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Alasdair Tait

Cello, UK
Formerly of the Belcea Quartet  

Scottish cellist Alasdair Tait has performed in many of the world’s major concert halls and is also much sought after as a chamber music coach. He was Head of Chamber Music at Guildhall School of Music until 2016 when he decided to devote his attention to the promotion and career development of young artists through his role as Chief Executive of Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT). He previously held the posts of Director of Chamber Music at the RNCM in Manchester, Artistic Director of the RNCM International Chamber Music Festival, Professor of Chamber Music at the International Chamber Music Institute of the Reina Sofia Conservatoire in Madrid and has been a regular professor on the Britten-Pears International Quartet Academy and the European Chamber Music Academy (ECMA). He is frequently invited as jury member on international competitions such as Melbourne, London and Banff International String Quartet Competitions. Most recently he has given masterclasses at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada, in Australia, Japan and Singapore as well as throughout Europe.

Alasdair studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester under Emma Ferrand and Ralph Kirshbaum and at the Musik Akademie in Basel, Switzerland, with Thomas Demenga. On returning to the UK in 1998, Alasdair joined the Belcea Quartet and was its cellist until 2006. During this time he has performed around the world with tours to Australia and New Zealand, the Far East, North and South America as well as throughout Europe and at some of the world’s most prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Köln Philharmonie, Concertgebouw, Chatelet, Cité de la Musique, Frankfurt Alte Oper and the Casals Hall in Tokyo. For five years the quartet was Resident Quartet at Wigmore Hall, a position which also included regular education work. As a member of the Belcea Quartet Alasdair has recorded for EMI CD’s of Schubert, Brahms, Britten, Mozart, Fauré and Barber and collaborated with Ian Bostridge, Thomas Ades, Thomas Kakushka and Jonathan Lemalu. Their disc of Debussy, Ravel and Duttilleux quartets won a Gramaphone Award and an earlier recording of Janacek was awarded a Diapason d’Or in France. As well as being one of the first groups to participate in the BBC New Generation Artists Scheme, the quartet were also twice recipients of the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Awards for Chamber Music Ensemble.

Alasdair has participated in many of the world’s important festivals including Edinburgh, Salzburg, Schubertiade, Risør, Delft, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham and Bath, performing alongside artists including Piotr Andrezewski, Christian Zacharias, Kathryn Stott, Imogen Cooper, Aleksander Madzar, Robert Levin,  Isabelle van Keulen, Alexander Janicek, Valentin Erben, Borodin Quartet, Heinz Holliger, Michael Collins, Simon Keenlyside, Dame Anne Murray and Christine Schäfer.

He is currently a council member for Aldeburgh Music, a trustee for the Ann Driver Trust, and previously was a Governor for Live Music Now UK and  founder board member of the European Chamber Music Teachers Association. In 2013 he was made a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy for his contribution to excellence in Teaching and Learning. In 2016, Alasdair was awarded the ABO (Association of British Orchestras) Artist Manager of the Year.

Yura Lee

Violin/viola, Korea/US
Member of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, violinist for trio with Juho Pohjonen and Jakob Koranyi, soloist/chamber musician on both violin and viola.

Violinist/violist Yura Lee is one of the most versatile and compelling artists of today. She is one of the very few in the world that has mastery of both violin and viola, and she actively performs both instruments equally. Her career spans through various musical mediums: both as a soloist and as a chamber musician, captivating audiences with music from baroque to modern, and enjoying a career that spans more than two decades that takes her all over the world.

Yura Lee was the only first prize winner awarded across four categories at the 2013 ARD Competition in Germany. She has won top prizes for both violin and viola in numerous other competitions, including first prize and audience prize at the 2006 Leopold Mozart Competition (Germany), first prize at the 2010 UNISA International Competition (South Africa), first prize at the 2013 Yuri Bashmet International Competition (Russia), and top prizes in Indianapolis (USA), Hannover (Germany), Kreisler (Austria), and Paganini (Italy) Competitions.

At age 12, Yura Lee became the youngest artist ever to receive the Debut Artist of the Year prize at the "Performance Today" awards given by National Public Radio. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant given by Lincoln Center in New York City. Yura Lee’s CD with Reinhard Goebel and the Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie, titled ‘Mozart in Paris’ (Oehms Classics) received the prestigious Diapason d’Or Award in France.

Yura Lee was nominated and represented by Carnegie Hall for its ECHO (European Concert Hall Organization) series. For this series, she gave recitals at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall and at nine celebrated concert halls in Europe: Wigmore Hall in London, Symphony Hall in Birmingham, Musikverein in Vienna, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Stockholm Konserthus, Athens Concert Hall, and Cologne Philharmonie.

As a soloist, Yura Lee has appeared with many major orchestras, including New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Monte Carlo Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic, to name a few. She has performed with conductors Christophe Eschenbach, Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, Myung-Whun Chung, Mikhail Pletnev, among many others.

As a chamber musician, Yura Lee regularly takes part in the Marlboro Festival, Salzburg Festival, Verbier Festival, La Jolla SummerFest, Seattle Festival, Caramoor Festival, Ravinia Festival, Kronberg Festival, Aspen Music Festival, among many others. She has collaborated with many artists including Gidon Kremer, Andras Schiff, Leonidas Kavakos, Mitsuko Uchida, Miklós Perényi, Yuri Bashmet, Menahem Pressler, and Frans Helmerson. Yura Lee is currently a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City, as both violinist and violist. She is also a member of the Boston Chamber Music Society, and the first violinist of the Enso String Quartet.

Yura Lee studied at the Juilliard School (New York City), New England Conservatory (Boston), Salzburg Mozarteum (Austria), and Kronberg Academy (Germany). Her main teachers were Namyun Kim, Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, Miriam Fried, Paul Biss, Thomas Riebl, Ana Chumachenko, and Nobuko Imai. She teaches both violin and viola at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She divides her time between NYC, Portland (Oregon), and Berlin (Germany).

Kyril Zlotnikov

Cello, Israel/Portugal
Jerusalem Quartet

Born in Minsk, Belarus to a family of professional musicians, Kyril Zlotnikov began his studies at the Belarusian State Music Academy with Prof. Vladimir Perlin. He continued his studies in Israel with Prof. Uzi Wiesel and Hillel Zori, completing his musical education under the direction Prof. Michael Khomitzer in Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance. While a student, Kyril Zlotnikov participated in master classes and courses with such prominent musicians as Isaac Stern, Yo-Yo Ma, Natalia Gutman, Boris Pergamenschikow, Aldo Parisot and Georgy Kurtag. Since 1991 Kyril Zlotnikov was a recipient of a scholarship from the America-Israel Culture Foundation, won prizes in many contests including the Clairmont Competition, the Braun-Roger Siegl Competition, the Pierre Tarcali Prize.

He is a founding member of the Jerusalem Quartet, recognised for its artistic creativity, and one of the most dynamic and exciting young quartets currently performing. The musicians have given performances all over the world and have become the Israel's leading string quartet. Since 2002 the Jerusalem Quartet records exclusively for Harmonia Mundi.

Along with his extensive chamber music appearances Kyril Zlotnikov has performed and been broadcast as a soloist with internationally renowned orchestras, such as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Ludwigsburg Symphony Orchestra, The Gulbenkian Orchestra, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Jerusalem Camerata and enjoys artistic collaboration with acclaimed conductors including Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta, Lawrence Foster, Asher Fish, Simone Young. He has a wide repertoire covering the important cello works of the baroque, the classical period, romantic and the contemporary music.

Kyril Zlotnikov is a regular guests at major chamber music festivals such as the Proms Festival, Verbier Festival, Vancouver, Gstaad, Saltzburg, Rheingau, Ravinia, Schleswig-Holstein, the Jerusalem and the Schwetzingen Festivals among others. A keen recitalist and chamber musician, Zlotnikov has shared the stage with the foremost artists of today such as Daniel Barenboim, András Schiff, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Pierre Boulez, Elena Bashkirova, Mitsuko Uchida, Natalia Gutman, Tabea Zimmerman, Miriam Fried, Michael Tree, Asher Fish, Nikolaj Znaider, Lang Lang, Itamar Golan, Martin Fröst.

Kyril Zlotnikov has served as a jury member for several international competitions, including the ARD International Music Competition in Munich 2016.

From 2001 till 2012 Kyril Zlotnikov was a principal cellist and a teacher of the cello group at the "WestEastern Divan Orchestra" under Maestro Daniel Barenboim. He also frequently took part in special projects and tours of the Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra as a principal cellist. Among many recordings with the Jerusalem Quartet, Zlotnikov has recorded the complete Mozart piano trios with Maestro Daniel Barenboim and violinist Nikolaj Znaider. The two CDs were released by EMI in April 2006.

Kyril Zlotnikov plays a 1710 Giovanni Battista Ruggieri cello which was loaned generously to him from a private collection for life.

Ian Munro

Piano, Australia

Ian Munro is one of Australia’s most distinguished and awarded musicians, with a career that has taken him to thirty-three countries in Europe, Asia, North America and Australasia. His award in 2003 of Premier Grand Prix at the Queen Elisabeth International Competition for composers (Belgium) is a unique achievement for an Australian and follows on from multiple prizes in international piano competitions in Spain, Italy and the UK, where his second prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 1987 established his international profile.

His international career began in the UK, where he has performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia, English Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and broadcast widely for the BBC. Elsewhere, he has performed with orchestras in Poland, Italy, Portugal, Russia, the USA, China, New Zealand and all the major orchestras in Australia in over sixty piano concerti. A widely experienced chamber musician, Ian joined the acclaimed Australia Ensemble in Sydney in 2000.

Ian has recorded CDs for Hyperion, Cala, Naxos, Marco Polo, Sony and Tall Poppies. Recent discs include music by Tasmanian composer Katharine Parker, Elena Kats-Chernin's second piano concerto, commissioned for him by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and Andrew Ford's 'Waltz Book'. Increasingly in demand as a composer, he was featured composer for Musica Viva in 2011. Recently, his flute concerto and song cycle ‘Three birds’ received premieres by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Australia Ensemble respectively, and Ensemble Liaison premiered 'Aus tiefer Noth', a homage to Bach. Projects for 2018 include a collaboration with William Barton and Wilma Smith, a children's music theatre piece for Blue Mountains Opera and a song cycle for Lee Abrahamsen and the Omega Ensemble, as well as a CD recording of Ian's popular arrangements of Ravel, Debussy, Fauré and Nazareth.

Sonia Simmenauer

Artist Manager, US/Germany

Sonia Simmenauer was born in the USA and grew up in Paris. From 1982 to 2008 she lived in Hamburg, where she founded Impresariat Simmenauer in 1989 as an agency exclusively for string quartets. The Alban Berg Quartet, the Cleveland Quartet, the Guarneri Quartet and the Tokyo String Quartet are among the artists Simmenauer represented in the latter stages of their careers.

In 2009, Impresariat Simmenauer moved its offices to Berlin, and today it represents a dozen internationally respected string quartets, among them the Arditti, Artemis, Hagen, Belcea, Quatuor Ébène, Cuarteto Casals and Jerusalem Quartets. Simmenauer also manages individuals such as violinists Isabelle Faust and Vadim Gluzman, cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, pianists Piotr Anderszewski, Alexander Melnikov, Elena Bashkirova, and more.

Simmenauer is a professor at the Musikhochschule in Hamburg, teaching a new area of studies called ‚Music Transmission’. She has written a book about life in a string quartet entitled ‚Muss es sein? Leben im Quartett’.

Simin Ganatra

Violin, Pakistan/US 
1st violinist of the Pacifica Quartet

Simin Ganatra is professor of violin and chair of the Strings Department at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She is also first violinist of the Pacifica Quartet, the school's quartet-in-residence.

Ganatra has won wide recognition for her performances throughout the United States and abroad. She has performed numerous times in such prestigious venues as Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebeouw in Amsterdam, and Carnegie's Zankel Hall. Collaborations include performances with Yo-Yo Ma, Anthony McGill, Lynn Harrell, and Menahem Pressler, among others.

She is the recipient of several awards and prizes, including a Grammy for best chamber music performance, the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, the Cleveland Quartet Award, and top prizes at the Concert Artists Guild Competition, Coleman Chamber Music Competition, Pasadena Instrumental Competition, and Schubert Club Competition.

Originally from Los Angeles, Ganatra studied with Idell Low, Robert Lipsett, and Roland and Almita Vamos. She is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, where she was concertmaster of the Oberlin Conservatory Orchestra and recipient of the Louis Kaufman Prize for outstanding performance in chamber music.

She was previously professor at the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana, Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago. She has many recordings on the Cedille Records label, including the complete string quartets of Felix Mendelssohn, Elliot Carter, and Dmitri Shostakovich. During the summer, she serves on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Gerhard Schulz

Violin, Austria 
Violinist of the Alban Berg Quartet 1978 - 2008

Gerhard Schulz was born 1951 in Linz, Austria into a family of musicians and studied with Franz Samohyl in Vienna, with Sándor Végh in Düsseldorf and with Shmuel Ashkenasi in the USA. He was founding member of the Salzburg String Trio and the Schulz Ensemble and 1st violinist of the Düsseldorf String Quartet. As a member of the world-famous Alban Berg Quartet for over 30 years, he played regularly in the most important music centers of the world. As exclusive artists, the quartet recorded a significant amount of repertoire for EMI records and got numerous awards for it. After the ABQ stopped playing in the summer 2008 Gerhard Schulz founded the Waldstein Ensemble (a piano quartet). In 2009 he gave his debut as a conductor with the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra and enjoys a busy life as a performer as well as a teacher. Since 1980 he has been professor for violin at the University of Music in Vienna and from 1993 to 2013 guest professor for chamber music at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne (Germany). From 2013 to 2017 he also taught chamber music at the Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart.