Featured Artists: 2019-2020 Season
Eighteen-year-old Kevin Zhu has amassed an outstanding record of concert performances and competition wins since he began studying violin at age three, performing as soloist at prestigious venues such as London's Royal Festival Hall, Bologna’s Teatro Comunale, China's National Centre for the Performing Arts, Moscow’s International Performing Arts Center, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall, and Austin's Long Center for the Performing Arts.
In April of 2018, Kevin won first prize in the 55th Paganini International Violin Competition in Genoa, Italy, and received special prizes for being the youngest finalist and the best performance of a Paganini Caprice. In the 2012 Menuhin International Violin Competition in Beijing, Kevin was awarded first prize in the Junior Division, becoming the youngest-ever winner in the 29-year history of the competition, also taking home the Composer’s Prize for the best performance of a new Chinese work.
Recent performances include concerto appearances with the Moscow Virtuosi Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as solo recitals across Europe, the United States, and China. As a Culture Ambassador of the Lin Yao Ji Music Foundation of China, Kevin was a twice featured soloist at Iceland’s Harpa International Music Academy, and has repeatedly been a featured artist on BBC Radio 3 and NPR. Upcoming engagements include concerto appearances in Poland, as well as solo recitals in Italy.
Kevin is a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship at The Juilliard School, where he studies with Mr. Itzhak Perlman and Professor Li Lin. He performs on the c1722 "Lord Wandsworth" Antonio Stradivari violin, which is on loan from the Ryuji Ueno Foundation and Rare Violins In Consortium.
During the 2019-20 season, violinist Nathan Meltzer (www.nathanMeltzer.com) performs at the Musical de l’Orne in France, Giardini La Mortella in Italy, in Denmark with the Aalborg Symfoniorkester, and with the Royal Northern Sinfonia in the UK. During the fall he plays at the Liederkranz Foundation in New York, gives the Gessner-Schocken memorial recital in Cambridge, and records his first CD with Rohan De Silva on the Champs Hill label. In the spring he returns to North Carolina to play the Brahms Concerto with the Charlotte Civic Orchestra and plays the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Adelphi Orchestra in New York and New Jersey.
Nathan has been a soloist with the Orchestre national d'Île-de-France, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Orquesta Filarmónica de Medellín, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Concepción, the Berliner Symphoniker, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, and the Bloomington, Evansville, and Muncie orchestras, among others, performing in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Switzerland, the UK, and across the US.
Youngest ever to win the Windsor Festival International String Competition, Nathan studies with Itzhak Perlman and Li Lin at Juilliard. He has been a concert artist with Omega Ensemble since 2016 and has participated in ChamberFest Cleveland, the Heidelberger Frühling, the Moritzburg Festival, the Perlman Music Program Chamber Workshop, and the Verbier Festival Academy.
Nathan performs on the “Ames, Totenberg” Antonio Stradivari violin, Cremona 1734, which is on loan from Rare Violins In Consortium, Artists and Benefactors Collaborative. He is under worldwide general management with Hazard Chase.
Cellist, Zlatomir Fung won the Gold Medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition
in Moscow in June of 2019. He has appeared as soloist with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Boston Pops, Santa Cruz, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids Symphonies, as well as the New England Philharmonic, and abroad with Romania’s State Philharmonic, George Enescu Philharmonic in Bucharest, and Switzerland’s Lausanne Sinfonietta.
As First Prize Winner of the 2017 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Mr. Fung made recital debuts at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall and Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center this season. He also won special performance prizes from the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Embassy Series, Friends of Music Concerts, Paramount Theatre, Lied Center of Kansas, Sunday Musicale, and the Slomovic Prize for a concerto engagement. He also captured First Prizes at the Schoenfeld International String Competition in China and Romania’s George Enescu International Cello Competition.
A 2016 Presidential Scholar for the Arts, he has been featured on New York’s WQXR, “Performance Today,” and on NPR’s “From the Top” six times.
Sebastian Stöger, cellist, born on March 5, 1999 in New York City, is of Austrian-American descent. Sebastian is currently a student at The Juilliard School , working on a BM undergraduate degree, studying cello with Joel Krosnick and chamber music with Joseph Lin. In fall 2019, his piano trio, The Vuillaume Trio, was placed into the prestigious Honors Chamber Program at The Juilliard School. The trio was selected to perform at Juilliard’s Chamberfest and the Focus Festival in January, 2020. They are continuing to perform at high profile venues this season. Sebastian was recently involved in a video production with NPR “From The Top.” It is a tutorial series called “How to Nail It”, where he comedically shares his input on how to address technical and musical difficulties in Bach’s Cello Suite No. 6. This series will be posted onwww.fromthetop.org and can be viewed worldwide. In Fall 2020, Sebastian will perform the Haydn Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major, in New York City, with the Handel Festival Orchestra, conducted by Thomas Elefant. In Summer 2018, Sebastian attended the Yellow Barn Young Artist Program in Putney, Vermont. From 2012-2017, Sebastian was a student at The Perlman Music Program, an international workshop for young string players who meet several times a year for longer periods to study orchestral and choral works, chamber music and solo repertoire. There, Sebastian was fortunate to be instructed by cellists Ron Leonard, Paul Katz, Merry Cadence Peckham, and violinist Itzhak Perlman. Sebastian was the featured artist of Juilliard Open Studios in 2016 performing the Elgar cello concerto. JOS is a subscription based application that brings the Juilliard experience to arts enthusiasts from around the globe. He performed on the NPR radio “From the Top” show and won the Jack Cooke Artist Award. Sebastian currently plays on a Jean Baptiste Vuillaume Cello, circa 1855, loaned by Curtis Bryant Fine Cellos.
Described as “stylish and articulate” in the New York Times and having “superstar qualities” by Le Libre, pianist David Fung is widely recognized for performances that are elegant and refined, yet intensely poetic and uncommonly expressive. Mr. Fung appears regularly with the world’s premier ensembles including the Cleveland Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israel Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Belgium, the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, and with the major orchestras in Australia, including the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
In July 2016, Mr. Fung’s highly acclaimed debut with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Festival was “everything you could wish for” (Cleveland Classical) and he was praised as an “agile and alert interpreter of Mozart’s crystalline note-spinning” (The Plain Dealer). Other highlights of the season include performances at Caramoor, Tippet Rise Art Center, Bravo! Niagara Festival of the Arts, and Schloss Elmau, as well as his New York recital debut presented by Lincoln Center’s Great Performers. In 2017-18, he has solo recital debuts at the Brussels Piano Festival and the Kennedy Center presented by Washington Performing Arts, and performances with Orpheus, Albany Symphony, and Marin Symphony. He returns to Ravinia Festival and Lincoln Center’s Great Performers this season.
As a recitalist and chamber musician, Mr. Fung is a frequent guest artist at prestigious festivals and venues worldwide. Festival highlights include performances at the Aspen Music Festival, Blossom Music Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Hong Kong Arts Festival, and Ravinia Festival. At his Edinburgh International Festival debut, the Edinburgh Guide described Mr. Fung as being “impossibly virtuosic, prodigiously talented... and who probably does ten more impossible things daily before breakfast.”
Mr. Fung garnered international attention as a winner in two of the "top five" international piano competitions (the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in Brussels and the Arthur Rubinstein Piano International Masters Competition in Tel Aviv). In Tel Aviv, he was further distinguished by the Chamber Music and Mozart Prizes, awarded in areas in which Mr. Fung has a particularly passionate interest. Mr. Fung is the first piano graduate of the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles and is a Steinway Artist.
French pianist Yannick Rafalimanana has developed an international concert career performing recitals and chamber music concerts winning the first prize in the 2012 Tufts/New England Conservatory Soloist Competition, he made his US debut in Symphony Hall in Boston, playing Schumann Concerto with the Boston Pops Orchestra under the baton of Keith Lockhart.
He recently performed at the Berliner Philarmonie, in Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Chamber Hall, in the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Kennedy Center in Washington, live on Boston’s radio station WBGH, in Jordan Hall with the Borromeo String Quartet, in Boston with violists Kim Kashkashian and Thomas Reibl, in Poland with violinists Andreas Reiner, Arnold Steinhardt and in Shelter Island (NY) sharing the stage with Itzhak Perlman. He also made his Brazil recital debut performing at the Mube Museum and his Israel debut performing at the Jerusalem Music Center.
Mr. Rafalimanana has won numerous awards and prizes in several competitions, including the Borromeo Quartet Guest Artist Award, the Bruxelles J-Musiciens Competition, the Brest Piano Competition, and the International Ravel Academy's Rotary-Lions Competition.
As a soloist, he has performed regularly with the Orchestre CNR de Lille, Orchestre Impromptu, and the Ensemble Parisien. He recently founded and conducted the LFO - a chamber orchestra based out of Boston, involving NEC students, with whom he has also played as a soloist. Mr. Rafalimanana also performs frequently with the Trio La Plata, a group formed in Paris in 2006.
Mr. Rafalimanana has been teaching Chamber Music at the Folkwang University of Arts since 2015.