Noah Bendix-Balgley, Violin - recently appointed as Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic, has thrilled and moved audiences around the world with his violin performances. He leaves his previous position as Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to accept one of the most prestigious positions in the music world. A Laureate of the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, he also won 3rd prize and a special prize for creativity at the 2008 Long-Thibaud International Competition in Paris. Mr. Bendix-Balgley won 1st prize at the Vibrarte International Music Competition in Paris, and was awarded 1st Prize and a special prize for best Bach interpretation at the 14th International Violin Competition “Andrea Postacchini” in Fermo, Italy.
Noah Bendix-Balgley has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestra in Europe and in the United States, including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris), the Orchestre National de Belgique (Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels), the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie (Belgium), the Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana (Italy), and the Asheville Symphony (USA). His Pittsburgh debut recital in January 2012 was named the Best Classical Concert of 2012 by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has performed in Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Iceland, China, Switzerland, Great Britain, Canada and the United States.
A passionate and experienced chamber musician, Mr. Bendix-Balgley was the 1st violinist of the Athlos String Quartet from 2008 until 2011. The Athlos Quartet won a special prize at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Competition in Berlin, and performed throughout Europe. In 2011, he performed on North American tour with the Miro String Quartet. He has performed with artists including Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Gary Hoffman, Lars Vogt, Ralph Kirshbaum, and percussionist Colin Currie. Mr. Bendix-Balgley has appeared at many festivals in Europe and North America, including the Verbier Festival, the Sarasota Festival, ChamberFest Cleveland, and Chamber Music Connects the World in Kronberg, Germany.
Mr. Bendix-Balgley earned his postgraduate Meisterklasse diploma for violin in 2008 from Hochschule für Musik und Theater Munich, where he studied with Professor Christoph Poppen. In 2006, he received a Bachelor of Music degree with highest distinction from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he was a student of Professor Mauricio Fuks and also a Wells Scholar.
Born in Asheville, North Carolina in 1984, Mr. Bendix-Balgley began playing violin at age 4. At age 9, he played for Lord Yehudi Menuhin in Switzerland. From 1995 to 1997, he studied violin with Anne Crowden while attending The Crowden School in Berkeley, California. In his spare time, he enjoys playing klezmer music. He has played with world-renowned klezmer groups such as Brave Old World, and has taught klezmer violin at workshops in Europe and in the United States.
Mr. Bendix-Balgley plays on a Lorenzo Ventapane violin, made in Naples in the early 19th century.
His first recital CD, "A Musical Tour of the early 20th Century" (Anima Records) was recorded in Switzerland in 2011 and is now available.
Francisco de Galvez, Conductor - born in Málaga, Spain, is one of the leading Spanish conductors of his generation. He obtained international recognition when he was awarded First Prize and Gold Medal at the 1994 Tokyo International Conducting Competition (Min-On), among 194 conductors of 36 countries. He was the Music Director of University of Malaga Chamber Orchestra since 2004 and was Music Director of The Malaga Symphony Orchestra between 1998 and 2011. As a guest conductor, Francisco has performed with the Berliner Symphoniker, Zagreb Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo City and Osaka Philharmonics, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, Filarmonica di Russe Orchestra, Postdam Philharmonic, Sinfonica di Sofia, Fort Worth Symphony, Danish Radio Orchestra, Flanders Opera, Spanish National Orchestra, Madrid Symphony and the Málaga, Seville and Granada Symphony Orchestras, among many others.
He was Artistic Director of Contemporary Music Cycles organized by the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra between 1995 and 2000. He was director and founder of the Montreal Chamber Players Orchestra in 1991, with whom he performed extensively in North America and Spain. He conducted on this orchestra’s first CD, as well as its numerous recordings for radio and TV.
Dr. De Gálvez obtained a PhD “cum laude” in Music and Communication at Malaga University. Later in Canada, he studied Conducting, Composition, Orchestration and Analysis and graduated with a Master in Orchestral Conducting at McGill University, Montreal. His main teachers in conducting have been Timothy Vernon and Ferdinand Leitner. He also studied conducting at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, and Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy. In 1993 he continued his studies with Carlo Maria Giulini in Milan, Italy. He has an extensive musical background as a violinist (Título Superior-Madrid; Orquesta Nacional de España; Performing Diploma-Royal College, London, England; Master-McGill, Montreal, Canada). Between 1995 and 1998 he lived in Berlin, where he performed with various orchestras (it is worth mentioning his conducting of the World´s Premiere of Carlo Domeniconi’s El trino del diablo at the Philharmonie, later presented at the Istambul International Music Festival and recorded on CD).
Dr. De Gálvez now lives with his family in Ogden, Utah, teaches and is Director of Orchestral Studies at Weber State University. He has developed an intensive and creative musical program, consisting of regular season symphony concerts, chamber music series, school concerts, and artistic events.
Rudolph Kremer, Violin / Viola - Rudolph Kremer began playing with the San Francisco Symphony in 1995 and performs frequently with the Chicago Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra. He holds a master’s degree from Western Illinois University, where he studied with Almita and Roland Vamos. He was first violinist of the Fidelio String Quartet in Lisbon, Portugal while teaching at that city’s National Superior Academy of Music, and he served as assistant concertmaster and principal second violin of the Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra of Lisbon. He has also played with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Florida Orchestra, The International Orchestra of Italy, and the Malaysian Philharmonic. Mr. Kremer often gets the chance to perform with his brother and sister-in-law in Tokyo, Japan as a guest in their duo. He is also an expert in cooking spicy chicken wings.
Sang Mee Lee, Violin / Viola - holds both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School of Music. She has studied privately with Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, Masao Kawasaki, Felix Galimir, Joseph Gingold, Roland and Almita Vamos, Victor Aitay, Betty Haag. In addition she has been in master classes with Salvatore Accardo, David Cerone, Sidney Harth, Cho-Liang Lin, Robert Lipsett, Ruggiero Ricci and Pinchas Zukerman. She has been at the Aspen Summer Music Festival, the Encore School for Strings, and Meadowmount School for Strings. Ms. Lee has given recitals throughout the country and has made solo appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the Korean Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra and others.
Sang Mee received top prizes in the Tibor Varga and Leopold Mozart International Competitions for Violin, the Irving M. Klein Competition, Seventeen Magazine/General Motors Concerto Competition, Julius Stulberg Auditions, and Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. She is co-founder of the Metamorphosen Chamber Ensemble of Boston, and is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions including Honorary Member of the Delta Omicron Fraternity.
Shi-Hwa Wang, Violin / Viola - Shi-Hwa Wang’s outstanding reputation as a violinist has earned him the post of concertmaster for several professional orchestras including the Taipei Symphony Orchestra in Taiwan, the Ballet West and Utah Chamber Orchestras in Salt Lake City, and the Classical Music Festival Orchestra in Eisenstadt, Austria. An avid chamber musician, he is the founding member of the Formosan Violin-Piano Duo, the Wasatch Piano Trio, Browning String Quartet, and the Kismarton String Quartet.
As an educator Dr. Wang is the Professor of Violin at Weber State University. He has a keen sense of teaching which allows his students to achieve their very best. His pupils have constantly been prize-winners of state and national competitions. Many have gone on to graduate programs of the top music universities in the country or become accomplished teachers after graduation from WSU.
Dr. Wang has served as a clinician, adjudicator, and master class teacher, both nationally and internationally. He has taught violin in the summer programs at the University of Michigan, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Illinois, the International Workshops in Europe, Classical Music Festival in Austria, and the Banff International Youth Orchestra Festival in Canada. He taught violin at the Haydn Conservatory of Music in Austria as a visiting professor and toured many European countries as a solo recitalist. He frequently adjudicates and conducts master classes in Music Teachers National Association or American String Teachers Association’s state and national competitions and the Kiwanis Festival in Calgary, Canada. He was on the planning committee in the first American String Teachers Association (ASTA) National Conference in 2003. He is the director of the annual WSU ASTA Stringfest for string players of all ages and the executive director of the Sid & Mary Foulger International Summer Music Festival. He has served as the state president of ASTA and was its Utah Educator of the Year recipient.
A graduate of Soochow University, Dr. Wang studied violin with Cheu-Sen Chen in Taiwan. He holds Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) where his teachers include Yuri Mazurkevich, Catherine Tate, and Peter Schaffer. He also studied with Paul Kantor in Michigan, Camilla Wicks in California, and the late Raphael Bronstein in New York. Other pedagogues he has worked with include Gerald Fischbach, Igor Ozim, Ivan Strauss, Jaap Schroeder, and Arianna Brone. A performer in great demand, Wang has appeared frequently as a soloist, chamber musician, and guest concertmaster in the US, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Canada, and Europe.
Almita Vamos, Violin - Almita Vamos is a graduate of the Juilliard School where she studied with Mischa Mischakoff and Louis Persinger. Almita Vamos has won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching six times, the ASTA Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award, and has been featured on “Sunday Morning” CBS and in the New York Times best-selling book, Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mom by Amy Chua. Mrs. Vamos has served on the violin faculty of the Western Illinois University, University of Minnesota, and the Oberlin Conservatory. Currently, she is a professor of violin at Northwestern University and the Music Institute of Chicago and in the summer, she is on faculty at the Chautauqua Summer Music Institute.
Mrs. Vamos’ students have won top prizes in many national competitions including Klein, Stuhlburg, Johannsen, Corpus Christi, Kingsville; and international competitions including Tchaikovsky, Carl Flesch, Menuhin, Bach, (Leipzig), Szigeti, Kreisler, Neilsen, Paganini and Montreal. Her students play in many orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston, St. Louis, San Francisco, Los Angeles, National Symphony, Minnesota, Hong Kong, and Oslo Philharmonic and among others. She was a member of the Lydian Trio and the Antioch Quartet, and has recorded under cornet and Rizzoli labels. She has concertized throughout North, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. Her recitals in New York won praise from the New York Times and Herald Tribune. She won the Concert Artist Guild Award, among many other prizes, and has performed recitals at the 92nd Street Y, Town Hall and Carnegie Recital Hall. She continues to perform as soloist and chamber musician in America and abroad. Mrs. Vamos and her husband have recently commissioned and recorded works for violin and viola by living composers in Chicago.
Roland Vamos, Violin / Viola - Roland Vamos graduated from the Juilliard School, where he received his BS, MS, and Doctoral degrees. He studied with Oscar Shumsky and William Lincer. Mr. Vamos has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and other television programs. He was the conductor of Eastern Kentucky University Orchestra and Western Illinois University Orchestra for fourteen years and conducted the Opera Orchestra at the University of Minnesota. Formerly a Professor of Viola at Oberlin College and the University of Minnesota, Dr. Vamos has been teaching at the Music Institute of Chicago for 28 years, is presently Professor of Viola at Northwestern University, and conductor of the American Chamber Orchestra since its inception. He teaches viola and chamber music at the Chautauqua Summer Music Institute.
He has presented master classes worldwide, and has served as jury member for many national and international competitions. His students are laureates of numerous national and international competitions, including Tchaikovsky, the Tchaikovsky for Youth, Sibelius, Lexus, Klein, Queen Elizabeth, Menuhin, Paganini, Hamms and Primrose and Montreal. In 1993, he co-founded the Weathersfield Music Festival. Dr. Vamos holds the ASTA distinguished service award and twice received the Presidential Excellence in teaching. Dr. Vamos has held the position of soloist and concertmaster of several orchestras and was a member of the Contemporary String Quartet, the Antioch String Quartet, and the Morningside Trio. As a conductor and soloist he has appeared in Europe, Australia, Iceland, Korea, Taiwan, and the United States.
Roland and Almita Vamos are among the leading violin and viola pedagogues in the world. Their pupils have become prominent soloists, members of world renowned chamber groups, orchestras, and laureates of prestigious international competitions. The Vamoses have been recognized at the White House seven times and were named Distinguished Teachers by the National Endowment for the Arts. They have been honored by the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) with the Distinguished Service Award, and showcased on CBS' Sunday Morning News.
Dr. and Mrs. Vamos are members of the faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago and at Northwestern University. Prior to their position at Northwestern, they were on the faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Matthew Young, Viola - Matthew Young joined the San Francisco Symphony's viola section in the 2012-13 season. Winner of a 2007 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians, he has also performed with the Boston Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and was an 8 year member of the Minnesota Orchestra acting 3 years as assistant principal.
Young was a founding member of the Verklärte Quartet, which won grand prize in the 2003 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, touring the US and Italy. He currently is a member of Ensemble SF www.ensemblesanfrancisco.org.
Young is active as an educator, he is on the faculty of the National Orchestral Institute, the San Francisco Academy Orchestra and the Stanford Youth Orchestra. He studied with Robert Vernon at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was awarded the Robert Vernon Prize in Viola Performance; he also attended the University of Kentucky and Yale School of Music.
Young has performed at the Emilia Romagna Festival, Aspen, Tanglewood, Yellow Barn, Banff, Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Sommerfest, The Quartet Program, New York String Seminar, Sarasota, etc. He was raised on his family's farm in rural Kentucky and grew up competitively training and showing horses.