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ARTIST PROFILE

Concertante

SAINT PAUL SUNDAY APPEARANCES

BIOGRAPHY

The musicians of Concertante are outstandingly gifted young artists who have won major national and international music competitions. As solo performers they have graced the premiere stages of the world from New York’s Carnegie Hall to London’s Royal Festival Hall to Shanghai’s Grand Theatre. Concertante draws from its rich pool of artistic talent to perform a wide array of repertoire ranging from quintets by established masters to less commonly performed nonets and other varied combinations of instrumentalists. The ensemble has an interest in furthering the cause of new music and has to date given the world premiere performances of new works by Justine Chen, Tina Davison, Steven R. Gerber, David Ludwig, Jan Radzynski, Sheila Silver, and Oded Zehavi. It has also offered infrequently performed chamber works by such celebrated composers as Enesco, John Adams, Schoenberg, Martinu and Schulhoff. As an ensemble, Concertante has performed across America, gathering rave reviews, appearing on Minnesota Public Radio’s “St. Paul Sunday” and in December 2002 toured in the People’s Republic of China. Concertante is Resident Chamber Music Ensemble of the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in Harrisburg, PA.

Alexis Pia Gerlach

Cellist Alexis Pia Gerlach enjoys an active career as a soloist and chamber musician. Recent solo performances include recitals at the La Jolla Chamber Music Society and the Caramoor Festival, and concerto appearances with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the Charleston and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras. Her recordings of the Rachmaninoff and Franck Sonatas with pianist Fabio Bidini are released on the Encore Performance label. Ms. Gerlach has appeared as a guest artist at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Bargemusic, and numerous festivals including Marlboro, Caramoor and Aspen. Current activities include a tour with Musicians from Marlboro, performing solo Bach with NYC Ballet Principal Dancer Damian Woetzel at the Caramoor Festival, and chamber music at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition, Ms. Gerlach performs frequently in New York City and throughout the country as a member of Trio Solisti with violinist Maria Bachmann and pianist Jon Klibonoff. Born in New York City, Ms. Gerlach studied with Aldo Parisot at Yale University and The Juilliard School.

Ara Gregorian

Equally accomplished as soloist and chamber musician, violinist and violist Ara Gregorian made his solo debut with the Boston Pops Orchestra in 1997 and his New York recital debut in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in 1996. Mr. Gregorian has made chamber music appearances at New York's Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, and Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall as well as having appeared as recitalist at Detroit's Henry Ford Centennial Library and Harvard University's Payne Hall. Additional orchestral appearances have included performances with the Shanghai, Lansing (MI), Pueblo (CO), Michigan State, and Las Cruces (NM) symphony orchestras. Mr. Gregorian is the founder and Artistic Director of the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival of Eastern North Carolina and has performed at the Santa Fe, El Paso, and Skaneateles music festivals. In 1992 Mr. Gregorian entered The Juilliard School where he studied with Joseph Fuchs, Robert Mann, and Harvey Shapiro and received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. He has been a member of the violin faculty at East Carolina University since 1998.

Zvi Plesser

Israeli cellist, Zvi Plesser has performed as soloist to critical acclaim throughout North and Central America, Europe and Israel. At the age of 17 he made his U.S. debut with Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman in Carnegie Hall. He has performed with leading orchestras, among them the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, and The Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Mr. Plesser has given recitals in France, Germany, Sweden and Finland. He has participated in many festivals, including the Marlboro Festival, the Cervantino Festival in Mexico, the Israel Festival, Lapland Festspel of Sweden and the Montpellier Festival in France. Plesser is a graduate of The Juilliard School as a student of Zara Nelsova and himself is currently on the faculty of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. He has also studied with Zvi Harel and David Soyer.

Sophie Shao

Cellist Sophie Shao has established herself as a prominent soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. Ms. Shao received top prizes at the 2001 Rostropovich International Violoncello Competition and the XII International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2002, as well as the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. She made her official orchestral debut with the Houston Symphony at age eleven, and has since performed as soloist with numerous orchestras. Ms. Shao’s many festival appearances include Marlboro, Caramoor, Bridgehampton, Sarasota, Music from Angel Fire, Saratoga, Bard and Ravinia. She has been a member of Chamber Music Society Two, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's program for emerging young artists. At thirteen, she enrolled at The Curtis Institute of Music. After graduating from Curtis, Sophie continued her cello studies with Aldo Parisot at Yale University, graduating with a B.A. in religious studies from Yale College, where she was also awarded the Louis Sudler Prize for the Creative and Performing Arts. In May of 2001, Sophie received her M.M. from the Yale School of Music.

Ittai Shapira

Israeli violinist Ittai Shapira’s 2002-03 engagements included solo performances with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall, the BBC Concert Orchestra, Philharmonia, Budapest Symphony, Russian Philharmonic, and Shanghai Symphony. He has also appeared as soloist with the Czech National Symphony, the Polish Chamber Orchestra, the Cape Town Philharmonic, and Jerusalem Symphony to name but a few, as well as touring with the English Chamber Orchestra and Yuri Bashmet. He has premiered works by Berio, Bunch, Rechtman, Heath and Shulamit Ran. Festival appearances include Aspen, Ravinia, Schleswig-Holstein and the International Concerto Festival at Queen Elizabeth Hall. Along with his colleague Hagai Shaham, Mr. Shapira is the co-founder of the Ilona Feher Foundation for the nurturing and promotion of young Israeli violinists. After studying with Ms. Feher in Israel he studied with Dorothy DeLay and Robert Mann at The Juilliard School. Mr. Shapira has recorded for Meridian, EMI Classics and Sanctuary Classics. His discography includes two sonata albums, an album of encore pieces and six concerto discs; his most recent release has been named disc of the month by MusicWeb.

Rachel Shapiro

Violist Rachel Shapiro is an active chamber musician, teacher, and recitalist. As a recitalist she has appeared in New York, Baltimore, Austria, Denmark and Portugal. She has participated in many festivals, including the Kfar Blum Music Festival, IMS Prussia Cove, The Next Generation Festival, The Ravinia Institute for Young Artists, Academie musicale de Villecroze, Aspen, Yellow Barn, and Mozarteum Summer Academy. Last season's performances included guest appearances with The Jerusalem Trio, Avalon Quartet and a Musicians from Ravinia Tour. In addition to her performing activities, Ms. Shapiro commits herself to music education, holding positions as a Teaching Artist for the New York Philharmonic School Partnership Program and as faculty of the Lucy Moses School for Music and Dance. Her teachers have included Toby Appel, Heidi Castleman, Sylvia Rosenberg, George Taylor, and Harvey Shapiro. Ms. Shapiro received her both her Bachelor and Masters degrees from The Juilliard School. This past year Ms. Shapiro furthered her studies abroad under the tutelage of Tabea Zimmerman with the support of a Frank Huntington Beebe Grant.

Xiao-Dong Wang

Violinist Xiao-Dong Wang entered the Shanghai Conservatory of Music at the age of ten. Mr. Wang won the First Prize in the Menuhin International Violin Competition and the First Prize in the Wieniawski-Lipinski International Violin Competition at the ages of thirteen and fifteen. During his 1985 trip to England, he was brought to the attention of Dorothy DeLay of The Juilliard School who arranged for him to begin a four-year scholarship beginning in 1986. Mr. Wang has soloed with orchestras around the world, including the Royal Philharmonic in London, the London Mozart Players, Adelaide, Perth, Queensland Symphony Orchestras, Sydney Opera Orchestra. He has recorded the Bartok Concerto No.2 and Szymanowski Concerto No.1 for Polygram records. He has also appeared performing on both violin and viola in chamber music concerts at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Aspen, Ravinia and in many other festival and musical events worldwide.