Exciting young American cellist Ben Capps enjoys a versatile performing career as a soloist and chamber musician. His artistry has been praised as “most appealing” by the New York Times, “virtuosic and impassioned” by the Barre Montpelier Times, the Holland Times hailed Capps as a “young cello phenomenon from New York” with “dazzling technique and a fearsomely meaty tone”, and the Epoch Times proclaimed that “Capps has it all . . . cello playing of the very highest standard.” He has performed in varying capacities at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, Weill and Zankel Halls, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., Mann Hall in Tel Aviv, Meyerson Hall in Dallas, and the Auditorio Nacional, the Palace of Fine Arts and Sala Nezahualcoytl in Mexico City. Capps has appeared as soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, the New York Concerti Sinfonietta, the Manchester Music Festival Orchestra, Juilliard Pre-College Symphony, and the Manhattan School of Music Composer’s Orchestra. Recent performance highlights include an unaccompanied recital tour in the Midwest , a recital tour of China (Xiamin, Fouzhou and Gulangyu), and recital appearances in New York, Greece and Spain as well as a performance of all five Beethoven sonatas and more in Vermont.
In September 2014 LP Classics released Ben Capps’ newest disc: Ossia, music of Bach, Schumann & Fitzenhagen for solo cello & company. Ben Capps can also be heard on Innova Records with two discs of music for solo cello by contemporary composer Andrew Violette & on Tzadik Records with a collaborative cello & electronics piece by Anna Clyne called Fits & Starts which was featured for a week on WQXR in New York.
At age 21, Capps was appointed principal cellist of Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, a dynamic New York based symphony orchestra founded by conductor Alondra de la Parra, whose highly regarded premier Sony Classics recording Mi Alma Mexicana attained high international status.
An avid chamber musician, Ben attended festivals such as Bowdoin, Schlern Int’l (Italy), Burgos Int’l (Spain) and Summit Summer Festivals, the Perlman Music Program, and the ChamberFest and FOCUS! Festivals in Lincoln Center. Ben made numerous appearances on Manhattan’s Tactus Series, and has performed on Trinity Church’s Music at One series, as well as numerous appearances at Bargemusic.
More recently Capps has appeared as guest artist with Manchester Music Festival, Summit Int’l Festival, the Burlington Ensemble, and the International Chamber Soloists, Lyrica and Lumina Chamber Music. He is the founding member of the Olympus Piano Trio which offered an evening of piano trios at the Athens Megaron Concert Hall in January 2013. He has been heard on American radio on the McGraw Hill Young Artists’ Showcase, and was recently the subject of an hour-long special on VPR which documented his 2012 solo (unaccompanied) cello tour of Vermont. Additionally, Capps was heard performing the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas with interviews and commentary on Vermont Public Radio in 2013, as well as in concert. Then Capps was heard performing the complete sonatas by Mendelssohn & Brahms in 2014 on VPR, as well as live in concert.
An ardent performer of new music, he is committed to presenting music of today’s composers and has given numerous performances of new cello works, including Daniel Vezza Pulsations for Cello and Chamber Orchestra (composed for Mr. Capps), Marcus Paus Cello Sonnets, Anna Klein Fits and Starts, Daniel Vezza Circles, Reiko Futing Kaddish: The Art of Losing, and Robert Karpay’s Cello Concerto.
A native of New York City, Ben Capps began playing the cello at age four with Nellis DeLay at New York’s School for Strings. At 10 he was admitted to Juilliard Pre-College, where he studied for seven years with Anne Alton, Andre Emelianoff, and Fred Sherry.
He received a Bachelor’s degree at Manhattan School of Music, and a Master of Music Degree from Juilliard in May 2010, both under the guidance of the great David Soyer of the Guarneri String Quartet. He recently earned a Graduate Diploma at New England Conservatory in Boston, where he was a student of Laurence Lesser.
He is the recipient of many awards, including the New York State Association of Music Teachers Scholarship Competition 1999; Juilliard Pre-College Symphony, Concerto Competition, 2001, the Lillian Fuchs Award, 2004, the Francis Goelet Scholarship (Juilliard 2008-2009), the Irving Mulde Scholarship (Juilliard, 2009-10), and the Piatigorsky Scholarship (New England Conservatory 2012-13). He has coached with numerous cellists, including Bernard Greenhouse, Ko Iwasaki, Paul Katz, and Nathanial Rosen, and has performed in master class for Steven Isserlis, Alexander Rudin, Mischa Maisky, Natalia Gutman, Peter Wylie, and Timothy Eddy. Ben Capps plays a William Forester cello built in 1782 in England.
Hailed as “an exceptional cellist” (Dallas Morning News), “an artist of the first rank, who commanded a huge range of volume, timbre and emotions” (Fort Worth Star Telegram), and praised for his “rich and warm tone, with lots of variety of inflection and nuance” (New York Concert Review), cellist Jesús Castro-Balbi brings a dynamic presence to the international stage, as a much sought-after soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, mentor, and adjudicator.
Performance highlight include features at the Lincoln Center Festival, Symphony Space and 12 appearances at Carnegie Hall in New York City, five visits to China, concerts at Leipzig’s famed Gewandhaus, and at prestigious venues in Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Korea, Latvia, Mexico, and Peru, in recitals and as a soloist with the Aarhus, Aguascalientes, Cannes, Dallas, Fort Worth, Leipzig MDR, and Xalapa Symphony Orchestras, the Mexico City and the UNAM Philharmonic Orchestras, and the National Symphony in Lima.
His favorite repertoire spans from the Bach Solo Suites, concerti by Haydn and Boccherini, the great romantics Dvorak and Elgar, to modern masters Dutilleux and Lutoslawski, while reserving a special place to chamber music and new music. To date, he appears in 16 compact discs and has presented 47 world premiere performances and recordings, including of 20 works written for him by Esteban Benzecry, Martin Blessinger, Blaise Ferrandino, Robert Garwell, Luis-Jorge Gonzalez, Till Meyn, Andrés Posada, Robert Rodríguez, Edgar Valcárcel, and Samuel Zyman. In 2014-14, he premieres Lord of the Air, a new concerto for cello and orchestra written for him by Jimmy Lopez, and records it with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Miguel Harth-Bedoya for Harmonia Mundi. Jesús Castro-Balbi is the cellist of the Lin / Castro-Balbi Duo, of the Clavier Trio, and of the music project Caminos del Inka. Among other distinctions, Mr. Castro-Balbi is the winner of the Aldo Parisot Prize, the Salon de Virtuosi Award in New York, and of the First Prize at the Carlos Prieto International Cello Competition.
Jesús Castro-Balbi is the first full-time cello professor at the Texas Christian University School of Music in Fort Worth, Texas, where he has developed a first rate studio of talented cellists from around the world. At TCU, he is also the founding artistic director of the TCU Cello Ensemble, the biennial TCU Cellofest, and of the Faculty & Friends Chamber Music Series. He received the 2008 Dean’s Research and Creativity Award and the 2012 College of Fine Arts Award for Distinguished Achievement as a Creative Teacher and Scholar. In addition to his work at TCU, he presents master-classes and lectures at Beijing’s Central Conservatory, The Juilliard School, Paris Conservatoire, Leipzig’s Hochschule, at the Yale School of Music, and teaches at Conservatory Music in the Mountains in Durango, Colorado, where he is also Associate Dean. He has adjudicated for the Sphinx Competition, the Carlos Prieto and the Lutoslawski International Cello Competitions.
Of Peruvian heritage, raised in France and now a US citizen, Jesús Castro-Balbi is a graduate of the Conservatoire National Supérieur at Lyon, Indiana University at Bloomington, Yale, and earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at The Juilliard School. He studied with Iseut Chuat, Marc Coppey, Jean Deplace, Aldo Parisot, Janos Starker, and members of the Amadeus, Borodine, Juilliard, Ravel and Tokyo String Quartets. Please visit www.jcbcello.com and www.cello.tcu.edu.
“in the front ranks of his generation’s musicians” Janos Starker
“above all else, Elisha’s playing is the voice of candor. It is honest and enthusiastic. He courageously takes chances, decidedly unwilling to hide behind conventional musical gestures” The New Haven Register
“a flexibly nuanced, burnished tone… Lightning-swift left hand and deft bow arm” New York Concert Review
Internationally acclaimed cellist, Steven Elisha, has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, Norway, China, Taiwan, Brazil, Israel and the United States. He first attracted attention at the age of fifteen when he gave solo performances with the Albany and Schenectady (New York) Symphonies. Elisha’s New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and premiere performance of Cry of the Dove (a cello concerto written by his sister, Adrienne Elisha) received critical acclaim. As an honorary member and returned guest of the Beijing Cello Society, he has extensively toured mainland China, performing recitals and teaching master classes at the Shanghai, Canton, Xian, Jinan and Beijing conservatories. Featured solo appearances have included the Beijing Central Philharmonic and Symphonies of Beijing, Xian, Jinan, and Canton, Toledo Symphony, Connecticut Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Topeka Symphony, Gulf Coast Symphony and the Grand Rapids Symphony. Formerly, Director of String Studies at Washburn University, Principal Cellist of the Topeka Symphony, and Conductor of the Topeka Symphony Youth Orchestra, Elisha was also the Artistic Director/ Conductor of the Lawrence Chamber Orchestra. Dr. Elisha regularly gives master classes, workshops and residencies throughout the United States, including his fun-loving and innovative “Mr. Cello Stories” program for audiences of all ages. Elisha frequently presents workshops, teaches and performs at national and international festivals, conferences and summer music programs, including the Summit Music Festival, Sunflower Music Festival, Washington Square Music Festival, Charleston International Music School, Omaha Conservatory Summer Institute, College Music Society and American String Teachers National Conference. Elisha is co-founder and cellist of the Elaris Duo, with violinist Larisa Elisha. As a recording artist, Elisha is heard on a Grammy-nominated Musical Heritage Society recording of New England piano trios, Yale Cellos of Aldo Parisot on Delos and Duo Virtuoso on MSR-Classics. Just released at MSR-Classics, DUO VIRTUOSO II – Works for Violin and Cello by Honegger, Ravel and Schulhoff, has received high praise in reviews appearing in Fanfare Magazine, Gramophone American Record Guide and other leading music publications. Elisha was featured recently in the 2017 September/October issue of Fanfare Magazine, and winner of the Global Music Awards in the “Duo and New Release Category” for DUO VIRTUOSO II.
Emanuel Gruber is a graduate of the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. He completed his musical training in the USA under the auspices of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, studying with Gregor Piatigorsky and Janos Starker. Awards include the Pablo Casals prize by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (1970) and the Concert Artists’ Guild Auditions in New York (1975). Mr. Gruber served on the faculty of the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as well as the principal cellist of the Israel Chamber Orchestra. In the US, Mr. Gruber was a visiting professor at Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington, and performed and conducted master classes at various universities. He has participated in the St. Petersburg Spring MusicFestival, the Rostropovich Cello Festival in Riga, and adjudicated at the Davidoff International Cello Competition in Kuldiga, Latvia. As of 2004, Mr. Gruber teaches Cello and Chamber Music at East Carolina University, Greenville.
Hired by the late Mstislav Rostropovich to join the National Symphony Orchestra and heralded as a “sterling cellist” by the Washington Post, STEVEN HONIGBERG gave his New York debut recital in Weill Hall and has since performed and recorded to critical acclaim. Honigberg has been featured numerous times as soloist with the NSO; most recently in May 2015 in a pair of performances at the Kennedy Center of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Triple Cello Concerto with NSO Music Director Christoph Eschenbach conducting. He won rave reviews for the 1988 world premiere of David Ott’s Concerto for Two Cellos performed with the National Symphony and conducted by Msistlav Rostropovich, with repeat performances on the NSO’s 1989 and 1994 United States tours.
Mr. Honigberg was the Director of the Chamber Music series at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC for ten years where he premiered a number of new works by such composers as Lukas Foss, Benjamin Lees, Herman Berlinski, Robert Starer, Joanna Bruzdowicz, Robert Stern and David Diamond. He participated in extensive recordings of concerts held at the museum, including four recordings of music from the music series and CDs of Korngold and Ernst Toch chamber music. During this period Mr. Honigberg’s Potomac string quartet recorded landmark recordings of the complete quartets (11) of David Diamond, which John von Rein, music critic for the Chicago Tribune, chose as one of his top 20 CDs in the early 2000s. Honigberg has also recorded the complete works of Beethoven for cello and piano, and the complete works of Chopin for cello and piano with his mother, pianist Carol Honigberg.
Mr. Honigberg graduated from the Juilliard School of Music with a Master’s degree in Music, where he studied with Leonard Rose and Channing Robbins. Other important cello teachers included Pierre Fournier and Karl Fruh. Honigberg presently teaches cello at Georgetown University.
From 1990-2009, Honigberg was principal cellist, chamber music director of the Edgar M. Bronfman series in Sun Valley, Idaho where he was featured as soloist with the summer symphony in concerti by Barber, Bartók, Bloch, Boccherini, Dvořák, Elgar, Goldschmidt, Haydn, Korngold, Popper, Saint-Saëns, Schumann, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, and Walton.
Mr. Honigberg is a member of Gerard Schwarz’s All-Star Orchestra, which in August 2012 convened in New York City to record 8 one-hour programs for PBS television. He is also a member of the Smithsonian Chamber Society and Phillips Camerata. As author, in 2010 his first book was published: Leonard Rose: America’s Golden Age and Its First Cellist. Honigberg performs on a Lorenzo Storioni cello made in Cremona in 1789.
Cellist Gloria Kim began her solo career at the age of eight with the Busan Symphony Orchestra. She moved to the United States to continue her music education at the age of thirteen. Under the tutelage of Peter Wiley, she attended the Curtis Institute of Music and Manhattan School of Music on a full scholarship, where she also studied chamber music under Joseph Silverstein, Gary Graffman, Felix Galimir and Guarneri Quartet.
Kim has appeared as both a soloist and a chamber musician in the US and abroad, debuting as a soloist in NY with the Summit Music Festival Orchestra as a competition winner. She has invited from the Pan Music Festival at the Seoul National University as a Pan piano trio member, Sarasota Music Festival, Verbier Switzerland, Summit Music Festival. She has performed extensively in renowned concert venues in the New York metropolitan area such as Merkin Hall, Steinway Hall, Museum of Modern Art, Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall and has toured throughout Europe, China and Korea as a soloist, an orchestral and a chamber musician, most notably under Music Director André Previn. She has also performed at UN, US Capitol, performed for president Bill Clinton and played Beethoven Triple Concerto with the PyungYang Conservatory Orchestra in North Korea with the principal violinist of the PyungYang Orchestra. She is a former principal cellist of the Korean Chamber Orchestra and a former member of the Sonata Da Chiesa Ensemble.
Kim is a founding member of the BeneSori Quartet and a member of the Kaliope Music Society and the Chamber on Main Concert Series. She is on the faculty at the County College of Morris, NJ.
Hailed by critics for her “most perfect playing” (Internet Cello Society) with “great warmth and beauty” (The STRAD), cellist Bongshin Ko has appeared worldwide as a soloist with such groups as Munich Chamber Players, Television and Radio Symphony of Moscow, the KBS Korean Broadcasting Symphony, Zagreb Philharmonic, and Central Broadcasting Symphony of China. In 1992 Ms. Ko was honored to be the first Korean artist to be invited to perform in China after the historic resumption of diplomatic relations between Korea and China, and has since been invited back annually.
Ms. Ko has collaborated with some of the world’s greatest artists including Mstislav Rostropovich, Bernard Greenhouse, Sir Georg Solti, Leonard Stein, Gunther Schuller, Semyon Bychkov and Valery Gergiev. In 1997 she appeared with the Korean Symphony at Seoul International Music Festival to give the Asian premiere of Bernard Rands’ Cello Concerto, composed and dedicated to Mstislav Rostropovich in celebration of his 70th birthday. Other international music events and festivals welcomed her to Schleswig-Holstein festival, Kronberg Cello festival, Berlin Wall 10th anniversary concert, Rostropovich & Friends Concert (Germany), plus numerous others in France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Luxembourg, Poland, Russia, Monaco, Croatia, USA, Korea, China, Japan and Indonesia.
She has performed to critical acclaims on NDR and Bavarian Radio (Germany), Fuji TV (Japan), TV New Zealand, TV China, Korean Broadcasting Systems and NBC to name a few. As a member of the European-based Tritton Cello Quartet she can be heard on the Musica Columna label. Her live performances of Brahms and Barber sonatas are often broadcast on the Arte TV in Korea and over the transpacific in-flight classical station on Asiana Airlines. Ms. Ko’s Haydn and Saint-Saens concerti, recorded with Munich Chamber Players in Germany, can also be heard on the SONY Classical label.
As a recipient of over 30 international prizes and awards, including the highest performance award in her native Korea and the Crossroad Award in the US for her “superior teaching,” she is on popular demand as a teacher as well as a performer around the globe. Serving on various festival and university faculties including California State University, Fullerton, The New York Soloists, and Greenhouse Cello Foundation, Ms. Ko performs frequently at major venues and concert halls throughout four continents.
Born in Israel and raised on a kibbutz, David Krieger took first prize in the cello competition at the Rubin Academy in Tel Aviv. He then became principal cellist in the Israel Orchestra of the Kibbutzim and soloist for three seasons. Coming to the United States on scholarship, he received his Master of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory and continued his graduate work at Yale as a student of Aldo Parisot. He pursued doctoral studies at Indiana University where he studied with Janos Starker and became principal cellist with the university symphony orchestra. After moving to the New York area, he served as principal cellist of the Westchester Symphony. He has toured extensively in Europe and the U. S. As co-founder of the prestigious Emelin Trio, he has performed extensively in Westchester. Mr. Krieger presently serves on the music faculty of the Music Conservatory of Westchester, Fordham University, and is affiliated with Columbia University and Purchase College (SUNY). Cello Faculty.
Inna Nassidze made her solo debut at the age of 10 in her native town of Tbilisi, Georgia with the Georgian State Chamber Orchestra. In 1988 she was the winner of All-Soviet Junior Cello Competition. In 1993 she was awarded the Gabor Rejto fellowship at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, where she performed the Dvorak Cello Concerto as a winner of the Concerto Competition. In the summer of 1996 Inna was awarded a special prize as the Most Outstanding cellist at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland.
Miss Nassidze started playing the piano at the age of three and took up the cello when she was seven, studying with her father David Nassidze at the Central Special Music School for Gifted in Tbilisi. She also took lessons with Natalia Shahovskaya in Moscow. In 1990 Inna moved with her family to Mexico, where she continued her solo career, playing with some of the major Orchestras there, as well as recitals throughout Mexico.
Miss Nassidze graduated in 1999 from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where she studied with David Soyer, and did Chamber music studies with Felix Galimir. From 1999 through 2002 Inna was the cellist of the Gilead String Quartet in Residence at the University of Maine. Inna also played in master classes for artists such as Yo Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, Miriam Fried, Bernard Greenhouse, David Geringas, Steven Isserlis, Jamie Laredo and Isaac Stern.
Miss Nassidze has participated at the Ravinia Festival in 1994 and 1995, where she was invited to perform at the prestigious Dame Myra Hess memorial concerts series in Chicago, performing live on radio. In 1997 she attended the Piatigorsky Seminar in Los Angeles, and the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Seminar in New York, where she consequently performed at Carnegie Hall.
Inna has performed under the baton of Otto Werner-Muller, Akira Endo, Camille Kalchinsky, Francisco Savin, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Christopher Zimmerman, Carlos Riazuelo, Jorge Mester, Lanfranco Marcelletti, and Luis Herrera de la Fuente, among others, and collaborated with members of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society such as Ida Kavafian, Steve Tenenbom and Kerry McDermott.
She premiered Barber Cello Concerto in 2003 and Milhaud Cello Concerto in 2005 in Mexico with the Xalapa Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Carlos Miguel Prieto and Bartholomeus Henri van de Velde.
In December of 2005 Inna was invited to perform at the Christmas Gala Concert in Mexico City which was recorded for National television and for BBC.
Inna has been invited to such prestigious festival as Riva del Garda, Italy, Festival de Mayo, Mexico and Summit Musica Festival in New York, USA. She is a frequent guest soloist with the major Orchestras in Mexico, her upcoming performances include Bloch, Schelomo and Brahms Double Concerto.
Since 2003 Inna is a cello and chamber music faculty at the Superior Institute of Music in Xalapa, Mexico and since 2008 a cello and chamber music faculty at the Summit Music Festival in New York and in Burgos, Spain.
In 2015 she won the position and currently is part of the cello section of the Xalapa Symphony Orchestra.
Inna Nassidze plays on the cello given to her by the wish of the late renowned cellist Raya Garbousova.
Arkady Orlovsky became a member of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1978. He earned his doctorate from the St. Petersburg Conservatory in the Russian city of his birth where he studied with Mstislav Rostropovich. Before immigrating to the United States, he served as principal cello with the Kirov Opera in St. Petersburg and the Rome Opera in Italy. With the ISO, he has appeared often as soloist. Orlovsky serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Columbus (IN) Symphony Orchestra and the Russian Festival Orchestra. He was a faculty member at Butler University and has directed the chamber music series at Zionsville United Methodist Church. With his wife, a noted concert pianist, he has been a frequent recitalist and has recorded two compact discs of chamber works.