65th Season opening concert begins in 34 Days

Christi Zuniga, piano

Christi Zuniga has been Principal Keyboardist with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra since 2000. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Clayton State College in Georgia and received a Master of Music degree in Chamber Music and Accompanying from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

In addition to her full-time position with the Omaha Symphony, Ms. Zuniga accompanies musicians in and around Omaha for various concerts and competitions. She has collaborated with many visiting artists, including Joseph Alessi, Thomas Bacon, and Peter Verhoyen.

Christi Zuniga resides in Ralston, Nebraska with her husband and their little Chihuahuas.

Augusta Read Thomas, composer

 

The music of Augusta Read Thomas (b. 1964 in New York) is nuanced, majestic, elegant, capricious, lyrical, and colorful – “it is boldly considered music that celebrates the sound of the instruments and reaffirms the vitality of orchestral music.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

In February 2015, music critic Edward Reichel wrote, "Augusta Read Thomas has secured for herself a permanent place in the pantheon of American composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. She is without question one of the best and most important composers that this country has today. Her music has substance and depth and a sense of purpose. She has a lot to say and she knows how to say it — and say it in a way that is intelligent yet appealing and sophisticated.”

The New York Times article of March 6, 2015 states that Thomas had the distinction of having her work performed more frequently in 2013-2014 than any other living ASCAP composer, according to statistics from performing rights organization. Former Chairperson of the American Music Center, she serves on many boards, is a generous citizen in the profession at large, and, according to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, “has become one of the most recognizable and widely loved figures in American music.”

A Grammy winner, her impressive body of works embodies unbridled passion and fierce poetry. The New Yorker called her "a true virtuoso composer." Championed by such luminaries as Barenboim, Rostropovich, Boulez, Eschenbach, Salonen, Maazel, Ozawa, and Knussen, she rose early to the top of her profession.

As an influential teacher at Eastman, Northwestern, Tanglewood, Aspen Music Festival, now she is the 16th ever University Professor (one of only seven current University Professors) at the University of Chicago. She has said, “Teaching is a natural extension of my creative process and of my enthusiasm for the music of others.” She founded the Center for Contemporary Composition at the University of Chicago.

Thomas was the longest-serving Mead Composer-in-Residence for Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez with the Chicago Symphony from 1997 through 2006, a residency that culminated in the premiere of Astral Canticle – one of two finalists for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Music. During her residency, Thomas not only premiered nine commissioned orchestral works, but also was central toward establishing the thriving MusicNOW series on which she commissioned and programmed the work of many living composers.

Augusta envisioned, and spearheaded EAR TAXI FESTIVAL, a 6-day-long new music festival in October 2016 celebrating the vibrant and booming classical contemporary music scene in Chicago. 350 musicians, 53 world premieres, performances of 35 already existing works, 25 ensembles, 88 composers, and 5 installations.

Recent and upcoming commissions include those from the Boston Symphony, the Utah Symphony, Wigmore Hall in London, JACK quartet, Third Coast Percussion, Tanglewood, the Danish Chamber Players, Notre Dame University, and the Fromm Foundation. She won the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize among many other coveted awards. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

G. Schirmer, Inc. is the exclusive publisher of her music worldwide for all works composed until December 31, 2015. Nimbus Music Publishing is the exclusive publisher of her music worldwide for all works composed after January 1, 2016. Her discography includes 77 commercially recorded CDs.

Ms. Thomas studied composition with Oliver Knussen at Tanglewood (1986, 1987, 1989), Jacob Druckman at Yale University (1988), with Alan Stout and Bill Karlins at Northwestern University (1983-1987), and at the Royal Academy of Music in London (1989). She was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University (1991-94) and a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College (1990-91).

Donald Rosenberg of Gramophone wrote, “Heart and soul in the breathtaking music of a thoughtful contemporary composer. Thomas's brainy brand of modernism reveals a lively, probing mind allied to a beating heart.”


Biography: G. Schirmer, Inc., Photo: Anthony Barlich

Margot Schwartz, violin

A native of Oakland, California, violinist Margot Schwartz is a member of the First Violin section in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared as soloist with the Milwaukee, Berkeley, and Oakland East Bay Symphonies, as well as the Northwestern University Chamber and Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestras. As a chamber musician, in which capacity she has performed extensively on both violin and viola, Ms. Schwartz has appeared at New York’s Bargemusic, at the Kennedy Center, and on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW series.

Ms. Schwartz currently performs on numerous series in the Milwaukee area, including Frankly Music and Present Music, along with her regular performances both as a new member of the Prometheus Trio as well as in the violin/viola duo Bowing Rogue.

During the summer, Ms. Schwartz presently performs in the First Violin sections of both the Bellingham and Peninsula Music Festivals. A former teacher at the Music Institute of Chicago as well as the Lincoln-Bassett School in New Haven, Connecticut, Schwartz currently teaches privately in Milwaukee and coaches sectionals and chamber music at local high schools.

She holds a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, where she studied with Ani Kavafian, as well as a Bachelor of Music which she earned cum laude from the Northwestern University School of Music, where she was a student of Roland and Almita Vamos.

Beilin Han, piano

Born in Shanghai, China, Beilin Han started piano lesson at the age three. After four years of studies, she won 1st prize at a young artist competition in Shanghai. Ms. Han attended the Shanghai Conservatory of Music for primary and middle school. She was the winner of the 8th Hong Kong International Piano Competition and was awarded the highest scholarship available in China. In 1996, Ms. Han recorded and sold her first CD, and in 1997,was accepted by Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore under a full scholarship. After graduating, Ms. Han attended the University of Kansas for her master's degree as the only full scholarship recipient. There she studied with famous American pianist Jack Winerock and world-renowned Portuguese pianist Sequeira Costa. Under Costa's instruction, Ms. Han won top prizes in many prestigious competitions including first place in the Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Scholarship Competition, the Kansas City National Scholarship Competition, as well as the Naftzger National Young Artist Competition. In 2004, Ms. Han became a prizewinner of the "Vianna Da Motta International Piano Competition" in Portugal. In addition to the competitive world, Ms. Han was invited to perform at the 7th Annual World Piano Pedagogy Conference in Las Vegas in 2002 and was honored as a Young Artist in 2003. She was invited to perform Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra, Mozart Piano Concerto in A Major (K.488) with T'ang Quartet in Singapore and Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 with Portugal's Gulbenkian Orchestra.

Ms. Han has toured internationally as a concert pianist performing in China, Portugal, Spain, and throughout the US. Her performances have been heard on radio shows in Singapore, the U.S., and a television show in Shanghai. In 2008, Ms. Han graduated from Roosevelt University, where she received her Artistic Diploma with Dr. Solomon Mikowsky (Manhattan School of Music) and Mr.Meng-Chieh Liu (Curtis Institute of Music).
In addition to Ms. Han's successful solo career, she enjoys collaborating with other musicians, she constantly appears in Chicago Culture Center, The Stradivari Society and Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a collaborative pianist and collaborating with such artists as pianist Alberto Portugheis, world-renowned counter-tenor Paul Esswood, world-renowned violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Ilya Kaler, Yossif Ivanov, Kyoko Takezawa, Elmar Oliveira, Frank Almond, and cellist Timothy Eddy. She has also worked with world-famous conductors such as Riccardo Muti and Christoph Eschenbach.

Ms. Han is currently a collaborative pianist at Northwestern University Bienen School of Music, DePaul University School of Music and Roosevelt University (Chicago College of Performing Arts). She joined the collaborative piano faculty of Heifetz International Music Institute in 2011 and Cremona International Music Academy (Italy) in 2014.

James Ehnes, Violin

Known for his virtuosity and probing musicianship, violinist James Ehnes has performed in over 35 countries on five continents, appearing regularly in the world’s great concert halls and with many of the most celebrated orchestras and conductors.

In the 2016-2017 season James continues his cross-Canada recital tour in celebration of his 40th birthday, performs the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas in Stresa, Montreux, Los Angeles, Liverpool, and Amsterdam, and joins the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra on a tour of China and the National Arts Centre Orchestra on a tour of Eastern Canada. James also holds artist residencies with the Melbourne Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and the Scotia Festival, undertakes two tours with the Ehnes Quartet, and leads the winter and summer festivals of the Seattle Chamber Music Society, where he is the Artistic Director.

New and upcoming CD releases include a disc of works by Debussy, Respighi, Elgar and Sibelius as well as a recording of Beethoven’s Sonatas Nos. 6 and 9 with pianist Andrew Armstrong, the Sibelius and Schubert “Death and the Maiden” quartets with the Ehnes Quartet, and the complete works of Beethoven for violin and orchestra with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Andrew Manze. His recordings have been honored with many international awards and prizes, including a GRAMMY, a Gramophone, and 11 JUNO Awards.

James Ehnes was born in 1976 in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. He began violin studies at the age of four, and at age nine became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin. He studied with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music and from 1993 to 1997 at The Juilliard School, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music upon his graduation. Mr. Ehnes first gained national recognition in 1987 as winner of the Grand Prize in Strings at the Canadian Music Competition. The following year he won the First Prize in Strings at the Canadian Music Festival, the youngest musician ever to do so. At age 13, he made his major orchestral solo debut with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.

He has won numerous awards and prizes, including the first-ever Ivan Galamian Memorial Award, the Canada Council for the Arts’ Virginia Parker Prize, and a 2005 Avery Fisher Career Grant. James has received honorary doctorates from Brandon University and the University of British Columbia and in 2007 he became the youngest person ever elected as a Fellow to the Royal Society of Canada. In 2010 the Governor General of Canada appointed James a Member of the Order of Canada, and in 2013 he was named an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, limited to a select group of 300 living distinguished musicians.

James Ehnes plays the "Marsick" Stradivarius of 1715. He currently lives in Bradenton, Florida with his family.

www.jamesehnes.com

August Symphony Series performance location

Door Community Auditorium - Fish Creek 

The Peninsula Music Festival - 10347 Highway 42

Unit B Green Gables Shops 

P.O. Box 340, Ephraim, Wisconsin  54211

email: musicfestival@musicfestival.com

Phone: (920) 854-4060