Season 2017-2018

Guest Artists

Violin virtuoso Elizabeth Pitcairn has earned a stunning reputation as one of America’s most beloved soloists. She appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Academy of Music and in the year 2000 gave her New York debut at Alice Tully Hall with the New York String Orchestra. She has since performed at Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Fisher Center and the Kimmel Center. Passionate about youth and education, she is in her fifth year as President and Artistic Director of the Luzerne Music Center which provides training for gifted young musicians ages 9 to 18 in upstate New York. (www.luzernemusic.org) Ms. Pitcairn attended the Marlboro Music Festival and Luzerne Music Center, and is a graduate of the University of Southern California where she later taught alongside her former teacher, the renowned violin professor Robert Lipsett, teaching as well as at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. Her former teachers include Julian Meyer, Sylvia Ahramjian, Jascha Brodsky and Shmuel Ashkenasi. The artist performs with one of the world’s most legendary instruments, the Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius of 1720, said to have inspired the Academy Award–winning film The Red Violin. Pitcairn is featured on the 10th Anniversary edition of The Red Violin DVD in a special feature called “The Auction Block”. Named the Red Stradivarius violin while in the possession of Joseph Joachim, it was a gift from her grandfather in 1990 at Christie’s Auction in London. Pitcairn regularly appears internationally in recital with Barbara Podgurski, Hungarian pianist Anikó Szokody, Louise Thomas and Cynthia Elise Tobey. On the Red Mendelssohn, she uses the revolutionary Wittner Finetune-pegs. Her gowns are courtesy of LaFemme Fashion and her titanium violin case is courtesy of GEWA. Originally from a musical family in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, she resides in Los Angeles. Pitcairn believes strongly in philanthropy and is a frequent performer for such charitable events as the American Cancer Society, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Helping Hands and Hearts Foundation and the Nakashima Foundation for Peace. Her favorite activities are skiing, tennis, horseback riding, wine tasting and her philanthropy www.littleredviolinfoundation.org. For Ms. Pitcairn’s tour schedule, please visit www.redviolin.com.

Antonio Di Cristofano completed his piano studies in 1986 at the Conservatory “L.Cherubini” in Florence, under the supervision of M° Bacchelli. He has perfected with M° Damerini.

He performs either as a piano soloist or in different musical ensembles; he played as a soloist with the Orchestra of the University of Milan, and other renowned orchestras throughout the world.

Violin
Canadian-born violinist Lara St. John has been described as "something of a phenomenon" by The Strad and a “high-powered soloist” by the New York Times.

She has performed as soloist with the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, the Boston Pops, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Symphony, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Strasbourg Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, Camerata Ireland, Belgrade Symphony, Amsterdam Symphony, and the Akbank Chamber Orchestra in Turkey, among others.

Award winning Polish-born and New York City-based concert violinist Kinga Augustyn has been described as “an adventurous performer valuable to the New York scene…her playing was riveting” (NY Concert in Review),  “A violinist for whom nothing seems too difficult…Kinga’s playing is a revelation” (Polish Daily News), “stylish and vibrant…playing with verve and superb control…great sensitivity and unashamed virtuosity” (The Strad Magazine), and “beyond amazing, “ (Fanfare Magazine). Her versatility in adapting to a wide range of music and styles is nothing short of magnificent. She has performed as a soloist with orchestras in the United States, Europe and Asia.  Among them are the Magdeburg Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra Leopldinum, the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the American Academy of Conducting Orchestras at the Aspen Music Festival, the Manhattan Symphonie, The Gateway Classical Music Society Orchestra, the Broadway Bach Ensemble, the Glacier Symphony and the Augusta Symphony Orchestra.  As a soloist of the Manhattan Symphonie, Augustyn made her Asian debut in 2014 performing multiple concerts at China’s most prestigious concert venues such as Beijing’s Poly Theater and Shanghai Oriental Arts Center. 

Meryl Dominguez, soprano, is a Resident Artist of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, where she studies with William Stone. A recent graduate from Oberlin College and Conservatory, she was designated by Ms. Marilyn Horne as Oberlin's first Rubin Scholar, and award given to a student with a promising operatic career. Roles include Rosalinda from Die Fledermaus, Flaminia from Haydn's il mondo della luna, Le Feu/La Princesse/Le Rossignol from l'enfant et les sortileges, and at The Music Academy of the West, Clorinda (Cover) in Cenerentola. Upcoming performances at AVA include Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) and Sophie (Werther). 

The Symphonia is thrilled to welcome Angela Brown back in her sassy and entertaining Opera from a Sistah’s Point of View.

Angela Brown personifies the ideal soprano: sheer vocal power; luxurious finesse; and shimmering, high pianissimos. With a charming personality larger than life, she unites opera, pops, and gospel in one sensational voice.

While opera is the main catalyst for her career, Angela’s performance experience includes everything from star hostess on stage to producer and creator of Opera…from a Sistah’s Point of View, an inspired show that has gained international notoriety for bringing opera to the masses in the form of an edgy, yet educational, concert presentation.

Lynne Cohen, Oboist, was educated at Juilliard Pre-College with the well-known pedagogue Lois Wann, and at Boston University with John Holmes of the Boston Symphony.  Ms. Cohen went on to hold positions in the Ft. Lauderdale Symphony, Greater Miami Opera, Palm Beach Opera and Ballet Orchestras.  She is a former faculty member of Florida International University and New World School of the Arts.

During a four-year sojourn in Europe, Ms. Cohen performed with the Collegium Academicum and the Orchestre de Chambre of Geneva and with the Hofer Sinfoniker in Hof, Germany.  She also taught at the Hindemith Institute in Blonay, Switzerland.

Ms. Cohen returned to Florida to play principal oboe in the Palm Beach Symphony and Opera, and with the Miami City Ballet Orchestra.  She joined the NY freelance musical scene in 1993 and has played in or subbed with most of the Tri-State area orchestras, including the New Jersey Symphony, New Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Lukes, Westfield Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Stamford and New York Grand Operas, New York Virtuosi, Queens Symphony and Brooklyn Philharmonic.  She is a regular performer with the Bethlehem Bach Orchestra and is Principal Oboe of the Riverside Symphonia in Lambertville.

Concertmaster and violinist Ruotao Mao, a native of Beijing, China, graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with a "distinction in performance" award. He earned his Master’s 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, Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center, and he has performed with the highly acclaimed Amabile String Quartet, the quartet-in-residence at Rutgers University (2000 and 2001). As a soloist, he has appeared with orchestras such as the Jupiter Symphony, NEC Symphony, Corelliard Chamber Orchestra, the Brunswick Symphony Orchestra, Edison Symphony, the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and Rutgers University Orchestra among many others. Mr. Mao has had performance tours in Korea and Colombia, South America. He performed on WNYC broadcasts and is a recording artist for the CRI and Beijing Broadcast Labels. Mr. Mao also serves as concertmaster of the Riverside Symphonia and as the concertmaster of the Delaware Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and Edison Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Mao also serves on the faculty at The College of New Jersey.

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