Alok Kumar


Noted as a “tenor unlike others, with a resonance and depth to his voice,” Alok Kumar is on the rise to stardom.  Mr. Kumar recently made his Royal Opera House Covent Garden and London Philharmonic Orchestra débuts creating the role of Chyavana in the world premiere of Ravi Shankar’s opera Sukanya, a work harmonizing the distinct music, dance and theatrical traditions of India and the West. 

In recent seasons he performed with the Forte tenors at the NAMM convention in Los Angeles, Don José in Bizet’s Carmen with Michigan Opera Theater, Florida Grand Opera and Musica Viva in Hong Kong, reprised the role of the Duke of Mantua in Palm Beach Opera’s production of Verdi’s Rigoletto, débuted as Macduff in Verdi’s Macbeth under the baton of Emmanuel Plasson, sang Robert Paterson’s Crossing the Hudson with American Modern Ensemble at Carnegie Hall, and appeared in New York City Opera’s production of Respighi’s rarely performed opera La Campana Sommersa. This season, Mr. Kumar joins the roster of The Metropolitan Opera for their production of La Fanciulla del West and Puccini’s Il Trittico. He will also be participating in the Intimate Apparel workshop with Lincoln Center early next year. 

Additional roles in Mr. Kumar’s repertoire include Rodolfo in La bohème, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Lensky in Eugene Onegin, Des Grieux in Manon Lescaut, the title roles in Werther and Les contes d’Hoffmann.

Recent concert engagements include Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with the Fairfield County Chorale, as well as a series of summer concerts with the Bay Atlantic Symphony featuring Italian operatic repertoire. He has appeared with symphonies and orchestras in Spain, California, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Texas and Massachusetts, including in Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops for the Richard Rodgers Centennial and in Sanders Theater with the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. In the recital forum, Mr. Kumar unveiled a solo recital of Romani-influenced art songs at the Ware Center in Lancaster, PA before singing a benefit concert at the Lucas Theater in Savannah, GA featuring works by Puccini, Bizet, Verdi and Massenet.

Other notable engagements include débuts at Canada’s le Domaine Forget International Music Festival as Don José in La tragedie de Carmen, a gala concert at the Sanibel Music Festival in Florida, a début at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles as a soloist in Galvany’s Oh My Son, a concert of French operatic excerpts in France under the direction of Michel Plasson, his portrayal of Pinkerton in the love duet from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with the Cincinnati Pops/Cincinnati Opera led by John Morris Russell, Alfredo in La traviata with Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra and a début as tenor soloist in the New York premiere of Stephen Paulus’ To Be Certain of the Dawn at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium.

An avid performer and in-demand artist of new works, Mr. Kumar premiered the tenor solo in the Thomas Cabaniss Cantata My Song is a Fire and collaborated with director Scott Schwarz and librettist Marc Aceto in Jeffrey Stock’s musical adaptation of E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View. Mr. Kumar recently recorded the role of Jesus of Nazareth in Marcos Galvany’s operatic tableaux Oh My Son with members of the Washington National Symphony and Washington National Opera Orchestra, members of the Washington National Opera Chorus and the Washington National Cathedral Children’s Choir. 

President Thomas A. Giegerich DMD, MS


Thomas Giegerich is a fourth-generation Island Native. His grandfather, Marcus, emigrated from Germany, to Atlantic City in 1886, to become the first salaried member of the Atlantic City Fire Department.

He attended Holy Spirit High. While attending, he played Varsity Football and was the Senior Class President.

He then went on to attend Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. He was a psychology major, and minored in science. During his college career, he was a Heavyweight Varsity Crew-Captain and a member of the CHI PSI Fraternity.

He continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, receiving his DMD Degree. While attending UPENN, Tom was elected to the National Dental Honor Society, Omicron Kappa Upsilon, with a class rank of 10 out of 120.

Commissioned a captain, US air force and stationed for 3 years in Seville, Spain. Was the preventive dental officer for the military, 2000 dependents, and the base school system.

Bilingual in Spanish.

Orthodontic residency, Case Western Reserve, Univ., Cleveland. MS degree.

Tom later established a solo, private orthodontic practice in Cleveland. He owned the practice for 29 years, until he returned home to Margate in 2000.

In 1986 he, purchased the Colonial Manor Apartments, a 132-unit complex in North Ridgeville, Ohio. In 2010, he sold the Colonial Manor Apartments and purchased a CVS Retail Store in Brunswick, GA.

IN 1979, he formed a Panamanian corp. for the purchase and operation of the 192 ft. cargo vessel, Twillingate, from St. Johns, Newfoundland. Moved her to New Orleans and established a break bulk cargo service from the gulf to Central America.

IN 1984, he built the LOA 68 ft. Steel, square topsail schooner, Eagle, with coast guard certification for 49 passengers. It operated it in Newport, Florida, and St. Thomas for approx. 3 years it to a youth charter operation in Florida.

Tom has been a classical musical lover since college and maintained season tickets to the Cleveland orchestra for approx. 18 years. Likewise, since returning to Margate in 2000, he has been an avid fan and supporter of the Bay Atlantic Symphony.

In 2000, he took a 3-year travel sabbatical, bought the 46 ft. Sailing Ketch Osprey, and sailed the East Coast from Key West to Canada and back in 2001-2002. He made 3 Trans-Atlantic passenger voyages on the 360 ft. Sailing Ship, Star Clipper, and the 439 ft. Royal clipper.

In 2003, he returned to a part-time orthodontic practice, ultimately building a new office and private/solo practice in 2010 in Galloway.

Tom currently lives in his childhood home in Margate, NJ. He has 3 wonderful sons and 7 grandchildren in suburban Philadelphia, that occupy his time with their athletic activities and summer visits.

He has traveled extensively to Europe, Africa, Russia, Uzbekistan, Central and South America, and China.

Robert Woodruff

Bob is 80 years old and has been married to Merry (Hayes) for 56 years. They have 4 children and 10 grandchildren and reside in a 209 year historic home in Alloway, Salem County that is on the National Register of Historic Places. He has been involved with the Bay-Atlantic Symphony since its beginning over 30 years ago, has been on the board for a number of years, was President from 2009-2013, and is currently Treasurer. His company, Woodruff Energy, has been a Symphony sponsor for many years. Bob is a graduate of the University of Delaware (1958, BS in Accounting), and a graduate of a 9 week Business Management course at Harvard Business School (1975). Bob is still active in his family company since 1958, served as President for a number of years and is currently a Senior Vice President. Woodruff Energy makes natural gas, petroleum products, propane and installs and services HVAC equipment.

In addition to his work with the Symphony, Bob has been involved in community activities in a number of areas. He served on the NJ State Board of Education for 15 years and was President from 1996-98. He was President of the NJ Fuel Merchants of NJ (1980-82), was a member of the NJ Supreme Court District #1 Ethics Commission (2007-2010), member and past president of the Bridgeton Rotary Club, a member, elder, and choir member of the First Presbyterian Church of Bridgeton, past member and Chair of the Alloway Township Planning Board for 30 years, past president of the Bridgeton Area United Way, and various other activities. His current interests in addition to music, are tennis, gardening, traveling and his grandchildren. 

Dana Dunn Lisicki

Dana Dunn Lisicki completed her undergraduate education at Temple University in Philadelphia.  She then attended Philadelphia College and Textiles and Science to obtain her MBA, with a special concentration in Health Administration.     

Dana is the Assistant Vice President with oversight of primary care and ambulatory pediatrics for AtlantiCare Physician Group which employs more than 45 primary care providers and located in 21 different location across South Jersey.  She has been with AtlantiCare for over 7 years.  Prior to AtlantiCare, she was Director of Strategic Implementation at duPont Hospital for Children for 9 years.  

Noted accomplishments include recruitment strategies and acquisition execution to build the organization’s team of providers necessary to care for the populations served. Further, under Ms. Lisicki’s leadership the team received NCQA recognition starting in 2011 and deployed the Advanced Medical Home model to 18 primary care locations in 2015. 

Jason Alexander

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Though best known for his award-winning, nine year stint as the now iconic George Costanza of television’s Seinfeld, Jason Alexander has achieved international recognition for a career noted for its extraordinary diversity. Aside from his performances on stage, screen and television, he has worked extensively as a writer, composer, director, producer and teacher of acting. In between all that he has also become an award-winning magician, a notorious poker player and a respected advocate on social and political issues. 

For his depiction of “George” on Seinfeld, Jason garnered six Emmy nominations, four Golden Globe nominations, an American Television Award and two American Comedy Awards. He won two Screen Actor Guild Awards as the best actor in a television comedy despite playing a supporting role and in 2012 he was honored to receive the “Julie Harris Award for Lifetime Achievement” from the Actor's Fund.

Aside from Seinfeld, Jason has starred and guested in shows as The Grinder, Drunk History, Friends, Two and a Half Men, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Criminal Minds, Monk, Franklin and Bash, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bob Patterson, Listen Up, Hit the Road, Orville and Young Sheldon. He also starred in the television films of Bye Bye Birdie, Cinderella, A Christmas Carol and The Man Who Saved Xmas. Additionally, his voice has been heard most notably in Duckman, The Cleveland Show, American Dad, Tom and Jerry and Kody Kapow.

His many films include: Pretty Woman, Jacob’s Ladder, Love Valor Compassion, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dunston Checks In, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Shallow Hal. In addition he directed the feature films For Better or Worse and Just Looking. He is also a distinguished television director, overseeing episodes of Seinfeld, Til Death, Everybody Hates Chris, Mike and Molly, Criminal Minds and Franklin and Bash. He won the American Country Music Award for his direction of Brad Paisley's video “Cooler Online.” 

While still in college, his desire to work as a stage actor in New York came to be with his debut in the original Broadway cast of the Hal Prince/Stephen Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along. He continued starring on Broadway in the original casts of Kander and Ebb’s The Rink, Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound, Rupert Holmes’ Accomplice and his Tony Award winning performance in Jerome Robbin’s Broadway. Jason also authored the libretto for that show which went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical. After moving to LA, Jason continued working in the theater, notably serving as the artistic director for the Reprise Theatre Company and for the hit West Coast production of Mel Brook’s The Producers in which he starred along with Martin Short. Most recently, Jason returned to Broadway to star in the Larry David comedy Fish in the Dark at the Cort Theater and recently appeared in the John Patrick Shanley’s The Portuguese Kid at the Manhattan Theatre Club.

He has also helmed a number of stage productions including: The God of Hell at the Geffen Playhouse; Broadway Bound at the Odyssey; an updated revival of Damn Yankees and The Fantasticks, as well as Sunday in the Park with George for Reprise and most recently the world premiere of Windfall by Scooter Pietsch for the Arkansas Repertory Theater.

Mr. Alexander tours the country and the world performing his one-man show, “As Long As You’re Asking, a Conversation with Jason Alexander,” which contains music, comedy and conversation. He can also be seen in his whimsical salute to Broadway musicals with some of the finest symphony orchestras throughout the United States. You can stay in touch with Jason via Twitter (@IJasonAlexander)

Miss America 2018 - Nia Franklin

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 Nia Franklin was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and lived in the state through graduate school. She earned an undergraduate degree in music composition from East Carolina University, and a master’s in music composition from The University of North Carolina’s School of the Arts. Shortly after, Nia was awarded a Kenan Fellowship at New York’s Lincoln Center Education and made the move to New York City. 

During Nia’s college junior year, her father was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and she became his stem cell donor. This turn of events led Nia to the Miss America Organization. “I had to find a way to pay for myself to go to school and so I entered this competition and this organization and it became much more than just the scholarship money for me, it was also about the mentorship, leadership and sisterhood you find in this program.”

Nia was crowned Miss Five Boroughs at the age of 23, and then went on to win Miss New York 2018. And was awarded the job of Miss America 2019 on September 9, 2018.

Nia has been a teacher and music mentor, and has written over 100 songs, including one she began performing at age five. (The lyrics begin: “Love, love, love, love, love is the only thing that matters to me…”).  For the Miss America 2019 competition, Franklin sang “Quando m’en Vo'” from Puccini’s La Boheme and wowed audiences and judges alike.

Throughout her year as Miss America  Nia will be working on her social impact initiative ADVOCATING FOR THE ARTS.  Nia speaks with students, school administrators, and teachers about the importance of arts education and why it is so vital to a well-rounded education.

Yoobin Son

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Flutist Yoobin Son was the first Korean to join the New York Philharmonic’s Woodwind section
when she became a member of the Orchestra in November 2012. She has also served as the
Principal Flutist of the Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and the Principal
Flutist of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.

Apart from playing with the New York Philharmonic, Ms. Son is an active soloist and has
performed with notable ensembles all over the world including the Seoul Philharmonic, Prime
Philharmonic, New Haven Symphony, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Son has
also appeared in recitals throughout the world, among them the Dame Myra Hess Memorial
Concert Series in Chicago, and the Young Artist Series of the Kumho Asiana Cultural
Foundation in Seoul, South Korea.

Ms. Son is a passionate chamber musician and has made appearances in many notable
chamber music festivals including the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, and Music from
Angel Fire in New Mexico. As a firm believer in the importance of music education, Ms. Son
served as a member of Ensemble Connect, formerly known as Ensemble ACJW. In the
Ensemble ACJW, Ms. Son actively participated in music education all over the New York City,
including at P.S. 207K in Brooklyn, where she was a designated teaching artist. Ms. Son
continues to pursue her passion as a mentor, teaching privately and giving masterclasses all
around the world. Most recently, she travelled to Shanghai, China, as a guest teaching artist of
the New York Philharmonic.

Ms. Son has won numerous awards and received honors including the Grand Prize at the
Florida Orchestra Young Artist Competition, First Prize at the National Flute Association Soloist Competition, Second Prize at the Koussevitzky International Winds Competition, and the Conductor’s Award at the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Auditions.
Yoobin Son received her Bachelor of Music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music, Masters
of Music degree from the Yale University, Professional Studies and Artist Diploma degrees from
the Manhattan School of Music. Her principal teachers have included Robert Langevin, Ransom
Wilson, Jeffrey Khaner, and Bradley Garner.

Alexi Kenney

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The recipient of a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, violinist Alexi Kenney has been named "a talent to watch" by the New York Times, which also noted his "architect's eye for structure and space and a tone that ranges from the achingly fragile to full-bodied robustness.” His win at the 2013 Concert Artists Guild Competition at the age of nineteen led to a critically acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut recital at Weill Hall.

Highlights of Alexi's 2017-18 season include debuts with the Detroit, Columbus, California, and Amarillo symphonies, return engagements with the Santa Fe Symphony and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, and recitals with pianist Renana Gutman on Carnegie Hall's 'Distinctive Debuts' series, at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., and at Lee University (TN) and the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University (CA). Alexi has appeared as soloist with the Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Portland, Riverside, Santa Fe, and Tulare County symphonies, the Staatstheater Orchestra of Cottbus, Germany, and A Far Cry, and in recital at Caramoor, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Jordan Hall in Boston, and at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival. He has been profiled by Strings magazine and the New York Times, written for The Strad, and has been featured on Performance Today, WQXR-NY’s Young Artists Showcase, WFMT-Chicago, and NPR’s From the Top.

Chamber music continues to be a main focus of Alexi’s life, touring with Musicians from Marlboro and Musicians from Ravinia’s Steans Institute and regularly performing at festivals including ChamberFest Cleveland, Festival Napa Valley, the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, the Marlboro Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove (UK), Ravinia, and Yellow Barn. He has collaborated with artists including Pamela Frank, Miriam Fried, Steven Isserlis, Kim Kashkashian, Gidon Kremer, and Christian Tetzlaff and is a new member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's CMS 2 program beginning in the 2018-19 season.

Born in Palo Alto, California in 1994, Alexi holds a Bachelor of Music and an Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory in Boston, where he studied with Donald Weilerstein and Miriam Fried. Previous teachers include Wei He, Jenny Rudin, and Natasha Fong. He plays on a violin made in London by Stefan-Peter Greiner in 2009.

Outside of music, Alexi enjoys hojicha, hygge interiors, baking for friends, and walking for miles on end in whichever city he finds himself, listening to podcasts and Bach on repeat.

Cecelia Hall

American Cecelia Hall is one of today’s most established young mezzo-sopranos. Hailed by the Financial Times for her ‘easy flexibility, arresting poise and enveloping warmth’, she has appeared since 2014 in leading roles at many of the world’s finest stages, including Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper, The Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Canadian Opera Company, Opera Philadelphia, and Oper Frankfurt, where she is a member of the ensemble.

Ms. Hall begins the 2017-18 season with a return to Opera Philadelphia, where she stars in War Stories (a double bill of Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and Beecher’s I Have No Stories To Tell You) as part of the much anticipated Festival 017, for which she is featured on the cover of Opera News (August 2017). She then returns to Oper Frankfurt to debut the title role of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and the leading lady in the world’s first staging of Zelenka’s Il Serpente di Bronzo. Ms. Hall will also appear in Frankfurt this season as Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Vlasta in Die Passagierin, and Wellgunde in Das Rheingold.

Ms. Hall joined the ensemble at Oper Frankfurt in 2016-17 and was featured as Fulvia in Gluck’s Ezio and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She also made her Russian debut singing Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos with Maestro Vladimir Jurowski and the Moscow Philharmonic Society, followed by a return to the USA to sing Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera Philadelphia and Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Ms. Hall’s 2015-16 season included performances of Dorabella in Così Fan Tutte with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, followed by recitals with the Metropolitan Opera Rising Stars Concert Series, Zerlina in Don Giovanni with NYC’s Venture Opera, and her role debut as Ruby Thewes in the east coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain with Opera Philadelphia. Ms. Hall also returned to North Carolina Opera to sing Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to sing the Composer in Ariadne on Naxos. Her season concluded with performances of Geisha/Dhia in Mascagni’s Iris with Bard Summerscape and with her Mostly Mozart debut as the mezzo soloist in Mozart’s Mass in C minor and Requiem with Maestro Louis Langrée.

The 2014-15 season included Ms. Hall’s return to the Metropolitan Opera as Javotte in Manon, a debut at the Canadian Opera Company as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and at the Bayerische Staatsoper as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, and a return to the Seattle Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni. Other highlights included a return to Carnegie Hall for the 2015 Marilyn Horne Song Celebration, a Metropolitan Opera-sponsored Mozart recital at the NJPAC and her debut at the Santa Fe Opera as Don Ramiro in La Finta Giardiniera.

In 2013-14, Ms. Hall debuted as Dorabella in Così Fan Tutte with North Carolina Opera and Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Opera Philadelphia, sang a Spotlight Recital with The Song Continues at Carnegie Hall, and returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago to sing Annio in La Clemenza di Tito. In concert, Ms. Hall appeared as the Page in Salome with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Over the summer, she made her Aix-en-Provence Festival debut as Zaida in Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia. She then sang a concert of Baroque Masterworks with La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, and finished the summer with the Bard Music Festival as Florinda in Schubert’s Fierrabras.

An alumna of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, Ms. Hall appeared at the Lyric Opera as Third Maid in Elektra, Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte, among other roles. She recently made debuts with the Seattle Opera as Wellgunde and Rossweisse in their 2013 Ring des Nibelungen and with the Fort Worth Opera as the Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos (a role she previously sang with the Palau de les Arts in Valencia, Spain and at the Tanglewood Music Festival).

Ms. Hall received much critical acclaim for her performance in the title-role of Handel’s Teseo at Chicago Opera Theater, and she has also debuted at the Metropolitan Opera as the Second Priestess in Iphigénie en Tauride. At the Castleton Festival, she has appeared as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and L’Enfant in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges. At Juilliard Opera she was featured as Concepción in L’Heure Espagnole, Nerone in L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, and in the title role of Ariodante.

A noted recitalist, Cecelia Hall has appeared several times at Carnegie Hall, both with the Horne Foundation and with Carnegie’s Ensemble ACJW. As a Samling Artist, she sang in recital at Wigmore Hall.

An alumna of The Juilliard School and DePaul University, Ms. Hall is a recipient of a 2011 Sara Tucker Study Grant, a 2012 Brian Dickie Outstanding Young Singer Award, the 2013 Lynne Harvey Foundation Scholarship from the Musician’s Club of Women, Third Prize from the 2013 Gerda Lissner Foundation, and the 2015 winner of the Norma Newton Award from the George London Foundation.

Juho Pohjonen

Celebrated as one of Finland's most outstanding pianists, Juho Pohjonen has received widespread acclaim for his profound musicianship and distinctive interpretations of a broad range of repertoire from Bach to Salonen. His interpretations are known for their intensity, thoughtfulness, and fearless musical conviction.

Highlights of Mr. Pohjonen’s 2017-18 season include a remarkable summer festival circuit, with performances at Music@Menlo, the Santa Fe Chamber Music and Ravinia Festivals, Cleveland Orchestra’s Blossom Festival, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival. Concerto appearances include Greenwich Symphony and Turku and Tampere Philharmonic Orchestras, performing Saint-Saens Concerto No.5, Op. 103, Esa-Pekka Salonen Piano Concerto and Einar Englund’s Piano Concerto No. 1.  In recital, he performs at the National Gallery of Art, Frederic Chopin Society and Meany Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Washington, La Jolla Music Society, Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario, Mobile Chamber Music Society, and Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts in Fresno.  He continues his close association with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at Alice Tully Hall, and on tour in Chicago, Birmingham, Asheville, NC, Purchase, NY, Athens, GA and Ashland, OR, as well as in Beijing, Seoul, and Taiwan.  He appears frequently with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, since his tenure with the CMS Two Residency Program for Outstanding Young Artists from 2009-2012.

Recent highlights include his debuts with Vancouver, Baltimore, and Cleveland Symphonies, and chamber programs at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and the Library of Congress. European engagements have included performances with the Szczecin Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony, and Antalya State Symphony. Mr. Pohjonen received highly praise for his interpretation of Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the Buffalo Philharmonic and conductor JoAnn Falletta, which he also performed across England with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Kirill Karabits. In 2015, Mr. Pohjonen opened the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s season in performances of the Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 5 with Jeffrey Kahane, and made his debut with Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich performing Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Piano Concerto with conductor Lionel Bringuier.  In 2016, the pianist debuted at the Grant Park Music Festival performing Chopins’s Piano Concerto No. 2, for which Chicago Tribune praised him for his “pearly tone, articulate touch and supple legato…His sensitivity in unfurling Chopin’s intimate musical grammar was always evident.” Additionally, he gave stunning recital debuts at Beethoven-Haus in Bonn for their Klaviersommer Festival and the Ravinia Festival, and he performed Mozart with the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, and in Mexico’s Palacio De Bellas Artes with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional. 

Mr. Pohjonen has given recitals in New York (Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center), Washington, D.C. (Kennedy Center), San Francisco, Vancouver, Detroit, La Jolla and in London (Wigmore Hall), Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Warsaw, Hong Kong, Antwerp, and at the Lucerne Piano, Gilmore, Savonlinna, Bergen and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festivals. He has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Danish National, Malmö, Finnish Radio Symphony, Swedish Radio Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Scottish Chamber and Philharmonia Orchestras, Bournemouth Symphony, Zagrebacka Filharmonija and Lahti Symphony, with which he toured Japan.  Pohjonen performs with many of the world’s foremost conductors including Marin Alsop, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Markus Stenz, Pinchas Zukerman, Lionel Bringuier, Kirill Karabits, and Marek Janowski among others. A frequent guest of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Pohjonen enjoys frequent collaboration with its renowned Music Director, Robert Spano.

Mr. Pohjonen's debut recording Plateaux featured the works of Scandinavian composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen; the Dacapo Records album comprises piano concerto Plateaux pour Piano et Orchestre with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and solo piano suite For Piano. His sensational opening recital at Music@Menlo’s 2010 Festival was recorded for the Music@Menlo Live 2010 series. The album, Maps and Legends, features Mozart's Sonata in A Major, K.331, Grieg's Ballade in the Form of Variations on a Norwegian Folk Song in G Minor, Op. 24, and Handel's Suite in B-flat Major.  Recently, Pohjonen and his colleagues Petteri Iivonen and Samuli Peltonen, who together form the Sibelius Piano Trio, released a recording on Yarlung Records in honor of Finland’s centennial, described by Sterophile as “a gorgeous debut.”  A new recording slated for release in 2018 features the music of Chopin, Schumann, and Grieg with cellist Inbal Segev.

Mr. Pohjonen's studies began in 1989 when he entered the Junior Academy of the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki. He studied with Meri Louhos and Hui-Ying Liu at the Sibelius Academy where he completed his Master's Degree in 2008. Mr. Pohjonen has also participated in several master classes of world-class pianists such as Sir András Schiff, Leon Fleisher, Jacob Lateiner and Barry Douglas.

In 2009, Juho Pohjonen was selected by Sir András Schiff as winner of the Klavier Festival Ruhr Scholarship. In addition, he has won numerous prizes in both Finnish and international competitions, including First Prize at the 2004 Nordic Piano Competition in Nyborg, Denmark, First Prize at the 2000 International Young Artists Concerto Competition in Stockholm, the Prokofiev Prize at the 2003 AXA Dublin International Piano Competition and a prize at the 2002 Helsinki International Maj Lind Piano Competition.

Tomer Gewirtzman


Hailed by The Washington Post as an artist of “formidable virtuosity and stylistic sensitivity,” Israeli pianist Tomer Gewirtzman has impressed audiences around the world.  He has performed in recitals in London in Steinway Hall and in Paris in the Salle Cortot of the École Normale.  Mr. Gewirtzman played with Nikolai Petrov’s Kremlin Festival in cities throughout Russia and has appeared as soloist with orchestras throughout Israel including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Symphony Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Israeli Chamber Orchestra, the New Haifa Symphony Orchestra, and the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music Symphony Orchestra.

This season’s highlights include debut recitals at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Paradise Valley United Methodist Church, Morning Musicales, at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, and on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts; Mr. Gewirtzman will perform the Brahms Piano Concerto in d minor with the Bucks County Symphony, and the Medtner Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Mariinsky Orchestra in Saint Petersburg.

Last season, Mr. Gewirtzman made his New York recital debut on the Young Concert Artist Series and in Washington D.C. on the YCA and Washington Performing Arts Series.  Other performances included recitals at Saint Vincent College, the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, the Harvard Musical Association, the Harriman-Jewell Series, at Congregation Rodef Shalom, and at the Virginia Arts Festival.   He also performed at Weill Hall for the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic and at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theatre in the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Gala honoring the memory of Vera Stern.  Mr. Gewirtzman was soloist with the Charlottesville Symphony, performing the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24. 

His busy career has also included concerto performances with Symphony Silicon Valley, the Aspen Concert Orchestra, the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, the North-West Florida Symphony Orchestra, and the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.  Mr. Gewirtzman has performed at festivals in the United States including Bravo! Vail, Yellowbarn, the Aspen Music Festival, PianoFest, PianoTexas, Summit Music Festival, and New York’s International Keyboard Institute Festival. He has also performed at festivals abroad including the International Academy of Music in Italy, the Musica Mundi Chamber Music Festival in Belgium, Tel – Hai International Master Classes in Israel, and Germany’s Usedom Music Festival.

At the 2015 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, he was awarded First Prize as well as five performance prizes.  Other accolades include First Prize at the 2014 Wideman International Piano Competition in Louisiana, the Piano Prize and Audience Prize at the 2013 America – Israel Cultural Foundation’s Aviv Competition, Third Prize at the inaugural Midwest Piano Competition in Iowa in 2014, First Prize and a special prize for a commissioned piece for the competition at the 2010 Clairmont Competition in Israel, First Prize at the 2010 Piano Forever competition in Ashdod, which gave him, in addition to the financial award, a full scholarship to attend master classes in the U.S. and an opportunity to perform as soloist with the Ashdod Symphony Orchestra.  He has also won First Prizes at the Chopin Competition for Young Pianists in Tel-Aviv, the Rig’ey See Piano Competition in Ashdod, the Pnina Zaltzman Piano Competition for Young Pianists in Kfar-Sava, and the Tel-Hai International Piano Masterclasses Concerto Competition.  After winning Second Prize at the International Russian Music Piano Competition in San Jose, he captured First Prize at the Aspen Music Festival Concerto Competition.  He has received Top Prizes in other international competitions such as the International Keyboard Institute Festival Piano Competition in New York, Arte Con Anima Piano Competition in Greece, and the International Baltic Piano Competition in Poland.

Tomer Gewirtzman started his musical education at the age of 8, with Ms. Raaya Shpol at the Rubin Conservatory in Haifa, and continued his piano studies with Prof. Vadim Monastirski from the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem.  From 2008 to 2011, he served in the Israeli Defense Forces, in the “Outstanding Musician” program, where he combined regular military service, with extensive music studies at the University.  He completed his bachelor’s degree at the Buchmann-Mehta school of music in Tel-Aviv, in the studio of Arie Vardi.  He earned his Master’s degree at the Juilliard School, working with Maestro Sergei Babayan, where he received the prestigious Kovner Fellowship award.  He continues his studies at Juilliard in the Artist Diploma program.

Ruotao Mao

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Violinist Ruotao Mao is an active soloist, chamber musician while holding numerous concertmaster posts in the tri-state area. His playing was described by The Classical New Jersey as "virtuoso display of world-class magnitude." and "The level of playing has reached far beyond mere technical competence." A native of Beijing, China, Mr. Mao graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with “distinction in performance” award. He earned his Master Degree in Music from the Mason Gross School of the Arts where he studied under violinist Arnold Sternhardt of the Guarneri String Quartet. He also studied with Dorothy Delay, Paul Kantor and Masuko Ushioda.

As a chamber musician, he is one of the founding members of the former Beijing Piano Quartet, winner of “Artists International Chamber Music Series” with appearances in Weill Hall of Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center and also the highly acclaimed Amabile String Quartet, the quartet-in-residence at Rutgers University(2000 and 2001). As a soloist, he appeared with orchestras such as the Jupiter Symphony, NEC Symphony, Corelliard Chamber Orchestra, the Brunswick Symphony Orchestra, Riverside Symphonia, Edison

Symphony, the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Bay-Atlantic Symphony, Arcadian Symphony Orchestra and Rutgers University Orchestra among many others. In 2004, Mr. Mao premiered a violin concerto by Ernie Stires in Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. He had performance tours in Korea and Colombia, South America. He performed on WNYC, WETS and WDVR-FM broadcasts and is a recording artist for the CRI and Beijing Broadcast Labels. Mr. Mao also serves as the concertmaster of the Riverside Symphonia, the Bay-Atlantic Symphony and the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra. Mr. Mao has taught violin and chamber music at The College of New Jersey (2003-2015) and at Princeton University.

Lauren Snouffer

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Recognized for her unique artistic curiosity in world-class performances spanning the music of Claudio Monteverdi and Johann Adolph Hasse through to György Ligeti and George Benjamin, American Lauren Snouffer is celebrated as one of the most versatile and respected sopranos on the international stage. 

Opera performances of the current season fortify the soprano’s position as one of the eminent interpreters of contemporary music.  Lauren Snouffer assays the title role of Berg’s Lulu in a new production at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago conducted by Juan Pablo Izquierdo and directed by Mariame Clément and she reprises her acclaimed portrayal of Agnès in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin for Opera Philadelphia’s new production.  Furthermore, she creates principal soprano roles in the world premieres of Houston Grand Opera’s The House Without A Christmas Tree, written by Ricky Ian Gordon in a new production by James Robinson, and in Andrew Norman’s A Trip to the Moon presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and directed by Yuval Sharon.  Equally celebrated in roles of the traditional opera canon, Lauren Snouffer returns to the stage of the Lyric Opera of Chicago in a new production of Orphée et Eurydice directed and choreographed by John Neumeier under the baton of Harry Bicket and Mozart heroines include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Stefano Montanari conducting the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Krzysztof Urbański and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.  Additional concert performances include Mozart’s Requiem with The Cleveland Orchestra and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.

A dynamic concert schedule in 2016-17 included Bach’s Johannes-Passion with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem with Cristian Macelaru and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Handel’s Messiah with Patrick Dupré Quigley and the San Francisco Symphony, and Carmina Burana with Krzysztof Urbański and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.  No less impressive was her operatic diary which included Die Zauberflöte at Seattle Opera, A Little Night Music with Des Moines Metro Opera, Handel’s Arminio for the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, and Béatrice et Bénédict at the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse.

Highlights of past seasons include Houston Grand Opera performances of Le nozze di Figaro conducted by Harry Bicket in a production by Michael Grandage as well as presentations of Carousel, Show Boat, The Rape of Lucretia, and L’italiana in Algeri, Lyric Opera of Chicago productions of Rusalka and La clemenza di Tito, a Seattle Opera debut as La Comtesse Adèle in Rossini’s Le comte Ory conducted by Giacomo Sagripanti, The Magic Flute at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Max Emanuel Cencic’s new production of Hasse’s Siroe at the Opéra Royal de Versailles, with further performances in Budapest and Vienna.

Lauren Snouffer joined Markus Stenz and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for performances of Beethoven’s Egmont, Harry Christophers and the Handel & Haydn Society of Boston in Mozart’s Requiem, Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra for Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem and concert performances of Strauss’ Daphne, and she dazzled as Cunegonde in concert performances of Bernstein’s Candide with Marin Alsop and the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo. 

Closely associated with George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, she has sung the lead soprano role under the composer’s baton at the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music and with the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse.  She has sung Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre with the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble and has given the New York premiere of HK Gruber’s Gloria – A Pig Tale with Alan Gilbert  and the New York Philharmonic in a production staged by Doug Fitch.

An impactful discography includes Hasse’s Siroe and Handel’s Ottone with George Petrou for Decca, Gottschalk’s Requiem for the Living with Vladimir Lande on Novona Records, Grantham’s La cancíon desesperada conducted by Craig Hella Johnson on Harmonia Mundi, and Feldman’s The Rothko Chapel with Steven Schick for ECM.

A graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Lauren Snouffer was a winner of a 2013 Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, a Richard F. Gold Career Grant bestowed by Houston Grand Opera, a grand finalist in the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and was graduated from Rice University and The Juilliard School.

Harvey Kesselman

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Harvey Kesselman is the fifth President of Stockton University.  He has more than 35 years of experience in higher education and is a tenured Professor in Stockton’s School of Education.

As Stockton's fifth President, Dr. Kesselman is responsible for the executive management and conduct of the University's administrative divisions, academic schools, supervisory departments, and instructional sites.  President Kesselman oversees a $228 million budget which serves 1200 faculty and staff and supports 8700 students enrolled in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.

Dr. Kesselman’s other senior leadership roles at Stockton have included:  Provost and Executive Vice President, Dean of the School of Education, Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Director of Institutional Research and Planning.

President Kesselman was recently appointed by the American Council on Education (ACE) to serve as a member of the Commission on Internationalization and Global Engagement (CIGE).  In 2016, he received the Giving Back Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education.  The Giving Back Award honors presidents and chancellors of colleges and universities who go above and beyond their everyday leadership duties and “give back” to their campuses and communities. 

Dr. Kesselman has been active in the New Jersey educational landscape for several years.  He has been appointed by New Jersey governors and state education leaders to provide expertise on several authorities, committees and task forces.  Currently, he serves on the Goals and Objectives Committee of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU), and is the co-chair of the Board of Directors for the New Jersey Campus Compact.

As a former member of the Executive Committee of the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA), Dr. Kesselman helped oversee New Jersey's $1 billion student financial aid program.  He also provided his expertise on the Governor's Task Force to improve the NJ STARS program, and helped develop the NJ Student Unit Record Enrollment (SURE) statewide data and monitoring system.

He has advised the New Jersey College and University Presidents' Council regarding accountability and assessment, and represented the senior public colleges and universities in the NJ Committee of Experts on Campus Sexual Assault Issues.  In addition, he founded and chaired the SRI & ETTC Consortium, which includes more than 90 school districts throughout New Jersey.

Dr. Kesselman has served on numerous national grant reviews, authored and promoted policies for legislation, maintains a strong record of successful grant preparation, and continues to serve as a consultant.  He is actively involved in his community, including elected positions on the Township Committee and the School Board, and appointed positions to numerous public and civic organizations.

President Kesselman received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Stockton, his master’s degree in Student Personnel Services/Counseling from Rowan University, and his doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Widener University.

Onadek Winan

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Parisian soprano, Onadek Winan is a master’s candidate at Juilliard, where she studies with Edith Bers. She made her opera debut with the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra at age 15. She has performed in Charpentier’s Actéon with William Christie, as Bastienne in Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne with the Massy Opera house, and made her Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall and Avignon opera house debuts. She also made her debut with the Baltimore Symphonic Orchestra and conductor Marin Alsop. Recently she was Poppea in Handel's Agrippina at Juilliard and made her recital debut at the Festival de l'Orangerie de Sceaux in France. She spent summers at Houston Grand Opera and Wolf Trap Opera where she sang Zerbinetta in Strauss Ariadne auf Naxos and Ophélie in Ambroise Thomas Hamlet. Upcoming she’ll be Feu, Princesse and Rossignol in a production of Ravel’s l’Enfant et les sortilèges at Alice Tully Hall and will be the title role in Juilliard’s production of Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie. She won the Jury’s Prize in the International Singing Competition of Marmande, first prize in Les Maîtres du chant Français, and Most Promising Singer Prize in the Canari Vocal Competition. She has been named by the Juilliard School 2015 Presser Scholar in recognition of outstanding achievement as a music major. Ms. Winan is a graduate of École Normale de Musique and the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique. Ms. Winan is a proud recipient of the Kovner Fellowship.

Andrea McArdle


ANDREA McARDLE first captured the hearts of theatergoers everywhere in 1977 when she originated the title role in the mega-musical ANNIE, based on the popular Harold Gray comic strip “Little Orphan Annie”.  Since then, she has starred in several Broadway musicals and appeared in theatres in New York, nationally and internationally.  She has performed in concert halls from Carnegie Hall  to the Hong Kong Philharmonic and casino hotels in both Las Vegas and Atlantic City.  She has honed her craft by working with some of the great legends of the entertainment industry such as Ethel Merman, Liza Minnelli, Julie Andrews, Bob Hope, Liberace, Frank Sinatra, Steve Martin and Martin Short, to name a few, and was privileged to have appeared on television with Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin and Dinah Shore.


As “Annie”, Andrea became the youngest performer ever to be nominated for a Tony Award as Best Lead Actress in a Musical.  She also received the Theater World and Outer Critics' Circle Awards for her performance and went on to star when the show was produced on London’s West End. (Fun fact: Catherine Zeta-Jones played young orphan Mollie in this production).


Coming full circle, Andrea was tapped by Academy Award nominated director Rob Marshall to appear as “The Star to Be” in the Disney/ABC television production of ANNIE starring Kathy Bates and Victor Garber.   And in the summer of 2010, Andrea played, yes, Miss Hannigan in a production at the North Carolina Theatre and at Musical Theatre West in California.


Also on Broadway, Andrea starred in the Jerry Herman musical JERRY’s GIRLS alongside Carol Channing and Leslie Uggams; she portrayed the sassy Smoking Car, Ashley, in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s STARLIGHT EXPRESSS; and starred as Margy Frake in STATE FAIR; as Fantine in LES MISERABLES and, most recently as Belle in Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.  She toured nationally starring as Sally Bowles in CABARET and as Eponine in LES MISERABLES and appeared as herself in THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, which she appeared in Off-Broadway as well. 

Andrea appeared Off-Broadway in the satirical NEWSICAL and regionally as the title role in MAME and HELLO DOLLY.  Andrea continues to tour around the country in the concert event, 4 GIRLS 4 with Maureen McGovern, Donna McKechnie and Faith Prince.  Other theatre appearances include starring as Esther, the Judy Garland role, in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS; Mrs. Johnstone in BLOOD BROTHERS, Penelope Pennywise in URINETOWN, Sonia in THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG; Luisa in THE FANTASTICKS; Eva Peron in EVITA;  Nancy in OLIVER; the Narrator in JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT; Annie Oakley in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN,  Sandy in GREASE and as Mama Rose in GYPSY. 

In addition to ANNIE, Andrea’s film and television credits include starring as Judy Garland in RAINBOW, appearing in THE LEADING LADIES OF BROADWAY on PBS, ALL MY CHILDREN on ABC and headlining her own PBS special ANDREA McARDLE ON BROADWAY.

Luosha Fang

Violinist and violist Luosha Fang is an artist of unusual imagination who brings an adventurous spirit to music ranging from canonical repertoire to world premieres. She has soloed with the Albany Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony, and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and was a winner of Astral’s 2013 National Auditions and S&R Foundation’s 2015 Washington Award.

Fang’s 2016–17 season includes Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Bay-Atlantic Symphony, as well as performances -- as both solo violinist and solo violist -- of the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, with the Suzhou Royal Chamber Orchestra in China (violin) and in the Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid, Spain, under Pablo Gonzalez (viola). She has recently performed the complete Ligeti Viola Sonata at Bard Music West in San Francisco, and will appear in Navah Perlman’s Lake Placid Pro-Musica Chamber Music Series, Kimberton Chamber Music Festival and Viviane Hagner's Krzyżowa-Music in August 2017. Later, she will participate in the Music from Marlboro Chamber Music Festival tour (2019).

Ms. Fang has a strong interest in championing contemporary works. She performed George Tsontakis' double concerto Unforgettable with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, with whom she also recorded the work for release on NAXOS Records. She worked closely with composer Krzysztof Penderecki in preparation for a March 2014 Carnegie Hall performance of his Sextet. She also premiered Chinese composer Shen Yiwen’s violin concerto "Mulan" with the American Symphony Orchestra Recently, she appeared in recitals at Bard College and in Philadelphia, premiering a newly-commissioned solo violin work by Michael Djupstrom, “Lautar.” She also presented a concert of solo violin works by Jeffrey Mumford at Spectrum NYC.

A winner of the 2015 S&R Foundation Washington Award, Ms. Fang also was awarded the Silver Medal at the prestigious 2010 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition as the first violinist of the Chimeng Quartet, of which she was a founding member. As a chamber musician, she has appeared in leading concert halls such as Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Kimmel Center and the Library of Congress. Her festival appearances include Marlboro, Ravinia, Norfolk, Aspen, Kneisel Hall, Music from Angel Fire, Incontri in Terra di Siena, and Bard, and she has worked with such musicians as Mitsuko Uchida, Nobuko Imai, Bruno Canino, Cynthia Raim, Benita Valente, Marina Piccinini, Peter Wiley, Ida Kavafian, Steven Tenenbom, Paul Katz, Hsin-Yun Huang, Roberto Diaz, Anna Polonsky, eighth blackbird, and members of the Guarneri and Juilliard string quartets between 2010-2016. In addition, she was a guest artist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Fang made her concert debut at the age of eight in China with Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3, and at sixteen moved from China to the US on a scholarship to the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Ida Kavafian and Arnold Steinhardt. After graduating from Bard with degrees in both violin and Russian studies, she attended the Curtis Institute of Music as a student of Ida Kavafian and Shmuel Ashkenasi. She also studied with Anatoly Reznikovsky at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and in 2016 began viola studies with Nobuko Imai and violin with Marco Rizzi at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid. Always in pursuit of new artistic frontiers, she collaborated with the Almanac Dance Circus Theatre and the Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, and studied acting and theater at Bard College and the University of Pennsylvania.

Ruotao Mao

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Violinist Ruotao Mao is an active soloist, chamber musician while holding numerous concertmaster posts in the tri-state area. His playing was described by The Classical New Jersey as "virtuoso display of world-class magnitude." and "The level of playing has reached far beyond mere technical competence." A native of Beijing, China, Mr. Mao graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with “distinction in performance” award. He earned his Master Degree in Music from the Mason Gross School of the Arts where he studied under violinist Arnold Sternhardt of the Guarneri String Quartet. He also studied with Dorothy Delay, Paul Kantor and Masuko Ushioda. As a chamber musician, he is one of the founding members of the former Beijing Piano Quartet, winner of “Artists International Chamber Music Series” with appearances in Weill Hall of Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center and also the highly acclaimed Amabile String Quartet, the quartet-in-residence at Rutgers University(2000 and 2001). As a soloist, he appeared with orchestras such as the Jupiter Symphony, NEC Symphony, Corelliard Chamber Orchestra, the Brunswick Symphony Orchestra, Riverside Symphonia, Edison Symphony, the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Bay-Atlantic Symphony, Arcadian Symphony Orchestra and Rutgers University Orchestra among many others. In 2004, Mr. Mao premiered a violin concerto by Ernie Stires in Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. He had performance tours in Korea and Colombia, South America. He performed on WNYC, WETS and WDVR-FM broadcasts and is a recording artist for the CRI and Beijing Broadcast Labels. Mr. Mao also serves as the concertmaster of the Delaware Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, Riverside Symphonia, the Bay-Atlantic Symphony and most recently, the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra. Mr. Mao has taught violin and chamber music at The College of New Jersey and Princeton University.

Angelo Xiang Yu

Winner of the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition in 2010, violinist Angelo Xiang Yu is regarded as one of today’s most talented and creative young violinists. His astonishing technique and exceptional musical talent have won him consistent critical acclaim and enthusiastic audience response worldwide for his solo recitals, orchestral engagements and chamber music performances.

In addition to winning First Prize as well as the Bach and Audience Prizes at the Menuhin Competition, Mr. Yu was awarded 3rd prize at the Michael Hill International Violin Competition in 2011 and was the youngest prize winner ever at the Wieniawski International Violin Competition in 2006. And in March 2017, he was chosen to participate in the prestigious Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program, beginning with the 18/19 season.

In North America, Angelo Xiang Yu’s recent and upcoming orchestral engagements include appearances with the Pittsburgh, Toronto, Vancouver and Houston symphonies, as well as with the North Carolina, Alabama, Charlotte, Rhode Island, Puerto Rico, Grand Rapids, Toledo, Modesto, Tucson, Elgin, Binghamton and Lake Forest symphonies. In the summer of 2016, he participated for the second season in a row in Portland, Oregon’s Chamber Music Northwest festival and made his debut at the Green Music Center Chamberfest in Sonoma, California. Internationally, he has appeared with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, Munich Chamber Orchestra and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.

An active recitalist and chamber musician, Mr. Yu has appeared in recital in Berlin, Paris, Beijing, Singapore, Shanghai, Auckland, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Boston. He has participated as a chamber musician in several of the world’s leading summer music festivals including the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, Bergen Festival in Norway and Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, and attended the Kronberg Academy in Germany and the Perlman Music Program in New York. During the 12/13 season, Mr. Yu was invited to tour with Miriam Fried and chamber musicians from the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute and performed concerts in New York, Chicago, Florida and throughout New England. He was also recently featured as the Artist in Residence on American Public Media’s nationally broadcast radio program Performance Today.

Born in Inner Mongolia China, Angelo Xiang Yu moved to Shanghai at the age of 11 and received his early training from violinist Qing Zheng at the Shanghai Conservatory. Mr. Yu earned his Bachelor’s and Master's degree at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he was the recipient of the Irene M. Stare Presidential Scholarship in Violin. He was a student of Donald Weilerstein, Miriam Fried and Kim Kashkashian, served as Mr. Weilerstein’s teaching assistant, and was the only instrumentalist invited to be a candidate for NEC’s prestigious Artist Diploma, which he was awarded in May 2014.


Jorge Ávila

Hailed as “a strong violinist” by the New York Times, violinist Jorge Ávila has appeared as a soloist, recitalist, concertmaster and chamber musician in Europe, the United States, and Central and South America, including as a soloist and co-concertmaster with the Bay Atlantic Symphony.

He made his Carnegie Hall concerto debut in 2012 with the Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) Orchestra and performed Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra the previous year.

In the New York City area, he has also appeared as a soloist with the Colonial Symphony Orchestra, Riverside Orchestra, Hofstra Symphony, New Amsterdam Symphony, City Island Chamber Orchestra, and The Bronx Arts Ensemble.

As a concertmaster, he has appeared, in addition to the Bay Atlantic Symphony, with the Stamford Symphony, Greenwich Symphony, Colonial Symphony Orchestra, Westfield Symphony, Oratorio Society, Musica Sacra, Philharmonia Virtuosi, St. Grace Church Orchestra, Gotham Opera, National Chorale, Verismo Opera, José Limón Dance Company,  Sonos Chamber Orchestra, Bachanalia, the New Amsterdam Symphony, Tanglewood Music Center, and the Mannes College of Music Orchestra . He is also concertmaster of the Ridgefield Symphony in Connecticut, Long Island Masterworks, Distinguished Concerts International New York, and the Patrick’s Cathedral Orchestra, among other groups in New York City. During the visit to New York of Pope Benedict XVI to New York in 2008, Ávila had the honor of appearing as concertmaster for His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI at a televised Mass held at Yankee Stadium.

Ávila is a founding member of the Chalfonte Quartet and, as a chamber musician, performs with the Bronx Arts Ensemble, Simon String Quartet, Abaca String Band, Willow Ensemble, Prism Ensemble, Musicians’ Accord, and the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble.

He made his solo Weill Recital Hall debut at Carnegie Hall in 2009, in a recital featuring music from his CD of Spanish sonatas for violin and piano on the Centaur label.

Ávila has also performed in several Broadway productions, including the onstage violinist in The Music Man, and in the orchestras of The Scarlet PimpernelAidaAnnie Get Your GunThe Producers, and, most recently, South PacificWest Side Story, and Wicked.

He has recorded for the Naxos, Nonesuch, and Centaur labels, among others, and has performed live on television and radio.

Born in Honduras, Ávila has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors and received his resident status in the United States under the “Extraordinary Talent” category. He was also awarded first prize in the 2001 Mu Phi Epsilon International Music Competition.