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.
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.
Praised for her “sparkle and humor, radiance and magnetism” and hailed for "a voice equally velvety up and down the registers", soprano Laura Heimes is widely regarded as an artist of great versatility, with repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st century. She has collaborated with many of the leading figures in early music, including Andrew Lawrence King, ARTEK, Tempesta di Mare, The King’s Noyse, Paul O’Dette, Chatham Baroque, Apollo’s Fire, Voices of Music, Pegasus Early Music, New York State Baroque, Brandywine Baroque, and Piffaro – The Renaissance Band, a group with whom she has toured the United States. With the Philadelphia Orchestra she appeared as Mrs. Nordstrom in Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. Ms. Heimes made her Carnegie Hall debut in Handel's Messiah with the Masterwork Chorus and in December 2011 she appeared in an acclaimed staged production of the same work with the Pittsburgh Symphony under Maestro Honeck.
Her most recent recordings include Judith and other Sacred Canatas by René Drouard de Bousset, On The Just Treatment of Licentious Men (modern art songs by Peter Flint), Cantatas Françoises (music of Jacquet de la Guerre and Clérambault), Handel Duets and Trios; Oh! the Sweet Delights of Love: the songs of Purcell with Brandywine Baroque; The Lass with the Delicate Air: English Songs from the London Pleasure Gardens; The Jane Austen Songbook with Julianne Baird; and Caldara's Il Giuoco del Quadriglio with Julianne Baird and the Queen's Chamber Band conducted by Stephen Altop. A CD of the Biblical cantatas of Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre with Julianne Baird is in progress.
Ms. Heimes has recorded for Dorian, Pro Gloria Musicae, Plectra Music, Sonabilis, Albany, Avian and Zefiro records.
The recipient of a 2006 Musical Fund Society Career Advancement Award, the 2003 Avery Fisher Career Grant and the 2003 Andrew Wolf Memorial Chamber Music Award, pianist Natalie Zhu is a winner of Astral Artistic Services’ 1998 National Auditions. The Philadelphia Inquirer heralded Astral’s presentation of Ms. Zhu in recital as a display of “emotional and pianistic pyrotechnics”; selections from the recital were later broadcast on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today.” Since 2009, Ms. Zhu has been the artistic director of the Kingston Chamber Music Festival in Rhode Island. Ms. Zhu has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. Ms. Zhu made her European debut in 1994 at the Festival de Sully et d’Orleans in France, she has also given solo recitals at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, New York’s Steinway Hall and Merkin Hall, Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Series in Fresno, Portland Piano Festival in Oregon, Munich’s Herkulessaal in Germany, and Beijing Concert Hall in China.
Ms. Zhu has been the recipient of numerous awards including the grand prize in the both the 1988 and 1989 Young Keyboard Artists Association Competition. She was the first-prize winner in the Johanna Hodges Piano Concerto Competition in 1988 and 1991, and also received its 1991 Concert Series Award. An active chamber musician, she has appeared in Marlboro, Amelia Island, Kingston , Great Lake, Tanglewood, Skaneateles, and Chicago Chamber Musicians, and the Bay Chamber Music Festivals .
Natalie Zhu began her piano studies with Xiao-Cheng Liu at the age of six in her native China and made her first public appearance at age nine in Beijing. At eleven she emigrated with her family to Los Angeles, and by fifteen was enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music where she received the Rachmaninoff Award and studied with Gary Graffman She received a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music where she studied with Claude Frank.