BIOGRAPHIES OF ARTISTS PARTICIPATING IN THE 2018-2019 SEASON
Praised by critics for his passionate expression and dazzling technique, Andrew Armstrong (piano) has delighted audiences across Asia, Europe, Latin America, Canada, and the United States, including performances at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, and Warsaw’s National Philharmonic. Andrew’s orchestral engagements across the globe have seen him perform a sprawling repertoire of more than 50 concertos with orchestras, and has additionally appeared in solo recitals in chamber music concerts with violinist James Ehnes; cellist Robert deMaine; the Elias, Alexander, American and Manhattan String Quartets; as a member of the Caramoor Virtuosi and the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players. Mr. Armstrong has released several award-winning recordings with his longtime recital partner James Ehnes, including 3 volumes of the music of Béla Bartók; Prokofiev’s Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2 and “Five Melodies”; Tartini’s “Devil’s Trill” and Leclair’s “Tambourin Sonata”; a recital disc of works by Franck and Strauss; as well as an album of the sonatas by Debussy, Elgar and Respighi (Onyx Classics). Mr. Armstrong lives happily in Massachusetts, with his wife Esty, their four children, two dogs, two guinea pigs, and two fish.
Harpist Holly Avesian is a proven versatile performer in a wide variety of musical styles and settings that have kept her in regular demand in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Holly graduated Phi Kappa Beta with highest honors from the University of Michigan with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in harp performance and also in music education.
Lydia Chernicoff (violin) has performed as a recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral player throughout the US, Europe, Asia, and South America. She is a founding member of Trio Appassionata, which released its debut CD of all American piano trios, “Gone Into Night Are All the Eyes”, in 2014 on the Odradek Records label. Lydia received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, and is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Maryland. Lydia has served on the chamber music faculty of Peabody Conservatory’s Preparatory Division, and as the director of the Homewood Chamber Music Program at Johns Hopkins University. She recently moved to Charleston where she plays regularly with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and teaches.
Two-time GRAMMY nominee and Avery Fisher career grant recipient Jennifer Frautschi (violin) has garnered worldwide acclaim as an adventurous musician with a remarkably wide-ranging repertoire. Highlights of her past season included performances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Tucson Symphony, as well as return engagements with the Alabama, Arkansas, Belo Horizonte , Chattanooga, Phoenix, and Toledo Symphonies and the Rhode Island Philharmonic. This past summer she performed at the Ojai, La Jolla, Santa Fe, Moab, Bridgehampton, and SaltBay Music Festivals.
Her discography includes the Stravinsky Violin Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Robert Craft, and two GRAMMY-nominated recordings with the Fred Sherry Quartet of Schoenberg’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra and the Schoenberg Third String Quartet. Her most recent releases are a recording of Romantic Horn Trios, with hornist Eric Ruske and pianist Stephen Prutsman, and the Stravinsky Duo Concertant with pianist Jeremy Denk. With pianist John Blacklow she will release two discs on Albany Records this year: the first devoted to the Schumann sonatas; the second an exploration of recent additions to the violin and piano repertoire by American composers.
Born in Pasadena, California, Ms. Frautschi was a student of Robert Lipsett at the Colburn School; she also attended Harvard, NEC, and Juilliard, where she studied with Robert Mann. She performs on a 1722 Antonio Stradivarius violin known as the “ex-Cadiz,” on generous loan from a private American foundation.
Spanish violinist Francisco Fullana is acclaimed for his performances in both Europe and the U.S. Principal Violin of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra since 2016, Fullana is praised as an “amazing talent” (Gustavo Dudamel) and “a paragon of delicacy” (San Francisco’s Classical Voice). Starting in 2018, Fullana has been invited to join the prestigious Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Two.
Orchid Classics will release Fullana’s new recording in March 2018, which includes Max Richter’s “Four Seasons Recomposed” with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Carlos Izcaray, curated in conjunction with a series of contemporary solo works examining the tradition of baroque music. His ongoing collaboration with Argentinian bandoneonist J.P. Jofre will culminate with the 2018 premiere of Jofre’s Double Concerto for bandoneon and violin, a work commissioned by the Balearic Islands Symphony, San Antonio Chamber Orchestra and New York City’s Metropolis Ensemble to honor Leonard Bernstein’s Centennial.
An advocate of music education for young people, Fullana co-founded San Antonio’s Classical Music Institute, now in its third season. He also created the Fortissimo Youth Initiative, a series of baroque and classical music seminars with youth orchestras. Fullana currently performs on the 1735 “Mary Portman” ex-Kreisler Guarneri del Gesu violin, kindly on loan from Clement and Karen Arrison through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.
Zachary Hammond (oboe) is currently the principal oboist of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Before coming to Charleston, he was the principal oboist of “Symphoria” in Syracuse, New York. Zac has performed with many other orchestras throughout the country including the Rochester Philharmonic, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Chamber Orchestra, New World Symphony and the Lake Placid Sinfonietta. Zac is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music.
Frances Hsieh (violin) earned bachelor degrees in Music and Biology at Duke University and a Master’s in Violin Performance at the Eastman School of Music. She is a member of Chamber Music Charleston and has won positions with the Colorado Music Festival and the Richmond, Asheville and Charleston symphony orchestras. She also performs with the North Carolina, Phoenix and Hilton Head symphonies.
Tomas Jakubek (violin) started his violin studies at the age of seven in his native country of Slovakia. He holds his Masters Degree in Violin Performance from the Janacek Academy of Music in Brno (Czech Republic). He also studied at the Lithuanian Academy of Music in Vilnius and has participated in master classes in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria and Germany. He has played in various concerts on four continents with the following European orchestras: Junge Philharmonie Wien, Europa Philharmonie Magdeburg, Czech Chamber Orchestra Prague, Czech Philharmony of Brno. Mr. Jakubek regularly performs with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, and Chamber Music Charleston. He has performed with Chamber Music Fest and was the concertmaster of the Summerville Symphony, the Saint James Orchestra and the CofC orchestra. Aside from performing, Mr. Jakubek teaches at the Charleston Academy of Music and as an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston.
Charles Messersmith (clarinet) began playing the clarinet in California at the age of 8. He attended the Cleveland Institute of Music and received a Bachelor of Music degree (while studying with Franklin Cohen) in 1991. He then went on to receive his Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music while studying with David Breeden (San Francisco Symphony). After graduation, he became the principal clarinet of the Augusta symphony and performed there for four years. In 1998 he was appointed by national auditions to the Second Clarinet position with the Charleston Symphony, and in 2005 to the principal clarinet position. He has also performed with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra as co-principal clarinet since 2006. Along with regular performances with the Charleston Symphony and Chamber Music Charleston, he performs all around the Lowcountry with local, national, and internationally renowned chamber musicians as well as for Piccolo Spoleto programs in the spring. In the summers he performs in Virginia at the Wintergreen Music Festival in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He has been featured as soloist with the Charleston Symphony on numerous occasions, performing the Copland Clarinet Concerto, the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, and the Weber Concerto in F Minor.
Recognized as a deeply expressive artist and known for her musical career of broad versatility, Amy Schwartz Moretti (violin) is Director of the McDuffie Center for Strings at the Mercer University Townsend School of Music and former Concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony and Florida Orchestra. She is a member of the internationally acclaimed Ehnes String Quartet and maintains an active performing schedule of solo, chamber, and concertmaster appearances. Recent projects include the CD release of Schubert and Sibelius quartets (Onyx Classics); performing Beethoven’s complete cycle of string quartets in Korea; and performing the international premiere in Japan, of “Three Shades of Blue,” GRAMMY® winner Matt Catingub’s concerto written for her. In addition to her recordings and international performances, she curates the Fabian Concert Series in Macon, Georgia, and holds the Caroline Paul King Chair in Strings. Through the generous efforts of the Stradivari Society of Chicago, she plays the 1744 G.B. Guadagnini violin and gratefully acknowledges its extended loan. Born in Wisconsin, raised in North Carolina and California, Amy lives in Georgia with her husband and two young sons enjoying all aspects of motherhood, especially Saturday morning soccer matches.
Born and raised in central Massachusetts, Sandra Nikolajevs (bassoon) began her formal musical education at the Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music in Ohio and received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Juilliard School in New York City. She furthered her education at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, as the first American in the German Bassoon Studio of acclaimed solo bassoonist Pascal Gallois. An avid chamber musician, Ms. Nikolajevs has performed chamber music in Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Ms. Nikolajevs is currently Principal Bassoonist of the Savannah Philharmonic and has held the same position with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, South Carolina Philharmonic and Augusta Symphony. During the summers she is on the faculty of the Luzerne Music Center in Lake Luzerne, NY. She is Founder, President and Artistic Director of Chamber Music Charleston.
Timothy O’Malley (cello) was first introduced to the cello at the age of nine when he participated in a strings program in Tucson, Arizona. Since then, his studies have brought him across the United States and to Europe. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Cello Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and his Master’s degree in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. He is a member of Chamber Music Charleston and a Fabrication Specialist with Boeing South Carolina.
Dr. Irina Pevzner (piano) was born in Ukraine and raised in Latvia. After graduating from the Riga Jazep Medins Music College, she moved to the United States. Dr. Pevzner holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Music degree in piano performance from Carnegie Mellon University, Artist Certificate from the College of Charleston, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania. Irina has performed in Latvia, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, Brazil, and throughout the U. S. Locally, she has performed at the Monday Night Concert Series, International Piano Series, and in numerous programs with Chamber Music Charleston. Dr. Pevzner is the Executive Director of the Charleston Academy of Music.
Jiayi Shi (piano) maintains an active schedule as a chamber musician and collaborative pianist. She works extensively with the internationally renowned violinist Midori, and made her New York recital debut with Midori in March 2004. In April 2008, she also made recital appearance in London Symphony Orchestra’s St Luke’s Hall. In addition to numerous chamber performances, Ms. Shi often plays solo piano recitals in North America and in her native China. Her performances also took her not only throughout USA, but also to Germany, Hong Kong, as well as the Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Center and Lincoln Center in New York City.
Debra Sherrill-Ward (horn) i is a member of Chamber Music Charleston, North Charleston Pops, Savannah Philharmonic and the Hilton Head Symphony. During the summer she is the director of the Charleston Horn Camp and plays for the St. Augustine Music Festival and Loon Lake Live. Previously, she was a member of Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, the South Dakota Symphony and the Charleston Symphony. Debra studied with Froydis Ree Wekre in Oslo,Norway, Jerome Ashby at the Juilliard School, Erik Ralske at the Manhattan School of Music and Roger Collins at Western Illinois University. Debra commissioned and premiered two horn solo works by Dr. Karen Walwyn: Angels Nine, A tribute to the Families of Mother Emanuel (2017) and Hyperion in the Red Forest (2018). She will premiere a new solo work in 2019 by Dr. James Naigus. Debra recently performed for the 2018 North Carolina Horn Day, was a featured guest for the Western Illinois Horn Festival 2018 and traveled to Spain with Chamber Music Charleston for the 2018 Musica en Segura Festival.
Ben Weiss (viola) earned degrees in violin and viola performance from Indiana University’s Jacob School of Music. While in Bloomington, he was a member of the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic and the Carmel, Terre Haute and Richmond symphony orchestras. In addition to Chamber Music Charleston, he performs regularly with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and teaches at the College of Charleston.
Jenny Blickensderfer Weiss (violin) completed her Bachelor’s degree and Performance Diploma at Indiana University. While living in Bloomington, she was a member of the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic and the Carmel, Terre Haute and Richmond symphony orchestras. She enjoys performing with her husband, Ben, and performs regularly with Chamber Music Charleston and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.
Regina Helcher Yost (flute) plays Second flute/piccolo for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, assistant Principal flute/piccolo at the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, flute with Chamber Music Charleston, and is an Adjunct Professor of flute at Charleston Southern University. Previously, she was associate principal flute/piccolo for the Honolulu Symphony, second flute/piccolo for the Knoxville Symphony, and acting second flute for the St. Louis Symphony. She has also substituted with Minnesota Orchestra and the Atlanta and Detroit Symphonies.