Dror Biran, piano (Artistic Director)
Dror Biran's playing has been described in Die Bleed as "powerful, but also beautiful sensitive, brilliant but full of artistry, seductively lyrical but intensely dramatic at the climaxes". The Plain Dealer added "his fortissimos crashed and roared, but next to them came pianissimos that whispered seductively...he has technique to burn and uses it effectively..."
His superb tonal control combined with interesting phrasing and voicing has won him consistent critical acclaim and enthusiastic audience.
Born in Israel, Dr. Biran is a top prize winner of several national and international piano competitions. He is a graduate of the Givataim Conservatory where he studied with Mrs. Lily Dorfman and The Rubin Academy of Music at Tel-Aviv University where he studied with Prof. Arie Vardi. In addition he received his Doctoral degree from The Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Mr. Paul Schenly and Dr. Daniel Shapiro.
Dror Biran won top prizes at the M.K Ciurlionis International Piano Competition (1995), and the Cleveland International Piano Competition (1997) where he also received a special prize for the best performance of works by Chopin. His honors include the first prize at the "Pilar Bayona International Piano Competition" in Zaragoza, Spain (1998), first prize at the Israeli Rubin Academy Piano Competition (1998), and the Rafi Goralnik prize for pianists, in the Aviv Competition 2000. Dr. Biran has been a recipient of multiple the scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation for distinguished musicians.
Dr. Biran has performed widely as a soloist with major orchestras including the Lithuanian Philharmonic Orchestra, RTVE Symphony Orchestra of Spain, The Louisville Orchestra, Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He has played under the batons of Etinger, Rodan, Gueller, Gacia Asensio, Lane and others. His concert tours have taken him to the United States, Eastern and Western Europe, Israel and South Africa.
As a chamber musician Dr. Biran has appeared on a regular basis with different music ensembles such as Carmel and Aviv String Quartets, he has also performed with members of The Cleveland Orchestra in different venues. His concerts have been broadcast by WCLV, WQXR, The Voice of Music -- Israel, Classic FM South Africa among others. Dr. Biran can be heard on the JMC (Jerusalem Music Centre) labels featuring ballades by Brahms and Chopin.
Dr. Biran taught at Youngstown State University and Case Western Reserve University. Currently Dr. Biran teaches at University of Louisville School of Music in Kentucky as an Assistant Professor of Piano. His future engagements includes chamber and solo concerts in USA, Europe and Israel.
J. Patrick Rafferty, violin
J. Patrick Rafferty served as Concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra from 1986-1991. He previously served as Associate Concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony for eight years, and as Concertmaster for the Dallas Bach and Fine Arts Orchestras. He has also served as Acting Concertmaster of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, and Guest Concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony. His concerto credits include more than 40 works performed as soloist with such orchestras as the St. Louis Symphony, the Cincinnati Sympho ny, the Dallas Symphony, the Milwaukee Symphony, and many others. As a recitalist, Mr. Rafferty has performed in many major cities throughout the United States, including a recent series of performances of all ten Beethoven Sonatas in New York City. Teaching positions have included the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Alabama, and currently, the University of Louisville, where he is first violinist with the Louisville String Quartet. He is also on the summer artist faculty of the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, where he is concertmaster of the Brevard Music Center Orchestra. His former students perform and teach in many of the USA’s major symphonies and schools.
Brittany MacWilliams, violin
Violinist Brittany MacWilliams has an active career both as performer and educator. She made her professional violin debut at age ten with the Louisville Orchestra and went on to win numerous competitions including the Music Teachers National Association competition. Since then, Ms. MacWilliams has performed extensively as soloist and concertmaster in such diverse locales as Istanbul, Beijing, Salzburg, Munich, Lisbon, and New York. She has had solo engagements with such orchestras as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Munich Hochshule Orchestra, Kentucky Symphony, and Aspen Chamber Symphony. Ms. MacWilliams can be heard as soloist on two critically acclaimed compact discs of Giornovichi Violin Concerti for the Arte Nova Classics/BMG label. As a an avid chamber musician, Ms. MacWilliams is a founding member of the Baur Quartet and the Xavier Trio and has recorded four compact discs for the Vital Sounds label, including the Ten Celebrated String Quartets of W.A. Mozart. She was chosen as resident artist for the Next Generation Music Festival where she toured and performed with the Baur Quartet and pianist Awadagin Pratt. Ms. MacWilliams was the first winner of the prestigious Dorothy Richard Starling Teaching Fellowship in 2001, and she has taught at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and at Xavier University. Ms. MacWilliams is currently a member of the violin faculty at the University of Louisville School of Music and is also the founder and director of the Oldham County Chamber Ensemble.
Sergey Ostrovsky,Violin (Guest Artist)
Described by Isaac Stern as one of the most outstanding Israeli violinists, Sergey Ostrovsky,who was born in 1975 in Russia, in a family of musicians, today, has built an active and successful career as Aviv Quartet first violinist, Soloist, Violin and Chamber music Professor of Haute Ecole de Musique de Geneve Neuchatel Branch) and a First concertmaster of Orchestre de la Palau des Arts de Comunidad Valenciana in Spain.
Sergey Ostrovsky began playing violin at the age of 6, inspired by the great talent and extraordinary musicianship of his Father ,Valery Ostrovsky, concert pianist and professor.
Sergey studied with David Lapidus as his first teacher in the Music School, for 8 years. He made his first public concert appearance at the age of 8, and performed for a first time with a Symphony orchestra at the age of 13.
In the Music College of Gorky Conservatory he continued his studies with Lazar Gantman and Yury Gluchovsky. In 1991 Sergey immigrated to Israel with his family and continued his studies with Prof. Yair Kless and Irina Svetlova at the Rubin Academy Tel Aviv (from 2005-Buchmann-Mehta High School of Music). In 1996, he founded the Aviv Quartet which moved for studies in Europe with the members of Alban Berg Quartet in Cologne Hochschule (1998-2000), and with members of Daniel Quartet in Rotterdam Conservatory, where he completed his Bachelor Degree Diploma with Natalia Morozova in 2000, and his Master Degree Diploma in Amsterdam Conservatory with Alexander Kerr in 2002.
As a First violinist and a founder in 1996 of the Aviv String Quartet, Sergey won several top prizes at the International Competitions, such as Grand Prix at 3rd Melbourn Chamber Music Competition, Bordeaux String Quartet Competition, Prague Spring Competition, Schubert and Modernity Competition in Graz - Austria, as well as the Israeli Prize of Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education of Germany, and Chamber Music Yearly Prize for Chamber Music by Pais Lottery of Israel.
With the Aviv Quartet, 15 years of a successful career, made the group known as one of the top class string quartets on a stage of chamber music around the globe. They appeared in every continent around the world in such Halls as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Kennedy Center and Library of Congress in Washington, Sydney Opera House, Wigmore Hall and Royal Festival Hall in London, Auditorium de Louvre and Théâtre du Chatelet in Paris, Wiener Konzerthaus, Cologne Philharmonie. They toured in South Africa, Australia, Canada, China, United States, Brazil, Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Austria and many other countries.
The Quartet was invited to play in Festivals such as Verbier, Aix-en Provence, Storioni, Festival of Davos, Festival of Quartets in Luberon, Folles Journées de Nantes and also record several CD for label Naxos (F.A.Hoffmeister, Erwin Schulhoff, Erno Dohnanyi) and Dalia Classics (Chostakovich).
His solo appearances including Orchestre de la Suisse Romande , Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape town Philharmonic, Johannesburg Philharmonic , Brooklyn Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Israel Chamber Orchestra and Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, and many others, with conductors such as, Zubin Mehta, Yoel Levi, Hugh Wolff, Bernard Guller, Uriel Segal, Maxim Vengerov and others.
Sergey recorded for EMI Classics Mozart Concertone for 2 violins, together with Maxim Vengerov and Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, and in 2010 he recorded for Naxos, a new album, featuring less known russian concertos, by Anton Arensky, Jules Conus, and a World premiere recording of a Concertino op .42 by Mieczyslaw Weinberg.
Between 2007 and 2012 Sergey served as a First Concertmaster of Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, Switzerland.
In 2009, Sergey was appointed as a Violin Professor at Haute Ecole de Musique de Geneve at the Neuchatel Branch. And now, combining his busy concert schedule and teaching position, his students are performing around the world as solo violinists and chamber musicians. As a development of violin teaching position, Sergey teaches Chamber music and getting involved more and more in conducting youth and professional orchestras.
Sergey Ostrovsky is playing on a 1716 violin, made by Giovanni Grancinno, which was purchased with the generous support of Mr. James Mayer and Tarbut non profit organisation for supporting arts in Israel.
Paul York, cello
Recently hailed by The New York Times for his “warm-toned” performance of Lutosławski’s Grave (Metamorphoses), cellist Paul York is an accomplished soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. He currently serves on the string faculty at the University of Louisville, where he maintains an active teaching and performing schedule. Recent solo appearances include performances of Karel Husa’s Concerto for Violincello and Orchestra at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Aaron Jay Kernis’s Colored Field for Cello and Orchestra with the Louisville Orchestra, and Vivaldi’s Double Concerto in G Minor with internationally acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Of his performance at Carnegie Hall, New York Concert Review said “The fiendishly difficult solo part was brilliantly played by cellist Paul York; one had to be in awe of his playing.”
An avid chamber musician, Mr. York is a member of the Louisville String Quartet and was a founding member of The Logsdon Chamber Ensemble, a Texas Commission of the Arts Touring ensemble as well as ensemble-in-residence at Hardin-Simmons University. In April of 2006, he performed recitals throughout Japan. As a champion of contemporary music, Mr. York has commissioned works for the cello by such composers as Stefan Freund, Marc Satterwhite, Steve Rouse, Paul Brink, Douglas Knehans, and Fredrick Speck. He also premiered the work Ballad for Solo Cello and Seven Cellos by Grawemeyer and Pulitzer Prize winning composer, Aaron Jay Kernis as well as Alfred Bartles' new orchestration of Bartok’s First Rhapsody for cello with the Sewanee Festival Orchestra.
Mr. York has participated in numerous summer festivals. He is currently a member of the artist faculty at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, where he performs solo and chamber works, in addition to his teaching schedule. He has also performed at Strings in the Mountains in Colorado, Accent 09 and 11 at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the Abilene Chamber Music Series, and served as principal cello with the Des Moines Metro Opera Orchestra. He has held principal cello positions with numerous regional orchestras and performed as a member of the cello section of the Saint Louis Symphony under the direction of Leonard Slatkin.
Mr. York received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and his master of music degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he studied with Ronald Leonard. Other teachers include Gabor Rejto, and Louis Potter. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Mr. York was selected to participate in the prestigious Piatigorsky seminar at the University of South California and recently received a Distinguished Faculty Award from the University of Louisville. Mr. York can be heard on the Centaur, Arizona University Press, Ablaze, and CRS labels. His latest CD of premiere recordings entitled Cello Vision has recently been released on the Centaur label.