Katherine Collier, piano and music director
Katherine Collier, pianist and music director, was the winner of the National Young Artist’s Competition and the Cliburn Scholarship Competition. She studied at the Eastman School of Music, where she was a concerto winner and awarded the Performer’s Certificate. She was a recipient of both a Rockefeller Award and a Kemper Educational Grant to study at the Royal College of Music in London for post-graduate work. A faculty member of the University of Michigan, she performs with many renowned musicians and has appeared in concerts throughout North America, the British Isles, Europe, Israel, and Asia. She tours and records with her husband, Yizhak Schotten.
Yizhak Schotten, viola and music director
Yizhak Schotten, violist and music director, came from Israel to study with William Primrose at USC. He won the Concert Artists Guild International Competition in New York with his string trio, and performed in many of this country’s prestigious concert series. He has concertized around the world as a soloist and chamber musician, was a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and later became principal violist of the Cincinnati and Houston Symphony Orchestras. An active recording artist, he is on the faculty of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
In 2020 Yizhak was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Viola Society.
Benny Kim, violin
Whether playing in the intimate setting of a string quartet or performing a concerto on the stage of a concert hall, Benny Kim’s “emotional depth and musical carriage are his real drawing cards. His is a style that touches the peak of romantic violin playing.” (The Washington Post) Known for his versatility as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher, Mr. Kim has been described as having “titanium technique” and producing “exquisite, pearly colorations.”
Benny is a proud product of the Suzuki Method, which he began at age 10 with Doris Preucil. He continued his violin studies with Almita Vamos and at age 15 won the Chicago Symphony Youth Symphony Auditions, making his solo debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. One year later he won the St. Louis Symphony Youth Auditions and the Julius Stulberg Auditions. Kim went on to graduate with Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School, where he studied with legendary pedagogue Dorothy DeLay. In 1983, Mr. Kim won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions at age 20. While at Juilliard, the residents of Macomb, IL, Benny’s hometown, heard the news that he was preparing to puchase a violin. This small community, along with faculty members of Western Illinois University, began a fundraising campaign to contribute to the purchase. In 1987 he acquired a 1732 Stradivarius violin.
Collaborating with long-time friends plays an important role in Benny Kim’s musical career and has resulted in two EMI recordings with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Bella Italia and Night and Day, frequent performances with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, and many engagements with his brother, cellist Eric Kim. In past seasons, Benny has performed in concert with violinist Daniel Hope at the Savannah Music Festival, Norway’s Trondheim Chamber Music Festival, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and most recently at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, New York, NY.
Benny has performed with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Boston, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Detroit, and internationally with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Orquésta Sinfonica Nacional de México, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the major orchestras of South Africa. In recital, Kim has performed in virtually every major city in the United States, including critically acclaimed engagements at New York’s 92nd St. Y and at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center.
Mr. Kim is first violinist of the Miami String Quartet, winner of the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award, and Quartet in Residence at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Highlights of recent seasons include performances on the Quartets Plus Series at Carnegie Hall and the Fortas Chamber Music Series at the Kennedy Center. The quartet has also enjoyed working with students in limited residencies in Hong Kong and Bogotá, Colombia. The ensemble’s commitment to new music has led to many commissions and premieres, including Concierto de Cámara by Roberto Sierra, Septet by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Angels by Joan Tower and Green Sneakers by Ricky Ian Gordon. Benny spends most summers playing chamber music with friends at festivals around the world, including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Bravo! - Vail Valley Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Mecklenburg and Schlewig-Holstein Festivals in Germany and the Bristol Festival in England.
Benny and his golden retriever, Cubby, make their home outside Kansas City on the Falcon Ridge
Kurt Muroki, double bass
Former Artist Member with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Professor Kurt Muroki began his musical studies on the violin at the age of six and subsequently performed concerti with the Honolulu Symphony and the Maui Symphony. Mr. Muroki went on to study the double bass at the age of 13 and entered the Juilliard School of Music at 17 studying with his teacher / mentor Homer R. Mensch. At the age of 21 Kurt began performing with the internationally renowned Sejong Soloists under ICM Management. Kurt has performed with the the Jupiter Chamber Players, Speculum Musicae, “Great Performers” series at Lincoln Center, Ensemble Sospeso, Sequitur, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Tokyo Opera Nomori, New York City Ballet, 92nd St. Y, and Bargemusic. Festivals include Marlboro Music Festival, Festival L’Autonne at IRCAM, and Aspen Music Festival to name a few. Kurt is also active playing movies, commercials, popular, and classical recordings with titles including the Oscar winning film “The Departed”, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”, “Hitch”, “Julie and Julia”, “The Manchurian Candidate”, “Roger Daltrey Sings Pete Townshend” – The Who, Sting, Peter Gabriel, and Itzhak Perlman . Mr. Muroki has won numerous competitions including 1st prize in the Aspen Music Festival double bass competition, the first bassist to win the New World Symphony concerto competition, and the Honolulu Symphony Young Artists competition. He has collaborated with members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Tokyo, Orion quartets, Ensemble Wein-Berlin, Jaime Laredo, Lynn Harrell, Maurice Bourgue, Toru Takemitsu, Peter Schickele, John Zorn, and Brian Ferneyhough among others, and has performed concerto tours throughout Asia and the United States. Professor Muroki is currently a Tenured Professor at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, faculty at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, teaches at New York String Orchestra Seminar, and has been a judge at the Yale Gordon Competition at Peabody Conservatory, ASTA, and others. Mr Muroki is a past Board Member of the International Society of Bassists and is a D’Addario Strings Artist. Thank you D’addario for all you do for the musical community!
Kurt is also a former Artist/Lecturer at Stony Brook University, Distinguished Artist at the McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University, Adjunct Faculty at the Juilliard School, and Faculty at the NJ City University.
Tara Helen O’Connor, flute
Tara Helen O'Connor is a charismatic performer noted for her artistic depth, brilliant technique and colorful tone spanning every musical era. Recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a two-time Grammy nominee, she was the first wind player chosen to participate in The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two) and is now a Season Artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. A Wm. S. Haynes flute artist, Tara is a regular participant in the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass, Spoleto Festival USA, Chamber Music Northwest, Mainly Mozart Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Rockport Music, Bay Chamber Concerts, Manchester Music Festival, the Banff Centre, the Great Mountains Music Festival, Chesapeake Music Festival and the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. Along with her husband Daniel Phillips, she is the newly appointed Co-Artistic Director of the Music From Angel Fire Festival in New Mexico.
A much sought-after chamber musician and soloist, she has premiered hundreds of new works and has collaborated with the Orion String Quartet, St. Lawrence Quartet, Emerson String Quartet, Jaime Laredo, Dawn Upshaw, Eliot Fisk, Jeremy Denk, Ida Kavafian, Peter Serkin and David Shifrin. Tara is a member of the woodwind quintet Windscape, the legendary Bach Aria Group and is a founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning New Millennium Ensemble. A passionate advocate of new music, she is a member of the Talea and Cygnus Ensembles. Tara has appeared on A&E's Breakfast with the Arts and PBS' Live from Lincoln Center. She has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, EMI Classics, Koch International, CMS Studio Recordings with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Bridge Records. She has just released a solo CD of American flute works entitled The Way Things Go on Bridge Records with pianist Margaret Kampmeier.
Tara holds a DMA from Stony Brook University where she studied with the late Samuel Baron. Her other teachers include Julius Levine, Thomas Nyfenger, Robert Dick and Keith Underwood. Her yearly summer flute master class at the Banff Centre in Canada was legendary. She is Associate Professor of Flute, Head of the Woodwinds Department and the Coordinator of Classical Music Studies at Purchase College School of the Arts Conservatory of Music. Additionally, Tara is on the faculty of Bard College Conservatory of Music, the Contemporary Performance Program at Manhattan School of Music and is a visiting artist, teacher and coach at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She lives with her husband, violinist Daniel Phillips and their two miniature dachshunds, Chloé and Ava on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Anna Polonsky, piano
Anna Polonsky is widely in demand as a soloist and chamber musician. She has appeared with the Moscow Virtuosi, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Memphis Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, and many others. Ms. Polonsky has collaborated with the Guarneri, Orion, Daedalus, and Shanghai Quartets, and with such musicians as Mitsuko Uchida, Yo-Yo Ma, David Shifrin, Richard Goode, Emanuel Ax, Arnold Steinhardt, Peter Wiley, and Jaime Laredo. She has performed chamber music at festivals such as Marlboro, Chamber Music Northwest, Seattle, Music@Menlo, Cartagena, Bard, and Caramoor, as well as at Bargemusic in New York City. Ms. Polonsky has given concerts in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Alice Tully Hall, and Carnegie Hall’s Stern, Weill, and Zankel Halls, and has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. A frequent guest at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, she was a member of the Chamber Music Society Two during 2002-2004. In 2006 she took a part in the European Broadcasting Union's project to record and broadcast all of Mozart's keyboard sonatas, and in the spring of 2007, she performed a solo recital at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium to inaugurate the Emerson Quartet’s Perspectives Series. She is a recipient of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award.
Anna Polonsky made her solo piano debut at the age of seven at the Special Central Music School in Moscow, Russia. She emigrated to the United States in 1990 and attended high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Music diploma from The Curtis Institute of Music under the tutelage of the renowned pianist Peter Serkin, and continued her studies with Jerome Lowenthal, earning her master’s degree from the Juilliard School. In addition to performing, she serves on the piano faculty of Vassar College, and in the summer at the Marlboro and Kneisel Hall chamber music festivals.
Beginning in 2018, Polonsky performs in a trio with clarinetist David Shifrin and cellist Peter Wiley.
Ms. Polonsky is a Steinway Artist.
Peter Wiley, cello
Cellist, Peter Wiley enjoys a proliﬁc career as a performer and teacher. He is a member of the piano quartet, Opus One, a group he co-founded in 1998 with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, violinist Ida Kavaﬁan and violist Steven Tenenbom. Mr. Wiley attended the Curtis Institute of Music as a student of David Soyer. He joined the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1974. The following year he was appointed Principal cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for eight years. From 1987 through 1998, Mr. Wiley was cellist of the Beaux Arts Trio. In 2001 he succeeded his mentor, David Soyer, as cellist of the Guarneri Quartet. The quartet retired from the concert stage in 2009. He has been awarded an Avery Fischer Career Grant, nominated for a Grammy Award in 1998 with the Beaux Arts Trio and in 2009 with the Guarneri Quartet. Mr. Wiley participates at leading festivals including Music from Angel Fire, Chamber Music Nothwest, OK Mozart, Santa Fe, Bravo! and Bidgehampton. He continues his long association with the Marlboro Music Festival, dating back to 1971. Mr. Wiley teaches at the Curtis Institute of Music and Bard College Conservatory of Music.