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String Program



Sarah Bullen, Masterclasses Only
Marguerite Lynn Williams


Frank Almond
Cornelius Chiu
Stefan Hersh
Mark Lakirovich
Jasmine Lin
David Taylor
Almita Vamos
MingHuan Xu
Yuan-Qing Yu


Roger Chase, Masterclasses Only
Igor Fedotov
Lawrence Neuman  
Roland Vamos


Karen Basrak
Tanya Carey
Richard Hirschl, Head of Strings
John Sharp 

Double Bass

Andrew Anderson 
Zachary Cohen
John Floeter

Sarah Bullen

Sarah Bullen has been Principal Harp of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1997. She came to Chicago after ten years as Principal Harp with the New York Philharmonic. She has also been Principal Harp with the Utah Symphony.

Bullen is critically acclaimed as a chamber musician and as soloist in more than fifty concerto appearances with orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Utah Symphony, Jupiter Symphony, Fairbanks Symphony, Greenwich Philharmonic, and Haydn-Mozart Chamber Orchestra. She has appeared as a featured soloist and lecturer at American Harp Society conventions and the World Harp Congress in Denmark. Bullen has also served as a judge for both the American Harp Society and the USA International Harp Competition. She received a Naumburg Award upon graduation from the Juilliard School, where she earned the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees.

Bullen has established herself as a leading educator, presenting master classes in Russia, South America, London, Paris, Vienna and throughout the United States. She served as chairperson of the Harp department at Manhattan School of Music and is the author of the best-selling book Principal Harp, A Guidebook for the Orchestral Harpist, now in its second printing.


Marguerite Lynn Williams

Principal Harpist of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Marguerite Lynn Williams has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. She has won numerous national competitions including twice the American Harp Society's national competition and Anne Adams Awards. She has appeared as a featured performer and lecturer at American Harp Society conventions and the World Harp Congress in Vancouver as well as served as judge for both the American Harp Society and Young Artist's Harp Competitions.

An experienced orchestra musician, Ms. Williams has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and Toronto Symphony. She performed as substitute Principal Harp for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra during the 2008-2009 season. Previously she was Principal Harp of the New World Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, New Philharmonic Orchestra (Glyn Ellen, IL), DuPage Opera Orchestra, and Colorado Music Festival. Ms. Williams is a founding member of the Chicago Harp Quartet, International Chamber Artists, Project Copernicus, and Lyrica Trio.

Marguerite Lynn Williams attended the Eastman School of Music where she received both a Bachelor of Music degree and Performer's Certificate studying with Kathleen Bride. She then attended Roosevelt University to study with Sarah Bullen, where she received a Master's Degree in Orchestral Studies. Since its founding in 2010, Ms. Williams has been Director of the Chicago Harp Ensemble. Along with being a passionate pedagogue, she is an avid arranger of harp music including two volumes of harp ensemble music published by Lyon & Healy as well as nearly 100 other arrangements and original compositions available through her publishing house Harp Press.


Frank AlmondFrank Almond

Violinist Frank Almond holds the Charles and Marie Caestecker Concertmaster Chair at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He returned to the MSO after holding positions as Concertmaster of the Rotterdam Philharmonic with Valery Gergiev, and Guest Concertmaster of the London Philharmonic with Kurt Masur. Other Guest Concertmaster appearances have included the Seattle Symphony, the Montreal Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, and the Grand Tetons Music Festival. He continues an active schedule of solo and chamber music performances in the US and abroad including appearances with the Ojai Festival, Frankly Music, An die Musik, the Nara Academy in Nara, Japan, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Music in the Vineyards, and various solo appearances with orchestras. He has been a member of the chamber group An die Musik in New York City since 1997, and also founded and directs the much-loved and somewhat notorious Frankly Music Chamber Series based in Milwaukee. At 17, he was one of the youngest prizewinners in the history of the Nicolo Paganini Competition in Genoa, Italy, and five years later was one of two American prizewinners at the Eighth International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, which was documented in an award-winning PBS film. Since then he has kept up an eclectic mix of activities in addition to his concertmaster duties, appearing both as a soloist and chamber musician.

In addition to his work with An die Musik, Mr. Almond’s work as a chamber musician has generated collaborations over the years with many of today’s well-known institutions, including the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Hal Leonard Corporation, the Ravinia Festival, La Jolla Summerfest, Music in the Vineyards, and numerous other summer festivals.

Mr. Almond holds two degrees from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Dorothy DeLay. Other important teachers included Michael Tseitlin, Felix Galimir, and Joseph Silverstein. He has held academic positions at San Diego State University, Texas Christian University, and is currently on the faculty at Northwestern University.

He plays on a violin by Antonio Stradivari from 1715, the “ex-Lipinski”. In December 2011, he appeared in concerts and masterclasses in Poland to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Karol Lipinski performing on his former violin. In July 2012 he was featured in an episode of NatGeo’s America’s Lost Treasures.


Cornelius Chiu

Violinist Cornelius Chiu has a versatile career as a chamber and orchestral musician as well as soloist. He is a protege of the famed pedagogue Josef Gingold and graduated with a Bachelor's and Master's degree in music performance with highest distinction from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. While at Indiana he was awarded a performer's certificate as well as a fellowship and was a Starling scholar. His other teachers while at Indiana were Franco Gulli, Yuval Yaron, and Nelli Shkolnikova. He received noteworthy distinction from Isaac Stern in master class and studied chamber music with Janos Starker, Rostislav Dubinsky, Miriam Fried, Menahem Pressler, Gyorgy Sebok, and Edward Auer. 

He has performed as soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Chamber Symphony Orchestra, and the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, and debuted at the Kennedy Center in 1993. Prior to 1996, when he was invited by Daniel Barenboim to join as a first violinist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cornelius had won positions in both the Dallas Symphony and the Chicago Lyric Opera. In 2007 and 2008 he was invited by Myung Whun Chung to participate in the Asian Philharmonic Orchestra, a cultural exchange of Asian musicians from around the world.

His interest in chamber music began at Indiana after winning the Kuttner Quartet Competition. As a member of the Kuttner Quartet he represented the school in numerous concerts around the area. He has participated at the Recontres Musicales and St. Nazaire Festivals in France, the Ensemble Villa Musica in Germany, and the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival. He has performed with the Grammy-winning Pro Musica ensemble, and his interest in contemporary music has led him to work closely with Pierre Boulez, Augusta Read Thomas, and Cliff Colnot. He performs regularly in the MusicNow series at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has performed with the Cube Ensemble in Chicago. He yearly performs with his colleagues in the CSO Chamber Music Series and with his wife Inah forms the Corinah Duo which has performed and been broadcast nationally. Also, on a yearly basis he performs duo recitals with his brother Frederic Chiu, a successful concert pianist and recording artist.

A dedicated teacher, Cornelius has taught a private studio for over twenty years and has been on the faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago and the Wheaton Conservatory of Music. He plays on a violin made in 1787 by Giuseppe Gagliano

Stefan HershStefan Hersh 

Stefan Hersh enjoys a varied career, equally at home as a chamber musician, soloist, orchestral musician and pedagogue. He performs nationally as a guest artist, teacher and lecturer both as a guest performer, and as a member of the Rembrandt Chamber Players. Mr. Hersh moved to Chicago in 1995 from Minneapolis where he was Principal Second Violin with the Minnesota Orchestra. He was the Second Violinist of the Chicago String Quartet, and a member of the Chicago Chamber Musicians until 2000.

Mr. Hersh began his career in his native San Francisco Bay Area where he studied at the San Francisco Conservatory with Isidore Tinkleman, David Abel and Camilla Wicks. As a student Hersh attended the Aspen and Tanglewood festivals. After completing his training, Mr. Hersh became Concertmaster of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and Sinfonia San Francisco, and founded several chamber music series’ in the San Francisco area. In 1989 Mr. Hersh joined the Vancouver Symphony as Assistant Concertmaster where he remained until joining the Minnesota Orchestra in 1991.

Mr. Hersh has been heard as a chamber musician nationwide in venues including the Bard, Ravinia, Olympic, Skaneatles, Moab, Taos, Colorado College, Roycroft and Chamber Music West festivals. In 1993 Mr. Hersh performed Mozart’s Concertone for Two Violins with Violinist Joseph Silverstein and the Minnesota Orchestra. Hersh’s 1995 solo performance of Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy with the Minnesota Orchestra drew critical praise from the press and was featured on national radio broadcasts through Public Radio International.

Mr. Hersh comes from a musical family. Hersh’s paternal grandparents were both professional musicians. Recital collaborations between Hersh and his father, pianist Paul Hersh have included complete Beethoven and Brahms Sonata Cycles across the U.S. and lecture/performance residencies at a number of American Universities. In 2002 Stefan and Paul Hersh released a set of recordings of the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Violin and Piano.

Mark LakirovichMark Lakirovich

Mark Lakirovich is one of the most sought-after violin and viola teachers today. Mr. Lakirovich travels extensively giving master-classes, coaching chamber ensembles and conducting symphony and chamber orchestras in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Mexico, Russia, and the Ukraine. He frequently serves as an adjudicator at various national and international competitions. Mr. Lakirovich is founder and Artistic Director of the Cremona International Music Academy and Competition (Italy) and Regensburg Summer Music Academy (Germany).

As a soloist, conductor, chamber and orchestral musician, Mr. Lakirovich has performed in major concert halls in Europe, Israel, former Soviet Union, Australia, and the U.S., including music festivals in Salzburg, Vienna, Bregenz, Paris, Zurich, Geneva, Madrid and Amsterdam. He served as Associate Concertmaster with Queensland Theatre Orchestra and as Concertmaster with Queensland Pops Orchestra (Australia) and was a member of the Beer Sheva Chamber Orchestra (Israel) and thr Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra and the Stuttgart Philharmonic Trio (Germany).

Mr. Lakirovich was the co-founder and principal of the Stoliarsky School of Music in Brisbane and Sydney, Australia, and has served as a string and chamber music faculty member  at the Sydney Conservatory of Music, Stuttgart School of Music, Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts, Special Music School, and Lucy Moses School at Kaufman Center in New York City. Professor Lakirovich has also served as Associate Director for Education Programs and Director of the Special Music School at the Kaufman Center in New York City, and as an Executive Director of Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts, Michigan.

Mark Lakirovich is a graduate of Azerbaijan State College of Music and Azerbaijan State Conservatory of Music, Music Academies of Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem (Israel), and Lucerne Conservatory of Music (Switzerland).


Jasmine Lin

Jasmine Lin

Jasmine Lin began violin studies at age four.  She has since appeared as soloist with orchestras including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of Brazil, and National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan.  She was a prizewinner in both the International Paganini and Naumburg Competitions.  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 toured extensively with the Chicago String Quartet, the Overseas Musicians, and Taiwan Connection Festival.  She was an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern and DePaul Universities and a faculty member of the Taos School of Music. Ms. Lin is a founding and current member of the Formosa Quartet, which won first prize in the 10th London International String Quartet Competition.  The Formosa's recording on the EMI Debut Series won critical acclaim, and the quartet has performed in venues around the world including the Chicago Cultural Center, Caramoor, Taipei's Novel Hall, BBC In Tune, and Wigmore Hall.

A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Ms. Lin 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 resulted in collaborations with Dana Wilson, David Loeb, and Thomas Oboe Lee. In the 1999-2000 season Ms. Lin was Assistant Concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.  She is a member of Trio Voce, which has recorded CDs on the Con Brio label, and the Chicago Chamber Musicians, whose Composer Perspectives series won the ASCAP award for adventuresome programming.  She received a Grammy nomination for her performance in CCM's CD of works by Mozart.

David Taylor

David Taylor, known to Chicago audiences as a versatile soloist, chamber player, and orchestral musician, joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as Assistant Concertmaster in 1979.

Born in Canton, Ohio in 1949, Mr. Taylor first studied with his father at the age of four.  Later teachers included Margaret Randall and Rafael Druian at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School, where Mr. Taylor earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. In 1974 Mr. Taylor joined the Cleveland Orchestra, where he was a first violinist before coming to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1979.  Mr. Taylor has made fourteen appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with conductors Sir Georg Solti and  Kenneth Jean. Critics praised his “well-focused tone, poised line, and aristocratic phrasing” (John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune), calling him “a splendid soloist” (Robert Marsh, Chicago Sun-Times). Mr. Taylor has been the Acting-Concertmaster of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He has for many years been the Concertmaster of the ArsViva Chamber Orchestra.

A lover of Chamber music, Mr. Taylor is the violinist of the Pressenda Piano Trio. Mr. Taylor gives recitals throughout the Chicagoland area,  performs  on WFMT, at the Ravinia Festival and solos with many orchestras in the Chicagoland area. Mr. Taylor teaches privately, at the Moody Bible Institute and at Roosevelt University and has students in orchestras across the United States and Japan.

Mr. Taylor plays on a J.B. Guadagnini violin made in 1744.


Almita Vamos

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 Western Illinois University, University of Minnesota, the Oberlin Conservatory, and Northwestern University. Mrs. Vamos is currently on the faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago and spends summers teaching 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 Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, and many others.

She was a member of the Lydian Trio and the Antioch Quartet, and has recorded under Coronet 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 a 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. 


MingHuan Xu

MingHuan Xu has performed extensively as a concerto soloist, duo-recitalist and chamber musician throughout five continents. Her latest recital and chamber music performances have brought her to prominent American venues including Carnegie-Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, Symphony Space, and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. In 2010 she performed recitals and taught master classes in China at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music, the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, and the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Her South American debut in 2006 brought her to the Festival Musica Nova in Brazil and the Festival Encuentros in Argentina. Her numerous performances have included live radio broadcasts on National Public Radio (NPR), WFMT (Chicago) and CBC Radio.

Recent festival and concert series appearances include Chamber Music North, the Colours of Music Festival, Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, Hawaii’s Ebb & Flow Arts Concert Series, the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society, the Mammoth Lakes Music Festival (CA), the SoundaXis Festival, the X-Avant Festival, and the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival. She has performed with such chamber musicians as Colin Carr, Eugene Drucker, Ilya Kaler, Ani Kavafian, and the St. Petersburg String Quartet. She also tours extensively and internationally as a part of Duo Diorama (with her husband, pianist Winston Choi) and as a member of Pivot Chamber Soloists.  

As a dedicated champion of contemporary music, Ms. Xu has closely collaborated with William Bolcom, John Corigliano, Gunther Schuller and Bright Sheng on performances of their music. She has commissioned and premiered over 40 works, and was recently awarded a Classical Commissioning Grant from Chamber Music America for a new work by Huang Ruo for her to premiere in late 2012 and beyond. She is a member of Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente, one of the most original and important new music groups active today. Other new music groups she has performed with include the CUBE Ensemble and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble.

Ms. Xu has soloed with orchestras such as the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra, the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, the Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra, the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra, the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, and the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra. Her recent guest concertmaster stints include the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony in Virginia and the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra in Wisconsin.

Ms. Xu studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Interlochen Arts Academy, Northwestern University, and Stony Brook University. Now an accomplished and devoted teacher, Ms. Xu taught at Grand Valley State University before moving to Chicago. Ms. Xu plays on a 1758 Nicolas Gagliano violin.

Yuan-Qing Yu

Yuan-Qing Yu is the winner of many international competitions, including Yehudi Menuhin and Marguerite Long -Jacque Thibaud International Violin competitions. She joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in 1995; a year later, Daniel Barenboim appointed her Assistant Concertmaster. Yuan-Qing has given numerous critically acclaimed performances as featured soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, and many other orchestras.  Yuan-Qing has appeared in recitals throughout the U.S. and Europe. Locally, she leads an active life as a soloist, chamber musician, teacher and advocate of the CSO. She is a regular guest soloist in many local venues, including WFMT "Live from WFMT" and Norton Concert Series. Yuan-Qing Yu has great enthusiasm for contemporary music - she gave the Chicago premier of Pierre Boulez’s Anthèmes 2 for violin solo – an extremely challenging piece.  Her performance won such high praise from both Maestro Boulez and the critics in Chicago that Boulez and Barneboim invited Yuan-Qing to perform this work in Berlin as part of the grand celebration concert for Maestro Boulez’s 80th birthday. She also performs regularly on MusicNow - CSO's new music series.

In chamber music, she collaborates with Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zukerman, Lang Lang, Menahem Pressler, and Yo-Yo Ma.  Her upcoming performances include a chamber concert with Yo-Yo Ma on CSO Symphony Center Presents. Yuan-Qing is a founding member of the Civitas Ensemble, a nonprofit chamber ensemble that performs more than 15 concerts a year, including outreach concerts for children at hospitals and schools. Yuan-Qing Yu also appears regularly as public speaker on topics related to "arts and community".  Her recent appearances include Chicago Humanities Festival and Aspen Arts Strategy Conference in NYC.  Prior to joining the CSO, Yuan-Qing earned an Artist Certificate and a Master of Music degree from Southern Methodist University.

Roger ChaseRoger Chase

Born in London, Roger Chase studied at the Royal College of Music with Bernard Shore and in Canada with Steven Staryk, also working for a short time with the legendary Lionel Tertis, whose famed Montagnana viola he now plays. He made his debut with the English Chamber Orchestra in 1979, and in 1987 appeared as a soloist at a Promenade Concert at The Royal Albert Hall in London. He has since played as a soloist or chamber musician in major cities throughout the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, the Middle East, India, most of Eastern and all of Western Europe, and Scandinavia.

Mr. Chase has been a member of many ensembles including the Nash Ensemble, the London Sinfonietta, the Esterhazy Baryton Trio, the Quartet of London, Hausmusik of London, and the London Chamber Orchestra. He has been invited to play as principal violist with every major British orchestra and many others in North America and Europe, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He has recorded for EMI, CRD, Hyperion, Cala, Virgin, and Floating Earth Records, demonstrating his diverse interests by playing with a folk group on an amplified viola, as a soloist on an authentic instrument, and as an exponent of the avant-garde. Mr. Chase has taught at the Royal College of Music, the Guildhall School, and the Royal Northern College of Music. From 2001 to 2005 he was a professor at Oberlin College, and as of September, 2005, he teaches at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts.


Igor Fedotov

A native of Russia, Igor Fedotov has performed solo recitals throughout the United States and abroad, including performances at the International Viola Congresses of 1996, 1997, and 2000, and the 2005 International Bass Convention on a duo recital with former principal bassist of the London Symphony, Thomas Martin. As a chamber musician, Fedotov has performed with such internationally renowned musicians as cellists Anner Bylsma and Ivan Monighetti, violist Sally Chisholm of Pro Arte Quartet, principal violist Charles Pickler of the Chicago Symphony, and cellist Martin Lovett from the Amadeus Quartet, among others. He has appeared as perfumer and teacher at festivals throughout the United States and Europe, including the Academies Internacionales du Grand Nancy and Bordeaux, France, Musiques en Mer, Italy, Musikdagar, Sweden, and Sewanee and Meadowmount Summer Schools in the United States. In addition, for eight years, from 2000 to 2008, Fedotov served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Stulberg International String Competition.

Fedotov is the recipient of a prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award. He as granted this support in 2006 for his research on music for viola by Russian composers of the 20th century. It was recorded by Naxos and released in February 2010. 


NeumanLawrence Neuman

Lawrence Neuman has been a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1991. Before coming to Chicago, he was violist with the Miami String Quartet.

A founding member of the Chicago-based Lincoln String Quartet, now in its 15th season, Lawrence Neuman is heard frequently in chamber music throughout the Chicago area and has performed in chamber ensembles across the United States and in Europe. He has been heard at the Marlboro Festival, SummerFest La Jolla, Music in the Vineyards, Token Creek Chamber Music Festival, Bach Dancing and Dynamite, Portland Chamber Music Festival, Quad-City Chamber Music, and Andover Chamber Music, and has collaborated with such artists as Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zukerman, Lydia Artymiw, Gil Shaham, Yefim Bronfman, and Aaron Rosand.

During the 1998-99 season, Neuman took a leave of absence from the Chicago Symphony to serve as principal viola of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Since 2003 he has been a member of the faculty of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

A native of Saint Louis, Missouri, Lawrence Neuman attended the Eastman School of Music, the University of Southern California, and the Cleveland Institute of Music. His teachers included Heidi Castleman, Donald McInnes, and Robert Vernon.

Roland Vamos

Roland Vamos graduated from the Juilliard School, where he received his BS, MS, and Doctoral degrees. He studied with Oscar Shumsky and William Lincer. He has served as conductor of the Eastern Kentucky University Orchestra, Western Illinois University Orchestra, the University of Minnesota Opera Orchestra, and currently conducts the Academy Chamber Orchestra at the Music Institute of Chicago

Formerly a Professor of Viola at Western Illinois University, the Oberlin Conservatory, the University of Minnesota, and Northwestern University, Dr. Vamos has been on faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago for over 30 years and spends summers teaching at the Chautauqua Summer Music Institute.

He has presented master classes worldwide, and has served as a 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, 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 award. Dr. Vamos has held the position of soloist and concertmaster in 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, China, Australia, Iceland, Korea, Taiwan, Canada, and the United States.


Karen BasrakKaren Basrak

Karen Basrak joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra cello section in 2012.

A native of Arlington Heights, Illinois, Basrak began her studies with Adele O'Dwyer, Gilda Barston and Richard Hirschl. She received her Bachelor of Music in cello performance at the University of Southern California (USC), where she studied with Eleonore Schoenfeld. While studying at USC she received numerous awards, most notably the Gregor Piatigorsky Award.

Before moving back to Illinois, Basrak was a member of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra as associate principal cello beginning in 2001, served as acting principal cello from 2002-05, and was principal cello from 2005-12.

Basrak has performed extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. She has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Northwest Symphony Orchestra, Harper Symphony Orchestra, Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Winnetka Chamber Orchestra, Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra, Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Westchester/Marin Del Ray Orchestra and American Youth Symphony. As an advocate of music education, she has performed in schools throughout the country; in recognition for her efforts she was awarded the key to the City of Greenville, South Carolina. 

Tanya CareyTanya Carey

Tanya Carey has presented masterclasses and concerts in over thirty states, Canada, Europe, England, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, and South America. Her orchestral experiences include the post of assistant principal of the Milwaukee Symphony, associate principal of the Quad City Symphony, and prizewinning recordings with the Rochester Philharmonic. As a recitalist and chamber musician, she has presented concerts in Tully and Carnegie Halls, performed concertos with orchestra, and recorded two records with the Lydian Trio including a commissioned trio by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, the Trio by Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Faure and Dvorak Piano Quartets.

She has earned Faculty Excellence, Faculty Merit, and Outstanding Teacher Awards from Western Illinois University, and the Suzuki Chair Award from the American Suzuki Institute. The ASTA-Illinois Unit named her Outstanding Studio Teacher of the Year in 1992. Her students have won prizes in major contests in the United States including Aspen Festival, St. Louis Symphony, Chicago Symphony, and Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). She has taught at Western Illinois University, the DePaul University Community Music School, and Wheaton College. She maintains a studio in Glen Ellyn, and is frequently sought after as a clinician.

Carey holds a BM and MM from Eastman and a DMA from the University of Iowa. She has served on the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) National Board, ASTA National Solo Contest Commission, the ASTA Syllabus Revision Committee, and Chair of the Studio Committee that produced the Studio Teachers Forum in 2002. In the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) she served as President in 1990-1992, on the Board of Directors, chaired the Teacher Training Task Force which established guidelines for Teacher Training, was editor of the Cello Column, was chairman of the Cello Committee creating the Suzuki Cello School, on the International Cello Committee and represented the SAA on the ISA Board and the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) Task Force on String Education. She taught for 14 years at the Meadowmount School of Music.

Tanya Carey plays a Joseph Filias Andreas Guarnarius made in 1704.

Richard HirschlRichard Hirschl

Richard Hirschl joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's cello section in 1989. A native of Washington, Missouri, he began cello lessons with his father, an amateur cellist. His intermediate studies were with Savely Schuster, associate principal cellist of the St. Louis Symphony. He was accepted into the class of Leonard Rose and Channing Robbins at the Juilliard School, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1987 and a master's degree in 1988. Hirschl was an associate teacher at Juilliard before moving to Chicago. He was the winner of the 1988 Juilliard Concerto Competition, the 1988 Irving M. Klein International String Competition, and the 1980 St. Louis Symphony Scholarship Competition.

In addition to his New York debut with the Juilliard Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall, Hirschl has given concerto performances with the Jupiter Symphony, the St. Louis Philharmonic, the Maracaibo Symphony (Venezuela), the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Virtuosi of New York. He has appeared in chamber music performances with celebrated pianists Daniel Barenboim, Andras Schiff and Ursula Oppens, cellist Lynn Harrell, and violinist Vadim Repin. He performs regularly with the Meridian String Quartet and the Piacenza Chamber Players. In addition to teaching at Roosevelt University, he enjoys teaching a large class of private students. He plays a cello made in Venice by Matteo Goffriller, c1700.

John SharpJohn Sharp

Appointed as one of the youngest principal cellists in the history of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a top prize winner of the 1986 Tchaikovsky Competition, John Sharp is one of today’s leading cellists. He was Principal Cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for three years before his appointment in Chicago. Mr. Sharp has performed as a soloist in Boston, Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Chicago.

An active chamber musician, he has appeared with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Marlboro Music Festival, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Richard Stoltzman, Misha Dichter, the Vermeer Quartet, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, and Gilbert Kalish. Recent performances include the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Maestro Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, and the CSO.

Mr. Sharp plays a rare cello made by Joseph Guarnerius in 1694.

Andrew Anderson

Andrew Anderson enjoys an active career as both a performer and educator in Chicago performing over 130 concerts per year. He is a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra and the Grant Park Orchestra. He has held positions in twelve different orchestras across seven states, serving as principal bass in four of them. Mr. Anderson performs with a wide range of ensembles including; Music of the Baroque, the Chicago Philharmonic, and the Ravinia Festival Orchestra. In these ensembles Mr. Anderson performs music from every conceivable style, era, and genre with musicians of the highest quality.

In addition to holding bass faculty positions at CCPA and the Wheaton Conservatory at Wheaton College, Mr. Anderson run a thriving private studio that expands every summer with students returning home to Chicago from some of the top college studios in the country. Mr. Anderson has been pleased to work with students from Indiana University, New England Conservatory, Rice University, Colburn, and the University of Michigan in his private studio. The syllabi and other materials for his studios can be viewed at A four hour extemporaneous video session of Mr. Anderson was made into a ten part YouTube series on bass technique produced by These videos have collectively been viewed over 322,200 times from around the globe.

Mr. Anderson works as a sectional coach at DePaul University, the Chicago Youth Symphony, and the Elgin Youth Symphony.  Since 2008, Mr. Anderson has been involved with the Elgin Youth Symphony’s Chamber Music Institute as an ensemble coach. He has been a clinician at the annual Chicago Bass Festival since its inception in 2010.  Mr. Anderson also volunteers as director of a string ensemble at Westminster Christian School in Elgin, Illinois. Mr. Anderson studied under Stuart Sankey, Lawrence Hurst, Jeff Bradetich, and Dr. Larry Zgonc.


Zachary Cohen

Zachary Cohen, a native of the Bronx, is currently the principal bass of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. In his senior year of Juilliard, at the age of 22, he won the position of principal bass of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. .Mr. Cohen received his Bachelor of Music from Juilliard where he studied with legendary bassist Homer Mensch. During his summers Mr. Cohen has performed at the Marlboro Music Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, and The Dresden Musikfestspiele.

As an active chamber musician Mr. Cohen has collaborated with a wide range of artists such as Ithzak Perlman, Richard Goode, Mitsuko Uchida, Midori, Mark O'Connor, and members of the Guarneri and Mendelssohn quartets. He has also worked closely with some of today's most respected composers such as Henri Dutilleux, Osvaldo Golijov, and Mario Davidovsky. While attending Juilliard, Mr. Cohen became a member of the chamber group The Knights. He has recently recorded two albums with them on Sony Classical.

John Floeter

John Floeter is currently Principal Bass of the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Lake Forest Symphony and is a member of the Grant Park Orchestra and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.  He has performed, toured, and recorded with the Chicago Symphony and played several productions with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, including several cycles of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen.  In addition, Mr. Floeter enjoys playing with the Milwaukee Symphony, the Ravinia Festival orchestra, Fulcrum Point, Ars Viva, and Chicago Opera Theatre.   He has had a decades-long association with the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra and the Chicago Philharmonic/Symphony II.  Mr. Floeter is also the Instructor of Double Bass at Northern Illinois University.

Mr. Floeter began studies with Jeff Bradetich, Lawence Hurst and Peter Spring until he graduated high school from the Interlochen Arts Academy.  He attended DePaul University where he studied with Warren Benfield and received a degree of Bachelor of Music in Double Bass performance in 1982.  In 1984 he was a fellowship recipient to the Aspen Music festival where he studied with Eugene Levinson and Stuart Sankey. He continued his studies with Mr. Sankey with Joseph Guastefeste.

Mr. Floeter is a co-founder of the Chicago Bass Ensemble and has been a guest lecturer and performer for area universities and the Chicago Bass Festival.  He has been an active bassist in the Chicago area since 1979, covering multiple genres of music, including classical, jazz, folk, and musical theater.