An all-star line-up of some of New York City's most highly esteemed chamber musicians drawn who perform regularly at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall.They will perform two of the great masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire; Schubert's Two Cello String Quintet, D.956 and Bartok's String Quartet #1. Flutist Karen Kevra will join them for Mozart's A major Flute Quartet, K. 298.
Laurie Smukler - violinist, admired for her intensity and the beauty of her sound, is an artist who is active as soloist and recitalist. In addition she has established a reputation as one of the finest chamber musicians in the country. Growing up in Cleveland, she began her studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music, with pedagogue Margaret Randall. She started performing early, winning local competitions, and playing as soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra at the age of fourteen. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School where she studied with Ivan Galamian. Other teachers who had a powerful influence on her development were Donald Weilerstein, Robert Mann, Rudolf Serkin and Menahem Pressler. Ms. Smukler''s performing career has been multi-faceted. As the original and founding first violinist of the Mendelssohn String Quartet, she spent eight years traveling and performing internationally with them. She has performed and toured with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society. With her husband, violist Ira Weller, she directed and performed in the respected series “The Collection in Concert”, at the Pierpont Morgan Library. Dedicated to teaching as well as to performing, Laurie Smukler, in addition to being on the faculty of the Bard College Conservatory, is a respected member of the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and the Mannes College of Music. She spent 17 years as a professor of violin and chamber music at Purchase College Conservatory of Music, ten of those years as head of the string department. Ms. Smukler also teaches and performs at the prestigious Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival and School in Blue Hill, Maine, in the summer. She has been an invited guest at many summer festivals, including Kneisel Hall, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Marlboro Festival, Chambermusic Northwest, the Bard Festival, the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Skaneateles Festival, Music Mountain and the Mount Desert Island Festival. Ms. Smukler is a sought after collaborator, and has performed with many of the great artists of our day. She also has a particular interest in contemporary music and has premiered works by many composers including Ned Rorem, Morton Subotnik, Steven Paulus, Shulamit Ran, and Bruce Adolphe. Ms. Smukler plays a Petrus Guarnerius violin made in Venice in 1738.
Ari Isaacman-Beck - violinist, originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, was the second-prizewinner at the Sion-Valais International Violin Competition, during which he appeared as soloist in the Tonhalle in Zürich with the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Shlomo Mintz. Following the competition, he was praised by the Swiss newspaper Le Nouveliste for his “impressive, masterful finesse. Isaacman-Beck has performed frequent solo recitals throughout the midwest and on the east coast, and appeared with the New York City Ballet Orchestra in the ensemble’s 2010 New York and summer seasons. Prior to three summers at Kneisel Hall, Isaacman-Beck participated in the ENCORE School for Strings in Ohio. Isaacman-Beck received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of David Updegraff; while at the Cleveland Institute, he received the Joseph and Elsie Scharff Prize in Violin. At the New England Conservatory, he was the recipient of the Borromeo String Quartet’s Guest Artist Award and performed the Mendelssohn Octet in Jordan Hall alongside the Borromeo Quartet, and, among other colleagues, Trio Cleonice’s cellist, Gwen Krosnick. Isaacman-Beck received his Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Ronald Copes, as well as a Professional Studies Diploma from Mannes as a student of Laurie Smukler and Mark Steinberg. Isaacman-Beck has performed as soloist with the Cleveland Bach Consort, the Minnetonka Symphony, and the MacPhail Orchestra. During Trio Cleonice’s residency at the New England Conservatory, Isaacman-Beck is a Graduate Diploma Candidate as a student of Donald Weilerstein and will serve on the chamber music faculty of New England Conservatory’s Preparatory Division.
Marka Gustavsson - violist, lives in the Hudson Valley with her composer/pianist husband John Halle, son Benjamin, and dog Rhoda. A member of the Colorado Quartet since January 2000, she has appeared at Bard, Newport, and Mostly Mozart Festivals, and has performed cycles of the Beethoven, Bartok, and Schubert string quartets. Marka has collaborated and performed solo and chamber works of composers Joan Tower, George Tsontakis, Martin Bresnick, Daniel Godfrey, and John Halle, among others. Recent seasons have included invitations to chamber music festivals such as Portland, Skaneateles, and Bennington. In the quartet, Marka is fortunate to play on a Grancino viola from 1680 with a Leonard Tourte bow, however she also enjoys playing her Sam Zygmuntowicz viola and ARCUS bow. She currently holds a teaching position at Bard College. After studying abroad in Paris at the CNSM, and in Holland, Marka earned degrees from Indiana University, Mannes, and CUNY, where her formative teachers were Mimi Zweig, Joseph Gingold, Felix Galimir, and Daniel Phillips.
Gwen Krosnick - cellist, is a founding member of Trio Cleonice, formed in 2008, currently the Graduate Piano Trio-in-Residence at the New England Conservatory. As a member of Trio Cleonice, Gwen has performed concerts across the U.S., including recent Kennedy Center and Jordan Hall debuts, and won top prize at the 2012 Arriaga Chamber Music Competition. Gwen has premiered works written for her by Ralph Shapey and Richard Wernick, and Trio Cleonice will premier a new piano trio by Wernick in spring 2013. A double-degree student at Oberlin College and Conservatory, Ms. Krosnick received her Bachelor of Music Degree as a cello student of Darrett Adkins in addition to her Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian Language and Literature. She currently studies with Natasha Brofsky at the New England Conservatory, where she is pursuing a Masters degree. In addition to her performing career, Gwen serves on the chamber music faculty of New England Conservatory’s Preparatory Division and the Rivers School Conservatory. She has given masterclasses at Oberlin Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Peabody Institute Preparatory, and Husson and Baldwin-Wallace Colleges. Ms. Krosnick spent five summers as a young artist at Kneisel Hall and was a student for four years at Greenwood Music Camp, where she returned as a counselor in 2010 and 2011 where she currently serves on their Board of Directors. A four-time alumna of the Yellow Barn Young Artists Program, Gwen performed as a participant in the main Yellow Barn Festival in the summer of 2012.
Natasha Brofsky - cellist, has enjoyed a career in both the United States and Europe. As cellist of the Naumburg award–winning Peabody Trio, she has performed on important chamber music series throughout the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, at venues including Wigmore Hall in London, Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington. The trio has been heard on numerous radio broadcasts, including CBC, Radio Canada, and WGBH. The trio has recorded on New World, CRI and Artek. Their recording of the Beethoven Op. 70 Trios for Artek was hailed by The Strad as as "some of the most accomplished Beethoven playing I have heard in many a year..." Two more Beethoven Trios, Op. 1, were released on Artek and featured in Gramophone.In addition to her work with the Peabody Trio, Brofsky has performed as guest with numerous ensembles, including the Takács, Prazak, Cassatt, Norwegian, Jupiter, Ying, and Borromeo quartets. During nearly a decade in Europe, Brofsky held principal positions in the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra under Iona Brown. The Chamber Orchestra toured internationally, performing at the Proms in London, the Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall. In addition, she was a member of the Serapion Ensemble, performing with them in Germany and Austria, and the string trio Opus 3, which performed throughout Norway for Rikskonsertene, the Norwegian State Concert Agency.A sought-after teacher, Brofsky has given masterclasses at many schools, including San Francisco Conservatory, Peabody Conservatory, and Boston University, as well as for El Sistema in Venezuela. She has taught at Barratt-Due's Institute in Oslo, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the Heifetz Institute. Since 2001, she has been on the faculty at the Yellow Barn Festival in Vermont. Following her college studies, Brofsky was awarded a Fulbright Grant to study with William Pleeth in London, where she won the Muriel Taylor Cello Prize. She joined the New England Conservatory cello faculty in 2004, and serves as assistant chair of strings.
Karen Kevra - flutist, has won attention as one of the country's outstanding flutists through her distinctive warm and extroverted performances as a soloist and chamber musician, and has been hailed as "having a musical focus and depth seen in few flutists anywhere." Kevra's commitment to expanding the modern flute repertoire includes the premier recording, Works for Flute and Piano of Louis Moyse-CRI which earned a 2003 Grammy nomination and accolades from numerous American reviewers. "Romantic Music for Flute and Piano" her latest CD was praised by the Boston Musical Intelligencer for “sublimely satisfying flute-playing.” Kevra has performed throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe including performances at Carnegie Hall, the French Embassy in Washington D.C., and on French National Television, and has shared the stage with Jaime Laredo, the Paris Piano Trio, Trio Pasquier, Borromeo String Quartet, Boston Chamber Music Society, members of the Emerson and Talich String Quartets, and Trey Anastasio of Phish. Kevra is the founder and Artistic Director of Capital City Concerts and directs Summer Music from Greensboro, both based in Vermont. When she's not playing the flute, you can find her at home preparing Middle Eastern feasts, digging in the garden, and listening to her beloved Red Sox on the radio. Visit www.karenkevra.com