Joaquín Achúcarro, pianist
Joaquín Achúcarro has been described by the Chicago Sun Times as “The Consummate Artist.” His impeccable and model artistic career has earned him a reputation of the highest degree both national and internationally. Born in Bilbao, he won a number of international prizes in Spain, France, Italy, and Switzerland during his student days, but it was his victory in England at the 1959 Liverpool International Competition (one year after Zubin Mehta had won it as conductor) and the rave reviews in the London papers after his debut with the London Symphony in the Royal Festival Hall that marked the beginning of his career. Since then, Achúcarro has been enjoying an uninterrupted international career. He has toured 61 countries performing in venues such as Avery Fisher Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw, Kennedy Center, Musikverein, Royal Albert Hall, Salle Gaveau, Salle Pleyel, Teatro alla Scalla, Suntory Hall, Sydney Opera House, Teatro Colón, and The Barbican, both in recital and as a soloist. He has performed with over 200 different orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, La Scala of Milan, London Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, Sta Cecilia di Roma, RTE Ireland, BBC Symphony, Philharmonia, Royal Scottish, City of Birmingham, Hallé, National de France, Yomiuri, Tokyo Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony, RIAS Berlin, Tonkunstler Wien, Nacional de Chile, de Mexico, de Colombia, de Venezuela, and of course, every Spanish orchestra. He has played with an impressive list of more than 350 conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Sir Adrian Boult, Riccardo Chailly, Sir Colin Davis, Zubin Mehta, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Seiji Ozawa, and Sir Simon Rattle.
He was named “Artist for Peace” in 2000 by UNESCO in Paris in recognition of “his extraordinary artistic achievement.” He is Accademico ad Honorem of the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and in his home country, Achúcarro has achieved the highest honors in the arts: the Gold Medal of Fine Arts and the National Award for Music. In 2003, King Juan Carlos of Spain bestowed upon him the Great Cross of Civil Merit.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) named the miniplanet 2131 after Achúcarro, as a tribute to his successful international career.
His 2010 DVD/Blu-Ray Achúcarro plays Brahms, in which he plays the Brahms Concerto No. 2 with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony (Opus Arte label), received five-star reviewed throughout Europe. It was named “Editor’s Choice” of Classic FM Magazine and rated “Outstanding” by the International Record Review (both in London) and climbed to the top of the bestsellers and “Hot New Releases” charts on Amazon. The following year, Euroarts released Achúcarro’s DVD/Blu-Ray Falla and Friends, with the pianist performing Falla’s Nights in the Garden of Spain with the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle, which also garnered critical acclaim. In 2014, Sony reissued two of his recordings: Goyescas by Granados (Choc Prize in Classical Music 2014) and Achúcarro, poeta del piano.
Achúcarro has revised Joaquin Rodrigo’s Piano Concerto, which he has also recorded for Sony. He has made prizewinning recordings of de Falla, Granados, Ravel, and Brahms with BMG-RCA, Claves, and Ensayo. Other recordings include music by Schumann, Schubert, Chopin, Beethoven, Debussy, Bartok, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Turina, and Hermann.
Since August 1989 he has held the Joel Estes Tarte Chair at SMU in Dallas, adjusting his teaching periods to his busy concert schedule.
In 2007, The Joaquín Achúcarro Foundation was created by a group of individuals and institutions from the Dallas community “to perpetuate his artistic and teaching legacy” and to help young pianists at the outset of their careers.
Rune Bergmann, conductor
An energetic and compelling figure on the podium, Norwegian conductor Rune Bergmann (pronounced Rue-na Bairg-mahn) is a dynamic, versatile conductor with an extensive classical, romantic, operatic and contemporary repertoire. Considered among today’s most talented young Scandinavian conductors, his elegant interpretations and reputation as an inspiring and profound musician continue to attract the attention of orchestras throughout the world.
Recently named Music Director Designate of Canada’s Calgary Philharmonic as well as Artistic Director & Chief Conductor of Poland’s Szczecin Philharmonic, Bergmann has been Artistic Director of Norway’s innovative Fjord Cadenza Festival since its inception in 2010. Additionally, he regularly conducts a wide range of distinguished orchestras and opera houses around the world, including such auspices as the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Norwegian National Opera, Mainfranken Theater Würzburg, and Philharmonie Südwestfalen, as well as the symphony orchestras of Malmö, Helsingborg, Bergen, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Trondheim, Karlskrona, and Odense, and Lisbon's Orquestra Sinfonica Portuguesa. In North America, he has guested with such orchestras as the Alabama Symphony Orchestra (where he led the world premiere of Grawemeyer Award-winning Serbian composer Djuro Zivkovic’s Psalm XIII), Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Houston Symphony Orchestras, and New Mexico Philharmonic, and the Brevard Music Festival. The 15/16 season saw Bergmann make a joint North American operatic debut at Yale Opera with innovative stage director Claudia Solti.
Upcoming highlights of Bergmann's 16/17 season include return engagements in Calgary, Lisbon and New Mexico, as well as North American debuts with the Edmonton, Hawaii, Pacific, and Toledo Symphony Orchestras and the Wrocław and Argovia Philharmonics in Europe. The 16/17 season also marks the beginning of Bergmann's tenure as the new Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Szczecin Philharmonic in Poland, and the continuation of his role as Principal Guest Conductor of the Kaunas City Symphony in Lithuania.
A multitalented musician who also plays trumpet, piano, and violin/viola, Rune Bergmann studied choral and orchestral conducting under Anders Eby, Jin Wang and Jorma Panula at Sweden’s Royal College of Music. He graduated with high honors from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland, where he studied conducting under Chief Conductor Emeritus of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/former principal conductor of the Vienna Radio, Finnish Radio, and Danish National symphony orchestras, Leif Segerstam. Honors include the 2010 Kjell Holm Foundation Culture Prize, the 2009 SMP Press culture award, and second prize in Helsingborg’s 2002 Nordic Conducting Competition. Maestro Bergmann’s former posts include deputy – General Musik Direktor with the Augsburger Philharmoniker and Theater Augsburg in Germany.
Gemma New, conductor
Sought after for her insightful interpretations and dynamic presence, New Zealand-born conductor Gemma New is Music Director for the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra in Ontario, Canada and Resident Conductor for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Maintaining a close relationship with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio, New also enjoys guest engagements this season with the Malmö SymfoniOrkester in Malmö, Sweden, Orlando Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra in Winnipeg, Canada.
Through creative programming and electric performances, New is committed to growing the artistic reach of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. In her first concert as Music Director, she launched a new Family Concert series, which merged the wonder of music, science, and Canadian culture through the combination of multimedia presentations and 21st century music. In the 2016-17 Season, New explores a wide range of fresh repertoire with the HPO, introduces Hamilton audiences to international soloists, and highlights local theatrical and choral talent. Through her leadership and collaboration with artistic staff, New brings interdisciplinary orchestral performances to the mainstage and in outreach programming across the region.
As Resident Conductor for the St. Louis Symphony, New leads education, family, community, and Live at Powell Hall performances, covers for Music Director David Robertson and guest conductors, and serves as Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. She moves to the St. Louis Symphony from her successful time with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra as its Associate Conductor. In recent seasons, New has guest conducted several orchestras, including the Atlanta, Toledo, Long Beach, and Miami Symphonies in the USA, as well as the Christchurch Symphony and Opus Orchestras in New Zealand.
A former Dudamel Conducting Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New has led youth, school, and community programs with the LA Phil, and assisted Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen and other guest conductors. Additional significant experiences include a David A. Karetsky Conducting Fellowship at the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, and an Ansbacher Fellowship, during which she was selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic to take up residence at the Salzburg Music Festival. New has also resided in Leipzig, Germany as a Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Fellow, where she studied Mendelssohn’s music with Kurt Masur and led the Leipziger Symphonieorchester in the historic Lindensaal of Markkleeberg.
Holding a strong interest in contemporary music, New made her Carnegie Hall conducting debut in 2013 when she lead works by John Adams and Andrew Norman on the American Soundscapes series. She is Founder of the Lunar Ensemble, currently in its seventh season, which recently performed as a headliner for the National New Music Gathering in Baltimore, Maryland. New has conducted several contemporary operas, as well as assisted operas by Mozart, Verdi, and Ravel. With the LA Phil, she has assisted for semi-staged productions of Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. This season, New leads a Wagner/Arnauld arrangement of Tristan und Isolde with the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio.
New holds a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, where she studied with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar. She graduated from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand with a Bachelor of Music (Honors) in violin performance.
Conrad Tao, pianist/composer
Conrad Tao has appeared worldwide as a pianist and composer, and has been dubbed a musician of “probing intellect and open-hearted vision” by the New York Times, a “thoughtful and mature composer” by NPR, and “ferociously talented” by TimeOut New York. In June of 2011, the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the Department of Education named Tao a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts awarded him a YoungArts gold medal in music. Later that year, Tao was named a Gilmore Young Artist, an honor awarded every two years highlighting the most promising American pianists of the new generation. In May of 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.
Tao’s 2016-17 season begins with the world premiere of David Lang’s new opera the loser at Brooklyn Academy of Music in September, where he will join baritone Rod Gilfry atop elevated platforms suspended in air, performing to a mezzanine-seating-only audience. From there, Tao oversees the premiere of a new orchestral work, I got a wiggle that I just can’t shake, commissioned by the Pacific Symphony; premieres a new piano concerto commissioned by the Atlantic Classical Orchestra; debuts the second work of his commissioned by Jaap van Zweden and the Hong Kong Philharmonic; and performs with the Giuseppe Verdi Orchestra in Milan, the Nashville Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México, the Staatskapelle Halle, the Tucson Symphony, and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, among others. His recitals and chamber performances – including appearances at the Aspen Music Festival, Cliburn Concerts, the Gulbenkian in Lisbon, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and the Washington Performing Arts Society – comprise music by Frederic Rzewski, Julia Wolfe, Charles Ives, Mozart, a new commissioned work by John Supko, and much more.
In June of 2013, Tao kicked off the inaugural UNPLAY Festival at the powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, which he curated and produced. The festival, designated a “critics’ pick” by Time Out New York and hailed by the New York Times for its “clever organization” and “endlessly engaging” performances, featured Conrad with guest artists performing a wide variety of new works. Across three nights encompassing electroacoustic music, performance art, youth ensembles, and much more, UNPLAY explored the fleeting ephemera of the Internet, the possibility of a 21st-century canon, and music’s role in social activism and critique. That month, Tao, a Warner Classics recording artist, also released Voyages, his first full-length for the label, declared a “spiky debut” by the New Yorker’s Alex Ross. Of the album, NPR wrote: “Tao proves himself to be a musician of deep intellectual and emotional means – as the thoughtful programming on this album…proclaims.” His next album, Pictures, which slots works by David Lang, Toru Takemitsu, Elliott Carter, and Tao himself alongside Mussorgsky’s familiar and beloved Pictures at an Exhibition, was hailed by The New York Times as “a fascinating album [by] a thoughtful artist and dynamic performer…played with enormous imagination, color and command.”
Tao's career as composer has garnered an eight consecutive ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and the Carlos Surinach Prize from BMI. In the 2013-14 season, while serving as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's artist-in-residence, Tao premiered his orchestral composition, The world is very different now. Commissioned in observance of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the work was described by the New York Times as “shapely and powerful.” Most recently, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia commissioned a new work for piano, orchestra, and electronics, An Adjustment, which received its premiere in September 2015 with Tao at the piano. The Philadelphia Inquirer declared the piece abundant in “compositional magic,” a “most imaginative [integration of] spiritual post-Romanticism and ‘90s club music.”
Tao was born in Urbana, Illinois, in 1994. He has studied piano with Emilio del Rosario in Chicago and Yoheved Kaplinsky in New York, and composition with Christopher Theofanidis.
Ramon Tebar, conductor
Acclaimed for his musical versatility, compelling interpretations and orchestra building skills, conductor Ramón Tebar’s international reputation in both the opera and orchestral arenas continues to expand. A popular guest conductor worldwide, Mr. Tebar has the distinction of being the first Spanish conductor to be appointed Music Director of an American opera company, the Florida Grand Opera (FGO).
Considered one of the leading Spanish conductors of his generation, Tebar began his tenure as Principal Guest Conductor of Spain’s Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofia this fall 2015; he continues his long-term relationship with FGO as Principal Conductor; serves as Artistic Director of Florida’s Palm Beach Symphony and of Opera Naples, and as Music Director of the Dominican Republic’s biannual Festival Musical de Santo Domingo.
Tebar's guesting credits include leading operatic repertoire for such distinguished organizations as Italy's Teatro Regio di Torino, Martina Franca Festival, and Teatro Lirico di Cagliari; Germany's Kolner Philharmonie; Russia's Kremlin Palace; Netherlands' Het Concertgebouw, Theatro Municipal de São Paulo in Brazil, Festival de Opera de A Coruña (Spain), and Argentina's Teatro Colon. Among his orchestral guesting credits are Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Orquesta y Coro Nacional de España, Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa, Orquesta Sinfonica Ciudad de Oviedo, and Orquesta de Radio Television Espanola in Spain; St. Petersburg Symphony and Moscow State Symphony Orchestra in Russia; Orchestra de Rouen Haute-Normandie in France; Het Gelders Orkest in the Netherlands; Bulgarian National Radio Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional Orchestra in Peru, and Orchestra Teatro Regio di Torino and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Italy, to name a few.
Amongst the numerous acclaimed artists with whom he has worked are Roberto Alagna, Joshua Bell, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Montserrat Caballe, Joseph Calleja, Gautier Capucon, Placido Domingo, Angela Gheorghiu, Maria Guleghina, Ben Heppner, Gregory Kunde, and Renata Scotto.
Born in Valencia, Spain, Ramón Tebar began working as a pianist and Assistant Conductor in his
hometown at the age of fifteen. He served as Assistant Conductor with the Youth National Orchestra of Spain (Joven Orquesta Nacional de Espana, JONDE), and in the meantime, he graduated with honors in his hometown Conservatory Since his arrival in the US in 2005, he has been part of the musical staff of Palm Beach Opera and Cincinnati Opera, working in around 40 opera productions. Maestro Tebar has been recognized with various honors and awards, includingthe Henry C. Clark Conductor of the Year Award by Florida Grand Opera in 2010 and 2013, being featured in 2014 by the Miami Herald as "Top 20 under 40", and by the Spanish journal ABC among "Ten International Spanish Conductors. In 2014, Ramón Tebar received his highest honor to date: His Majesty, the King of Spain Felipe VI, granted Tebar the Cross of Office of the Order of Mérito Civil in recognition of his cultural accomplishments.