MEET OUR JUDGES

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William Wolfram

PIANO

WILLIAM WOLFRAM was a silver medalist at both the William Kapell and the Naumburg International Piano Competitions and a bronze medalist at the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow. A versatile recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician, he has won the respect of musicians and critics across the country and abroad. Wolfram has several recordings on the Naxos label, has played recitals in cities throughout the U.S., Asia and Europe and has performed with dozens of the finest orchestras in the world. His concerto debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony under the baton of Leonard Slatkin was the first in a long succession of appearances and career relationships with numerous American conductors and orchestras. He has appeared with the San Francisco, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Seattle and New Jersey symphonies, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the National Symphony, the Florida Orchestra and the Grand Teton and Obispo Mozart festival orchestras, among many others. He enjoys regular and ongoing close associations with the Dallas Symphony, the Milwaukee Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra. Conductors with whom he has worked include Jerzy Semkow, Joseph Silverstein, Mark Wigglesworth, Jeffrey Tate, Vladimir Spivakov, Gerard Schwarz, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Jeffrey Kahane, James Judd, Roberto Minczuk, Stefan Sanderling, JoAnn Falletta, James Paul and Carlos Kalmar. Abroad, Wolfram has appeared with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Warsaw, Moscow and Budapest philharmonics, the Capetown and Johannesburg symphonies of South Africa, L'Orchestre de Bretagne, the orchestras of Thailand and Singapore and the National Symphony of Peru. An enthusiastic supporter of new music, he has collaborated with and performed music by composers such as Aaron Jay Kernis, Kenneth Frazelle, Marc Andre Dalbavie, Kenji Bunch and Paul Chihara. His world premiere performance of the Chihara re-orchestration of Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1, with the Milwaukee Symphony under the baton of Andreas Delfs, was met with great critical attention and acclaim. Wolfram has extensive experience in the recording studio. For the Albany label, he recorded the piano concertos of Edward Collins with Marin Alsop and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Wolfram has recorded, and continues to record, the solo piano music of Franz Liszt for Naxos records. These recordings include Liszt's rarely heard Etudes en douze exercices, as well as opera transcriptions of both Donizetti and Bellini. Wolfram was the focus of a full chapter in Joseph Horowitz's book, The Ivory Trade: Music and the Business of Music at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. On television, he was a featured pianist in the documentary of the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition. A graduate of The Juilliard School, William Wolfram resides in New York City.

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Thomas Sauer

PIANO

Pianist THOMAS SAUER is a highly sought after soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. Recent appearances include concerto performances with the Quad-City and Tallahassee Symphonies and the Greenwich Village Orchestra; solo performances at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium), Merkin Concert Hall, Rockefeller University, and St. John’s College, Oxford; appearances on Broadway as the pianist in 33 Variations, a play about the composition of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations; and performances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. With his long-time duo partner Colin Carr, Mr. Sauer has appeared at the Wigmore Hall (London), Holywell Music Room (Oxford), the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Musikgebouw, Bargemusic (New York City), the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston), Da Camera (Houston), and Princeton University, among many other venues.  Other appearances include recitals with Midori at the Philharmonie in Berlin and the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels; performances with members of the Juilliard String Quartet at the Library of Congress; a recital with violinist Jennifer Koh at the Kennedy Center; and numerous concerts with the Brentano String Quartet. Mr. Sauer has performed at many of the leading festivals in the United States and abroad, including Marlboro, Caramoor, Music@Menlo, Chamber Music Northwest, El Paso Pro Musica, Aloha International Piano Festival, and the Chamber Music Festivals of Seattle, Taos, Four Seasons (North Carolina), Portland and Salt Bay (Maine); as well as Lake District Summer Music (England), Agassiz International Chamber Music Festival (Canada), Festival des Consonances (France), and Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival (Denmark). Mr. Sauer’s varied discography includes recordings of Beethoven and Haydn piano sonatas for MSR Classics; with Colin Carr, the complete cello and piano works of Mendelssohn on Cello Classics and complete Beethoven on MSR Classics; a disc of Hindemith sonatas with violist Misha Amory (Musical Heritage Society); music of Britten and Schnittke with cellist Wilhelmina Smith on Arabesque; music of Ross Lee Finney with violinist Miranda Cuckson for Centaur Records; music of James Matheson on Yarlung Records; and violin sonatas of Mozart with Aaron Berofsky for Blue Griffin Recordings. In recent seasons, Mr. Sauer has premiered works by Philippe Bodin, Robert Cuckson, Sebastian Currier, Brian Fennelly, Keith Fitch, David Loeb, Donald Martino, Suzanne Sorkin, David Tcimpidis, and Richard Wilson. A member of the music faculty of Vassar College and the piano faculty of the Mannes College, Mr. Sauer was the founder and for fifteen years director of the Mannes Beethoven Institute, and is co-Artistic Director of Chamber Music Quad Cities. A graduate of the Curtis Institute, Mannes College of Music and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, his major teachers included Jorge Bolet, Edward Aldwell, and Carl Schachter.
Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan www.beowulfsheehan.com

Tomoko Fujita

CELLO

Hailed as “first-rate” by The Boston Globe, cellist TOMOKO FUJITA enjoys an active musical life as soloist, chamber musician, and educator. She has recently performed on the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago and at the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York City with pianist Luba Poliak, and has collaborated with esteemed artists such as Itzhak Perlman, members of the Cleveland, Emerson, and Juilliard String Quartets, dancer Wendy Whelan, and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. As a founding member and the cellist of the Bryant Park Quartet for ten years, she has presented numerous concerts and interactive outreach presentations, nationally and internationally, and released a CD album entitled “BPQ”. Currently, she is a member of the New York Chamber Music Co-Op, a performance collaborative which seeks to explore issues of social justice in the context of classical music programming. Tomoko graduated summa cum laude from Rice University with a double degree: a Bachelor of Music in cello performance and a Bachelors of Arts in psychology. Having earned a Master of Music at The Juilliard School, she received a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Stony Brook University. In addition to being the Director of the Stony Brook University Pre-College, she is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Cello at Montclair State University and Hofstra University, and coaches at the New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program. In the summers, Tomoko is in residence at the Kinhaven Music School in Weston, VT. For more information, visit www.tomokofujita.com.

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Xiao-Dong Wang

VIOLIN

Violinist XIAO-DONG WANG entered the Shanghai Conservatory of Music at the age of ten. Mr. Wang was First Prize winner in the Menuhin International Violin Competition and First Prize winner in the Wieniawski-Lipinski International Violin Competition at the ages of thirteen and fifteen. He was brought to the attention of Dorothy DeLay of The Juilliard School who arranged for him to begin a four-year scholarship starting in 1986. A guest soloist of considerable experience, Mr. Wang has performed with orchestras around the world, including the Royal Philharmonic in London, the London Mozart Players, Adelaide, Perth, Queensland Symphony Orchestras, and Sydney Opera Orchestra. His recording credits include the Bartok Concerto No.2 and Szymanowski Concerto No.1 for Polygram Records. He has also appeared performing on both violin and viola in chamber music concerts at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Aspen, Ravinia and in many other festival and musical events worldwide. Mr. Wang is the resident soloist of the Shanghai Symphony for the 2012-13 Season, he will appear three times as soloist with the orchestra during the season as well as presenting chamber music concerts and Master classes. During his residency, Mr. Wang will also perform as a soloist with three other major symphony orchestras in China, including The China Philharmonic in Beijing. Mr. Wang is the artistic director and a founding member of the renowned chamber music group Concertante, where he has collaborated with world renowned musicians and made a vast number of chamber music recordings. 

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Janet Arms

FLUTE

A charismatic and versatile flutist, JANET ARMS has been a member of the New York City Opera orchestra since 1988. She has also performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Ballet, Metropolitan Opera, as guest principal flutist with the St. Louis Symphony in the US and throughout Europe, as well as with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston, at Tanglewood, and on tour. She has a long-standing association with the Bard Festival Orchestra and the American Symphony Orchestra, has worked with the NYC Ballet, American Ballet Theater, New Jersey Symphony, as well as subbed on Broadway in The King and I, Finding Neverland and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. As a faculty member of the Hartt School, Janet holds the title of Senior Artist Teacher as well as the Associate Chair of Chamber Music of Winds and Brass. She has been a faculty member of the Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy – PRISMA  in Powell River, BC for many years and has spent several summers in Brazil, teaching and performing with the faculty of the renowned Festival Eleazar de Carvalho in Fortaleza. As an active performer in commercial recording here in NYC, Janet can be heard on a number of film documentaries for PBS. Scored by Michael Bacon, these include Jewish Americans, The Kennedy Years, and The Roosevelt Years to name a few. She made her recital debut at Carnegie Hall as a prizewinner of the Concert Artists International competition while completing her Masters degree at Juilliard. Ms. Arms’ chamber music career has included appearances with her NYC Opera colleagues at Lincoln Center, performances at the Eastern Shore Chamber Music Festival, with the Concordia Chamber Players, the New York Chamber Soloists and appearances at PRISMA where her colleagues from the Chicago Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, LA Philharmonic, Vancouver Symphony, and Victoria Symphony Orchestra. Her most recent chamber music project, The Pandora Duo, is a  collaboration with guitarist and fellow Hartt faculty member Christopher Ladd.

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Shari Hoffman

CLARINET

SHARI HOFFMAN is currently the second clarinetist with the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra, and the Stamford Symphony, and enjoys an active career as a freelance musician in the New York City area.  She regularly performs with many of the country’s finest orchestras, including those of the Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Opera, as well as the New York City Ballet, and the New Jersey Symphony.  Comfortable performing in many musical styles, Ms. Hoffman has been a member of numerous Broadway show orchestras including “My Fair Lady”, “The King and I”, and “South Pacific”.  She is an active chamber musician, and a passionate teacher.  Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Ms. Hoffman completed her Bachelors and Masters degrees at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.  Her principal teachers were Jon Manasse, Eli Eban, and Ken Grant.

 

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Hyona Kim

VOICE

Lauded by the New York Times as a “vibrant mezzo soprano” and a “dark toned, agile Mezzo soprano”, HYONA KIM is currently in her second season with the  Dortmund Opera in Germany as a member of the ensemble and performed the role of Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Ortrud in Wagner’s Lohengrin and Tante/Kamel in Avner Dorman’s world premiere production Die Kinder des Sultans. Last season in Dortmund, she made her much acclaimed house and role debut singing Amneris in Verdi's Aïda and next season, she will be singing the title role in the German premiere production of Frédégonde by Ernest Guiraud and Camille Saint-Saëns, and the role of Fricka in Wagner’s Die Walküre. Kim made her San Francisco Opera debut singing one of the leading roles, Lady Wang in Bright Sheng’s world premiere Dream of the Red Chamber under Geroge Manahan and was critically acclaimed as “Unstoppable powerhouse” by the San Francisco Chronicle and performed the same role with Hong Kong Arts Festival under Muhai Tang. She has also sung with New York City Opera, Romanian National Opera, Opera Lancaster, Opera Company of Middlebury among others. Other roles which she has performed around the world include Azucena in Verdi's Il Trovatore, Dame Quickly in Verdi’s Falstaff, Hermia in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream,Wowkle in Puccini's La fanciulla del West, Olga inTchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and many more. Hyona Kim was a National finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra conducted by Marco Armiliato at Lincoln Center. She also was the Grand Winner of the Joy in Singing Competition and performed the winner’s solo Recital at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. She was a First Prize winner of the Gerda Lissner Competition, and a multiple grant winner at the Licia Albanese-Puccini and Giulio Gari Competitions. She is a grant recipient of the Olga Forrai Foundation and also won the Jennie Tourel prize in the Poulenc Competition. She won the Suri Competition and the Schubert Lied Competition in her native country, South Korea, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree at Ewha Womans University. She received her Master’s degree and Professional Studies Diploma from Mannes College of Music in New York City and was chosen to be the recipient of the Marian Marcus Wahl Memorial Award, awarded to a graduating singer showing particular excellence. During her time as a member of the Mannes Opera, she performed many roles with Metropolitan Opera conductor Joseph Colaneri such as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte (Mozart), Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart) and Annina in Verdi’s La Traviata (Verdi), all acclaimed by Opera News. Apart from Mannes College of Music, she has participated in many festivals and projects, including Aspen Music Festival, the Music Academy of the West, Israel’s International Vocal Arts Institute, the Natchez Music Festival and the Martina Arroyo Foundation. She made her Houston Grand Opera debut originating the role of Hal-Mo-Ni (grandmother) in Jeeyoung Kim’s From My Mother’s Mother at HGOco, and also has performed the lead role in Su Lian Tan’s opera Lotus Lives at Distler Hall at Tufts University in Boston. Kim has sung with the Nashville Symphony and the Sinfonia da Camera as the soloist in Handel’s Messiah and Verdi’s Requiem respectively. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with New England Symphonic Ensemble singing the alto solo in Vivaldi’s Gloria. She was the featured alto soloist in numerous concerts including performances of Bach’s St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Beethoven’s Symphony No.9. Passionate about chamber music and art song, Ms. Kim has appeared in many chamber music concerts and recitals with Mannes Baroque Chamber Players, the Guinnes Quartet as part of Viva Virginia, International Festival of Music, and also in several concerts of Ensemble 212, in works such as: Mahler’s Symphony No.2 and No. 3, world premieres for Chamber Orchestra both by Yoon Jae Lee, and Der Abschied from Das Lied von der Erde featured with Michael Mao Dance. She has participated in Stephanie Blythe and Alan Smith’s Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar which only performs Art Songs by living American composers. Kim also has sung with Brooklyn Art Song Society in their concert series of Les six: Francis Poulenc and Songs of Mahler.

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