Featuring in January 2023: Brooklyn Rider
Johnny Gandelsman, violin
Colin Jacobsen, violin
Nicholas Cords, viola
Michael Nicolas, cello
Violin & Artistic Director
Violinist Angella Ahn has had an extensive career performing in every state in the US and in over 30 countries. As a member of the Ahn Trio she has played in venues as diverse as the White House, the Jazz Dock in Prague, Buenos Aires’s Teatro Colon, Vienna’s Musikverein, New York’s Lincoln Center, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, Beijing’s Concert Hall, Istanbul’s Aya Irini in Topkapi Palace, the iTunes Festival, and TEDWomen.
In addition to live performances, Angella has an impressive discography with her trio. The nine enthusiastically received albums include Lullaby for My Favorite Insomniac, released by Sony (No. 8 in the Billboard Charts for 26 weeks); Dvorak, Suk and Shostakovich, released by EMI (winner of Germany’s prestigious ECHO Award); and their most recent, Blue, a musical diary. She has recently released two digital tracks with her trio, “Nuvole Bianche “and “Candybox.” Wide-ranging collaborations have allowed the trio to work with modern dance companies (including a B-boy group), film directors, rock bands, and DJ Spooky. Because of their eclectic interests and innovative exploration in music, New York Newsday has called the trio “Classical revolutionaries.”
Angella enjoys living in Bozeman, Montana, where she is currently Associate Professor of Violin and Viola at Montana State University. The depth of her experience and knowledge has made her perfectly suited to help the next generation of young musicians and she is a devoted and sought-after teacher, named by the university as both a “Most Valuable Professor” and “Professor of the Month.” Beyond her teaching she serves on the Montana Arts Council, on the board of the Bozeman Symphony, and is the artistic director of the Big Sky Classical Music Festival, where she is heard performing with many guest artists such as Matt Haimovitz and Rachel Barton Pine. She has often taught at Mark O’Connor’s Fiddle camps and has been featured with musicians as diverse as Phil Aaberg, Darol Anger, Emmylous Harris, and John Prine. She can be seen in “Angella Ahn and Friends,” a program presented by Montana PBS’ Emmy award- winning 11th & Grant with Eric Funk, as well as in The Hive, a film produced by Tippet Rise Art Center in collaboration with the acclaimed sculptor Stephen Talasnik and director Matthew McKee.
Angella has given masterclasses throughout North America, Asia, and Europe. A graduate of Juilliard School of Music, she shares the widely regarded pedagogy of her mentors Dorothy DeLay and Hyo Kang. She plays a 2013 violin made for her by the renowned luthier Sam Zygmuntowicz of Brooklyn, New York.
Oliver Aldort joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2015, and was appointed Assistant Principal Cello in the 19/20 season. Raised on Orcas Island, WA, Mr. Aldort began his musical studies at the age of six. He has performed throughout North America as a soloist, appearing with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Northwest, Newton Symphony Orchestra, and as a recitalist at the Miami International Piano Festival, Dame Myra Hess Concerts in Chicago, and the Chapelle historique du Bon Pasteur in Montreal. His media appearances have included KOMO TV’s Northwest Afternoon, NPR’s From the Top, CBC Radio, and WFMT in Chicago.
An avid chamber musician, Mr. Aldort is a member of the newly formed Steans Piano Trio. He has performed internationally with Curtis on Tour, as well as at the Tanglewood Music Center, Verbier Festival Academy, Steans Music Institute at Ravinia, and the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, collaborating with many distinguished artists including Miriam Fried, Desmond Hoebig, Roberto Díaz, Martin Chalifour and Jon Kimura Parker.
Mr. Aldort graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music with a Bachelor of Music in 2015. His major teachers have included Carter Brey, Peter Wiley, Lynn Harrell, Ron Leonard and Amos Yang.
Steven Ansell joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as principal viola in September 1996, occupying the Charles S. Dana chair, having already appeared with the BSO in Symphony Hall as guest principal viola. A native of Seattle, he also remains a member of the acclaimed Muir String Quartet, which he co-founded in 1979, and with which he has toured extensively throughout the world. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Michael Tree and Karen Tuttle, Ansell was named Professor of Viola at the University of Houston at twenty-one and became assistant principal viola of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under André Previn at twenty-three. As a recording artist he has received two Grand Prix du Disque awards and a Gramophone magazine award for Best Chamber Music Recording of the Year.
He has appeared on PBS’s “In Performance at the White House,” has participated in the Tanglewood, Marlboro, Schleswig-Holstein, Newport, Blossom, Spoleto, and Snowbird music festivals, and premiered Ezra Laderman’s Concerto for Viola and Orchestra with the Berkshires Symphony Orchestra. Ansell teaches at the Boston University College of Fine Arts. As principal viola of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, he is also a member of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players.
His solo appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra have included performances of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola, Bruch’s Concerto for Viola, Clarinet and Orchestra, Strauss’s Don Quixote (which he will play again with James Levine and the orchestra in February), and Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, which he has previously performed with the BSO under the direction of both Emmanuel Krivine and James Levine, his performances of the Berlioz with Levine in October 2008 and at Tanglewood in July 2009. In March of 2018 he appeared as solo violist, with solo cellist Yo-Yo Ma, in the Boston Symphony’s performance of Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote.
A native of Taiwan, conductor and violist Chi-Chi Lin Bestmann enjoys a diverse career, from performing Mozart in Carnegie Hall to jamming with rapper Jay Z at Radio City Music Hall to conducting The Annual Westchester All-County Orchestra Festival. Her ability to straddle both roles of musician and conductor across different genres, has led her to venues including Saturday Night Live, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Merkin Hall, performing with such artists including Kurt Masur, Beyoncé, and Enya.
In addition to presenting recitals and collaborative concerts in the US, Europe and Asia, Ms. Bestmann is a devoted teacher. She was a faculty member at Mannes School of Music (Extension), Hoff-Barthelson Music School, and Riverdale Country School. Ms. Bestmann was also the conductor of the Philharmonia orchestra at Third Street Music School Settlement. Her commitment to education inspired the creation of Petite Concerts Inc., a nonprofit organization that offers live-music experiences to young children through local venues with easy access in hopes of cultivating classical music audiences of the future.
While still a student, Ms. Bestmann was the youngest participant with the New York Philharmonic’s Conductor Table hosted by Kurt Masur. She was the Music Director of Tainan Teacher’s College Orchestra (Taiwan) and worked with many youth orchestras in the New York area including the Children’s Orchestra Society and Hoff-Barthelson Orchestra. Ms. Bestmann’s most recent appearance include guest conducting the Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra.
As the winner of the 1998 Mannes Concerto Competition, Ms. Bestmann made her solo debut performing with the Mannes Orchestra under the baton of John Mauceri. She participated in festivals such as the International Musician’s Seminar in Prussia Cove, England and the Mozarteum International Sommerakademie in Salzburg, Austria. She served as principal violist of the New England Symphonic Ensemble which was frequently directed by acclaimed composer and conductor John Rutter. As a chamber music enthusiast, Ms. Bestmann is a member of the Solace Piano Quartet and performed with members of the New Jersey Symphony in numerous concerts.
Ms. Bestmann holds a Bachelor of Music in Orchestral Conducting, a Master of Music and a Professional Studies Diploma in Viola Performance, all from Mannes School of Music. Her primary teachers include violists Karen Ritscher and Thomas Reibl, violinist Albert Markov, chamber music coaches Felix Galamir, Daniel Phillips and Todd Phillips and conductor Michael Charry.
Ms. Bestmann recently relocated to St. Paul, MN from New York with her husband and two daughters. She is currently a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, MacPhail Center for Music and freelances with ensembles in the Twin Cities area including the Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Opera.
Immanuel Davis is one of the most versatile flautists of his generation. Equally at home on modern and Baroque flutes, Davis has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the US and abroad. In 2005 he received a Fulbright Fellowship to study Baroque flute with Wilbert Hazelzet at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague. Since then he has performed as a soloist and chamber player with Early Music ensembles such as Early Music New York, ARTEK, Lyra Baroque Orchestra, REBEL, Bach Society of Minnesota and Mercury Orchestra of Houston. Davis has been the flute professor at the University of Minnesota since 2001. He is also an AmSAT-certified teacher of the Alexander Technique.
One of Julie Gosswiller’s greatest passions in life is making music with other musicians, and for that she is in high demand. Ms. Gosswiller has collaborated with many of her colleagues at Montana State University and with renowned musicians such as Adam Barnett Hart of the Escher String Quartet, the Ahn Trio, Dallas Brass, and more.
For more than 17 years Ms. Gosswiller and soprano Elizabeth Croy have performed art song together throughout Montana and the United States. The two have been featured twice on the Emmy Award Winning Series 11th and Grant with Eric Funk.
Eric Funk wrote of Julie’s playing:
“Her technique is only dwarfed by her expressiveness and deep interpretation of the music. I have enjoyed hearing her performances numerous times over many years and can attest to her incomparable artistry.”
Ms. Gosswiller and Mrs. Croy won numerous awards in the Cybersing Competition, including the Nancy Babcock Award for Best Pianist, and were one of ten teams chosen nationally to participate in the Cleveland Art Song Festival. They continue to promote art song in venues around Montana.
Ms. Gosswiller’s other passion is teaching at Montana State University, where she received the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Her university students have won the Montana State University Concerto competition, and her private students have won the Montana Music Teachers Association Competition at the elementary, junior, and senior levels.
Her students have also won honors at the regional level and gold medals in Musicfest Northwest. A sought-after clinician, Ms. Gosswiller and her students have presented at the Montana Music Teachers Association Fall Festival. Her students have also presented nationally at the Conference for Undergraduate Research.
Ms. Gosswiller earned a master’s degree in piano performance from the University of Colorado, where she studied with Angela Cheng, Robert Spillman, and Doris Lehnert. She paid her way through school on an accompanying assistantship and went on to be a student coach accompanist at the Aspen Music Festival. There she served as rehearsal pianist for voice faculty, in addition to her work with peers. After graduating, she served as pianist for Colorado Children’s Chorale on regional tours and for sold out shows in Boetcher Concert Hall in Denver before moving to Bozeman, MT with her family.
In her spare time Ms. Gosswiller enjoys cross-country skiing, telemarking, fly fishing, and backpacking in the mountains of Montana with her husband, two sons, and dogs.
William Hagen has performed as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician across the United States, Europe, and Asia. In 2021, William makes his debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe at the Rheingau Music Festival, and appears at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
As soloist, William has appeared with the Detroit Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and regularly appears as soloist at the Aspen Music Festival. In Europe, he has soloed with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony (HR Sinfonieorchester), the Vienna Radio Symphony (ORF Radio Sinfonieorchester Wien), and the major orchestras of Belgium, including the Brussels Philharmonic, National Orchestra of Belgium, and the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège. William has also soloed in Japan with the Yokohama Sinfonietta and the Sendai Philharmonic.
As recitalist and chamber musician, William has performed at venues such as Wigmore Hall and the Louvre, and collaborated with artists such as Steven Isserlis, Gidon Kremer, Edgar Meyer, and Tabea Zimmerman, among others. He maintains an active schedule on both sides of the Atlantic, making frequent trips to Europe and cities around the US to play a wide range of repertoire.
In 2019, William released his debut album, “Danse Russe,” with his good friend and frequent collaborator, pianist Albert Cano Smit. The album is available on all streaming platforms.
A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, William began playing the violin at the age of 4, studying with Natalie Reed and then Deborah Moench. He studied with Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho at the Juilliard School, Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy, and was a longtime student of Robert Lipsett, studying with Mr. Lipsett for 11 years both at the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts and at the Colburn Conservatory of Music. In 2015, William won 3rd prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels.
William performs on the 1732 “Arkwright Lady Rebecca Sylvan” Antonio Stradivari, on generous loan from the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation.
David Harding has an extensive solo and chamber music career, having performed throughout Europe, the United States, Canada, Central America and Australia, in such renowned venues as Berlin’s Philharmonie, the Beethovenhaus in Bonn, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and New York’s 92nd Street Y and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Noted for his “eloquent viola playing” (The Scotsman), David has performed at music festivals around the world, including the Edinburgh International Festival, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Seattle Chamber Music Society, Sitka Chamber Music Festival, Australian Festival of Chamber Music, and Philip Glass’ “Days and Nights Festival” in Big Sur, California. David’s career has involved collaborations with leading instrumentalists and ensembles such as the Pacifica, Shanghai, Cypress, Dover, Fine Arts and Miro Quartets as well as the Gryphon Trio. David was formerly a member of the Toronto String Quartet and the Chester String Quartet (“one of the country’s best and brightest young string quartets,” — Boston Globe) as well as the Canadian string trio “Triskelion.” With his wife, flutist Lorna McGhee and harpist, Heidi Krutzen, David is a member of Trio Verlaine.
David’s live performances have been broadcast on CBC Radio (Canada), BBC Radio 3 (UK), NPR’s ‘Performance Today’ (USA), ABC (Australia) and Deutschland Radio. David has recorded two CDs with Trio Verlaine; “ Fin de Siècle, the music of Debussy and Ravel” (noted by the Vancouver Sun for “ravishing playing”) and “Six Departures” featuring works by Bax and Jolivet alongside new commissions by R. Murray Schafer and Jeffery Cotton. Upon release, “Six Departures” was chosen to be CBC Radio’s ‘Classical CD of the Week.’ Other notable recording projects include Philip Glass’ String Sextet and Schoenberg’s “Verklärte Nacht” on Orange Mountain Records, Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” with the string trio Triskelion for CBC records, the music of Aaron Jay Kernis with the Chester Quartet, and Brahms’ Viola Sonatas with pianist Phillip Bush for Skylark Music.
In addition to performing the core chamber music literature, David enjoys working closely with composers on new commissions and has helped to expand the repertoire for viola with four solo commissions, and five chamber music commissions to date. In collaboration with Philip Glass, he has worked on interdisciplinary projects with poets Jerry Quickley, Mike Garry, and kora player, Foday Musa Suso. David has worked alongside rock musicians in studio sessions, and arranged the string tracks for the Juno-winning, Grammy-nominated album “Mad Mad World” by Tom Cochrane. Prior to joining the Chester Quartet and embarking on a chamber music career, David was Assistant Principal Viola of the Canadian Opera Company, and performed and recorded with renowned early music ensemble, Tafelmusik.
The depth of David’s musical experience and knowledge make him perfectly placed to help the next generation of musicians. As a devoted and sought-after teacher, David is currently Professor of Viola and Chamber Music at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. He has given masterclasses throughout North America, at institutions such as the University of Michigan, Oberlin Conservatory, Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity. David was formerly Associate Professor of Viola at the University of British Columbia, and with the Chester String Quartet, “Ensemble in Residence” at Indiana University South Bend. A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and winner of the Sir John Barbirolli Award at the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition, David’s primary teachers were Tibor Vaghy, Paul Doktor and Emmanuel Vardi. He performs on violas made by Nicolas Gilles, Montpellier, France and Pietro Antonio Della Costa, Treviso, Italy.
Lucia Lin made her debut performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the age of 11. Since then, she has been a prizewinner of numerous competitions, including the 1990 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. She has performed in solo recitals throughout the U.S., making her New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in March 1991, and has appeared with the Boston Pops Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria.
A frequent collaborator in chamber music, Ms. Lin is a member of the Muir String Quartet, the quartet in residence at Boston University. She is also a founding member of the Boston Trio and the chamber group Innuendo. She has performed in the Sapporo Music Festival, Taos Festival, Da Camera Society in Houston, St. Barts Music Festival, and Barbican Hall Chamber Series in London. She has also recorded for Nonesuch Records as a guest of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, New World Records on a disc featuring the works of Bright Sheng, and most recently on a recording featuring the works of Gabriela Lena Frank.
A native of Champaign, Illinois, Lin received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois and her master’s degree at Rice University in Houston. Important musical influences include Sergiu Luca, Paul Rolland, Josef Gingold, Dorothy DeLay, and Louis Krasner.
Lin joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1985 and served as assistant concertmaster from 1988 to 1991 and 1996 to 98. During the 1991-92 season, she was acting concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and during the 1994 to 1996 seasons, she served as joint concertmaster of the London Symphony Orchestra.
The Muir String Quartet has long been acknowledged as one of the world’s most powerful and insightful ensembles, distinguishing itself among audiences and critics with its “exhilarating involvement” (Boston Globe),”impeccable voicing and intonation” (San Francisco Examiner) and “unbridled musicality” (American Record Guide).
Winner of the 1981 Naumburg Chamber Music Award and 1980 Evian International String Quartet Competition, the Muir String Quartet first appeared on the scene in 1980, and was greeted with rave reviews and an extensive feature in the New Yorker. The quartet was also featured on the internationally acclaimed PBS broadcast, In Performance at the White House for President and Mrs. Reagan. Formed in 1979 following graduation from the Curtis Institute of Music, the Muir String Quartet’s principal chamber music teachers were Felix Galimir and members of the Guarneri and Budapest Quartets.
Some of the awards Muir has garnered include a Grammy (Beethoven Quartets Op. 132 and Grosse Fuge/EcoClassics), a Grammy nomination (Mozart and Brahms Clarinet Quintets/EcoClassics with Mitchell Lurie), two Grand Prix du Disques, and the Gramophone Award. In its commitment to advancing contemporary American music, the Muir Quartet has had commissioned works written for them by such distinguished composers as Joan Tower (Night Fields), Sheila Silver (From Darkness Emerging), Richard Danielpour (Shadow Dances and Psalms of Sorrow – featured on CBS Sunday Morning), Richard Wilson (Third String Quartet), and Charles Fussell (Being Music – based on poetry of Walt Whitmen). The quartet also gave the World Premiere performance of the Native American collaborative work, Circle of Faith, featured on National Public Radio. Other premiered works include those by esteemed American composers Richard Danielpour (Feast of Fools – for bassoon and string quartet), Lucas Foss (String Quartet #4), Ezra Laderman (String Quartets #9 and #10), Joelle Wallach (String Quartet #3), and Ronald Perera’s first Quartet. In 2013-2014, the Quartet continues its series at Boston University, Rhode Island College and with the Montana Chamber Music Society with a retrospective of works from old and new Vienna, and other performances around North America. 2011-2012 highlights included a tour of China, with concerts and master classes in Beijing, Xian, Shenyang and Shanghai. The Muir’s recording of the Kreisler, Berg Op. 3 and Schulhoff 5 Pieces was released on the KidsClassics label during 2013.
The Muir Quartet has been in residence at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts since 1983, and gives annual summer workshops at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI). The Muir Quartet has also given master classes at schools worldwide, including the Eastman School of Music, the Curtis Institute, Oberlin Conservatory, the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, and conservatories in Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian, China. Since 1989, the quartet has presented the Emerging Quartets and Composers Program in Utah with eminent composer Joan Tower. This program is now part of the Muir’s role as resident chamber ensemble with the Deer Valley Festival, in partnership with the Utah Symphony/Opera.
Albert Cano Smit
Pianist Albert Cano Smit is already becoming an audience favorite for his performances as soloist with orchestra and in recital. He recently performed the Brahms Concerto No. 2 with the Las Vegas Philharmonic conducted by Donato Cabrera, and he has also appeared with the San Diego Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Orquesta Filarmónica de Boca del Río, Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Nottingham Youth Orchestra, and American Youth Symphony.
Albert won First Prize at the 2019 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. He also won First Prize at the 2017 Walter W. Naumburg Piano Competition, which presented him in recital at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. Most recently, Albert was awarded the 2020 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Prize from The Juilliard School.
This past season, Albert made his New York debut at Merkin Concert Hall, presented by Young Concert Artists. This season, he will perform recitals at the Kravis Center, Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, University of Florida Performing Arts, Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, Bach Festival Montréal, and will also appear with the Jupiter Chamber Players in New York City.
He has also performed at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, and for the Steinway Society The Bay Area in San Jose, New York’s Salon de Virtuosi, and Bravo! Vail, and has been in residency at the Tippet Rise Art Center. He has given recitals abroad in Xiamen, China, in France at the Wissembourg Festival and Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, at Germany’s Rheingau Music Festival, and throughout Spain. Albert is also a sought-after collaborative pianist, and has toured with violinist William Hagen in venues throughout the U.S. and in Germany, and with flutist Anthony Trionfo he has performed across the United States.
Albert is currently pursuing his Artist Diploma with Robert McDonald at The Juilliard School. Previous teachers include YCA alumnus Ory Shihor, Graham Caskie and Marta Karbownicka. He has benefited from extensive artistic advice by YCA alumni Richard Goode and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, the latter with whom he gave four-hand performances at Zipper Hall in Los Angeles and Wallis Annenberg Center Hall in Beverly Hills. Albert is an alumnus of both the Colburn School and the Verbier Festival Academy.
Sara Stalnaker, cellist, has performed as a chamber musician with acclaimed groups ranging from the Turtle Island to the Orion and Borromeo String Quartets. She has collaborated in concerts with renowned talents Jonathan Biss, Matt Haimovitz, and Kim Kashkashian and has performed as a regular member of the New Haven and Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestras. Sara has been on staff at Community MusicWorks for the past 15 years. Other notable work includes a recording on the MMC label, a recent sound track for PBS and an upcoming project of Reinhardt transcriptions on the KidsClassics label. Sara received a B.M. under the tutelage of Peter Rejto at Oberlin Conservatory, followed by an M.M. under Norman Fischer at Rice University.
Peter Zazofsky has performed as a solo violinist and chamber musician throughout the US, Canada, and twenty-one countries in South American and Europe, including solo appearances with the Boston Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Brussels Symphony, Symphony of Buenos Aires, Montreal Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
He was raised in Boston where he studied with Joseph Silverstein, concertmaster of the Boston Symphony. Following studies at the Juilliard School with Dorothy Delay and Ivan Galamian, he attended the Curtis Institute, and spent five summers at the Marlboro Music Festival.
After graduating from the Curtis Institute in 1976, he toured several seasons with “Music from Marlboro.” He won the Grand Prize of the 1979 Montreal International Competition, Second Prize of the 1980 Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels, and was the winner of the 1985 Avery Fisher Career Grant.