Miles Hoffman, Host
Miles Hoffman is renowned violist and artistic director of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States and Canada. He has also appeared as a soloist with many orchestras around the country, performing a broad repertoire that ranges from baroque to contemporary compositions, and he has been a featured lecturer for orchestras, universities, chamber music series, festivals, and various other organizations. Before joining Morning Edition as a commentator in 2002, Hoffman entertained and enlightened the nationwide audience of NPR's Performance Today every week for 13 years with his musical commentary, "Coming to Terms," a listener-friendly tour through the many foreign words and technical terms peculiar to the world of classical music. That segment eventually led to a book by Hoffman, The NPR Classical Music Companion: Terms and Concepts from A to Z.
Hoffman is currently dean of the Petrie School of Music at Converse College in Spartanburg, S.C., and author of The NPR Classical Music Companion, now in its ninth printing from the Houghton Mifflin Company. He currently produces and hosts A Minute with Miles on ETV Radio, short segments that inform and entertain as they provide illuminating 60-second flights through the world of classical music.
Geoff Nuttall, Artistic Director
Nuttall began playing the violin at the age of eight after moving to Ontario from Texas. He spent most of his musical studies under the tutelage of Lorand Fenyves at the Banff Centre, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of Toronto, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1989 he co-founded the St. Lawrence String Quartet. As first violinist of this world-renowed chamber ensemble, he has played more than 2,000 concerts throughout North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
In 2005 Nuttall performed Gyorgy Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments for soprano and violin in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall with Dawn Upshaw, staged by Peter Sellars. He returned to Zankel Hall the following year for the In Your Ear Too Festival, performing works for solo violin by Biber and a newly commissioned work by Chris Paul Harman. Also in 2006, he was soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic during their Minimalist Jukebox Festival, performing Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa concerto for two violins with Barry Shiffman. In 2008 he joined Dawn Upshaw and Peter Sellars for a revival of Kafka Fragments in New York, Los Angeles, and Berkeley, and did so again in 2010 for concerts in London, Brussels, and Rome. Nuttall and the St. Lawrence String Quartet first played Spoleto Festival USA in 1995, and over the years have become welcome regulars in the beloved chamber music series.
In addition to its busy concert and recording schedule, the award-winning St. Lawrence String Quartet has served as Graduate Ensemble-in-Residence at the Juilliard School, Yale University, and Hartt School of Music, acting as teaching assistants to the Juilliard, Tokyo, and Emerson String Quartets. Nuttall is now on faculty at Stanford University, where the St. Lawrence String Quartet has been Ensemble-in-Residence since 1999, and makes his home in California’s Bay Area with his wife, violinist Livia Sohn, and their son, Jack.
Inon Barnatan, piano
Barnatan is gaining recognition for his communicative performances and engaging programming. Among his 2010-2011 season highlights were debut performances with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, and Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the latter as conductor and pianist for its U.S. tour. He also returned to the Houston Symphony, with whom he made his U.S. concerto debut in 2007, and gave recitals in Chicago, New York, Vancouver, and at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He has curated concerts of Schubert’s late solo piano and chamber music works for The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Concertgebouw, the Festival de Mèxico, and the Library of Congress. In 2009 Barnatan was awarded Lincoln Center’s prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.
Tyler Duncan, baritone
Duncan has sung Dandini in La Cenerentola for Pacific Opera Victioria; Papageno in Die Zauberflöte in Rotterdam and Utrecht; Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Princeton Festival; and the High Priest in Idomeneo at the Strauss Festival in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Other engagements include Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Toronto Symphony and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Montréal Symphony. A founding member of the Vancouver International Song Institute, Duncan has given recitals and concerts in Europe, South Africa, and across North America. His recordings include a DVD of Messiah, a CD of Carissimi motets and upcoming releases of Bach’s St. John Passion and Blow’s Venus and Adonis. Duncan has won the Pro Musicis International Award and prizes from the Naumburg, Wigmore Hall, ARD, and New York Oratorio Society competitions. He made his Spoleto Festival USA debut in Flora, an Opera.
Anthony Manzo, double bass
Manzo enjoys performing in a broad variety of musical forums, despite the attendant complications of airline travel with a double bass! A sought after chamber musician, he is also solo bassist of San Francisco’s New Century Chamber Orchestra, and a regular guest artist with the National Symphony (Washington, DC) and Camerata Salzburg in Austria. He recently completed two tours with the Camerata Salzburg as soloist with bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff. Other recent highlights include performances with the St. Lawrence Quartet, with Menachem Pressler and the Auryn Quartet, and a critically-acclaimed U.S. tour with the New Century Chamber Orchestra. He is an active performer on period instruments with groups including The Handel & Haydn Society of Boston and Opera Lafayette in Washington, D.C. Manzo is on faculty at the University of Maryland and the National Orchestral Institute. His instrument, made in Paris around 1890 by Jerome Thibouville Lamy, now has a removable neck for travel!
Pedja Muzijevic, piano, harpsichord
Muzijevic made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Oberlin Symphony under conductor Robert Spano in January 2007. He has appeared with the Atlanta Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague, Dresden Philharmonic, Shinsei Nihon Orchestra in Tokyo, Montevideo Symphony Orchestra, and Zagreb Philharmonic, and has given solo recitals at such prestigious venues as Alice Tully Hall in New York, Santiago’s Teatro Municipal, Tokyo’s Casals Hall and Bunka Kaikan, and Britain’s Aldeburgh Festival. His many festival engagements include the Lucerne, Holland, Mostly Mozart, Melbourne, and Dubronvnik festivals. Muzijevic’s recordings include Sonatas and Other Interludes (juxtaposing music for prepared piano by John Cage with composers ranging from Wilhelm Friedemann Bach to Liszt); Beethoven, Mozart, and Schumann chamber music on period instruments; and a live recording of his Carnegie Hall debut.
Tara Helen O’Connor, flute
Tara Helen O'Connor has performed in 15 Spoleto Festivals in Charleston. She recently performed in New York (the 30th anniversary of "Wall to Wall Bach" at Symphony Space) and Paris (the premiere of a new work written for her by composer John Zorn). She appears regularly at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest and Music from Angel Fire, and is a member of the New Millennium Ensemble, the woodwind ensemble Windscape, the chamber ensemble Andalucian Dogs and the Bach Aria Group. Winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, O'Connor was the first wind player chosen to participate in The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's CMS Two residency. A Grammy nominee, her next CD release will feature the Bach flute sonatas. She teaches at Purchase College Conservatory of Music, Manhattan School of Music and the Bard College Conservatory of Music.
Todd Palmer, clarinet
Todd Palmer, a three-time Grammy nominee, returns to Spoleto Festival USA for this chamber music series. Highlights of his most recent concert season include performances of Osvaldo Golijov's The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind with the BBC Scottish and Atlanta symphony orchestras under conductor Robert Spano, collaborations with the St. Lawrence and Brentano quartets, and several Los Angeles-area performances of Ricky Ian Gordon's song cycle/theatre work Orpheus and Euridice with Metropolitan Opera star Elizabeth Futral. Palmer is also currently performing in Lincoln Center's revival of South Pacific. His recordings include the Ghostlight release of Gordon's Orpheus and Euridice and the EMI Classics release of Golijov's Yiddishbbuk with the St. Lawrence String Quartet, which won the European Classical Prelude Award.
Daniel Phillips violin, viola
Daniel Phillips, winner of the Young Concert Artists Auditions in 1976, participated in the first Spoleto Festival USA chamber music concerts in 1977. He is a co-founder of the Orion String Quartet, the resident quartet of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. They have toured internationally in a unique collaboration with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, and have recorded string quartets written for them by jazz greats Wynton Marsalis and Chick Corea, as well a recent release of Beethoven quartets. Phillips has also toured and recorded in a string quartet with Gidon Kremer, Kim Kashkashian and Yo-Yo Ma. He studied at Juilliard and is professor of violin at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College (CUNY). Daniel Phillips lives in Manhattan with his wife, flutist Tara Helen O'Connor.
The St. Lawrence String Quartet
The St. Lawrence String Quartet has spent 15 seasons as the Spoleto Festival USA's Quartet in Residence. Having walked on stage together nearly 2000 times in the last twenty years, the St. Lawrence String Quartet has established itself among the world-class chamber ensembles of its generation. The group continues to build on its reputation for imaginative, spontaneous music making that the Washington Post calls "emotionally high charged but never out of control."
In 1992 the Quartet won the Banff International String Quartet Competition and Young Concert Artists International Auditions, launching a career that has taken them around the world. The quartet is committed to performing and expanding the works of living composers, and has been involved in numerous inventive collaborations, including projects with Pilobolus Dance Theatre and the Emerson Quartet. In 2007 they joined with soprano Heidi Grant Murphy and pianist Kevin Murphy to premiere Roberto Sierra's Songs from the Diaspora. Their discography includes quartets of Schumann, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, and the Grammy-nominated release of Osvaldo Golijov's Yiddishbbuk. Since 1998 they have held the position of Ensemble in Residence at Stanford University. Members of the St. Lawrence String Quartet are Geoff Nuttall (violin), Scott St. John (violin), Lesley Robertson (viola) and Christopher Costanza (cello).
James Austin Smith, oboe
Praised for his “brilliant” (The New York Times) performances, oboist James Austin Smith is an active performer of and advocate for chamber and new music. Mr. Smith is an artist of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and the Talea Ensemble, and a regular guest of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Cygnus, and East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO). Smith’s festival appearances include Marlboro, Lucerne, Chamber Music Northwest, Schleswig-Holstein, OK Mozart, Schwetzingen and Spoleto USA; he has recorded for the Nonesuch, Bridge, Mode and Kairos labels. He is a recent alumnus of "The Academy", a collaboration of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, the Weill Music Institute and the New York City Department of Education. He graduated in 2005 with Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) and Bachelor of Music degrees from Northwestern University, and received his Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music. He spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Leipzig, Germany at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy." While studying in Leipzig, he co-directed a concert of German and American musicians and performed as a guest recitalist at the residence of the American General Consul to Leipzig.
Livia Sohn, violin
Livia Sohn has graced the international stage as a soloist with over 80 orchestras on five continents. She started playing the violin at age five, gave her first public performance three years later, and captured First Prize in the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition at 13. An avid chamber musician, Sohn has performed at festivals throughout the United States and in Finland, Canada, Mexico, and Colombia. Recent highlights include the Bruch Concerto with Green Bay Symphony; the Rorem Concerto with Boca Raton Philharmonic; chamber music at the Newport Music Festival and Pender Harbour Music Festival; and recitals in Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Madrid. She has released two CDs, Opera Fantasies and Jonathan Berger’s Miracles and Mud; upcoming are releases of the Britten Concerto and Jiyeh, a concerto written for her by Berger. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Sohn now serves on the music faculty at Stanford University. She plays a J.B. Guadagnini violin crafted in 1770 and a 2006 Samuel Zygmuntowicz.
Alisa Weilerstein, cello
Weilerstein has, at age 29, attracted widespread attention for playing that combines a natural virtuosic command and technical precision with impassioned musicianship. Her performances at Spoleto Festival USA followed a 15-date U.S. tour performing Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and conductors Yuri Temirkanov and Nikolai Alexeev that included concerts in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and Carnegie Hall. In September 2010 her performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto with Daniel Barenboim and the Berliner Philharnmoniker was released on DVD, a concert that was also televised worldwide. In 2009 she took part in a classical music workshop and concert at the White House. In 2006 Weilerstein won the Leonard Bernstein Award, and she was honored in 2008 with Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Prize for exceptional achievement.