Benjamin Breen – Violinist and Artistic Director
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 Australian Tall 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.
Ari Livne – Pianist
Pianist Ari Livne, a Gold Award winner at the youngARTS week sponsored by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA), was also one of three pianists nationwide selected as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. His performances at Benaroya Hall and the Kennedy Center, as well as those with the Seattle Symphony, have been met with critical acclaim.Active as a collaborator, chamber musician, and solo artist, Ari was invited in April to perform for Dr. Alexander Scriabine and Dr. Christine Scriabine, relatives of the composer Alexander Scriabin. He has also been a faculty member at the State College Piano Festival (State College, PA), where this past summer he performed both a solo recital and a recital of Beethoven Violin Sonatas on successive evenings.Ari has appeared as the Seattle Chamber Music Festival’s Emerging Artist, and is a two-time winner of both the University of Puget Sound’s Concerto Competition and the Northwest Chopin Competition. In addition, he has won the Washington Music Teachers National Association Competition, the Eastside Scholarship Competition, and the Washington Music Educators Association Competition. He was chosen to be the youngest participant in the Tel-Hai International Master Classes in Israel, and has spent summers studying and performing at the Aspen Music Festival and at the International Keyboard Institute & Festival in New York.Ari Livne recently graduated from Yale College, and is now pursuing his Masters of Music Degree at The Juilliard School. His teachers have included Zitta Zohar, Margo Garrett, and Jonathan Feldman.