Acclaimed young American pianist Drew Petersen is a sought-after soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. He has been praised for his commanding and poetic performances of repertoire ranging from Bach to Zaimont, and is the recipient of the 2018 Avery Fisher Career Grant, 2017 American Pianists Award, and the Christel DeHaan Fellow of the American Pianists Association.
With the resumption of live concerts his 21/22 season will include orchestras in Cincinnati, Santa Fe, Buffalo, Delaware, Columbus and Indianapolis and recitals in San Francisco, Madison and Sanibel, FL. Recent highlights have included debuts with the Sarasota, Houston, Phoenix, Pacific, Milwaukee, Fort Smith, Buffalo, Waco and Allentown symphonies as well as his recital debut at the Kennedy Center. In solo recital Petersen has appeared at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, University of Indianapolis, Williams College Concert Series, Dame Myra Hess Concerts in Chicago, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Brevard Music Center’s Summer Festival and Chicago’s Ravinia Festival. 2018 marked the release of his first solo recording of music by Barber, Carter, and other American composers on the Steinway & Sons label for which BBC Music Magazine acknowledged his presence as a rising star.
A frequent radio contributor, Petersen has performed on McGraw-Hill Young Artists Showcase, From the Top, and Performance Today. Profiles include The New York Times, New York Magazine, and the documentary “just normal” by award-winning director Kim A. Snyder. A champion of chamber music, Petersen has appeared on French radio’s France Musique while a member of a Verbier Festival piano trio.
Drew Petersen’s firm belief in the importance of music in contemporary society led to collaborations with Young Audiences NY that presents performances in New York City’s public schools. His appearance in Andrew Solomon’s New York Times bestselling book, Far From the Tree, sparked a nation-wide conversation on raising extraordinary and different children who test the willpower and capabilities of their families and society. Petersen continually advocates for the necessity of classical music and other arts in society, and was named a 2006 Davidson Fellow for his portfolio entitled Keeping Classical Music Alive.
An unusually versatile musician, Teddy Abrams is the widely-acclaimed Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra and Music Director and Conductor of the Britt Festival Orchestra. A tireless advocate for the power of music, Abrams has fostered interdisciplinary collaborations with organizations including the Louisville Ballet, the Center for Interfaith Relations, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Speed Art Museum, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. His rap-opera, The Greatest: Muhammad Ali, premiered in 2017, celebrating Louisville’s hometown hero with an all-star cast that included Rhiannon Giddens and Jubilant Sykes. Abrams’ work with the Louisville Orchestra has been profiled on CBS News Sunday Morning, NPR, and in The Wall Street Journal.
Abrams recently collaborated with Jim James, vocalist and guitarist for My Morning Jacket, on the song cycle The Order of Nature, which they premiered with the Louisville Orchestra in 2018 and recorded on Decca Gold. Additional highlights of the 2019-20 season included his debut as guest conductor with Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, and the lead role in the Kennedy Center Honors celebration of his mentor Michael Tilson Thomas.
Recent guest conducting highlights include engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the San Francisco, National, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Vancouver, Colorado, Utah, and Phoenix Symphonies; Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; and the Florida Orchestra. He served as Assistant Conductor of the Detroit Symphony from 2012-2014.
From 2008 to 2011, Abrams was the Conducting Fellow and Assistant Conductor of the New World Symphony (NWS). He has conducted the NWS in Miami Beach, Washington, D.C. and at Carnegie Hall, and recently returned to conduct the NWS on subscription with Joshua Bell as soloist.
An accomplished pianist and clarinetist, Abrams has appeared as a soloist with a number of orchestras—including play-conducting the Ravel Piano Concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony in 2017 and the Jacksonville Symphony in 2013—and has performed chamber music with the St. Petersburg String Quartet, Menahem Pressler, Gilbert Kalish, Time for Three, and John Adams, in addition to annual appearances at the Olympic Music Festival. Dedicated to exploring new and engaging ways to communicate with a diverse range of audiences, Abrams co-founded the Sixth Floor Trio in 2008. Together, they founded and direct GardenMusic, the music festival of the world-renowned Fairchild Tropical Garden in Miami; they continue to tour regularly throughout the U.S.
Abrams was a protégé of Michael Tilson Thomas from the age of eleven, and studied conducting with Otto-Werner Mueller and Ford Lallerstedt at the Curtis Institute of Music, and with David Zinman at the Aspen Music Festival; he was the youngest conducting student ever accepted at both institutions. Abrams is also an award-winning composer and a passionate educator. His 2009 Education Concerts with the New World Symphony (featuring the world premiere of one of Abrams’ own orchestral works) were webcast to hundreds of schools throughout South Florida.
Abrams performed as a keyboardist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, won the 2007 Aspen Composition Contest, and was the Assistant Conductor of the YouTube Symphony at Carnegie Hall in 2009. He has held residencies at the La Mortella music festival in Ischia, Italy and at the American Academy in Berlin. Teddy was a proud member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra for seven seasons, and graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Music, having studied piano with Paul Hersh.
Soprano Emily Albrink's career has been graced by collaborations with such conductors as Robert Spano and Marin Alsop and composers such as Jake Heggie, Ned Rorem, and John Musto. Lauded by the New York Times as "delightful and vocally strong and versatile," Ms. Albrink continues to be heard in a wide array of operatic roles and concert works. She has appeared in leading roles with Kentucky Opera, Charlottesville Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Boston, Indianapolis Opera, and Chicago Opera Theater and has been a featured soloist with orchestras including Orchestra of St. Luke's, the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, and the Louisville Orchestra.
A champion of new music, Ms. Albrink will be releasing her debut solo album with pianist Kathleen Kelly featuring world premiere commissions by Jake Heggie, Nailah Nombeko, Rene Orth, and Steve Rouse. She has performed the role of Tatiana Bakst in Cincinnati Opera's workshop performance of Jake Heggie's Great Scott and performed the West Coast premiere of Heggie's song cycle Rise and Fall with the composer at the piano. She played Evvy in the US premiere of Tod Machover's Death and the Powers: The Robots' Opera with the American Repertory Theater and Chicago Opera Theater. She has performed at Carnegie Hall in John Adams' Grand Pianola Music, the role of Nuria in Osvaldo Golijov's opera Ainadamar (with Dawn Upshaw and the Orchestra of St. Luke's under the baton of Robert Spano), and in the world premiere of Clarice Assad's Confessions, which served as her Carnegie debut. Ms. Albrink went on to perform Ainadamar with the Colorado Music Festival, Opera Boston, the Phoenix Symphony, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Early in her career, Ms. Albrink fulfilled a residency with the Washington National Opera (WNO) as a member of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program and has since then returned often to the company's roster. She performed in WNO's special gala concert featuring Nathan Gunn, the role of Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, Sophie in Werther, and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, a performance which drew high praise from the Washington Post: "Soprano Emily Albrink's pert, pearl-toned Susanna may have been the liveliest, most affectionately detailed performance of the evening". Other roles with the company include Frasquita in Carmen, Second Niece in Peter Grimes, Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos, and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro.
Ms. Albrink's performances of works from the classical canon include her Alice Tully Hall debut performance of Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with the Baltimore Symphony conducted by Marin Alsop, Despina in Così fan tutte and die Vertraute in Elektra, both under the baton of James Levine. A native of Louisville, KY, she has sung seven leading roles with the Kentucky Opera over the past ten years. Ms. Albrink made her international debut with the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir on a ten-day tour of China as the soprano soloist in performances of Brahms' Deutsches Requiem.
In addition to her operatic and concert experience, Ms. Albrink has a deep affinity for the American musical theatre tradition and has appeared as Magnolia in Show Boat (Kentucky Opera), Julie Jordan in Carousel (Charlottesville Opera), and Marian Paroo in The Music Man (Charlottesville Opera). She has also collaborated with pianist and composer, Rob Kapilow on his What Makes it Great? series devoted to songs from the American Songbook at The Celebrity Series of Boston, Stanford Lively Arts, and at the University of Louisville.
Ms. Albrink holds a Master of Music degree and a Professional Diploma from the Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan. She currently resides in Louisville, KY where she is an Assistant Professor of voice at the University of Louisville School of Music. She and her husband, David, have two small boys.
Andrea (“Annie”) Daigle, violin, has been a member of the Louisville Orchestra since 2016. Prior to her time in Louisville, she spent four years as a fellow with the New World Symphony in Miami, where she appeared regularly in leadership positions and was featured as a soloist at the 2016 New World Symphony Gala. She also performs as a substitute musician with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony.
During the summer season, Annie enjoys playing in the Artosphere and Britt Festival Orchestras. Previous summer activities include the New York Symphonic Ensemble Japan Tour and studies at the Tanglewood Music Center, Spoleto Festival USA, and the Aspen Music Festival. She received both MM and BM degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where her primary teachers were William Preucil and David Updegraff.
Noted for his “expressive warmth” [Chicago Classical Review] NYC based and Los Angeles born violinist Brendan Speltz has toured the globe as an in demand chamber musician. Recently appointed as second violinist of the prestigious Escher String QuartetHighlights this year include appearances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Aspen Music Festival, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and Wigmore Hall, among others. He’s also toured with groundbreaking ensembles such as A Far Cry, Ethel, the Harlem Quartet, Shuffle Concert, and the Manhattan Chamber Players, and with members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Orion, and Dover Quartets. An avid believer in the power of classical music to reach young adults, Speltz has produced innovative concert events across the U.S. and Canada which have been described by The New Yorker as “Thrilling, poignant, unexpected, and utterly DIY.” Recent productions include curating the closing concert experience of the prestigious Chamber Fest Ottawa in 2018 and before that co-creating a cross-disciplinary presentation of Steve Reich’s Different Trains with aerial dance troupe ABCirque which was sponsored by Meyer Sound Labs in Brooklyn. In NYC he has performed as guest with the New York New Music Ensemble, Mark Morris Dance Group, American Ballet Theatre, The American Symphony, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s and as a founding member of the conductorless string orchestra Shattered Glass. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California with Los Angeles Concertmaster Margaret Batjer and his Master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music with Laurie Smukler. He plays a 1925 Carl Becker violin.
Brittany MacWilliams has a rich and diverse career both as performer and educator. She made her professional solo debut at age ten with the Louisville Orchestra and went on to win numerous competitions including the Music Teachers National Association competition. Ms. MacWilliams has performed extensively as soloist and concertmaster in such diverse locales as Istanbul, Beijing, Salzburg, Munich, Lisbon, and New York. She has had solo engagements with such orchestras as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Munich Hochshule Orchestra, Kentucky Symphony, and Aspen Chamber Symphony. Ms. MacWilliams can be heard as soloist on two critically acclaimed compact discs of Giornovichi Violin Concerti for the Arte Nova Classics/BMG label.
Ms. MacWilliams is a passionate educator and has an active and varied teaching background. She has been a professor of violin and viola at the University of Louisville School of Music for fourteen years. She has also been the Director of the UofL String Academy, a program for talented and dedicated pre-college students, and is founder and director of LaPS (Leadership and Performance for Strings) at the Oldham County Schools Arts Center. She taught as a member of the collegiate violin faculty at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and taught violin, viola and chamber music at Xavier University. She served as director and a member of the violin faculty of the Starling Preparatory String Project at the University of Cincinnati for twelve years.
During the summers, Ms. MacWilliams has served on the faculties of the Aspen Music Festival and the Great Wall International Music Academy in Beijing, and she currently teaches at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, where she has been a member of the artist faculty for ten years.
In 2001, Ms. MacWilliams was the first winner of the prestigious Dorothy Richard Starling Teaching Fellowship, and over the years her students have won national competitions, performed with major orchestras, won teaching positions at numerous institutions, and received music scholarships to many top universities and conservatories. Ms. MacWilliams’ teachers include Kurt Sassmannshaus, Dorothy Delay, David Updegraff, Peter Oundjean, Henri Meyer, Virginia Schneider, Peter McHugh, Hiroko Driver and Cho-Liang Lin.
Born and raised in Louisville Kentucky, Cayleigh Stewart found her love and future career of playing the violin at the age of ten after spending all day in the local music shop with her grandparents. In seemingly no time, Cayleigh invested all her energy in surrounding herself with as much music as possible-resulting in attending the Youth Performing Arts School and taking private lessons from Louisville Orchestra member, Kimberly Griffiths. Now an active freelancer and private studio teacher in the Ohio and Kentucky area, Cayleigh enjoys taking up as many musical opportunities as possible and studies with Associate Concert Master of The Cleveland Orchestra, Peter Otto. Cayleigh graduated with her undergraduate degree in music performance from Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music in 2020, where she performed as concert master from her sophomore to senior year, performed in many chamber groups, new music festivals, Bach Festivals, awarded solo convocation performances, and was president and historian of Mu Phi Epsilon. Since her time at BW, Cayleigh has attended the Aspen Music Festival, performed with Cleveland chamber group, Lyceum2, performed in master classes with esteemed soloists and orchestral players such as Augustin Hadelich and Cleveland Orchestra’s Takako Masame, and performed many inspiring concerts with her hometown orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra. Cayleigh looks forward to attending Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music this fall to receive her Master’s degree in music performance. She is always thankful to her family, friends, teachers, and colleagues for their support and kindness.
Violinist Heather Thomas is a member of the Louisville Orchestra, the NouLou Chamber Players, and also performs as Duo Criquet with her partner violinist James McFadden-Talbot. Previously, she was a Fellow with the New World Symphony founded and directed by Michael Tilson Thomas. Heather received her Master of Music degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music studying with Kathleen Winkler and a Bachelor of Music degree from CSU’s Schwob School of Music studying with Sergiu Schwartz. Over the summers, she has attended the Bowdoin International Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, and the Lakes Area Music Festival. Heather is from Northeast Harbor, Maine.
Violinist James McFadden-Talbot joined the Louisville Orchestra in 2018 and became Assistant Concertmaster in 2023. In 2020, he gave his solo debut on Vivaldi’s Spring Concerto from the Four Seasons with Teddy Abrams conducting. Also a chamber musician, James performs in Duo Criquet with violinist Heather Thomas. The duo recently performed at the Opus 74 Festival in Flaine, France, and with the National Youth Ballet of Germany in Hamburg. James studied with Midori Goto at the University of Southern California where he won First Place in the 2018 Bach Solo Competition. He received a Master of Music degree in Germany from the Hamburg Hochschule für Musik und Theater with Tanja Becker-Bender. During his graduate years, he attended Tanglewood Music Center, and was a substitute in New World Symphony. Before college, he studied violin at the Colburn School of Performing Arts with Henry Gronnier while studying composition with Steven Stucky in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Composer Fellowship Program. His foundational teachers were Frank Becker, Cara Chang, and Philip & Natalia Vaiman.
Jae Cosmos Lee
American violinist, Jae Cosmos Lee, who’s performances have been acclaimed as “Delicate and beautiful” (Syracuse Post-Standard) and “Bursting with color” (Boston Globe), is Concertmaster of the Cape Symphony (Cape Cod, MA), and co-founder of A Far Cry, the Grammy nominated, resident chamber orchestra of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. He is also Curator & Director of the Nth Degree Chamber Music Series based in Falmouth, MA, first violinist of the Boston based Pedroia String Quartet and the Associate Concertmaster of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. Jae has been a guest artist with the Audubon, Borromeo and Jupiter String Quartets, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, ECCO, Boston Musica Viva, Sound Impact, the Firebird and Radius Ensembles, and has performed in concert halls throughout Europe, the United States, Canada and Asia. He is a recipient of numerous awards and honors, and has performed in many of the finest music festivals including Apple Hill, Aspen, Chautauqua, Norfolk, Sarasota, Vail, Banff, Seoul, Scotia, New South, Skaneateles, Salzburg, Ottawa, Prussia Cove and Kneisel Hall. Jae has worked closely with the members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Takács and Tokyo String Quartets and holds degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the New England Conservatory. His performances have been heard widely on American Public Media’s Performance Today, Boston’s WGBH and New York’s WQXR, along with public radio stations across Georgia, Maine & Vermont.
Israeli violinist Kobi Malkin, winner of the prestigious 2011 Ilona Kornhauser prize, is making his mark as both an exciting soloist and a sensitive chamber musician. Malkin performed with important orchestras around the world including the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Philharmonic and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and as an active chamber musician has collaborated with Itamar Golan, Frans Helmerson, Kim Kashkashian, Mitsuko Uchida and Peter Wiley in such festivals as Ravinia, Music@Menlo and the Marlboro Music Festival. His performances are regularly broadcast on radio in Israel and the US. A scholarship recipient of the America Israel Culture Foundation, he is an alumnus of Ensemble Connect - a joint program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and Weill Music Institute and was recently appointed concertmaster for the American Ballet Theatre orchestra.
Malkin holds a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Sylvia Rosenberg and Donald Weilerstein, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory, where he worked under the guidance of Miriam Fried.
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-the-mill instrumentalists from true artists.”
In addition to her dynamic performing career, Lee was recently appointed to the faculty of University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music as Assistant Professor of Violin. She is the artistic director of Emerald City Music in Seattle, a chamber music series she co-founded in 2015. Also 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.
Kristin Lee has appeared as soloist with leading orchestras including The Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Hawai’i Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, 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, the Ravinia Festival, the Louvre Museum in Paris, Washington, D.C.’s Phillips Collection, and Korea’s Kumho Art Gallery.
Born in Seoul, Lee began studying violin at age five and within one year won First Prize at the Korea Times Violin Competition. In 1995, she moved to the US to continue her studies under Sonja Foster and in 1997 entered The Juilliard School’s Pre-College. In 2000, Lee was chosen to study with Itzhak Perlman after he heard her perform with the Pre-College Symphony. Lee holds a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School.
For more information, visit www.violinistkristinlee.com
Evan Vicic has been the Assistant Principal Violist of the Louisville Orchestra since January 2014. He frequently appears as a substitute with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. In the summers of 2017 and 2019, Evan had the honor of playing in the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California. In October 2021, Evan was featured as the violist in Erwin Schulhoff's Concerto for String Quartet & Wind Orchestra with the Louisville Orchestra.
Originally hailing from Minnesota, Evan grew up studying the violin. He switched to viola prior to attending Northwestern University to study with Dr. Roland Vamos. After attaining his Bachelor’s in Music, he continued studies at Indiana University with Stephen Wyrczynski.
Evan is interested in many different genres of music and performed on the NPR nationally broadcast radio show "Live From Here" with Bruce Hornsby and Chris Thile. Evan is a proud member of the NouLou Chamber Players
in Louisville, KY.
Evan is available to teach both violin, and viola. He also is a recording/mixing engineer and producer. See Vicic Audio & Media
Jonathan Mueller, Viola, has been a member of the Louisville Orchestra since the 2006-2007 season. Mr. Mueller completed a Master of Music in Viola Performance at Rice University's Shepherd School in May of 2006 under the instruction of former Cleveland Quartet Violist, James Dunham.
While at the Shepherd School, Mr. Mueller performed in master classes for the Tokyo, American, and Mendelssohn Quartets. During his time at Rice, Mr. Mueller's orchestral experience was with the Austin Symphony and the Symphony of Southeast Texas in Beaumont.
Before attending Rice University, Mr. Mueller received his Bachelor of Music from Indiana University where he studied with former L.A. Philharmonic Principal Violist, Alan DeVeritch. While at IU, Mr. Mueller performed with the Evansville Philharmonic for two seasons. Mr. Mueller currently teaches Violin and Viola at Bellarmine University and lives in the Highlands with his wife, Krista, son, Everett and daughter, Coral.
Laura De St. Croix Vicic
Praised for her warm and beautiful sound, Laura brings enthusiasm and energy to her performances. She has enjoyed performing with acclaimed ensembles such as Chattanooga Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic, Quad City Symphony, Mankato Symphony, and is a tenured member of the Duluth-Superior Symphony. Currently, Laura holds a position with the Paducah Symphony and regularly performs with Orchestra Kentucky in Bowling Green. Laura has performed with Roberto Diaz, Leon Fleischer, Sharon Isbin, Jennifer Koh, Itzhak Perlman, Christopher O’Reilly, and The Joffrey Ballet. As a soloist, she has performed Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante at the University of Minnesota with conductor, Dr. Jeffrey Specht.
As a chamber musician who has performed across the United States and Canada, she has been a participant in chamber music festivals such as The Castleman Quartet Program, Lyricafest, North American Viola Institute, Niagara International Chamber Music Festival, Bravo!, Madeline Island Music Camp, Chamber Music Midwest, and Northern Lights Chamber Music Festival. In 2014, Laura was the Assistant Dean for The Castleman Quartet Program and has served as junior faculty and counselor at Stringwood Chamber Music Festival and Green Lake Chamber Music Festival. Laura has participated in readings with Natasha Brofsky, Charles Castleman, Norm Fisher and Roger Tapping. She has played in masterclasses for members of Arianna, Artaria, Concord, Emerson, Julliard, Pacifica, Parker and Takács String Quartets, as well as the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Since moving to Louisville in March 2015, Laura has kept up a busy schedule including performances with Stevie Wonder at the Yum! Center while on his Tour in the Key of Life, Louisville Ballet, and Louisville Master Chorale. As an educator, she maintains a private studio at Suzuki Stars Music Academy in addition to teaching strings at Montessori School of Louisville.
Laura holds viola performance degrees from Texas Tech University (BM) and the University of Minnesota (MM). She is nearly complete with a Doctorate of Musical Arts also from the U of M. Her most influential teachers and mentors include violists, Alice Preves, Renee Skerik, Korey Konkol; violinist Laura Bossert; and cellist Terry King.
Praised by The Philadelphia Inquirer for his “glowing refinement,” violist Luke Fleming's performances have been described by The Strad as “confident and expressive...playing with uncanny precision," and lauded by Gramophone for their "superlative technical and artistic execution.” Festival appearances include the Marlboro Music School and Festival, the Steans Institute at Ravinia, Perlman Music Program, the Norfolk and Great Lakes Chamber Music Festivals, the Melbourne Festival, Bravo!Vail, and Festival Mozaic. Formerly the violist of the internationally acclaimed Attacca Quartet, he has served as Artist-in-Residence for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and received the National Federation of Music Clubs Centennial Chamber Music Award. He was awarded First Prize at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and top prizes at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition.
In 2015, Mr. Fleming became the Founding Artistic Director of both the Manhattan Chamber Players, a New York-based chamber music collective, and the Crescent City Chamber Music Festival. He currently serves as Adjunct Professor of Viola at the University of New Orleans School of the Arts. He has performed as a guest artist with the Escher, Modigliani, Pacifica, Serafin, and Solera String Quartets, the Eroica, Lysander, and Gryphon Piano Trios, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Decoda, and Ensemble Connect.
Mr. Fleming holds the degrees of Doctor of Musical Arts, Artist Diploma, and Master of Music from the Juilliard School, a Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction from the Royal Academy of Music in London, and a Bachelor of Music summa cum laude from Louisiana State University.
Praised for his “fluid virtuosity” and “soulful melodies,” Los Angeles native Brook Speltz is the cellist of the internationally renowned Escher String Quartet – Quartet-in-Residence at Southern Methodist University – and an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
An extremely versatile cellist, Mr. Speltz has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and recitalist throughout the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. First Prize winner of the prestigious Ima Hogg Competition, he has performed as a soloist 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. Mr. Speltz has been personally invited by Itzhak Perlman and Richard Goode to collaborate in chamber music recitals throughout the country, and as a result of these collaborations, has been nominated for the inaugural Warner Music Prize presented by Warner Music and Carnegie Hall.
A lover of all facets of the music world, Mr. Speltz has enjoyed performing on tour with the cello rock band Break of Reality, whose recent U.S. tour raised funds and awareness for music programs in public schools all around the country. Mr. Speltz studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with Peter Wiley and at The Juilliard School with Joel Krosnick, after his formative years of study with Eleanor Schoenfeld in Los Angeles. He performs on a 1756 J.C. Gigli on loan from his father, a cellist and his first inspiration in a family of professional musicians.
Described as “an assured soloist” with “fearless technique,” Dr. Cecilia Huerta-Lauf brings passion and heart to her performances as an accomplished cellist. A native of Dickson, Tennessee, she made her solo debut with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra at age 16. Cecilia has enjoyed tenures with groups such as the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Discovery Ensemble, Florida Grand Opera, and the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra & founding String Quartet, and founding administrative director/principal cellist of the Boston Latin-American Orchestra. In 2012, Cecilia was a semi-finalist in the Carlos Prieto International Cello Competition. Currently, Cecilia is the founder, co-director, & cellist of NouLou Chamber Players; and substitutes with the Louisville Orchestra. She also served as President of the Chamber Music Society of Louisville Board. Cecilia has participated in music festivals across the United States, Canada, France, and Italy. Degrees include pre-college at Vanderbilt University, B.M. at DePaul University in Chicago, M.M. at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and her D.M.A. at University of Miami in FL.
Julian Schwarz was born to a multigenerational musical family in 1991. Heralded from a young age as a cellist destined to rank among the greatest of the 21st century, Julian’s powerful tone, effortless virtuosity, and extraordinarily large color palette are hallmarks of his style.
After making his concerto debut at the age of 11 with the Seattle Symphony and his father Gerard Schwarz on the podium, he made his US touring debut with the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2010. Since being awarded first prize at the inaugural Schoenfeld International String Competition in 2013, he has led an active career as soloist, performing with the symphony orchestras of Annapolis, Boise, Bozeman, Buffalo, Charlotte, Columbus, Des Moines, Hartford, Jacksonville, Louisville, Memphis, Modesto, Omaha, Puerto Rico, Richmond, Rochester, San Antonio, Sarasota, Seattle, Syracuse, Toledo, Tucson, Virginia, West Virginia, Wichita, and Winston-Salem, among others. Internationally, he made his Australian debut with the Queensland Symphony, his Mexican debuts with the Boca del Rio Philharmonic in Veracruz and the Mexico City Philharmonic with frequent collaborator Jorge Mester, and his Hong Kong debut at the Intimacy of Creativity Festival. He has also appeared at the Salzburg Mozarteum, and the Verbier festival in Switzerland.
As a chamber musician, Mr. Schwarz performs extensively in recital with pianist Marika Bournaki. In 2016 the Schwarz-Bournaki duo was awarded first prize at the inaugural Boulder International String Competition’s “The Art of Duo”, and subsequently embarked on an extensive 10-recital tour of China in March 2017. Mr. Schwarz is a founding member of the New York based Frisson Ensemble (a mixed nonet of winds and strings), and the Mile-End Trio with violinist Jeff Multer and Ms. Bournaki. He performs frequently at Bargemusic in Brooklyn with violinist Mark Peskanov, on the Frankly Music Series in Milwaukee with violinist Frank Almond, as a member of the Palladium Chamber Players in St Petersburg FL, and has appeared at the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, and the Seattle Chamber Music Festival. In addition, he is the co-coordinator of chamber music at Eastern Music Festival, running programming for the Tuesday evening chamber music series.
Julian Schwarz is an ardent supporter of new music, and has premiered concertos by Richard Danielpour and Samuel Jones (recorded with the All Star Orchestra for public television in 2012, subsequently released as a DVD on Naxos). In the 17-18 season, he gave the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s first Cello Concerto with a consortium of six orchestras. Other premieres include recital works by Paul Frucht, Scott Ordway, Jonathan Cziner, Gavin Fraser, Alex Weiser, Ofer Ben-Amots, and the US Premiere of Dobrinka Tabakova’s Cello Concerto. On record, he has recorded Bright Sheng’s “Northern Lights” for Naxos, the complete cello/piano works by Ernest Bloch for the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music, and an album of concertos with the Seattle Symphony.
A devoted teacher, Mr. Schwarz serves as Assistant Professor of Cello at Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University (Winchester, VA) and on the artist faculty of New York University (NYU Steinhardt). He spends his summers teaching and performing at the Eastern Music Festival (Greensboro, NC). Past faculty appointments include artist-in-residence at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (Nova Scotia, Canada), faculty teaching assistant to Joel Krosnick at The Juilliard School, and artist-In-residence at the pianoSonoma Festival.
Born in Seattle, WA, Mr. Schwarz studied at the Academy of Music Northwest and the Lakeside School. He continued to the Colburn School in Los Angeles under Ronald Leonard, and then moved to New York City to study with mentor Joel Krosnick at The Juilliard School (BM 14, MM 16). Other influential teachers include the late David Tonkonogui, the late Toby Saks, Lynn Harrell, Neal Cary, and chamber music mentors Andre Roy, Arnold Steinhardt, Jonathan Feldman, Toby Appel and Paul Coletti. Julian plays a Neapolitan cello made by Gennaro Gagliano in 1743 and multiple American bows made by the late Paul Martin Siefried. He is an active contributor to Strings Magazine’s Artist Blog, edits cello editions for Carl Fischer Publishing, and sits on the music committee of the National Arts Club. A Pirastro artist, he endorses and plays the "Perpetual" medium and edition sets of cello strings. Julian also proudly endorses Melos Rosin.
A native of Texas, Lillian Pettitt began her musical studies at the age of 3 while studying piano at the Suzuki Institute of Houston. After three years of piano lessons and two years of violin lessons she went to hear Yo-Yo Ma perform with the Houston Symphony and immediately switched to the cello. After studying for many years with Chris French of the Houston Symphony she moved to San Francisco to continue her education. She received her Bachelors in Cello Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music while studying with Jean- Michael Fonteneau. She then moved to Chicago and received her Master’s in Music from DePaul University School of Music while studying with Stephen Balderston of the Chicago Symphony. Lillian has performed extensively across the United States and Europe. As an active orchestral musician, Lillian has performed under conductors such as Teddy Abrams, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Mark Elder, Susanna Mälkki, Daniel Boico, Carlos Miguel Prieto and Hans Graff. Lillian is currently Assistant Principal of the Louisville Orchestra and cellist in the Social Distancing Quartet
Since performing as a concerto soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at age 18, cellist Nicholas Finch has established himself as an artist of great depth and diversity, both within and beyond the classical genre. This season, Finch will lead the second year of the Derby City Chamber Music Festival as its Artistic Director, featuring some of the best chamber musicians from Louisville and around the country, including members of the Escher String Quartet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Manhattan Chamber Players, and many more. This year Finch recorded his debut album "Nou Edition" with the NouLou Chamber Players, featuring three world-premiere cello concertos written for him by composers Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin, Alyssa Weinberg, and Dorian Wallace, to be released in the spring of 2024. He served as a secondary soloist with cellist Yo-Yo Ma in Teddy Abrams' 'Mammoth', and performed by the Louisville Orchestra in Mammoth Cave National Park, and performed the American premiere of Kelly-Marie Murphy's concerto for cello and harp with the Skagit Symphony in Mt. Vernon, Washington. He served as cello artist-faculty at the Eastern Music Festival in the Summer of 2022, and will return in this role the summer of 2023.
In recent seasons, Finch has collaborated with musicians from the Louisville Orchestra and others in the role of conductor, in works by Copland, Glinka, Saint-Saens, Elgar, Dvorak, and more. Just months prior to the onset of COVID-19, he appeared as cello soloist in Richard Strauss's "Don Quixote" with the Louisville Orchestra.
Finch was appointed Principal Cellist of the Louisville Orchestra during the 2013-2014 season by music director Teddy Abrams. He has appeared with the Boston-based chamber orchestra ‘A Far Cry’ on numerous concerts and recordings, one recording having been nominated for a Grammy Award. He has additionally appeared numerous times with the Jupiter Chamber Players in New York City.
A native of Boston, Finch began his cello studies at the age of 12. He attended Harvard, Juilliard, the University of Michigan, and the Mannes College of Music, studying the cello with Andrew Mark, David Soyer, Harvey Shapiro, Richard Aaron, and Marcy Rosen. He has studied orchestral conducting with Markand Thakar, Kenneth Kiesler, and with Michael Jinbo and Ludovic Morlot at the Pierre Monteux School. During the 2023-24 season, Finch will attend the University of Michigan again, this time to earn a Masters Degree in Orchestral Conducting.