Pianist Erika Nickrenz made her concerto debut in New York’s Town Hall at the age of 11. A recipient of the Rockefeller Tanglewood Fellowship, she began her studies with German Diez and received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School as a pupil of Abbey Simon. Nickrenz was a soloist with the Jupiter Symphony in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall; as part of Steinway’s 150th anniversary celebration, she enjoyed the unusual honor of ringing the opening bell for the New York Stock Exchange after her solo performance. Nickrenz has toured with Music from Marlboro and with Charles Wadsworth and Friends in addition to tours of Italy, Switzerland, Australia, Tasmania and Colombia in the Cartagena International Music Festival. Nickrenz was a featured soloist on the PBS series “Live from Lincoln Center” and recently performed George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” at the Music in the Mountains Festival. She has recorded several CDs on the MusicMaster and ASV London labels and now records exclusively for EMI Classics. As pianist of the Naumburg Award winning Eroica Trio, Nickrenz has released 8 recordings for EMI, and performs the Beethoven Triple Concerto more frequently than any other trio in the world, having appeared with renowned symphonies such as Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco, Mostly Mozart Orchestra, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Houston and Seattle. In addition, she has performed the work abroad with Orquesta Sinfonica de Euskadi in Spain, Haydn Orchestra in Italy, Budapest Symphony in Germany, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, China Philharmonic, Budapest Symphony and Prague Chamber Orchestra and on tour in the United States with the Prague Chamber Orchestra, culminating in a Lincoln Center performance. The Trio appeared on the German television program “Klassich!” performing the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Munich Symphony, which was aired throughout Europe. As the 1997 official representative for New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Eroica Trio opened the sold-out “Distinctive Debuts” series at Weill Recital Hall. This touring series, created to showcase rising stars of classical music, was internationally sponsored by a consortium of European halls and included performances at Konzerthaus in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Philharmonie in Cologne, Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Symphony Hall at ICC in Birmingham, and Konserthus in Stockholm. Their recording of the Beethoven with the Prague Chamber Orchestra landed this work on Billboard’s Top 20 for the first time in history. Recently with the trio she toured North America with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Fabio Luisi in venues throughout America including Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, in New York City. Multiple Grammy Award nominee Ms. Nickrenz has been featured in Elle, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Detour, Marie Claire, Bon Appétit, Gramophone, and has graced the covers of magazines as diverse as Fanfare, Cigar, Strings, Tall, and Strad.
Grammy Award winning cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio first caught international attention when she won the Bronze Medal at the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Violoncello Competition in Moscow. As a result of her prize, Miss Sant’Ambrogio was invited to perform a recital for Carnegie Hall, which was filmed by CBS News and televised nationally. Sara has performed at all the great music centers of the world on six continents including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Hollywood Bowl, Kennedy Center, the Forbidden City in China, the Sydney Opera House, the Concertgebouw, Musik Verein and has appeared as soloist with many of the worlds great orchestras including Atlanta, Boston Pops, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle, Budapest and Royal Philharmonic. Always looking to push the boundaries of classical music, Sara has collaborated with the New York City Ballet- in 6 sold out shows at Lincoln Center, inaugurated a new concert series at the National Arts Club in NYC with Rufus Wainwright, recorded with the rock group VAST, Spanish hip hop singer Beatrice, and had her performances featured on music videos, documentary and feature films. Sara began her studies with her father John Sant’Ambrogio; principal cellist of the St. Louis Symphony and at the age of 16 was invited to study with David Soyer at the Curtis Institute of Music. 3 years later Leonard Rose invited her on full scholarship to study at The Juilliard School where within weeks she won the Schumann Concerto Competition resulting in the first of many performances at Lincoln Center. While at Juilliard, Miss Sant’Ambrogio founded The Eroica Trio and a few years later they won the Naumburg Competition. The Eroica Trio has recorded extensively for EMI garnering multiple Grammy nominations while touring around the world. Miss Sant’Ambrogio has always enjoyed teaching and has had residencies at many fine music schools including UCLA, San Francisco State, McDuffie Center for Strings, University of Texas-Austin and University of Wisconsin-Madison most recently. Recent highlights are a Grammy nomination for the Eroica Trio’s 8th CD, An American Journey, the release of Bach Suites for Solo Cello Vol.I, which Gramophone Magazine called “a miracle of sound” and said “she comes impressively close to the soul of Bach in a profoundly compassionate paean to the human spirit”, a series of Bach concerts in non traditional venues sponsored by Chimney Rock Winery and a Beethoven cycle in 5 cities with pianist William Ransom.
Australian/American violinist Benjamin Breen is recognized internationally 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 premiered works dedicated to him by the eminent Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe and Spanish/American composer Elisenda Fabregas. 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 broadcasts 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, Next Generation, Telluride, Sitka, North-West Bach music festivals. Performances with ex-Heifetz pianist Milton Kaye led to the release of Breen’s recording of the Brahms Sonatas on the Australian Tall Poppies label available world-wide. Tall Poppies have also released “Cafe Fiddle”, an album of encores to wide critical acclaim. His instrument is from 1712 made by Giuseppe Guarneri filius Andrea – “the Boyle” with a bow by Joseph Henry, he also performs on a violin by Boris Sverdlik made in Cremona 2005. www.aussifiddler.com