2007-2008 Participating Artists
Joseph Rabbai, clarinet
Joseph Rabbai has been principal clarinet of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 1980. Prior to that, he was principal clarinet of The Israel Philharmonic, The American Symphony Orchestra, The Brooklyn Philharmonic, and a member of The New York City Opera Orchestra. He is also the principal clarinet with The Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, a position he has held since 1971. A graduate of Temple University and The Juilliard School of Music, Mr. Rabbai has been a teacher of clarinet and chamber music at a number of institutions including Queens College, Brooklyn College, The Graduate School of the City University of new York, The State University of New York at Purchase as well as at New Jersey City University. A highly respected New York recording artist, his records of works by Ned Rorem, Camille Saint-Sa�ns, and Olivier Messaien have met with much critical acclaim. An active participant in chamber music, Mr. Rabbai has performed extensively with the New York Philomusica and at The Caramoor Festival.
A. Robert Johnson, horn
Robert Johnson is the Founder and Artistic Director of New York Philomusica. After graduation from The Juilliard School in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Degree, he played one year in the National Symphony of Washington, DC, before being drafted into the U.S. Army. He was assigned to the Seventh Army Symphony and Chamber Ensemble, based in Europe, for the duration of his duty in the army. Shortly before receiving his Honorable Discharge, he auditioned successfully for Leonard Bernstein, securing a position in the New York Philharmonic. During his seven-year tenure he was, for the last two-and-one-half years, Alternate Solo Horn. He founded New York Philomusica in 1971, following a succession of attempts that began with a hugely successful debut in the first Mozart Festival of 1966. His eventual success with the New York Philomusica has resulted in an ensemble renowned for finding the hidden beauties of the repertory and bringing them to life through recordings, national and international tours, and as a fixture on the New York musical scene through its subscription series. Mr. Johnson has performed extensively with the legendary jazz pianist, Sir Roland Hanna in the Hanna Trio, for flute, horn and cello, with Sir Roland as cellist and Frank Wess alternating on flute with Frank Perowsky. The trio made a tour of Japan in 1989. Sir Roland has been commissioned to write for the New York Philomusica and has performed with it in his own compositions and in the music of Mozart. In addition to playing the horn, Mr. Johnsons other musical pursuits include composing and conducting. He owns de Neveu Publishing. Compositions and orchestrations by him include joint efforts with noted author and journalist, George Plimpton. Mr. Johnson performed in the longest running show in Broadway history, Cats from the opening to its close, a run of 18 years. He played in the orchestra of many shows running through the 1970's, including those by Stephen Sondheim and Sugar Babies, in which Ann Miller and Mickey Rooney starred. Throughout these many varied activities, New York Philomusica has remained Mr. Johnsons central interest.
Christopher Oldfather, piano
Christopher Oldfather has devoted himself to the performance of twentieth-century music for more than thirty years. He has participated in innumerable world-premiere performances, in every possible combination of instruments, in cities all over America. He has been a member of Boston�s Collage New Music since 1979, New York City�s Parnassus since 1997, appears regularly in Chicago, and as a collaborator has joined singers and instrumentalists of all kinds in recitals throughout the United States. In 1986 he presented his recital debut in Carnegie Recital Hall, which immediately was closed for renovations. Since then he has pursued a career as a free-lance musician. This work has taken him as far afield as Moscow and Tokyo, and he has worked on every sort of keyboard ever made, including, of all things, the Chromelodeon. He is widely known for his expertise on the harpsichord, and is one of the leading interpreters of twentieth century works for that instrument.
As soloist he has appeared with the MET Chamber Players, the San Francisco Symphony, and Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt, Germany. His recording of Elliott Carter's violin-piano Duo with Robert Mann was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 1990. Recently he has collaborated with the conductor Robert Craft, and can be heard on several of his recordings.
Naoko Tanaka, violin
Naoko Tanaka was born in Tokyo and began her studies at the Toho School. Her career in the United States began at The Juilliard School, where she studied with Dorothy Delay and Felix Galimir and gave her debut recital in Carnegie Recital Hall as the winner of the Artists International Competition. She is a member of the Theater Chamber Players of the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and the St. Lukes Ensemble, and is a founding member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble she has led as a concertmaster in performance in Carnegie Hall, throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia, and on over 30 Deutsche Grammophon recordings. She has also performed in the Sitka, Caramoor, Ravinia, White Mountains, Saito-kinen (Japan), Aspen and Marlboro festivals. Ms. Tanaka is on the Assistant Faculty at The Juilliard School.
Yonah Zur, violin
An avid promoter of new music, Yonah Zur has given world premieres of works by Lukas Foss, Kaija Saariaho, Claudio Spies, and by his father, composer Menachem Zur, as well as many US premieres including works by Elliot Carter and Mrs. Saariaho. In addition, he regularly premieres works by promising young composers. His is a member of the String orchestra of New York City. Mr. Zur has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Town Hall, and Merkin Hall in New York, and has performed at the Tanglewood, Yellow Barn, and Marlboro music festivals, as well as the Cite de la Musique in Paris and throughout his native Israel. Having spent numerous summers as the Tanglewood Music Center, he was the recipient of the Jules C. Reiner Violin Prize 2001, and in the following summer he was a member the New Fromm Players�a group created solely for the performance of new Music. Mr. Zur was a participant at the Academy of 20th Century Music of the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris in 1999. Mr. Zur�s chamber Music collaborators have included Richard Goode, Gilbert Kalish, Samuel Rhodes, Marcy Rosen, David Soyer, and Arnold Steinhardt. He has appeared as soloist with chamber orchestras in New York (Town Hall), Los Angeles (Wilshire Ebell Theatre), and Jerusalem (Jerusalem Music Center). His orchestral experience includes serving as concertmaster for the Julliard Symphony and Orchestra, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, and the chamber orchestra of the Jerusalem Academy of Music, and he has played under such conductors as Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, Seiji Ozawa, David Robertson and Sandor Vegh. Mr. Zur received his Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School in May 2001, having studied with Robert Mann. He received his Bachelor�s Degree in 1999 from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance having studied with Avi Abramovich, while served three years in the Israeli Army as a member of the unit for outstanding musicians. Mr. Zur devotes much of his time to education as an instructor at Opus 118�Harlem School of Music, as a coach for the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, and through numerous outreach programs. He also plays the viola, and pursues and interest in conducting. He was a regular recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation awards from 1995 through 2001. He was a recipient of the C.V. Starr Scholarship at The Juilliard School, and his summers at Tanglewood were made possible by the generosity of Lola and Ed Jaffe.
Junah Chung, viola
Junah Chung is an active chamber musician and soloist, received his M.M. degree from the Juilliard School where he studied with Lillian Fuchs and William Lincer. Junah has been featured in solo performances at Carnegie's Weill Hall, Lincoln Center's Paul Hall, the Society for Ethical Culture, Meet the Composer, the National Museum of Iceland, Music in Chelsea, Festival of the Arts in South Nyack, and the Lotte Concert Hall in Yusong, Korea. He has performed at such festivals as the Bright Lights Music Festival in Iceland, the Rhode Island Summer Chamber Music Festival, Stonybrook Summer Festival, Elan International Festival, Prussia Cove, Holland Music Sessions, Utah Chamber Music Festival, Ramapo Music Festival, and the Lake Winnepesaukee Chamber Music Festival. Junah has also been a member of the Reykjavik String Quartet. Last season, Mr. Chung gave the premiere of "Turner's Ghost" for viola and piano by Peter Robles. As an orchestral musician, Junah has held the post of Assistant Principal Viola of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, Nieuw Sinfonietta of Amsterdam and the Jupiter Symphony.
Gerald Appleman, violoncello
A student of Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School of Music, Mr. Appleman was formerly principal cellist with the Cleveland Orchestra and the San Antonio Symphony and joined the New York Philharmonic in 1966, ending up as Assistant Principal Cellist before retiring in 1998. He has performed with numerous chamber groups in the New York Area and participated in the Marlboro Festival, the Festival Casals and the New Jersey Chamber Music Society.
Gail Kruvand, contrabass
Gail Kruvand graduated from Indiana University where she studied with James Buswell and Anthony Newman. In New York she studied with Julius Levine. She has performed in the Marlboro Festival and on its tours and is a member of the New York City Center Opera Company. In addition, she plays frequently with the American Composers Orchestra and a number of other ensembles that specialize in performing new music. She played in the Hofer Symphoniker (Germany) and toured Europe with Africanus Instructus, a Music Theater Group-Lenox Arts Center production. Ms. Kruvand has recorded for CRI, Bridge Records and the Marlboro Recording Society.