Two luscious string sextets from the late-romantic period complete this colorful program of music by Richard Strauss and Arnold Schoenberg. Filmed by Tristan Cook at the DiMenna Center in New York, NY.
A recipient of the 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, as well as a top prizewinner of the 2012 Walter W. Naumburg Competition and the Astral Artists’ 2010 National Auditions, Kristin Lee is a violinist of remarkable versatility and impeccable technique who enjoys a vibrant career as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and educator. “Her technique is flawless, and she has a sense of melodic shaping that reflects an artistic maturity,” writes the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Strad reports, “She seems entirely comfortable with stylistic diversity, which is one criterion that separates the run-of-themill instrumentalists from true artists.” Kristin Lee has appeared as soloist with leading orchestras including The Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, Tacoma Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Nordic Chamber Orchestra of Sweden, Ural Philharmonic of Russia, Korean Broadcasting Symphony, Guiyang Symphony Orchestra of China, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional of Dominican Republic, and many others. She has performed on the world’s finest concert stages, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Kennedy Center, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Steinway Hall’s Salon de Virtuosi, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Ravinia Festival, Philadelphia’s World Cafe Live, (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York, the Louvre Museum in Paris, Washington, D.C.’s Phillips Collection, and Korea’s Kumho Art Gallery. An accomplished chamber musician, Kristin Lee is a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, performing at Lincoln Center in New York and on tour with CMS throughout each season.
Performance highlights include concerts presented by the San Francisco Symphony with Itzhak Perlman, Amarillo Symphony, Chamber Music Sedona, a tour with the Silk Road Ensemble, Parlance Chamber Concerts, Moab Music Festival, Music in the Vineyards, Lyra Music Festival, Olympic Music Festival, North Carolina New Music Initiative, the Leicester International Music Festival, the Musicians Emergency Fund at Lincoln Center, as well as performances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Camerata Pacifica. Reflecting on both her personal journey and her professional journey, Kristin Lee has developed a new project, Americana, which showcases a spectrum of illustrious composers and the American musical styles which influenced them, as well as their own musical styles which influenced generations of composers to come. As a foreign-born citizen of America, Lee was compelled to select this unique collection of works to express her pride of the country she now calls her own, and offers recital programs that have a distinct and recognizable sound of American music and its rich history. Lee’s many honors include awards from the 2015 Trondheim Chamber Music Competition, 2011 Trio di Trieste Premio International Competition, the SYLFF Fellowship, Dorothy DeLay Scholarship, the Aspen Music Festival’s Violin Competition, the New Jersey Young Artists’ Competition, and the Salon de Virtuosi Scholarship Foundation. She is also the unprecedented First Prize winner of three concerto competitions at The Juilliard School – in the Pre-College Division in 1997 and 1999, and in the College Division in 2007.
Born in Seoul, Lee began studying the violin at the age of five, and within one year won First Prize at the prestigious Korea Times Violin Competition. In 1995, she moved to the United States and continued her musical studies under Sonja Foster. Two years later, she became a student of Catherine Cho and Dorothy DeLay in The Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division. In January 2000, she was chosen to study with Itzhak Perlman. Lee holds a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School. She is a member of the faculty of the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and the co-founder and artistic director of Emerald City Music in Seattle.
Winner of a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Arnaud Sussmann has distinguished himself with his unique sound, bravura, and profound musicianship. Minnesota’s Pioneer Press writes, “Sussmann has an old-school sound reminiscent of what you'll hear on vintage recordings by Jascha Heifetz or Fritz Kreisler, a rare combination of sweet and smooth that can hypnotize a listener.” A thrilling musician capturing the attention of classical critics and audiences around the world, he has recently appeared as a soloist with the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev, the Vancouver Symphony, and the New World Symphony.
As a chamber musician, he has performed at the Tel Aviv Museum in Israel, London’s Wigmore Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the White Nights Festival in Saint Petersburg, the Dresden Music Festival in Germany, and the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. He has been presented in recital in Omaha on the Tuesday Musical Club series, New Orleans by the Friends of Music, and at the Louvre Museum in Paris. He has also given concerts at the OK Mozart, Moritzburg, Caramoor, Music@Menlo, La Jolla SummerFest, Mainly Mozart, Seattle Chamber Music, Chamber Music Northwest, and the Moab Music festivals. He has performed with many of today’s leading artists including Itzhak Perlman, Menahem Pressler, Gary Hoffman, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Wu Han, David Finckel, and Jan Vogler. An alum of The Bowers Program, he regularly appears with CMS in New York and on tour. Mr. Sussmann is Co-Director of Music@Menlo’s International Program and teaches at Stony Brook University.
Grammy-nominated violist Melissa Reardon is a versatile performer whose playing spans all genres of the viola literature. A First Prize Winner of the Washington International Competition, and the only violist to win top prizes in consecutive HAMS International Viola Competitions, Melissa’s playing has been described as “elegant” and “virtuosic” (Classical Voice). Melissa received the prize for "best performance of a newly commissioned piece" at HAMS in 2006 as well the Tourjee Award in 2002. Solo engagements have included performances at the Stevens Center, Kennedy Center, Symphony Hall, and Jordan Hall. She has performed as soloist with Camerata Notturna, the Boston Symphony and, most recently, the East Carolina Symphony.
Melissa has given recitals in North Carolina, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, and maintains an international performing schedule as a member of the Enso String Quartet. Melissa is also a founding member of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO) and a sought-after collaborative musician. She has performed with the Miami, Miro, Daedalus, and Borromeo Quartets, and with members of the Guarneri, Mendelssohn, Brentano, St. Lawrence and Shanghai Quartets and the Beaux Arts Trio. Melissa has appeared in numerous festivals across the US, Europe, India and Korea. Recent festivals have included Music in the Vineyards, Chamber Music Northwest, and the Bridgehampton, Charlottesville, and Sangat (Mumbai) Chamber Music Festivals. Melissa has also toured with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble and with Musicians from Marlboro, which brought her across the US and to France. In 2006, she was chosen as one of four violists internationally to participate in Chamber Music Connects the World with Gidon Kremer and Yuri Bashmet in Kronberg, Germany. Melissa holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory. Her principal teachers include Kim Kashkashian, Michael Tree, Joseph dePasquale, Karen Tuttle, Samuel Rhodes, and Hsin-Yun Huang. Early chamber music studies were with Eugene Lehner. Since 2007 Melissa has held the position of Assistant Professor of Viola at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. She is married to the cellist Raman Ramakrishnan.
Violist Cynthia Phelps has been a faculty member since 2014. She has been principal violist with the New York Philharmonic since 1992. Her solo appearances with the orchestra have included performances on the 2006 Tour of Italy and the 1999 premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Two Paths, which the Philharmonic commissioned for her and the orchestra’s associate principal violist Rebecca Young. Other solo engagements have included the Minnesota Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Bilbao.
Phelps performs with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Boston Chamber Music Society, and Bargemusic. She has toured internationally with the Zukerman and Friends Ensemble, appeared with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Guarneri, American, Brentano, and Prague string quartets. She has given recitals in the music capitals of Europe and the U.S. Her honors include the Pro Musicis International Award and first prize in the Lionel Tertis International Viola and Washington International String competitions. Her most recent album, for flute, viola, and harp, on Telarc, was nominated for a Grammy Award. She has a solo album on Cala Records. She has performed on PBS’s NPR, Radio France, and RAI in Italy. Phelps studied at U.S.C. Thornton School of Music.
Cellist Edward Arron has garnered recognition worldwide for his elegant musicianship, impassioned performances, and creative programming. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Mr. Arron made his New York recital debut in 2000 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Since that time, he has appeared in recital, as a soloist with major orchestras, and as a chamber musician throughout North America, Europe and Asia. The 2020-21 season marks Mr. Arron’s 12th season as the artistic director and host of the acclaimed Musical Masterworks concert series in Old Lyme, Connecticut. He is also the co-artistic director with his wife, pianist Jeewon Park, of the Performing Artists in Residence series at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Mr. Arron tours and records as a member of the renowned Ehnes Quartet, and he appears regularly at the Caramoor International Music Festival, where he has been a resident performer and curator of chamber music concerts for over a quarter of a century.
In 2013, he completed a ten-year residency as the artistic director of the Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert, a chamber music series created in 2003 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Museum’s prestigious Concerts and Lectures series. Mr. Arron has performed numerous times at Carnegie’s Weill and Zankel Halls, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully and Avery Fisher Halls, New York’s Town Hall, and the 92nd Street Y, and is a frequent performer at Bargemusic. Festival appearances include Ravinia, Salzburg, Mostly Mozart, Bravo! Vail, Tanglewood, Bridgehampton, Spoleto USA, Santa Fe, Seattle Chamber Music, Kuhmo, PyeongChang, Evian, Charlottesville, Bowdoin, Telluride Musicfest, Seoul Spring, Lake Champlain Chamber Music, Chesapeake Chamber Music, La Jolla Summerfest, and Bard Music Festival. He has participated in Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project as well as Isaac Stern’s Jerusalem Chamber Music Encounters. Mr. Arron’s performances are frequently broadcast on American Public Media’s Performance Today. Edward Arron began playing the cello at age seven in Cincinnati and continued his studies in New York with Peter Wiley. He is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where he was a student of Harvey Shapiro. In 2016, Mr. Arron joined the faculty at University of Massachusetts Amherst, after having served on the faculty of New York University from 2009 to 2016.
Praised for his “fluid virtuosity” and “soulful melodies,” Los Angeles native Brook Speltz has been inspired since childhood by the long tradition of deep musical mastery of artists such as Jascha Heifetz, Pierre Fournier, and the Guarneri String Quartet. As of 2015, he is the new cellist of the internationally renowned Escher String Quartet and a season artist of the Chamber Music Society. He has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and recitalist throughout the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. First Prize winner of the prestigious Ima Hogg Competition, he has performed with the Houston Symphony, Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, and International Contemporary Ensemble, and is a regular performer at England’s IMS Prussia Cove and on tour with Musicians from Marlboro.
Chamber music tours with Itzhak Perlman and Richard Goode caused him to be nominated for the inaugural Warner Music Prize, a newly established prize presented by Warner Music and Carnegie Hall. He has also toured with the cello rock band Break of Reality, whose cover of music from Game of Thrones has received over 19 million views online. The band’s recent US tour raised funds and awareness for music programs in public schools all around the country. After studying with Eleanor Schoenfeld, Mr. Speltz attended the Curtis Institute of Music with Peter Wiley and The Juilliard School with Joel Krosnick. He performs on an 1857 J.B. Vuillaume on loan from his father, a cellist and his first inspiration in a family of professional musicians.
Bass-baritone William Socolof from White Plains, New York began training at the Interlochen Arts Academy. In 2019, William participated in the Marlboro Music Festival, and will return in 2021. As a vocal fellow at Tanglewood Music Festival (2017–18) William appeared in Sondheim on Sondheim with the Boston Pops, Bach Cantatas conducted by John Harbison, and premiered works by Michael Gandolfi and Nico Muhly. In the 2020 season, William debuted with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons, and with The Juilliard Chamber Orchestra in Alice Tully Hall. William also appeared as Daniel Webster (Mother of Us All) in collaboration with Met LiveArts and the NY Phil, and as Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte) at Juilliard. William had the honor of being named a winner in the 2020 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and started their career through YCA. William holds a B.M. and M.M. from Juilliard, and is pursuing an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies with William Burden