Stephanie Sant’ Ambrogio, violin
Praised as an “expressive and passionate chamber musician” by the San Antonio Express-News, and described as a “violinist who most often takes your breath away” by Gramophone Magazine, Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio enjoys a varied performing and recording career as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader. Associate Professor of Violin and Viola at the University of Nevada, Reno (www.unr.edu) and member of the Argenta Trio, she is also Artistic Director of Cactus Pear Music Festival (www.cpmf.us), which she founded in 1997 while serving as Concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony. Previously First Assistant Principal Second Violin of The Cleveland Orchestra, under Christoph von Dohnany, she toured and recorded internationally with this ensemble for eight seasons. Ms. Sant’Ambrogio has a discography of over seventy-five orchestral and chamber music CDs. Audiophile Review described her recent Johannes Brahms: The Violin Sonatas CD as “Fine readings of great finesse, rich coloring and complete understanding.” Her other releases include Late Dates with Mozart; and Going Solo: Unaccompanied Works for Violin & Viola on the MSR Classics label, and Argenta Trio: The Piano Trios of Felix Mendelssohn on Bridge Records. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the U.S. as well as in Canada, Estonia, Sweden, Ghana, Italy, Peru, Chile and Mexico. In 2010, she won the Alan Bible Teaching Excellence Award at UNR and was also appointed Concertmaster of the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra by Music Director Theodore Kuchar. In addition to her active performing career, Stephanie is devoted to teaching serious young violinists, many who have successfully chosen careers in music.
Since his concerto debut at age 14, violinist Eric Thomas Gratz has entertained numerous audiences throughout the United States and Europe. In January of 2014, he was appointed concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony, having previously led the National Repertory Orchestra, Banff Festival Orchestra, Ashland Symphony, Mansfield Symphony, and the Lexington Bach Festival Orchestra, among many others. Additionally, he has performed in past seasons with The Cleveland Orchestra and Houston Symphony, and is equally at home as a soloist and chamber musician.
At age 17, Mr. Gratz made his debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C with pianist Sejoon Park, as part of an eastern United States recital tour. A few months later, he made his solo debut in a concert series with The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall, and has subsequently appeared as soloist with the San Antonio Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, and the Lexington Bach Festival Orchestra, among others. A prizewinner of national and international competitions, his performances have taken him throughout the U.S., as well as to Canada, Spain, Portugal, Norway, and China, and include appearances at top music festivals including Aspen, Banff, and Spoleto USA.
Highlights for the 2014-2015 season include a program featuring Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti with the San Antonio Symphony and the Sibelius Concerto with Rice University’s Campanile Orchestra. He appears frequently in chamber music concerts with the Olmos Ensemble, including an all-Mozart program, an evening of Baroque works, as well as a collaboration in April with pianist Warren Jones. In July he will make his debut at the Cactus Pear Music Festival.
Mr. Gratz began violin studies at the age of four. His teachers have included Cho-Liang Lin, William Preucil, Linda Cerone, and Claudia Shiuh. He holds a Young Artist Diploma and Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, as well as a Masters Degree in Violin Performance at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and was a recipient of the Anne and Charles Duncan Concertmaster Chair award. For more information, please visit ericgratz.net.
David Harding is currently Professor of Viola and Chamber Music at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. He has an extensive solo and chamber music career, having performed throughout Europe, the United States, Canada, Central America and Australia, in such venues as the Berlin Philharmonie, Concertgebouw, and Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall. His performances have been broadcast on CBC, BBC, NPR, ABC (Australia) and Deutschland Radio. He performs at many chamber music festivals throughout North America including the Sitka Chamber Music Festival and Ottawa Chamber Music Festival. In July 2012, David returns to the Australian Chamber Music Festival in Queensland.
David is a member of the flute, viola, harp ensemble, Trio Verlaine with whom he has recorded works by Debussy and Ravel, and the Glass Chamber Players, with whom he recorded Schoenberg’s “Verklärte Nacht” and Philip Glass’ “Sextet.” Other notable CD projects include a recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, with the string trio Triskelion for CBC records, the music of Aaron Jay Kernis with the Chester Quartet, and Brahms’ Viola Sonatas and Horn Trio for Skylark Music. A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, David was the winner of the Sir John Barbirolli award at the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition. Having served on the faculty of Indiana University South Bend and the University of British Columbia, David has given master classes at the Banff International Centre for the Arts and universities throughout North America. He plays on a viola made by Pietro Antonio della Costa, Tresviso Italy, circa 1750.
Daniel Panner enjoys a varied career as a performer and teacher. He has performed at music festivals in Marlboro, Tanglewood and Aspen and has collaborated with members of the Cleveland, Emerson, Guarneri and Juilliard String Quartets. As a member of the Whitman String Quartet, Mr. Panner received the 1998 Walter W. Naumburg Chamber Music Award and served as teaching assistant to the Juilliard String Quartet for two years.
He currently teaches at the Juilliard School, the Mannes College of Music and the Queens College Conservatory of Music. He has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and he has taken part in numerous tours with Musicians from Marlboro and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Panner has been heard on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today,” both as soloist and chamber musician. He has served as the principal violist of the New York City Opera and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. An active performer of new music, he is a member of the ensemble Sequitur and has performed as a guest artist with such new-music groups as Speculum Musicae, the Da Capo Chamber Players, and the Locrian Ensemble. His recording of Thea Musgrave’s “Ariadne’s Lament” is available on Albany Records. Mr. Panner studied with Jesse Levine at Yale University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. He continued his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with Joseph dePasquale and at the Juilliard School with Samuel Rhodes.
Hailed for the “awesome purity of his playing”, and described as a “prodigiously skilled protagonist” Bulgarian cellist Lachezar Kostov was the National Winner at the 2006 MTNA Young Artists Competition and has won numerous prizes including the Cello Award at the Kingsville Competition in 2005, first prize at the Hendersonville Chamber Music Competition, and the Grand Prix at the International Music and Earth Competition in Bulgaria. He has appeared as a guest soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Japan, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and Bulgaria. Having spent three consecutive summers at the Tanglewood Music Center, Mr. Kostov was a member of the resident ensemble “The New Fromm Players”, collaborating with prominent American composers such as John Harbison, Ellen Zwilich and Harvey Solberger and participating in master classes with Yo Yo Ma and James Levine.
In the past three seasons Mr. Kostov performed series of concerts in Japan, including concerts as a soloist of the Philharmonic Orchestras of Hino and Tachikawa, as well as recitals in Tokyo’s Sakura Hall and Oji Hall, where he performed with Japanese pianist Ai Shimizu. In May 2008, he performed a recital at Weill Hall, sponsored by the “Bulgarian Treasures” Foundation. In March 2009, Mr. Kostov made his official debut at Carnegie Hall’s ZANKEL Hall performing rarely heard works for cello and piano by Zwilich, Roslavets, Kabalevsky and Saint-Saens. Both concert featured his longtime friend and chamber music partner, pianist Viktor Valkov.
Lachezar Kostov is a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at Rice University, where he studies with Norman Fischer. He also holds diplomas from North Carolina School of the Arts and Yale School of music, where he was tutored by Zvi Plesser and Aldo Parisot.
Mr. Kostov’s first commercial CD was released by NAXOS in 2011 and was immediately featured in “The Strad Magazine”, and “American Record Guide”. Highlights of the last seasons include concerto appearances with the Texas Music Festival orchestra, conducted by Carl Saint-Claire and a residency at the La Jolla Summer Fest, where he performed with artists such as Cho Liang Lin, Augustin Hadelich and the Tokyo String Quartet. In October 2011 Lachezar Kostov and Viktor Valkov won the First Prize and all the special prizes at the 2011 International Liszt-Garrison Piano and Duo Competition in Baltimore, MD.
In the 2012-13 season Mr. Kostov performed at the Gewandhaus Hall in Leipzig as the soloist of the Academischer Orchestra of Leipzig, at Oji Hall in Tokyo, and was the featured soloist in Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante op. 125 with the Shepherd School Orchestra. During the 2013-2014 season Mr. Kostov was a guest artist at Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, Texas Music Festival, and Camerata San Antonio. Currently, he is a tenured member of the San Antonio Symphony, and concertizes around the USA, Japan, and Europe.
Cellist GLORIA LUM, a native of Berkeley, California, attended both the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Southern California, graduating from the latter institution magna cum laude. A student of Gabor Rejto and Ronald Leonard, she was a member of the Oakland Symphony and the Denver Symphony before joining the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1985.
A frequent participant of the Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella series and its Chamber Music Series, Ms. Lum has been involved in tributes to Elliott Carter, György Ligeti, Witold Lutoslawski, and most recently appeared in a solo work by David Lang. On the chamber music series, she has appeared with Andre Previn, Emanuel Ax, Lars Vogt, and Joshua Bell. Lum currently teaches cello and chamber music at Occidental College.