When Georgian pianist Natalia Kazaryan was 10 years old, she won the Balys Dvarionas International Piano Competition in Lithuania, and the even made her realize she could make this passion into a career. It also gave her international recognition, which resulted in invitations to perform and study in Europe and the United States — her ticket out of the Republic of Georgia, where economy was in tatters following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Violinist Andrés Cárdenes has no intentions of slowing down. While he assumes his playing career has maybe 10 to 12 good years left, he began morphing into a more advisory role, furthering his conducting and teaching career, and maybe writing a couple of books. This includes developing his title as the Music Director of the Josef Gingold Chamber Music Festival of Miami.
Being from sun-soaked Los Angeles, pianist Sean Chen has a pretty easygoing personality. While he brings color and magic to his performances, he also is mathematically and scientifically inclined so there is a methodical approach to his practice.
British-born Chiara Vinci began performing at an early age, when she followed her older sister to the ice-skating rink and then the ballet studio. Chiara has worked hard for everything she has accomplished, including becoming an opera singer.
Like so many artists, award-winning British stage director Thomas Guthrie has completely embraced his craft. He recently visited the town where he sang as a boy and as an undergraduate, and realized how much these experiences shaped him.
For the Vienna-based Janoska Ensemble, music is a treasured family tradition. In 2013, the group came together, founded by brothers Ondrej (violinist), František (pianist) and Roman (violinist), and their brother-in-law Julius Darvas (double-bassist).
Renowned American composer Lowell Liebermann always had a knack for creating his own pieces, even while studying piano at age 8. With his storied career and many accomplishments, Lowell’s most cherished accomplishment is just being able to make a living doing what he does with music.
Conductor Angel Gil-Ordoñez has always had a passion for music. So much so, that he convinced his parents to let him study music in college at the Madrid Conservatory of Music, as long as he would first study Engineering at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid. He completed both degrees and then continued with his musical education and career.
Each year brings a project or chapter in pianist Stewart Goodyear’s life that means so much to him. During this particular season, the phenomenal musician and composer hopes listeners leap out of their seats and dance, just like he felt like doing while recording his latest album with conductor Wayne Marshall and Chineke! Orchestra.
Fifth House Ensemble (5HE) wants everyone to just play. This is the focus on the group’s recent projects, which explore different ways to produce music, as well as how we send that music out into the world and how the audiences experience it.
“We spend so much time perfecting skills, getting things right, and getting ahead that we forget to connect with our own creative impulses on a daily basis,” said Melissa Ngan, executive director and founding member of 5HE. “It's this space that produces innovation, human connection, and a true sense of self.”
Even when he wanted to run away, life brought cellist Dale Henderson back to music.
“One of the many things I heard as a student and didn’t think too much about was ‘you can’t hid with the cello’,” he said. “But then learned through experience was 100% true. No matter who you are on the outside, when you’re playing your inner self will show through. You’re totally exposed.”
Instead of following the typical classical music handbook, conductor Andrew Gourlay decided to write his own. As Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León (OSCyL) in Spain, Andrew and the OSCyL announced this fall it launched its own recording label. Now, a few months later, the organization released its first recording, Rachmaninov: The Isle of the Dead / Symphony No. 2.
“For the first recording on our new label, we wanted to show what the orchestra can do, and what better way than with major symphonic repertoire?” Andrew said.
The only thing violinist Kristin Lee wants people to remember about her is her honesty in expressing her love for music. Her goal every time she steps on the stage or curates a program is that it comes off genuinely and that she can be as transparent as possible.