VIA Summer Music Academy
Join New World Symphony Fellows and alumni for VIA, a virtual summer music academy that’s completely free! Standing for Virtual Inclusion Artists, VIA seeks to engage musicians from communities underrepresented in classical music through individual lessons and group classes. The week-long sessions are tailored to string, woodwind and brass instrumentalists (grades 7-12) and taught by NWS Fellows, alumni and guest speakers.
VIA’s curriculum is tailored for each student through one-on-one discussions about goals and aspirations with VIA’s Teaching Artists. Participants will also enjoy classes designed for developing the whole musician, including how to find the right college, how to prepare for college, a glimpse of student life and how to find financial support.
VIA offers the option of two week-long sessions for a limited number of participants. Auditors of group workshop sessions are welcome. Deadline to apply is June 3, 2020. Applicants will be notified no later than June 5, 2020 of their admission results.
VIA is generously supported by Dorothy Terrell as part of a gift to create the New World Symphony College Track Mentorship Program.
Session 1: June 20-25, 2020
Session 2: June 27-July 2, 2020
Participants may join only one of the two sessions and must have access to internet and web camera. All VIA sessions will take place on Zoom.
- Goal-focused mentoring sessions, instrument lessons, and creative masterclass settings with Teaching Artists from the New World Symphony
- Group classes ranging from Performance Anxiety and Optimal Performance Training, to Body Mapping and Stage Presence taught by Guest Artists
- Virtual ensemble recording, led by our Teaching Artists
Example Day: (all times Eastern Daylight Time)
All days begin at 11:00 AM EDT and end at 4:00 PM EDT with lunch at 1:00 PM EDT
11:00 AM – Warm Up Session with Teaching Artist
12:00 PM – Body Mapping Session with Guest Artist
1:00 PM – Partnered Lunch Activity with Students
2:00 PM – College Pathways Discussion with Guest Artist
3:00 PM – Sectional Masterclass with Teaching Artist
ELIGIBILITY AND REQUIREMENTS
Students Grades 9-12 (as of May 2020)
*(Outstanding applicants from grades 7-8 will also be considered)
Audition Video Requirements:
See your individual instrument applications for more specific information on video requirements.
VIA Summer Music Academy will be held entirely online. An internet connection and device with a microphone and camera is required to participate in this year’s activities. If you do not have access to necessary technology equipment, please describe in your application what you may need to make it possible to participate in this program. The VIA Academy will do as much as possible to assist students in overcoming technological barriers.
The group classes will be held on Zoom. There is no cost to initially download this program, and all costs associated with premium accounts will be covered by VIA. Download link for Zoom: Click here
Founder and Co-Artistic Director
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Christopher Robinson is a third-year Violin Fellow in the New World Symphony. Mr. Robinson recently held the role of Concertmaster for the Cleveland Opera Theater, while leading performances of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. He has also performed with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Jacksonville Symphony. Mr. Robinson recently recorded John Adams’ Harmonielehre under the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and conductor Giancarlo Guerrero for the NAXOS label. His music festival performances include the Aspen Music Festival and School, Great Wall International Music Academy in Beijing, China, and the Mozarteum Summer Music Academy in Salzburg, Austria. Mr. Robinson is currently on faculty at the Cincinnati Young Artists Chamber Music Festival during the summers. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Robinson has been featured in the Tuesday Musical Association at the Akron Art Museum performing premieres of contemporary chamber music. He studied chamber music with members of the Cleveland, Cavani, Ariel, Muir, American, Arianna and Great Wall string quartets.
Mr. Robinson began studying the violin at age 10 with Gloria Spurlock, and later continued violin studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with Kurt Sassmannshaus, earning his bachelor of music degree in 2015. Most recently, he earned his master of music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music studying under Joan Kwuon. Other teachers and mentors have included Alex Kerr, Cornelia Heard, Brittany MacWilliams and Alan Rafferty, among many others.
Passionate about teaching and community engagement, Mr. Robinson served as a Violin Coach and mentor for Carnegie Hall’s 2018 and 2019 NYO2 program. He was also director of the Sassmannshaus Tradition from 2014-15. The Sassmannshaus Tradition is a beginning string program in the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Pre-college where he also taught violin lessons, chamber music, ear training and music theory. Other teaching engagements include visiting violin aculty at the Iberacademy in Medellín, Colombia and masterclasses for Nashville Symphony’s Accelerando Program.
As an outdoorsman and Eagle Scout, Mr. Robinson enjoys cycling, backpacking, hiking, kayaking and canoeing. During the summer of 2015, he joined his family on a 221-mile backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Mr. Robinson most recently summited Mt. Fuji in Japan and hopes to continue exploring the vast landscapes our world has to offer.
Dallas-native Marlea Simpson is a first-year Viola Fellow at the New World Symphony. Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “Grant Park Orchestra’s new 21-year-old wunderkind” in 2016, she currently holds the Principal Viola position with the Chicago Sinfonietta in addition to a section position with the Grant Park Orchestra after completing their Project Inclusion Program in 2014.
As an orchestral musician, Ms. Simpson has worked under conductors Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop, David Robertson, Dennis Russell Davies, Peter Oundjian, Carlos Kalmar, Gemma New and David Danzmayr. She has also worked with many renowned chamber musicians, including Steven Tenenbom, Merry Peckham and David Bowlin as well as the Brentano, Jasper, Jupiter and Calder quartets.
Ms. Simpson received her master’s degree from the Yale School of Music, where she studied with Ettore Causa and Steven Tenenbom. She received the Georgina Lucy Grosvenor Memorial Prize, which is awarded to the violist in the graduating class whose performances while at Yale have exhibited the highest potential for success as a soloist or chamber musician in the field. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin Conservatory, where she studied with Peter Slowik.
Outside of music, Ms. Simpson enjoys fashion, karaoke, laughing as much as possible, and spending time with her family—especially her husband Ian and her cat, Audrey Catburn.
Ben Fryxell is a cellist from Cincinnati, Ohio, who has recently completed his first year as a Fellow at the New World Symphony. Since his teenage years, he has been a regular presence on the concert stage. He has performed as a soloist with the Kentucky Symphony, Blue Ash-Montgomery Symphony and the combined forces of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, as well as many others.
Besides playing, Mr. Fryxell is a firm believer in the power of education, and the sacred obligation to pass on knowledge and wisdom to others. Though only 25 years of age, he is already gaining a worldwide reputation for his masterful teaching. After the COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread event cancellation, he began teaching students online from the Iberacademy in Medellín, Colombia, thorough their partnership with New World Symphony. Furthermore, as his online presence, “Cello Ben,” he has recently conducted a series of online masterclasses with students around the world, to be made available for public learning, and is also in the process of creating online cello courses.
Mr. Fryxell received his master of music degree from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Yeesun Kim, and his bachelor of music degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Natasha Brofsky. He has also studied with AliceAnn O’Neill and Alan Rafferty, and has studied chamber music with members of the Juilliard, Borromeo and Emerson string quartets, as well as Emanuel Ax, Norman Fischer and countless others.
When he is not at the cello, he enjoys cooking, watching stand-up comedy, and exploring his inner computer geek.
Andrea Beyer is an avid performer, teacher and advocate for using music as a tool for social growth. As an orchestral musician, she has performed in concerts at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, as well as national halls in Central and South America. She has performed with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Sarah Chang and DaXun Zhang, and under the batons of renowned conductors including John Adams, Peter Oundjian and Carlos Miguel Prieto. Additionally, she was a member of the orchestra in pianist Gabriella Montero’s self-titled album that won the 2015 Latin Grammy Award for Best Classical Music Album.
A frequent traveler, Ms. Beyer has performed recitals and taught master classes in Mexico, El Salvador, Uruguay and Bolivia, and toured in Central America and Chile as a member of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas. Since 2015 she has worked with the MusAid Organization, which supports music programs in under-resourced parts of the world with volunteer music teachers and donated instruments and materials. With MusAid, she has coordinated and taught in workshops in Belize, El Salvador, Bolivia and the Philippines.
An active teacher, Ms. Beyer spent six months teaching bass and music theory at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Palestine, and she is on the faculty of Bass Works, a summer bass program in Maryland. Throughout her graduate studies she was a teaching artist in Yale’s Music in Schools program where she worked regularly with New Haven Public School students and was also a teacher for Yale undergraduate bass students.
Ms. Beyer holds a master of music degree from Yale University, where she studied with Don Palma, and a bachelor of music degree from Oberlin Conservatory, where she studied with Thomas Sperl. She grew up studying with Colin O’Bryan in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland.
Johanna Gruskin is a third-year Flute Fellow at the New World Symphony. Previously she held the position of Principal Flute with the Knoxville Symphony and the YMF Debut Orchestra. She has performed as a guest with the Milwaukee Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic, Kansas City Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic and San Antonio Symphony. She was twice a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and returned as a featured performer of contemporary music with the New Fromm Players. She has also attended the Aspen Music Festival (including one summer as the piccolo fellow), National Repertory Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Americas. As a member of the wind quintet Midic Winds, she was a medalist in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Ms. Gruskin received a bachelor of music degree from the Eastman School of Music, a master of music degree from New England Conservatory and a professional studies certificate from The Colburn School. Her primary teachers include Bonita Boyd, NWS alumna Elizabeth Rowe and James Walker.
Emily Beare is a second-year Oboe Fellow at the New World Symphony. An avid orchestral and chamber player, she has performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, National Symphony (NSO), Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Sarasota Orchestra, and Juilliard Orchestra. She first performed in Carnegie Hall in 2014 as the Principal Oboist of the New York String Orchestra Seminar and has spent past summers at the Sarasota, Music Academy of the West, Spoleto USA, and Tanglewood festivals. Ms. Beare has also spent three summers playing chamber music at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont.
A native of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Ms. Beare began studying the oboe at the age of 10 in a local homeschool band. In 2010 she was selected to participate in the National Symphony Orchestra Youth Fellowship Program, where she studied with NSO Principal Oboist Nicholas Stovall for two years and had the opportunity to perform as a soloist and chamber musician at the Kennedy Center. Ms. Beare holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees from The Juilliard School, where she was a student of Nathan Hughes and received additional instruction from Elaine Douvas, Linda Strommen and Richard Dallessio.
An equally devoted teacher, Ms. Beare spent her years at Juilliard as a teaching fellow in Juilliard’s Office of Community Engagement, mentoring young musicians in the Music Advancement Program. She has also spent summers teaching in her hometown of Manassas, Virginia as an instructor at the Bocal Majority Double Reed Camp and the Rappahannock Summer Music Camp. When she is not making reeds, Ms. Beare enjoys activities such as yoga, reading and spending time with her family and their rescue dog, Bria.
Angelo Quail is a second-year Clarinet Fellow at the New World Symphony. Before moving to Miami Beach, he served as Principal Clarinet of the Eastern Sierra Symphony and was an active freelancer based in Los Angeles. He can be heard in original soundtracks for the Netflix series Chef’s Table as well as the British Broadcasting Channel’s documentary series Blue Planet. He has been a finalist and prizewinner in many solo and chamber music competitions, including the Coleman National Chamber Ensemble Competition, Pasadena Showcase House Young Artists Competition and University of Michigan Concerto Competition.
Mr. Quail has been a guest performer with the Baltimore Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Spokane Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic, among other orchestras. He has given ensemble and solo performances in prestigious concert venues across the United States, Europe and China including the Beijing National Centre for the Performing Arts, Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.
A native of Ann Arbor, Mr. Quail received bachelor of music and bachelor of arts degrees from the University of Michigan, a master of music from the University of Southern California and an artist diploma from the Colburn School, where he studied with world-renowned clarinet teacher Yehuda Gilad. His other primary teachers have included Daniel Gilbert, Theodore Oien and Wolfgang Meyer. He has spent summers at the Music Academy of the West, National Orchestral Institute, Aspen Music Festival and School and Chautauqua Music Festival.
Bee Ungar, whose playing has been hailed as “powerful, full-bodied and gorgeous” by The Calgary Herald, is a currently a second-year Bassoon Fellow at the New World Symphony. He is also a substitute bassoonist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and has appeared with the New Jersey Symphony. He was formerly an Associate Member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and is an alumnus of the Carnegie Hall-based New York String Orchestra Seminar.
Mr. Ungar made his solo debut as an undergraduate with the Manhattan School of Music Chamber Sinfonia and conductor Tito Muñoz, having won first prize in the Manhattan School of Music’s Eisenberg-Fried Concerto Competition. While pursuing graduate studies at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, he won top prize at the Conservatory’s annual concerto competition and performed as soloist in Koerner Hall with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra conducted by Johannes Debus.
Mr. Ungar’s summer residencies have included fellowships at the Sarasota Music Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, Bowdoin International Chamber Music Festival and Banff Centre. As a chamber musician, he has performed alongside Ransom Wilson, William Purvis, Stephen Taylor, Melvin Chen and the NYC-based wind quintet Windscape.
Mr. Ungar holds a bachelor of music degree and professional studies diploma from the Manhattan School of Music, and an artist diploma from the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music, where he was generously supported by the Temerty Family Fellowship. His primary teachers were Frank Morelli, Principal Bassoon of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and Kim Laskowski, Associate Principal Bassoon of the New York Philharmonic.
Holding firm to the belief that classical music belongs to everyone, Mr. Ungar is committed to working to ensure that socioeconomic circumstances are no bar to accessing the art form. He regularly gives free concerts in venues such as art galleries, meditation spaces, bookshops, soup kitchens, Brooklyn rooftops and elementary schools.
Corbin Castro is a second-year Horn Fellow at the New World Symphony. He has most recently performed as an extra/substitute horn with the Houston Grand Opera and Naples Philharmonic.
Mr. Castro has had the pleasure of spending his summers making music with the Verbier Festival in southern Switzerland, Tanglewood Music Center in the Berkshires and the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. While participating in these ensembles he performed under the direction of artists such as Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, Andris Nelsons and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
In addition to performing, Mr. Castro proudly maintains a teaching studio where he works with the next generation of performers to find their own passion and reach their full potential. Recently, he performed with the JUMP outreach program in Houston, as part of a wind chamber group that worked with students from schools that lacked funding for music education.
Mr. Castro received his master’s degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he studied with William VerMeulen and a bachelor’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music studying with Michelle Baker. Outside of horn playing, he enjoys experiencing new cultures through international travel and backpacking in national parks.
Aaron Ney is a second-year Trumpet Fellow with the New World Symphony. Prior to joining NWS, he performed with Miami City Ballet’s Opus One Orchestra under Gary Sheldon and has also performed with the Sarasota Orchestra and Vero Beach Opera. He has attended the Aspen Music Festival and School during the 2015 and 2017 seasons, where he received a fellowship in the Conducting Academy, studying with Raymond Mase, Thomas Hooten, Karin Bliznik, Kevin Cobb and Louis Hanzlik.
Originally from Danielson, Connecticut, Mr. Ney received his bachelor of music degree from the University of Texas at Austin where he studied with Ray Sasaki. While in Austin, he enjoyed teaching middle school and high school students, performing with several brass quintets and touring the world with the UT Wind Ensemble under the direction of Jerry Junkin.
Mr. Ney completed his master of music degree and artist diploma at the University of Miami in 2017 and 2018 respectively. At UM, he studied under the tutelage of Craig Morris in addition to serving as a Teaching Assistant. He also performed frequently with the Henry Mancini Institute in exciting concerts including Raiders of the Lost Ark Live! And House of Cards in Concert.
Outside of trumpet, Mr. Ney loves to smoke barbeque, brew beer and is an avid college football fan.
Hailing from Beverly, Massachusetts, Lisa Stoneham is a third-year Bass Trombone Fellow at the New World Symphony. She has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Sarasota Orchestra and Western New York Chamber Orchestra. She has spent her recent summers performing with the Music Academy of the West, National Repertory Orchestra and National Orchestral Institute. In 2018 Ms. Stoneham was selected to participate in the inaugural Keston MAX LSO Fellowship through the Music Academy of the West and played with the London Symphony in 2019. She also had the privilege of joining the Monarch Brass at the 2019 International Women’s Brass Conference.
As a soloist, Ms. Stoneham was a finalist in the 2018 Music Academy of the West Concerto Competition. She received fourth place in the Donald Yaxley Solo Competition in 2016. While at SUNY Fredonia, she completed a performer’s certificate, receiving the highest level of achievement for her recital performances. She was also a finalist for the SUNY Fredonia Concerto Competition for two consecutive years.
Ms. Stoneham received her master’s degree from Rice University, where she studied with Allen Barnhill, Barbara Butler and Charlie Geyer. She received her bachelor’s degree from SUNY Fredonia where she studied with Jeffrey Dee. Other former teachers include Mark Lawrence, Ralph Sauer, Norman Bolter and Jeanne Pocius Dorismond.
In her free time, Ms. Stoneham enjoys exploring the bookstores and coffee shops wherever she happens to be.
Andrew Abel is a first-year Tuba Fellow with the New World Symphony. Prior to becoming a Fellow, Mr. Abel was an active freelance musician on the West Coast. He is a frequent guest with the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera; most recently he performed in the 2019 production of Verdi’s La Traviata. In addition, Mr. Abel can be heard on their albums Beijing Harmony (2018) and The Flying Lotus (2017). Outside of the concert hall, Mr. Abel is an active studio musician and has appeared on a variety of soundtracks from blockbuster video game titles such as Destiny and DOTA to television series including the NBC show Community.
In 2014 Mr. Abel performed with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, becoming the youngest person to ever have been awarded the Tanglewood tuba fellowship. He has also spent summers at Music Academy of the West and the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.
Mr. Abel received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, where he studied with Christopher Olka of the Seattle Symphony. Last spring, Mr. Abel completed a masters at The Colburn School with Los Angeles Philharmonic tubist, Norman Pearson.
While not performing, Mr. Abel enjoys hiking, road trips, and watching and rooting for University of Washington football.
Noa Kageyama: Optimal Performance Training
Elite athletes have known for decades that physical preparation alone is not enough to perform optimally under pressure. After all, why is it that we can nail even the most difficult passages in the practice room, but fall apart when we’re in front of other people? And why does this happen in some performances, but not others?
Performing doesn't have be such a random or nerve-wracking experience. And increasingly, musicians too are engaging in more mental skills training - ways of practicing and preparing which can lead to more consistent, inspired, and engaged performances.
In this session, we’ll explore the two causes of “choking” under pressure, and two ways to prevent this from happening.
Michael Linville enjoys a varied career as pianist, percussionist, harpist, conductor, educator and arranger. The Dean of Chamber Music and Fellow Development at the New World Symphony, Mr. Linville programs and coaches much of its extensive non-orchestral performance activities. Additionally, he is the conductor and coordinator of the New World Percussion Consort and acts as curator of MUSAIC, the New World Symphony’s website of educational videos featuring outstanding artists and educators in classical music.
Mr. Linville first came to the New World Symphony in 1993 as its Piano Fellow. In 1997 he was invited to join the Symphony’s administrative staff and has served in several capacities, including Director of Admissions and Dean of Musicians. As a performer, Mr. Linville has appeared with NWS, the symphonies of San Francisco and Honolulu, the Florida Orchestra and the former Florida Philharmonic. Since 1993 he has been a member of the Breckenridge Music Festival in Colorado, performing concerts as pianist, percussionist and conductor during the summer season and in chamber music and educational projects during the winter. In 2016 he was named an Artistic Partner of the Festival, co-curating its chamber music series with violinist Kate Hatmaker.
Nicole Newman: Yoga for the Arts
Toning the Vagus Nerve Through Yoga-Based Practice: The Vagus nerve serves as an information superhighway connecting the brain to numerous organs throughout the body, including the larynx, lungs, heart, and organs of the digestive tract.
Individuals with low vagal tone are typically more sensitive to stress, experience difficulty transitioning out of the body’s stress response, have poor or impaired digestion, and difficulty focusing. Low vagal tone is also associated with a host of other physical and psychological health issues, including chronic inflammation, depression, anxiety, migraines, cardiovascular conditions, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The good news is that vagal tone can be improved through simple yoga-based practices, including yoga postures, breath work, meditation, and vocalization techniques.
In this workshop we will focus on improving vagal tone, which will better equip you to handle internal and external stressors, soothe the nervous system, and support the immune system.
About Nicole: Nicole Newman is a conservatory-trained classical flutist and curriculum developer, who earned a B.A. in Psychology from NYU, a M.A. in Education from Queens College through the NYC Teaching Fellows Program, and a M.A. in Educational Leadership from the University of Northern Colorado. Nicole has written curriculum for the NYC Department of Education, health and wellness curriculum for the Sonima Foundation, and currently develops educational materials for the Colorado Symphony.
Nicole is a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Educator, who continues to pursue her study of anatomy to refine her understanding of the human body’s structure and how it relates to movement and breath. She has completed three Manhattan-based physical therapy internships at Hospital for Special Surgery’s Spine Therapy Center, Langone NYU, and the Vestibular Balance Rehabilitation Center at Mount Sinai’s New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.
As the Founder of Yoga for the Arts, Nicole designs health and wellness programs for professional and aspiring professional musicians internationally, including musicians from the New World Symphony, New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, Juilliard, New York University, Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Symphony, New York Youth Symphony, and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra in Sweden.
Nicole is most passionate about finding creative ways to bring music and health and wellness education to all students.
Harpist Angelica Hairston is known for her fiery performances and passion for social change. Throughout her career, she has made it a priority to create social impact through the power of the arts. In 2016, she founded the organization Challenge the Stats, a concert series dedicated to empowering high-caliber artists of color, and sparking dialogue about diversity, inclusion, and equity, both on and off the concert stage.
In addition to her work with CTS, Angelica currently serves as the Artistic Director of the Urban Youth Harp Ensemble where she provides free harp instruction to over 90 students at Drew Charter School in Atlanta, GA. She was recently celebrated as one of the youngest recipients of the 2019 Governor’s Awards for the Arts & Humanities, an award recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions to the state of Georgia’s civic and cultural vitality through excellence and service.
Angelica is a current member of the Sphinx Organization's SphinxLEAD cohort and serves as a consultant for the Education and Equity divisions of NPR’s From the Top and Boston University Tanglewood Institute. She was a keynote speaker at the 2018 Woodruff Arts Center Educator Conference, was a member of the 2017 cohort of the League of American Orchestras’ Essentials of Orchestra Management, and a panelist for the 2017 SphinxConnect. Angelica holds a Master of Music Industry Leadership from Northeastern University as a 2015 MLK Fellow and a Bachelor of Music from The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada.
Alex Gonzalez – Violin
Described as a "true virtuoso" by the Viborg Folkeblad and praised for his "agile, incisive" playing by the South Florida Classical Review, violinist Alex Gonzalez has performed across the United States and abroad as a chamber musician, recitalist, and ensemble leader.
A dedicated chamber musician, Alex was a recipient of the John Celentano Award for Excellence in Chamber Music upon graduation from Eastman School of Music. He has performed at venues including Carnegie Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Kirsten Kjær Museum, and Oxford University. He has also performed for broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Colorado Public Radio, and the Sky Arts Television Network.
As an ensemble player, Alex has performed with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Knights, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and as guest concertmaster of the London based Chineke! Orchestra. He has toured nationally as a member of the Sphinx Virtuosi, performing at venues including the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Library of Congress, and frequently serving as a principal player. Alex regularly served as concertmaster of the New World Symphony, where he was a violin fellow for three seasons, and served as Interim Principal Second Violin of the Louisville orchestra during the 2020 season.
Alex has been invited to numerous music festivals including the Krzyzowa Chamber Music Festival, Thy Chamber Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, the Britten-Pears Young Artist Program, and the Aspen Music Festival and School as a two time fellowship recipient. He has served as faculty for Carnegie Hall's National Youth Orchestra (NYO2) Program, the Flatirons Chamber Music Festival Young Artist Program, and the Iberacademy in Medellín, Colombia.
Alex completed studies at the Eastman School of Music, Rice University, and Carnegie Mellon University. His principle teachers include Shakeh Ghoukasian, Oleh Krysa, Paul Kantor, and Cyrus Forough. Chamber music studies were completed under Carol Rodland, Mimi Hwang, Norman Fischer, James Dunham, and the Ying Quartet. Alex plays on a violin made in 2017 by Mario Miralles.
Photo by Michael Yu
Praised for her “flair” and “deftly illuminated” performances by The New York Times, bassoonist Rebekah Heller is a uniquely dynamic soloist and collaborative artist. Called "an impressive solo bassoonist" by The New Yorker, she is fiercely committed to expanding the modern repertoire for the bassoon. Her debut solo album of world premiere recordings (featuring five new pieces written with and for her), 100 names, was called "pensive and potent" by The New York Times and her second album, METAFAGOTE has received wide acclaim.
Last fall saw Heller’s debut as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, playing the music of longtime collaborator Ashley Fure. She has also been a soloist with the Seattle Symphony, the Nagoya Philharmonic, and the New World Symphony.
As Co-Artistic Director of the acclaimed International Contemporary Ensemble, Rebekah is committed to fostering conversations around new ways music can be experienced and shared. She has been a featured panelist at the New York Philharmonic’s “Insights at the Atrium,” the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Miller Theater and the Abrons Arts Center. She has given masterclasses and talks in conservatories worldwide and is on the faculty of the Mannes School of Music in The New School's College of Performing Arts.
Rebekah lives in Manhattan.
More info at rebekahheller.com