October 2011 Program Download – PDF
Benjamin Breen – Artistic Director, Violin
Australian born violinist Benjamin Breen – recognized for his “exceptional purity of tone” and “beguiling sensitivity” (the Strad) made his New York recital debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. His “intense emotion” and “tone tinged with gold” (Sydney Morning Herald) have led to engagements in Australia, Europe, the United States and Japan, both as soloist with orchestra, in recital, and as chamber musician. Breen has also premiered works dedicated to him by the eminent Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe. In Australia he has made television appearances on ABC-TV and the 9 Network and participated in radio broadcasts on ABC-FM, ABC Radio National, 2MBS-FM & 3MBS-FM. His growing list of U.S. broadcast credits include performances on WNYC, and National Public Radio stations nationwide. Breen began studies at the age of 5 in Sydney. At 11 he entered the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where his teachers were John Harding and Janet Davies. After pursuing musical studies in Germany, he returned to Australia, where he participated in master classes with Valery Klimov, Igor Ozim and Raphael Hillyer. Participation in the Melbourne Summer Music Festival with Pinchas Zukerman led Mr. Breen to continue his studies in New York. At The Juilliard School, Breen studied violin with Stephen Clapp and chamber music with Samuel Sanders and Paul Doktor. He subsequently continued violin studies with violinist Harry Shub in New York, whose pedagogy influenced him greatly. As chamber musician he has appeared at the Aspen and Next Generation and Telluride music festivals. Performances with ex-Heifetz pianist Milton Kaye led to the release of Breen’s debut recording of the Brahms Sonatas on the AustralianTall Poppies label available world-wide. Tall Poppies have also released “Cafe Fiddle” to wide critical acclaim. Mr. Breen is the Artistic Director of New York’s Hudson Chamber Society which presents a diverse series of chamber music. His instrument is from 1712 made by Giuseppe Guarneri filius Andrea – the “ex-Boyle” with a bow by Joseph Henry.
Mirian Conti – Piano
Argentine/ American pianist, based in New York City, enjoys a growing reputation as a musician whose performances combine technical brilliance with striking originality and artistic insight. Stylistically assured in a wide range of repertoire, Ms. Conti’s prolific recording output has garnered praise and awards. In recognition of her extraordinary talent, a scholarship honoring Mirian Conti has been established at The Juilliard School by the Edwin Bachman Estate. In addition, she was selected as one of the “100 Outstanding Alumni ” to celebrate The Juilliard School’s Centennial in 2005-6, where she was a Scholarship student of Richard Fabre and Josef Raieff. She graduated from the Juilliard School with a BM and MM. Other teachers include Genny Blech, Freda Rosenblatt and Byron Janis. Her CD on the Koch International label “Danzas Fantasticas” has been praised by Gramophone , as well as “Looking South” on the Albany Label , attracting the major classical radios stations in the USA and abroad. She has also recorded works by American and Spanish composers for Toccata Classics, Island Record, XLNT, Parnassus Records, Koch and Albany. She has appeared worldwide as soloist and with many orchestras, in Europe, Asia, Africa, South and Central America, Canada and throughout the US. The pianist has made solo, orchestral and chamber appearances at Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York , and has performed at numerous concert halls throughout the world, including the Teatro Colón in her native Argentina. She has appeared in Poland, Latvia, Morocco, Spain, France, Italy, Montenegro, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and many cities in China. Her two CDs on Toccata Classics have been recognized with an award for best recording of piano contemporary music by International Piano Magazine in 2008, UK.
Her lecture-recitals and masterclasses on the music of Spain were presented at Oberlin College, Manhattan School of Music, Eastman School of Music, Tulane University, William Paterson College and at the National Conservatory López Buchardo in Buenos Aires and the Simar Festival in Cali, Colombia as well as the main conservatories in Beijing, Dalian (China). Committed to promoting the classical piano literature of Latin America, Spain and USA, Mirian Conti has been organizing competitions, directing festivals and promoting careers of promising young musicians through master classes and special prizes, and has contributed as a board member of several renowned musical organizations. She is the Artistic Director and Founder of the “I Certamen Musical Rioplatense”, a competition for musicians of Argentina and Uruguay which took place in Buenos Aires. She has also created and directed the “New York City International Tango Competition” for professional musicians in New York and “Teachers del Norte-Pianists del Sur”, an international exchange between Argentina and the USA (2008 and 2012) under the auspices of the USA Embassy (US Dept of State). Celebrating Women’s Month in March 2002, the Cultural Center of Queens and The Women’s Council of New York awarded her a recognition for her dedication to classical music in the Latin American community. She is also an active adjudicator of important international piano competitions. She has recently released the complete Chopin Mazurkas on the newly created Steinway & Sons label in addition to more recordings on Albany Records, and Parnassus Records . Fanfare review of her Chopin Mazurkas praises: “Conti brings all these pieces to life with a spirit of fantasy and imagination that is totally endearing. …Conti’s mazurkas rest beside splendid complete sets in my collection by Vladimir Ashkenazy, Alexander Brailowsky, and Alexander Uninsky”. Since 2007, Ms. Conti is on the Faculty of the Evening Division at the Juilliard School.
Amy Kimball – Violin
Amy Kimball is a freelance violinist based in New York who plays chamber and orchestral music as well as rock, pop, opera and Broadway. She performs on a regular basis with the Princeton and Albany symphony orchestras, DiCapo Opera Theater, the School of American Ballet Orchestra and on the Blue Door Chamber Music series in Provincetown, MA. Amy has performed contemporary music throughout her career, most recently as guest artist with the Scorchio String Quartet on the performance series, SONUS INCHOATUS, in Brooklyn. As a member of the Crème Tangerine Strings, she has appeared throughout the U.S. for the past 10 years with the star-studded Beatles tribute band, the Fab Faux. Other rock and pop artists she has worked with recently include Eddie Vedder, Annie Lennox, Diana Krall, Ray LaMontagne, Michael Buble, David Byrne and Hall & Oates. Amy graduated from Oberlin Conservatory and was awarded full scholarships to the Aspen and Bowdoin Summer Music Festivals. Her teachers have included Marilyn McDonald, Syoko Aki, Yuri Mazurkevich, Lewis Kaplan and Diane Monroe.
Whitney La Grange – Viola
Whitney La Grange is from Mission, TX. She received her Bachelor of Music from The Juilliard School. She also attended Yale University on full scholarship where she studied with Eric Friedman and the Tokyo String Quartet in the Artist Diploma Program. She received her Master of Music Degree from the University of Illinois Champagne/Urbana where she was a teaching assistant to Sherban Lupu. First Violinist of the St. Augustine String Quartet, she recorded the Bartok and Beethoven String Quartets for the Fuller Sound Label, performing throughout the US and Canada. Her latest recording is Panic by Drew Krause on the CD, Powder, by Innova Records. Her most recent solo appearances were Quadrille for Violin and Orchestra by Drew Krause with the Musica Bella Orchestra of New York and the Bach Double Violin Concerto with the Lautreamont Chamber Orchestra. She currently lives in New York.
Arthur Cook – Cello
Arthur Cook has appeared as a chamber musician and soloist in summer festivals at Sandpoint, Meadowmount, Taos,Yale at Norfolk, Rutgers and Apple Hill. He has served as artistic director for Lyrica and Artists in the Hall as well as principal cellist and soloist for the Wayne Chamber Orchestra, the New Philharmonic and the New York Symphonic Ensemble on its Japan tour. Mr. Cook won First Prize in the New York Studio Club Awards as well as in competitions at the Metropolitan YMHA (NJ) and the Wayne YMHA (NJ), and he has appeared as soloist with orchestras at Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall. He holds degrees from Texas Tech University and the Mannes College of Music, where he was a recipient of the George Szell Award and the Graduate Performance Award. His teachers included Arthur Follows, David Geber, Felix Galimir, and Louis Krasner. He has been on the music faculties of both Seton Hall University and Smith College and is the co-founder of the Blue Door Music Series in Provincetown. Mr. Cook plays on a 1798 Josef Gagliano cello presented to him by the Gandolph Foundation.
Garo Yellin – Cello
Garo Yellin guaduated from the High School of Music and Art and earned his B.A. with honors from New York University. He studied with Channing Robbins, Jerome Carrington, and coached with Joseph Fuchs and Eugene Becker at the Juilliard School. As a chamber musician Mr. Yellin has appeared in most of the major New York concert halls and performed live on WQXR and NPR. In addition to performing the standard quartet repertory has has premiered more than a dozen new works with the Halcyon String Quartet of which he was a founding member. Mr. Yellin is the recipient of a fellowship to the Banff Festival in Canada, The Juilliard Quartet Seminar, the Elaine R. Brody Prize, The Hanna Von Vollenhollen Vories Award, Juilliard’s Samuel Gardiner Prize, and is a winner of the Artists International Competition. Mr Yellin has performed at the Berlin, Holland and Montreux Jazz Festivals, and the Next Wave Festival at BAM, and has toured Scandinavia, Europe, Canada and the United States. He has made television appearances on the David Letterman Show, Late Night with Conan O’brian, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, MTV, and Sessions at West 54th St. Mr. Yellin has also performed with the poets Allen Ginsberg and Bernard Picasso.