Lin Ma pipa
Lin Ma is a Chinese pipa artist residing in New York City. She is among the top ten pipa masters accredited by China Central Television and is frequently featured in China Central Television’s flagship music program Elegant Chinese Music. She has performed in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Spain, Austria, Italy, Germany, France and Italy among others, and has been lauded by audience around the world. The music video of The Misty Rain of Jiangnan, one of her hit recordings, has been viewed over 10 million times across music streaming platforms, such as Youtube, Tencent Video, Sohu Video, and Youku.
Ms. Ma is the first Chinese folk instrumentalist who has been invited to perform at the Capital Hill in Washington D.C. and hold a pipa recital at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City. As an active music envoy that bridges cultures, she has collaborated with United Nations Peace Concert and Renwen Society of China Institute in New York City to promote Chinese music and culture.
Lin Ma has been the top prize winner of the prestigious competitions for the Chinese folk musical instruments, including Chinese Golden Bell Awards for Music, Wenhua Art Prize, International Competition for Chinese Traditional Musical Instruments. She is a member of the Chinese Musicians Association and earned her master’s degree from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing under the tutelage of Chinese pipa master Guanghua Li.
Zhen Chen composer/piano
Hailed as “brilliant” by Fanfare Magazine, multi-award winning pianist-composer Zhen Chen has performed as a soloist and chamber music artist at prominent music venues in USA and China, such as Stern Auditorium, Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall of Lincoln Center, Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center, and China National Centre for Performing Arts.
Mr. Chen has worked with prominent violinists Maxim Vengerov, Cho-Liang Lin, Elmira Darvarova and outstanding artists of the New York Philharmonic, such as principal oboist Liang Wang and hornist Howard Wall in concert and recording engagements. His debut recording FAURÉ, SCHUMANN, BARTÓK Sonatas for Violin and Piano in collaboration with acclaimed violinist Shuai Shi has received plaudits from listeners and critics of Fanfare, American Record Guide, Audiophile Audition and ClassicalNet. Fanfare described the recording as “inexpressibly beautiful” and a “perfect balance” with “sheer beauty of tone, fluent and fluid playing, and emotional refinement.”
Mr. Chen also wears another hat as a performer-composer who bridges Eastern and Western sensibility and musicality. His recent cross-culture and cross-genre composition works were crystalized in the CD recording ERGO: New Music for Piano and Chinese Folk Instruments. The album is praised for its “expressive, evocative, and colorful” melodies. (Sonograma Magazine) He became a Global Music Awards Silver Medal winner in 2017 for the composition in ERGO and his contribution to world music.
Mr. Chen received a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and a master’s degree in piano performance under Dr. Arkady Aronov at Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where he also earned a master’s degree in collaborative piano and chamber music.
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Cho-Liang Lin violin
Elmira Darvarova violin
GRAMMY-nominated recording artist, and a concert violinist since the age of four, Elmira Darvarova caused a sensation, becoming the first ever (and so far only) woman-concertmaster in the history of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Ms. Darvarova studied with Yfrah Neaman, Josef Gingold and Henryk Szeryng. With the MET Orchestra she toured Europe, Japan and the United States, and was heard on the MET's live weekly international radio broadcasts, television broadcasts and CDs for Sony, Deutsche Gramophone and EMI. Praised by The Strad for her “intoxicating tonal beauty and beguilingly sensuous phrasing" and "silky-smooth voluptuous tone”, she was featured in a Gramophone Magazine article about her world-premiere recording with the Vienna Radio Symphony of Vernon Duke's concerto (written for Heifetz in 1940).
As concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera, Ms. Darvarova has performed with the greatest conductors of our time, including the legendary Carlos Kleiber. She has appeared on the stages of five continents, and has performed concertos with the Moscow State Symphony, the Vienna Radio Symphony and with numerous European and American orchestras. She has shared the stage for symphonic and chamber performances with music giants such as James Levine, Janos Starker, Gary Karr, Pascal Rogé. She performs with the New York Piano Quartet, the Delphinium Trio, the Quinteto del Fuego and the Amram Ensemble. She is the Director of the New York Chamber Music Festival. She has given master classes at many festivals worldwide and is the Jury President of several international chamber music competitions in Europe.
David Geber cello
Liang Wang oboE
Milan Milisavljević viola
Howard Wall horn
Shenghua Hu violin
Yiduo Liu cello
Cellist Yiduo Liu is the Director of the New York Big Apple Music Festival and Paulus Hook Music Foundation. Before moving to the United States, Yidou was a cellist at the Shanghai Opera House Orchestra from 2007 to 2011 and served as the principal cellist in musical The Lion King’s Shanghai debut. Her CD releases include Xian Qin: Cello and Piano and The Cellist at Shaoxing Road in collaboration with Chinese music producer Wei Luo. She holds a master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music and a bachelor’s degree from Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
Ao Peng viola
Braxton Cook soprano saxophone
Curtis Nowosad drums
Curtis Nowosad is a New York-based drummer, composer and bandleader. A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Nowosad has distinguished himself touring coast-to-coast with his quintet, and performing in the bands of such world-class musicians as Marc Cary, Craig Harris, Jacques Schwarz-Bart and Philip Harper. His most recent album Dialectics, featuring Jimmy Greene and Derrick Gardner, was nominated for a JUNO award, won a WCMA and was named one of the top albums of 2015 by DownBeat Magazine. Nowosad is an alumnus of Manhattan School of Music and the University of Manitoba.