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Chamber Music Seminar Instructors

The St. Lawrence String Quartet

The St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) has established itself among the world-class chamber ensembles of its generation. Its mission: bring every piece of music to the audience in vivid color, with pronounced communication and teamwork, and great respect to the composer. Since winning both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1992, the quartet has delighted audiences with its spontaneous, passionate, and dynamic performances. Alex Ross of The New Yorker magazine writes, “The St. Lawrence are remarkable not simply for the quality of their music making, exalted as it is, but for the joy they take in the act of connection.”

2018 Guest Artists & Faculty

Each summer, the SLSQ welcomes guests to join the Seminar’s faculty. The 2018 faculty includes Daniel Phillips (violin), Maria Lambros (viola), Michael Kannen (cello), Pedja Muzijevic (piano), Stephen Prutsman (piano), Erika Switzer (piano), and Tara Helen O'Connor (flute). Special guest artists include Pamela Frank (violin), Howard Nelson (physical therapist), Samuel Zygmuntowicz (Luthier), and François Malo (Bowmaker).

Guest Artists and Presenters

Pamela Frank, violin

Renowned violinist Pamela Frank has established an outstanding international reputation across an unusually varied range of performing activity. As a soloist, she has performed with leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the Berlin Philharmonic and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. Frank performed regularly with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, recording the complete Mozart Violin Concertos with them and David Zinman and has also recorded a Schubert album and the Beethoven sonata cycle, both with her father Claude Frank.

Howard Nelson, physical therapist

Howard Nelson is a noted physical therapist and expert in movement-related impairments. He analyzes how postures and movements can be the cause of injury and pain. Currently, he is in private practice in New York City and focused on treating the biomechanical causes of injuries by modifying faulty movement patterns. As part of his one-year appointment at the USC Thornton School of Music in collaboration with internationally renowned violinist Pamela Frank, Nelson will lead wellness events and evaluations for Strings students during the 2018-2019 school year.

Samuel Zygmuntowicz, luthier

Samuel Zygmuntowicz, born 1956 in Philadelphia, was already a prize-winning sculptor before beginning his instrument-making studies at age 13. He studied violin making and restoration with Carl Becker and Rene Morel, and at the Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City. His most famous instruments are his copies of Isaac Stern's Guarneri violins, which fetched record prices for an instrument by a living maker at auction after Stern's death in 2001. Zygmuntowicz has been based in Brooklyn, NY since 1985.

François Malo, bowmaker

Celebrated for his excellence in the French bowmaking tradition, Canadian bowmaker François Malo bows can be found in the hands of some of the finest instrumentalists in the world. A native of Montreal, Canada, Malo first studied under French bowmaker Jean Yves Matter who learned directly from Ouchard.  He  continued his studies in Mirecourt, the French capital of violin and bow making  for the last 200 years where he further honed his craft under Gilles Duhaut.  A third apprenticeship with famous Parisien maker Stephane Thomachot, completed his training in the French bowmaking tradition after which he apprenticed with New York bowmaker William Slachow in the late 1980’s. In 1992 at the Manchester International Cello Competition, Malo won a special certificate of merit for a cello bow and in 1993 at the Mittenwald International Cello Competition in Germany he received a gold medal for another cello bow.  Following these two awards, Malo turned his focus away from competitions in order to concentrate solely on the making of fine playing bows in order to meet a growing demand. In the late 1990’s Malo taught at the summer bowmaking camp in Oberlin, Ohio.  He is currently a member of the American Federation of Violin and Bowmakers. Also a cellist,  Malo earned a degree in cello performance from McGill University.   

Guest Faculty

Michael Kannen, cello

Cellist Michael Kannen has distinguished himself as a musician and educator of uncommon accomplishment who is comfortable in widely diverse musical situations and venues.  He was a founding member of the Brentano String Quartet and for seven years performed with that group on concert stages around the world, on radio and television, and on recordings.  During those first seven years, the Brentano Quartet was awarded the first Cleveland Quartet Award, the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center, and the Royal Philharmonic Society's award for best debut recital in England for the 1997-1998 season.  With the Brentano Quartet, Mr. Kannen appeared regularly in such venues as Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Library of Congress in Washington, Wigmore Hall in London, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Chatelet Theater in Paris, and the Sydney Opera House.

Maria Lambros, viola

Violist Maria Lambros has performed as a chamber musician throughout the world in venues such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, London's Wigmore Hall, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, New York's Lincoln Center and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. She was a member of the renowned Ridge String Quartet, which was nominated for the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance for their recording of the Dvorak Piano Quintets with pianist Rudolf Firkusny. The recording won Europe's prestigious Diapason d'Or in the same year. She was also a founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning Meliora String Quartet, which was Quartet-in-Residence at the Spoleto Festivals of the U.S., Italy, and Australia, and which recorded Mendelssohn's Octet with the Cleveland Quartet on the Telarc label. She was most recently a member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet, which held residences at Harvard University and New York’s Town Hall and is currently the violist with the New York based chamber ensemble, La Fenice.

Pedja Muzijevicpiano

Pianist Pedja Muzijevic has toured extensively as soloist with orchestras and as a recitalist throughout eastern and western Europe, Great Britain, Canada, the United States, South America, Australia, and Asia. A native of Sarajevo, his artistic curiosity has led him to explore both the music of the 18th and 19th centuries on period instruments and the music of such contemporary composers as Knussen, Carter, Cage, Henze, Nancarrow, Crumb, Adès, and many others. His many festival engagements encompass, among others, performances at Tanglewood, Spoleto USA, Mostly Mozart, Newport, OK Mozart, Bridgehampton, Bay Chamber Concerts, San Miguel de Allende, Aldeburgh, Lucerne, Holland, Melbourne, Aix-en-Provence, Dubrovnik, Merano, and Bratislava festivals. Mr. Muzijevic’s recording Sonatas and Other Interludes is available on Albany Records. It juxtaposes music for prepared piano by John Cage with composers ranging from W. F. Bach to Liszt.

Stephen Prutsman, piano

Stephen Prutsman has been described as one of the most innovative musicians of his time. Moving easily from classical to jazz to world music styles as a pianist, composer and conductor, Prutsman continues to explore and seek common ground and relationships in the music of all cultures and languages. From 2004-2007 Stephen was Artistic Partner with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, where he conducted concertos from the keyboard, performed in chamber ensembles, conducted works of living composers, developed and arranged collaborations for their Engine 408 series of contemporary and world music, and wrote several new works for the orchestra. From 2009 – 2012 he was the Artistic Director of the Cartagena International Festival of Music, South America’s largest festival of its kind, programming and curating concerts with themes ranging from Mozart celebrations, to eclectic evenings of folk and popular music of the Americas, to hybrid programs fusing art and dance music of multiple musical dimensions.

Tara Helen O'Connor, flute

Flutist Tara Helen O’Connor calls the Upper West Side of Manhattan home, but can be found all over the country wielding her flutes and piccolo. As a pedagogue in high demand, Tara holds faculty positions at Purchase College, the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, and Bard College Conservatory of Music, and teaches in the Contemporary Performance Program at Manhattan School of Music and as a visiting artist at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. A sought after chamber musician, Tara is a member of the woodwind quintet Windscape, the 1995 Naumburg Award winning New Millennium Ensemble, and flute soloist with the Bach Aria Group, and performs at festivals across the country including Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. As a passionate advocate of new music she performs with Talea and Cygnus Ensembles. Tara has premiered hundreds of new works, and collaborated with the Orion String Quartet, Emerson Quartet, and our very own SLSQ, to name just a few.

While Tara achieves at the highest levels in classical performance and teaching, don't be fooled into thinking her music interests are single-minded -- as a teenager and through college, she sang and played Rock'n'Roll in biker bars on weekends. Oh, and be sure to look your best around Tara. An avid photographer, she has photo credits in Time Out, Strad, and Chamber Music America magazines.

Daniel Phillips, violin

Daniel Phillips’ first violin teacher was his father, Eugene Phillips, a former member of the Pittsburgh Symphony and a composer. Nothing like a little family pressure to create a recipe for success. He went on to study at Juilliard with Ivan Galamian, Sally Thomas, Sandor Vegh, and George Neikrug. Now a sought after pedagogue himself, Daniel is Professor of Violin at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, and on faculty at Mannes College of Music and the Bard Conservatory. Luckily, his wife, flutist Tara Helen O’Connor, also holds positions at these colleges, making their commutes much more fun.

Like many of the esteemed faculty members at the SLSQ Seminar, Daniel won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1976, leading to a recital at Alice Tully Hall and a rich solo career performing with many of the country’s premier symphony orchestras. His chamber music career includes touring and recording with a string quartet composed of Kim Kashkashian, Gidon Kramer, and Yo-Yo Ma, for SONY Classical. As a founding member of the Orion String Quartet, he has traveled the world, performing chamber music and eating great food (visit the OSQ website for restaurant reviews from their extensive world travels). Although Daniel is an adventurous eater, serve him food that wiggles (like panna cotta or jello) and he will recoil like superman from kryptonite. Daniel’s instruments include an Antonius Stradivarius (1702) now known as the "Phillips" Stradivarius, and a violin made for him by Samuel Zygmuntowicz (1993).

Erika Switzer, piano

Close up of Erika Switzer

Canadian collaborative pianist Erika Switzer made her American debut at the Kennedy Center in 2003.  Since that time, she has established herself as the frequent partner of several notable vocalists, including baritone Tyler Duncan, tenor Colin Balzer and soprano Martha Guth. Ms. Switzer has performed recitals at New York’s Frick Collection, Rockefeller University, Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall (Weill Hall), and for the 5 Boroughs Music Festival.  In Europe, she has performed as a guest of Pro Musicis at Paris’ Salle Cortot and for the Poulenc Academy at the L'Hôtel de ville de Tours.  Other European performances include appearances at the Göppingen Meisterkonzerte, the New Discoveries series at the Baden-Baden Festspiele, and the Winners & Masters series in Munich.  In her native Canada, she has performed at the Chamber Music Festivals of Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver, and for presenters including Music on Main, Debut Atlantic, Prairie Debut, Roy Thomson Hall Presents: Canadian Voices, and the André Turp Society.

Previous Faculty and Guest Speakers

The Chamber Music Seminar's previous faculty has included:

John Adams, composer

Tyler Duncan, baritone

Martin Beaver, violin

June Goldsmith, music educator, concert presenter, and broadcaster

Osvaldo Golijov, composer

Gryphon Trio: Annalee Patipatanakoon, violin; Roman Borys, cello; James Parker, piano

Henk Guittart, conductor and coach

Matt Haimovitz, cello

Jesse Irons, violinist and founding member of A Far Cry

Michael Kannen, cello

Rob Kapilow, composer and commentator

John Lad

Maria Lambros, viola

Nina Lee, cello

Bill McGlaughlin, composer and pianist

Douglas McNabney, viola

Pedja Muzijevic, piano

Tara Helen O'Connor, flute

Daniel Phillips, violin

Stephen Prutsman, piano

Masumi Per Rostad, violin

Mikael Ringquist, percussionist

Sebastian Ruth, violin/viola

Stephen Sano, conductor and Choral Studies faculty, Stanford University

Scott St. John, violin (former membere of SLSQ)

Erika Switzer, piano

Alasdair Tait, cello

Gregory Wait, Music Director, Schola Cantorum, and voice faculty, Stanford University

Dr. Lisa Wong, guest speaker, author, pediatrician

Georges Zeisel,Director and Founder, ProQuartet, Paris

Samuel Zygmuntowicz, luthier

Last modified on: 
Friday, January 12, 2018