Virtuosity Unbound

Apex Concerts begins its two-night spectacular conclusion of our Eleventh Season with “Virtuosity Unbound”. A program bringing together a star-studded cast of performers from around the world, in a demonstration of virtuosic prowess seldom seen on our stage! The age of virtuosity began with the explorations by the great Paganini, continued through multitude of late-19th and early-20th century works and remains today as one of the most fascinating goals of instrumentalists. A healthy dose of sportsmanship and exhibitionism is always welcome, when serving the musical ideas by such composers as Ravel, Weinberg, Bridge,or Popper!

The Artists

Sunmi Chang, violin

Sunmi ChangAs the laureate of the 2007 International Markneukirchen Violin Competition and the 2007 Sion-Valais International Violin Competition, Sunmi Chang has performed widely and to acclaim throughout North America and Europe as a solo artist and chamber musician. In 2008, she was the soloist of the Asian Tour to Seoul, Beijing, and Shanghai with the Yale Philharmonia, performing the Beethoven Violin Concerto.

She started playing the violin at the age of seven with Professor Nam-Yun Kim in South Korea. Before starting her studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School in England in 1995, she had already won several national competitions including the Wol-Gan Music Competition, 20th Junior Korean Newspaper Competition and Cho-Sun Daily Newspaper Competition. While studying at the Yehudi Mehuhin School in England, she performed regularly in concerts at Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Albert Hall and Purcell Room. In 1998 and1999, she toured with the Yehudi Menuhin School orchestra playing Bach Double Concerto for two violins conducted by Lord Menuhin at the UNESCO Headquarter in Paris, Guilford Cathedral etc. After graduating from the YMS she went to Germany to continue pursuing a musical career and to study at the Hanns Eisler Musikhochschule in Berlin with Professor Eberhard Feltz. She has taken part in various summer festivals and master classes with Mauricio Fuks, Maya Glezarova, Felix Andrievsky, Zakhar Bron, Robert Masters, Zvi Zeitlin, Rainer Kussmaul, Boris Kuschnir, Igor Ozim, Midori and Lord Menuhin.

As a chamber musician, Sunmi won the first prize at Plowman Chamber Music Competition and has collaborated with renowned artists including Kim Kashkashian, Donald Weilerstein, Atar Arad, Steven Taylor, Marcy Rosen, Edward Arron, Wu Han and David Finckel. In 2006 and 2007, she was invited to take part in the Rising Stars Series at the Caramoor Chamber Music Festival and in 2009 she was one of eleven international program artists for Music@Menlo. She completed her studies with Peter Oundjian and Ani Kavafian earning the Artist Diploma and the Master of Music degree at Yale University, where she won the School of Music Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition in 2006 performing the Bartok Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Yale Philharmonia. She won a position in the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestrain 2009, which is the only full-time chamber orchestra in the United States. She was a full-time tenured member of the orchestra from 2009 until 2015.

As well as being an active performer she is a dedicated teacher educating the next generation of young musicians. She has maintained an active teaching studio for over 20 years, teaching all levels of students. She was a faculty member at the Chamber Music Institute Program at Music@Menlo for many years and was also a board member and a judge of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Youth Chamber Music Competition. In 2020, Sunmi completed a Doctor of Musical Arts in Violin Performance from the University of Michigan. She plays on a Giulio Degani violin made in Venice in 1903.

Stella Chen, violin

Stella ChanThe winner of the International Queen Elisabeth Grand Prize - Queen Mathilde Prize in the 2019 Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition, American violinist Stella Chen has been lauded for her “phenomenal maturity” and “fresh and spontaneous, yet emotionally profound and intellectually well-structured performance” (The Jerusalem Post) and her “expressive and delicate presentation of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in D major... singing but filled with a strong temperament” (Le Soir). La Libre newspaper also declared that “the art of singing is everywhere” in her playing. Stella has appeared with numerous orchestras including the Belgian National Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, Orquestra Filarmónica de Medellín, London Chamber Orchestra and Welsh National Symphony Orchestra, among others.

Stella is also the first recipient of the Robert Levin Award from Harvard University, the top prize winner of the Tibor Varga International Violin Competition and youngest ever prize winner of the Menuhin Competition. She has given solo performances at venues such as the Kennedy Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art and on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago. Other noteworthy ventures include performances in Bhutan, Jordan, Israel, Cuba and Colombia. She has appeared at festivals including the Perlman Music Program, Music@Menlo, the Sarasota Music Festival and YellowBarn. Stella has collaborated with such notable artists as Itzhak Perlman, Robert Levin, Gábor Takács-Nagy, Miriam Fried, Matthew Lipman, Federico Cortese and the Silk Road Ensemble.

The 2019-2020 season holds many notable performances, including tours of Korea and Japan, multiple European tours and numerous domestic performances. In addition, she is making her debut performances at the Kronberg Academy, Ravinia Festival, the Salzburg Mozarteum and in Istanbul. Concerto highlights this season include performances with the Luxembourg Philharmonia, the Changwon City Orchestra, the Ewha Philharmonic Orchestra and her Alice Tully concerto debut with The Juilliard Orchestra featuring Jörg Widmann’s Concerto No. 2, conducted by the composer.

A graduate of the Harvard/New England Conservatory Dual Degree Program, Stella received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with honors from Harvard University and a Master of Music from the New England Conservatory. Currently, Stella is a C.V. Starr doctoral candidate at the Juilliard School, where she studies with Li Lin, Donald Weilerstein and Catherine Cho. Former teachers include Itzhak Perlman and Miriam Fried. She plays the ‘Huggins’ 1708 Stradivarius violin, generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.

Oliver Neubauer, violin

Oliver NeubauerPraised for his sensitive and uniquely beautiful playing, violinist Oliver Neubauer is establishing himself as an artist of great emotional depth and maturity beyond his years. This past season, Oliver appeared with the Jupiter Chamber Players, performed as guest concertmaster with the Adelphi Orchestra (as winner of their 2020 competition) and performed virtual concerts for Music@Menlo and String Theory at the Hunter. Oliver has been invited to attend the Perlman Music Program Chamber Workshop as well as the Verbier Festival Academy in the summer of 2021. He will also give numerous performances at Bravo! Vail Music Festival and Music from Angel Fire.

Past seasons have included appearances at the Four Seasons Winter Workshop, Palm Beach Chamber Music Society, Bravo! Vail, Young Arts Miami, Parlance Chamber Concerts, If Music Be the Food NYC, Mostly Music Series, Summerfest La Jolla, Music@Menlo, Lake Champlain Music Festival, OKM Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Music in the Vineyards, Art in Avila in Curaçao and Music from Angel Fire. Oliver has performed at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall on numerous occasions as well as Symphony Space, the American Museum of Natural History, Neue Gallery, Alice Tully Hall and David Geffen Hall. Oliver also performed with his sister Clara at the Waldorf Astoria for a 9/11 Memorial and Museum Benefit Dinner, where they shared the stage with Robert De Niro and Bernadette Peters.

Arnaud Sussmann, violin

Arnaud SussmannWinner of a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Arnaud Sussmann has distinguished himself with his unique sound, bravura and profound musicianship. Minnesota’s Pioneer Press writes, “Sussmann has an old-school sound reminiscent of what you'll hear on vintage recordings by Jascha Heifetz or Fritz Kreisler, a rare combination of sweet and smooth that can hypnotize a listener. His clear tone [is] a thing of awe-inspiring beauty, his phrasing spellbinding. ”A thrilling young musician capturing the attention of classical critics and audiences around the world, Arnaud Sussmann has appeared with the American Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Paris Chamber Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Further solo appearances have included a tour of Israel and concerts at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Dresden Music Festival in Germany and at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. Mr. Sussmann has been presented in recital in Omaha on the Tuesday Musical Club series, New Orleans by the Friends of Music, Tel Aviv at the Museum of Art and at the Louvre Museum in Paris. He has also given concerts at the OK Mozart, Chamber Music Northwest and Moritzburg festivals and appears regularly at the Caramoor, Music@Menlo, La Jolla SummerFest, SeattleChamber Music, Moab Music and Saratoga Springs Chamber Music festivals.

Recent concerto appearances include performances with Maestro Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra at the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg, the Santa Rosa Symphony, the Albany Symphony, the Jacksonville Symphony and the Grand Rapids Symphony. This past season, chamber music performances included tours with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center to Korea’s LG Arts Center, Shanghai’s Oriental Center and Hong Kong’s Music Academy. Arnaud Sussmann has performed with many of today’s leading artists including Itzhak Perlman, Menahem Pressler, Gary Hoffman, Shmuel Ashkenazi, Wu Han, David Finckel, Jan Vogler and members of the Emerson String Quartet. He has worked with conductors such as Cristian Macelaru, Marcelo Lehninger, Rune Bergmann and Leon Botstein. A dedicated chamber musician, he has been a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 2006 and has regularly appeared with them in New York and on tour, including a recent concert at London’s Wigmore Hall.

A frequent recording artist, Arnaud Sussmann has released albums on Deutsche Grammophon’s DG Concert Series, Naxos, Albany Records and CMS Studio Recordings labels. His solo debut disc, featuring three Brahms Violin Sonatas with pianist Orion Weiss, was released in December 2014 on the Telos Music Label. He has been featured on multiple PBS’ Live from Lincoln Center broadcasts alongside Itzhak Perlman and the Perlman Music Program and with musicians of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Born in Strasbourg, France and based now in New York City, Arnaud Sussmann trained at the Conservatoire de Paris and the Juilliard School with Boris Garlitsky and Itzhak Perlman. Winner of several international competitions, including the Andrea Postacchini of Italy and Vatelot/Rampal of France, he was named a Starling Fellow in 2006, an honor which allowed him to be Mr. Perlman’s teaching assistant for two years. Mr. Sussmann now teaches at Stony Brook Universityon Long Island and was recently named Co-Artistic Director of Music@Menlo’s International Music Program.

Scott Lee, viola

Scott LeeScott Lee has established himself as one of the most exciting and unique violists to emerge in recent years. Winner of the 1996 Concert Artists Guild Competition, he became the youngest winner in the Competition’s 50 year history. In 1990, he won First Prize in both violin and viola in the Taiwan National Instrumental Competition, and has been a top prize winner in the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition, the William Primrose Viola Competition, and the Corpus Christi (TX) Young Artists Competition.

Recent highlights of Mr. Lee’s concert schedule include performances at the Newport Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Chamber Music Festival, New York City’s Bargemusic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Musicians from Marlboro, Merkin Concert Hall, and Taiwan’s National Concert Hall, Alice Tully Hall, The Gardner Museum in Boston and the Metropolitan Museum. He also presented a New York recital debut at Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall), and appeared as guest artist with the Miro String Quartet, at the Marlboro Festival and in numerous recital and chamber music venues across the United States. He has also collaborated with members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Orion, and Miami String Quartets and performed with members of the Beaux Arts and Mannes Piano Trios.

His chamber music partners have included such renowned artists as Cho-Liang Lin, Kyoko Takezawa, Paul Neubauer, Ani Kafavian, Fred Sherry, Gil Shaham, Felix Galimir, David Soyer, Peter Wiley, Gary Hoffman and Hilary Hahn. Scott Lee has been a featured soloist at the International Hindemith Viola Festival and at the 22nd and 24th International Viola Congresses. He is a faculty member at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory and at the Idyllwild Chamber Music Festival and Workshop in California.

Paul Neubauer, viola

Paul NeubauerViolist Paul Neubauer's exceptional musicality and effortless playing led the New York Timesto call him “a master musician.” He recently made his Chicago Symphony subscription debut with conductor Riccardo Muti and his Mariinsky Orchestra debut with conductor Valery Gergiev. He also gave the U.S. Premiere of the newly discovered Impromptu for viola and piano by Shostakovich with pianist Wu Han. In addition, his recording of the Aaron Kernis Viola Concerto with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, was released on Signum Records and his recording of the complete viola and piano music by Ernest Bloch with pianist Margo Garrett was released on Delos. Appointed principal violist of the New York Philharmonic at age 21, he has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras including the New York, Los Angeles and Helsinki philharmonics; National, St. Louis, Detroit, Dallas, San Francisco and Bournemouth symphonies; and Santa Cecilia, English Chamber and Beethovenhalle orchestras. He has premiered viola concertos by Bartók (revised version of the Viola Concerto), Friedman, Glière, Jacob, Kernis, Lazarof, Müller-Siemens, Ott, Penderecki, Picker, Suter and Tower and has been featured on CBS's Sunday Morning, A Prairie Home Companion and in Strad, Strings, and People magazines. A two-time Grammy nominee, he has recorded on numerous labels including Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, RCA Red Seal and Sony Classical. Mr. Neubauer is the artistic director of the Mostly Music series in New Jersey and is on the faculty of The Juilliard School and Mannes College.

Hyeyeon Park, piano

Hyeyeon ParkSelected as an Artist of the Year by the Seoul Arts Center, Hyeyeon Park has been described as a pianist “with power, precision and tremendous glee” ( Gramophone). She is a prizewinner of numerous international competitions, including Oberlin, Ettlingen, Hugo Kauder, Maria Canals, Prix Amadèo and Corpus Christi, and her performances have been broadcast on KBS and EBS television (Korea) and RAI3 (Italy), WQXR (New York), WFMT (Chicago), WBJC (Baltimore) and WETA (Washington, D.C.) radio. She is artistic director of Apex Concerts (Nevada) and a professor of piano at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her first solo CD, Klavier 1853, has been released on the Blue Griffin label.

James Winn, piano

James WinnJames Winn, piano and composition professor at the University of Nevada, Reno since 1997, made his professional debut with the Denver Symphony at the age of 13 and has been performing widely in North America, Europe and Asia ever since. With his duo-piano partner, Cameron Grant, he was a recipient of the top prize given in the two-piano category of the 1980 Munich Competition. Musical America wrote about the team, "Not since Josef and Rosina Lhevinne regaled us in the 1930's have we heard such technical prowess paired with such genuine musical values." Winn has been a solo pianist with the New York City Ballet, a member of the New York New Music Ensemble, of Hexagon (woodwind quintet plus piano) and the pianist and resident composer of the Telluride Chamber Music Festival, as well as a frequent guest with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Speculum, the Group for Contemporary Music, Cactus Pear Chamber Music Festival, La Musica International Chamber Music Festival and Bargemusic. Well-known as a specialist in new music, he has been involved in numerous world premieres and premiere recordings by many renowned composers, among them 13 Pulitzer Prize winners. He is currently a member of Argenta, the University of Nevada, Reno resident piano trio, a founding member and regular participant in the Nevada Chamber Music Festival and performs regularly in recital with internationally acclaimed New York-based violinist Rolf Schulte. An active recording artist, Winn has been featured in more than three-dozen CDs as soloist, chamber musician and composer. He has received numerous career recognitions including an artist fellowship from the Nevada State Council of the Arts and the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Dmitri Atapine, cello

Dmitri AtapineDmitri Atapine has been described as a cellist with “brilliant technical chops” (Gramophone), whose playing is “highly impressive throughout” (The Strad). He has appeared on some of the world's foremost stages, including Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Zankel and Weill halls at Carnegie Hall and the National Auditorium of Spain. An avid chamber musician, he frequently performs with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and is an alum of The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two). His multiple festival appearances have included Music@Menlo, La Musica Sarasota, Pacific, Aldeburgh, Aix-en-Provence, Nevada and Cactus Pear, with performances broadcast in Spain, Italy, the U.S., Canada, Mexico and South Korea. His many awards include the first prize at the Carlos Prieto Cello Competition, as well as top honors at the Premio Vittorio Gui and Plowman chamber competitions. He has collaborated with such distinguished musicians as Cho-Liang Lin, Paul Neubauer, Ani and Ida Kavafian, Wu Han, Bruno Giuranna and David Shifrin. His recordings, among them a critically acclaimed world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s complete works for cello and piano, can be found on the Naxos, Albany, MSR, Urtext Digital, Blue Griffin and Bridge record labels. Atapine holds a doctorate from the Yale School of Music, where he was a student of Aldo Parisot. The artistic director of Apex Concerts and Ribadesella Chamber Music Festival, he is the cello professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Mihai Marica, cello

Mihai MaricaRomanian-born cellist, Mihai Marica, is a First Prize winner of the “Dr. Luis Sigall” International Competition in Viña del Mar, Chile and the Irving M. Klein International Competition, and is a recipient of Charlotte White’s Salon de Virtuosi Fellowship Grant. He has performed with orchestras such as the Symphony Orchestra of Chile, Xalapa Symphony in Mexico, the Hermitage State Orchestra of St. Petersburg in Russia, the Jardins Musicaux Festival Orchestra in Switzerland, the Louisville Orchestra and the Santa Cruz Symphony in the U.S. He has also appeared in recital performances in Austria, Hungary, Germany, Spain, Holland, South Korea, Japan, Chile, the United States and Canada. A dedicated chamber musician, he has performed at the Chamber Music Northwest, Norfolk and Aspen music festivals where he has collaborated with such artists as Ani Kavafian, Ida Kavafian, David Shifrin, André Watts and Edgar Meyer. He wasa founding member of the award-winning Amphion String Quartet and is currently the cellist of the acclaimed Apollo Trio. A recent collaboration with dancer Lil Buck brought forth new pieces for solo cello written by Yevgeniy Sharlat and Patrick Castillo. Mihai studied with Gabriela Todor in his native Romania and with Aldo Parisot at the Yale School of Music where he was awarded master's and artist diploma degrees. He is an alum of The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two).