hear on vintage recordings by Jascha Heifetz or Fritz Kreisler, a rare combination of sweet and smooth that can hypnotize a listener. His clear tone [is] a thing of awe-inspiring beauty, his phrasing spellbinding.”
A thrilling young musician capturing the attention of classical critics and audiences around the world, Arnaud Sussmann has appeared with the American Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Paris Chamber Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Further solo appearances have included a tour of Israel and concerts at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Dresden Music Festival in Germany and at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. Mr. Sussmann has been presented in recital in Omaha on the Tuesday Musical Club series, New Orleans by the Friends of Music, Tel Aviv at the Museum of Art and at the Louvre Museum in Paris. He has also given concerts at the OK Mozart, Chamber Music Northwest and Moritzburg festivals and appears regularly at the Caramoor, Music@Menlo, La Jolla SummerFest, Seattle Chamber Music, Moab Music and Saratoga Springs Chamber Music festivals.
Recent concerto appearances include performances with Maestro Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra at the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg, the Santa Rosa Symphony, the Albany Symphony, the Jacksonville Symphony and the Grand Rapids Symphony. This past season, chamber music performances included tours with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center to Korea’s LG Arts Center, Shanghai’s Oriental Center and Hong Kong’s Music Academy.
Arnaud Sussmann has performed with many of today’s leading artists including Itzhak Perlman, Menahem Pressler, Gary Hoffman, Shmuel Ashkenazi, Wu Han, David Finckel, Jan Vogler and members of the Emerson String Quartet. He has worked with conductors such as Cristian Macelaru, Marcelo Lehninger, Rune Bergmann and Leon Botstein. A dedicated chamber musician, he has been a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 2006 and has regularly appeared with them in New York and on tour, including a recent concert at London’s Wigmore Hall.
Susie Park, Violin
Sydney native Susie Park first picked up a violin at age three, made her solo debut at five, and, by 16, had performed with every major orchestra in her country. Susie has grown into a musician distinguished by unusual passion and versatility, and today performs internationally as an orchestral, chamber, and solo artist.
Susie’s international career was launched at age 16, when she took first place in the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition in France. This led to performances and reengagements throughout the US, Europe, and her native Australia, where highlights included performances for crowds of over 120,000. Susie went on to receive additional top honors at the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis and the Wieniawski Competition in Poland.
Susie has since concertized around the world, soloing and touring with European orchestras including the Vienna Symphony, Orchestre National de Lille, and the Royal Philharmonic; American orchestras including the Pittsburgh Symphony and San Francisco Symphony; Korea’s KBS Orchestra; Orchestra Wellington in New Zealand; and all major symphony orchestras in Australia. Working with conductors including Simon Rattle, Hans Vonk, Alan Gilbert, Fabio Luisi and Yehudi Menuhin, Susie has been heard in venues ranging from New York’s Carnegie and Alice Tully Halls, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Chicago’s Millenium Park, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, Washington’s Smithsonian Institute, Vienna’s Musikverein, Cologne’s Philharmonie, Düsseldorf’s Tonhalle, and Sydney’s Opera House.
Susie was recently appointed first associate concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra, and can be seen this season both leading and soloing with the ensemble. Susie will also tour with the conductorless East Coast Chamber Orchestra, of which she a founding member. She joins the Enso String Quartet as first violinist for their final season. Susie performed with the Twin Cities own Accordo as guest violinist this fall. Other recent highlights include judging the Michael Hill international violin competition in New Zealand; serving on the faculty of the Bowdoin International Music Festival; touring her home country as guest first violinist of the Australian String Quartet, which prompted the The Australian to publish a review headlined “Australian String Quartet proof Susie Park’s one we let get away;” and touring India with the Australian World Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta.
Susie was formerly the violinist of the Eroica Trio from 2006 to 2012, with which she recorded the ensemble’s eighth CD, an all-American disc nominated for a Grammy, and toured internationally. She was also a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two, collaborating with Wu Han, Gary Hoffman and Ida Kavafian. For three consecutive summers she was in residence at the Marlboro Music Festival, and she has been seen on numerous tours with Musicians from Marlboro. Susie has performed chamber music with members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Emerson, and Cleveland Quartets, as well as Kim Kashkashian, Pamela Frank, Jason Vieaux, Cho-Liang Lin, and Jaime Laredo. Among her festival engagements have been performances at Music from Angel Fire, the Caramoor, Skaneatles, Aspen, Ravinia and Bowdoin festivals in the US; Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove in England; Bermuda Festival; the Mozarteum Sommerakademie in Austria; and Keshet Eilon in Israel.
Susie’s diverse musical interests have also led to collaborations with artists such as trumpeter Chris Botti, which whom she performed 41 consecutive shows at the Blue Note jazz club in New York.
Susie holds degrees from the Curtis Institute and the New England Conservatory; her principal teachers include Jaime Laredo, Ida Kavafian, Donald Weilerstein, Miriam Fried, Shi-Xiang (Peter) Zhang, and Christopher Kimber.
She performs on a J.B. Guadagnini violin made in 1740, once featured in a documentary of which Susie herself was a subject.
Susie enjoys a variety of creative arts, including cooking, sewing, clothing design, and carpentry. Recent creations include several purses, a dining table, and bespoke muppets.
Oliver Neubauer, Violin
Praised for his uniquely beautiful playing and mature artistry, 22-year-old violinist Oliver Neubauer is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting young artists of his time.
This season, Oliver performed at Apex Concerts, Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, Parlance Chamber Concerts, Mostly Music Series, and New York Classical Players, and gave solo recitals at Hudson Yards and the Juilliard School. Other highlights were a collaboration with Juilliard’s drama department as an actor and violinist in Paula Vogel’s “Indecent” and appearance as concertmaster of the Juilliard Orchestra with Maestra Barbara Hannigan in Alice Tully Hall. This summer, Oliver is thrilled to be returning to Music@Menlo as an International Program Artist, a decade after spending his first life-changing summer at Menlo as a Young Performer. He is also excited to make his debut at the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival and return to Music from Angel Fire with the Tobias Quartet (Clara Neubauer, Sam Rosenthal, and Sterling Elliott).
Past seasons have included appearances at the Verbier Festival Academy, Four Seasons Winter Workshop, Palm Beach Chamber Music Society, Bravo! Vail, YoungArts Miami, Parlance Chamber Concerts, If Music Be the Food NYC, Mostly Music Series, Summerfest La Jolla, Music@Menlo, Lake Champlain Music Festival, OKM Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Music in the Vineyards, Art in Avila in Curaçao, and Music from Angel Fire. Oliver has performed at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall on numerous occasions as well as Symphony Space, the American Museum of Natural History, Neue Gallery, Alice Tully Hall, and David Geffen Hall. Oliver also performed with his sister Clara at the Waldorf Astoria for a 9/11 Memorial and Museum Benefit Dinner, where they shared the stage with Robert De Niro and Bernadette Peters.
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 as well as his Mariinsky Orchestra debut at the White Nights Festival. He also gave the U.S. 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. 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.
Melissa Reardon, Viola
Grammy-nominated violist Melissa Reardon is an internationally renowned performer whose solo and chamber playing spans all musical genres. Melissa is the Artistic Director of the Portland Chamber Music Festival in Portland, ME, Artist in Residence at Bard College and Conservatory and a founding member and the Executive Director of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO). As a member of the Ensō String Quartet from 2006 until its final season in 2018, Melissa toured both nationally and internationally, with highlight performances in Sydney, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, New York’s Carnegie Hall, and Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center to name a few. Lauded by Classical Voice for her “elegant” and “virtuosic” performances, the Massachusetts-born musician won first prize at the Washington International Competition, and is the only violist to win top prizes in consecutive HAMS International viola competitions. A sought-after collaborative musician and teacher, Melissa has appeared in numerous festivals across the United States and around the world, and has toured with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, and with Musicians from Marlboro. She held the post of Associate Professor of Viola at East Carolina University from 2007 -2013, and earned degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory. Melissa is married to the cellist Raman Ramakrishnan and they live in NYC with their seven-year-old son Linus.
Nicholas 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. In the New York Times his playing was praised as “impassioned… the audience seduced by Mr. Canellakis’s rich, alluring tone.”
Canellakis’s highlights include concerto appearances with the Albany, Delaware, Lansing, and Bangor Symphonies, the Erie Philharmonic, The Orchestra Now, and the New Haven Symphony as Artist-in-Residence; 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. He made his Carnegie Hall concerto debut with the American Symphony Orchestra in 2015.
Canellakis is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, in which he performs regularly in Alice Tully Hall and on tour, and is a former member of the Bowers Program. He is also a regular guest artist at many of the world’s leading music festivals, including Santa Fe, Ravinia, Music@Menlo, Bard, Bridgehampton, La Jolla, Hong Kong, Moab, Music in the Vineyards, and Saratoga Springs.
After assuming the coveted position of Artistic Director of Chamber Music Sedona in 2018, Canellakis has been striving to advance the organization’s reputation as one of the leading presenters of chamber music in the U.S.
Canellakis is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and New England Conservatory. Filmmaking and acting are special interests of his. He has produced, directed, and starred in several short films and music videos, many of which can be found on his website at www.nicholascanellakis.com.
Dmitri Atapine, Violin
Dmitri Atapine has been described as a cellist with “brilliant technical chops” (Gramophone), whose playing is “highly impressive throughout” (The Strad). As a soloist and recitalist, he has appeared on some of the world’s foremost stages, including Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Zankel and Weill halls at Carnegie Hall, Forbidden City Concert Hall, National Taipei Concert Hall, and the National Auditorium of Spain. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Atapine frequently performs with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and is an alum of The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two). His multiple festival appearances have included Music@Menlo, Chamber Music Northwest, La Musica Sarasota, Nevada Chamber Music Festival, Cactus Pear Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, and Aix-en-Provence Festival among many others, with performances broadcast on radio and television in Spain, Italy, the United States, Canada, Mexico, and South Korea.
Mr. Atapine’s many awards include top prizes at the Carlos Prieto International, the Florian Ocampo, and the Llanes cello competitions, as well as the Plowman, New England, and the Premio Vittorio Gui chamber competitions. His recent engagements have included collaborations with such distinguished musicians as Cho-Liang Lin, Paul Neubauer, David Finckel, Ani and Ida Kavafian, Wu Han, Bruno Giuranna, David Shifrin, the St. Lawrence and Miró quartets. Mr. Atapine’s recordings, among them a world-premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s complete works for cello and piano, can be found on the Naxos, Albany, Urtext Digital, BlueGriffin and Bridge record labels.
Mr. Atapine holds the doctorate degree from Yale School of Music, where he was a student of Aldo Parisot. Born into a family of musicians, his teachers have included Alexander Fedortchenko and Suren Bagratuni. Recently appointed Artistic co-Director of Friends of Chamber Music Kansas City, he is also the founder of Apex Concerts (Nevada), and the co-director of Young Performers Program at Music@Menlo. He also is the cello professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Scott Pingel, Bass
Why did San Francisco Symphony Principal Bass Scott Pingel take up the unwieldy, imposing instrument that anchors an orchestra from the back row?
He was fifteen and playing mostly trumpet when he heard some music that literally changed his life. “I was listening to the band Weather Report, and their bassist Jaco Pastorius played this line that hit me like a ton of bricks. I loved the tone he was making, everything about it. It was very inspiring, and I thought, ‘this is what I have to do!’’’
He began playing electric bass in funk and R&B bands, covering everything from Weather Report, to Earth, Wind & Fire, to Tower of Power.
When he decided to major in music in college, he figured he’d better learn the classical, upright bass. Plus, “I just loved the sound of it; the rich breadth and depth of tone. And every band needs a bass player! I found an old white fiberglass bass with the fingerboard broken off. I took it home and glued the fingerboard back on, and practiced it for months. My parents were so impressed with my initiative and dedication they agreed to buy me my first upright bass.”
Degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the Manhattan School of Music followed. After a stint at Michael Tilson Thomas’s New World Symphony, he served as principal bass with the Charleston Symphony, before assuming that role in San Francisco in 2004.
Like many of his SFS colleagues, Scott devotes a lot of time to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He’s taught there nine years. Some of his students have gone on to win major competitions and coveted appointments with world class orchestras. “In some ways they were the easiest to teach. It’s the students that maybe aren’t as talented that are in some ways the greater challenge, but offer different kind of reward. They are the quiet victories that are almost more satisfying.”
Scott lives in Mill Valley, with his wife of fifteen years, and their two daughters. “Spending time with them is a very big part of my life. And Mill Valley is heaven on earth; it’s the most beautiful place. So many days, I think I can’t believe I live here. It’s just stunningly beautiful!”
Back to the SFS: What’s the best thing about playing in that back row? “Sitting in that sound, and being a part of its creation. We have this bias toward the hero in our culture, and flashiness and individualism, but I really appreciate my supportive role. There’s a great beauty in that. When you participate in something bigger you’re helping create this cumulative, collective beauty.”
Michael Stephen Brown, Composer
Michael Stephen Brown has been described as “one of the leading figures in the current renaissance of performer-composers” (New York Times). Winner of a 2018 Emerging Artist Award from Lincoln Center and a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, he is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He makes regular appearances with orchestras such as the National Philharmonic, the Seattle, Grand Rapids, North Carolina, and Albany symphonies, and was selected by pianist András Schiff to perform an international solo recital tour, making debuts in Zurich’s Tonhalle and New York’s 92nd Street Y. He has appeared at the Tanglewood, Mostly Mozart, Marlboro, Ravinia, Music@Menlo, Tippet Rise, Bridgehampton, and Bard music festivals and performs regularly with his longtime duo partner, cellist Nicholas Canellakis. A prolific composer, his Concerto for Piano and Strings (2020) was co-commissioned by the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and by the NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra in Poland, and will be premiered by the Kalamazoo Symphony in 2021, with Brown as soloist. He was the composer and artist-in-residence at the New Haven Symphony for the 2017-19 seasons and a 2018 Copland House Award winner. He is the First Prize winner of the Concert Artists Guild competition, an alum of The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two), and earned 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. A native New Yorker, he lives there with his two 19th-century Steinway D’s, Octavia and Daria.
For more information, please visit: www.michaelbrownmusic.com