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Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Concert Hall
This concert is now past.
Location: Merkin Concert Hall  (Directions)
 
Sun, Nov, 18, 2012
3:00 PM

Closer to it all.
An Ensembles concert provides an intimate connection between musician and audience. Hear the individual talents that make up the orchestra. Experience the passion and personality of the performers. And see how a small setting can make for a huge musical event.

Tickets
Merkin Concert Hall Box Office
www.merkinconcerthall.org
(212) 501-3330

Individual tickets for this concert will be available starting September 10, 2012. Subscriptions for the Ensembles series are available now. For information on the series, visit the Ensembles series.

New York Philharmonic Ensembles

Program

  (Click the red play button to listen)
Quartet for Guitar and Strings in B major
Sextet in E-flat major, Op. 71
Quartet for the End of Time

Artists

Irene Breslaw

A former Naumburg Scholarship winner and graduate of The Juilliard School, Irene Breslaw joined the viola section of the New York Philharmonic in August 1976. She was named Assistant Principal Viola in 1989. Prior to joining the Orchestra, Ms. Breslaw was a member of both the St. Louis Symphony Ochestra and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In May 2001 Ms. Breslaw celebrated 25 years as a member of the New York Philharmonic.

An active chamber musician, Ms. Breslaw appears regularly with the New York Philharmonic Ensembles. In the summers of 1993 and 1995, she traveled to Finland to perform chamber music with several of her Philharmonic colleagues and to coach members of the VIVO Youth Orchestra, an experience she found extremely rewarding. She has also recorded the Mozart Clarinet Trio, "Kegelstatt," with Principal Clarinet Stanley Drucker and pianist Lukas Foss for Elysium Records. Since 1998 Ms. Breslaw has been on the orchestral performance faculty at the Manhattan School of Music, and is an adjunct at Queens College.

Ms. Breslaw is married to Dr. Daniel Grapel and is the mother of a son and daughter.

Piano
Bassoon, Contrabassoon
Arlen Fast

Arlen Fast joined the Philharmonic in 1996 as Bassoonist and Contrabassoonist after serving 17 seasons as second bassoonist for the San Diego Symphony and San Diego Opera. Mr. Fast earned his music degree at Wichita State University in Kansas, where he was second bassoonist of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. While on the West Coast, he studied with Norman Herzberg, who himself had studied with the New York Philharmonic’s former second bassoonist, Simon Kovar. Mr. Fast has performed on tours with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Japan Philharmonic.

Active in chamber music as well as teaching, Mr. Fast has appeared with the New York Philharmonic's Ensembles at Merkin Concert Hall, the Orchestra's collaboration with the 92nd Street Y Chamber series, the Making Music series at Weill Recital Hall, Music from Copland House, Sunriver Music Festival, Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, and the Summerfest Chamber Music Festival in La Jolla, California. He has given numerous master classes and lectures, including at Juilliard and U.C.L.A., and was twice the featured guest artist at the Contrabassoon Festival in Park City, Utah.

A pioneer in instrument design, Mr. Fast has invented a new system of register keys for the contrabassoon, the most significant design change for this instrument since the 1870s. This new system greatly improves the performance and significantly extends the practical range of the instrument. His collaboration wtih the Fox Bassoon Company has produced a new, improved instrument, one of which he presently plays in the Philharmonic.

He is married to Anne Ediger, an applied linguist and author who is a professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York.

Pascual Martinez Forteza

A native of Mallorca, Spain, Acting Associate Principal and E-flat Clarinet Pascual Martínez Forteza joined the New York Philharmonic in 2001, the first and only Spanish musician in the Orchestra’s history. Prior to his appointment with the Philharmonic, he held tenure with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and at age 18 he was assistant principal and later acting principal of the Baleares Symphony Orchestra in Spain. He has recently performed as guest principal clarinet with the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle.

Mr. Martínez Forteza appears regularly as a soloist, recitalist, and master-class teacher at international festivals and conservatories, including the International Clarinet Festival of Chanchung (China), ClarinetFest 2009 (Porto, Portugal), Buffet Crampon Summer Clarinet Festival (Jacksonville, Florida), University of Southern California, Mannes School of Music, The Juilliard School, New Jersey Clarinet Symposium, XI Encuentro Internacional de Clarinetes de Lisboa (Portugal), Mexico Clarinet Convention, and I Latinoamerican Clarinet Congress (Lima, Peru). Past and future engagements include solo performances of Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, Weber’s Clarinet Concertos Nos.1 and 2, Krommer’s Concerto for Two Clarinets, Rossini’s Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet and Orchestra, and Luigi Bassi’s Fantasy on Themes from Verdi’s Rigoletto. He frequently collaborates with Philharmonic colleagues in New York City venues such as Avery Fisher Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, and Carnegie Hall.

Since 2003 Mr. Martínez Forteza and Spanish pianist Gema Nieto have played throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States as Duo Forteza-Nieto. Together they founded the Benifaio Music Festival in Spain, where Philharmonic colleagues have joined them for a week of master classes and concerts. A decade ago Mr. Martínez Forteza founded Vent Cameristic, a wind ensemble of professional musicians from Spain. As a soloist with that ensemble, he has played every year at the Concerts d’Estiú in Valencia, Spain. In 2003 Spanish National Radio (RNE) produced a CD featuring selections from these performances. Mr. Martínez Forteza has also made recordings for radio and television in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Pascual Martínez Forteza started playing clarinet at age ten with his father, Pascual V. Martínez, principal clarinet of the Baleares Symphony Orchestra for 30 years and teacher at the Baleares Conservatory of Music in Spain. Mr. Martínez Forteza earned his master’s degree from the Baleares and Liceo de Barcelona Music Conservatories in Spain and pursued advanced studies with Yehuda Gilad at the University of Southern California, where he won first prize in the university’s 1998 Concerto Competition.

Mr. Martínez Forteza is currently a faculty member at New York University and teaches orchestral repertoire at Manhattan School of Music. A Buffet Crampon Artist and Vandoren Artist, he plays Green Line Tosca Buffet clarinets and uses Vandoren reeds and M30D mouthpieces.

Sumire Kudo

Sumire Kudo joined the Philharmonic as a cellist in June 2006. Previously she taught at Indiana University–South Bend and was the cellist of the Avalon String Quartet. Born in Tokyo, Japan, Ms. Kudo began cello studies at age four with her father, cellist Akiyoshi Kudo. She came to the United States in 2000, after establishing herself in her native country through solo performances and recordings. Her honors include the Hideo Saito Memorial Fund Award, which she received from the Sony Music Foundation after being chosen by Seiji Ozawa and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi as the most promising cellist in 2005, and prizes at the Sapporo Junior Cello Competition and 62nd Japan Music Competition. Ms. Kudo is a graduate of Tokyo’s Toho School and The Juilliard School. She has participated in the Nagano-Aspen Music, Aspen Music, Santa Fe, and Marlboro Music festivals. Record Geijutsu, Japan’s leading classical music magazine, named her second solo CD, Love of Beauty, Best Recording.

Kim Laskowski

Kim Laskowski joined the New York Philharmonic in September 2003 as Associate Principal Bassoon. Born in Brooklyn, she attended the High School of Music and Art and The Juilliard School, where she studied with Harold Goltzer, former Associate Principal Bassoon of the New York Philharmonic. While at Juilliard she won the Walter and Elsie Naumburg Award for Orchestral Excellence. She completed a master’s degree at Juilliard while playing in the National Orchestral Association, and has also participated in the Tanglewood and Spoleto festivals. Recipient of a Fulbright grant for foreign study, she attended the Conservatoire National Superieure de Paris, where she was a student of Maurice Allard. While at the Conservatoire, she toured Europe as a member of the Orchestre des Prix.

As an active player on the New York musical scene, Ms. Laskowski has appeared with ensembles such as the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, American Symphony Orchestra, and Eos Orchestra. She can be heard on numerous television, radio, and film scores, and holds two platinum records for CDs recorded with the rock group 10,000 Maniacs. As a chamber player, she has performed and recorded several CDs with Music Amici in classical, jazz, and 20th-century works for mixed ensembles.

Before joining the Philharmonic, Ms. Laskowski played second bassoon in the New York City Ballet Orchestra. She was principal bassoon of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra from 1999 through 2003.

Kim Laskowski resides in Manhattan with her husband, Zaharis Kalaitzis, and her two children, Lana and Theo.

E-Flat Clarinet, Clarinet
Mark Nuccio

Mark Nuccio joined the New York Philharmonic in 1999 as Associate Principal and Solo E-flat Clarinet. He previously held positions with orchestras in Pittsburgh, Denver, Savannah, and Florida. He has worked with distinguished conductors such as Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Mariss Jansons, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Erich Leinsdorf, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, André Previn, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Gustavo Dudamel. Additionally, Mr. Nuccio has toured with both the New York Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to numerous countries, recorded with both orchestras, and performed with the Philharmonic on the award-winning series, Live From Lincoln Center, broadcast on PBS. A recent New York Philharmonic tour included a historic visit to North Korea — an event watched around the world.

An active solo and chamber musician, Mark Nuccio has been the featured performer with several orchestras in the United States and on numerous occasions at the International Clarinet Association conventions. He made his New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in 2001, his Japan recital debut in 2002, and he now regularly performs in recital in the Far East and Europe, as well as across the U.S. In New York, he often can be heard at Merkin Concert Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Carnegie Hall, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mr. Nuccio is also a member of the Philharmonic Quintet of New York (PQNY) — a group of five woodwind players from the New York Philharmonic. Since its inception, in 2001, the PQNY has performed across the globe. During summers, Mr. Nuccio performs chamber music at the Strings in the Mountain Music Festival in Steamboat, Colorado.

As a studio musician, Mr. Nuccio is featured on several movie soundtracks, including Failure to Launch, The Last Holiday, The Rookie, The Score, Intolerable Cruelty, Alamo, Pooh’s Heffalump, Hitch, The Manchurian Candidate, and numerous television commercials. He also performed on the Late Show with David Letterman as well as on the 2003 Grammy Awards.

In November 2006, Mr. Nuccio’s first CD, Opening Night,featuring the clarinet quintets of Mozart and Brahms, was released, and is available at dorian.com as well as on iTunes and amazon.com.

A Colorado native, Mark Nuccio holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University, where he studied with the renowned pedagogue Robert Marcellus. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado.

Beyond his active performing schedule, Mr. Nuccio is committed to training the next generation of musicians. He currently serves on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music in New York City and teaches master classes in the U.S. and abroad. Mr. Nuccio is a Rico advising artist and clinician as well as an artist/clinician for Buffet Crampon, and performs exclusively on Buffet clarinets.

Guitar
R. Allen Spanjer

R. Allen Spanjer joined the New York Philharmonic as Second Horn, The Rosalind Miranda Chair, in February 1993. His appearances with the Orchestra as a featured soloist have included performances of Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns in 1995 and 2001, as well as on the Philharmonic’s 1996 European Festivals Tour and 2001 Latin American Tour, conducted by then Music Director Kurt Masur. He was also featured in 1996 in Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Horns with Principal Horn Philip Myers, also conducted by Mr. Masur.

Prior to joining the Philharmonic, Mr. Spanjer was a full-time freelance musician in New York City, performing in a broad range of classical and commercial settings. During this time he was also a frequent substitute with the New York Philharmonic, as well as with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and he spent one season as Second Horn of the Orquesta Filarmonica de la UNAM in Mexico.

A Georgia native, R. Allen Spanjer began horn lessons at age 13. He was a pupil of Norman Schweikert at the Interlochen Arts Academy and later studied with former Philharmonic hornist Ranier De Intinis at The Juilliard School. He also studied at the Brevard Music Center, Aspen Music Festival with Philip Farkas, SUNY Purchase with Paul Ingraham, Waterloo Music Festival with Martin Smith, Tanglewood Festival with Harry Shapiro, and privately in New York City with Carmine Caruso.

Mr. Spanjer maintains as active teaching studio, and is frequently a guest performer and teacher at music schools around the United States. In addition to his New York Philharmonic work and teaching horn, he is a certified instructor of the Alexander Technique, having graduated from the American Center for the Alexander Technique in New York City in 1981. He is on faculty at the Manhattan School of Music and frequently performs as a chamber musician. He has written for The Horn Call, the journal of the International Horn Society. In addition, he was featured at the 1999 Symposium of the International Horn Society, as well as the 2000 and 2001 Northeast Horn Workshops.

Sheryl Staples

Violinist Sheryl Staples joined the New York Philharmonic as Principal Associate Concertmaster (The Elizabeth G. Beinecke Chair) in 1998, and made her solo debut with the Orchestra in 1999. Previously she was the associate concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra and concertmaster of the Pacific Symphony and Santa Barbara Chamber orchestras. She has appeared as soloist with more than 40 orchestras, including The Cleveland Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic; participated in the Santa Fe, La Jolla, Brightstar, Martha’s Vineyard, and Seattle chamber music festivals; and been a faculty artist at the Aspen, Bowdoin, and Sarasota music festivals. She is a former member of The Cleveland Orchestra Piano Trio, and currently performs with the New York Philharmonic Ensembles and the Lyric Chamber Music Society. Ms. Staples was a scholarship student at the Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences, Young Musicians Foundation Scholar, and W.M. Keck Scholar at the Colburn School of Performing Arts, spending summers at the Encore School for Strings. She earned an artist diploma from the University of Southern California. Ms. Staples performs on the "Kartman" Guarnerius del Gesù, ca. 1728.

Howard Wall

Howard Wall, a native of Pittsburgh, joined the horn section of the New York Philharmonic in March 1994. Previously, he was a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra for nearly 20 years. He is also a former member of both the Phoenix Symphony and the Denver Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic in Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns in New York as well as in Europe and South America, and can be heard on the CD Take 9, featuring the New York Philharmonic horn section and the American Horn Quartet. Mr. Wall, who began playing the horn at age 10, earned his bachelor of arts degree in music performance at Carnegie Mellon University. His wife, Elmira Darvarova, is a former concertmaster of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

Wei Yu

A member of the New York Philharmonic cello section beginning September 2007, Wei Yu has appeared regularly as a substitute cellist with the New York Philharmonic and The Cleveland Orchestra. Most recently, he was invited to join the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s USA 70th Anniversary tour led by Zubin Mehta and Lorin Maazel. He has participated in open master classes conducted by pianist Leon Fleisher, violist Kim Kashkashian, and cellists Lynn Harrell, Ralph Kirshbaum, Joel Krosnick, and Janos Starker, and was invited to play for Mstislav Rostropovich at the Seventh American Cello Congress in 2003.

Born in Shanghai, China, Mr. Yu has been the top prize winner of many competitions, including the Hudson Valley Philharmonic String Competition, Holland American Music Society Cello, Music Teacher National Association (MTNA National Collegiate Strings), Canada’s National Music Festival, Calgary’s Kiwanis Festival, and China’s National Cello competitions. He was also invited to participate in the XII International Tchaikovsky Competition 2002 in Moscow.

An active chamber musician, Mr. Yu has been invited to the Marlboro and Ravinia music festivals, and has recently collaborated with musicians such as cellist David Soyer, pianist Richard Goode, violinists Midori and Pinchas Zukerman, and members of the Guarneri and Juilliard Quartets. Mr. Yu gave a recital on the Catherine & Mary Roth concert series in Washington D.C., with pianist Francis Conlon.

Wei Yu toured Japan as principal cellist of the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra under Bernard Haitink, Edo de Waart, Wei-Pin Chien, and Yutaka Sado. His performances have been live and in recording on Chicago’s 98.7 WFMT, Finnish Radio Broadcasting Company, and the CBC’s “Our Music” in Canada.

Mr. Yu began studying the cello at age four and made his concerto debut with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra at age 11 playing the Elgar Cello Concerto. He came to the United States in 2000 to work with Hans Jensen of Northwestern University. He received his master’s degree from The Juilliard School, studying with David Soyer on a full scholarship, with the support of the Irene Diamond Graduate Fellowship.

Yula Ziskel

A member of the New York Philharmonic’s first violin section since 2001, Yulia Ziskel, who holds the Orchestra’s Friends and Patrons Chair, has established herself as a highly acclaimed solo, chamber, and orchestral musician. She has been praised by The Strad Magazine for “the sweetness of her sound.”

Ms. Ziskel’s recent appearances apart from the Philharmonic include a successful tour of Spain and the Ballearic Islands and recitals at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Merkin Concert Hall as well as venues in Italy, Germany, and Russia. Her solo appearances include performances with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, South Florida Symphony, New York Chamber Symphony Orchestra, and St. Petersburg Chamber Orchestra. She has performed chamber music at Minato Mirai Hall in Yokohama, Japan; former Philharmonic Music Director Lorin Maazel’s private theater for the Chateuville Foundation; Lyric Chamber Music Society of New York for the Kosciuszko Foundation; and with Philharmonic colleagues during Saturday Matinee Concerts at Avery Fisher Hall and the New York Philharmonic Ensembles series at Merkin Concert Hall. Ms. Ziskel has also appeared on numerous radio programs, including WQXR’s The Listening Room, hosted by Robert Sherman. Her awards include First Prize in the Assembly of Arts International Violin Competition; the New Names award, one of the highest honors for young talent in Russia; and the Anna Bernstein Memorial Award.

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Yulia Ziskel began her musical training on the violin and piano at the age of four. She made her solo debut at age seven at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall and at age twelve was a soloist with St. Petersburg Chamber Orchestra. As a teenager she toured extensively, appearing in solo recitals throughout Russia, Germany, Finland, Poland, and the United States. In 1994 Ms. Ziskel’s family immigrated to the United States, where she completed her bachelor of music degree at Indiana University and later received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School. Her teachers included Philharmonic Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow and violinist Yoko Takebe as well as Nelli Shkolnikiva, Lev Ivashenko, and Eugenia Poustireva.

Ms. Ziskel’s debut solo CD on the Sonoris label includes works by Wieniawski, Tchaikovsky, Ysaÿe, Brahms, and Paganini and features pianist Tatiana Goncharova, and her recording of chamber music was released on the Naxos label.

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