About the 2015-2016 Artists

      The Amenda Quartet (May 15, 2016) was founded in Rochester, NY in 2010 by four friends who share a consuming passion for the extraordinary body of music composed for two violins, a viola and a cello.  This perfect combination of instruments has inspired nearly every great composer since Haydn to reach their highest achievements.  And so it was with Ludwig van Beethoven, perhaps best known for his symphonies and his piano works, such as the “Moonlight Sonata” and the ever-popular “Für Elise”.  Beethoven wrote sixteen string quartets over his lifespan. Within them one finds expressed the spectrum of human experience: joy and anger, jocularity and gravity, despair and exaltation.

         Many string players dream of performing all of the Beethoven quartets; Patricia Sunwoo, David Brickman, Melissa Matson and Mimi Hwang are living the dream! Each brings to the ensemble vast experience as a performer and teacher.  Unlike an orchestra, a string quartet has no maestro on the podium controlling the parameters of the performance.  The Amenda Quartet is a true democracy.  It is through the process of rehearsing that an interpretation is honed and details of tempo, volume, articulation and musical color decided. A fine string quartet engages in a musical “conversation”, where changes in expression require split-second responsiveness and give new, subtle shades of meaning to the music.  This spontaneity infuses a performance with vitality and is immensely rewarding to the musicians and audiences alike.

     Visit http://www.AmendaQuartet.org for full details on the Amenda's Project Ludwig: The Complete Beethoven Quartets - concerts from September 2015 to June 2016 in the Rochester area.


         Mark Kellogg (January 24, 2016) enjoys the dual appointment of Principal Trombone of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Associate Professor of Trombone, Euphonium, and Chamber Music at the Eastman School of Music. Throughout his career he has embraced a wide variety of performing roles, from jazz soloist to chamber musician to orchestral performer.
        Since joining the RPO in 1989, Mr. Kellogg has appeared as soloist with the orchestra on many occasions, performing the concerti of Tomasi, Albrechtsberger, Larsson, Schilkret and Jeff Tyzik (commissioned by the RPO in celebration of the orchestra’s 80th anniversary), works by Elliott Carter and Fred Sturm and numerous jazz and euphonium solos on the orchestra’s Pops series. Prior to his appointment in the Rochester Philharmonic, he performed as a member of the San Francisco Symphony, Syracuse Symphony and National Repertory Orchestra.  Mr. Kellogg has been a frequent guest with the Eastman Wind Ensemble, appearing as soloist in the Eastman Theatre and on tours to Japan and Carnegie Hall.
        Active as a jazz and chamber musician, Mr. Kellogg was a founding member of the brass and percussion ensemble Rhythm & Brass, touring the United States and Japan and recording four CDs during his two years in the group. He has also performed with Clark Terry, Chris Vadala, Wynton Marsalis, Eddie Daniels, and Mel Tormé. Recent jazz and commercial recordings include collaborations with Jeff Tyzik, Gene Bertoncini, Allen Vizzutti, Steve Gadd, and Gap Mangione. His jazz recording with Eastman School faculty colleague pianist Tony Caramia, Upstate Standards, celebrates the music of upstate New York composers Harold Arlen, Alec Wilder, and Jimmy Van Heusen. Mr. Kellogg’s most recent CD, Impressions, is a collection of French music for trombone and piano, featuring pianists Joseph Werner and Christopher Azzara.

        A Conn Trombone performing artist, Mr. Kellogg has made appearances at numerous low brass symposia including the International Trombone Festival, the Eastern Trombone Workshop, the Falcone International Euphonium and Tuba Festival, the Northeast Regional Tuba-Euphonium Conference, and the New York Brass Conference. In 2006, he initiated Eastman’s annual Summer Trombone Institute, a week-long workshop for high school and college trombonists. In June 2014, Mr. Kellogg served as co-host of the International Trombone Festival at the Eastman School. He lives in Pittsford, NY with his wife, flutist Joanna Bassett, and their son Rob.


          Cellist Ahrim Kim (Oct 4, 2015) is an accomplished soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral leader. She begins her role as principal cellist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in the fall of 2015, following a year as acting principal cellist for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.  She was awarded the Cassado Prize at the Gaspar Cassado International Cello Competition in Japan, and top prizes in numerous other competitions, including the Houston Symphony's Ima Hogg Young Artists Competition, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic String Competition, the Five Towns Music Competition and the Corpus Christi International Competition. She has performed solo and chamber repertoire at Boston's Symphony Hall and Jordan Hall, the Juilliard School, Alice Tully Hall, the Sarasota Music Festival, the Kennedy Center, and the Salzburg Mozarteum.  As a soloist, she has appeared with the Boston Pops, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra and others.  She has also played in the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. 

         Born in Seoul, South Korea, Kim began her cello studies at the age of 6. Upon her move to the United States in 2002, she continued her musical education at Juilliard's Pre-college division. She holds both Bachelor's and master's degrees in Cello Performance at the New England Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Laurence Lesser and Natasha Brofsky.

         Kim was awarded the Arthur Foote Award from the Harvard Musical Association as the cellist of the Klimt Trio. As a chamber musician, she has participated in Festivals such as Yellow Barn, Chesapeake Chamber Music, and Marlboro. 



        Soprano Pamela Kurau (October 4, 2015) has been heard in performance with many of Rochester’s finest musicians and organizations.  She has sung several times with Chamber Music Rochester, First Muse, Live from Hochstein radio broadcasts, and collaborated with faculty from the Eastman School of Music and musicians from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In larger works, Kurau has sung with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Rochester Oratorio Society, and performed the Strauss “Vier Letzte Lieder" with the Geneseo Symphony in May 2014.  International performances have taken her to Canada, Germany, Finland, Japan, China, and Korea. In the summer of 2015 Dr. Kurau presented a lecture/master class in English lyric diction at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada.  In August of 2015 she performed with her husband, RPO Principal Horn, Peter Kurau, at the International Horn Symposium in Los Angeles.  Dr. Kurau is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, University of Missouri-Columbia, and, most recently, the Eastman School of Music.  She currently serves on the faculty of the Music Department at SUNY Geneseo as Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Voice, and is also on the adjunct faculty at the Eastman School of Music as Assistant Professor of English Lyric Diction.

Violist Melissa Matson (Oct 4, 2015 and May 15, 2016), 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)

         Daniel Pesca (Oct 4, 2015) 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 include teaching a course on twentieth-century piano music and accompanying for the opera department.  He is a native of Huntsville, Alabama.


     Violinist Tigran Vardanyan (October 4, 2015) began violin studies with his father at the age of six in his native Armenia. Later he attended the Sayat Nova School of Music and the Tchaikovsky Specialized Music School, and while still very young, he performed as a soloist with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Armenian Chamber Orchestra, and the Armenian TV and Radio Orchestra.        In 1994 Tigran immigrated to the USA to study with the renowned Ukrainian violinist, Abram Shtern, at the Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica, CA. In 1996 began studies at the Eastman School of Music with Professor Zvi Zeitlin.
        Tigran is a winner of many competitions and awards, including the 1991 and 1993 Armenian National Competitions, the 1992 Amadeus Competition for Young Artists, various sholarships, and the Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. Winner of two Eastman School Concerto Competitions, he performed the Shostakovich Violin with the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra (David Gilbert) and the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (Christopher Seaman).
        Since 1998, Tigran has been a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2007 he joined the faculty at the David Hochstein Memorial Music School, and in 2010 at Nazareth College. He continues to perform as a soloist and chamber musician at various music festivals and concert venues in the Middle East, Europe, Central America and North America.

            Larry Zalkind (January 24, 2016), Associate Professor of Trombone at the Eastman School of Music, began playing at the age of eight - but trombone was not his first choice.  When the 3rd grader was offered the chance to play an instrument through his public school music program, he asked for a trumpet, inspired by his favorite group the Tijuana Brass.  But with no trumpets left his school music teacher settled it by declaring, “You look like a trombone player!”
        Larry entered the California Arts Youth program in the eighth grade, working with Los Angeles Tubist Tommy Johnson. At 17 he entered the University of Southern California as a student of Robert Marsteller.  While at USC he studied Music Education and earned a masters degree in music.  Other teachers include Arnold Jacobs, Lewis Van Haney, Jimmy Stamp, Ralph Sauer, Byron Peebles and Terry Cravens.

        While pursuing a doctorate at University of Michigan studying with Dennis Smith he won the Principal Trombone position for the Utah Symphony.  He also held the position of Acting Associate Principal Trombone of the Los Angeles Philharmonic during the 2009- 2010 season.
Mr. Zalkind is a longtime member of the Summit Brass and the Grand Teton Music Festival.  He has performed and recorded with the symphonies of Chicago, Atlanta, Boston St. Louis, and the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra in Japan.
        Larry has released three solo CD’s on the Summit Records label:  Larry Zalkind Plays Baroque Music on the Trombone; Encore!; and his latest CD, Lost in the Stars (the music of Bernstein, Sondheim and Weil, working with some of LA’s finest jazz musicians).
For many years he served as Professor of Trombone at the University of Utah, and has been a clinician for numerous national and international workshops and festivals, including the International Trombone Festival, the International Tuba-Euphonium Conference and the Eastern Trombone Workshop.
        This coming season, Larry will again perform at the Grand Teton Music Festival and will participate as a member of the Summit Brass in the Rafael Mendez/Summit Brass Institute in Denver, as well as the Sitka Music Festival in Alaska.  He also will be performing many concertos, recitals and master classes around the country.  A Yamaha Artist, Larry has been involved with the Yamaha Corporation in the design of a new large-bore tenor and alto trombone, both of which he currently plays.