Maya Anjali Buchanan, violin

Indian/Italian violinist, Maya Anjali Buchanan, 16, studies with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago Academy, an elite training program for advanced precollege musicians.  She is an Academy Tenth Anniversary Fellow Laureate (2015/16) and receives a full-tuition merit scholarship. During the summer season, she studies with Paul Kantor at the Aspen Music Festival-and School.

In 2015, Maya was awarded top prizes in two international competitions: The 2015 Cooper International Violin Competition in Oberlin, Ohio and the triennial 2015 Johansen International Competition for Young String Players held in Washington, D.C. where she was the only American violinist to be awarded a top prize.  Daniel Hathaway of described her performance of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto as "displaying verve, direction and an excellent sense of musical architecture" and "a haunting tone which contrasted beautifully with color changes".  The piece was "beautifully played and it moved my soul" wrote Glen Dicterow, previous concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

She has won grand prize and top prizes in many competitions including the Walgreen's National Concerto Competition, Luminarts Cultural Foundation Classical Music Competition, Collin County Young Artist Competition, Kearney Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, Dallas Symphonic Festival and was the youngest Grand Prize winner in the history of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition which culminated in three performances of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto at Washington Pavilion.  She received Second Place nationally at the 2014 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Junior String Competition and advanced to the national finals by winning the South Dakota state and West-Central divisional performance competitions for two consecutive years.

A native of the Black Hills of western South Dakota, she began her violin studies at age three.  Maya made her solo debut at age ten and has since performed as a guest artist with numerous orchestras performing works by Bruch, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Waxman, Sarasate and Vieuxtemps. She has performed at many diverse venues including the King's Summer Palace in Lyon, France, Aspen's Harris Hall, Ravinia's Bennett-Gordon Hall, Chicago's Symphony Hall and Harris Theater, Chicago Cultural Center, and other venues throughout Illinois and the Mid-West.

Since age nine, she has participated five summers in the Aspen Music Festival (2010-2013,2015) where she was named the Second Place winner in the 2015 Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto Competition and nominated for the prestigious Delay Fellowship.  She was one of twelve violinists selected nationally to participate in the solo-intensive Brian Lewis Young Artist Program (2011-2014).  Recently, Maya was invited to participate in the student artist program at the biennial 2015 Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies held at The Juilliard School. She has also been featured in a live recorded performance at the National Music Museum on NPR's From the Top, showcasing America's best young classical musicians.

A passionate chamber musician, Maya currently performs as violinist of Quartet Degas.  Degas was recently named a top prize winner in the A.N. & Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Music Competition, a finalist in the 2016 St. Paul National Chamber Music String Quartet Competition and a quarterfinalist in the 2016 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition to be held this May.  She was previously a semifinalist in the 2015 Fischoff Competition as the violinist of Omorfia PianoTrio.

Maya has performed in masterclasses for Ida Kavafian, Pamela Frank, Sylvia Rosenberg, Robert McDuffie, Rachel Barton Pine, Brian Lewis, David Kim, David Updegraff and the late Stephen Clapp.  In addition to playing the violin, she enjoys life on her family ranch in South Dakota's Black Hills National Forest.

Riana Anthony, cello

Riana Anthony, born and raised in Yamagata, Japan, began studying the cello at the age of nine under her mother, Lifen Anthony and cellist, Kurata Sumiko. Riana made her Honolulu Symphony debut at age 12, soon after moving to Hawaii, and has since performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. The Shanghai City Symphony Orchestra featured Riana in 2014 as a soloist in their performance of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto. In the same season, she completed a recital tour in China, including a solo performance in the Future Masters Concert Series at the Oriental Arts Center in Shanghai. In 2016, Riana made her Kennedy Center debut and performed solo recitals in the US, China, and Denmark. To close the year, Riana performed the Kabalevsky Cello Concerto No. 2 with Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Victor Yampolsky.

Riana is a recipient of The Jerome and Elaine Nerenberg Foundation Scholarships and the first prize winner of the 2017 Samuel and Elinor Thaviu String Performance Competition. Riana was a Fellowship recipient at the Aspen Music Festival and has participated in festivals including the Rome Chamber Music Festival, Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, Gstaad String Academy, PyeongChang Music Festival, and Mortitzburg Festival. Riana received her undergraduate degree from the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and is currently pursuing a Masters degree at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music with professor Hans Jørgen Jensen.

In September 2017 she is artist in residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel under the guidance of Gary Hoffman.

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.

Tessa Lark, violin

Recipient of a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Silver Medalist in the 9th Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and winner of the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition, Tessa Lark is one of the most captivating artistic voices of our time. She is praised consistently by critics and audiences for her astounding range of sounds, technical agility, captivating interpretations, and multi-genre programming and performance. Also the recipient of a career grant from the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts in 2014, Ms. Lark continues to expand her relationships with orchestras and presenters on stages worldwide.

She has appeared with orchestras throughout the U.S. since making her concerto debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at age sixteen. As part of Carnegie Hall’s Distinctive Debuts series she performed in February 2017 at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. Ms. Lark has also been presented by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, the Perlman Music Program, San Francisco Performances, Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, Ravinia’s Bennett-Gordon Classics series, the Troy Chromatics Series, Chamber Music Tulsa, the Caramoor Wednesday Morning Concert Series, Seattle Chamber Music Society, and the Marlboro, Yellow Barn, Olympic, and Music@Menlo festivals.

In the 2016-17 season she made her debut with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and performed with the Peninsula Youth Orchestra, both in its home city of San Carlos, California and on tour in Cremona, Milan, and Munich. Highlights of her 2017-18 season include a January 2018 appearance at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall as part of APAP's annual Young Performers Career Advancement showcase; a return engagement with the Troy Chromatics Series; a performance with the Carmel (Indiana) Symphony Orchestra that includes the world premiere of Love Letters, a work written for her by composer and doublebassist Michael Thurber; an appearance in Indianapolis with Thurber and the gypsy jazz guitarist Frank Vignola; and concerto debuts with the Buffalo Philharmonic, North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Springfield (Missouri) Symphony Orchestra, Binghamton Philharmonic, and Boston’s Longwood Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Lark has been soloist with the Cincinnati, New Haven, Hawaii, Santa Fe, Indianapolis, Cheyenne, Santa Cruz, and Peninsula symphony orchestras; the Louisville Orchestra; CityMusic Cleveland; the New Juilliard Ensemble Chamber Orchestras; and internationally with the Chinese Opera and Ballet Symphony.

A passionate chamber musician, she has toured with musicians from Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute and will appear on two tours with Musicians from Marlboro in 2018. Her piano trio, Trio Modêtre, took top prize in the 2012 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Ms. Lark has collaborated with a growing list of renowned artists including Mitsuko Uchida, Itzhak Perlman, Miriam Fried, Donald Weilerstein, Pamela Frank, Kim Kashkashian, Peter Wiley, and Ralph Kirshbaum. She joined Caramoor Virtuosi as a result of her participation in Caramoor's Rising Stars Series.

Keeping in touch with her Kentucky roots, Ms. Lark performs and programs bluegrass and Appalachian music regularly. She collaborated with Mark O'Connor on his CD "MOC4," released in June 2014. She also plays jazz violin, most recently performing with the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in New York City. She premiered her own Appalachian Fantasy as part of her Distinctive Debuts recital at Carnegie Hall, where she also gave the world premiere of Michael Torke’s Spoon Bread, written specifically for her stylistic capabilities.

In addition to her busy performance schedule, Ms. Lark has served on the faculty of the Great Wall International Music Academy in Beijing, and, as a From the Top alumna, is active in their arts leadership program as a performer and educator. Ms. Lark’s primary mentors include Cathy McGlasson, Kurt Sassmannshaus, Miriam Fried, and Lucy Chapman. She is a graduate of New England Conservatory and completed her Artist Diploma at The Juilliard School, where she studied with Sylvia Rosenberg, Ida Kavafian, and Daniel Phillips. Ms. Lark plays the 1683 “ex-Gingold” Stradivari violin on generous loan from the Josef Gingold Fund for the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.

Tessa Lark is represented worldwide by New York-based Sciolino Artist Management,
September 2017

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

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


Phone: (920) 854-4060