Midori is one of the most admired violinists of her generation. In addition to performing at the highest levels internationally, giving master classes and participating in prominent artistic residencies, she has made a sustained commitment to the violin repertoire of the future, commissioning new concerto and recital works over a period of many years.

Beyond her performing and recording career, Midori has been recognized as a dedicated and gifted educator and an innovative community engagement activist throughout the US, Europe, Asia and the developing world. Among many honors she has received in recent years, she was named a Messenger of Peace by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and received the prestigious Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum in Davos.

In recent seasons, Midori has added several new recordings to her extensive discography –   Bach’s complete Solo Sonatas and Partitas, a recital of sonatas by Bloch, Janáček and Shostakovich with pianist Özgür Aydin, and Paul Hindemith’s violin concerto with the NDR Symphony Orchestra and conductor Christoph Eschenbach in a recording that won a Grammy for Best Classical Compendium. In February 2016, Sony Classical released The Art of Midori, a 10-CD set containing some of her most important recordings for the label. DoReMi, the violin concerto written for her by Peter Eötvös and performed with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under the baton of the composer, was released in May 2016.

In 1992 Midori founded Midori & Friends, a non-profit organization in New York City that brings music education programs to underserved schoolchildren. Two other organizations, Music Sharing, based in Japan, and Partners in Performance, based in the U.S., also bring music closer to the lives of people who may not otherwise have involvement with the arts. Midori’s commitment to community collaboration and outreach is further realized in her Orchestra Residencies Program, which involves week-long residencies with American youth orchestras.

Midori was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1971 and began studying the violin with her mother, Setsu Goto, at an early age. In 1982, Zubin Mehta invited the11-year-old Midori to make her debut at the New York Philharmonic’s traditional New Year’s Eve concert, on which occasion she received a standing ovation and the impetus to begin a major career.

Today, in addition to her performing and outreach activities, Midori serves as Distinguished Professor of Violin and holds the Jascha Heifetz Chair at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. She is also a Guest Professor at Japan’s Soai University and at Shanghai Conservatory and an Honorary Professor at the Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music.

Midori plays the 1734 Guarnerius del Gesù ‘ex-Huberman’. She uses four bows – two by Dominique Peccatte, one by François Peccatte and one by Paul Siefried.

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Tannenbaum-Sternberger Distinguished Teaching Artist

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Among the most distinguished classical artists of his generation, clarinetist JON MANASSE is internationally recognized for his inspiring artistry, uniquely glorious sound and charismatic performing style.

Recent season highlights include return performances with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and debuts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, The Chappaqua Orchestra, Montana’s Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Oregon’s Rogue Valley Symphony. With pianist Jon Nakamatsu, he continues to tour throughout the United States as half of the acclaimed Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo. The Duo’s activities include the world premiere performances of Paquito D’Rivera’s The Cape Cod Concerto with Symphony Silicon Valley, conducted by Leslie B. Dunner.

Jon Manasse’s solo appearances include New York City performances at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Hunter College’s Sylvia & Danny Kaye Playhouse, Columbia University, Rockefeller University and The Town Hall, fourteen tours of Japan and Southeast Asia – all with the New York Symphonic Ensemble, debuts in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Osaka and concerto performances with Gerard Schwarz and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, both at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall and at the prestigious Tokyu Bunkamura Festival in Tokyo. With orchestra, he has been guest soloist with the Augsburg, Dayton, Evansville, Naples and National philharmonics, Canada’s Symphony Nova Scotia, the National Chamber Orchestra and the Alabama, Annapolis, Bozeman, Dubuque, Florida West Coast, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Jackson, Oakland East Bay, Pensacola, Princeton, Richmond, Seattle, Stamford and Wyoming symphonies, under the batons of Leslie B. Dunner, Peter Leonard, Eckart Preu, Matthew Savery, Alfred Savia and Lawrence Leighton Smith. Of special distinction was Mr. Manasse’s 2002 London debut in a Barbican Centre performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with Gerard Schwarz and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.

During the 2009-2010 season, Jon Manasse gave the world premiere performances of Lowell Liebermann's Concerto for Clarinet & Orchestra with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Music Director Neal Gittleman – performances that were recorded for commercial CD release. Subsequent performances included those with the symphony orchestras of Evansville, Juneau, Las Cruces, North State (CA), Roanoke and the University of Massachusetts.

An avid chamber musician, Jon Manasse has been featured in New York City programs with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Walter Reade Theatre (on Lincoln Center’s “Great Performers Series”), The Sylvia & Danny Kaye Playhouse and Merkin Concert Hall; at the Aspen Music Festival, Caramoor International Music Festival, Colorado Springs Music Festival, Newport Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival and France’s Festival International des Arts, as well as the chamber music festivals of Bridgehampton, Cape and Islands, Crested Butte, Georgetown, St. Bart’s, Seattle and Tucson. 

Jon Manasse has been the guest soloist with many of the leading chamber ensembles of the day, including The Amadeus Trio and Germany’s Trio Parnassus and the American, Borromeo, Colorado, Lark, Manhattan, Moscow, Orion, Rossetti, Shanghai, Tokyo and Ying String Quartets, and has collaborated with violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Jon Nakamatsu.  Manasse is principal clarinetist of the American Ballet Theater Orchestra and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. In 2008 he was appointed principal clarinetist and Ensemble Member of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York City. As one of the nation’s most highly sought-after wind players, has also served as guest principal clarinetist of the New York Pops Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and New Jersey, Saint Louis and Seattle Symphony Orchestras, under the batons of Gerard Schwarz, Zdenek Macal, Jerzy Semkow, Robert Craft and Hugh Wolff. For several seasons, he was also the principal clarinetist of the New York Chamber Symphony. Mr. Manasse has been a guest clarinetist with the New York Philharmonic in concerts conducted by Valery Gergiev and André Previn, and, during the 2003-04 season, served as the principal clarinetist of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, performing under the batons of Artistic Director James Levine and, among others, Andrew Davis, Valery Gergiev and Vladimir Jurowski.

In addition to the premiere performances of Lowell Liebermann’s Clarinet Concerto, which was commissioned for him, Jon Manasse has also presented the world premieres of James Cohn’s Concerto for Clarinet & String Orchestra at the international ClarinetFest ’97 at Texas Tech University and, in 2005, of Steven R. Gerber’s Clarinet Concerto with the National Philharmonic. 

Jon Manasse has six critically acclaimed CDS on the XLNT label: the complete clarinet concerti of Weber, with Lukas Foss and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra; the complete works for clarinet and piano of Weber, with pianist Samuel Sanders; recording premieres of 20th Century clarinet works; “Clarinet Music from 3 Centuries,” including Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet(with the Shanghai Quartet), as well as music by Spohr, Gershwin and James Cohn; James Cohn’sClarinet Concerto #2; and the concerti of Mozart, Nielsen and Copland, with the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra. Also available are his recordings of Steven R. Gerber’s Clarinet Concerto with Vladimir Lande and the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony on the Arabesque label and Lowell Liebermann’s Quintet for Clarinet, Piano and String Trio on KOCH International. His debut CD with pianist Jon Nakamatsu, a harmonia mundi album of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas, was released to international rave reviews, early in 2008. 2010 saw the release of concerti by Mozart and Spohr with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony, also on the harmonia mundi label.

Jon Manasse is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he studied with David Weber.  Mr. Manasse was a top prize winner in the Thirty-Sixth International Competition for Clarinet in Munich and the youngest winner of the International Clarinet Society Competition. Currently, he is an official “Performing Artist” of both the Buffet Crampon Company and Vandoren, the Parisian firms that are the world’s oldest and most distinguished clarinet maker and reed maker, respectively. Since 1995, he has been Associate Professor of Clarinet at the Eastman School of Music; in the fall of 2007 Mr. Manasse joined the faculty of his alma mater, The Juilliard School.

Jon Manasse and his Duo partner, the acclaimed pianist Jon Nakamatsu, serve as Artistic Directors of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, an appointment announced during summer 2006.

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Considered one of the great pianists of our time, Horacio Gutiérrez is consistently praised by critics and audiences alike for the poetic insight and technical mastery he brings to a diverse repertoire. Born in Havana, Cuba, his professional debut was in 1970 with Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Since then, Mr. Gutiérrez has appeared regularly with the world’s greatest orchestras (including all the major London orchestras, U.S. orchestras, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Concertgebouw Orchestra), and on its major recital series. 

Mr. Gutiérrez has given recitals in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Berlin’s Philharmonie, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, as well as in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Cleveland. Mr. Gutiérrez has performed with orchestras on numerous occasions at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall, including the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Orchestre National de France, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, and Dresden Staatskappele. He was a frequent soloist at the Mostly Mozart Festival, appearing on its season-opening Live from Lincoln Center telecast. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with the Guarneri, Tokyo, and Cleveland quartets, as well as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. In 1982, he was the recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize.

Mr. Gutiérrez is an advocate of contemporary American composers. Of special importance were his performances of William Schuman’s Piano Concerto in honor of the composer’s 75th birthday at New York’s 92nd Street Y, and of André Previn’s Piano Concerto with the New York Philharmonic with Mr. Previn conducting. On his recital programs, he frequently included George Perle’s Phantasyplay and a set of Nine Bagatelles that Mr. Perle dedicated to him.

Mr. Gutiérrez’s Telarc recordings include Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerti Nos. 2 and 3 with Lorin Maazel and the Pittsburgh Symphony, nominated for a Grammy Award. Also available on that label are separate discs of the two Brahms Concerti with André Previn and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony. For the Chandos label, he has recorded Prokofiev’s Concerti Nos. 2 and 3 with Neeme Järvi and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. His recording, George Perle: A Retrospective, was named one of the ten best recordings of 2006 by The New Yorker. His television performances in Great Britain, the United States, and France were widely acclaimed and he won an Emmy Award for his fourth appearance with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. A great film and theater fan, he has performed in recital with Irene Worth and Mariette Hartley. Mr. Gutiérrez is an American citizen and resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Patricia Asher.

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Hailed by the Dallas Morning News for his "radiant tone and generous expressivity", and the Fort Worth Star Telegram for his "musicianship, clear sound, precise intonation, and empathic dynamic levels", Jake Fridkis has quickly established himself as one of the leading flutists of his generation.
Before graduating from the Yale School of Music, he won the principal flute position in the South Dakota Symphony where he played for two months before winning the same position with the Fort Worth Symphony where he is currently principal. He has performed as a concerto soloist in Germany, Italy, France, Brazil, and throughout the United States. As a guest flutist, he has performed with the St. Louis Symphony, Symphony SONG (Korea), the New Haven Symphony, and the Princeton Symphony.
Jake earned his Masters and Artist Diploma degrees while studying with Ransom Wilson at the Yale School of Music, receiving the coveted Thomas Nyfenger memorial prize for highest achievements. His other studies have been at the Cleveland Institute with Josh Smith, and at Aspen with Mark Sparks.
Jake made his NFA convention debut at age 15 premiering Gary Schocker's flute duet "French Toast" with his brother Gabe, his flute duo partner, and Gary Schocker on the piano. He is published in "Flute Talk", spreading positive messages about classical music. He has premiered several works by noted composer Gary Schocker, and performed as a duo with harpist/composer Hannah Lash. Jake plays on a 14k Haynes Flute and is a Haynes Artist.

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Violinist Avi Nagin is an active recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral player. He has performed in collaboration with members of the Ebène and Orion Quartets, as well as with Paul Coletti, Benny and Eric Kim, and Ronald Leonard. A recent graduate of The Colburn School and the Yale School of Music, Avi’s performances have brought him to stages across the country, including Carnegie Hall and Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood.  He has appeared at prestigious masterclasses and workshops around the world, including at Carnegie Hall led by pianist Leon Fleisher, where he also worked closely with Yo-Yo Ma and Pamela Frank.  Avi has also twice attended the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove in Cornwall, England, where he appeared in masterclasses for András Keller and Philippe Graffin, as well as legendary violinist Ivry Gitlis.  During his time as a student, Avi held leadership positions in the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestral, Aspen Chamber Symphony, and New York Youth Symphony.  Since then has has become Principal 2nd Violin of Symphony in C, Assistant Principal 2nd Violin of the Norwalk Symphony, section violin with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Artosphere Festival Orchestral, and has also appeared with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Greenwich Symphony Orchestra.  He has also attended festivals including Kneisel Hall, Lake George Music Festival, and the Heifetz Institute. Avi’s principal teachers include Ani Kavafian, Robert Lispett, Daniel Phillips, and Ann Setzer, and he has studied chamber music with Arnold Steinhardt, Sylvia Rosenberg and Paul Coletti.  In addition to his performance activities, Avi is an active educator, and along with his private teaching he serves on the chamber music faculty of the New York Youth Symphony and was previously a “Teaching Artist” with Yale University’s Music in Schools Initiative.  

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