Svetlana Smolina & Christopher O’Riley, pianos
Caroline Goulding, violin
Matt Haimovitz, cello
John Bruce Yeh, clarinet
Born in the Russian city of Nizhny-Novgorod, Ms. Smolina started to develop her craft at a very young age. “Music is the most amazing gift a human being can have, and I pour all my feelings into each piece I perform.”
By the time she graduated from her city’s Balakirev Music College, where she studied under the direction of Natalia Fish, she had already won several prestigious piano competitions, performed with the Nizhny Novgorod Symphony, given numerous recitals, and starred in several international music festivals. Svetlana’s talent and early accomplishments earned her an invitation to study with the master pianist Alexander Toradze at his world-famous Indiana University piano studio.
Ms. Smolina studied with Eugene and Olga Mogilevsky at the Brussels Royal Conservatory in Belgium. Later, she partnered with their son Maxim to win the Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Competition in Miami, a triumph which has been echoed many times in the distinguished prizes and awards she has received throughout her career.
Despite her youth, Ms. Smolina has established herself as a virtuoso pianist, with a long list of notable performances and recordings. Among them are solo appearances with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall; the Mariinsky Orchestra at Carnegie Hall; the St. Petersburg Philharmonic; La Orchestre National de France; the Odessa and Nizhny Novgorod Philharmonic; the Pittsburgh Symphony; the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra; the Toledo Symphony; the Florida Philharmonic; the Shreveport Symphony; the Chamber Orchestra of New York, and many others. She has performed on the world’s most prestigious stages, including the Royal Covent Garden Opera in London; the Mariinsky 3 Concert Hall in St. Petersburg; the Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatory Hall; Mozarteum and Großen Saal in Salzburg; Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon; the Miller Theater at Columbia University in NYC, and Vienna’s Sacher Hall, to name just a few.
Performing music time and again, while keeping it fresh and exciting for the audience, is an art in itself. “It helps that I am always open to new experiences and see life itself as an inspiration.”
She is also a frequent participant at international music festivals, including the Salzburg Festival; the Hollywood Bowl Festival in Los Angeles; the Ravinia Rising Stars Festival in Chicago; the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg; Maggio Musicale in Florence; Settimane Musicali di Stresa; Festivale di Bologna; Michelangeli Festival in Brescia; the Hennessy Artists Series at Hanoi Opera House in Vietnam; iPalpiti Orchestra/ iPalpiti Festival of International Laureates / Disney Hall, and numerous others.
In choosing her music, Ms. Smolina likes to select lesser-known pieces to surprise and excite the audience. All in all, both the selection process and the performance bring together “a lot of constructive thinking, emotional input, and spirituality,” she says.
Ms. Smolina received her BM degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio, where she studied under Monique Duphil; her M.M. from the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University, and her doctorate from the University of Michigan, where she credits her teacher, Arthur Greene, for helping perfect her skills. She was appointed as the Samuel Barber Artist In Residence at West Chester University of Pennsylvania’s School of Music in The College of Visual and Performing Arts, and is also a member of the piano faculty at Philadelphia International Summer Festival. Her current projects include recording a solo album at Cove City Sound Studios; recording Martin Matalon works for Naxos; the soundtrack for the upcoming film You are Not You, starring Hilary Swank; and a tour of China with the Russian European Orchestra in 2014.
In 2014-15, Ms. Smolina gave a series of concerts with Vadim Repin for his Trans -Siberian Art Festival at the residences of the Russian Ambassador in both Washington, DC and London. Their recent recital in Koerner Hall in Toronto received great critical acclaim.
In 2014, Svetlana won the Live on Stage showcases and was chosen as their only Classical Pianist Artist for the 2015-16 season. This upcoming tour will bring her to more than 20 states. Svetlana recently was featured and gave an interview for Keyboard Magazine. Other collaborations include a series of concerts with Robert Davi and Dave Konig at Eisenhower Park, Harry Chapin Lakeside Theater presented by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano.
Svetlana will be a featured soloist on a tour with Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra in China in December 2015, with the South Florida Symphony and with the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional Juvenil in Lima, Peru.
Caroline Goulding first appeared on From the Top at the age of 13. Her Telarc debut recording, a collaboration with Christopher O’Riley, got a Grammy nomination.
Called “precociously gifted” by Gramophone Magazine, violinist Caroline Goulding has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s premier orchestras, including The Cleveland Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Houston Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, Berlin’s ensemblemini, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. She has appeared in recital at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall, the Tonhalle-Zurich, the Louvre Museum, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Her 2015-2016 season includes engagements in Asia, Europe, and North America with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Dortmunder Philharmoniker, Houston Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Tacoma Symphony, and New West Symphony. Her upcoming recital CD release with pianist Danae Dörken features works by Schumann, Enescu, and Dvořák.
Ms. Goulding is the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant. She has appeared on The Today Show, the Martha Stewart show, Germany’s Stars von Morgen hosted by Rolando Villazón, and has been featured on NPR’s Performance Today and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Currently studying with Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy, Caroline splits her time between Kronberg, Germany, and Boston, Massachusetts.
Matt Haimovitz, renowned for his courage in performing in challenging settings such as the Hi-Line in New York and the gym at Columbia Univeristy. A protégé of Rostropovich, Mr. Haimovitz specializes in playing along with nature, while remaining entirely undistracted, which demands an extreme but invisible virtuosity. He will contrast this summer the planetary gears of the Bach Suites with modern responses, which he has commissioned from great living composers such as Philip Glass. As the Bach Suites are a compendium of musical cultures from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the modern responses he adds translate these high structures into the multi-country vernacular of our own time.
The original manuscript of J.S. Bach’s 6 Suites for Cello Solo has been lost to history. The only remnant is a copy made by Anna Magdalena, Bach’s second wife, her handwriting uncanny in its likeness to the composer’s own. Since 1890, when Casals found a published copy in a second-hand music shop and first performed the suites in public 20 years later, the suites have been both Bible and Holy Grail of the solo cello repertoire – each cellist searching for his own way into the heart of this music.
Cellist Matt Haimovitz has been closely associated with the Bach suites since the year 2000, when the former child prodigy jump-started the alt-classical revolution by performing the complete cycle in folk clubs and rock venues, including New York’s now-defunct punk palace CBGB’s. That same year, he released a 3-CD set of the Suites that launched the newborn Oxingale Records.
Now, 15 years later, Mr. Haimovitz returns to The Cello Suites with a stunning new interpretation, intimately informed by Anna Magdalena’s manuscript and the tools of the time.
Mr. Yeh will take part in the Messiaen commemorative concert outside at the Domo.
The first Asian musician ever appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as the longest-serving clarinetist in CSO history, John- Bruce Yeh joined the CSO in June of 1977, having been appointed solo bass clarinet of the Orchestra at the age of 19 by Sir Georg Solti. Two years later, he was named assistant principal and solo E-flat clarinet. He served as acting principal clarinet of the CSO from 2008–2011.
While there, Mr. Yeh performed the 1998 American premiere of Elliott Carter’s Clarinet Concerto with Pierre Boulez conducting, and the 1993 performance of Carl Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto with Neeme Järvi conducting. A concert recording of the Nielsen was released on the CSO CD set Soloists of the Orchestra II: From the Archives, vol. 15. In 2004, Yeh was featured in Leonard Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue and Riffs in collaboration with the Hubbard Street Dance Company and the CSO, conducted by David Robertson. An enthusiastic champion of new music, John-Bruce Yeh is the dedicatee of new works for clarinet by numerous composers, ranging from Ralph Shapey to John Williams. Recently he has also performed as guest principal clarinet of the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as of the Seoul Philharmonic in Korea.
A prize winner at both the 1982 Munich International Music Competition and the 1985 Naumburg Clarinet Competition in New York, Mr. Yeh continues to solo with orchestras around the globe. His more than a dozen solo and chamber music recordings have earned worldwide critical acclaim. He recently released a disc titled Synergy, with single and double concertos for clarinet and symphonic wind ensemble featuring his wife, Teresa, his daughter, Molly, and the Columbus State University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Robert Rumbelow.
Mr. Yeh is director of Chicago Pro Musica, which received a Grammy Award in 1986 for Best New Classical Artist. He frequently appears at festivals and on chamber music series worldwide. Mr. Yeh has performed with Music from Marlboro; the Guarneri, Ying, Colorado, Pacifica, Calder and Avalon string quartets; as well as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
With his wife, clarinetist Teresa Reilly, erhu virtuoso Wang Guowei, and pipa virtuoso Yang Wei, Mr. Yeh recently formed Birds and Phoenix, an innovative quartet dedicated to bridging Eastern and Western musical cultures. In their debut performance in September 2006, the group performed works by Victoria Bond, Pamela Chen, Lu Pei and Bright Sheng, all commissioned for them.
Passionately committed to music education, Mr. Yeh served for 26 years on the faculty of DePaul University’s School of Music, and joined the faculty at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College for the Performing Arts in 2004. He has taught master classes at the Juilliard, Eastman and Manhattan Schools of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Northwestern University, and University of Michigan. He is on the faculty of Midwest Young Artists in Fort Sheridan, Illinois.
Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Los Angeles, John-Bruce Yeh pursued premedical studies at UCLA, where he also won the Frank Sinatra Musical Performance Award. He entered the Juilliard School in 1975, and attended music schools in Aspen, Marlboro and Tanglewood. He cites Gary Gray, Michele Zukovsky, Harold Wright, Ray Still, Marcel Moyse, Allan Dennis and Mehli Mehta as influential mentors.
He is the proud father of Jenna Yeh, 26, a culinary artist in Chicago; Molly Yeh, 23, a percussionist and journalist in New York City; and Mia Reilly-Yeh, who celebrated her 6th birthday on March 20, 2012.