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Jonas Alber was born in Offenburg, Germany, studied violin and conducting in Freiburg, and qualified as a conductor at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna. He was awarded a scholarship by the Herbert von Karajan Foundation in 1995.
Three years later, he was appointed General Music Director of the Staatstheater Braunschweig, thus becoming Germany’s youngest conductor in a position of this kind. He remained at this post until summer 2007.
Jonas Alber has led many renowned orchestras. In Germany, these include the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the WDR Sinfonieorchester Cologne, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken, and Bochumer Symphoniker.
He made his China debut with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra in April and made his Japan debut with the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra in May 2009.
Mariam Adam, born in Monterey, California to an Egyptian father and a Mexican mother, lives between New York and Paris, a composite of influences that has shaped her musicianship and collaborations worldwide.
She is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated woodwind quintet, Imani Winds, and has maintained an active international touring schedule for over 15 years. The quintet is a pillar in the classical music community, unparalleled in developing the wind quintet to a new level through virtuosity, style, repertoire and engaging programs.
Besides her career with Imani Winds, Mariam has been invited for solo recitals and chamber music concerts in such prestigious venues and festivals as Chamber Music Lincoln Center, Burlington’s Lane Series, and various festivals and series in the United-States, Europe and South America.
Natalie Clein has been described by The Times as a "mesmerising" cellist who "plays everything with passion".
Born in the United Kingdom, Natalie came to widespread attention at the age of sixteen when she won both the BBC Young Musician of the Year and the Eurovision Competition for Young Musicians. As a student she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Scholarship by the Royal College of Music and completed her studies with Heinrich Schiff in Vienna.
Natalie Clein has performed with orchestras including the Philharmonia, Hallé, Royal Philharmonic, Vienna Chamber, BBC Scottish Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, City of Birmingham Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Orchestre de Lyon, New Zealand Symphony and Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires, with conductors including Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Mark Elder, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Yuri Simonov, Heinrich Schiff, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Roger Norrington, Leonard Slatkin and Mark Wigglesworth.
Natalie is a Professor at the Royal College of Music London. She plays the ‘Simpson’ Guadagnini cello of 1777.
Born in the UK Jason Lai began his musical studies at the age of eleven and was awarded a scholarship to Chetham’s School of Music to study cello with Raphael Wallfisch and Gillian Thoday. A Hadow Scholarship enabled him to study cello and composition at Oxford University where he also toured extensively with the Allegri Quartet. After becoming a finalist in the BBC Young Composers Award his piece Synopsis was performed by London Sinfonietta. He completed his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he was awarded the Fellowship in Conducting.
Early success came when he won the BBC Young Conductors Workshop in 2002 and was awarded the post of Assistant Conductor to the BBC Philharmonic. His successful tenure with the orchestra gave him the opportunity to work closely with principal conductor Gianandrea Noseda, and to conduct other BBC orchestras and the BBC Singers in various concerts and recordings which have been broadcast on Radio 3. He made his BBC Proms debut with the BBC Philharmonic in 2003.
He has conducted the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Malaysian Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic and Hong Kong Sinfonietta.
David Commanday has become known for dynamic performances, innovative programming, and an appealing connection with audience and community. He is the founding Artistic Director and Conductor of the Heartland Festival Orchestra. Active as guest conductor, he recently directed the Boca Raton Symphonia and the Longwood Symphony of Boston. He traveled last Spring to Singapore at the invitation of the Ministry of Education to consult on leadership and programming of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra. Last season David and the HFO performed for: Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens’ retirement celebration, a benefit concert for the Epiphany Roman Catholic Church in Normal, Illinois, and the Peoria Ballet's Nutcracker. Commanday conducted the HFO at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall in collaboration with Manhattan Concert Productions.
In 2011 Commanday was named Professional Conductor of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras. In the words of the Peoria Journal Star, the Heartland Festival Orchestra "… has a big city feel, but a small-town heart."
Commanday has held faculty positions and conducted at Harvard University, Boston University, MIT, and Montclair State and Virginia Commonwealth Universities. He is active as teaching and conducting clinician, conducting All-State and regional student orchestras around the country.
Commanday has performed as cellist in chamber music with Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Matt Haimovitz, and most recently Adam Neiman.
Canadian violist Max Mandel is one of the most acclaimed and active chamber musicians of his generation. Comfortable in many styles and genres, Mr. Mandel's current group affiliations include the FLUX Quartet, The Caramoor Virtuosi, The Silk Road Ensemble, The Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert, The Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, The Kirby String Quartet, The Smithsonian Chamber Players, Class Notes, The Knights, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, and I Furiosi Baroque Ensemble.
Mandel is a fan of all kinds of music from Mozart to Feldman to Ghostface and considers himself very fortunate to have collaborated with great artists in many genres from Vera Beths to Ornette Coleman to Kirk Hammett of Metallica. Mr. Mandel plays on a 1973 Giovanni Battista Morassi generously loaned to him by Lesley Robertson of the St. Lawrence Quartet. He resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Acclaimed by critics and audiences for his sensitive interpretations and astonishing technique, The New York Times called Andrea Griminelli “one of the eight top emerging artists of the nineties”. He began playing the flute at the age of ten and studied with legendary flutists Jean-Pierre Rampal and Sir James Galway. Sir James has described him as “the greatest flute player who has come to the forefront of the musical scene for many years”.
At the age of 25, he was invited by Luciano Pavarotti to perform in Pavarotti’s now famous concert in New York’s Madison Square Garden. This was the beginning of a longstanding collaboration with the great tenor that led to unforgettable performance at London’s Hyde Park in 1990, New York’s Central Park in 1993, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Red Square, Moscow.
Lara St. John
Canadian-born violinist Lara St. John has been described as "something of a phenomenon" by The Strad and a “high-powered soloist” by the New York Times. Lara has performed with orchestras and in recital on five continents. She founded her own record label, Ancalagon Records in 1999, and has recorded with orchestras including the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and The Knights.
Her release Bach: The Six Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo in 2007 was the best selling double album of the year on iTunes and her recording featuring two World Premiere 21st century concertos with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra had Gramophone saying “it’s the sort of work that should get audiences running, not walking, back to concert halls…”
Stewart Rose is a native of New York City. He is Principal Horn with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, has played Principal Horn with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s since 1983 and in 1989 became Principal Horn with the New York City Opera Orchestra. Mr Rose has also performed as Guest Principal Horn with many orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Saito Kinen Festival Orchestra.
His first solo CD “From the Forest” was released to great critical acclaim. Buffalo Globe critic Herman Trotter acknowledged it as “a recording to be treasured, not only by horn players but by average music lovers searching for new frontiers of musical excellence.”