The Strad Magazine describes cellist Ani Aznavoorian as having “Scorchingly committed performances that wring every last drop of emotion out of the music. Her technique is well-nigh immaculate, she has a natural sense of theater, and her tone is astonishingly responsive.” Ms. Aznavoorian is in demand as a soloist and chamber musician with some of the most recognized ensembles, and she has appeared with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Tokyo Philharmonic, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Finnish Radio Symphony, the International Sejong Soloists, the Belgrade Philharmonic, the Juilliard Orchestra, and the Edmonton Symphony. This season marks Ms. Aznavoorian’s eleventh year as principal cellist with Camerata Pacifica.
Ms. Aznavoorian received the prestigious Bunkamura Orchard Hall Award for her outstanding cello playing and artistry. Some of her other awards include first prizes in the Illinois Young Performers Competition (televised live on PBS with the Chicago Symphony), the Chicago Cello Society National Competition, the Julius Stulberg Competition, and the American String Teachers Association Competition. She was a top prizewinner in the 1996 International Paulo Competition, held in Helsinki, Finland. As a recipient of the Level I award in the National Foundation for the Arts Recognition and Talent Search, Ms. Aznavoorian was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and performed as soloist at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. where she met former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
As a first-year student at The Juilliard School, Ms. Aznavoorian won first prize in the institution’s concerto competition—the youngest cellist in the history of the school’s cello competitions to do so. As a result, she performed with the Juilliard Orchestra in a concert with conductor Gerard Schwarz at Avery Fisher Hall. With only 12 hours notice, Ms. Aznavoorian stepped in to replace Natalia Gutman in three performances of the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 with the San Jose Symphony—concerts that were hailed by the San Jose Press. Other notable appearances include concerts at Weill Hall and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Ravinia’s Bennett Hall, Aspen’s Harris Hall, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, WFMT Live from Studio 1, and NPR’s Performance Today. She has been a member of the renowned string ensemble the International Sejong Soloists, and also performs frequently on the Jupiter Chamber Music series in New York. Ms. Aznavoorian received both her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School where she studied with Aldo Parisot.
In addition to performing, teaching plays an important part in Ms. Aznavoorian’s career. She has been a member of the distinguished music faculty at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana, and in the summers has served on the faculty of the Great Mountains Music Festival in South Korea. Ms. Aznavoorian enjoys performing new music and has made the world premiers of many important pieces in the cello repertoire. Some of these include Ezra Laderman’s Concerto No. 2 with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic under the baton of Lawrence Leighton Smith, Lera Auerbach’s “24 Preludes for Cello and Piano” on stage at the Hamburg Staatsoper with the Hamburg State Ballet—choreographed by John Neumeier, and Lera Auerbach’s “Dreammusik” for Cello and Chamber Orchestra, which was written for her and commissioned by Camerata Pacifica. In addition to return engagements at chamber music festivals around the globe, this season will include a debut concert tour of Armenia, the country of her ancestors. Ms. Aznavoorian records for Cedille Records, and she proudly performs on a cello made by her father, Peter Aznavoorian, in Chicago.
Following her stunning recital debut at Carnegie's Weill Hall, The Strad Magazine hailed Maja Bogdanovic for “an outstanding performance of exceptional tonal beauty and great maturity of interpretation." Since then, she has taken her place among today’s foremost cellists.
In the United States, Ms. Bogdanovic made her debut at the 2017 Grand Teton Music Festival, playing Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1 under the baton of guest conductor Cristian Macelaru. She has also performed with the Spokane Symphony (Elgar Concerto) and twice with the Lubbock Symphony (Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 and Dvorák Concerto). This season, she brought the Dvorák Concerto to California for her debut with the Bakersfield Symphony. She returns to the Americas in 2018/2019 to make her debut with the Ft. Worth Symphony, as well as with the Minas Gerais Philharmonic in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. While in Texas, she will also appear with the Lubbock Symphony, performing the Schumann Concerto.
Worldwide concerto engagements include the Belgrade Philharmonic, Berlin Symphony, Bergische Philharmonie, Bremerhaven Staatsorchester, Korean Wonju Philharmonic Orchestra, Morelia Philharmonic/Mexico, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Salta Symphony/Argentina, Serbian Radio Orchestra, Slovenian Philharmonic, St. Bartholomew Orchestra/London, Sydenham Festival Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, the Tonhalle Orchester/Zurich, as well as chamber orchestras which include Nouvelle Europe, Dušan Skovran, St. George Strings, Sejong Soloists, and the Munich Chamber Orchestra.
An avid chamber musician, Maja Bogdanovic performs regularly at the Kuhmo Festival in Finland, and has performed recently at the Stift International Chamber Music Festival in The Netherlands. Her appearances at many of the world’s leading venues and festivals include the Amphithéâtre Sorbonne, Amsterdamse Cello Biënnale, Festival de Radio France et Montpellier, Folles Journées/Nantes, Giverny Festival, Muziekgebouw/Amsterdam, Palais des Congrès/Nantes, Prinzregententheater/Munich, Salle Gaveau and Salle Pleyel/Paris, Tonhalle Düsseldorf, and the Zeist Festival in Holland. She concertizes regularly in Europe with pianists Maria Belousova and Nino Gvetadze, and violinists Frederieke Saeijs and Namanja Radulovic.
Continuing her activities as a recording artist, Ms. Bogdanovic has produced several internationally-released CDs for the French label Lyrinx, as well as a Nimbus label recording of Philip Sawyers’s Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, dedicated to her by the composer.
Within her wide repertoire, Maja Bogdanovic devotes a special place to contemporary music. She has premiered works of Nicolas Bacri, Sofia Gubaidulina, Ivan Jevtic, Krzysztof Penderecki, Philip Sawyers, Eric Tanguy, and Benjamin Yusupov, among others. Her collaboration with Krzysztof Penderecki began in France with the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, continued in Belgrade with the Belgrade Philharmonic, and in Ljubljana, where she performed his Cello Concerto No. 2 with the Slovenian Philharmonic conducted by the composer himself. Among a select group of the world’s leading artists, including Lorin Maazel, Anne-Sophie Mutter and others, she was invited to play for a special performance in Warsaw celebrating Penderecki’s 80th birthday, collaborating with Yuri Bashmet, Julian Rachlin, and Barry Douglas.
Laureate of numerous international competitions, Ms. Bogdanovic won First Prize at the third Aldo Parisot Cello Competition in South Korea and received the Second Prize and Special Audience Award at the Gaspar Cassado International Competition in Tokyo. She was awarded the Special Prize at the Concours Rostropovich in Paris and, in the same year, became a multiple laureate of the International Jeunesses Musicales Competition in Belgrade, as recipient of Third Prize and two special awards. She was named UMUS Artist of the Year in 2011 by the Association of Music Artists of Serbia.
Madeleine is the newest member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s cello section, and began performing as Acting Assistant Principal Cellist in September. Prior to this appointment, she served as principal cellist of the Amarillo Symphony in Texas and assistant principal in the Madison Symphony. Ms. Kabat has performed as a substitute with the Cleveland Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Houston Symphony. She has appeared as guest principal cellist with the Orquesta Philarmonia Mexico, Madison Symphony, Mansfield Symphony, and CityMusic Cleveland.
Following her solo debut with the Cleveland Orchestra at age 18, Madeleine has been featured as soloist with dozens of orchestras; most recently the Amarillo Symphony (TX), Renova Festival Orchestra (PA), Lima International Music Festival Orchestra (Peru), Gulf Coast Symphony (MS), Minot Symphony (ND), Red de Escuelas de Musica Orquesta (Medellin, Colombia), Cleveland Philharmonic (OH), Spoleto Festival Orchestra (SC), Festival Mozaic Orchestra (CA) and Marin Symphony (CA). In 2012 she made her solo debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC on an invitation to represent the Oberlin Conservatory. Madeleine has stepped in for delayed cello soloist Alban Gerhardt on a few hours notice to rehearse Prokofiev’s Symphony-Concerto with the Madison Symphony, and performed the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the Springfield Symphony in Missouri as a last minute replacement for their injured soloist. Last summer, she performed two chamber music concerts with the Bach Dynamite & Dancing Society as a last minute replacement for Parry Karp.
An active chamber musician, Madeleine was named Visiting Artist at La Sierra University in Riverside, CA, where she performed chamber music concerts and gave master classes from 2011-16. During the summer she performs chamber music and orchestra concerts at the Lakes Area Music Festival (MN) as principal cellist, Festival Mozaic (CA), and is a faculty artist at the Renova Chamber Music Festival (PA). Ms. Kabat has appeared twice as a featured guest artist for the Lima International Chamber Music Festival in Peru, and has also performed chamber music in China, Korea, and in Colombia (South America) numerous times as faculty artist of Medellin Festicamara. She has given masterclasses at Festicamara and La Sierra University as well as at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, Northwestern State University, Eastern Michigan University, Minot State University (ND), Sahmyook University (Seoul, Korea) and at La Jolla’s SummerFest.
Ms. Kabat began cello lessons in Cleveland at age 11, and has won top prizes in the competitions of Fischoff, Hellam, and Klein International. She holds diplomas from the Cleveland Institute of Music, Rice University, the Juilliard School, and most recently Oberlin Conservatory, where she was a teaching assistant for Professor Darrett Adkins. She resides in Milwaukee, WI and performs on a 1790 William Forster cello.
Co-head of the cello department at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Dr. Melissa Kraut is recognized as one of the leading pedagogues of her generation. Having developed and trained some of the outstanding young musicians of today, Dr. Kraut has demonstrated a unique ability to teach all ages and stages of dedicated students, helping them reach their highest potential both at and away from the cello.
With degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, the University of Iowa and Northwestern University, Dr. Kraut has had the opportunity to study with the great pedagogues Alan Harris and Hans-Jorgen Jensen as well as summer study/master classes with cellists such as Aldo Parisot, Frank Miller, Yo-Yo Ma, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and David Soyer. As a student, she participated in the Aspen Music Festival, Banff Center for the Arts and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Europe.
An active performer, Dr. Kraut has led a diverse career on stage, with solo and chamber performances throughout the United States and Europe. She has held leadership positions in several orchestras, and has played under the baton of conductors such as Sir Georg Solti, Valery Gergiev and Semyon Bychkov.
Dr. Kraut currently enjoys performing chamber music with her friends and colleagues throughout the world. Dr. Kraut enjoys reaching students from all over the world through master classes and workshops. Her status as a Suzuki Teacher Trainer, enables her to pass on her love of pedagogy to the next generation of teachers. In addition, she is passionate about public speaking and the ability to reach audiences of a larger scope, about topics broader than cello.
In the summer of 2014, Dr. Kraut and famed cellist Zuill Bailey launched the inaugural summer of the Sitka Cello Seminar in Sitka, Alaska, bringing 10 elite cellists from all over the world to study under their guidance. In prior summers, Dr. Kraut was on the faculty of several summer festivals including eight summers at the Meadowmount School of Music and eight summers at Interlochen Arts Camp, where she was also the Head of Strings. Other festivals include the Lev Aronson Legacy Week in Dallas, TX, as well as Heifetz International Music Institute in Staunton, Virginia.
Dr. Kraut’s students have achieved great success, with top prizes in National and International competitions. Students of Dr. Kraut have won the Gold Medal and Audience Award at the Gaspar Cassado Competition in Hachioji, Japan, Grand Prize in the Music Teachers National Association Competition, First Prize in the American String Teacher’s Association, Grand Prize in the Walgreen’s Competition, Grand Prize in the Fischoff Competition, as well as prizes in many local and regional competitions.
Jennifer Humphreys joined the cello section of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in September of 2014. Before coming to Dallas, she was a section member of the Atlanta Symphony and Assistant Principal of the Charlotte Symphony. The oldest of three in a musical family, Jennifer began taking cello lessons at the age of six in Owensboro, KY. After graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, she went on to study at Rice University, where she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees as a student of Lynn Harrell and Brinton Smith. Jennifer also performs with the Grand Teton Music Festival and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.
Jennifer has had the privilege of performing with many orchestras around the country including the Baltimore, Houston, Charleston and Huntsville (AL) Symphonies, The Florida Orchestra, and the Colorado Music Festival. She has served as principal cellist of the National Repertory Orchestra and the National Orchestral Institute, and traveled to Graz, Austria to participate in the American Institute for Musical Studies. She also enjoys working with her studio of private students, cycling and yoga.
Born and raised in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, Anastasia Markina started playing piano at the age of four, and gave her first public performance at the age of 10, when she won her first piano competition. Her talent has been recognized at numerous international piano competitions, and she has received top prizes in Europe, Russia, and the United States, including 1st prize at the 1st Maria Yudina International Piano Competition, 1st prize in both solo and chamber music at the "Beach of Hope" International Music Competition in Dobrich-Albena, Bulgaria, 1st prize at the International Peter the Great Music Festival in Groningen, the Netherlands, 1st prize at the San Angelo Sorantin International Music Competition, 1st prize at the 1st Boesendorfer International Piano Competition, 1st and Grand prize at the Yound Texas Artist Music Competition, 2nd prize at the 1st, 2nd and 4th Jose Iturbi Music Competitions.
Ms. Markina has performed with the Jalisco Philharmonic under Joolz Gale in Guadalajara, Mexico; the San Angelo Symphony under Lawrence Golan. She has performed solo, orchestral, as well as chamber music works in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Russia, including performances in the Barge Music Series, Weill Carnegie Hall and Summit Music Festival in New York City, NY; ISB Convention in Rochester, NY; Sitka Festival in Anchorage, AL; concerts in Los Angeles and San Diego, CA; Conservatorium van Amsterdam; and Vetta Chamber Music Series in Canada. Other collaborations include, among others, recitals with Paul Rosenthal, Mark Peskanov, James Galway, Alexander Kerr, Emmanuel Borok, Bonita Boyd, and Joseph Alessi. In collaboration with the cellist Eugene Osadchy she recorded two CDs - "Russian Romances" and "Nacht und Traume".
Anastasia received her Bachelor’s, Master’s and Artist Certificate Degrees in Piano Performance at University of North Texas, studying with Vladimir Viardo, as well as Bachelor’s Degree from Saint-Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music, where she studied with Mary Guseva. Her other teachers include Alexander Mndoyantz, Maria Mekler, and Tatiana Shrago.
Lauded by reviewers as an unmistakably creative force in the classical music industry, Petronel’s critical acclaim culminated in the nomination of three Grammy® Awards, including “Best Instrumental Solo Album” for her debut disc Transfigured Bach. Continuing her recordings under Hänssler Classic, Transfigured Mozart (2006) and Transfigured Beethoven (2008) followed to great critical acclaim. Transfigured Tchaikovsky (2012) was awarded "The American Prize of Excellence in the Arts." Transfigured Brahms included the world-premiere recordings of 4 transcriptions by American composer Lowell Liebermann. Petronel maintains a full performance schedule as recitalist, orchestral soloist and chamber musician in major venues throughout the world. After her European debut in Rome, further highlights have included Carnegie Recital Hall, Théâtre du Châtelet & Salle Cortot (Paris), Mozarteum (Salzburg), Liszt Museum (Budapest), Orchestra Hall (Chicago), Alte Handelsbörse (Leipzig), Bass Hall (Fort Worth), as well as the Ravinia, Gilmore & Music in the Mountain Festivals. Petronel has appeared with orchestras such as the St. Petersburg State (Russia), Martinú (Czech Republic), Bucaramanga (Colombia), Batumi (Republic of Georgia), Sicilian Chamber (Italy), and several others in the US and South Africa, under the batons of Vasily Petrenko, Bernhard Gueller, Karina Canellakis, Dmitry Manilov, James Brooks, and Fuzao Kajima.
Although residing in the United States, Ms. Malan continues strong ties to her native South Africa. She received the “Rapport/City Press Prestige Award” as one of the “10 Most Inspirational Women in South Africa,” and has appeared on magazine covers, fashion spreads and even as picture-clues in crossword puzzles. She was awarded both a KKNK Kanna and a KykNET Fiesta awards for her live performances in South Africa. Apart from a love for vintage gowns, Ms. Malan’s stage wardrobe is designed by foremost South African designers. A frequent speaker and promoter of classical music in schools, scholarships in her name are awarded to promising young musicians.
Dr. Seymour Itzkoff was born in Brooklyn, New York, educated in its public schools. He studied cello with Sidney Edwards, Assistant Principal with the American Broadcasting Symphony. Dr. Itzkoff funded his undergraduate education at the University of Hartford, by playing in the cello section of the Hartford Symphony.
Upon graduation he won the Assistant Principal position in the U.S. Army Symphony in Washington D.C. and also as the cellist in the Army Piano Trio, where he often performed in the White House and Pentagon. During this period, he studied with Mischa Schneider of the Budapest Quartet. His love for the 'cellistic brilliance of Emanuel Feuermann came during the many debates with his symphony colleagues over the relative genius of both Feuermann and Pablo Casals.
His interest in philosophy led him to an academic career. Amongst his twenty-seven published books was a favorite, a biography of Feuermann including the research opportunity to play on dozens of cellos of Feuermann, his friends and colleagues. Mr. Itzkoff is a professor emeritus of education and child study at Smith College, after thirty-four years of teaching. He and his wife, Patricia, have two children, Gerald and Julia both of whom are musicians, and seven grandchildren--including cellist Coleman Itzkoff.
Hailed by the Alex Ross and The New Yorker for his “flawless technique and keen musicality,” cellist Coleman Itzkoff enjoys a diverse career as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator.
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Coleman was born into a musical family - both parents are professional violinists - and began playing cello at the age. Principal cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony, Eric Kim, was Coleman’s first primary teacher. Further studies have included his undergraduate work with Desmond Hoebig at the Shepherd School ( Rice University, Houston, TX) and more recently he achieved his Master’s degree at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music while a member of the studio of Ralph Kirshbaum.
Gold Medalist in the 2017 International Berliner Music Competition, Coleman was a multiple prize winner at the 2016 Irving Klein Competition and in the 2016 Boulder International Chamber Music Competition. He has also taken prizes at the Fischoff, Johansen, Blount Slawson, and Young Texas Artist Competitions. In January 2013, Coleman was a featured guest artist for a weeklong residency on NPR’s Performance Today, recording interviews with host Fred Child and a full recital program. He has been guest soloist with numerous orchestras across the nation. A recent career highlight was his acclaimed Walt Disney Concert Hall concerto debut, performing the epic cello solo in “Heaven, Earth and Mankind” by Tan Dun.
An avid chamber musician, Coleman has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Pamela Frank, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Cho-Liang Lin, David Finckel, Johannes Moser, James Dunham, John O’Connor, and Peter Frankl. Coleman is a regular performer at the Brooklyn concert series Bargemusic and has appeared at festivals around the country, including Aspen Music Festival and School, the International Heifetz Institute, La Jolla SummerFest, YellowBarn, Caramoor, and Music@Menlo. Coleman is also a passionate proponent of new music, and recently joined the newly founded ensemble,AMOC, the American Modern Opera Company.
In 2014, as a graduate student at the University of Southern California, Coleman was introduced to the Armenian-American pianist Alin Melik-Adamyan and a musical collaboration was born. The duo swiftly achieved success in their first local competition, the Beverly Hills National Auditions, subsequently making their debut in recital at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. This past November the duo traveled to Colorado for their first International competition, the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition’s “The Art of Duo”, and, from an applicant pool of over 150 duos, were awarded Second Prize and the special prize for the commissioned work. Future Amicus Duo engagements include recital appearances in cities in Ohio, Colorado, and California.
Aside from his performing career, Coleman is a devoted and dynamic educator and communicator, teaching and performing outreach concerts in schools, community centers, and hospitals around the county. His inspiring work has earned him kudos wherever he appears and, in 2015, the Cleveland Clinic Arts and Medicine Award for his engaging talks and accessible performances for clinic patients.
Coleman holds a BM from Rice University and his Master’s Degree at the Thornton School of Music at USC under the tutelage of Ralph Kirshbaum. He performs on a Paul Siefried bow on loan to him from the Maestro Foundation and on a 1740 Gennaro Gagliano Cello, generously loaned to him by the Amatius Foundation of Austin, TX.
Brian Thornton is a multi-faceted musician who has touched the lives of thousands of people through his performances commemorating his teacher, Lev Aronson, and through musical outreach programs around the world.
Mr. Thornton is the founder of the Aronson Cello Festival hosted by Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, where renowned cellist Lev Aronson, taught for many years. The festival is dedicated to Maestro Aronson's teaching and philosophy of cello playing.
Mr. Thornton teaches at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) and performs with the Cleveland Orchestra where he has been part of the cello section for twenty-four years. His solo album: Kol Nidrei and Beyond, Lev's Story, is centered on the vocal qualities of the cello, and is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Aronson.
Education is also a focus of Mr. Thornton's life, and he spends part of his time teaching at CIM, conducting young musicians, as well as traveling to teach in different parts of the world.
Mr. Thornton began playing the cello in the public school system of Chicago, giving him a passion for teaching young musicians and public school outreach programs. He has traveled from Kolkata, India to Osaka, Japan, influencing young musicians not only to play better cello, but to use music to positively affect the world around them.
Modern music is of particular interest to Mr. Thornton, and he has premiered more than a hundred new solo cellos works around the world. He has also commissioned many new works, including the Five Works of Shakespeare by the world renown composer Geoffrey Gordon.
A major force in 21st century music, composer Victoria Bond is known for her melodic gift and dramatic flair. Her works for orchestra, chamber ensemble and opera have been lauded by the New York Times as "powerful, stylistically varied and technically demanding."
In addition to Soul of a Nation, the four presidential portraits on the Albany label, highlights of Ms. Bond’s catalogue include the operas Mrs. President, Clara and The Miracle of Light; ballets Equinox and Other Selves; orchestral works Thinking like a Mountain, Bridges and Urban Bird; and chamber works Dreams of Flying, Frescoes and Ash and Instruments of Revelation, among many others. Her compositions have been performed by the New York City Opera, Shanghai, Dallas and Houston Symphonies, members of the Chicago Symphony and New York Philharmonic, American Ballet Theater and the Cassatt and Audubon Quartets.
The New York Times praised Victoria Bond’s conducting as “full of energy and fervor.” She has served as principal guest conductor of Chamber Opera Chicago since 2005. Prior positions include Assistant Conductor of Pittsburgh Symphony and New York City Opera and Music Director of the Roanoke Symphony and Opera, Bel Canto Opera and Harrisburg Opera. Ms. Bond has guest conducted throughout the United States, Europe, South America and Asia. She is the first woman awarded a doctorate in orchestral conducting from the Juilliard School.
Ms. Bond is Artistic Director of Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival in New York, which she founded in 1998, and is a frequent lecturer at the Metropolitan Opera and has lectured for the New York Philharmonic. The Wall Street Journal, NBC’s Today Show, the New York Times and other national publications have profiled Ms. Bond.
Frances Brent is the author of The Lost Cellos of Lev Aronson and The Beautiful Lesson of the I. She was co-translator of Beyond the Limit: Poems by Irina Ratushinskaya. Ms. Brent writes for Tablet Magazine, Modern Magazine, the Magazine Antiques, and Moment. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Notre Dame Review, Yale Review, and in many other journals. She was born in Chicago and was educated at Barnard College. Ms. Brent studied poetry at Columbia University and the University of Illinois, Chicago. From 1984-1991, Ms. Brent co-edited the literary journal Formations. In 1987, she co-translated Beyond the Limit: poems by Irina Ratushinska-ya. She has taught at Yale University from 1993-2002, Northwestern, Loyola University, and Barat College. Ms. Brent lives with her family in New York City.
Doris Ong is a still photographer and former Phoenix Art Museum Board Trustee. She currently serves on the Museum Marketing Committee as Chair, and a member of Operations, and the Technology Committee. She is a former two-term President of the Asian Arts Council of the Museum. Mrs. Ong currently serves as Recording Secretary, on the Board of Directors of the Trends Charitable Foundation.
She is a current member of the Blue Blazer Squadron, of former Honorary Commanders of Luke AFB, of Fighter Country Partnership, a Non-Profit Organization supporting the men and women of Luke Air Force Base. As member of the Phoenix Arts and Culture Commissioner in 1999, Mrs. Ong was Chair of the Cultural Diversity Committee.
Mrs. Ong's professional work has been in residential real estate, and a background in Publishing in Singapore, London, and Canada. Mrs. Ong has an honors Bachelor's degree in geography.
Laura Tohe is Diné. She is Tsénahabiłnii, Sleepy Rock People clan, and born for the Tódich’inii, Bitter Water clan. She grew up at Crystal, New Mexico near the Chuska Mountains on the Diné homeland.
Her published books include Making Friends with Water (chapbook); No Parole Today, a book on boarding schools; Sister Nations: Native American Women Writers on Community, co-edited with Heid Erdrich; Tseyí Deep in the Rock, in collaboration with photographer, Stephen Strom; and Code Talker Stories, an oral history book with the remaining Navajo Code Talkers. The Phoenix Symphony commissioned her to write the libretto for Enemy Slayer, A Navajo Oratorio, which made its 2008 world premiere as part of the Phoenix Symphony’s 60th anniversary. A compact disc recording of Enemy Slayer is on the Naxos classical music label. It received rave reviews by the Arizona Republic and was called “a triumph” by Opera Today.
A poet, writer, and librettist, Tohe's work has been published in such journals as Ploughshares, New Letters, cream city review, Red Ink, World Literature Today and many others. Her work has appeared in the U.S., Canada, South America and in Europe with French, Dutch and Italian translations. She has read her poetry internationally in the U.S., Europe, and South America. Laura holds a doctorate degree in creative writing, Indigenous American Literature, and American Literature.
Laura is Professor with Exemplar Distinction in the English Department at Arizona State University and is an Arizona Speaks presenter for the Arizona Humanities that awarded her the 2006 Dan Schilling Public Scholar award.
In 2015 Laura was honored as the Navajo Nation Poet Laureate for 2015-2017, a title given to her in celebration and recognition of her work as a poet and writer.
A multiple Los Angeles Emmy award winning storyteller, Ty Kim is a director and producer. His latest work includes a series of short films about the renowned cellist and teacher Lev Aronson as told by his students and family. Ty is also collaborating with the author Frances Brent who wrote the definitive book on Mr. Aronson on a documentary feature film and a larger scale project about the life of this iconic teacher who helped launch the careers of respected artists including Ralph Kirshbaum, Lynn Harrell, John Sharp, Christopher Adkins, Brian Thornton, Mitchell Maxwell and others.
Among Ty’s other work includes a documentary feature film about the cellist Lynn Harrell and his 60-year journey in music. “A Cellist’s Life” includes fresh interviews with Oscar-winning composers John Williams and André Previn, virtuoso violinists Itzhak Perlman and Anne-Sophie Mutter, renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, celebrated pianist Yefim Bronfman and others. The film has been featured at The Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara and a special screening in Dallas at the Aronson Cello Festival in June 2017. "A Cellist's Life" will be shown at Stanford University's Bing Concert Hall in October 2018 along with a special appearance by Maestro Harrell to launch a tour being planned to celebrate Lynn's 75th birthday year.
Ty has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma on two pieces for CBS News when Ty was an associate producer for CBS This Morning. In addition, Ty directed a series of short films with cellist Matt Haimovitz for the launch of his album "Beethoven Period!" by the European Record Label Pentatone. Ty also directed a documentary about Matt's tour in Italy with the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra including the search for the origin of Mr. Haimovitz's cello made by Matteo Goffriller in 1710.
Among his other work includes a documentary about the leading Native American museum and cultural arts center in the country, The Heard Museum, located in Phoenix, Arizona. This film was hosted by former United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and featured a rare appearance by Muhammad Ali.
Ty's work spans over two decades and includes experience in network, cable and local television, film, radio and print. He honed his storytelling craft as an associate producer with Ed Bradley and Mike Wallace at CBS News/60 Minutes where Ty specialized in hard news, investigative reports for the broadcast. Ty later co-produced and produced stories for the broadcast including an investigation of sexual abuse that led to the resignation of the Archbishop of New Mexico. Ty has flown the B-1 Bomber, negotiated the entry of CBS News into North Korea in 1989 and exposed the largest banking fraud in the state of Mississippi.
Ty served as Managing Editor for KPIX Television in San Francisco and as the founding executive producer, he launched and ran an investigative unit for KNBC Television in Los Angeles. For his work in television, he has earned six Los Angeles area Emmys, the National Edward R. Murrow Award, nine Golden mikes, the Associated Press Award for California and other awards. Ty, who has played the cello since the age of four, earned his undergraduate degree at Stanford University and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He runs a private consulting practice that specializes in branding, entrepreneurial marketing, crisis management and media consulting.
Among his many cherished commitments to the arts, Ty has recently accepted an invitation to serve on the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Advisory Council. He is married to Felicia Paik Kim. They have a son, Ryan, who plays the double bass--who will be performing at the Youth Orchestra Program at the Verbier Festival this summer; and a daughter, Sabrina, who plays the cello--who will be a merit scholar for a second consecutive summer at the Music Academy of the West. Sabrina is a student of Ben Hong, the associate principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Her cello mentor also includes Maestro Lynn Harrell.