NEW ARTIST OF THE MONTH's New Artist of the Month spotlights an important emerging talent. If you haven't heard his or her name before, we predict you will soon!
June 2021
Violinist Geneva Lewis
She may be just 22, but New Zealand-born, U.S.-domiciled violinist Geneva Lewis is clearly one to watch. The recipient of a 2021 Avery Fisher Career Grant and winner of the Grand Prize at the 2020 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition, Lewis is no stranger to world stages either, having already played the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Next year she will make her recital debut at London’s Wigmore Hall.
May 2021
Pianist Tiffany Poon
Pianist Tiffany Poon may not be well known to a certain generation of classical music fans, but to followers of YouTube, she’s a star. The 24-year-old pianist has a YouTube channel that’s drawn 42 million views and some 290,000 subscribers interested in watching her practice Brahms and Bach, serve up audition tips, interview other musicians, and rehearse with guests including cellists Jan Vogler and Eric Jacobsen.
By comparison, Lang Lang trails her with a mere 23 million total YouTube views and 177,000 subscribers, while Daniel Barenboim only claims 96,000.
April 2021
Tenor Miles Mykkanen
It looked set to be a gala year for Miles Mykkanen. The 29-year-old tenor made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Second Apprentice in the company’s new production of Wozzeck, but when the run ended on January 22, 2020, lockdown was less than two months away.
I’d seen him twice previously, as a fabulously funny Flute in Robert Carson’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Opera Philadelphia in 2019 and singing Jonathan Dove’s The End at the Marlboro Festival, the last of three summers he spent in Vermont making music with the likes of Mitsuko Uchida and Jonathan Biss. His clear, penetrating, lyric tenor comes with a winning stage presence, great comic timing, and a real way with words. Mykkanen’s is the kind of voice, you sense, that could develop in all sorts of interesting directions. Like a Wunderlich or a Gedda, he should flourish across a range of repertoire.
March 2021
Conductor Lio Kuokman
Back in October, when Lio Kuokman stepped in for Jaap van Zweden to lead the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra’s season opener, the event somewhat evoked Leonard Bernstein’s legendary debut with the New York Philharmonic—with a couple of key differences. Bernstein’s radio broadcast aired nationwide while Lio’s performance was streamed worldwide. Bernstein had only a few hours’ notice before replacing Bruno Walter while Lio was tapped to replace Jaap van Zweden with enough time to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine after traveling from Taiwan.
February 2021
Pianist/Composer Nicholas Namoradze
Nicolas Namoradze was “in retreat”—as he puts it—for several years before his 2018 triumph at the Honens International Piano Competition. “I hadn’t done any competitions and I wasn’t concertizing actively for several years,” he explains over Zoom from his parents’ home in Berlin where he’s riding out the latest European lockdown. “I wanted to step away from the limelight, to find my voice as a musician and find the repertoire I really wanted to focus on. When I was ready to do a competition, I thought, I would have everything I would need to sustain a career and not be playing catch up.”
January 2021
Tenor Brian Giebler
Brian Giebler has never watched the Grammy Awards, but he will be sure to follow them this year. His debut album, A Lad’s Love, collected English songs and cycles with piano and string quartet, is nominated for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album, and his clear high tenor, insightful musicianship, ease with new music, and physical grace make him a contender.
December 2020
Male Soprano Samuel Mariño
At 27-years of age, big things are happening for Samuel Mariño. His debut recording has just been released on the Orfeo label, and he’s recently signed to HarrisonParrott, one of the few agencies to buck the trend in 2020. He’s also a genuine phenomenon: a male soprano, that is an unbroken voice as opposed to a countertenor trained to sing in falsetto. His repertoire extends from the glories of the Baroque to traditional roles like Cherubino and the feisty Fiorilla, heroine of Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia.
November 2020
Pianist Liza Stepanova
Liza Stepanova's identity as a pianist goes beyond interpreting a legacy of glorious repertoire from the past for the present: Her sensors are continually alert to the ways in which freshly created music can help us make sense of the situations faced by people in the world today. Take her latest solo project, E Pluribus Unum, which gathers pieces by nine American composers (including three world premiere recordings), each with a distinct style, story, and immigrant background.
The impetus for the collection was an injustice Stepanova witnessed that affected one of her piano students, composer Badie Khaleghian. In 2017—as a result of the then-new Trump administration’s first batch of executive orders targeting foreigners and immigrants—his Iranian parents were barred from entering the United States to attend his graduation recital at the University of Georgia, Athens, where she teaches piano performance.
October 2020
Recorder Player Tabea Debus
Handel’s opera Rinaldo offers unusual opportunities for instrumental virtuosity, of which the most charming is the recorder obbligato in a classic “bird call” aria. Tabea Debus did the honors for the English Concert’s 2018 tour of Europe and the U.S. with Rinaldo, which included a stop at Carnegie Hall, and her exquisite chirping above the staff won her (and the aria’s singer) an ovation. It is not often that recorder players gain renown—Michala Petri comes to mind, as do Frans Brüggen and Michael Schneider, both better known as early music conductors—but Debus, Musical America’s New Artist of the Month, is off to a prodigious start.
For those who associate the instrument with a child’s first attempts at musicianship, Debus’s astonishingly dexterous, nuanced playing will come as a wake-up call. “People know the instrument, but there is much hidden away that awaits wider discovery,” she offered in a recent Zoom interview from her flat in North London. A native of Germany, Debus, 29, has lived in the U.K. since going there to study with Pamela Thorby at the Royal Conservatory of Music. (She studied previously with Schneider at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts and counts both Thorby and Schneider as having “significantly shaped [her] perspective of the music world and playing.”)
September 2020
Composer Katherine Balch
The first thing a listener is apt to notice about the music of composer Katherine Balch is its combination of familiarity and other-worldliness. The harmonies and rhythms that underlie much of her work are fundamentally akin to those of Schubert, Brahms, and the other composers whose music she grew up playing on the piano. But those musical frameworks come cloaked in sonorities that are eerie and elusive – a blend of unorthodox orchestration, deftly extended instrumental techniques, and a gentle but determined push against the predictable.
August 2020
Conductor Daniela Candillari
If you’ve seen a major new opera in recent years, chances are it will have been conducted by Daniela Candillari. The Slovenian native, now resident in the U.S., is blessed with an ability to pull together disparate elements from the most complex of scores making her something of a go-to for contemporary opera. Reviewing her effortlessly imperturbable musical direction of Rev. 23, Julian Wachner’s wickedly polystylistic opera at this year’s Prototype Festival in New York I noted that “Candillari’s firm hand in the pit creates a welcome sense of order out of potential chaos.” Marshaling her forces for Virgil Thomson’s The Mother of Us All last February in the cavernous Charles Engelhard Court, part of the Met Museum’s American Wing, was a minor miracle given her distance from the singers and the fiendishly challenging acoustic.
July 2020
Soprano Vuvu Mpofu
With a trio of U.S. dates in her diary, Mpofu’s North American debut was clearly much anticipated with online clips of classic bel canto repertoire displaying a pure, cleanly produced voice with plenty of body across a wide range, and easy access to those all-important top notes. Her recent appearance as Satan’s seductive henchwoman Astarte, in Franz Schreker’s late-Romantic opera Der Schmied von Gent for Belgium’s Vlaamse Opera, suggests a singer reluctant to be pigeonholed. In whatever mode she assumes, Mpofu displays a powerful sense of dramatic honesty combined with a sheer love of music. Chatting over Zoom she has an easygoing charm and keen sense of humor.
June 2020
Tenor Xabier Anduaga
During the opening performance of Ricciardo e Zoraide at the 2017 Rossini Opera Festival in Pisaro, tenor q1 turned a few heads, including this one. Opening the duet "S'ella mi é ognor Fedele," Juan Diego Flórez (Ricciardo) provided characteristically slender, laser-like vocalism, before Anduaga (as Ricciardo’s sidekick Ernesto) responded with an explosive muscularity that pinned this listener against his chair. With its purring middle register, firm, ringing upper notes and keen musicality, this was clearly an exciting new voice.
May 2020
Violinist Stella Chen
Like musicians everywhere, Stella Chen is currently in lockdown, holed up in Connecticut sitting out the virus that has brought the world to a standstill. In her case it’s doubly frustrating as she should just have made her Alice Tully Hall concerto debut playing Jörg Widmann’s Violin Concerto No. 2 conducted by the composer himself. At 27, California-born Chen is building an enviable reputation at home and abroad. At the 2020 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Awards (representing The Juilliard School where she is currently a doctoral candidate) at Alice Tully Hall last February, her performance of Wieniawski’s Polonaise could have easily been just another ephemeral piece of virtuosic flash and dash. Instead, she delivered a thoughtful, even surprising interpretation, investing the 13-year-old Wieniawski’s showy miniature with a depth and elegance that has eluded more legendary names. Her graceful, singing line, gleaming tone, and breathtaking use of pianissimo made the Tully Hall crowd sit bolt upright.
April 2020
Baritone Theo Hoffman
It’s rare to see a work that genuinely challenges the form and opens a window onto what a genre might become, but Philip Venables’s Denis & Katya at Philadelphia Opera’s O19 Festival was the most brilliantly original operatic work I’ve seen in a decade. One of a cast of two, baritone Theo Hoffman proved a consummate, committed actor in three wildly different roles, rising to the considerable musical challenge and the demands of substantial quantities of spoken text. “Vocally, his warm baritone purrs and soars,” I wrote at the time.
March 2020
Director Zack Winokur
Director Zack Winokur has consistently impressed with a portfolio of genre-hopping projects that are inventive, considered, and frequently breath-taking. Whether it’s imagining Julia Bullock as Joséphine Baker on the grand staircase of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or earning standing ovations at the Mostly Mozart Festival for The Black Clown—a bravura realization of Langston Hughes’s classic poem in collaboration with Davóne Tines—Winokur is very much the man of the hour. His production of Henze’s El Cimarrón for the Boston Modern Opera Company, again with Tines, turned a recital into an intense theatrical event thanks to just four gifted musicians and a director’s fertile imagination.
February 2020
Baritone John Brancy
It’s rare to chat with a singer for an hour without them once raising the subject of “the voice.” John Brancy may not be your typical singer, but diffidence certainly isn’t holding back the 31-year-old New Jersey-born baritone who, as we were speaking, was preparing to fly off for the 2020 Grammys where his recording of the title role in Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox was nominated for Best Opera Recording.
January 2020
Pianist Maxim Lando
Maxim Lando may be only 17, but thanks to a newsworthy stint deputizing for the injured left hand of his mentor Lang Lang, he’s already had a taste of fame and fortune. Add to that a first prize at the 2018 Young Concert Artists (YCA) International Auditions and being chosen as a 2020 Gilmore Young Artist, and it’s safe to say the young American pianist is firmly on his way.
December 2019
Violinist Hao Zhou
The visceral intensity of a competition performance leaves its mark on the audience as well as the contestants. You could sense the collective adrenaline skyrocketing during the final round of the Concours musical international de Montréal last June, as Hao Zhou burrowed into the cadenza bridging into the breakneck finale of Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto.
November 2019
Conductor Michele Gamba
When I meet conductor Michele Gamba in October, his latest musical marathon is drawing to a close. He has recently concluded a run of L'elisir d'amore at La Scala featuring baritone Ambrogio Maestri, rising soprano Rosa Feola, and, trickily, tenor Vittorio Grigolo, recently been embroiled in a scandal. During the La Scala run, Gamba also launched the latest Milano Musica, a contemporary music festival, leading the “La Verdi” Symphony in a program of Luca Francesconi and Mahler. Still on the horizon was an opera gala with star tenor Francesco Meli in Parma. "My agent advised me against taking on all these engagements at once," Gamba tells me. "I said to him, ‘Look, we need to make this happen.’”
October 2019
Baritone Lucia Lucas
There can’t be too many women out there singing Wotan, but these days Lucia Lucas numbers Wagner’s flawed deity among her signature roles. One of a handful of transgender singers making increasing waves on the current operatic scene, Lucas, a trans baritone, leapt to prominence this year following remarkable performances as the predatory Don in Tulsa Opera’s staging of Don Giovanni. “Vocally, Lucas is the real deal, possessing a firm, virile baritone with bags of stamina and plenty of heft up top,” was how I described her bravura opening night performance on May 3.
September 2019
Violinist María Dueñas
I first heard María Dueñas in July at the Colmar International Music Festival in France. A thin pale girl in white, her straight black hair gathered in a ponytail, she looked frail and far younger than her 16 years as she stood before the Russian National Philharmonic Orchestra (RNPO). Vladimir Spivakov, RNPO artistic director and director of the festival, lifted his baton, poised to launch into Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1. What we heard during the next 30-or-so minutes was spectacular virtuosity, electrifying drive, and bel-canto-like phrasing. It was a powerful, mature performance, one that grabbed your attention and never let go. An encore, the “Allemande” from Bach’s Partita No. 2, was played with enticing warmth and style, bolstering the impression of an extraordinary talent.
August 2019
Conductor Elena Schwarz
With the exception of Wolfgang Rihm's Jakob Lenz, no operas performed at this summer's Aix Festival were as musically complex as Israeli composer Adam Maor's The Sleeping Thousand. This beguiling, multifaceted chamber opera—a co-commission of the Aix Festival and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg—melds strains of gamelan with winding Arabic modal scales, Ircam-designed computer sounds, and strings that wail like a call to prayer. There was great virtuosity all round, thanks largely to Swiss-Australian conductor Elena Schwarz, 34, who stood in total command of the proceedings, as precise as she was expressive.
July 2019
Soprano Salome Jicia
Conductor Michele Mariotti had decided to take a chance on a relatively unknown Georgian soprano named Salome Jicia, after hearing her the summer before when she was enrolled in the Rossini Academy. His gamble paid off, with Jicia quickly winning over the critics (including this one) with her raw, powerful singing and expressive, dramatic intensity. With stunning high notes to match, and a way of streaming through razor-sharp coloratura runs with apparent ease, she was every bit a star in the making.
June 2019
Composer Gabriella Smith
It must be a young composer’s dream to be programmed by John Adams as one of the musicians whose creative force he sees as “the future of American music.” In the case of Gabriella Smith’s Carrot Revolution, featured on an Adams-curated New York Philharmonic “Nightcap” concert in March, the riotous, high-voltage string quartet pretty much stole the show.
May 2019
Pianist Emmet Cohen
It takes a lot for a young jazz artist to get noticed. Just ask Musical America’s New Artist of the Month Emmett Cohen. For years, the 28-year-old has been an indefatigable presence on the New York scene, playing piano (he doubles on Hammond B3 organ at the jazz club Smoke), recording, teaching (most recently for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Jazz for Young People” program), and competing at top level competitions. On April 6 he won the prestigious American Pianists Association [APA] Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz Award after a rigorous 13-month competitive trial in Indianapolis—a prize valued at $100,000.
April 2019
Mezzo-soprano Siena Licht Miller
Opera Philadelphia’s recent staging of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was notable not just for the first U.S. landfall of Robert Carsen’s iconic production, it also happened to be immaculately cast. Alongside starry names like Tim Mead (Oberon) and Matthew Rose (Bottom) was a handful of remarkable young singers benefitting from the enlightened symbiotic relationship the opera company has with its neighbor the Curtis Institute. One such standout was mezzo-soprano Siena Licht Miller who tore onto the stage as the hotly pursued Hermia. Blessed with a rich, wide-ranging voice and immaculate diction, she was clearly a gifted actor as well, creating a beautifully rounded character with a carefully crafted mixture of vulnerability, pathos, and a sizable dash of comic chutzpah. So confidently did she essay the role, it was impossible to guess that she is still in her mid-twenties and studying for her master’s degree.
March 2019
Bass Patrick Guetti
Spare a thought if you will for the young operatic bass. The lowest and least glamorous of voice types, the bass, like a good burgundy, takes time to mature. Meanwhile, from their first baby steps in the profession, they are expected to embody an array of elderly dodderers, dimwitted yokels, and greedy giants. Not that Patrick Guetti lets that bother him. He even has a built-in advantage in the latter category, as the rangy, 31-year-old New Jersey-born singer comes in at over six foot seven. Most recently seen in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Siegfried as the dragon Fafner and as a delightfully slow-witted Snug the joiner in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Opera Philadelphia, he’s attracting attention, and not just for his stature and robust, resonant voice. He also has the acting chops to back them up, praised in both productions for painting sympathetic portraits of potentially two-dimensional characters.
Febuary 2019
Cellist Evan Kahn
Cellist Evan Kahn’s career trajectory is rare for a recent music school graduate, but then so is his talent. He earned his master’s degree in chamber music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music just last May, and already the 25-year-old Los Angeles native can call himself fully employed. He’s principal cellist of the Symphony Silicon Valley, acting principal with Opera San Jose, assistant principal with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, and cellist of the Lazuli String Quartet. In his spare time, he plays in the hip hop band Ensemble Mik Nawoo.
January 2019
Composer Michael Vincent Waller
The contemplative aura that gently emanates from Michael Vincent Waller’s music suggests a hard-won focus on the essential, distilled from long decades of reflection and experience. But the composer was already shaping this unique sound world while still in his 20s. Now 33, he’s poised for a breakout moment as his work draws increasing attention from international new-music circles.
December 2018
Conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya
“I couldn’t have imagined a better job for myself right now,” said conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya. “It’s always amazing when a job lines up at exactly the right time with your personal interests, your professional interests, and your career trajectory. Where the people in the organization line up with your own approaches. This was definitely the case.”
Yankovskaya’s career trajectory has been rising since she was a little girl in St. Petersburg, Russia, studying piano, violin, voice, and ballet. In its latest leap, the 32-year-old conductor has landed in Chicago. Last month, she made her debut as music director of Chicago Opera Theater, conducting the local premiere of Tchaikovsky’s rarely performed final opera, Iolanta. She returns in April, to lead Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby Dick.
November 2018
Bass-baritone Davóne Tines
Not every singer can boast having created leading roles in world premieres by John Adams and Kaija Saariaho by the age of 31, but bass-baritone Davóne Tines isn’t your average opera star. A Harvard graduate and the recipient of Lincoln Center’s 2018 Emerging Artists Award, Tines has been garnering enviable reviews, his rapidly rising reputation borne out by an action-packed upcoming calendar. Not bad for a boy from rural North Virginia who is the first professional classical musician in his family.
October 2018
Conductor Robert Trevino
This young American, then in his first season as music director of the Basque National Orchestra (BNO), was to lead the LSO through Mahler’s enormous Third Symphony. He had never met the orchestra before, or conducted the piece. His London audience had heard Mahler from Solti, Abbado, Tennstedt, and Maazel, and now a run-though under a mere novice awaited us.
Or so we thought. From the opening pantheistic fanfare on eight horns, it was clear that we were in the hands of someone who not only believed in this extraordinary piece, but had some personal insight into it. Trevino grabbed and held our attention throughout one of the largest works in the repertoire, so that its final blazing D major apotheosis felt truly transcendent. It was a triumph lauded by audience, players, and critics. Trevino had obvious rapport with the musicians and identification with the music, and the skill to communicate Mahler’s vision.
September 2018
Composer Nilo Alcala
When his Mangá Pakalagián (“Ceremonies”) received its world premiere by the Los Angeles Master Chorale at Disney Hall in 2015, Nilo Alcala recalls being overwhelmed and humbled by the audience’s enthusiastic reaction. I was part of that audience and well recall the marvelously ear-opening experience of the composer's lively blending of choral and instrumental strands. The commission to write this challenging score for mixed choir and kulintang (a percussion ensemble dominated by gongs that is used in traditional Filipino music)—along with its reception—stands for him as a special breakthrough moment of recognition in his adopted home city.
August 2018
Soprano Natalya Romaniw
Her exotic name notwithstanding, British soprano Natalya Romaniw is a native of Swansea, Wales. The granddaughter of a Ukrainian refugee who came to the U.K. during the Second World War, Romaniw, 30, studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and earned the Gold Medal in her final year. At age 24 she was lauded on both sides of the Atlantic, winning second prize at the Houston Grand Opera (HGO) Eleanor McCollum Competition and first prize in Britain’s prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Awards.
July 2018
Accordionist Hanzhi Wang
The accordion is often identified with sultry tangos and beer-soaked polkas. But a Chinese accordionist who honed her craft in Copenhagen is helping to promote the squeezebox’s potential in classical music.
Hanzhi Wang last December became one of four musicians to win the Young Concert Artists auditions and the first accordionist to join the agency’s roster in its 57-year history. Unlike other noted performers on the instrument, the 27-year-old Wang has no plans to move into the crossover realm.
June 2018
Conductor Eun Sun Kim
By chance, conductor Eun Sun Kim had a week free to lead the season-opening performance of Verdi’s Requiem at the Cincinnati May Festival. Kim stepped in to replace the disgraced James Levine on May 18, squeezing in the Ohio trip between conducting La sonnambula at Frankfurt Opera and making her first recording in Oslo, to include music by violin virtuoso Ole Bull with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra.
May 2018
Director Louisa Proske
Only a week is left before tech rehearsals start for Heartbeat Opera’s fourth annual spring festival, but company co-artistic director Louisa Proske remains intently focused on our conversation. One moment she’s describing her passion for Mozart and Shakespeare with genuine eloquence, the next painting a vivid picture of being born in the former West Berlin and growing up just after the Wall came down, as a choir child at the Komische Oper (in the former East Berlin).
April 2018
Violinist Alexi Kenney
No one can accuse Alexi Kenney of taking it easy. In the past few months, the New York-based violinist has played a wide range of repertoire—with more to come. “It’s very exciting,” Kenney said in a recent call from his home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “I’m doing seven concertos this spring—all of them different.” So far this year, he’s checked off concertos by Bruch (with the California Symphony under Donato Cabrera), Sibelius (with the Amarillo Symphony), Mendelssohn (with the Classic FM Radio Symphony), Mozart’s No. 3 in G Major (with the Columbus Symphony), and Schumann (with Cabrera’s Las Vegas Philharmonic), the last of which he’s now calling a favorite.
March 2018
Russian Renaissance
The balalaika, the three-string Russian folk instrument whose identity was once linked to Red Army troupes and the Doctor Zhivago soundtrack, is getting a shot of modernity in the hands of Russian Renaissance, a young fusion quartet that recently captured a lucrative American chamber music prize. In May 2017, Russian Renaissance won the $100,000 M-Prize Chamber Music Competition at the University of Michigan, edging out several string quartets and even a saxophone ensemble whose members studied at the university’s music school.
February 2018
Harpist Abigail Kent
Abigail Kent, winner of the American Harp Society’s coveted Concert Artist award for 2017-2019, has come a long way in the mere eight years since she picked up her instrument. Currently on the road throughout the U.S. and Canada giving recitals and master classes, she is simultaneously pursuing a master of music degree at the Mannes School of Music at the New School, where her teacher is Emmanuel Ceysson, principal harp of the MET Orchestra.
January 2018
Vocalist Lucy Dhegrae
“It's not about the 'beautiful' voice; it's about what the voice can do,” says Lucy Dhegrae, singer and director of the annual Resonant Bodies Festival. Dhegrae founded RBF in 2013 with the idea of “challenging and transforming the role of the vocal recitalist,” not to mention the listening context of the audience. Singers express themselves freely, with few artistic boundaries or outside input.
December 2017
Composer Julia Adolphe
Composer Julia Adolphe is not yet 30. But already, she has written three works for the New York Philharmonic and a piece for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. The New York native, who is earning a doctorate at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, is currently at work on her second opera.
“Melody is crucial to my music, as is creating a musical narrative” she says, explaining that she always sings as she composes. “But even in my viola concerto, Unearth, Release [composed for New York Phil Principal Violist Cynthia Phelps], or my other works without text, there’s a very clear story line—not in a programmatic sense, but an emotional arc.”
November 2017
Clarinetist Taylor Marino
For a guy who says he was forced by his non-musical parents to take up the clarinet and join the school band, Taylor Marino is doing just fine as a serious artist. At 24, the North Carolina native has performed at festivals including Tanglewood, Aspen, and Brevard, substituted in prominent orchestras, graduated from the Manhattan School of Music, and, now, elected to study for his masters’ degree with Yehuda Gilad at the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles. (His brother, who began clarinet at the same time, now works for an off-road car-racing company, so you never know how it’s going to go.)
October 2017
Celliist Seth Parker Woods
Donning a wetsuit before he undertakes a major performance is all part of the call of duty for a cellist of today, as Seth Parker Woods sees it. That was just one item on his agenda over the summer, when the Arts Club of Chicago presented him in ICED BODIES: Ice Music for Chicago. Parker Woods freshly reimagined an iconic “happening” from the 1970s—the infamous Charlotte Moorman performing Jim McWilliams’s “ice music," nude—and made it uncannily present for our tumultuous era. Partnering with experimental composer Spencer Topel, he played an obsidian-colored ice cello in a real-time installation, an epic of entropy.
September 2017
Clarinetist Afendi Yusuf
So unusual is Afendi Yusuf, on so many fronts, a journalist writing about him could pursue almost any angle and be assured of a fascinating story. Start with his latest accomplishment, a dramatic leap to the top. On Aug. 10, just a few months after he finished school, the Cleveland Orchestra named Yusuf its new principal clarinet, the successor to Franklin Cohen and the next occupant of one of the highest-profile seats in the clarinet world. Not bad, especially for a first full-time job.
August 2017
Composer Reena Esmail
At Chorus America’s annual conference last June in Los Angeles, a general session devoted to the topic “The Medicine of Music” featured a singalong demonstration of a new interactive choral work titled Take What You Need. It wasn’t only the members of Street Symphony and the Urban Voices Project, a community choir of singers from LA’s Skid Row neighborhood, who appeared transformed as they sang this music by Reena Esmail. The large audience of choral professionals from around America joined in, visibly moved by this confirmation of musical meaning.
July 2017
Composer Abbie Betinis
It’s no surprise that Abbie Betinis has established herself at the vanguard of young composers writing for chorus. Her musical upbringing (Suzuki training beginning at age four) and heritage (she is, respectively, the great grand-daughter and grand-niece of composers and carol-writers Bates and Alfred Burt) have instilled in her a fluent understanding of the voice and a love for the tradition of communal singing. Her compositional voice, at once eclectic and identifiably hers, is grounded in idiomatic melodic writing and expressive lyricism. At the same time, she continually draws on new ideas and cultural influences to expand her musical vocabulary.
June 2017
Violinist Stephen Waarts
At a recent Young Concert Artists gala concert at Lincoln Center, 20-year-old violinist Stephen Waarts tackled Prokofiev's difficult, moody Second Violin Concerto with remarkable poise and assurance—qualities that can elude artists twice his age.“I often think how strange it is to play the violin,” said Waarts in a recent in an interview, “although I mostly view myself as incredibly lucky to be pursuing this path.”
In just a few years, Waarts has performed in hundreds of concerts with scores of ensembles around the world, including the Cleveland Orchestra. His biography notes that he has played over 30 concertos, including some rarities by Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Ernst, and Szymanowski, in addition to repertory standards by Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, and others. And while he has expressed love for Mozart, the Brahms Violin Concerto remains a perennial favorite.
May 2017
Baritone Jeffrey Gavett
As a graduate of Westminster Choir College and Manhattan School of Music, baritone Jeffrey Gavett studied the classics but was simultaneously drawn to the harder edges of metal rock. Growing up near Portland, Maine, he became a fan of music by Steven Reich and English electronic musician/composers Autechre and Aphex Twin. He even gave some thought to being an electronic musician, but fate had other plans.
Gavett's universe includes many types of sounds, sometimes far afield from traditional singing or speech. In addition to solo work, most of his time is divided between his two groups, loadbang and the six-member a cappella group Ekmeles, where shrieks, lip smacks, gutteral throat clearing, and dramatic inhalations of breath are all fair game.
April 2017
Tenor Pene Pati
Growing up in New Zealand, singing was always a part of Pene Pati’s life. But opera seemed a world away. How things change: today the tenor is in San Francisco at the start of a professional career, preparing to sing the role of the Duke in San Francisco Opera’s summer production of Rigoletto.
March 2017
Pianist Mariam Batsashvili
Pianist Mariam Batsashvili is not very well known in the United States, but that will surely change. The 23-year-old winner of 2014 Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht (following a 2011 victory at the International Franz Liszt Competition for Young Pianists in Weimar) can be found online performing Liszt, Bach/Busoni, and more (, where her stunning musicality and solid technical command display an assurance and thoughtfulness rare in a player so young.
February 2017
Mezzo-soprano Beste Kalender
I first heard Beste Kalender through the north wall of my living room. She was in rehearsal with my neighbor, collaborative pianist Warren Jones, for her upcoming recital at Weill Hall, part of Carnegie’s “The Song Continues,” series. Subsequently, Jones invited me to a full run through of the program, which she was to share with baritone Benjamin Dickerson a program of late-19th-early 20th century fare from Italy, France, Germany, and Austria.
I was immediately struck by the warmth, depth, and richness of her sound and by an aural radiance that never faded, even in the lower registers. She appeared in absolute command (although, this was a runthrough rather than a performance) of dynamics and phrasing, and although I might not have a clue as to what she was singing about, she clearly did, be it the lost love of Hugo Wolf or the bucolic moon rise depicted in "Alba di luna sul bosco" ("Moonrise Over the Woods") by Neapolitan composer Francesco Santoliquido’s (d. 1971).
January 2017
Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason
LONDON--If the tale of the Kanneh-Mason family was in a story book, everyone would be complaining that it was just too far-fetched. Along come seven children. The first takes piano lessons. Her two younger brothers are inspired to take up violin and cello. Then four more girls arrive, competing for practice time on the piano, two of them also playing violin, two of them cello.
Not many families can field an entire chamber orchestra. And these guys don’t just dabble—they’re really good. As if to prove it, late last year 17-year-old Sheku Kanneh-Mason took time off from his schoolwork to win top prize at the televised BBC Young Musician of the Year competition. The story of the teenage cellist and his extraordinary family was the subject of a BBC TV documentary, Young, Gifted and Classical.
December 2016
Soprano Sarah Tuttle
The summer of 2016 was speeding by. Sarah Tuttle, on her two-year fellowship at Tanglewood, was rehearsing soprano solos in Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14. The symphony was part of a memorial concert for the renowned soprano Phyllis Curtin, who had died earlier in the summer [June 5] after having taught at the storied summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra every year for a good half-century.
During her lunch break, Tuttle, 25, made time to reflect on her life and plans as a singer, before heading to Oldenburg, Germany, where she is now in the second year of her contract with the Oldenburgisches Staatstheater. “It’s super-strange,” she observed. “I don’t know anyone who just walks into a job. My path is unusual. This fell in my lap.”
November 2016
Pianist George Li
As the youngest piano finalist at the 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition held in the summer of 2015 in Moscow, George Li, an American of Chinese ancestry now 21, shared second-place honors with Lithuanian-Russian Lukas Geniušas in an unusually competitive field. The Moscow Times called the group of six finalists “probably the strongest of any in post-Soviet times. Every one of them seemed a possible candidate for first prize.”
October 2016
Conductor Pablo Rus Broseta
It’s a couple days before the season officially begins with an ambitious program, and Seattle Symphony Associate Conductor Pablo Rus Broseta is monitoring the sound balance from the hall during the first full rehearsal. A lot is at stake. Following the glitz and good will of the SSO’s gala opening a few days ago, this concert represents a sort of manifesto of the orchestra’s programming philosophy under Music Director Ludovic Morlot.
September 2016
Conductor Aziz Shokhakimov
Responding to the audience’s hearty applause after conducting the Camerata Salzburg in the finals of the Festival’s conducting competition last month, Aziz Shokhakimov held up the score of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and kissed it.
August 2016
Conductor Anthony Barrese
The dilemma facing regional opera companies—those with little national reputation, those that cannot afford famous stars—is to keep traditional opera lovers interested while galvanizing new audiences. Presenting the umpteenth Bohème or Figaro does not address this problem. The repertory must be refreshed, but for many listeners, the idea of new work rarely appeals.
July 2016
Conductor/Pianist Craig Terry
Craig Terry—music director of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center and arranger and collaborative pianist for the likes of Joyce DiDonato, Patricia Racette, and Stephanie Blythe—experienced the diva-fueled limelight early. “In elementary school I was already playing for singers,” says Terry, who grew up in Tullahoma, TN, a town of approximately 18,000 in south central Tennessee with a vibrant, homegrown performing arts scene. “There were these two wonderful young African-American women who were slightly older than I was. Their mother was a brilliant singer, a brilliant gospel pianist, so she would coach me. I played for those two girls all over the place, at every possible civic event in Tullahoma.
June 2016
Conductor Kah Chun Wong
When 29-year-old Kah Chun Wong conducted extracts from Mahler’s Third Symphony at the Mahler Competition last month, it was his first performance of a work by the composer. “In the musical life of a conductor, I am still fairly a baby,” said the Singapore native in an interview after winning first prize in the competition, hosted by the Bamberg Symphony and held every three years.
May 2016
Verona Quartet
“At first it was just a quagmire of unknowns.” Violist Abigail Rojansky of the Verona String Quartet is describing Milton Babbitt’s complex Second Quartet (1954), which the group performed at the Juilliard School’s week-long Focus! festival in January. “We couldn’t really see the hidden correlations and references he nestles into the score until we’d played through it many, many times and allowed ourselves to be open to the humor that he wrote into it and the little conversations that he builds among the four voices. It really is a masterpiece.”
April 2016
Percussionist Simone Rubino
The Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, as part of its "Deutschlandradio Kultur Debut" series last February, brought together three promising young artists in a meaty program beginning with Ligeti and ending with Stravinsky. Performing Friedrich Cerha's Percussion Concerto (2007/8), Italian native Simone Rubino made a rare impression. Whether on snare drum or marimbaphone, he responded to the subtlest orchestral moments with sensitivity and imagination, producing phrases of unusually rich dynamic shading with elegant, but never showy, virtuosity. Despite the technical challenges of the piece, which he played from memory, he seemed to relish every moment onstage, flashing smiles toward both the conductor, Aziz Shokhakimov, and the audience.
March 2016
Composer Michael Gilbertson
The annual Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute introduced seven young composers, but one in particular stood out. Michael Gilbertson is a Juilliard grad currently working on his PhD in composition at Yale, where he counts Aaron Jay Kernis and Martin Bresnick among his teachers. His Sinfonia, based, as he describes it, on “motives and themes from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons” and excerpted for the purposes of the Institute, combines multiple harmonic strains, in the early 20th-century jazz/impressionist vein, with a solid rhythmic core. Its canvas is vast, enriched with full-but-never-overblown orchestral color. Lines are lyrical, subtly interwoven. Small wonder that Music Director Osmo Vänskä chose it to close the program that bore the fruits of the week’s work.
February 2016
Choreographer Pam Tanowitz
Let’s hear it for late bloomers with unconventional career paths. Unlike almost every American choreographer of her generation being presented in prestigious venues, the New York-based dance maker Pam Tanowitz, age 46, did not begin her career with a renowned company. While her peers who began as performers developed an instant network and a professional identity, Tanowitz labored in near obscurity for ten years, making dances wherever she could after graduating from Ohio State University (BFA dance, 1991). “It actually was a great thing for me to be anonymous for the first part of my career,” she says, “because I could make work and not worry about what anyone thought. I could mess up. I could do little shows. I could get better. I’m grateful for all that time when no one noticed me, even though it was really hard.”
January 2016
Baritone Tobias Greenhalgh
Tobias Greenhalgh possesses all the classic qualities of an emerging opera star. His rich baritone is mature and unforced enough to capture a range of emotion while still hinting at future growth in volume and power. He commands the stage with his youthful charisma and strapping physique without chewing the scenery. As one of seven finalists at the Hilde Zadek International Voice Competition in Vienna last spring, he captured the wit of As Much As You Can, a song by Dutch composer Robert Nasveld with just the right amount of thespian gesture and vibrant word painting.
December 2015
Director James Darrah
Finding a suitable label to encompass James Darrah’s artistic practice is not easy. He has directed operas in more or less conventional spaces, yet this represents only one sliver of his work. You’re also likely to experience Darrah’s art in the concert hall. Indeed, seeing the multimedia staging of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis this past June by the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas brought me one of the year’s most lasting revelations.
November 2015
Composer Rene M. Orth
Rene Orth’s music is whimsical, spikey, sometimes showbiz-y, always dramatic, reflective, rarely predictable, and often electronic. She prefers to write for the voice, and her opera, Empty the House, is soon to have its fully staged premiere at the Curtis Opera Studio; the four-night run (Jan. 21-24) is sold out, but will be streamed live. The description on the Studio website: “An intimate, poignant exploration of the complex nature of forgiveness from the rising young Curtis composer Rene Orth and Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist Mark Campbell, in its world-premiere production.”
October 2015
Double Bassist Sam Suggs
Sam Suggs is a 25-year-old DMA candidate at Yale, pursuing studies in double bass, yet boasting a range of interests that go far beyond mere regurgitations of the standards. Competition chairman Paul Sharpe described the attributes that ultimately tipped the scales in Suggs’ favor. “It was his innovation in both repertoire and programming that engaged the audience and then kept our full attention for the duration. Artistry by itself is great. But, innovation and artistry together create momentum and progression.”
September 2015
Conductor Mirga Grazinyté-Tyla
The latest in the line of young conductors making their initial splash at The Los Angeles Philharmonic is Mirga Grazinyté-Tyla, who was 28 when she made her debut at the Hollywood Bowl last year. She has since conducted at Walt Disney Concert Hall (March 1) and again at the Bowl on Aug. 20. Each time, she has left a vivid impression.
August 2015
Tenor Tansel Akzeybek
With a piercing lyric tenor and an easy facility with directors’ zaniest demands, Tansel Akzeybek stands out as one of the Komische Oper ensemble’s strongest, not to mention funniest, members. In his role debut as Paris in Offenbach’s Belle Hélène in February, he cavorted about with equal finesse as everything from an accordion-playing cowboy to a Catholic priest, high notes darting out unforced and solidly rooted in the situation at hand.
July 2015
Conductor Christopher Allen
At a Cincinnati Opera outdoor park concert in early June, a lithe, self-assured conductor navigated the program of operatic chestnuts and orchestral favorites with an easy, natural flair. It was a performance that was at once supportive, unassuming, and richly musical..
June 2015
Tenor Joseph Dennis
As a former high school basketball player, Joseph Dennis knew something about fast breaks. Nothing on the court, though, had prepared him for last summer at the Santa Fe Opera when, after a last-minute cancelation, the second-year apprentice suddenly went from playing First Prisoner in Fidelio to the title role in Dr. Sun Yat-sen.
May 2015
Trumpeter Mark Grisez
Listening to Mark Grisez play, you might think he was decades into his career. The trumpeter’s combination of dynamic assurance and tonal sheen suggest a seasoned professional; but Grisez is just 21, currently completing his final year of training at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. That hasn’t stopped him from accepting posts as principal trumpet with the California Symphony, and, earlier this season, acting principal with the San Francisco Symphony.
April 2015
Bass Sava Vemic
NEW YORK—In Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux, the role of Sir Walter Raleigh is a bass cameo, unlikely to be singled out for review. But when Sava Vemic sang it with Eve Queler and the Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall last spring, reviewers sat up and took note. A sampling: “Alarmingly powerful.” “Thundering bass had the audience scrambling for programs.” “Truly surprising and very exciting.” “Somebody give this guy an aria.” Plus “stunning” and “adorable”—probable firsts for that role.
March 2015
Violinist Aleksey Semenenko
BERLIN—The tension was high at the first International Boris Goldstein Violin Competition in Bern last January. As it turned out, all but one of the winners were students of Zakhar Bron, himself a living legend for having trained soloists such as Vadim Repin and Daniel Hope. (At least one pundit found this scandalous, since Bron was on the jury.) But there was one player who, at least for this listener, blew the others out of the water in terms of musical sensitivity. In an afternoon of only Mozart Violin Concertos, Aleksey Semenenko managed to make the Fifth fresh and exciting.
February 2015
Soprano Nina Minasyan
I first heard Nina Minasyan two years ago, when American conductor Constantine Orbelian brought a group of young soloists from seven former Soviet republics to Carnegie Hall. The date was Dec. 12, 2012, the program was called “New Stars for a New Century.”
January 2015
Pianist Francesco Piemontesi
“I suppose I am by nature a curious person,” says Francesco Piemontesi. “I want to know.”It’s a quality that the young pianist makes apparent on more than one front. In recital at the Konzerthaus Berlin last spring, he performed works by Débussy, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert with a combination of meticulous technical assurance and nearly philosophical introspection.
December 2014
Tenor Juan Francisco Gatell
I first heard tenor Juan Francisco Gatell as Ferrando in a 2005 production of Così fan tutte at the Academia Musicale Chigiana in Sienna. His pure tone and assured approach left no doubt that he would move on to the world’s great stages. Two years later, he was at the Pentecost Festival in Salzburg as the title character in a concert production of Cimarosa’s Il Ritorno di Don Calandrino under Riccardo Muti, his sound piercing through the Festspielhaus.
November 2014
Conductor Speranza Scappucci
It is the first orchestra rehearsal for Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia, set to open the the Juilliard Opera season Nov. 19 in a new production by Brian Zeger. Perched on a stool on the podium, in rehearsal room 309, is a freckle-faced young woman dressed in a pink and gray tunic-style blouse (plenty of arm mobility) sporting a huge mound of curly, strawberry-blonde hair tied back in a ponytail. Speranza Scappucci is preparing the Juilliard Orchestra for what will be her New York conducting debut.
“When I first got on the podium,” she tells me later, “I thought, ‘I auditioned here!’ There was a moment when I pictured the jury over there and me at the piano. Those eight minutes changed my life.”
October 2014
Soprano Julie Adams
It’s been a whirlwind year for Julie Adams. In March, the California soprano was one of five winners in the Grand Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Last summer, she spent 12 weeks in San Francisco as a young artist in the Merola Opera Program, where she sang the role of Blanche DuBois in Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire. She capped that residency with a dazzling turn during the Merola Grand Finale; joining tenor Casey Candebat in the Cherry Duet ("Suzel, buon di…Tutto tace") from Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz, Adams sang with the power, assurance, and luxuriant tone of a seasoned professional. Now, she’s back in San Francisco, as part of San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Adler Fellowship Program.
September 2014
Conductor Isaac Selya
Conductor Isaac Selya, 28, is turning heads in Cincinnati for his remarkable talent, relentless enthusiasm, and entrepreneurial spirit.
In November, I was among dozens of opera lovers who traveled up a winding road to a small Art Deco theater on the edge of Cincinnati for Selya’s revival of L’amore dei tre re, (The Love of Three Kings) by Italo Montemezzi. It was the second project by the Queen City Chamber Opera, which Selya co-founded two years ago.
Read Profile
August 2014
Violinist Simone Porter
Simone Porter made her Pasadena Symphony debut at Ambassador Auditorium on March 29. Usually, a performer can count on having to play through distractions--a cell phone ringing or someone texting in the front row, but as Porter was about to make her entrance in the central Adagio of Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1, an earthquake hit.
July 2014
Baritone Takaoki Onishi
For lovers of great singing there are few thrills equal to hearing a truly important voice for the first time. The young Japanese baritone Takaoki Onishi has been providing that thrill a lot this past year, especially in New York City, where he is pursuing an Artist Diploma at Juilliard while generating a considerable—and growing— amount of excitement in the music world.
June 2014
Conductor Omer Meir Wellber
Only a few years ago, the name Omer Meir Wellber mostly came up in connection with Daniel Barenboim. As the conductor’s assistant at the Staatsoper Berlin and La Scala, his precocious abilities were on display in everything from Verdi to Liszt, allowing me to catch a performance of Puccini’s Tosca at the Schiller Theater in 2010, in which the orchestra’s swelling phrases and attention to harmonic detail easily recalled the touch of his mentor.
May 2014
Mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell
Putting aside her intriguing Old English forename for the moment, the most prominent characteristics of the rising, attractive mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell are her astounding versatility and moxie, which have been on display in Southern California since 2009, when she made her professional solo debut as the Fox in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen with Long Beach Opera.
April 2014
Mezzo-soprano Katarina Bradić
I first saw mezzo-soprano Katharina Bradic in Stefan Herheim’s regie production of Handel’s Xerxes at the Komische Opera. I was impressed with her fearless humor, sharp musicianship, and seductive charm in the role of Amastre, the Persian King’s spurned fiancé. It was at the Deutsche Oper, however, that I was able to catch a glimpse of her artistry in more depth: first in a “dramatic fantasy” called Mahlermania, where her soulful delivery of Mahler songs transcended the antics onstage, then in a recent revival of Otello in which she sang the role of Emilia, the title character’s innocent wife, alongside Barbara Frittoli.
March 2014
The Dover Quartet
Musicians in their 20s are often described as “emerging.” For the Dover Quartet, currently the Curtis Institute’s first graduate quartet-in-residence, forget “emerging.” These smart, sparkling string players cut a swath at Banff’s 2013 International String Quartet Competition, winning prizes in every category from old music to new. The Florida Times-Union recently wrote, “The patron next to me mouthed ‘Wow!’ before the end of the first piece.” That about sums it up.
February 2014
Violinist Francesca Rose dePasquale
Much of the fun of student concerts is in spotting future stars of the concert stage. A light bulb went on last November 25 when Vladimir Jurowski, principal conductor of the London Philharmonic, led the Juilliard Orchestra in an all-Shostakovich concert at Alice Tully Hall. A glance at the players’ roster elicited an instant spotlight of recognition: Francesca Rose dePasquale Concertmaster.
January 2014
Pianist Maria Perrotta
Pregnant pianist plays tonight at the Teatro Rossini "-- ran the huge teasers scattered all over in Lugo di Romagna, by Ravenna, on January 12, 2012. Pianist Maria Perrotta was in the ninth month of her pregnancy, so a fully staffed ambulance remained parked nearby for the full 100 minutes of the concert, featuring Bach's Goldberg Variations plus a substantial encore, standing ovations, and a thankful speech from the Mayor. All without intermission.
December 2013
Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja
The first time I saw violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja perform, it was at Volkswagen's Gläsener Manufaktur in Dresden. She was standing beneath a row of half-built sedans with their engines exposed, playing a program of gypsy-inspired music ranging from Ravel to Bartók. With her mother on violin and her father on cimbalom, she offered a welcome distraction in the sterile setting, even as they tapped their feet to variations on the Balkan dance melody Hora Staccato.
November 2013
Mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez
Mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez started the fall season tormenting an old fat man. This month, she’s turning herself into a lost boy. By season’s end, she’ll have been a loyal servant and an angry, vengeful daughter. Chavez welcomes the challenge. A rising star on the Bay Area opera scene, her facility in a variety of roles has already earned accolades.
October 2013
Violinist Chad Hoopes
Chad Hoopes was 13 when he won first prize in the Young Artists Division of the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition in 2007. He made his debut with the Cleveland Orchestra the same year playing Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole, and he’s since performed with orchestras around the world. Until fairly recently, the phrase “child prodigy” described him perfectly.
September 2013
Violinist Sarah Silver
At the opening concert of Tanglewood’s annual Festival of Contemporary Music, first violinist Sarah Silver introduced Elliott Carter’s String Quartet No. 1 from a stage microphone. “The worst part of performing this piece,” she lamented, “is that we’ve rehearsed it so much, and fallen in love with it, and now there won’t be any rehearsal tomorrow.”
August 2013
Baritone Ben Connor
It was when I first saw Ben Connor in his underwear that I knew he had star quality. (It’s not what you think.) It was in an updated production of La bohème at Theater an der Wien in der Kammeroper starring its Young Artists ensemble. Connor played Marcello as a grungy, spoiled brat, master of his domain, and entirely comfortable padding around his apartment in his skivvies. This wasn’t the Ben Connor I had seen as the comic relief in Rossini’s La cambiale di matrimonio, or in smaller roles at Theater an der Wien.
July 2013
Pianist/Conductor Kit Armstrong
Pianist Alfred Brendel has described Kit Armstrong as “the most extraordinary talent” he has ever encountered. After a few minutes in the presence of the pianist and composer, only 21, it becomes clear that this is not hyperbole.
June 2013
Conductor Yoel Gamzou
Three years ago, Yoel Gamzou premiered his own version of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony at a synagogue in Berlin. Members of his International Mahler Orchestra (IMO) crowded onstage as the lanky conductor, then only 23, led them through the restless score, unleashing a sense of adventure that, to these ears, made the standard reconstruction of Mahler’s sketches by Deryck Cooke and Berthold Goldschmidt seem tame by comparison.
May 2013
Violinist Thomas Gould
In the seven years since violinist Thomas Gould graduated from the Royal Academy of Music he has quietly built the model career. He got off to an early start with lessons with Sheila Nelson at the age of three, then entered the Academy on a scholarship with György Pauk as his principal teacher.
April 2013
Mandolinist Avi Avital
It’s not often that the mandolin takes centerstage in the classical concert hall, but don’t tell Avi Avital that. The Israeli native, 34, has performed about 70 world premieres, 13 of which were concertos.
March 2013
Cellist Gabriel Cabezas
Chicago is known for its blues musicians, like Muddy Waters, or rap artists, like Kanye West. But classical cellists? Probably not. Not yet anyway. At just 20, Gabriel Cabezas, who named his 1934 Chicago-made cello Starbuck, may be about to change that.
February 2013
Composer Dylan Mattingly
Last December at Zellerbach Hall, the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra gave the premiere of a new orchestral work by Dylan Mattingly. “Invisible Skyline,” a restless 30-minute opus, is a beguiling work of serene vistas and arresting rhythms. Mattingly, 21, is a Berkeley native, and many in the audience had heard his music in performances of shorter pieces. But this was a premiere to make you sit up and take notice....
January 2013
Apollon Musagète Quartett
Last November, I attended a concert at New York’s Weill Recital Hall by a quartet of which I knew little except that it had a French name that meant “Apollo, leader of the Muses” (the same as the final section of Stravinsky’s ballet, Apollo), and all the members were Polish. But the performances I heard of Haydn, Szymanowski, Josef Suk, and Janácek soon made it plain that the Apollon Musagète Quartett would not long remain little known....
December 2012
Soprano Daniela Fally
A few years ago, I noticed Daniela Fally always seemed to singing wherever I went: Anna in Weill’s Die sieben Todsünden given by Neue Oper Wien in a tiny Jugendstil theater on the far edge of the city; singlehandedly saving a dreary new production of Die Zauberflöte at Volksoper Wien with her vivacity in the tiny role of Papagena;...
November 2012
Conductor Lin Daye
Until recently, Lin Daye had not been much of a presence on the competition circuit. The last time he reached the finals was in 2006, in a local competition in Shenzhen. He only placed fourth, but the city’s orchestra thought he was the best and unanimously approved him as their new resident conductor. “I lost the competition,” he says, smiling, “but I got the job.”...
October 2012
Ariel String Quartet
In their debut concert in Cincinnati this fall, the players of the Ariel String Quartet surprised and delighted listeners when they took their seats without music or music stands, and performed Haydn’s Quartet in E flat Major, Op. 33, No. 2, The Joke, entirely from memory. It was a daring feat, exhilarating to hear and fun to watch....
September 2012
Conductor Evan Rogister
Evan Rogister’s distinctive musical gifts, combined with a restless intellect, have made him one of the music world’s fastest-rising podium artists. In performances in Europe and the U.S. the young American conductor...
August 2012
Violinist Tessa Lark
Tessa Lark turned 23 during the first round of the Walter W. Naumburg International Violin Competition in New York in June. Soon thereafter, on June 12, the Kentucky-born musician had real cause for celebration ...
July 2012
Bartione Yunpeng Wang
If there was a single trait that helped baritone Yunpeng Wang sweep up three awards last month at Plácido Domingo’s Operalia Competition in Beijing—more than his smooth, flexible technique or his prowess in a variety of vocal styles—it was his ability to pick up the phone and respond at a moment’s notice ...
June 2012
Soprano Anna Prohaska
Anna Prohaska dashes into a café in the Prenzlauerberg area of Berlin wearing jeans and a leather jacket, her long, black hair tied back into a knot. Her unassuming demeanor would hardly betray that she has just returned from performing Handel Motets under Nikolaus Harnoncourt at the Musikverein ...
Cellist/composer Zoë Keating: May 2012
Read Profile
View Video
Conductor Marcello Di Lisa: April 2012
Read Profile
Tenor Yi Li: March 2012
Read Profile
Violinist Nigel Armstrong: February 2012
Read Profile
View Video
Soprano Corinne Winters: January 2012
Read Profile
View Video
Pianist Behzod Abduraimov: December 2011
Read Profile
View Video
Conductor Ward Stare: November 2011
Read Profile
View Video
Tenor Antonio Poli: October 2011
Read Profile
View Video
Composer Nathan Davis: September 2011
Read Profile
View Video
Pianist Daniil Trifonov: August 2011
Read Profile
Dancer Davide Dato: July 2011
Read Profile
Cellist Sebastian Bäverstam: June 2011
Read Profile
Composer Du Yun: May 2011
Read Profile
Bass-Baritone Shen Yang: April 2011
Read Profile
Young Concert Artists: March 2011
Read Profile
Tenor David Lomeli: February 2011
Read Profile
NYCB Principal Dancer Robert Fairchild: January 2011
Read Profile
Violist David Aaron Carpenter: December 2010
Read Profile
Tenor Sean Panikkar: November 2010
Read Profile
Trombonist Massimo La Rosa: October 2010
Read Profile
Baritone Andrei Bondarenko: September 2010
Read Profile
View Video
Soprano Leah Crocetto: August 2010
Read Profile
Soprano Marina Bartoli: July 2010
Read Profile
Choreographer Kyle Abraham: June 2010
Read Profile
Baritone Quinn Kelsey: May 2010
Read Profile
Cellist Hans Kristian Goldstein: April 2010
Read Profile
Pianist Tamara Stefanovich: March 2010
Read Profile
View Video
Composer Tristan Perich: February 2010
Read Profile
View Video
Heldentenor Paul McNamara: January 2010
Read Profile
Violinist Caroline Goulding: December 2009
Read Profile
View Video
Composer Angel Lam: November 2009
Read Profile
View Video
Conductor Perry So: October 2009
Read Profile
View Video
Conductor Ilyich Rivas: September 2009
Read Profile
Cellist Joshua Roman: August 2009
Read Profile
View Video
Countertenor Valer Barna-Sabadus: July 2009
Read Profile
Composer Mason Bates: June 2009
Read Profile
View Video
Pianist Di Wu: May 2009
Read Profile
Vew Video
Conductor Lionel Bringuier: April 2009
Read Profile
View Video
Cellist Soo Bae: March 2009
Read Profile
View Video
Bass-baritone Adam Plachetka: February 2009
Read Profile
View Video


Search Musical America's archive of photos from 1900-1992.