Heartfelt congratulations to the eight Semi-Finalists of the International Viola Competition “Città di Cremona”!
Here they are, in alphabetical order
As a member of the elite ensemble, Aldeburgh Strings, violist Julia Clancy performs regularly in London and Snape, England, and with them has recently released a recording on Signum Classics. For her first season with Ipalpiti Artists international, Julia will give broadcasted solo and chamber performances throughout Los Angeles and San Diego. Julia performed as a soloist with the Sound Symphony and the Cleveland Institute of Music’s orchestra after winning their respective concerto competitions. She will be premiering chamber works composed by her colleagues at Yale University at the New York Philharmonic’s 2016 Biennial of New Music in May.
In 2014, Julia held the solo viola chair of Krzysztof Penderecki’s festival orchestra, working closely with the composer/conductor on his Cadenza for solo viola as well as his major chamber and orchestral works. Other engagements as principal violist have included the Britten-Pears Orchestra, Yale Philharmonia, Sarasota Festival Orchestra, CityMusic Cleveland, Moritzburg Festival orchestra, and Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Orchestra.
Julia began playing viola in her hometown of Shoreham, N.Y., and continued at Juilliard Pre-College with Heidi Castleman. Equally committed to academics, Julia pursued a B.A. in Medical Anthropology from Case Western Reserve University, graduating Magna Cum Laude, while simultaneously working towards her B.M. at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with Jeffrey Irvine and Robert Vernon. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate at Yale University under the tutelage of Ettore Causa.
American violist Matthew Cohen made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 15 as a soloist in the New York premiere of Tomas Svoboda’s Sonata #2 for orchestra and solo string quartet. He returned to Carnegie Hall in January to perform York Bowen’s Phantasy for viola and piano in Weill Recital Hall. Recent accolades include 1st prize at the 2015 VIVO International Competition and special prizewinner at the 2014 Primrose International Viola Competition.
He has studied at the Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, and Colburn Conservatory and has performed as a soloist numerous times with ensembles such as the Colburn Orchestra, Oregon Sinfonietta, and Oregon Symphony/Oregon Ballet Theater.
He has performed chamber music with many distinguished artists including Arnold Steinhardt, Daniel Hope, Paul Coletti, Ronald Leonard, Clive Greensmith, Martin Beaver, Amit Peled, Sandra Rivers, and Joaquin Valdepeñas.
His recording of York Bowen’s Phantasy for viola and piano is available on the Soundset label. He plays a viola by Helmuth Keller and bow by Paul Martin Siefried generously on loan from The Maestro Foundation and is a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship at the Juilliard School in the Master of Music program where he studies with Heidi Castleman and Cynthia Phelps.
Born in 1995, Violaine Despeyroux began her musical studies at the Toulouse Conservatory at the age of 5 with Valérie Apparailly. In 2011, at the age of 16, she won the 1st prize at the National Competition of Young Violists in Paris with a special prize for the best interpretation of ‘Sonate Rhapsodique’ by Dimitri Tchesnokov. She moved to Paris in 2012 to study at the Conservatoire National Superior de Musique with Jean Sulem.
In 2013 she participated in two tours as a member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester conducted by Herbert Blomstedt and Philippe Jordan. She was awarded the 2nd prize prize in 2014 for her performance of solo Bach in the Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition in Birmingham. From 2014-16 she participated in masterclasses with Nobuko Imai, Pamela Frank, Sadao Harada and Seiji Ozawa at the International Ozawa Music Academy, Switzerland. Other masterclasses have given her the opportunity to work with teachers including Miguel Da Silva, Thomas Riebl, Gérard Caussé, Antoine Tamestit, Tatiana Masurenko, Barbara Westphal and the Ardeo Quartet.
In the summer of 2016 she will perform with Alain Meunier and Anne Le Bozec during the festival Rencontres Musique & Patrimoine.
She has participated in various projects of contemporary music: the creation of a piece for solo viola and a quartet by Pascal Zavarro, a piece for solo viola and electronics with the IRCAM in Paris and a CD recording of music for viola solo by modern composers. Violaine plays a Jacquot viola from 1863.
Violist Miho Kawai was born in 1993 in Hiroshima, Japan. She began studying the violin at the age of 5.
When she was 16 years old she began playing the viola and she switched completely to the viola at age 21. She studied at the Toho Gauken School of Music in Tokyo under professors Isako Shinozaki (violin), Sumiko Edo and Ryo Sasaki (viola).
Since 2013 she has participated in the annual Viola Master Class in Otaru (Japan). In the same year she begun studying under the mentorchip of Nobuko Imai. She is currently a student at the Reina Sofia School of Music in Madrid, Spain, where she is studying with Nobuko Imai and Wencing Kang since 2015.
Violist Ting-Ru Lai was born in Taipei, Taiwan. She graduated from New England Conservatory with Dimitri Murrath, and participated in masterclasses with Nobuko Imai, Thomas Riebl, Lars Anders Tomter, Hartmut Rohde, Itzhak Perlman and Donald Weilerstein.
She was selected to the semi-finals in the 5th Windsor Festival International String Competition and was a finalist at the International Hugo Kauder Competition for Viola, and won the Queens Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition. As a dedicated chamber musician, Ting-Ru has performed in festivals including the Mozart Festival in Spain, Festival NEXT GENERATION in Switzerland, Perlman Music Program, Taos School of Music and Nobuko Imai Viola Masterclass’ New Year Concert. She was also invited to participate in several concert series with The Soloists of London, New York Classical Players, Carnegie Ensemble, Boston Chamber Orchestra, Cambridge Arts Composer Focus and New Asia Chamber Music Society.
Ting-Ru is now enrolled in the Artist Diploma program at Guildhall School of Music and Drama with David Takeno, and is also a scholarship recipient at the International Music Academy in the Principality of Liechtenstein and participates regularly in intensive weeks and activities of the Academy.
A member of the viola section of the Houston Symphony since 2015, violist Jarita Ng has previously performed with Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra in Germany, Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, New York String Orchestra, and Hong Kong Sinfonietta. She has played under such conductors as Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Charles Dutoit, Zubin Mehta, Manfred Honeck, Semyon Bychkov, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Gianandrea Noseda, among others.
As a multifaceted musician, Jarita found her love for contemporary music during her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, after having worked with Roger Reynolds at ONCE. MORE. Festival in 2009. Since then she has collaborated with composers including John Adams, Paul Schoenfield, and Bernard Rands. Her enthusiasm in new music has led her to commission, perform, and record solo or chamber pieces by student composers. In 2014, she was invited to present the American Viola Society (AVS) Gardner Competition winning piece Exit, Pursued by a Bear by Matthew Browne at the 2014 AVS Congress in Los Angeles.
Jarita graduated from Rice University in May 2015 with a master’s degree studying with James Dunham. She was recognized for Best Achievement in Music. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance, studying with Yizhak Schotten, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology (distinction) from the University of Michigan. Upon graduation, she was given the Albert Stanley Medal, the highest honor awarded by the School of Music, Theatre & Dance to the most outstanding graduating senior.
After studying violin at the conservatories in Reims and Marseille, Raphaël Pagnon was admitted to the classes of Annick Roussin and Christophe Poiget in Paris. Concurrently he began his viola studies with Michel Michalakakos and was admitted in the same year to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris (CNSMDP) in the class of Pierre-Henri Xuereb, where he graduated in 2015 in viola performance with the highest marks.
A chamber music enthusiast, Raphaël has performed with renowned musicians including Dong-Suk Kang, Pascal Devoyon, Raphaël Chrétien, Dejan Bogdanovic. He has also received advice from Yuri Bashmet, Garth Knox, François Salque, and the Ébene and Modigliani Quartets.
He was the winner of the Grand Prix du Département Bouches du Rhône, and a prize-winner at the National Competition for Young Violists, and at the Bellan and Tertis Competitions. He is supported by the “Fondation Musique et Vin au Clos Vougeot” (Burgundy).
In 2016 Raphaël has been admitted to the Staatskapelle Akademie Berlin directed by Daniel Barenboim.
He plays a viola made by Friedrich Alber in 2014.
Muriel Razavi was born on July 7th, 1992 to an American mother and a Persian father in Freiburg, Germany. In 2011 she began studying with Prof. Nils Mönkemeyer at the University of Music and Theatre in Munich. In 2012 she was accepted to the class of Prof. Tabea Zimmermann at the University of Music “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin where she continues to study.
In 2015 she was personally invited by Daniel Barenboim to join his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. She played as an Academist in the DSO (Deutsches Symphonie Orchester) Berlin and is currently an Academist in the historically authentic Chamber Orchestra “Balthasar Neumann Ensemble” with Thomas Hengelbrock.
Muriel won many first prizes at the National Youth Competition of Germany including a first prize with highest points in the category “Viola solo” in 2010.
She has profited from further musical training at international master classes working with renowned musicians such as Rainer Kussmaul, Hatto Beyerle, Wolfram Christ, Nobuko Imai and Tatjana Masurenko.
Muriel has been invited to play chamber music at various German music festivals such as the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival and the Rheingau Musik Festival.
In February 2015 after a successful audition, she was invited to the “International Seiji Ozawa Academy Switzerland”. In September 2015 she joined the “International Zermatt Festival Academy” with the Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Muriel received a scholarship to join the International Music Academy in Liechtenstein and participates in the musical activities of the festival.