Violinist BARBARA GOVATOS holds the Wilson H. and Barbara B. Taylor chair of the first violin section of the Philadelphia Orchestra and was named the winner of the 2012 C. Hartman Kuhn Award for enhancing the standards and the reputation of the Fabulous Philadelphians. She and pianist, Marcantonio Barone were presented with the Samuel Sanders Collaborative Artists award by the Classical Recording Foundation in recognition of their recording of the complete Beethoven Sonatas for violin and piano on Bridge Records. Ms. Govatos has collaborated with Emmanuel Ax, Radu Lupu, Riccardo Muti, Christopher Parkening, Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Emerson String Quartet. She made her debut in Alice Tully Hall with the Juilliard Orchestra and has made appearances with the Dallas and Delaware Symphonies, and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. In addition to performing worldwide with the Philadelphia Orchestra since 1982, Barbara has been heard at the Marlboro, Salzburg, Saratoga, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Marblehead, and Music at Gretna Festivals and has given recitals, chamber music concerts and master classes at UCLA, Mt. Holyoke College, University of Delaware, Bucknell University, Westminster Choir College of Rider University and Weill Hall. She has been Music Director of the Delaware Chamber Music Festival since 1990 (www.dcmf.org), is a member of the Italian Baroque ensemble, Amerita, delves into her interest in music of women composers with the Hildegard Chamber Players, and is a frequent guest artist with Lenape Chamber Ensemble and on the Philadelphia Orchestra’s chamber music series. Ms. Govatos earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School as a scholarship student of Ivan Galamian. During that time, she won the Dallas Symphony’s G.B. Dealey International Competition, the Charles Petschek Scholarship, and the Austrian American Society’s scholarship for study at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Her initial studies were with Sabina K. Girvan and Jascha Brodsky, the first violinist of the Curtis String Quartet, and she was mentored by chamber music greats Felix Galimir, Josef Gingold, Robert Mann and Mischa Schneider. Ms. Govatos serves on the Advisory Boards of Astral Artists, an organization that promotes, presents and advises talented artists on the cusp of their musical careers, and the Music School of Delaware, a community music school, where she began her studies. She teaches privately in Philadelphia.
HIRONO OKA is a member of the first violin section of The Philadelphia Orchestra. She made her debut in her native Japan at the age of eleven with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. After winning numerous competitions and awards in Japan, she came to the United States to continue her studies at the San Francisco Conservatory and The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Ms. Oka has appeared as soloist with the San Francisco Chamber Ensemble, the Utica Symphony Orchestra and numerous other orchestras in the Philadelphia area. As a busy chamber musician she has appeared with the Marlboro Music Festival, Chamber Music West in San Francisco, the Theatre Chamber Players of the Kennedy Center, the Philadelphia Orchestra Chamber Music Series, Network for New Music, the Delaware Chamber Music Festival and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. She has also toured throughout the United States with the Brandenburg Ensemble and Music from Marlboro. She has performed and collaborated with world-renowned artists such as Jaime Laredo, Alexander Schneider, Leon Fleischer, Yefim Bronfman and Murray Perahia. In addition to teaching her own private studio, Ms. Oka is a faculty member of Temple University and its Music Preparatory Division.
A native of Maryland, BURCHARD TANG joined the Philadelphia Orchestra in September 1999. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in May 1999 from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Joseph dePasquale, retired Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Viola, and Choong-Jin Chang, the Orchestra?s current Principal Viola. Mr. Tang has served as Principal Viola with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and the New York String Seminar, and has performed with the Brandenburg Ensemble. A 1993 winner of the Philadelphia Orchestra Albert M. Greenfield Student Competition, Mr. Tang performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra as a soloist in a Student Concert in November 1993. Other honors include the Temple University Preparatory Division Concerto Competition and second prize in the Senior Division of the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition in 1996. He is a frequent collaborator at Marlboro Music Festival.
In 2001, cellist CLANCY NEWMAN won the coveted First Prize of the prestigious Walter W. Naumburg Competition, which presented him in a debut recital at Alice Tully Hall. Clancy is a winner of many competitions and honors, including the 2004 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Astral Artistic Services year 2000 National Auditions, National Symphony Orchestra Young Soloists Competition, the Juilliard School Cello Competition, the Australian National Youth Concerto Competition in Brisbane, and the National Federation of Music Clubs Competition. He has appeared on A&E's Breakfast with the Arts, NPR's Performance Today and is a member of Chamber Music Society Two of Lincoln Center. Mr. Newman began playing cello at the age of six, and at twelve, received his first significant public recognition when he won the Gold Medal for Strings at the Dandenong Youth Festival in Australia, competing against instrumentalists twice his age. He developed an interest in composition at an early age, an activity to which he still devotes much of his time and energy. Mr. Newman attended the Sydney Conservatorium in Australia, the Taos School of Music, the Verbier Academy in Switzerland, the Piatigorsky Seminar, and participated for several seasons in the Marlboro Music Festival. He also frequently tours as a part of the Musicians from Marlboro series. Upon receiving a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School, he became one of the first students to complete the five-year exchange program between Juilliard and Columbia University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Mr. Newman's teachers included David Gibson, Joel Krosnick, and Harvey Shapiro.
Marcantonio Barone, an American pianist of mixed Italian and German ancestry, was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, in 1962. He studied with Eleanor Sokoloff at the Curtis Institute of Music and with Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Among his other teachers were Susan Starr and Leonard Shure. As a solo recitalist, Mr. Barone has performed for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and at the Metropolitan Musem in New York, the Wigmore Hall in London, and the Large Hall of the St. Petersburg Filarmoniya, among many other venues. He performs annually at the Delaware Chamber Music Festival, and as a member of the Lenape Chamber Ensemble, 1807 and Friends, and the Craftsbury Chamber Players. He and violinist Barbara Govatos received the Classical Recording Foundation’s 2012 Samuel Sanders Collaborative Artist Award for their recording of the complete sonatas for violin and piano of Beethoven, available on Bridge Records.
Violist Che-Hung Chen has been a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra since the spring of 2001, when he was hired by then music director Wolfgang Sawallisch, becoming the first Taiwanese citizen ever to join the Orchestra. He has also served as Acting Associate Principal Viola under former music director Christoph Eschenbach. Mr. Chen was the first-prize winner at the Seventh Banff International String Quartet Competition as the founding member of the Daedalus Quartet; He was also awarded the Pièce de concert prize for the best performance of the commission work and the Székely Prize for the best performance of a Beethoven quartet. A three-time top-prize winner at the Taiwan National Instrumental Competition, Mr. Chen began his studies at the age of six with Ben Lin in his native Taipei, Taiwan, and later entered The Curtis Institute of Music at age 14, where he studied with Joseph de Pasquale, retired Philadelphia Orchestra principal viola. He has served as principal violist of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, and has recently appeared as guest principal violist with the San Diego Symphony, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
As a vivid chamber musician, Mr. Chen was a participant at the Marlboro Music Festival from 1998 to 2000, performed on their fiftieth anniversary concerts in Boston and New York's Carnegie Hall in 2000, and toured with the “Musicians from Marlboro” from 2001 to 2003. He has collaborated in chamber music settings with members of the Guarneri, Orion, Mendelssohn and Tokyo string quartets, and artists such as Martha Argerich, Yefim Bronfman, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Lang Lang, Leonidas Kavakos, and Hilary Hahn. Performing annually at the Kingston Chamber Music Festival in Rhode Island with his wife, pianist and artistic director Natalie Zhu, Mr. Chen has also participated in festivals such as Ravinia, Caramoor, Saratoga, Bridgehampton chamber music festivals and Music from Angel Fire.
Mr. Chen currently serves on the faculty of Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music and its Preparatory Division. He performs on a viola made by Carlo Antonio Testore in Milan, Italy, c. 1756.
Charles Abramovic has won critical acclaim for his international performances as a soloist, chamber musician, and collaborator with leading instrumentalists and singers. He has performed a vast repertoire not only on the piano, but also the harpsichord and fortepiano. Mr. Abramovic made his solo orchestral debut at the age of fourteen with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Since then he has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Baltimore Symphony, the Colorado Philharmonic, the Florida Philharmonic, and the Nebraska Chamber Orchestra. He has given solo recitals throughout the United States, France and Yugoslavia. He has also appeared at major international festivals in Berlin, Salzburg, Bermuda, Dubrovnik, Aspen and Vancouver.
Mr. Abramovic has performed often with such stellar artists as Midori, Sarah Chang, Robert McDuffie, Viktoria Mullova, Kim Kashkashian, Mimi Stillman and Jeffrey Khaner. His recording of the solo piano works of Delius for DTR recordings has been widely praised. He has recorded for EMI Classics with violinist Sarah Chang, and Avie Recordings with Philadelphia Orchestra principal flutist Jeffrey Khaner. Actively involved with contemporary music, he has also recorded works of Milton Babbitt, Joseph Schwantner, Gunther Schuller and others for Albany Records, CRI, Bridge, and Naxos. Mr. Abramovic is a Professor of Keyboard Studies at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music in Philadelphia where he has taught since 1988. He is an active part of the musical life of Philadelphia, performing with numerous organizations in the city. He is a core member of the Dolce Suono Ensemble, and performs often with Network for New Music and Orchestra 2001. In 1997 he received the Career Development Grant from the Philadelphia Musical Fund Society, and in 2003 received the Creative Achievement Award from Temple University. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Peabody Conservatory, and received his doctorate from Temple University. His teachers have included Natalie Phillips, Eleanor Sokoloff, Leon Fleisher, and Harvey Wedeen.
Regarded as “a daring force of nature” by The New York Times, and “a performer in a league of his own” by The Los Angeles Times, Colombian clarinetist Benito Meza has appeared with the Boston Philharmonic, the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, the Gardner Chamber Orchestra, the Modern Music Ensemble, the Los Angeles Wind Ensemble, and on Harvard University’s Chamber Music series, among many others. A winner of Astral Artists’ 2009 National Auditions, he made his critically acclaimed concerto debut on Astral’s series in April 2012, with Symphony in C.
Mr. Meza has performed and studied with such renowned musicians and conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Gustavo Dudamel, and Yo-Yo Ma. In Boston, he studied with Jonathan Cohler. He has appeared in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall, Boston’s Jordan Hall, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Sanders Theater at Harvard University, and at Lincoln Center, and recently recorded the Grammy-nominated album Providencia with famed pianist and composer Danilo Pérez, for the Mack Avenue Records label.
Mr. Meza grew up in a musical family, and first studied music with his father. At the age of 14 he began clarinet lessons with Carlos Julio Parra Vivas in his native city of Valledupar, and at 17 was awarded a full scholarship to Javeriana University’s music program, where he studied with Hector Pinzon and Christopher Jepperson. In 2001, he was invited to study at the National Institute of Musical Studies in Venezuela with Valdemar Rodriguez and Edgar Pronio, and joined Venezuela’s world-famous music education program, El Sistema. As a member of the celebrated Simón Bolívar Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, he made television appearances with Maestro Andrés Briceño.