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Guest Artists 2016

Kim Kashkashian 

Kim Kashkashian

Kim Kashkashian studied the viola with Karen Tuttle. She also studied at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. She won the 2nd prize at the 1980 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition and the 1980 ARD International Music Competition in Munich. She has been featured on over 30 albums and performs pieces from both classical and contemporary composers, working among others with Gidon Kremer and Yo Yo Ma, the Vienna Philharmonic andNikolaus Harnoncourt. She also played the viola in the soundtrack of the film Ulysses' Gaze, together with Eleni Karaindrou. Her albums have won awards, notably the 1999 Edison Prize and the Cannes Prize for Chamber Music in 2000. 

She commissioned new works for the viola, from composers such as Tigran Mansurian and Peter Eötvös

Kashkashian won a 2013 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for the 2012 album Kurtág / Ligeti: Music for Viola. 

Kashkashian currently teaches at the New England Conservatory. Previously she taught at Freiburg and in Berlin. Among her students are Julia Rebekka Adler, Sheila Browne, Lim Soon Lee and Diemut Poppen. She is the founder and artistic director of Music for Food, a musician-led initiative for local hunger relief. Kashkashian was a Decoda guest artist in 2015. 

 Guest Artists 2015

Caroline Adelaide Shaw

Caroline ShawCaroline Adelaide Shaw is a New York-based musician appearing in many different guises. Trained primarily as a violinist from an early age in North Carolina, she is a Grammy-winning singer in Roomful of Teeth and in 2013 became the youngest ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, for her enigmatic composition Partita for 8 Voices (also nominated for a Grammy for Best Classical Composition). She will make her solo violin debut in 2015 with the Cincinnati Symphony (MusicNOW). She is the inaugural musician in residence at Dumbarton Oaks in the fall of 2014, and she will be the Composer in Residence for two years (through 2016) with Vancouver's Music on Main. Caroline has also performed with ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble), the Trinity Wall Street Choir, Alarm Will Sound, the Mark Morris Dance Group Ensemble, the Knights, Victoire, the Yehudim, and many others. (And she has appeared incognito as a backup singer or violinist, on Saturday Night Live with Paul McCartney, on Letterman with The National, on the Tonight Show with the Roots.)

Caroline was virtually unknown as a composer before the Pulitzer announcement in 2013, having written only a handful of pieces. While committed to maintaining a busy freelance career as a violinist and singer, performing primarily contemporary classical music, she has taken commissions to create new work for the Carmel Bach Festival, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Guggenheim Museum (FLUX Quartet), The Crossing, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Other personal projects include the development of an evening-length theater work, Ritornello, and a slowly-evolving ambient electronic album. Caroline studied for fifteen years with Suzuki violin pedagogue Joanne Bath before working with Kathleen Winkler at Rice (B.M. violin) and Syoko Aki (M.M. violin) at Yale, and she is currently a doctoral candidate in composition at Princeton. She has been a Rice Goliard Fellow (busking and fiddling in Sweden) and a Yale Baroque Ensemble fellow, and she was a recipient of the infamous Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, to study historical formal gardens and live out of a backpack for a year. As a teenager many years ago, she spent a life-changing summer playing chamber music at Kinhaven Music School in Vermont.

John Marcus

John MarcusJohn Marcus is a native New Yorker, and a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he received his pre-college division diploma, and his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. He also holds a postgraduate certificate from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. His teachers include Dorothy DeLay and David Takeno. As a member of the Grammy-nominated Enso String Quartet, John has performed extensively as a chamber musician throughout the United States, Latin America, and Europe. He gave his first public performance at the age of nine at the Mozarteum in Salzburg; and at fifteen, he performed at Lincoln Center as the winner of the Julliard Violin Competition. For the 1993 gala opening of the Harris Concert Hall in Aspen, Colorado, John appeared as a soloist alongside Pinchas Zukerman and the Aspen Chamber Symphony. For this occasion, the Stradivarius Society of Chicago lent John the 1742 "Burmeister" Guarnerius del Gesu violin. John has frequently toured Germany as a recitalist, and recently premiered the John Corigliano Sonata for Violin for Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Germany's leading public radio network. In his hometown of New York City, John has performed for numerous concert series, including LPR, Barbes, BargeMusic and in collaboration with members of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project. John has also performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group, and the New Juilliard Ensemble. As a member of the New York-based chamber music group "The Knights" he has toured throughout the United States and Europe. John has performed at many festivals, including Ravinia, Aspen, Tanglewood, Interlochen, San Miguel de Allende, Campos do Jordao International Winter Festival, Verbier, and Spoletto. Musicians with whom John Marcus has worked include James Dunham, Vera Beths, Ursula Oppens, Sam Rhodes, Peter Oundjian, and Cho-Liang Lin. John loves to cook for his family, and plays on a Joseph Ceruti violin, made in 1816.


Guest Artists 2014

Michael Caterisano, percussion

Percussionist Michael Caterisano has performed all over the world with a wide range of ensembles. He regularly plays with the New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, and the Knights, and has also performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony and Alarm Will Sound. From 2009 to 2011 he was Assistant Principal Percussionist in La Orquesta de la Cominitat Valenciana in Valencia, Spain. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Stephen Dunn, trombone

Trombonist Stephen Dunn is an active orchestral and chamber musician, and an avid performer of new music. In addition to regular appearances on concert stages in New York City, he has performed with the Cincinnati, Hartford, and New Haven symphonies, and as principal trombone of the Aspen Chamber Symphony, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, and la Orquesta Sinfónica de la UANL in Monterrey, Mexico. Dunn's continued commitment to education and community engagement has led him to join the teaching artist faculties of the NY Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute, where he works to more deeply incorporate music into educational settings. A graduate of Rutgers University and the Yale School of Music, Dunn is also an alumnus of The Academy, the prestigious postgraduate fellowship program of Carnegie Hall and The Juilliard School.

Elizabeth Janzen, flute

A native of Newfoundland, Canada, Dr. Elizabeth Janzen's playing has been hailed in the New York Times as "...athletic, graceful..." Janzen has established herself as a prominent chamber and contemporary musician. She began her flute studies at the age of eleven, and her passion for music soon propelled her to a national competition level. She pursued formal studies at the University of Toronto, with Susan Hoeppner and at the Manhattan School of Music, where she completed her Master and Doctorate degrees with Linda Chesis.

As a winner of New York's prestigious Artist International Competition, Janzen gave her debut recital at Carnegie Hall in 2005. Her performance, which included a world premiere by J. Mark Stambaugh, was praised in the New York Concert Review for the "...velvety tone radiating from her flute..." and her "...impressive technical abilities...flair and wit with the musical phrase...." In 2007 she was invited to be the first flute fellow in The Academy, a prestigious new post-graduate program developed by Carnegie Hall, the Weill Music Institute and The Juilliard School. Since then, she has been in high demand as a recitalist, chamber musician and clinician across the United States, Canada and Mexico.

As an orchestral musician, she has had the privilege of working closely with some of the world's most recognized conductors. She has performed solo flute in Pierre Boulez's "...explosante-fixe..." under the composer's baton, and she has worked on both contemporary and period music with conductors as diverse as David Robertson, Sir Simon Rattle and Christopher Hogwood. Her interests in promoting contemporary repertoire and community programming have also led to close collaborations with esteemed artists including Paula Robison, Orli Shaham and Dawn Upshaw.

A dedicated chamber musician, Janzen tours nationally throughout the year as a member of The Fireworks Ensemble, an amplified contemporary chamber ensemble. She plays a double role in the ensemble: in addition to her flute duties, she designs and leads the ensemble's outreach performances including master classes and family concerts. Several times a year she also tours internationally with the ACJW Alumni Ensemble; past projects have included performances in Japan, India, Germany and Mexico.

Equally devoted to her work as a teacher, Dr. Janzen's students have been invited to participate in prestigious programs including the Brevard Festival and the Tanglewood Festival. She has served as a flute teacher, chamber coach and teaching artist for many acclaimed institutions, including the Manhattan School of Music Precollege, The Diller-Quaile School of Music, the New York Summer Music Festival, the New York Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall. She is currently the Assistant Professor of Flute at Texas A&M University Kingsville.

Brandon Ridenour, trumpet

In 2006, at the age of 20, Brandon Ridenour became the youngest member to ever join the prestigious Canadian Brass; a position he held for 7 years. The same year, he won the International Trumpet Guild solo competition playing his own composition, Sonata for Trumpet and Piano, and made his solo orchestral debut with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center Brandon is a recipient of several composition awards, including the Morton Gould ASCAP Young Composer's Award and the Reveille Collective Composition Prize. This year he is soloing with orchestras around the continent, playing his most recent concerto-sized composition, "Fantasy Variations" on a theme by Paganini. The piece is also featured on his latest solo album, "Fantasies and Fairy Tales", which includes many new adaptations for the trumpet. With repertoire that spans from Monteverdi to Radiohead, Brandon has appeared in front of many distinguished ensembles, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Aspen Festival Orchestra, Brass Band of Battle Creek, Ensemble ACJW, New Juilliard Ensemble, and the San Francisco, Dallas, Detroit, Toronto, National Arts Center, Indianapolis, Nashville, Jacksonville, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestras. He has been invited to play in the trumpet section of some of the world's leading ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic, International Contemporary Ensemble, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in Europe. Ridenour is a graduate of the Juilliard School and an alumnus of The Academy, a two-year fellowship program with Carnegie Hall, Juilliard and the Weill Music Institute. He began playing piano at the age of 5 under the tutelage of his father, Rich Ridenour. The two perform regularly now as a father-son duo and have created their own repertoire of arrangements for trumpet and piano. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. 

Kris Saebo, bass

Bassist Kris Saebo leads a versatile musical life in New York City. His roles regularly include: recording artist, soloist, bass guitarist, chamber musician, orchestral bassist, composer/arranger, and teaching artist. He is an active member of Decoda, New York Classical Players, Solisti Ensemble, The Chris Norman Ensemble and performs regularly with A Far Cry, Ensemble ACJW, Wordless Music Orchestra, Cygnus Ensemble, and subs on the Broadway show Matilda. Saebo has worked with artists such as Sir Simon Rattle, Dawn Upshaw, Jamey Haddad,
and Nas. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from The Juilliard School, where his teachers were Orin O'Brien and Homer Mensch. Saebo is also an alum of Carnegie Hall's Ensemble ACJW, Academy program.

James Austin Smith, oboe

Praised for his "dazzling", "virtuosic" and "brilliant" performances (The New York Times), oboist James Austin Smith performs equal parts new and old music across the United States and around the world. Smith is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS2), the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Talea Ensemble and Decoda, as well as a regular guest of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Cygnus. In the fall of 2012 he joined the faculty of the State University of New York at Purchase.

Smith's festival appearances include Marlboro, Lucerne, Chamber Music Northwest, Schleswig-Holstein, Stellenbosch, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, OK Mozart, Schwetzingen, Music@Menlo and Spoleto USA; he has performed with the St. Lawrence and Orion string quartets and recorded for the Nonesuch, Bridge, Mode and Kairos labels. He received his Master of Music degree in 2008 from the Yale School of Music and graduated in 2005 with Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) and Bachelor of Music degrees from Northwestern University. He spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Leipzig, Germany at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy" and is an alumnus of "The Academy", a collaboration of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, the Weill Music Institute and the New York City Department of Education. Mr. Smith's principal teachers are Stephen Taylor, Christian Wetzel, Humbert Lucarelli, Hansjörg Schellenberger and Ray Still.

The son of musician parents and eldest of four boys, Mr. Smith was born in New York and raised in Connecticut.