Featured Artists: 2022-23 Season
American violinist Kevin Zhu has amassed an outstanding record of concert performances and competition wins since he began playing violin at age three. Praised for his “awesome technical command and maturity” (The Strad) and “absolute virtuosity, almost blinding in its incredible purity” (L’ape musicale), Kevin regularly performs on the world’s largest stages, ranging from Carnegie Hall in New York to London’s Royal Festival Hall to the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. Initially coming to international attention after winning the 2018 Paganini Competition and 2012 Yehudi Menuhin Competition, he has established himself as a leading figure among the next generation of musicians, astonishing audiences with his peerless technical mastery and inimitable artistic voice. In the 2022-23 season, Kevin will debut with the Des Moines Symphony and embark on a project to record the 24 Paganini Caprices on Paganini’s famed violin ‘Il Cannone’, something never done before in history. Kevin performs the complete Caprices in Italy, Singapore, and Dresden, and makes concerto debuts in Madrid and Montreal. Recent performing highlights include concerto appearances with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, and China Philharmonic Orchestra. A highly sought-after recitalist, he has toured across the United States and Europe with repertoire ranging from Beethoven to contemporary commissions. Kevin is also a passionate chamber musician, collaborating with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Lawrence Power, and Jan Vogler. In addition to his efforts on stage, Kevin serves as a Culture Ambassador of the Lin Yao Ji Music Foundation of China. He has been featured on ABC Eyewitness News, BBC Radio 3, and RAI Radio 3, and is the recipient of a 2021 Avery Fisher Career Grant and Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant. Kevin holds a Bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Itzhak Perlman and Li Lin. Kevin performs on the c1722 “Lord Wandsworth” Antonio Stradivari violin, which is on loan from the Ryuji Ueno Foundation and Rare Violins In Consortium, Artists and Benefactors Collaborative.
Jeremiah Blacklow began studying the violin when he was three. As a soloist and chamber musician, Jeremiah has performed at important cultural centers across the globe including Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Incheon’s Tri-Bowl,and the Neue Galerie. Jeremiah has appeared as a soloist with the Concord Orchestra, the Boston Civi Symphony, and recently performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Bach Society Orchestra. Jeremiah has been coached by the Juilliard, Cleveland, Shanghai, and Brentano Quartets. He has participated in various music festivals such as the Perlman Music Program, Kneisel Hall, the Taos School of Music, and the Aspen Music Festival and School. Jeremiah and pianist Noah Krauss began working together as a violin-piano duo, and they have collaborated during the pandemic performing live-streamed concerts for people in healthcare sites around the northeast.
Jeremiah currently studies with Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho at The Juilliard School, where he is pursuing a Masters degree in violin performance as a recipient of the prestigious Fidelity Foundation Scholarship and the Dorothy Starling Scholarship. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Slavic Languages and Literature from Harvard College in 2020.
Israeli-Canadian cellist Daniel Hass is the First Prize Gold Medal winner of the 2016 Stulberg International String Competition, the 2016 winner of the Canada Council for the Arts Michael Measures Prize, and the 2019 winner of The Juilliard Cello Concerto Competition.
As a soloist, Mr. Hass has performed throughout Canada and the USA, having appeared with the orchestras such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, and the Las Vegas Young Artists Orchestra. He has performed as recitalist and chamber musician in Amsterdam, Lisbon, Tel Aviv, Budapest, Montreal, and across the United States. A sought after chamber musician in New York City, Mr. Hass frequently performs as a guest artist with the Jupiter Chamber Players, the Omega Ensemble, the Sejong Soloists, and since 2019 has served as the principal cellist of the Philadelphia-based orchestra Symphony In C.
Mr. Hass is as a member of the Perlman Music Program Alumni. He Graduated from Juilliard in 2017 as the proud recipient of the Kovner Fellowship, and is currently pursuing his Masters Degree at Juilliard, under the tutelage of cellists Timothy Eddy and Joel Krosnick, and violinists Areta Zhulla and Itzhak Perlman.
Sebastian Stöger, cellist, is currently a 1st year masters student at The Juilliard School, studying with Joel Krosnick and Timothy Eddy. This past May, Sebastian made his solo debut at Seiji Ozawa Hall, premiering a new concerto for cello, electronics, and orchestra. Some of Sebastian’s most important mentors include Ron Leonard, Paul Katz, and Clara Kim, and his first cello teacher, Yari Bond. In October 2012, Sebastian was featured on the NPR Radio From The Top show, where he received the Jack Kent Cooke Artist Award. In later years, Sebastian was 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 is posted on www.fromthetop.org and can be viewed worldwide. In Spring 2017 he was named a National YoungArts Winner, and in Fall 2019, Sebastian’s past piano trio, The Vuillaume Trio, was placed into the prestigious Honors Chamber Music Program at Juilliard, and was featured live on the WQXR Radio Program, presenting female composers. In May 2022, Sebastian was a semifinalist at the 2022 Washington International String Competition. Sebastian is an avid player in all musical forms, ranging from classical music, to jazz, to a wide variety of contemporary music. His current most favorite program that he adds to many of his solo performances includes a D minor Partita, dedicated to him by composer Julian Bennett-Holmes, followed by the Bach Chaconne for Violin in D minor, arranged for cello. Sebastian has attended many prestigious music programs and festivals, including the Perlman Music Program, the Yellow Barn Young Artist Program, and the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival. In June 2022, Sebastian attended the Aspen Music Festival with an Aspen Fellowship. Sebastian currently plays on a beautiful Gaetano Sgarabotto instrument, generously loaned to him by Curtis Bryant Fine Cellos.
Praised for his “ravishing and simply gorgeous” performances in The Washington Post, pianist David Fung is widely recognized for interpretations that are elegant and refined, yet intensely poetic and uncommonly expressive. Declared a Rising Star in BBC Music Magazine, Mr. Fung regularly appears with the world’s premier ensembles including the Cleveland Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Israel Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the National Orchestra of Belgium, the San Diego Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony, as well as the major orchestras in his native country of Australia, including the Melbourne Symphony, the Queensland Symphony, and the Sydney Symphony.
In the 2019-20 season, Mr. Fung was a featured soloist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in their opening subscription weekend celebrating the Orchestra Hall Centennial and received an invitation to replace Andre Watts with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performing Ravel’s Left-Hand Concerto. Other highlights of the season include performances at the Seattle Town Hall, Eastman Presents, Ottawa Chamberfest, L’Auditori (Barcelona), and a collaboration with the Brentano Quartet at Yale University and Carnegie Hall. In the 2020-21 season, Mr. Fung appears alongside Yuja Wang and conductor Gustavo Dudamel with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in their Sound/Stage series at the Hollywood Bowl, returns to Caramoor with Dashon Burton, and headlines the 2020 WQXR Pride Celebrations in New York City. Other highlights were to include performances with the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra, Niagara Symphony Orchestra and at Princeton University.
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 further praised as an “agile and alert interpreter of Mozart’s crystalline note-spinning” (The Plain Dealer). In the following week, he performed Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini at the Beijing National Stadium for their Olympic Summer Festival. Festival highlights include performances at the Aspen Music Festival, Blossom Music Festival, Brussels Piano Festival, Caramoor, Edinburgh International Festival, Hong Kong Arts Festival, the Ravinia Festival, Tippet Rise, and Yeosu International Music 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.” In recent seasons, he has been presented in recital by Washington Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center’s Great Performers, the Louvre Museum, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the National Concert Hall in Taiwan, Seoul Art Center, and the Zürich Tonhalle.
Mr. Fung garnered international attention as laureate of 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 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 won 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 participated in numerous summer festivals; among them are the Perlman Music Program, the Greatlakes Chamber Music Festival, the Brussels Chamber Music Festival, Krzyzowa Music Festival. He has collaborated with some of most well known musicians, such as Itzhak Perlman, Donald Weilerstein, Joseph Kalichstein, Kim Kashkashian, Gary Hoffman, Paul Katz, Narek Hakhnazaryan , Roger Tapping, Julian Arp, Frank Stadler, and Andrej Bielow. Mr. Rafalimanana was teaching Chamber Music at the Folkwang University of Arts in Essen from 2015 to 2018.