Artistic Director
and Guest Musicians

 
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Andrew Armstrong

Artistic Director and Founder, New Canaan Chamber Music

Praised by critics for his passionate expression and dazzling technique, pianist Andrew Armstrong has delighted audiences across Asia, Europe, Latin America, Canada, and the United States, including performances at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, the Rudolfinum of Prague, and Warsaw's National Philharmonic.


Andrew’s orchestral engagements across the globe have seen him perform a sprawling repertoire of more than 50 concertos with orchestra. He has performed with such conductors as Peter Oundjian, Itzhak Perlman, Günther Herbig, Stefan Sanderling, Jean-Marie Zeitouni, and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, and has appeared in solo recitals in chamber music concerts with the Elias, Alexander, American, and Manhattan String Quartets, and also as a member of the Caramoor Virtuosi,Seattle Chamber Music Society, and the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players. The 2021-2022 Season takes Andrew across the globe with concerts in London, Glasgow, Geneva, Dresden, and across the US, Canada, and Australia. Last season Andrew and violinist James Ehnes teamed up to release the complete cycle of 10 Beethoven Violin Sonatas to celebrate the master’s 250th birthday in 2020. The duo performed the cycle in cities around the world over the past two years and will continue the project through 2022.

On top of his performance activities, Andrew serves as Artistic Director of two thriving series in South Carolina, the Columbia Museum of Art’s Chamber Music on Main and the USC Beaufort Chamber Music Series. In 2020, Andrew founded New Canaan Chamber Music in New Canaan, CT and serves as Artistic Director of the promising new series. In Wisconsin, from 2017 through 2021, Andrew drew great fulfillment as Director of the Chamber Music Institute at Wisconsin’s Green Lake Festival of Music.

Andrew’s debut solo CD featuring Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition was released to great critical acclaim: “I have heard few pianists play [Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Sonata], recorded or in concert, with such dazzling clarity and confidence” (American Record Guide). He followed that success with a disc on Cordelia Records of works by Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, and the world premiere recording of Bielawa's Wait for piano & drone.

He has released several award-winning recordings with his longtime recital partner James Ehnes -- most recently Beethoven’s Sonatas Nos. 7 & 10, to stellar reviews.

Andrew is devoted to outreach programs and playing for children. In addition to his many concerts, his performances are heard regularly on National Public Radio, Performance Today, and WQXR, New York City's premier classical music station.

Mr. Armstrong lives in Massachusetts, with his wife Esty, their three children Jack (15), Elise (10), and Gabriel (4), and their two dogs Comet & Dooker.

 
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James Ehnes

James Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after violinists on the international stage. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favourite guest of many of the world’s most respected conductors including Ashkenazy, Alsop, Sir Andrew Davis, Denève, Elder, Ivan Fischer, Gardner, Paavo Järvi, Mena, Noseda, Robertson and Runnicles. Ehnes’s long list of orchestras includes, amongst others, the Boston, Chicago, London, NHK and Vienna Symphony Orchestras, the Los Angeles, New York, Munich and Czech Philharmonic Orchestras, and the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Philharmonia and DSO Berlin orchestras.


Recent orchestral highlights include the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall with Noseda, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig with Shelley, San Francisco Symphony with Janowski, Frankfurt Radio Symphony with Orozco-Estrada, London Symphony with Harding, and Munich Philharmonic with van Zweden, as well as his debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Lincoln Center in spring 2019. In 2019/20, Ehnes is Artist in Residence with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, which includes performances of the Elgar Concerto with Luisi, a play/direct programme leg by Ehnes, and a chamber music programme. In 2017, Ehnes premiered the Aaron-Jay Kernis Violin Concerto with the Toronto, Seattle and Dallas Symphony Orchestras, and gave further performances of the piece with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.


Alongside his concerto work, James Ehnes maintains a busy recital schedule. He performs regularly at the Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Center Chicago, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Ravinia, Montreux, Chaise-Dieu, the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg, Verbier Festival, Festival de Pâques in Aix, and in 2018 he undertook a recital tour to the Far East, including performances in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. As part of the Beethoven celebrations, Ehnes has been invited to perform the complete cycle of Beethoven Sonatas at the Wigmore Hall throughout 2019/20. Elsewhere Ehnes performs the Beethoven Sonatas at Dresden Music Festival, Prague Spring Festival, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, at Aspen Music Festival (as part of a multi-year residency) and at Bravo Vail Festival during his residency week also including the Violin Concerto and Triple Concerto with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Runnicles. In 2016, Ehnes undertook a cross-Canada recital tour, performing in each of the country’s provinces and territories, to celebrate his 40th birthday.


As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with leading artists such as Andsnes, Capucon, Lortie, Lugansky, Yo-Yo Ma, Tamestit, Vogler and Yuja Wang. In 2010, he formally established the Ehnes Quartet, with whom he has performed in Europe at venues including the Wigmore Hall, Auditorium du Louvre in Paris and Théâtre du Jeu de Paume in Aix, amongst others. Ehnes is the Artistic Director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society.


Ehnes has an extensive discography and has won many awards for his recordings, including a Grammy Award (2019) for his live recording of Aaron Jay Kernis’ Violin Concerto with the Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot, and a Gramophone Award for his live recording of the Elgar Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis. His recording of the Korngold, Barber and Walton violin concertos won a Grammy Award for ‘Best Instrumental Soloist Performance’ and a JUNO award for ‘Best Classical Album of the Year’. His recording of the Paganini Caprices earned him universal praise, with Diapason writing of the disc, “Ehnes confirms the predictions of Erick Friedman, eminent student of Heifetz: ‘there is only one like him born every hundred years’.” Recent releases include sonatas by Beethoven, Debussy, Elgar and Respighi, and concertos by Walton, Britten, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Strauss, as well as the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Manze, which was released in October 2017 (Onyx Classics).


Ehnes began violin studies at the age of five, became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin aged nine, and made his orchestra debut with L’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal aged 13. He continued his studies with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music and The Juilliard School, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music upon his graduation in 1997. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2010 was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. Ehnes was awarded the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the Instrumentalist category.


James Ehnes plays the “Marsick” Stradivarius of 1715.

 
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Edward Arron

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, cellist Edward Arron made his New York recital debut in 2000 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Since that time, he has appeared in recital, as a soloist with orchestra, and as a chamber musician in major concert halls throughout North America, Europe and Asia.


The 2021-22 season marks Mr. Arron’s 13th season as the artistic director and host of the acclaimed Musical Masterworks concert series in Old Lyme, Connecticut. He is also the co-artistic director with his wife, pianist Jeewon Park, of the Performing Artists in Residence series at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Mr. Arron tours and records as a member of the renowned Ehnes Quartet, and he appears regularly at the Caramoor International Music Festival, where he has been a resident performer and curator of chamber music concerts for over a quarter of a century.

In 2013, he completed a ten-year residency as the artistic director of the Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert, a chamber music series created in 2003 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Museum’s prestigious Concerts and Lectures series. Edward Arron is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where he was a student of Harvey Shapiro. In 2016, Mr. Arron joined the faculty at University of Massachusetts Amherst, after having served on the faculty of New York University from 2009 to 2016.

 

Gabriela Diaz

Gabriela Diaz, violin/viola, began her musical training at the age of five, studying piano with her mother, and the next year, violin with her father.  A childhood cancer survivor, Gabriela is committed to supporting cancer research and treatment as a musician. In 2004, she was awarded a grant from the Albert Schweitzer Foundation to organize a series of chamber music concerts in cancer units at various hospitals in Boston called the Boston Hope Ensemble. This project is now a part of her chamber music organization, Winsor Music. A fierce champion of contemporary music, Gabriela has worked closely with many significant composers, including Pierre Boulez, Frederic Rzewski, Alvin Lucier, John Zorn, Joan Tower, Roger Reynolds, Steve Reich, Tania León, and Helmut Lachenmann. Gabriela is a member of several Boston-area new music groups, including Sound Icon, Ludovico Ensemble, Boston Musica Viva and Callithumpian Consort. She also appears frequently with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, A Far Cry, and other chamber music ensembles throughout the United States. She is a member of the Wellesley College faculty and can be heard on New World, Naxos, Centaur, BMOPSound, Mode, and Tzadik records. Gabriela's recording of Lou Harrison's Suite for Violin and American Gamelan was highlighted in the New York Times Article "5 Minutes That Will Make You Love Classical Music. Gabriela is proud to be a core member of the team that created Boston Hope Music, bringing music to patients and frontline workers during the pandemic.

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Jennifer Frautschi

Two-time GRAMMY nominee and Avery Fisher career grant recipient violinist Jennifer Frautschi has appeared as soloist with innumerable orchestras including the Cincinnati Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and St Paul Chamber Orchestra.  As chamber musician she has performed with the Boston Chamber Music Society and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and appeared at Chamber Music Northwest, La Jolla Summerfest, Music@Menlo, and the Bridgehampton, Charlottesville,  Lake Champlain, Moab, Ojai, Santa Fe, Seattle, and Spoleto Music Festivals.  

Her extensive discography includes several discs for Naxos: the Stravinsky Violin Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, conducted by the legendary Robert Craft, and two GRAMMY-nominated recordings with the Fred Sherry Quartet, of Schoenberg’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra , and the Schoenberg Third String Quartet. 

Born in Pasadena, California, Ms. Frautschi attended the Colburn School, Harvard, the New England Conservatory, and the Juilliard School.  She performs on a 1722 Antonio Stradivarius violin known as the “ex-Cadiz,” on generous loan from a private American foundation with support from Rare Violins In Consortium.  She currently teaches in the graduate program at Stony Brook University.

 

R.J. Kelley

R.J. Kelley is regarded as  a hornplayer of unusually broad musical scope, whether as soloist (American Classical Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Santa Fe Pro Musica), chamber musician (Manhattan Brass; Smithsonian Chamber Players; Aspen Wind Quintet; Universal Piston), orchestral performer (New York Philharmonic; Metropolitan Opera, Orpheus, American Ballet Theater, Mostly Mozart), recording artist (Mozart Concerti on natural horn; Grammy-nominated Das Lied von der Erde - Mahler/Schoenberg reduction), or educator (artist faculty, Julliard School of Music; guest teacher/lecturer: Yale University; Hartt School of Music; SUNY Stony Brook; Washington University; San Jose State University).


Recently hailed in the Horn Call of the International Horn Society as performing "with virtuosity, precision, and a stylistic mastery that could be matched by few, surpassed by none", R.J. is a participant in music festivals worldwide:(Edinburgh; Berkeley, Boston, and Bloomington Early Music festivals; Montreux-Detroit, Sacramento, and Mammoth Lake Jazz festivals; Mostly Mozart, Lincoln Center, Washington Square Park). With appearances on Saturday Night Live, the Today Show, Late Night with David Letterman, and over 100 cd's (PBO, NY Philharmonic, Manhattan Brass) and films (Casanova, Snake Eyes) to his credit , R.J. has worked with commercial artists ranging from Jimmy Page and Puff Daddy, to Johnny Mathis, Little Anthony and the Imperials, the Killers, Chuck Mangione, and CeeLo Green. A Detroit native, he has resided in the New York City area since 1989.

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Arnaud Sussmann

Winner of a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Arnaud Sussmann has distinguished himself with his unique sound, bravura and profound musicianship. Minnesota’s PioneerPress writes, “Sussmann has an old-school sound reminiscent of what you'll hear on vintage recordings by Jascha Heifetz or Fritz Kreisler, a rare combination of sweet and smooth that can hypnotize a listener. His clear tone [is] a thing of awe-inspiring beauty, his phrasing spellbinding.” A thrilling young musician capturing the attention of classical critics and audiences around the world, Arnaud Sussmann has appeared with the American Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Paris Chamber Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.


Born in Strasbourg, France and based now in New York City, Arnaud Sussmann trained at the Conservatoire de Paris and the Juilliard School with Boris Garlitsky and Itzhak Perlman. Winner of several international competitions, including the Andrea Postacchini of Italy and Vatelot/Rampal of France, he was named a Starling Fellow in 2006, an honor which allowed him to be Mr. Perlman’s teaching assistant for two years. Mr. Sussmann now teaches at Stony Brook University on Long Island and was recently named Co-Artistic Director of Music@Menlo’s International Chamber Music Program. He is also the new Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach in Florida.