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Ascent Chamber Music Festival

Alan Rafferty, Artistic Director & Cello Faculty

Alan Rafferty, University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music cello faculty member, is rapidly gaining recognition as a preeminent musician and master teacher.  In demand as a clinician around the world,

Sarah Kim, Executive Director & Cello Faculty

Miami University Assistant Professor of Cello, Dr. Sarah Kim, leads a vibrant and diverse career as performer, educator, and arts administrator.

Sibbi Bernhardsson: Violin/Chamber Master Class

In 2017, Sibbi joined the faculty of Oberlin Conservatory
of Music as professor of violin. He was previously on the
faculty of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
from 2012 to 2017 and the University of Illinois at Urbana-
Champaign from 2003 to 2012.

Judith Ingolfsson: Violin A

Violinist Judith Ingolfsson is recognized for her intense, commanding performances, uncompromising musical maturity, and charismatic performance style.

YooJin Jang, Violin D

Applauded by The Strad for her “fiery virtuosity” and “consummate performances,” violinist YooJin Jang is a winner of the 2017 Concert Artists Guild Competition and First Prize winner of the 2016 Sendai International Music Competition.

Grigory Kalinovsky, Violin B

Hailed by critics as a “superior poet” (Vancouver Sun) and praised for his “heart and indomitable will” (Gramophone), Grigory Kalinovsky has performed at some of the world’s major venues, from all three stages of Carnegie Hall in New York to Musikhalle Grosser Saal in Hamburg.

Timothy Lees: Violin A, B

Timothy Lees, violinist, enjoys an exciting and eclectic career as Concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. Since his arrival in Cincinnati as Concertmaster in 1998, Mr. Lees has also been appointed as an esteemed member of the violin faculty of the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) where he serves a vital, dual role as teacher and private coach in preparing students in developing their orchestral audition skills.

Cho-Liang Lin, Violin/Chamber Master Classes

Cho-Liang Lin was born in Taiwan. A neighbor’s violin studies convinced this 5-year old boy to do the same. At the age twelve, he moved to Sydney to further his studies with Robert Pikler, a student of Jenő Hubay. After playing for Itzhak Perlman in a master class, the 13-year old boy decided that he must study with Mr. Perlman’s teacher, Dorothy DeLay.

Stefani Matsuo: Violin A, B, E

Praised by the Washington Post for her “temperament and clear musical purpose” and “great technical maturity,” Stefani Matsuo has emerged as one of today’s great talents. She was appointed by Maestro Louis Langrée as Concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in September 2019. 

Won-Bin Yim: Violin C, D

Won-Bin Yim has served as concert master of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and Reno Philharmonic, and he was first violinist of the Fairmount String Quartet and violinist of the Argenta Trio. Yim is an associate professor of violin at CCM where he received the Glover Award for the Excellence in Teaching, and during the summer, he teaches at the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Vermont and at the Aria International Summer Academy in Massachusetts.

Catharine Carroll Lees: Viola A

Catharine Carroll Lees, viola, maintains an active career as recitalist, chamber musician, teacher and pedagogue. Professor of Viola at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where she also serves as Chairman of the String Department, Dr. Lees is a member of the Artist/Faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School where she serves as Principal Violist of the Aspen Chamber Symphony.

Rebecca Barnes, Viola A

Rebecca Barnes is a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra viola section and faculty member at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.

Scott Lee, Viola C

Scott Lee has established himself as one of the most exciting and unique violists.  His Performances as soloist and chamber musician garner great attention.  New York Times described his playing as “flawless technical resources combines them with an assured sense of musicianship, a remarkable and auspicious talent.”   Also, hailed as “the superstar of his generation” by the String Magazine.

Rictor Noren: Violin D, Viola B, C

Rictor Noren teaches violin, viola, chamber music, string fundamentals, and string pedagogy at the Boston Conservatory.

Masumi Per Rostad: Viola B

Praised for his “burnished sound” (The New York Times) and described as an “electrifying, poetic, and sensitive musician,” the Grammy Award-winning, Japanese-Norwegian violist Masumi Per Rostad hails from the gritty East Village of 1980s New York.

Melissa Kraut, Cello Studio

Co-head of the cello department at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Dr. Melissa Kraut is recognized as one of the leading pedagogues of her generation. Having developed and trained some of the outstanding young musicians of today, Dr. Kraut has demonstrated a unique ability to teach all ages and stages of dedicated students, helping them reach their highest potential both at and away from the cello. 

Michael Chertock, Piano

Pianist Michael Chertock has fashioned a successful career as an orchestral soloist, collaborating with conductors such as James Conlon, Jaime Laredo, Keith Lockhart, Erich Kunzel and Andrew Litton.

Dror Biran, Piano

Winner of top prizes at the M.K Čiurlionis International Piano Competition, the Cleveland International Piano among others, Israeli-American Pianist Dror Biran has been described by The Cleveland Plain Dealer as “his fortissimos crashed and roared, but next to them came pianissimos that whispered seductively…he has technique to burn and uses it effectively.”

Sandra Rivers, Piano

Pianist Sandra Rivers enjoys a reputation today as one of the foremost performing artists of her generation. She has concertized throughout the world and has appeared at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, Tanglewood, Aspen, the Schleswig-Holstein festival, the Kennedy Center and on the Great Performers Series at Lincoln Center.

Vladimir Stoupel, Piano

Vladimir Stoupel is an individualist with an extraordinarily rich tonal and emotional palette. The Washington Post praised his “protean range of expression” and Der Tagesspiegel Berlin described his performance as “enthralling and atmospherically dense.”

Harvey Thurmer, Alexander Technique & Performance Mindset

Violinist Harvey Thurmer enjoys a varied career as a soloist, concertmaster, chamber musician and pedagogue. Prior to his appointment at Miami University, he performed extensively as a chamber musician in Europe, with appearances at the Salzburg Festival, the Cheltenham Festival in England, London’s Wigmore Hall,

Miró Quartet: Chamber Music

The Miró Quartet is one of America’s most celebrated and dedicated string quartets, having been labeled by The New Yorker as “furiously committed” and noted by the Cleveland Plain Dealer for its “exceptional tonal focus and interpretive intensity.”