Jasper String Quartet, founder and presenter
Winner of the prestigious CMA Cleveland Quartet Award, Philadelphia's Jasper String Quartet is the Professional Quartet in Residence at Temple University's Center for Gifted Young Musicians.
The Jaspers have been hailed as “sonically delightful and expressively compelling” (The Strad) and "powerful" (New York Times). "The Jaspers... match their sounds perfectly, as if each swelling chord were coming out of a single, impossibly well-tuned organ, instead of four distinct instruments." (New Haven Advocate)
The Jaspers swept through the competition circuit while in school, winning the Grand Prize and the Audience Prize in the Plowman Chamber Music Competition, the Grand Prize at the Coleman Competition, First Prize at Chamber Music Yellow Springs, and the Silver Medal at the 2008 and 2009 Fischoff Chamber Music Competitions.
The Quartet was the 2010-12 Ensemble-in-Residence at Oberlin Conservatory and, in conjunction with Astral Artists, was awarded a 2012 Chamber Music America grant through its Residency Partnership Program for work in Philadelphia schools. In 2016, the Quartet won the Fischoff Educator Prize, given to a group who successfully incorporates educational work into their career.
Programming and Jasper Chamber Concerts
Critics and audiences commend the Jasper String Quartet’s “programming savvy” (clevelandclassical.com) and they have performed throughout the United States and in Canada, England, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway and Panama.The Quartet programs pieces emotionally significant to its members ranging from Haydn and Beethoven through Berg, Ligeti, and living composers. With Jasper Chamber Concerts, the Quartet is delighted to bring this programming to Philadelphia four times a year.
Yumi Kendall joined The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2004 as assistant principal cello upon graduation from the Curtis Institute of Music. While at Curtis she studied with the late David Soyer and Peter Wiley, both of the Guarneri Quartet.
Ms. Kendall began studying cello at the age of five following the Suzuki method. She made her recital debut at age seven, and, upon completion of the Suzuki method, continued to study for seven years with the National Symphony’s principal cello, David Hardy. At age 17 she made her orchestral solo debut with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, and she also performed as soloist in concert with cellists of the National Symphony in a tribute honoring Mstislav Rostropovich. Since then she has appeared as soloist with the Reading Symphony, Symphony in C (formerly the Haddonfield Symphony), the Williamsburg Sinfonia, and the National Orchestral Institute.
As a founding member of the Dryden String Quartet, formed while she was a student at Curtis with her brother, violinist Nick Kendall of Time for Three; their cousin, National Symphony Principal Viola Daniel Foster; and National Symphony Concertmaster Nurit Bar-Josef, Ms. Kendall has performed on the Kennedy Center’s Fortas Chamber series, the Reading Chamber Music Series, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Music at Penn Alps, and the Schneider Concert Series at the New School in New York.
Ms. Kendall has served on the faculties of the New York State School for Orchestral Studies, the Philadelphia International Music Festival, the University of Pennsylvania chamber music department, the Brevard Music Center, the National Orchestral Institute, and as mentor in the Curtis Institute’s new Community Artist Program. In addition she maintains a regular private teaching studio.
Mimi Stillman is one of the most acclaimed flutists in the music world. "A consummate and charismatic performer" (The New York Times), she has appeared as soloist with orchestras including The Philadelphia Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Yucatán, Bach Collegium Stuttgart, and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and as chamber musician at venues including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, La Jolla Chamber Music Society, and the Verbier Festival.
As founding Artistic Director of Dolce Suono Ensemble, she has created a critically acclaimed force in the music world. She has premiered works by eminent composers including Jennifer Higdon, Shulamit Ran, Richard Danielpour, Steven Mackey, Mason Bates, David Ludwig, Zhou Tian, and the late Steven Stucky. Ms. Stillman has enjoyed fruitful collaborations with artists including Lucy Shelton, Eric Owens, Julius Baker, Paquito D’Rivera, David Amram, The Dover Quartet, Juan Diego Flórez, Anthony Newman, Roberto Díaz, and Jaime Laredo, and recorded a film soundtrack for Kevin Bacon.
With an extraordinary range of accomplishments, Ms. Stillman made the leap from child prodigy to inimitable artist. At age 12, she was the youngest wind player ever admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with the legendary Julius Baker and Jeffrey Khaner. She received a MA and PhD (abd) in history at the University of Pennsylvania, and is a published author on music and history. She is renowned for expanding the repertoire through her commissions and arrangements.
Ms. Stillman can be heard on several recordings including her critically praised “Freedom”, music for flute, piano, and the human spirit, and “Odyssey: 11 American Premieres” (Innova), both with her longstanding duo pianist Charles Abramovic. She has won many competitions and awards including Young Concert Artists International Auditions, the Bärenreiter Prize for Best historical Performance for Winds, and Astral Artists Auditions. A Yamaha Performing Artist and Clinician, she teaches masterclasses at major music schools worldwide and is on faculty of Temple University, Curtis Summerfest, and Music for All National Festival. www.mimistillman.com
Annie Gosfield, whom the BBC called "A one woman Hadron collider" works on the boundaries between notated and improvised music, electronic and acoustic sounds, refined timbres and noise. She is based in New York City, and her music is often inspired by the inherent beauty of found sounds, such as machines, destroyed pianos, warped 78 rpm records and detuned radios. She composes for others and performs with her own band, taking her music on a path through festivals, factories, clubs, art spaces, and concert halls. Gosfield was a 2012 fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, and received the Foundation for Contemporary Arts prestigious “Grants to Artists” award. Dedicated to bringing out the unique qualities of each musician, her music has been performed worldwide by the JACK Quartet, Stephen Gosling, Felix Fan, Joan Jeanrenaud, The Bang on a Can Allstars and many others, at Warsaw Autumn, the Bang on a Can Marathon, MATA, MaerzMusik, the Venice Biennale, OtherMinds, Lincoln Center, The Stone, The Miller Theatre, and The Kitchen. Annie’s latest Tzadik CD “Almost Truths and Open Deceptions” features a cello concerto, a piece for piano and broken shortwave radio, a 5-minute blast by her band, and music inspired by baseball and warped 78‘s. Recent large-scale pieces include compositions inspired by factory environments, jammed radio signals from WWII, and her grandparents’ immigrant experiences in New York City during the industrial revolution. Gosfield’s discography includes four solo releases on the Tzadik label, and she often writes on the compositional process for the New York Times’ series “The Score.” She held the Darius Milhaud chair of composition at Mills College, and has taught at Princeton University and California Institute of the Arts.
Michael Leibowitz is a composer and music educator living in Philadelphia, PA. He holds his Bachelors in Composition from Oberlin Conservatory and his Masters in Art and Teaching from the University of the Arts. Michael has studied composition privately with Randolph Coleman and Lewis Nielson at Oberlin Conservatory, Andrea Clearfield and Norman Davis at the University of the Arts, and Howard Frazin at the Longy School of Music.
Michael’s compositions explore the expressive possibilities of sound and the relationship between the composer, performer, and audience. At times subtly beautiful and at others violent and alienating, the audience is both challenged and rewarded by attentive listening. Chance elements in many of his works allow the performer great interpretive freedom and expressive potential. Michael’s works have been performed both across the United States and internationally, including at The National Gallery of Art and the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference.
A performer as well, Michael performs on piano, ‘cello and accordion. He teaches general music to urban youth at a K-8 school in Philadelphia, PA, where he lives with his wife and one-year-old son.
Winner of the 2002 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, 1998 Pulitzer Prize, and 2011 Nemmers Award, Aaron Jay Kernis is one of America's most honored composers. His music appears prominently on concert programs worldwide, and he has been commissioned by America’s preeminent performing organizations and artists, including the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco, Toronto, and Melbourne (AU) Symphonies, Los Angeles and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestras, Walt Disney Company, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Renee Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Joshua Bell, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Sharon Isbin. Recent and upcoming commissions include his 4th Symphony for the New England Conservatory (for its 150th anniversary) and Nashville Symphony; concerti for violinist James Ehnes, cellist Joshua Roman, violist Paul Neubauer, and flutist Marina Piccinini; a horn concerto for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Grant Park Music Festival; a work for the Borromeo String Quartet; and a piece for the San Francisco Girls and Brooklyn Youth Choruses with The Knights for the New York Philharmonic Biennial.
His works have been recorded on Virgin, Dorian, Arabesque, Phoenix, Argo, Signum, Cedille and many other labels. Recent recordings include his Goblin Market, and Invisible Mosaic II (Signum); Three Flavors, featuring pianist Andrew Russo, violinist James Ehnes and the Albany Symphony with conductor David Alan Miller (Albany); and a disc of his solo and chamber music, On Distant Shores, (Phoenix). Kernis’s conducting engagements include appearances with the Pascal Rioult Dance Company, at major chamber music festivals in Chicago and Portland, and with members of the San Francisco and Minnesota Orchestras and New York Philharmonic.
He is the Workshop Director of the Nashville Symphony Composer Lab and, for 11 years, served as New Music Adviser to the Minnesota Orchestra, with which he co-founded and directed its Composer Institute for 15 years. Kernis teaches composition at Yale School of Music, and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Classical Music Hall of Fame. Leta Miller's book-length portrait of Kernis and his work was published in 2014 by University of Illinois Press as part of its American Composer series.
Katerina Kramarchuk (b. 1988) is a Moldovan-American composer and pianist. Her works have been performed at Bargemusic, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Manhattan School of Music (New York, NY); Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Sherman & Clay Pianos, Jimmy Mak’s, The Old Church, Reed College Kaul Auditorium, and Venetian Theater (Portland, OR); Fontainebleau Château (France); Free Library of Philadelphia and Curtis Institute of Music. Her first ballet Reflections was commissioned and performed by the Portland Chamber Orchestra and Portland Festival Ballet in September, 2010. Epilogue for cello and piano was performed numerous times by neoLIT Ensemble in NYC. Shadows for orchestra was selected by the EarShot New Music readings, which resulted in a performance by Pioneer Valley Symphony in February, 2011. Katerina has worked with conductors Yaacov Bergman, Paul Phillips, Lio Kuokman, and Francesco Lecce-Chong.
Born in a musical family, Katerina begun her musical studies at age 6 at the music lyceum “Ciprian Porumbescu” in Kishinev, Moldova. In 2002 her family moves to the U.S. Here, while focusing primarily on classical piano performance, she becomes interested in jazz. She performs at various jazz festivals with her high school band and receives numerous awards for outstanding performances. For several years, Katerina has performed her music for solo piano at the popular show “Ten Grands” in Portland, OR. As a classical soloist, Kramarchuk has performed with the Portland Chamber Orchestra and has won competitions including Down Beat Magazine and MTNA State Piano Competition. She is the recipient of National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts award in composition. Last summer she was awarded a scholarship to attend the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France. Kramarchuk holds a B.M. in composition from the Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Richard Danielpour and was the recipient of Helen Airoff Dowling Scholarship. She is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma in Composition at the Curtis Institute of Music under the tutelage of David Ludwig.
Described as “absolutely beautiful” and “utterly satisfying” (Fanfare),the music of Chinese-born American composer Zhou Tian ( JOH TEE-en) has been performed by leading orchestras and performers in the United States and abroad, such as the Pittsburgh Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, RTÉ National Symphony (Ireland), Yuja Wang, Arditti and Dover string quartets, Empire Brass, Eroica Trio, and Tanglewood Festival Chorus. His newest orchestral work, “Concerto for Orchestra,” described as “stunning,” “tonal and engaging” (The Cincinnati Enquirer), was commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony and premiered in its 2015-16 season finale, conducted by Music Director Louis Langrée. The work was recently released in the orchestra’s latest recording “Concertos for Orchestra.” His large-scale suite for soloists, orchestra, and chorus, “The Grand Canal,” was performed during a nationally televised celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. A graduate of Curtis (BM), Juilliard (MM), and USC (DMA), he is associate professor of composition at Michigan State University College of Music.