Emanuel Ax is renowned not only for his poetic temperament and unsurpassed virtuosity, but also for the exceptional breadth of his performing activity. Each season his distinguished career includes appearances with major symphony orchestras worldwide, recitals in the most celebrated concert halls, a variety of chamber music collaborations, the commissioning and performance of new music, and additions to his acclaimed discography on Sony Classical.
Emanuel Ax first captured public attention in 1974 when, aged 25, he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. Five years later he took the coveted Avery Fisher Prize in New York. He has been an exclusive Sony Classical artist since 1987, making his debut on that label with a collection of Chopin scherzos and mazurkas. His recent releases include a two-piano program(with Yefim Bronfman) of works by Brahms, period-instrument performances of Chopin's complete works for piano and orchestra with the OAE under Sir Charles Mackerras, and Brahms Piano Concerto No 2 with Bernard Haitink and the Boston Symphony. Other notable recordings are a Grammy-award winning album of Haydn Piano Sonatas, the two Liszt concertos paired with the Schoenberg Concerto, three solo Brahms albums, an album of tangos by Astor Piazzolla and a recording of John Adams' "Century Rolls" with the Cleveland Orchestra for Nonesuch.
Emanuel Ax regularly performs duo recitals with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, their recordings together have earned three Grammy Awards. He also received a Grammy award for his Brahms Trio recording with Ma and Richard Stolzman.
Highlights for Emanuel Ax have included his presenting "Perspectives" concert series at Carnegie Hall, New York in the 2003/4 season. For the 2005/6 season he was appointed "Pianist in Residence" at the Berlin Philharmonic, performing under Sir Simon Rattle in Berlin and New York and in four chamber concerts with members of the orchestra. Other recent engagements include Ax's collaboration with the Mark Morris Dance Group, playing Mozart Piano Concerti in a series of performances in New York, London and Vienna.
This season Emanuel Ax masterminds a chamber music project to celebrate the 200th birthdays of Schumann and Chopin. He has devised three programs of solo repertoire, cello duos with Yo-Yo Ma and song with Dawn Upshaw, each including a world premiere. All three are performed in spring 2010 at the Barbican Centre in London, Concertgebouw Hall in Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall in New York, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco and Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles. Orchestral engagements this season include a three week tour of Asia with the New York Philharmonic and performances of Chopin with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Paris, Amsterdam and Lucerne. He also performs Brahms with orchestras in Salzburg, Dresden, Berlin and Prague and Beethoven in Lisbon, Frankfurt and Vienna. As a recitalist he appears in Germany, Poland, Spain, Portugal and the UK.
Born in Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Canada with his family when he was a young boy. His studies at the Julliard School were supported by the sponsorship of the Epstein Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America and he subsequently won the Young Concert Artists Award. His piano teacher was Mieczylaw Munz. He also attended Columbia University where he majored in French. In 2007 he was made an Honorary Doctor of Music at Yale University and in 2008 he received an Honorary Degree from Columbia. He lives in New York with his wife, the pianist Yoko Nozaki, and they have two children, Joseph and Sarah.
Keisuke Wakao (Oboe)
Keisuke Wakao is the assistant principal oboe of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the principal oboe of the Boston Pops Orchestra. He was formerly a member of the New World Symphony, which he joined in its inaugural season. He made his debut CD with pianist Christoph Eschenbach under the Dennon label. Mr. Wakao studied with Joseph Robinson at the Manhattan School where he served on the faculty following his graduation. He is currently on the faculty of both the New England Conservatory of Music and the Longy School of Music. Mr. Wakao started the Keisuke Wakao Oboe Camp in Tokyo and is presently director of the Daikanyama Hillside Terrace Music Festival, founder of the Church of the Redeemer Concert Series, and sponsor of the American-Japanese Cultural Concert Series.
Masaharu Yamamoto (Clarinet)
Masaharu Yamamoto won the first prize in the wind division at the Japan Music Competition in 1972. He graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts with the honor of the Ataka Prize. He then entered the Nordwestdeutsche Musik Akademie in Detmold, Germany to study further with Jost Michaels. In 1975, he joined the Dusseldorfer Symphoniker as solo clarinet. He won the second prize in the woodwind trio division at the 1976 Colmar International Chamber Music Competition (France). In 1980, he received the title Kammermusiker from the city of Dusseldorf. He returned to Japan in 1983 and subsequently participated in such festivals as the Kiso Music Festival, the Kurashiki Music Festival, and the Miyazaki Music Festival. He participates in a wide range of musical activities, including solo, chamber music. 1990-2007, he was principal clarinet of the New Japan Philharmonic and also professor at the Musashino Academia Musicae, (1999-2007) . Currently, he is director of the Kiso Music Festival and professor at the Tokyo University of the Arts.
Richard Ranti (Bassoon)
Associate principal bassoon Richard Ranti joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the start of the 1989-90 season; he is also principal bassoon of the Boston Pops Orchestra. Born in Montreal, Mr. Ranti started bassoon at the age of ten, studying with Sidney Rosenberg and David Carroll. After graduating from Interlochen Arts Academy, he studied with Sol Schoenbach at the Curtis Institute of Music. At the age of nineteen, he won the second bassoon position in the Philadelphia Orchestra; he spent six years with that orchestra, the last as acting associate principal. A 1982 fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, Mr. Ranti has also participated in the Spoleto and Marlboro festivals. He won second prize in the 1982 Toulon International Bassoon Competition and is the recipient of two Canada Council grants.
Richard Sebring (Horn)
Richard Sebring is associate principal horn of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and principal horn of the Boston Pops Orchestra. Born and raised in Concord, Massachusetts, Mr. Sebring studied at Indiana University, the New England Conservatory of Music, the University of Washington, and the Tanglewood Music Center. Previously principal horn of the Rochester Philharmonic, he joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1981. Mr. Sebring has been soloist with the BSO and the Boston Pops in Boston, at Tanglewood, and on tour. As a studio musician, his horn work is heard regularly in popular music, on PBS, and in films. Mr. Sebring teaches at the New England Conservatory of Music and the Tanglewood Music Center
Alexander Velinzon (Violin)
A native of St. Petersburg, Russia, Alexander Velinzon joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in January 2000 and became an assistant concertmaster of the BSO in August 2005. Mr. Velinzon began playing the violin at six and graduated from the Leningrad School for Gifted Children. After coming to the United States, he continued his studies at the Manhattan School of Music and received his masters degree from Juilliard. His appearances as soloist with orchestra have included the Rondo Chamber Orchestra on its tour to Venezuela; the Absolute Ensemble, the Metamorphoses Orchestra, Chappaqua Symphony in New York; and the National Symphony of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Mr. Velinzon was a prizewinner in the Heida Hermann International Competition in the United States and in the Tibor Varga International Competition in Switzerland. He made his New York recital debut at Carnegie Halls Weill Recital Hall as winner of the Artist International 1996 Young Artists Auditions.
Yuncong Zhang (Violin)
Yuncong Zhang comes from a musical family in Changchun, China. At age ten she began studies at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Ms. Zhang came to the United States in 2003 and was immediately recognized as a vigorous and gifted performer. Ms. Zhang has performed as soloist and concertmaster on various occasions in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Severance Hall. Ms. Zhang studied violin with Glenn Dicterow and Lisa Kim at the Manhattan School of Music. Ms. Zhang was a prizewinner of the Kingsville International Competition in 2004, the Tuesday Musical Competition in 2005, and the Camerata concerto competition in 2006. As a founding member of the Echoi Contemporary Ensemble, Ms. Zhang and her group performed their debut concert in Carnegie Hall. Ms. Zhang has spent her summers with fellowships to the Aspen Music Festival, Taos School of Music, Pacific Music Festival, and Music Academy of the West. She joined the violin section of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2009.
Rebecca Gitter (Viola)
Born in Canada, Rebecca Gitter began studying Suzuki violin at seven and viola at thirteen. In May 2001 she received her bachelor of music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she was a student of Robert Vernon, having previously studied in Toronto, Ontario. While at CIM she was the recipient of the Institutes Annual Viola Prize and the Robert Vernon Prize in Viola, and twice received honorable mention in the schools concerto competition, resulting in solo performances. Among other honors, she was the 2000 recipient of Torontos Ben Steinberg Jewish Musical Legacy Award and, prior to her BSO appointment, was offered a position in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. She was a summer participant in the Taos School of Music, the Marlboro Festival, Ravinias Steans Institute for Young Artists, and the National Academy and National Youth Orchestras of Canada. Ms. Gitter joined the viola section of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in August 2001.
Mihail Jojatu (Cello)
Romanian-born cellist Mihail Jojatu joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2001. Mr. Jojatu studied at the Bucharest Academy of Music before attending the Boston Conservatory of Music, where he studied with former BSO cellist Ronald Feldman. Through Boston University, he also studied with BSO principal cellist Jules Eskin. A winner of the concerto competition at Boston University School for the Arts, he also won first prize in the Aria Concerto Competition at the Boston Conservatory and was awarded the Carl Zeise Memorial Prize in his second year as a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow. A faculty member at the Longy School of Music, Mihail Jojatu is also a member of the Triptych String Trio.
Edwin Barker (Double Bass)
Mr. Barker graduated with honors from the New England Conservatory in 1976, where he studied doublebass with Henry Portnoi. That same year, while a member of the Chicago Symphony, he was appointed at age 22 to the position of principal bassist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Recognized as one of the most gifted bassists in America, Mr. Barker has performed and recorded with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, and with Collage, a Boston -based contemporary music ensemble. Mr. Barker is an Associate Professor at the Boston University College of Fine Arts and is affiliated with the National Orchestral Institute at the University of Maryland and the Tanglewood Music Center, where he is Chairman of Instrumental and Orchestral Studies.
Edmund Arkus (Piano)
Pianist Edmund Arkus has performed for many years in the United States, Japan and England to high acclaim. He has been presented in solo recitals, as soloist with orchestras, and in chamber music. He has had the opportunity to perform for ten years with oboist, Keisuke Wakao, in Boston, the Berkshires, and Japan. During that time, Mr. Arkus also performed in several chamber music festivals in Japan with members of the Orchestre de Paris, NHK Orchestra of Tokyo, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony. In June of 2008, Edmund Arkus was presented in solo and chamber music recitals in Ogaki and Tokyo including a performance of Beethovens First Piano Concerto with the Ogaki Chamber Orchestra.