Shmuel Ashkenasi, Violin
Born in Tel-Aviv, Israel in 1941, Shmuel Ashkenasi attended the Musical Academy of Tel-Aviv and gave his first public performance while still very young. He came to the United States on a scholarship to study with Efrem Zimbalist at the Curtis Institute. The international music community discovered Ashkenasi quickly, at Belgium’s Queen Elizabeth Competition, at Washington’s Meriwether Post Competition (first prize) and at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Competition in 1962. Ashkenasi has toured the Soviet Union twice and concertizes every year throughout Europe, Israel and the Far East. He often performs with American orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, National Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, Camerata Chicago, Vienna Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, and the orchestras of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Zurich, Rotterdam, Geneva and Stockholm; Ashkenasi has been the choice of many of the world’s most distinguished conductors, including Stokowski, Boehm, Kempe, Leinsdorf, Kubelik, Skrowaczewski and Ancerl. In addition, as first violinist of the famed Vermeer Quartet, he has gained a reputation as one of the world’s outstanding chamber musicians .
Ashkenasi recorded the Mozart 5th Violin concerto with Camerata Chicago and Drostan Hall on the DMD Classics label. He has also recorded for Deutche Gramaphone and Naxos.
“Ashkenasi performs all the astonishing acrobatics as if they were the easiest thing in the world. His performances put the music first and one can appreciate how remarkable (these concertos) were for their time. Any simple phrase is so beautifully and artistically expressed. You will have gathered that here is a really exceptional violinist and artist.” The Gramophone, London
Mr. Ashkenasi played with a great deal of dash and sparkle. He has aplomb and the instincts of a virtuoso violinist.”
New York Post
“Ashkenasi’s performance demonstrated his strong temperament. He has an extraordinary feeling for color. He has imagination and a big technique.”
New York Post
“Genuine Talent and profoundly gifted. His tone is sweet, beautiful and noble.
The Vienna Express
A masterly technique. Warm, clear and strong. The Japan Times
Amy Barwan, Oboe
Amy Barwan currently plays with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Philharmonic, Northwest Indiana Symphony, Camerata Chicago, and the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. She has worked under the baton of Solti, Barenboim, and Boulez, and has performed with Lyric Opera, Joffrey Ballet, Chicago Opera Theatre, Sarasota Opera, and the Grant Park Orchestra, to name a few. She recently performed with Broadway in Chicago for productions of Disneyís Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, and made her prime time television debut appearing in two episodes of the top-rated show, EMPIRE. This winter, Amy played principal oboe in performances of Joffreyís Giselle and Nutcracker productions.
Amy has been involved in several recording projects, including Brian Wilsonís new album featuring Jeff Beck. She can also be heard on Wendy Warnerís album with Camerata Chicago and Chicago Jazz Philharmonicís Trilogy Recording Project. In recent years, she has performed onstage with Bernadette Peters and Celtic Women, and has had the pleasure of working with stars such as Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, and Shirley Jones.
A native of Chicago, Amy is a graduate of DePaul University, where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and Oboe Performance.
Gregory Hutter, Composer
Gregory Hutter holds degrees from Western Michigan University, the University of Michigan, and Northwestern University. He has served on the DePaul School of Music faculty since 2002 and he also concurrently lectures at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His compositions have been performed by the Moravian Philharmonic, the Kiev Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic, Musica Moderna (Poland), the Cassatt Quartet, the Maia Quartet, the Julstrom Quartet, Trio Callisto, the Carpe Diem Quartet, Duo Diorama, the Society for New Music (Syracuse), the Philovox Ensemble (Boston), Kantorei (Denver), pianists Winston Choi and Matthew McCright, Pinotage, Musica Nova (Israel), and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), among others. Hutter has been the recipient of numerous awards and commissions, in addition to receiving grants and fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, the MacDowell Colony, the American Music Center and the Meet the Composer Foundation. His debut full-length solo CD was released on the Naxos American Classics label in 2008. Individual compositions are recorded on various labels including Capstone, Navona and Innova. Most of his compositions are published in print by E.C. Schirmer. Hutter’s many distinguished teachers have included Ramon Zupko, C. Curtis-Smith, Michael Daugherty, William Bolcom, Evan Chambers, M. William Karlins, Alan Stout and Marta Ptaszynska.