Katherine Collier, piano and music director
Katherine Collier has had a distinguished and versatile career as a soloist, chamber music artist, and accompanist. After her early training in Texas, she studied piano with Cecile Genhart and accompanying with Brooks Smith. She was awarded unanimously the Performer’s Certificate at Eastman. Professor Collier was the first prize winner of the National Young Artist’s Competition and the Cliburn Scholarship Competition and was the recipient of a
Rockefeller Award. She won a Kemper Educational Grant to study at the Royal College of Music in London, England. Collier has been asoloist with orchestras in Cincinnati, Dallas, Eastman-Rochester, and Houston, and is an active collaborator with many renowned musicians including Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Ani Kavafian, Cho-Liang Lin, Andres Cardenes, Erling Bengtsson, David Shifrin, and members of the Tokyo, Emerson, Cleveland, Orion, Vermeer, Miami, Shanghai, and Ying Quartets.
She has performed around the world and appeared at recital halls in Europe such as Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room (Southbank) in London, the Concertgebouw, the Brahms-Saal, and the Konzertsaal der Staatlichen Hochschule für Musik. She has presented concerts at Merkin Hall, the Phillips Collection, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago, and the Y Music Society in Pittsburgh. She performs at the Aspen Music Festival, Interlochen, Meadowmount, and Skaneateles. As an accompanist, Ms. Collier worked in the studios of Dorothy Delay at Aspen and Nathan Milstein and the BBC in London.
Collier tours extensively with her husband, violist Yizhak Schotten. They are founders and music directors of the Maui Classical Music Festival in Hawaii and music directors of the Strings in the Mountains Festival in Steamboat Springs. Ms. Collier appears with her husband on four compact discs on Crystal Records and has recorded with other artists on the Pandora, Pearl, Crystal, and Centaur labels. Ms. Collier previously taught at the universities of Washington, Northern Kentucky, and Wyoming.
Yizhak Schotten, viola and music director
Yizhak Schotten (viola) was brought to the United States by the renowned violist William Primrose, with whom he studied at Indiana University and the University of Southern California. Other studies were with Lillian Fuchs at the Manhattan School of Music. Schotten has concertized in his native Israel, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Holland, Austria, Mexico, England, Canada, and throughout the United States. His solo appearances with orchestras in this country and abroad have included performances with conductors Seiji Ozawa, Thomas Schippers, Sergiu Commissiona, Joseph Swensen, Arthur Fiedler, and others. His solo recitals have included Town Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Merkin Hall in New York, Boston’s Jordan Hall, the
Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. He has also had numerous broadcasts on National Public Radio.
As a member of the Trio d’Accordo, Schotten won the Concert Artists Guild International Competition in New York. He regularly collaborates with renowned musicians and has appeared in concerts at Bargemusic in New York, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Boston’s Symphony Hall, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Abroad he has performed at the Taipei Philharmonic Festival in Taiwan, the Festival Internacional de Musica Clasica in Mexico, the Amsterdam Kamermuziek Festival, the Festival de Musique de Chambre de Montreal, and at Domaine Forget in Quebec.
Formerly a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Schotten has been principal violist of the Cincinnati and Houston symphony orchestras. He was the artistic director of the XIV International Viola Congress and has been a featured artist at six other International Congresses. In 1997, he represented the U.S. as a judge and performer at the Tertis International Viola Competition in England. He has recorded seven discs for Crystal Records and his C.R.I. recording was chosen as “Critics’ Choice” for three months in HIGH FIDELITY Magazine. Pearl Records included his playing on its anthology, History of the Recording of the World’s Finest Violists.
Schotten has been on the faculties and performed at the Aspen Music Festival, Banff, Meadowmount, Interlochen, Tanglewood, Chamber Music Northwest, Montreal, Chautauqua, Skaneateles, Montecito, Juneau, and Fairbanks Festivals. He is also music director of the Maui Classical Music Festival in Hawaii and was director of Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and SpringFest in Ann Arbor.
Schotten was also on the American Federation of Musician’s Congress of Strings faculty. He is very active giving master classes in the U.S. and throughout the world. He has given classes in England at the Tertis International Viola Competition at the Isle of Man, the Menuhin School in Surrey, and the Guildhall School of Music, Royal College of Music, and the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has also given master classes in Spain at the Conservatrio Superior de Musica, Oviedo; in Israel at the Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem Academies of Music; in Australia at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music; in Canada at the Banff School of Music, the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, the Glenn Gould School, and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto; in Korea at the College of Music at Seoul National University; and in Taiwan at the Hsing Tien Kong Culture Foundation in Taipei. He has also been on the faculties of Rice University and the University of Washington.
The Formosa Quartet
uncharted musical terrain in performances that go “beyond the beautiful and into the territory of unexpectedly thrilling… like shots of pure espresso” (MUSO Magazine). The founding members’ interest in championing Taiwanese music and Indigenous cultures has since expanded to include the exploration of the rich folk traditions and heritages found in America today. Whether in its uncompromisingly exploratory approach to the standard quartet literature; its socioculturally probing American Mirror program concept; or its unique Sets curated from its collection of folk, pop, jazz, and poetry arrangements, the Formosa Quartet is committed to an insatiable search for the fresh and new in string quartet expression.
The Formosa Quartet undertakes a variety of residencies at organizations and institutions across North America and Asia. In Fall 2023, they begin their appointment as Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. They have also been appointed the M. Thelma McAndless Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities by Eastern Michigan University during the 2023-2024 season. The ensemble serves as Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYOC) and has enjoyed residencies at Art of Élan; Rice University, University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, San Diego; San Diego State University, and Heidelberg University.
The Formosa Quartet has played a leading role in actively commissioning new works, contributing significantly to the modern string quartet repertory. FQ’s 2019 milestone album From Hungary to Taiwan includes premiere recordings of three Formosa commissions: Lei Liang’s Song Recollections, Dana Wilson’s Hungarian Folk Songs, and Wei-Chieh Lin’s Five Taiwanese Folk Songs. Other works composed for the quartet include pieces by Dana Wilson, Wei-Chieh Lin, Shih-Hui Chen, and Clancy Newman.
The members of the Formosa Quartet – Jasmine Lin, Wayne Lee, Matthew Cohen, and Deborah Pae – have established themselves as leading solo, chamber, and orchestral musicians. With degrees from the Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, New England Conservatory, Colburn Conservatory, and the Cleveland Institute of Music, they have performed in major venues throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe and have been top prizewinners in prestigious competitions such as the Paganini, Primrose, Fischoff, and Naumburg competitions. As chamber musicians, they have appeared regularly at the Marlboro, Kingston, Santa Fe, and Ravinia festivals, as well as at Lincoln Center, La Jolla Summerfest, Caramoor, and Chamber Music Northwest. The members of the Formosa Quartet currently serve on faculty at Eastern Michigan University, Roosevelt University, and Heifetz International Music Institute. They have previously taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Taos School of Music, and the Juilliard School.
Formed in 2002 when the four Taiwanese-descended founders came together for a concert tour of Taiwan, the Formosa Quartet’s cultural identity has since expanded to include broader American, pan-Asian, and Eastern European roots. Their name “Formosa” is taken in its most basic sense: Portuguese for “beautiful.”
The Formosa Quartet forms an octet with violins Andrea Guarneri (1662) and Joseph Curtin (2001), a Peter Westerlund viola (2014), and a Vincenzo Postiglione cello (1885).
Winners of the First Prize and Amadeus Prize at the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition, the FORMOSA QUARTET has been hailed as “spellbinding” (The Strad) and “remarkably fine” (Gramophone), and has given critically acclaimed performances at the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, the Da Camera Society of Los Angeles, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Wigmore Hall in London, die Glocke Bremen, and the Kammermusiksaal at the Berliner Philharmonie. For two decades and counting, the Formosa Quartet has forged
Jasmine Lin, violin
Jasmin Lin began violin studies at age four. Since then she has appeared as soloist with orchestras including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of Brazil, Symphony Orchestra of Uruguay, Evergreen Symphony of Taiwan, and National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, and in recital in Chicago, New York, Nova Scotia, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, and Taipei. She was a prize winner in the International Paganini Competition and took second prize in the International Naumburg Competition. The New York Times describes her as
an “unusually individualistic player” with “electrifying assertiveness” and “virtuosic abandon”.
As a chamber musician Ms. Lin has been a participant of the Marlboro Music Festival and the Steans Institute for Young Artists at Ravinia, and has toured extensively in the United States as part of the Chicago String Quartet, in China as part of the Overseas Musicians, and in Taiwan as a member of Taiwan Connection Music Festival. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University and DePaul University and was a faculty member of the Taos School of Music in New Mexico.
Ms. Lin is a founding and current member of the Formosa Quartet, which won first prize in the 10th Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition. The Formosa Quartet’s recording of works by Mozart, Debussy, Wolf and Schubert on the EMI Debut Series has won critical acclaim from Gramophone and The Strad magazines, and the quartet performs in major venues around the world including the Chicago Cultural Center, the Library of Congress, Caramoor Festival, Cornell University, Maui Classical Music Festival, Taipei’s Novel Hall, BBC In Tune, and Wigmore Hall.
Ms. Lin is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music. She gave her New York debut in Merkin Hall, where the program included her poetry set to music. Her poem “The night of h’s” received Editor’s Choice Award from the International Poetry Foundation, and her poetry/music presentations have been featured in Chicago, at Cornell University in Ithaca, and on radio in Taipei, and have resulted in collaborations with composers Dana Wilson, David Loeb, and Thomas Oboe Lee.
Ms. Lin is a passionate arranger, with arrangements of Grappelli tunes performed in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Kitchener-Waterloo, Naples FL, and in Canada and England. She is the violinist of In Triplicate, a trio that arranges and composes almost all of their own music.
In the 1999-2000 season Ms. Lin was Second Assistant Concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. In addition to her activities with the Formosa Quartet, she is a member of Trio Voce with cellist Marina Hoover and pianist Patricia Tao; the Trio released its first CD of works by Shostakovich and Weinberg, Inscapes, on the Con Brio label. Ms. Lin is also a member of the Chicago Chamber Musicians, whose Composer Perspectives series won the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. She received a Grammy nomination as part of CCM’s Grammy-nominated CD of works for winds and strings by Mozart. She is on the faculty at Roosevelt University and MIC and is a proud native of Chicago.
Eric Gratz, violin
Since his concerto debuts at the age of 14 in the United States, Spain, and Portugal, American violinist Eric Gratz has been celebrated as an exciting performer, known for his daring musical interpretations and impressive stylistic versatility. Equally desired as soloist, concertmaster, chamber musician, and educator, he maintains a varied schedule that has taken him to four continents, performing in the world’s great concert halls with leading musicians of our time.
In 2013, at the age of 22, Gratz became the youngest Concertmaster in North America, accepting the post with the San Antonio Symphony, and appeared numerous times as soloist with the orchestra in repertoire ranging from Bach to Kurt Weill. Additional solo appearances include The Cleveland Orchestra, The Phoenix Symphony, CityMusic Cleveland, Lexington Bach Festival Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, Euclid Symphony, Kings Symphony, and the Mid- Texas Symphony, with conductors Giancarlo Guerrero, David Danzmayr, Sebastian Lang- Lessing, Akiko Fujimoto, Noam Aviel, and Tito Muñoz. In demand as a Guest Concertmaster, he has appeared in recent seasons with the Santa Fe Opera, The Phoenix Symphony, and Louisiana Philharmonic.
A dedicated chamber musician and recitalist, Gratz has appeared at Mainly Mozart Festival, Castleton Chamber Players, Austin Chamber Music, Cactus Pear Music Festival, Incontri Musical, Musical Bridges around the World, Música Ocupa, and regularly performs as a member of the Olmos Ensemble. Notable collaborators include violinists Vadim Gluzman and Eric Silberger, cellist Julian Schwarz, and pianists Anton Nel, Orion Weiss, Jeffrey Kahane, ET Kim, and Jon Kimura Parker.
As a recording artist, Gratz has appeared on several albums. His debut album of virtuoso works for violin and piano (Eric Gratz, with pianist ET Kim) was released in 2016 on his own label. It charted at #11 on Billboard Classical, making it the top independent release in the United States for its first week. He has subsequently recorded two other albums with the Olmos Ensemble, Olmos Live (2016) and Made In France (2019), performing works by Harbison, Prokofiev, and Ravel.
Gratz believes it is of the utmost importance to inspire the next generation of musicians, and currently serves as an Apollo's Fire Senior Teaching Artist-in-Residence at Southland College Prep in South Chicago. He has served on competition juries from the local level to MTNA Nationals, and has been invited to teach at leading music schools, including Rice University, University of Texas Austin, and Texas Christian University. A proponent of utilizing new technology to help democratize education, he has recorded several hours of video courses for Tonebase, focusing on the music of Kreisler, Ysaÿe, and Beethoven.
A prizewinner of national and international competitions, Eric Gratz holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, and his former teachers include Cho-Liang Lin, William Preucil, Linda Cerone, Claudia Shiuh, and Cynthia Stuart. He plays a violin by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, c. 1840.
Matthew Cohen, viola
Ukrainian-American violist Matthew Cohen is a dynamic and versatile artist whose captivating performances have made him one of the most sought-after violists of his generation. A special prize winner at the prestigious Primrose International Viola Competition, he was also awarded top prizes at the Citta di Cremona International Viola Competition in Italy, Vivo International Music Competition and the Art of Duo International Competition. Particularly interested in advocating for the viola as a unique voice, he is challenging the misconception that the viola has a limited repertoire by bringing attention to lesser-known gems as well as arrangements of other masterworks.
Since his first performance in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium at the age of 15 as a soloist in the New York premiere of Tomas Svoboda’s Sonata No. 2 for orchestra and solo string quartet, he has concertized as a soloist and chamber musician throughout North America and Europe in venues such as Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the Ford Amphitheater and Broad Stage in California, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Oregon, Gstaad Menuhin Festival in Switzerland and the Casa della Musica in Cosenza, Italy.
Recent solo engagements include his European debut performing Hummel’s Potpourri with the Gstaad Festival Orchestra and Bartok’s Viola Concerto with the I Virtuosi Italiani orchestra in Cremona, and presenting the world premiere of internationally recognized video game score composer Garry Schyman’s viola concerto “Zingaro” with the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony conducted by Dr. Noreen Green. Past appearances include concerti with ensembles such as the North Shore Symphony Orchestra, Manchester Summer Chamber Music, Symphony in C, Ensemble Baroquelyn, Juilliard Orchestra, Colburn Orchestra, Oregon Sinfonietta, and Oregon Symphony/Oregon Ballet Theater.
A passionate chamber musician, he has performed alongside many distinguished artists including members of the Aeolus, Borromeo, Guarneri, Orion, Parker, Tokyo, and Vermeer string quartets and the Beaux Arts and Tempest piano trios, and has been featured by numerous concert series and chamber music societies including Bargemusic, Camerata Pacifica, the Colburn Chamber Music Society, Heifetz Celebrity Series, Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, Ringwood Friends of Chamber Music, Olmos Ensemble, Red Barn Chamber Music, and the Wolfeboro Friends of Chamber Music. Summer festival engagements include appearances at ChamberFest Cleveland, Gstaad Menuhin Festival and Academy, Heifetz International Music Institute, the Meadowmount School for Strings, Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, the Perlman Music Program, Philadelphia Young Pianist’s Academy, Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, and the Sarasota Music Festival.
A graduate of the Juilliard School's Master of Music program, he was the proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship; he earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Cleveland Institute of Music and received an Artist Diploma from Colburn Conservatory where he studied with Misha Amory, Heidi Castleman, Paul Coletti, Jeffrey Irvine, and Cynthia Phelps. He has served as a member of the chamber music faculty at the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and the Heifetz Institute and is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Opus 71 Concerts, a multidisciplinary concert series near New York’s Lincoln Center. In addition to his musical activities, he enjoys public speaking and has acted in a number of plays including various works of Shakespeare, Peter Pan, Auntie Mame, and the musical Bugsy Malone. His recording of York Bowen’s Phantasy for viola and piano with acclaimed pianist Vivian Fan is available on the Soundset label.
Deborah Pae, cello
Praised by critics for her “extraordinary musicianship" (San Diego Union Tribune) and “magical” playing (Cleveland Classical), Korean-American cellist Deborah Pae has received international acclaim for her powerful performances and devotion to the arts.
Ms. Pae emerged onto the international stage in 2003, making her debut at the 45th GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden and the Recording Academy’s Seventh Annual Salute to Classical Music honoring the late Mstislav Rostropovich. Shortly thereafter, in 2005, she gave her European
recital debut at the Musée du Louvre in Paris. Over the span of 25 years, Ms. Pae has enjoyed an award-winning career as a soloist and chamber musician whose performances at major festivals and concert series throughout North America, Europe, and Asia have garnered critical acclaim. She has been a featured artist at the Marlboro, Ravinia, and Prussia Cove festivals and performed at venues including Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall in London, the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Palais des Beaux-Art in Brussels, and the Berliner Philharmonie. Her performances have been augmented by numerous radio and television broadcasts and recordings for ECM, New World, TYXarts, Bridge, and Outhere Records.
Deborah Pae is the cellist of two award-winning ensembles: the FORMOSA QUARTET, recipients of the First Prize and Amadeus Prize at the 2006 International London Quartet Competition, and the NAMIROVSKY-LARK-PAE TRIO, winners of the 2020 German Record Critics Award/Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik in the category of chamber music, one of Europe’s most coveted honors, for their debut album Masterpieces Among Peers: Trios by Frank Bridge and Johannes Brahms. Their album, particularly their performance of Brahms’ Trio in B major has been described as “a rendition that can actually stand comparison with some of the legendary recordings of the past, such as those by Heifetz, Feuermann and Rubinstein and Szigeti, Fournier and Schnabel” and was named by the German magazine, Fono Forum, as one of the 5 Best Albums of 2020.
As a soloist and chamber musician, Deborah is passionate about lifting up the works of living composers and introducing valuable yet lesser-known musical compositions to worldwide audiences. Notable premieres include works by Jeffrey Mumford, Dana Wilson, Jonathan Crehan, Shih-Hui Chen, Lei Liang, and Clancy Newman. In May 2019, Ms. Pae premiered Mr. Mumford’s ‘of radiances blossoming in expanding air’, a concerto for cello and chamber orchestra with Phoenix Orchestra of Boston. Much of the work's harmonic material is based on the letters of her first name: D Eb Bb (or) A (h).
A graduate of the Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, and an Associate Artist at the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Belgium, Ms. Pae is committed to mentoring the next generation of young artists. She is Associate Professor of Cello at Eastern Michigan University where she is a recipient of the 2021 Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award, the highest honor Eastern Michigan University presents to an individual faculty member. She also serves on the faculty at the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Formosa Chamber Music Festival, Taipei Music Academy & Festival, and Faculty Emeritus at the Perlman Music Program. Her mentors have included cellists Gary Hoffman, Laurence Lesser, Joel Krosnick, André Emelianoff, and Nellis Delay; violist Kim Kashkashian, and violinist Itzhak Perlman.
Arts advocacy is an important part of Deborah Pae’s musical life. She serves as Governor of the Recording Academy® Chicago Chapter Board and works closely with MusiCares, a non-profit that provides a safety net of critical health and welfare services to the music community. She also works with young professionals and educational institutions throughout the country giving instrumental masterclasses and workshops on career development, financial literacy, and team building.
Ms. Pae travels and performs with her trusty companion, a Vincenzo Postiglione cello (c. 1885) from Naples, Italy.
"Some stunning performances, some wonderful musical memories.
How could you miss with artists of that caliber?
It is easy to get hooked. You may want to go back year after year. "
- American Record Guide
"The quality of performance is amazingly high."
- Musical America