Ryan Meehan | Violin
Artistic Director & Founder VVSA
Violinist Ryan Meehan has been hailed for his “singing tone” (New York Times) “remarkably polished and sophisticated playing” (Chicago Tribune). As a member of the Calidore String Quartet he is a recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award and is a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist. Ryan is also a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Ryan regularly performs in the most prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, Berlin Konzerthaus, Cologne Philharmonie, Seoul’s Kumho Arts Hall and at festivals, including the BBC Proms, Verbier, Ravinia, Mostly Mozart, Music@Menlo and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The Calidore have recorded five commercial recordings. Ryan serves as artist-in-residence at the University of Toronto and University of Delaware. His violin students have been accepted to prestigious institutions such as the Colburn School, Indiana University, Hochschule for Musik and Theater in Munich and Stony Brook University. Additionally, he has mentored several fine string quartets which have gone on to win top prizes in the Banff International Competition and Fischoff Competition. He is a graduate of the Colburn School Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles. His teachers include Almita and Roland Vamos, Robert Lipsett, Arnold Steinhardt, Julia Fischer and Amy Schwartz Moretti.
Gabriela Fahnenstiel | Piano
Artistic Director & Founder VVSA
Hailed for her performances of “rarely seen passion” (Laufenburg, Südkurier), pianist Gabriela Fahnenstiel has performed to international acclaim as soloist and chamber musician. As a concerto soloist she appeared with the Orchesterverein Bad Säckingen and the ‘Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas’ (OSUAT) in Mexico. Furthermore, she plays recitals throughout Europe and the United States and was a prize winner at the national German competition “Jugend musiziert”. In 2013 recorded her debut CD with works of Mozart, Chopin and Liszt.
She has appeared in chamber music performances with esteemed artists as the Calidore String Quartet and violinist Julia Fischer. As a protogé of Julia Fischer, Gabriela performed at the German Cultural Award in Munich and at the Festival “Julia Fischer and Friends”. Her performances have been featured at such prestigious summer festivals as the Aspen Music Festival, the Weimarer Master Classes and the International Academy of Music in Lenk, Switzerland.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree with distinction from the University of Music in Basel, Switzerland and a Master’s Degree from the Manhattan School of Music. Her principal mentors include Viera Fischer, Prof. Adrian Oetiker, Dr. Lisa Yui and Prof. Solomon Mikowsky.
Julia Fischer | Violin
One of the world´s leading violinists, Julia Fischer is a versatile musician also known for her extraordinary abilities as a concert pianist, a chamber musician and a violin teacher. Born in Munich to German-Slovakian parents Julia received her first violin lessons at the age of 3 and her first piano lessons shortly after from her mother Viera Fischer. At the age of 9 she started studying with the renowned violin professor Ana Chumachenco, later becoming her successor. The first prize at the international Yehudi Menuhin Competition in 1995 was one of the milestones in her early career and she has since performed with top orchestras worldwide frequently working with renowned conductors such as Herbert Blomstedt, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Yuri Temirkanov and Franz Welser-Möst.
Over the course of her artistic career Julia Fischer has released numerous critically acclaimed and awarded CD and DVD recordings, first under the Pentatone label and later under Decca. Breaking new ground in the classical music market, she has recently launched her own music platform, the JF CLUB, which offers exclusive audio and video footage, previews of her new recordings as well as personal insight into music and her her work. Julia Fischer holds numerous awards including the Federal Cross of Merit, Gramophone Award and the German Culture Prize. She plays a violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1742) as well as an instrument made by Phillipp Augustin (2018).
James Ehnes | Violin
James Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after violinists on the international stage. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favourite guest of many of the world’s most respected conductors including Ashkenazy, Alsop, Sir Andrew Davis, Denève, Elder, Ivan Fischer, Gardner, Paavo Järvi, Mena, Noseda, Robertson and Runnicles. Ehnes’s long list of orchestras includes, amongst others, the Boston, Chicago, London, NHK and Vienna Symphony Orchestras, the Los Angeles, New York, Munich and Czech Philharmonic Orchestras, and the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Philharmonia and DSO Berlin orchestras.
Ehnes began violin studies at the age of five, became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin aged nine, and made his orchestra debut with L’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal aged 13. He continued his studies with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music and The Juilliard School, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music upon his graduation in 1997. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2010 was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. Ehnes was awarded the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the Instrumentalist category.
James Ehnes plays the “Marsick” Stradivarius of 1715.
Alessio Bax | Piano
Combining exceptional lyricism and insight with consummate technique, Alessio Bax is without a doubt “among the most remarkable young pianists now before the public” (Gramophone). He catapulted to prominence with First Prize wins at both the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions, and is now a familiar face on five continents, not only as a recitalist and chamber musician, but also as a concerto soloist who has appeared with more than 100 orchestras, including the London, Royal, and St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestras, the Boston, Dallas, Sydney, and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras, and the NHK Symphony in Japan, collaborating with such eminent conductors as Marin Alsop, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Simon Rattle, Yuri Temirkanov, and Jaap van Zweden.
Alessio Bax graduated with top honors at the record age of 14 from the conservatory of Bari, his hometown in Italy, where his teacher was Angela Montemurro. He studied in France with Francois-Joël Thiollier and attended the Chigiana Academy in Siena under Joaquín Achúcarro. In 1994 he moved to Dallas to continue his studies with Achúcarro at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts. In fall 2019, Bax joins the piano faculty of Boston’s New England Conservatory.
Almita Vamos | Violin
Almita Vamos is a graduate of the Juilliard School where she studied with Mischa Mischakoff and Louis Persinger. Almita Vamos has won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching six times, the ASTA Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award, and has been featured on “Sunday Morning” CBS and in the New York Times best-selling book, Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mom by Amy Chua.
Mrs. Vamos has served on the violin faculty of Western Illinois University, University of Minnesota, the Oberlin Conservatory, and Northwestern University. Mrs. Vamos is currently on the faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago. Mrs. Vamos’ students have won top prizes in many national competitions including Klein, Stuhlburg, Johannsen, Corpus Christi, Kingsville; and international competitions including Tchaikovsky, Carl Flesch, Menuhin, Bach (Leipzig), Szigeti, Kreisler, Neilsen, Paganini, and Montreal. Her students play in many orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic as well as many esteemed string quartets including the Pacifica, Ying, Miro, Dover and Calidore quartets. She continues to perform as a soloist and chamber musician in America and abroad.
Adrian Oetiker | Piano
The swiss pianist Adrian Oetiker is pursuing a worldwide career since many years. He is a successful soloist and chamber musician, at the same time he is in great demand as a professor. Critics describe his playing as «flawless, richly varied jeu perlé», they praise his «touches light as feathers» and «exactly calculated tone colours». They also appreciate the «eruptive pure energy», «power and purpose», and the «ability to conjure lucid and brilliant atmosphere».
His concerts in Europe, America and Australia led to collaborations with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Irish National Symphony Orchestra and many others. He enjoys playing chamber music with his wife Paola De Piante Vicin (Piano Duo Paola&Adrian Oetiker), in the Feininger Trio Berlin, but also with Eduard Brunner, Ana Chumachenco, Homero Francesch, Mario Hossen, Wen-Sinn Yang and many other friends.
Since 1996 he is professor of piano at the Hochschule für Musik Basel, in 2011 he was appointed professor of piano at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich. He is also the artistic director of the International Summer Academy of Ettal.
Philip Setzer | Violin
Violinist Philip Setzer, a founding member of the Emerson String Quartet, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and began studying violin at the age of five with his parents, both former violinists in the Cleveland Orchestra. He continued his studies with Josef Gingold and Rafael Druian, and later at the Juilliard School with Oscar Shumsky. In 1967, Mr. Setzer won second prize at the Marjorie Merriweather Post Competition in Washington, DC, and in 1976 received a Bronze Medal at the Queen Elisabeth International Competition in Brussels. He teaches as Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at SUNY Stony Brook and has given master classes at schools around the world, including The Curtis Institute, London’s Royal Academy of Music, The San Francisco Conservatory, UCLA, The Cleveland Institute of Music and The Mannes School. Recently, Mr. Setzer has also been touring and recording the piano trios of Schubert and Mendelssohn with David Finckel and Wu Han.
Henry Kramer | Piano
Lecture Series & Masterclass Series
Praised by The Cleveland Classical Review for his “astonishingly confident technique” and The New York Times for “thrilling [and] triumphant” performances, pianist Henry Kramer is developing a reputation as a musician of rare sensitivity who combines stylish programming with insightful and exuberant interpretations. In 2016, he garnered international recognition with a Second Prize win in the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. Most recently, he was awarded a 2019 Avery Fisher Career Grant by Lincoln Center – one of the most coveted honors bestowed on young American soloists.
Kramer graduated from the Juilliard School, where he worked with Julian Martin and Robert McDonald. He received his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Yale School of Music under the guidance of Boris Berman. His teachers trace a pedagogical lineage extending back to Beethoven, Chopin and Busoni.
Stella Chen | Violin
The winner of the International Queen Elisabeth Grand Prize in the 2019 Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition, American violinist Stella Chen has been lauded for her “fresh and spontaneous, yet emotionally profound and intellectually well-structured performance” (The Jerusalem Post). Stella has appeared with orchestras including the Belgian National Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, Orquestra Filarmónica de Medellín, London Chamber Orchestra, and Welsh National Symphony Orchestra, among others. Stella is also the first recipient of the Robert Levin Award from Harvard University, the top prize winner of the Tibor Varga International Violin Competition and youngest ever prize winner of the Menuhin Competition.
A graduate of the Harvard/New England Conservatory Dual Degree Program, Stella received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with honors from Harvard University and a Master of Music from the New England Conservatory. Currently, Stella is a doctoral candidate at the Juilliard School, where she studies with Li Lin, Donald Weilerstein, and Catherine Cho. Former teachers include Itzhak Perlman and Miriam Fried. She plays the ‘Huggins’ 1708 Stradivarius violin, generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.
Danielle Belen | Violin
Winner of the 2008 Sphinx Competition, Belen has appeared as a soloist with major symphonies including the Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Nashville and San Francisco Symphonies, the Boston Pops, and the Florida and Cleveland Orchestras. The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote “Violinist Danielle Belen… captivated every ear with an assured, impassioned performance of Ravel’s Tzigane, knocking off the daunting showpiece as if it were a trifle.” She has worked with conductors such as Franz Welser-Mostt, Robert Spano and Keith Lockhart.
Danielle Belen serves as associate professor of violin at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Formerly she was part of the violin faculty at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, California. Her students have won top prizes in national and international competitions including the Menuhin, Stulberg and Klein competitions, as well as being accepted into major conservatories and universities across the country.
Belen is a graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music and the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles, where she studied with Robert Lipsett. In addition to maintaining her own violin studio, she was also the teaching assistant to Lipsett for over five years, working with talent of the highest caliber from around the world. Belen is the founder and artistic director of Center Stage Strings, a summer camp and performance festival for gifted young musicians.
Jeffrey Myers | Violin
Jeffrey Myers of Columbus, OH, has been a featured soloist with orchestras including the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the National Repertory Orchestra, as well as the Colburn Orchestra. He has given numerous solo recitals, most recently performing on the Three Rivers Performing Arts Institute concert series. As an orchestral musician Jeffrey has served as concertmaster of the National Repertory Orchestra and the Colburn Orchestra. He has collaborated with such artists as Ronald Leonard, Paul Coletti, Menahem Pressler, as well as the Cavani, Cypress, and Calder String Quartets. Jeffrey has participated in summer festivals including the Weathersfield Music Festival in Vermont, the Master Works Festival in Indiana, and the Aspen Music Festival. Jeffrey studied with renowned pedagogue Robert Lipsett at The Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, California, where he received his Bachelor of Music and Artist Diploma. His past teachers include Mary Irwin and Paul Kantor.
Linda Petrikova | IMG Vice President and Artist Manager
Linda Petrikova is an Artist Manager and Vice President at IMG Artists based in New York City. She has worked in the global performing arts agency for the past ten years representing artists such as the Emerson String Quartet, Julia Fischer, Renée Fleming, Evgeny Kissin, Murray Perahia and the late André Previn. Among the young artists she looks after are the Calidore String Quartet, pianist David Fray and conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. She also mentors emerging musicians and has given talks on artist management internationally as well as served on juries of numerous competitions. Prior to her career in artist management, she worked at the Prague Spring International Music Festival.
Linda grew up playing the piano and studied English and American Literature at the Charles University in Prague and the New York University, earning a Ph.D. in literature and cinema.
Rebecca Davis | Public Relations Consultant
Rebecca Davis is a publicity, media and communications consultant to musicians, arts organizations and record labels, specializing in classical, jazz and other niche genres. From offices in New York and Florida, Rebecca Davis PR brings a respected and enthusiastic voice, in-depth musical knowledge and broad promotional expertise to help artists achieve meaningful and impactful visibility in mainstream and specialist press.
Rebecca brings more than two decades of experience working with musicians, arts organizations and the world’s leading major and independent record labels. She has implemented successful media campaigns for A-list pianists, violinists, singers, composers and vocal and instrumental ensembles of all sizes. Rebecca was led to a career in classical music publicity through her experience as a classically trained soprano and currently performs with the St. Petersburg Opera in Florida.
A well-regarded influencer in the music and media fields, Rebecca is a member of the Board of Consultants for the Florida Orchestra and serves on its marketing committee. She is also a voting member of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), which presents the annual Grammy® Awards.
Caio and Giovanna Malufe
VVSA Fitness and Nutrition Consultants
Caio and Giovanna Malufe are the founders of the blog @movingwithplants, a visual journal of spiritual and physical well-being. Giovanna is a conssumate Ashtanga yogi, raw chef and nutritionist. Caio is a Ironman and Ultramarathon athlete, financier and guitar player. Quite the talented couple! The VVSA looks forward to welcoming Gio and Caio for a lecture demonstration centered on achieving peak performance.
Elicia Silverstein | Violin
BBC Music Magazine Award-winning violinist Elicia Silverstein, praised for her Her “elegant… wonderfully inventive” playing (The Strad) and her “highly emotionally intelligent” (Gramophone), is equally at home as performer on historical and modern instruments, as a soloist with orchestra, giving recitals and playing chamber music. Her inventive and thoughtful approach to concert programming, as well as the sincerity and exuberance she brings to musical communication, distinguishes Silverstein as one of the most important voices of her generation. Silverstein made her London recital debut in 2015 with a sold out concert at the Spitalfields Music Summer Festival and subsequently appeared as a soloist with ensembles including the Norwegian Barokkanerne, Cathedra Camerata, Ensemble Odyssee (NL), the Steinitz Bach Players (UK), Paulus Barokk Ensemble (NO), the Colburn Orchestra (US), the Cambridge Concentus (US), the Ambronay European Baroque Academy Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Silverstein has collaborated with Enrico Onofri, Patrick Ayrton, Richard Egarr, Robert Levin, Naruhiko Kawaguchi, Ani Kavafian, Paul Coletti, and members of the Ebène Quartet. A founding member of the ensemble Harmonical Miscellany, Silverstein’s debut ablum, “The Dreams & Fables I Fashion (Rubicon Classics, 2019) was met with critical acclaim and earned her the BBC Music Magazine’s “Best Newcomer 2020” Award. Elicia Silverstein was the 2019-2020 artist-in-residence at the Washington National Cathedral and currently serves as assistant Professor of Violin at the University of Delaware, dividing her time between Italy and the United States.