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© 2015 by Festival Internacional de Música de Esmeraldas

Biographies

 

Andrey Baranov

Andrey Baranov is the winner of the Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition 2012. He is also a winner of Benjamin Britten and Henri Marteau International Violin Competitions, and a prizewinner of more than twenty other international competitions including Indianapolis, Seoul, Sendai, Liana Isakadze, David Oistrakh, Paganini (Moscow)  international competitions. 

Andrey is a first violinist of David Oistrakh Quartet, an outstanding ensemble established in 2012. 

Born in  St. Petersburg in 1986 into a family of musicians, Andrey began playing the violin at the age of five. He attended the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St-Petersburg and Consevatoire de Lausanne. He studied with L. Ivaschenko, V. Ovcharek, P. Popov, but the most important teacher for Andrey will always be the legendary french violinist Pierre Amoyal. Andrey also has taken masterclasses from B. Kushnir, L. Isakadze, K. Kashkashian among many others. 

Since making his major debut  in 2005 at St.-Petersburg Philharmonic hall under V. Petrenko and the Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrey has performed on renowned stages throughout the world including Bozar Brussels, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Großer Saal Mozarteum, Cadogan Hall London, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Konzerthaus Berlin, Tchaikovsky hall in Moscow, Mariinsky concert hall and St. Petersburg Philharmonic halls.Andrey has already appeared with leading international orchestras including Luxembourg Philharmonic, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, National Orchestra of Belgium, MusicAeterna Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Sendai Philharmonic, Royal Phiharmonic London, Vienna Symphony Orchestra and SWR Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra under conductors T. Currentzis, V. Petrenko, V. Fedoseev, M. Tabachnik, W. Weller, E. Krivine and Y. Temirkanov, K. Nagano, T. Sanderling among others. 

Andrey has performed alongside such artists as Martha Argerich, Julian Rachlin, Boris Andrianov, Pierre Amoyal, Eliso Virsaladze, Liana Isakadze.

At age 23, Andrey was appointed as teaching assistant to Pierre Amoyal at the Conservatoire de Lausanne and has since been in demand as a teacher at many international masterclasses. He has been invited to institutions in Bangkok, Chicago, Riga, Vilnius, Stockholm, Moscow, Manchester and more.

 

A top-prize winner in the international Paganini Competition, Chang enjoys an active international career as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator. For 25 years, he performed as a member of the Boston Chamber Music Society, and he has appeared at the Marlboro and Tanglewood music festivals and as a soloist with orchestras worldwide. He has performed with members of the Juilliard, Tokyo, Cleveland, Vermeer, and Orion string quartets. His discography includes the works of William Grant Still on New World Records, Made in America with Yo-Yo Ma on Sony, and the Grammy Award-winning The Girl with Orange Lips with Dawn Upshaw on Nonesuch Records. In 2010 Chang performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway, to honor Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, and in 2011 he performed for President Obama at the nationally telecast Kennedy Center Honors to celebrate cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Chang received a degree in music from Harvard University and studied the violin with Ivan Galamian at the Juilliard School. Chang's former students now serve as members of the Boston and Chicago symphony orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. His former student Joseph Lin was recently named first violin of the Juilliard String Quartet.

Chang served as vice chair of the board of overseers for Harvard University from 2008 to 2014, where he also served as chair of the committee on arts and humanities. In 2015 he served on the visitation committees for the Harvard University Department of Music and Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures. For the past several summers, he has worked with the Asian Youth Orchestra in Hong Kong and has taught and performed at the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Vermont, the Heifetz Institute, and the Vivace Vilnius Festival in Lithuania.

Lynn Chang

 

Roger Tapping

Roger Tapping joined the Juilliard Quartet and the Juilliard School viola faculty in 2013.

Previously, he had moved from London to the USA in 1995 to join the Takács Quartet. During his decade with them, their career included many Beethoven and Bartok cycles in major cities all over the world. Their Decca/London recordings, including the complete quartets of Bartok and Beethoven, placed them in Gramophone Magazine’s Hall of Fame and won three Gramophone Awards, a Grammy and three more Grammy nominations, among many other awards. Mr. Tapping taught regularly at the Aspen Festival, the Taos Quartet School, and London’s Guildhall School of Music.

In recent years he has been on the viola faculty of the New England Conservatory, where he also directed the Chamber Music program. He also taught at the Longy School in Cambridge and the Boston Conservatory.

In the summers he has served on the faculties of Itzhak Perlman’s Chamber Music Workshop, the Tanglewood String Quartet Seminar and Yellow Barn, and he has given viola master classes at Banff. He has also given viola and chamber music master classes at other festivals and conservatories in the USA and Canada.

Born in England in 1960, Mr. Tapping played in a number of London’s leading chamber ensembles, making several highly acclaimed CDs, before joining Britain’s longest established quartet, the Allegri Quartet. He taught at London’s Royal Academy of Music, was principal viola of the London Mozart Players, a member of the English Chamber Orchestra and a founding member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

He has performed frequently as a guest with many distinguished quartets from the U.S. and Europe, and he was a member of the Boston Chamber Music Society.

His teachers were Margaret Major, of Britain’s Aeolian Quartet, and Bruno Giuranna, and he participated in master classes with William Primrose. He holds degrees from the University of Cambridge.

Mr. Tapping is a member of the Order of the Knight Cross of the Hungarian Republic, has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Nottingham, and is a Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music in London.

 

Raúl García

Colombian Violist Raúl García has established himself as one of the most promising artists of his generation. Currently performs with the Colombia National Symphony Orchestra as Principal Violist and serves on the viola faculty at Juan N. Corpas University and Central University in Bogotá, Colombia.

Mr. García began his studies at an early age at Batuta Foundation. He has concertized at the most prestigious concert halls in his native country and abroad including the Luis Angel Arango Music Library, Carnegie Hall, the National Arts Centre, and the Lincoln Center. Mr Garcia has collaborated with artists such as Ani Kavafian, Donald Weilerstein, Gilbert Kalish, David Halen, Andres Diaz, Chee Yun Kim, and The Tokyo String Quartet. He participated in several master classes with Joseph de Pasquale, Carol Rodland, Paul Neubauer, Michael Tree, Pinchas Zukerman, Roberto Diaz and Kim Kashkashian, among others.

Mr. García has been winner of numerous prizes and competitions in his native country performing as soloist with every major orchestra including the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra, Colombia National Symphony Orchestra, and Cali Philharmonic. He received first prizes at the Second Colombian Viola Competition and the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Americas festival concerto competition in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was awarded the Carolina Oramas Scholarship, as well as The Georgina Lucy Grosvenor Memorial Prize, offered by the Yale School of Music for excellence in performance in  2010.

An avid chamber music performer Mr Garcia has appeared at The St. Lawrence Quartet Chamber Music Seminar, Innsbrook Institute, Zukerman's Young Artist Program, The Pacific Music Festival, Yellow Barn, and the Perlman Music Program. Recent discography projects include a CD for NAXOS titled ‘’Tango Distinto’’ with music of Astor Piazzola; along with trombone player Achilles Liarmakopoulos; As well as a collaboration with compositor Andy Akiho in his Album  “no one to know one’’.

 

Mr García holds a Bachelor Degree from Juan N. Corpas University; Master of Music and Artist Diploma degrees from the prestigious Yale School of Music holding the Georgina Grosvenor Scholarship. He is also a candidate for the Doctorate degree at Rutgers University where he studied with Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Violist Choong-Jin Chang. His main teachers include Anibal Dos Santos, Jesse Levine, Toby Appel, Ettore Causa and The Tokyo String Quartet.

 

Raúl plays a contemporary viola made by the famed luthier, Sergio Peresson in 1979.

 

Francisco Vila

“Vila brought out the fervor and vitality...consummate projection.” -The Strad Magazine (April 2012)

Ecuadorian cellist Francisco Vila-Haas began playing the cello at age 8 and had his solo debut with orchestra at 14. Concert activities have taken him throughout Europe, North and South America.

Collaborations include those with artists such as Nobuko Imai, Gary Hoffman, Wolfram Christ, Lynn Chang, Hansjörg Schellenberger, Martin Charlifour, Michel Arrignon, Andrey Baranov, Sunwook Kim and others.

Mr. Vila has appeared as a soloist with the Houston Symphony, Liège Royal Philharmonic, Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia, Santander Festival Orchestra, Indiana University Philharmonic, the Central Florida Orchestra and all principal orchestras of his native Ecuador. He has been a participant at the Ravinia Steans Institute and guest artist at the Beaumaris, Santander, and Stavelot music festivals among others, and in such venues as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, Disney Hall and Japan's Phoenix Hall.

Aside from performance Vila views teaching as an important aspect in music-making. In March of 2015, Mr. Vila and oboist Iria Porras founded the first International Music Festival of Esmeraldas (Ecuador) in Vila’s hometown. This is a social project that unites the most talented young artists for two weeks of masterclasses with international artists, while also providing all of its activities including concerts free of charge to the public.

Vila-Haas is fortunate to include among his mentors Gary Hoffman, Sharon Robinson, Janos Starker, and Menahem Pressler at Indiana University where he was the first-prize winner of the ’09-’10 concerto competition.

Vila performs on a fine 1790 Vincenzo Panormo cello on generous loan from the Saul B. and Naomi R. Cohen Foundation. 

 

New York born cellist Astrid Schween is an internationally recognized soloist, chamber artist, and teacher. In September 2016, she succeeded Joel Krosnick as cellist of the Juilliard String Quartet and joined the Juilliard cello faculty.

She made her debut as soloist with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Zubin Mehta, and received her bachelors and masters degrees from the Juilliard School, where her teachers included Harvey Shapiro, Leonard Rose, Channing Robbins and Ardyth Alton. She studied extensively with celebrated cellist Jacqueline Du Pré in London and later with Bernard Greenhouse in the DMA program at Rutgers University. Ms. Schween participated in the Marlboro Music Festival and William Pleeth Master Classes in Aldeburgh and, while a young professional, was mentored by members of the Juilliard, Guarneri, Borodin, La Salle, Amadeus, Alban Berg, Galimir, Paganini and Budapest Quartets. She served for many years on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts, the Hartt School of Music, Mount Holyoke College and the Interlochen Center for the Arts.

As a longtime member of the Lark Quartet, Ms. Schween performed at major venues around the world and received many honors including the Naumburg Chamber Music Award and the Gold Medal at Russia’s Shostakovich International String Quartet Competition. During her tenure, the quartet produced critically acclaimed recordings for the Arabesque, Decca/Argo, New World, CRI and Point labels, commissioned numerous works and performed at international festivals including Mostly Mozart, Schleswig-Holstein and Lockenhaus.

An active speaker and panelist, she has served on the juries of the Fischoff, Sphinx, and Concert Artist Guild competitions, and was recently featured in Strings and Strad magazines, on “Living the Classical Life,” NPR interviews and as a guest speaker at the Library of Congress on the role of women in music.

In addition to her work with the JSQ, Ms. Schween remains active as a soloist with upcoming recitals in Memphis and Massachusetts, and performances next season in Washington, DC. Her recording of Rhapsody for solo cello and electronics by Gordon Green, as well as a CD with the Boston Trio, were recently released on the JRI and Centaur labels. This summer, she will appear with her quartet colleagues at Tanglewood and Ravinia and then, as guest artist at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival.

 

Astrid Schween

 

Born in Vitoria da Conquista, south-western city in the state of Bahia, Ricardo Castro revealed at the age of three a clear interest and ease in playing the piano, listening at home his older sister’s classes with their aunt.

At the age of five, drawing the attention of Esther Cardoso and Marguerite Longfellow, he is accepted into the School of Music and Performing Arts of the Federal University of Bahia. 

In 1984 Ricardo entered the class of Maria Tipo at the Conservatory of Music in Geneva, where he remained for three years, and in the conducting class of Arpad Gerecz for two years thereafter. First prize winner at Rahn Competition in Zurich in 1985 and Pembaur in Bern in 1986, he graduated from the Geneva Conservatory in 1987 with the "Premier Prix de Virtuosité avec Distinction et Felicitacions du Jury". In this same year he was ex-aequo winner of the International Competition of the ARD in Munich, starting his international career. Shortly after, he completed his piano studies in Paris with Dominique Merlet.

In 1993 he received the first prize in the prestigious "Leeds International Piano Competition" in England, becoming the first Latin American winner of the competition since its foundation in 1963.

He has appeared as a soloist with major orchestras such as the Gewandhaus of Leipzig, Tonhalle Zurich, BBC London Philharmonic, English Chamber, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, City of Birmingham, Tokyo Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Mozarteum of Salzburg. Concerts followed in the most prestigious concert halls such as Barbican Centre and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London or Vienna Musikverein. Among the conductors with whom he has performed are Sir Simon Rattle, Leif Segerstam, Yakov Kreizberg, Kazimierz Kord, Gilbert Varga, Alexander Lazarev and Michioshi Inoue.

In 2003 Ricardo Castro began a piano duo with Maria João Pires. Together they gave a series of recitals in the major concert halls of Europe, including the Viena Konzerthaus, Palau de la Música in Barcelona, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Tonhalle Zurich. In 2005 there duo recording, Resonance

de l’Originaire, was released by Deutsche Gramophone  with works by Franz Schubert for solo piano, and four hands. Other CDs were recorded for BMG-Arte Nova, always with excellent reviews.

Ricardo Castro is devoted to sharing music in cooperative situations. Educational and social activities have always been a constant concern in his life. He teaches an exclusive group of young professional pianists since 1992 in the master degree class at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne, in Switzerland.

In a search to create social support for children by way of music, in 2007 Castro was invited by the Government of the State of Bahia to create NEOJIBA (State Centres of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Bahia).  This program now celebrates its tenth year anniversary of carrying out its mission.  More than 4500 children are beneficiaries of these efforts. The Youth Orchestra of Bahia, the most advanced in the program under the artistic direction of Ricardo Castro, has performed for more than 200,000 people. Together they have carried out tours throughout he USA and Europe in collaboration with prestigious soloist like Martha Argerich, Midori, Maxim Vengerov, Maria João Pires, Jean Yves Thibaudet and Labeque sisters among others. 

In 2013 Ricardo Castro became the first Brazilian to receive the Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society, joining the ranks of many famous personalities in the history of Western music. 

Ricardo Castro

 

Chris Johnson

American bassist Christopher Johnson started his musical journey in Boston Massachusetts with Project S.T.E.P. (string training educational program) at the age of 7.

He completed his Bachelors Degree in Bass Performance at New England Conservatory with Donald Palma and received his Masters in orchestral performance at Manhattan School of Music with Tim Cobb.

He was the 1st place winner of the International Society of Bassist Orchestral Competition in 2013.

Christopher currently lives and freelances in New York City where he explores a wide range of musical genres with different groups and artists ranging from the NYC Ballet, Danny Elfman, John Legend, AfroPunk, JP Jofre Hard Tango Band, Sphinx Virtuosi, to Brooklyn’s PitchBlakBrassBand. 

 

 

 

Carlos Vargas

Dominican-American pianist Carlos Vargas’s performances have taken him throughout the United States, South America and countries in Europe in venues such as “Teatro el Circulo”, Argentina; “Sala Eduardo Brito”, Dominican Republic and Wiener Saal, Salzburg among others.

A native of Dominican Republic he began his studies at a young age with renowned Cuban pianist and pedagogue Karelia Escalante. Since a young age Mr. Vargas has been an active participant and winner of national and international competitions, getting the Manuel Rueda award in year 2005 in the Festival of Latin-American music celebrated in his country.

Other prizes include third prize in The Steinway Competition of Massachusetts, Second Prize in The Churchill Scholarship Competition and second prize at the Bradshaw and Buono International Competition.

During the 2008 season Carlos Vargas toured Argentina with his duo partner, Sebastian Plano, giving concerts as the special guests of the concert season of “Teatro El Círculo” and with the Orchestra of Rosario, Argentina. For this reason the young pianist was invited by the President of Dominican Republic to play for the opening of the literary festival celebrated every year in Santo Domingo.

Mr. Vargas has a particular interest in developing programs that facilitate musical education to people that because of their social status and economic situation wouldn’t be able to receive this type of training. For this reason he was awarded since 2008 a Grant by the Boston Public Library that allowed him to create a piano program in which dozens of kids are able to receive lessons in piano and theory for free.

Mr. Vargas was awarded since 2005 the Zitrin scholarship and completed both his bachelors and master degree at the Boston Conservatory on full scholarship under the guidance of Dr Jonathan Bass.

Carlos Vargas serves on the Piano Faculty of Boston Conservatory at Berklee in Boston, MA.

 

 

 

Jeong Heum Yeon

Korean-American pianist Jeong Heum Yeon performed as a soloist and a chamber musician throughout Europe and the United States.

He has recently performed at the LSO St. Luke's, the Beethoven Sonata Series at St. Barnabas Church, appeared in Wigmore Hall in London, and at the New York’s Arnold Hall as a part of Ernst C. Stiefel Chamber Music Series, theSteinway Hall. Also at the Ingram Hall and Turner Hall in Nashville, Jordan Hall in Boston, and performed also with Nashville CURB Youth Symphony Orchestra.

He has worked with Jean Yves Thibaudet, Karl Heinz Kammerling, Imogen Cooper, and with an English composer, Thomas Ades.

He appeared in numerous festivals including, Les Estivales de Megeve, Fete Musicale de la Foret, and Gstaad New Year Music Festival.

He earned Bachelor’s Degree in Music at Mannes College of Music in New York with ArkadyAronov and Master’s Degree at Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Caroline Palmer where he was granted an Award for Contemporary Music.

Jeong Heum Yeon was a founding member of TrioKarmeliet, the second prizewinner of VII InternationalStasysVainiunas Competition for Chamber Ensembles. He studied chamber music with Trio Wanderer at Conservatoire de Paris and with Ralf Gothoni at Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid.

He additionally studied with Bruno Canino at International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove.

 

 

 

Afa Dworkin 

Ms. Dworkin serves as President and Artistic Director of the Sphinx Organization.  Named one of Crain’s 40 Under 40 and among Musical America’s 30 Key National Influencers, she has appeared as a speaker for the Kellogg Foundation, International Arts & Ideas Festival, Chamber Music America (opening address), the National Association for Schools of Music, the League of American Orchestras, ICSOM, Americans for the Arts, University of Michigan, Bowling Green University, Central Michigan University, Penn State, Western Michigan University, Lorraine College Signature Artist Series, NALAC’s Regional Conference, San Francisco Symphony’s National Orchestral Forum, and various media outlets. During her tenure, she has developed a comprehensive national roster of musicians of color, launched key partnerships with dozens of symphony orchestras and music schools around the country, as well as numerous national and international partnerships, in addition to leading the organization’s most successful short-term fundraising campaign. Ms. Dworkin is a Trustee for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and has adjudicated arts grants for Michigan, Florida, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Indiana and beyond. Ms. Dworkin serves faculty for Roosevelt University’s Master’s Program in Performing Arts Administration. An accomplished violinist trained in Azerbaijan (former Soviet conservatory system), Ms. Dworkin graduated with High Honors from the University of Michigan with Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Violin Performance.