About the Artists - 2010-2011
(David Brickman and Patricia Sunwoo, 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 already been engaged to perform in Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music, on the RIT Performing Artist 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. (www.AmendaQuartet.org)
The Amenda Quartet (February 6, 2011)
W. Peter Kurau (October 3, 2010) first joined the RPO as Assistant Principal Horn (1983-1995), and was appointed Principal Horn in 2004. Since 1995, he has served as Associate Professor of Horn at the Eastman School of Music, where he also performs as hornist with Eastman Brass and Director of the Eastman Horn Choir. He previously served on the faculties of the University of Missouri-Columbia, SUNY-Geneseo, Roberts Wesleyan College, Houghton College and Nazareth College, and has appeared as a clinician and recitalist throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia. He resides in Honeoye Falls with his wife, soprano Pamela Kurau, and 6 cats (in that order!).
Violist Melissa Matson (February 6 and April 17, 2011), 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.
Flutist Joanna Bassett (April 17, 2011) is a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. She has been a member of the Hong Kong Philharmonic and an active chamber musician in the Rochester area. She has participated in the Fortissimo! Summer Chamber Music series, Chamber Music Rochester, and was a consultant and founding Board member of the Canandaigua Lake Chamber Music Festival. Joanna is a graduate of Northwestern University and the Eastman School of Music, and has been on the faculties of Houghton College and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 1995, she was the founding president of the Rochester Flute Association, a position she held for 8 years. In her newest endeavor, Joanna is Program Coordinator of Hochstein at Canandaigua, opened in September 2007, which is an extension program of Rochester’s Hochstein School of Music & Dance.
Violinist David Brickman (October 3, 2010 and February 6, 2011) is known for his highly personal interpretations of the solo and chamber music repertoire. He is the Principal Second Violinist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Concertmaster of The Rochester Chamber Orchestra. He has also played with the Pittsburgh, Columbus, Honolulu, Milwaukee, and National Arts Center Orchestras. An Associate Professor at the Eastman School of Music, Mr. Brickman prepares graduate students for orchestral careers. He resides in Rochester with his wife, violinist Patricia Sunwoo, and his daughters, Claire and Lillian.
Pianist Chiao-Wen Cheng (October 3, 2010) has performed as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Taiwan. She has won numerous piano competitions, including First prize Winner in the 2010 Piano Texas International Academy and Festival Concerto Competition, and has been the recipient of numerous scholarships. She has appeared as a soloist with the Fort Worth Symphony and Taiwan’s Shin-Min Orchestra.
Ms. Cheng recently joined the Argos Trio (2009), a Rochester-based piano trio with Lars Kirvan and Liana Koteva Kirvan. Other chamber music collaborations include work with Ronald Barron, Ixi Chen, Victoria Chiang, David Halen, Michael Kannen, Jane Marvine, Katherine Needleman, James Olin, Paul Pollard and Ko-ichiro Yamamoto. Originally from Taiwan, Ms. Cheng is currently pursuing a Doctoral Degree at the Eastman School of Music where she studies with Barry Snyder.
The daughter of Chinese immigrants, cellist Mimi Hwang (October 3, 2010 and February 6, 2011) 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.
Harpist Grace Wong (April 17, 2011), second prizewinner at the Fifth International Harp Contest in Israel, has been Principal Harpist of the RPO since 1979. Her undergraduate and graduate degrees were earned at Oberlin Conservatory and Manhattan School of Music, respectively. As a soloist, including a debut recital at Carnegie Recital Hall, she has appeared throughout the United States, toured Canada and the Far East and has given a series of recitals in South America. She is currently on the faculty of Hochstein School of Music and Dance and maintains a private studio.
Violinist Patricia Sunwoo, 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 husband David Brickman, enjoying her daughters Claire (14) and Lillian (3).