About the 2014-2015 Artists

The Amenda Quartet (September 28) (Patricia Sunwoo and David Brickman, violins; Melissa Matson, viola; Mimi Hwang, cello)

Violinist Patricia Sunwoo had long entertained the notion of performing a "Beethoven cycle" - that is, performing all 16 of Beethoven's string quartets in a series of concerts. The Beethoven quartets are revered by musicians and loved by audiences.  Spanning the master's creative life, within them one finds expressed the spectrum of human experience - joy and anger, jocularity and gravity, despair and exaltation.  

It was with little difficulty that Patricia enlisted three colleagues to undertake the project which might be considered the "Mount Everest" of the chamber music repertoire.  (The Amenda musicians plan to achieve this without the use of supplemental oxygen.)     

Formed in January, 2010, the AQ has performed in Hatch Hall and Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music, on the RIT Performing Artist series, on the Chamber Music Rochester and First Music series, and in the Performance Hall of the Hochstein School of Music.  The AQ brings its music to a diverse audience in all manner of venues. 

Violinist David Brickman (September 28, May 17) is known for his highly personal interpretations of the solo and chamber music repertoire.  He was the Principal Second Violinist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra for twenty-three years, and now runs Bodymind Float Center in Rochester. He is the Concertmaster of The Rochester Chamber Orchestra, and has also played with the Pittsburgh, Columbus, Honolulu, Milwaukee, and National Arts Center Orchestras. He resides in Rochester with his wife, violinist Patricia Sunwoo, and his daughters, Claire and Lillian.





Since joining the RPO as Principal Flute in September 1996, Rebecca Gilbert (March 29) has illuminated the RPO’s classical and pops performances with her expressive and versatile playing. She also has performed as Acting Principal Flute of the St. Louis Symphony and Guest Assistant Principal Flute with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood. An active soloist/recitalist, Ms. Gilbert has performed with the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester, Live from Hochstein, Skaneateles Festival, Charleston’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the Charles Ives Center for the Arts Contemporary Music Festival and the Chautauqua Chamber Players. She is a regularly featured soloist with the RPO and has performed concerti with the St. Louis Symphony, the Charleston (SC) Symphony, Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra and the Penfield (NY) Symphony Orchestra.

A Wisconsin native, Ms. Gilbert began playing the flute at age nine and went on to attend the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, earning her master’s degree, and the Centre International de Formation Musicale in Nice, France. Ms. Gilbert teaches flute at Ithaca College and in her home studio and is a coach/mentor with the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.


The daughter of Chinese immigrants, cellist Mimi Hwang (September 28) was born and raised in Los Angeles. She was a founding member of the Franciscan String Quartet, First Prize winner of the Banff International String Quartet Competition. The Quartet performed in concert halls throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and was Quartet-in-Residence at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College. Ms. Hwang is currently an Assistant Professor of Chamber Music at the Eastman School of Music and Co-Artistic Director of Yellow Barn Music School and Festival’s Young Artists Program. Ms. Hwang serves on the Board of Trustees of the Rochester Area Community Foundation and lives in Brighton with her two daughters.


       Cellist Michael Kannen (September 28) has distinguished himself as a musician and educator of uncommon accomplishment who is comfortable in widely diverse musical situations and venues. He was a founding member of the Brentano String Quartet and for seven years performed with that group on concert stages around the world, on radio and television, and on recordings.  During those first seven years, the Brentano Quartet was awarded the first Cleveland Quartet Award, the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center, and the Royal Philharmonic Society's award for best debut recital in England for the 1997-1998 season.  With the Brentano Quartet, Mr. Kannen appeared regularly in such venues as Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Library of Congress in Washington, Wigmore Hall in London, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Chatelet Theater in Paris, and the Sydney Opera House.  In addition to his work with the Brentano Quartet, Mr. Kannen has been a member of the Meliora String Quartet and the Figaro Trio.  He is currently a member of the Apollo Trio.  Mr. Kannen has been heard with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Berkshire Bach Society, and has appeared at major summer music festivals, including the Spoleto Festivals in Charleston, Italy and Australia, Chamber Music Northwest, the International Musicians Seminar in Prussia Cove, England, the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, the Cascade Head Music Festival in Oregon, the Vancouver Chamber Music Festival, the Caramoor Music Festival, the Skaneateles Music Festival and has served on the faculties of the Yellow Barn Music Festival and Tanglewood, and has collaborated with such artists as Jessye Norman, Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Sergiu Luca, Hilary Hahn, Donald Weilerstein, Pamela Frank, Leon Fleisher, Mitsuko Uchida, Peter Serkin, Paula Robison, Kenneth Cooper, Charles Neidich, Steven Isserlis, Gary Hoffman and with jazz artists Michael Formanek and Uri Caine.  Mr. Kannen frequently performs on period instruments, and has recorded the music of Robert Schumann on old instruments with the chamber group Context, in Houston.  He has also recorded new music on the CRI label.   Mr. Kannen is currently the Director of Chamber Music at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where he holds the Sidney Friedberg Chair in Chamber Music.  He lives in Baltimore with his wife, violist Maria Lambros, and their son, Daniel.


 Violist Maria Lambros (September 28) has performed as a chamber musician throughout the world as a member of three of the country's finest string quartets in venues such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, London's Wigmore Hall, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, New York's Lincoln Center and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. She was a member of the renowned Ridge String Quartet, which was nominated for the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance for their recording of the Dvorak Piano Quintets with pianist Rudolf Firkusny on the RCA label. The recording won Europe's prestigious Diapason d'Or in the same year. She was also a founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning Meliora String Quartet, which was Quartet-in-Residence at the Spoleto Festivals of the U.S., Italy, and Australia, and which recorded Mendelssohn's Octet with the Cleveland Quartet on the Telarc label. She was most recently a member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet and is currently the violist with the New York based chamber ensemble, La Fenice. Maria appears regularly at a number of major chamber music festivals, including those of Aspen, Vancouver, Santa Fe, Tanglewood, La Jolla, Caramoor, Helsinki, Norfolk, Rockport, Skaneateles, Bard, Cascade Head, Chamber Music West, New York's Mostly Mozart Festival, and the Chateau Series in Turin, Italy. She has also performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, DaCamera Society and Context of Houston, and with the Guarneri, Cleveland, Juilliard, Muir, Brentano, Borromeo, Colorado, and Orion Quartets, among others. She recently appeared at the 92nd Street Y in New York with Joshua Bell, Steven Isserlis, and Jeremy Denk.  Maria Lambros attended the Eastman School of Music, where she received the Performer's Certificate and earned a Master's degree in Humanities from New York University. A native of Missoula, Montana, she was named one of "Montana's Leading Artists and Entertainers of the 20th Century," a millenial list highlighting the last 100 years of Montanans' exceptional contributions to art and culture. A devoted teacher, Ms. Lambros is currently a member of the chamber music faculty of the Peabody Conservatory and will join the viola faculty of the New England Conservatory in the fall of 2014. She has been on the faculties of the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College, Harvard University, University of Delaware, Florida State University, and the Longy School of Music, and is a faculty member of the Yellow Barn Music School. She resides in Baltimore, Md. with her husband, cellist Michael Kannen, and their son, Daniel.


Violist Melissa Matson (September 28, March 29), artistic director of First Muse Chamber Music, is the Principal Violist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. She also performs frequently with Chamber Music Rochester and with the Skaneateles (NY) Festival. A California native, she received her degrees and the Performer’s Certificate from Eastman, where she teaches viola orchestral repertoire. Ms. Matson was a founding member of the Chester String Quartet (prize winners at the Munich and Portsmouth international competitions) and has been a chamber music participant in the Aspen, Norfolk, and Grand Teton summer festivals. She enjoys creating artisan-dyed fabrics and garments (www.MelissaMatson.com), and lives in Honeoye Falls with her husband.


Matt McDonald (March 29) was appointed Principal Bassoon of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2013. Before his appointment there, he was Principal Bassoon of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and Co-Principal Bassoon of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio. McDonald has performed as soloist with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra, and The Cleveland Orchestra, as well as at the International Double Reed Society conference. He has appeared with festival orchestras such as the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center.  Born in Huntsville, Alabama, McDonald began studying with Hunter Thomas, and later with Benjamin Kamins. A graduate of the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music, McDonald had other teachers including Barrick Stees, Bernard Garfield, and Daniel Matsukawa. Along with soprano Susanna Phillips, McDonald co-founded Twickenham Fest, a chamber music festival in Huntsville, Alabama, which had its inaugural summer in 2010.

Daniel Pesca (March 29) leads an active career as both pianist and composer.  He is the recipient of many commissions: his work for wind ensemble, Forking Paths, was commissioned and premiered by Michael Haithcock and the University of Michigan Symphony Band.  His piano piece What Remains is Memory was an Elizabeth C. Rogers Commission from the Eastman School of Music.  He was the composer of the first commissioned work for the Myrna Brown International Flute Competition in May 2013; the resulting piece, A Memory of Mélisande, has been performed by flutists around the country.  Some of his other pieces have been performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Huntsville (Alabama) Symphony Orchestra, the Boston New Music Initiative, Eastman’s Musica Nova, and Ossia New Music; and at the Cluster Festival (Winnipeg) and the Tutti New Music Festival (Denison University). Described as a “lively young pianist” by The New York Times, Daniel has been a guest performer at many university venues across the Midwest, as well as at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Interlochen Center for the Arts, Columbia University’s Miller Theater, and the Chicago Cultural Center.  Past collaborative partners include members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, members of the JACK and Spektral Quartets, and faculty at the Universities of Michigan, Iowa, Texas, and Kansas.  He has performed as the featured soloist with the Orchestra of the League of Composers, the Eastman BroadBand, the Slee Sinfonietta, the University of Michigan Symphony Band, and the Eastman Wind Ensemble.  He has been an avid proponent of new chamber music and an enthusiastic ensemble pianist since 2004, performing with groups such as Chicago’s Dal Niente, Michigan Chamber Players, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble.  He is currently a board member of Ossia, Eastman’s student-run new music organization.  Daniel's work as a pianist is featured on recordings from Block M Records and Urtext Classics, including a performance of Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez's piano concerto, Diaries, written for Daniel. His latest recording with flutist Sarah Frisof will be released by Albany Records in the coming year. Daniel holds double degrees from Eastman ('05) and University of Michigan ('07) in piano performance and composition. He is currently pursuing a DMA in composition at Eastman, where his varied catalogue of duties includes teaching a course on twentieth-century piano music and accompanying for the opera department. He is a native of Huntsville, Alabama.

Stefan Reuss (May 17) studied with Antonio Janigro in his native Germany at the Robert Schumann Konservatorium in Düsseldorf and later with Harvey Shapiro at The Juilliard School, where he received his master’s degree. He taught at the University of Northern Iowa and the California Music Center before joining the San Francisco Symphony. He was principal cellist of the RPO from 1988 until his recent retirement. Mr. Reuss also enjoys chamber music and directs a series of Salon concerts at the Academy of Medicine, is a founding member of the Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble, and was a Co-Artistic Director of Chamber Music Rochester for many years.



Patricia Sunwoo (September 28), winner of the 1998 Naumburg Award as a member of the Whitman String Quartet, has performed across the United States and Europe to critical acclaim.  For five years she was on faculty at Binghamton University.  Ms. Sunwoo currently is a member of the Bard Festival String Quartet and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2007 she founded the company www.PlayMyPiece.com for which she recorded and produced several albums of student violin music. She also directs the Chamber Music Connection program at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance.  She spends the rest of her days with her husband, David Brickman, and enjoying her daughters Claire and Lillian. 


Diane Walsh (May 17), whose many awards include the top prizes at the Munich International Piano Competition and the Salzburg International Mozart Competition, has performed solo recitals, chamber music and concertos worldwide. She appeared with the radio symphonies of Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Berlin, the American Symphony and the symphonies of San Francisco, Indianapolis, Austin, Delaware and Syracuse. Her recitals include engagements in major venues in the United States, Canada, Europe and South America, and her many summer festival appearances include Marlboro, Santa Fe, Bard, Chesapeake and Skaneateles, where she was the artistic director from 1999 to 2004.  She  has performed Beethoven’s Variations on a Waltz of Diabelli well over 200 times, in the Broadway production of 33 Variations, a play by Moisés Kaufman starring Jane Fonda, and in three other productions in Washington, La Jolla and Los Angeles. Ms. Walsh has made sixteen discs for labels which include Bridge, Newport, Sony, Nonesuch, Koch, Stereophile and CRI; her latest releases are Schubert’s Sonatas Vol. I and II on Jonathan Digital and Paul Moravec’s Useful Knowledge on Naxos. She is an associate professor at Mannes College, and is a Steinway Artist.