Bixby Kennedy

Originally from Maryville, TN, Bixby Kennedy is currently a fellow of Ensemble Connect where he performs in Carnegie Hall and Juilliard, is a teaching artist in the public schools, and presents community engagement concerts throughout New York City. Admired for his “suppleness and beauty of tone” (Allan Kozinn, Portland Press Herald)Bixby has performed concerti with the Houston Symphony, Bloomington Sinfionetta, and Indiana University Symphony. Additionally, he has garnered prizes from the Minnesota Young Artist Competition, ECSO, Hellam, Ima Hogg, Boston Woodwind Society, and Indiana University competitions. As a chamber musician, Bixby has performed throughout the US and Europe making appearances in Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, The Kennedy Center, Music from Angel Fire, and Caramoor. On period instruments, Bixby performs classical repertoire on period instruments and replica instruments throughout the US. Bixby loves traveling, trying new foods, laughing, hiking and playing tennis.

Hermann Stefansson

Icelander Hermann Stefánsson is principal clarinettist of the Stockholm Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Stockholm Sinfonietta. He has also been principal clarinettist of the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra. Hermann has appeared as a soloist with most of the Swedish symphony orchestras and performs regularly with chamber orchestras and in music festivals in Sweden and abroad. Hermann is also active as a clarinet teacher, in which capacity he now teaches at the Stockholm Royal University College of Music. He has also taught at the Malmö Academy of Music and the School of Music in Piteå. In addition, he has also been a visiting teacher at universities in the United States, and has taught short courses both in Sweden and abroad. Hermann studied under Yehuda Gilad and Mitchell Lurie at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, with Walter Boeykens at the Rotterdam Conservatory and under Curth Forsberg at the School of Music in Piteå.

Yehuda Gilad

A teacher, instrumentalist and conductor, Yehuda Gilad strives for “total musicianship,” and as a result, he has won the acclaim of both critics and audiences alike. As one of the founding members of the Colburn School Conservatory of Music, Mr. Gilad serves as Music Director of the Colburn Orchestra and Professor of Clarinet for the Colburn Conservatory, the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts, and the Colburn Music Academy. In addition, he is Professor of Clarinet at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, and across these two prestigious institutions, he has developed one of the most sought-after clarinet studios in the world. His students have achieved top honors in every premier international clarinet competition, and graduates of his studio hold positions in over 150 major orchestras worldwide, including the Cincinnati and Minnesota Orchestras; the New York, Los Angeles, Stockholm, Sweden, Hong Kong, China, and Seoul Philharmonics; San Francisco Opera; the Concertgebauw; and the Orquesta Nacional de España, to name a few. In 2012, he served as president of the jury for the Carl Nielsen 5th International Clarinet Competition in Odense, Denmark. Mr. Gilad is a recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Distinguished Teacher Award from the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, the Ramo Award, and USC’s highest honor for excellence in teaching. He was also named one of Musical America’s 2015 Professional Influencers of the Year. Mr. Gilad is regularly invited to present master classes and performances at music conservatories and major festivals around the globe.

An accomplished clarinetist, Mr. Gilad has performed at top music festivals worldwide, including the Marlboro Music Festival, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Crusell Music Festival, the San Francisco Chamber Music Festival, and Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West. He also founded the Yoav Chamber Ensemble, which performed extensively throughout the United States and recorded for the Orion label, and the Colburn Woodwind Chamber Players, which toured Germany and China. Mr. Gilad has collaborated as performer and conductor with many of today’s most prominent artists.

Mr. Gilad’s success as a conductor equals that of his renown as a teacher and performer. Since its inception in 2003, Yehuda Gilad has served as Music Director and Conductor of the Colburn Orchestra and has been instrumental in the ensemble’s development from a small string orchestra to a full symphony orchestra. Maestro Gilad’s additional music directorships have included the Malibu Strawberry Creek Music Festival (recognized by the County of Los Angeles for its artistic contribution to the community); the 20th Century Unlimited concert series in Santa Fe, New Mexico; the Thornton Chamber Orchestra; the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra; and the Colonial Symphony of New Jersey—The Star-Ledger: “Gilad transformed the Colonial Symphony into one of [New Jersey’s] artistic trendsetters.” Under his leadership, the Colonial Symphony became the only orchestra in the area to receive an NEA grant for seven consecutive years, and in 1995 and 1996, the orchestra received the Distinguished Arts Organization Award from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for its artistry and programming merits. Mr. Gilad received acclaim from The New York Times for his “strong imaginative programming” and championing of American and contemporary music. Also an active guest conductor, his appearances have garnered critical acclaim in many countries on three continents. In 1987 he became the first Israeli-born conductor to perform in China and has since conducted numerous engagements in Beijing and Shanghai. Mr. Gilad’s repertoire encompasses a broad range of musical styles, and he has enjoyed collaborating with contemporary composers such as John Corigliano and Iannis Xenakis, among others.

Dedicated to fostering increased public appreciation and support of classical music in the United States and abroad, Mr. Gilad has appeared on various broadcasts including NBC, CBS, WQXR, WMTR, KUSC, NJN, Cablevision, and the national television of mainland China. In 2012 an 2013, the Colburn Orchestra concerts were recorded in HD and broadcast on the arts series Open Call on Southern California’s independent television station, KCET. Mr. Gilad also led the Colburn Orchestra in recordings for Live Classics, Bridge Records, and Yarlung Records, collaborating with composer Menachem Wiesenberg as well as cellist Ron Leonard, violist Paul Coletti, and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke.

Born and raised on a kibbutz in Israel, Gilad began his musical education at the age of 16. Following his conservatory studies, he emigrated to the United States in 1975 to further his education. His former teachers include Giora Feidman, Mitchell Lurie, and Dr. Herbert Zipper. Additionally, he was an active participant in numerous intensive master classes with the late Sergiu Celibidache and Leonard Bernstein.

Michael Collins

Michael Collins is, without question, the most versatile Clarinettist alive today. His dazzling virtuosity and sensitive musicianship has made him the favourite of Conductors, Composers and Audiences throughout the world.

Since his success in the first BBC Young Musician of the Year when he was 16, he went on to win several international competitions, including the Leeds Competition for Musicians and the Concert Artists Guild in New York, which led to his Carnegie Hall début, and represented Great Britain at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Young Performers. Michael regularly performed for Her Majesty The Queen, HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and a Recital at the request of HRH The Prince of Wales.

After this meteoric rise to fame, Michael joined both the Nash Ensemble and the London Sinfonietta at the age of 18, and later founded London Winds. He also became Principal Clarinet of the Philharmonia Orchestra for many years. As a member of these ensembles he has recorded extensively and given countless first performances.

During this period Michael also formed strong musical relationships with musicians such as Martha Argerich, Mikhail Pletnev, Steven Isserlis, the Takacs Quartet, Joshua Bell, to name but a few.

Michael has performed with the major Symphony Orchestras of the world, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and the Deutsche Symphonie Orchester. Conductors who he has worked with include Carlo Maria Giulini, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Charles Dutoit, Neeme Järvi, Sir Simon Rattle, and Leonard Slatkin.

He has special relationships with many of the worlds leading Chamber Orchestras, in particular the Academy of St Martins’ in the Fields, with whom he has toured extensively, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, Camerata Salzburg, and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. Michael’s role as soloist has developed into that of director and conductor, which has become a central part of his musical life.

As well as specialising in classical repertoire, Michael is an avid champion of contemporary music, having had numerous works dedicated to him, most recently including concertos by Mark-Anthony Turnage (Riffs and Refrains) commissioned by the Hallé Orchestra and has since had Dutch, Belgian and Scandanavian performances with the Residentie Orkest, Royal Flanders Philharmonic and Helsinki Philharmonic respectively, John Adams (Gnarly Buttons), Elena Kats-Chernin (Ornamental Air) which has recently had it’s first performances in the US, Scandanavia and the UK, and many UK and European premières of works including the concertos of John Corigliano and Brett Dean.

Michael is a regular visitor to the worlds leading festivals, appearing regularly at the Cheltenham, Bath Mozart, Aldeburgh, Salzburg, Verbier, San Diego’s Mainly Mozart, and will appear this summer at New York’s Mostly Mozart festival with John Adams performing Gnarly Buttons. Since Michael’s first appearance at the BBC Proms, he has returned more times than any other wind soloist including the ‘Last Night’. In his capacity as a chamber musician, Michael enjoys a long standing relationship with the Wigmore Hall, having had many residencies there.

Michael won a Gramophone Award for his recording of Elliott Carter’s Concerto with the London Sinfonietta under Oliver Knussen on Deutsche Grammophon.

Michael’s other recordings include the Mozart Clarinet Concerto and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (transcribed by Pletnev) with the Russian National Orchestra under Mikhail Pletnev for DG which received international acclaim, the complete works for Clarinet and Orchestra by Louis Spohr with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra under Robin O’Neill for Hyperion, Brahms’ Trio with Steven Isserlis and Stephen Hough for BMG, Messiaen’s Quatour pour la fin du Temps with Joshua Bell, Steven Isserlis and Ollie Mustonen for Decca. Recordings with his own group London Winds include the Complete works of Richard Strauss for Hyperion, Mozart’s Gran Partita for Onyx, and a Grammy Nominated disc of Ligeti’s Wind Chamber Music for Sony. Due for release are the première recordings of Concertos by Turnage and Britten (completed Colin Matthews), and will be recording the complete works for Clarinet and Orchestra by Weber.

Michael recently had the honour of taking part in the opening concert of the Melbourne Recital Hall. In September 2007, he performed Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with the Russian National Orchestra and Pletnev in a special concert to commemorate the victims of the Beslan school siege at the site of the atrocity. In May 2007 he won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year, placing him amongst past recipients of the award who include Itzhak Perlman, Mitsuko Uchida, Murray Perahia, and Andras Schiff.

”…Michael Collins further entrenches his place among the first rank of clarinettists with this rather heavenly recording of Mozart Serenades. He leads the London Winds with great sensitivity and, when called for, virtuosic flair.

A class act. A classy disc …”

Mozart’s Serenades for ONYX, Editor’s Choice, Gramophone Magazine, January 2007

Michael Collins plays Peter Eaton International clarinets. LINK

Christian Stene, Clarinet

Christian Stene

Christian Stene is the Principal clarinetist of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. He previously held the same position with the Norwegian National Opera Orchestra. He is also Assistant Professor at the Grieg Academy in Bergen, a Buffet Crampon and Vandoren artist, and the National Chairperson (Norway) for the International Clarinet Association (ICA).

A native of Bergen, Christian began playing the clarinet at age eleven. After preliminary studies at the Grieg Academy, he was accepted into the Conservatorium van Amsterdam to study with former Principal Clarinetist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, George Pieterson. Christian then entered the Royal Danish Academy of Music where he completed his Orchestral Diploma studies with Lee Morgan, Principal Clarinetist of the Royal Danish Orchestra, in one year. He was further accepted into the Soloist class at the Royal Danish Academy of Music as well as the Concert class at the Musik-Akademie der Stadt Basel with François Benda. Christian made his Debut in Copenhagen in 2007 with the highest mark obtainable. In the 2009/10 season, Christian took a sabbatical to study with Yehuda Gilad at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

 

In 1998 Christian won the Norwegian Soloist Championships that started a long line of solo appearances. He has been soloist with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Norwegian National Opera Orchestra, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, ARCO Chamber Orchestra, Royal Danish Academy of Music Orchestra, and the Nordic Youth Orchestra. In February 2015 Christian premiered a commission of a Concerto for Clarinet and Strings by Therese Ulvo with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, which has now been released on CD.

 

Christian regularly appears as guest principal in various Scandinavian, European and Asian orchestras. He is also an active chamber musician whose interest in historical performance practice includes performing on period instruments. In addition to his class at the Grieg Academy Christian regularly gives masterclasses in Norway and abroad and coaches The Norwegian National Youth Orchestra and other regional youth orchestras.

Christian can be heard on recordings playing chamber music with the Danish Chamber Players (Classico) and in orchestra with the Norwegian National Opera Orchestra (Naïve) and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (Chandos, BIS, Hyperion and Aurora).

 

Emil Jonason

Emil Jonason (b.1983) has recently emerged as one of the most talented musicians from the new generation of Swedish woodwind soloists. His charismatic and virtuosic playing has won him engagements as soloist with several professional orchestras, such as the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin in Moscow a.o.

He is an accomplished chamber musician and recently toured in China with the Stockholm Chamber Trio in collaboration with Concerts Sweden, and in 2008 he was chosen to represent Sweden in EBU New Talent. He has performed at numerous festivals, recently at Gotland Chamber Music Festival where he did concerts with Roland Pöntinen, Georg Riedel, Staffan Scheja among others.

In 2004, Emil Jonason participated in Lions Europe’s Musical Soloist Interpretation Prize in Rome, as the first Swedish competitor in this competition, and was awarded the Prize of the 21st century piece. Other merits in competitions include the first prize in the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Competition as well as the Solofoni Prize, awarded by the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra.

Emil received his education at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, and completed his studies with a Soloist Diploma under the tutelage of world-renowned clarinetist Martin Fröst.In addition to this, he has studied with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra’s Solo Clarinetist Hermann Stefánsson and Yehuda Gilad, Professor at the University of Southern California, USA.

It was after the successful performance of John Corigliano’s Clarinet Concerto with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in May 2008 that he was chosen to be Stockholm Concert Hall’s representative for Rising Stars in the 2009/2010 season.

Emil has always been fascinated and inspired by wild insistent rhythms and sounds of Klezmer- and Balkan music and has toured the world-music scene in Sweden and abroad with different groups, such as AksakOrkestar and Stockholm Klezmer Quintet.

Andreas Sundén

Principal Clarinet – Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Andreas Sundén is one of the leading clarinetists from the young generation of Scandinavian musicians. He is a musician that manages to combine orchestral playing with his ever-increasing solo engagements which includes orchestras like Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Malmö Symhony orchestra. 

Andreas was born in Sweden and started his clarinet studies at The Norwegian State Academy of Music with professor Hans Christian Braein where he graduated 2001 with highest distinction. Then followed two years of soloist studies for Hans Deinzer in Italy and after 2003 he was studying regularly for professor Yehuda Gilad, USC.

He is several times winner of scholarships from Royal Swedish Academy of Music and has been prizewinner in Haverhill Sinfonia Soloist Competition i England (2004) and Ljunggrenska tävlingen in Gothenburg (2001).

Andreas is an active participant in chamber music and the initiator to Nordic Chamber Soloists which is a flexible chamber music group of leading young musicians from the Nordic countries. Andreas has played at Risør Chamber Music festival, Oslo Chamber Music Festival, Gloppen Music Festival and performed recitals in The Nordic Countries, Germany, England, Italy, Spain and USA. He has given Masterclasses in USA, Japan, China, Korea, Australia, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and the Nordic countries.

His solo appearances include Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Swedish Radio

Symphony Orchestra, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Leonberg Symphony Orchestra, Valenciennes String Orchestra, Royal Army Band, Swedish Youth Wind Orchestra.

He is currently a clarinet teacher at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and

Principal Clarinet in the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He also held the Principal Clarinet position in Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra during 4 years and before that the same position in The Norwegian National Opera Orchestra and Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Sweden.

Venancio Rius

Spanish concertist and professor Venancio Rius is a passionate communicator whose stimulating ideas and enthusiastic creative music-making captivate professional musicians as well as music lovers, the world over. Hailed by the press as a brilliant artist and virtuoso clarinetist with a consummate musicianship, he can be heard at international festivals as well as prestigious universities and conservatoires in all continents. His teaching has produced first-prize winners in some of the most important competitions.

Venancio Rius has performed in Austria, Argentina, China, Canada, England, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Korea, Luxemburg, Mexico, Mongolia, Oman, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. He has played premieres of Aaron Copland, Martín Kutnowski, Manuel Garcia-Morante, Adolfo Villalonga, and Juan Pons. He has played with Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonie der Nationen, London Schubert Chamber Orchestra, Buenos Aires Amadeus Orchestra, Castellón Youth Symphony Orchestra and China Dunshan Symphony, among others.

As a performer he was recognized by the USC Concerto Competition, INAEM Music Competition, and the Buffet North American Clarinet Competition. He was also a recipient of the Honor Prize from the Valencia Superior Conservatory of Music, the Gordon & Lillian Hardy Award, the Bruce Zalkind Memorial Prize, 2007 China International Clarinet Festival and he received the “Fortea Award for the Arts 2012” in recognition to his illustrious international career, granted by the IDM-Institute for the Musical Development.

He has taught at the University of Southern California as Yehuda Gilad substitute, the Valencia, Murcia and Castilla-La Mancha Superior Conservatories, and at 7th Lisbon International Clarinet Meeting, and Beyond the Music International Chamber Music Festival. He has presented master classes in Europe, China, Korea, Argentina, Canada and the United States, including the National Conservatory of Lisbon, Beijing Central Conservatory, China Conservatory, Shenzhen Arts School, The State College of Music and Dance of Mongolia, the National Conservatory of Buenos Aires, St Thomas University and The Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. In 2007 and 2008 he was Conductor of the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra.

 

He has been jury for the Shanghai Spring International Music Competition and The J. Chuluun 10th International Competition of Young Musicians (Ulan Bator, Mongolia), and featured artist—sponsored by Buffet Crampon—at the “2012 Guangzhou International Orchestra Art Festival.”

 

Born in Moncofa, Spain, into a family of professional musicians, Venancio Rius began his musical studies at the age of 5 with his grandfather, maestro Eugenio Marti. He graduated from the Valencia Superior Conservatory of Music and later from the University of Southern California, where he studied with maestro Yehuda Gilad.
At present, Venancio Rius teaches at the Alfonso X El Sabio University and at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento Musical CARM – Madrid.