Bios

Apollo Trio Bio

The Apollo Trio was formed in 1997 after playing together in the Soirées des Junies Music Festival in the south of France and has performed to critical acclaim in the United States and in Europe. In addition to frequent appearances at American music festivals – from the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York to Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, Oregon, and on chamber music series throughout the United States – the trio has performed at prominent New York venues, including Caramoor, Bargemusic, Avery Fisher Hall, Weill Hall at Carnegie, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The Apollo Trio was featured in the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s “Great Day in New York” Festival at Alice Tully Hall, and among their performances there also gave the New York premiere of David Schiff’s New York Nocturnes, and the world premiere of Bruce Adolphe’s Wind Across the Sky for piano trio and soprano. The Apollo Trio made its Kennedy Center debut in 2009.  In 2011, David Schiff’s Borscht Belt Follies, written for the Apollo Trio, David Krakauer, Dave Taylor and Michael Sarin, was given its world premiere at Chamber Music Northwest Encore Series.  The trio has recently finished recording the complete Dvorak piano trios.

Curtis Macomber

The playing of violinist Curtis Macomber  was praised recently by the New York Times for its “thrilling virtuosity” and by Strad Magazine for its “panache”.  He enjoys a varied and distinguished career as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher, and he has for several decades been recognized as one of this country’s foremost interpreters and proponents of new music.

Mr. Macomber’s extensive discography includes the complete Brahms and Grieg Sonatas; violin concertos by Martin Boykan and Laura Schwendinger; and hundreds of critically praised recordings of contemporary solo and chamber works. His CD of Roger Sessions Solo Sonata was acclaimed by American Record Guide as “one of the best recordings of 20th Century solo violin music ever made.” A solo CD entitled “Songs of Solitude” was named by the New York Observer as one of 1996’s best instrumental solo discs (“Macomber’s intensely human fiddle…seems an entire universe, sufficient unto itself.”). He has recorded for Nonesuch, Koch, Bridge, Arabesque, Naxos and  Musical Heritage and Albany;  he has performed, commissioned, and made first recordings of solo violin and chamber works by, among others, Carter, Davidovsky, Perle, Wuorinen, and Mackey.

Mr. Macomber is a founding member of the Apollo Piano Trio and a member  of the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Manhattan String Quartet, the Walden Chamber Players and the New York Chamber Soloists.  He was for many years the violinist of Speculum Musicae and has also appeared with the New York New Music Ensemble, Group for Contemporary Music,  and in chamber music series across the country and in Europe. He has been a regular participant at La Musica in Sarasota, at the Yellow Barn Festival and at the Monadnock Music Festival.

As first violinist of the award-winning New World String Quartet for 11 years (1982-1993), Mr. Macomber performed the standard repertoire as well as numerous contemporary works in performances in major halls throughout the United States and Europe, and, with the Quartet, was appointed Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University from 1982-1990; with that group he also recorded 14 discs and performed numerous times on Public Radio and Television in this country, and the BBC in Great Britain.

Mr. Macomber is a longtime member of the chamber music faculty of the Juilliard School and the violin faculties of the Manhattan and Mannes Schools of Music, and has also taught at the Tanglewood Music Center and Taos School of Music. Other recent summer engagements have included Chamber Music Northwest and the Bard Festival. He holds his B.M., M.M., and D.M.A. degrees from the Juilliard School, where he was a scholarship student of Joseph Fuchs and winner of the Morris Loeb and Walter Naumburg Prizes.

The playing of violinist Curtis Macomber  was praised recently by the New York Times for its “thrilling virtuosity” and by Strad Magazine for its “panache”.  He enjoys a varied and distinguished career as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher, and he has for several decades been recognized as one of this country’s foremost interpreters and proponents of new music.

Mr. Macomber’s extensive discography includes the complete Brahms and Grieg Sonatas; violin concertos by Martin Boykan and Laura Schwendinger; and hundreds of critically praised recordings of contemporary solo and chamber works. His CD of Roger Sessions Solo Sonata was acclaimed by American Record Guide as “one of the best recordings of 20th Century solo violin music ever made.” A solo CD entitled “Songs of Solitude” was named by the New York Observer as one of 1996’s best instrumental solo discs (“Macomber’s intensely human fiddle…seems an entire universe, sufficient unto itself.”). He has recorded for Nonesuch, Koch, Bridge, Arabesque, Naxos and  Musical Heritage and Albany;  he has performed, commissioned, and made first recordings of solo violin and chamber works by, among others, Carter, Davidovsky, Perle, Wuorinen, and Mackey.

Mr. Macomber is a founding member of the Apollo Piano Trio and a member  of the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Manhattan String Quartet, the Walden Chamber Players and the New York Chamber Soloists.  He was for many years the violinist of Speculum Musicae and has also appeared with the New York New Music Ensemble, Group for Contemporary Music,  and in chamber music series across the country and in Europe. He has been a regular participant at La Musica in Sarasota, at the Yellow Barn Festival and at the Monadnock Music Festival. As first violinist of the award-winning New World String Quartet for 11 years (1982-1993), Mr. Macomber performed the standard repertoire as well as numerous contemporary works in performances in major halls throughout the United States and Europe, and, with the Quartet, was appointed Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University from 1982-1990; with that group he also recorded 14 discs and performed numerous times on Public Radio and Television in this country, and the BBC in Great Britain.

Mr. Macomber is a longtime member of the chamber music faculty of the Juilliard School and the violin faculties of the Manhattan and Mannes Schools of Music, and has also taught at the Tanglewood Music Center and Taos School of Music. Other recent summer engagements have included Chamber Music Northwest and the Bard Festival. He holds his B.M., M.M., and D.M.A. degrees from the Juilliard School, where he was a scholarship student of Joseph Fuchs and winner of the Morris Loeb and Walter Naumburg Prizes.

Sophie Shao

Cellist Sophie Shao, winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and top prizes at the Rostropovich and Tchaikovsky competitions, is a versatile and passionate artist whose performances the New York Times has noted as “eloquent, powerful” and the Washington Post called “deeply satisfying.”

Shao has appeared as soloist to critical acclaim throughout the United States: the Smith Center in Las Vegas, Lied Center in Lincoln, Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa, the Palladium in Carmel, the Walter Reade Theater and Rose Studio at Lincoln Center. Last season she performed the UK premiere of Howard Shore’s concerto “Mythic Gardens” with Keith Lockhart and the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Watford Colosseum in Watford, England and with Ludwig Wicki and the 21st Century Orchestra at the KKL in Lucerne, Switzerland. Other past concerto performances include Haydn and Elgar Concerti with Lockhart and the BBC Concert Orchestra, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Hans Graf and the Houston Symphony, Richard Wilson’s “The Cello Has Many Secrets” with the American Symphony Orchestra, and has returned with the ASO to perform Saint-Saens’s “La muse et la poete” at the Bard Music Festival.

Ms. Shao has given recitals in Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Middlebury College, Walter Reade Theater and Rose Studio in Lincoln Center, the complete Bach Suites at Union College and in New York City. Her dedication to chamber music has conceived her popular “Sophie Shao and Friends” groups which have toured from Brattleboro, VT to Sedona, AZ, while other exciting collaborations include Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera with Cho-Liang Lin, performances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Chamber Music Northwest, and Music Mountain (with the Shanghai Quartet), among many other presenters across the country. She is a frequent guest at many leading festivals around the country including Caramoor, Chamber Music Northwest, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, the Bard Festival, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and was a member of Chamber Music Society Two, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s program for emerging young artists.

Ms. Shao’s recordings include Andre Previn’s Reflections for Cello and English Horn and Orchestra on EMI Classics, Richard Wilson’s Diablerie and Brash Attacks and Barbara White’s My Barn Having Burned to the Ground, I Can Now See the Moon on Albany Records, Howard Shore’s original score for the movie The Betrayal on Howe Records, and the music of George Tsontakis on Koch Records.

A native of Houston, Texas, Ms. Shao began playing the cello at age six, and was a student of Shirley Trepel, former principal cellist of the Houston Symphony. At age thirteen she enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, studying cello with David Soyer. After graduating from the Curtis Institute, she continued her cello studies with Aldo Parisot at Yale University, receiving a B.A. in Religious Studies from Yale College and an M.M. from the Yale School of Music, where she was enrolled as a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. She is on the faculty of Vassar College and the Bard Conservatory of Music and plays on a cello made by Honore Derazey from 1855 once owned by Pablo Casals.

Marija Stroke

Pianist Marija Stroke Strad Magazine has performed in chamber music, concerti and solo recitals in the United States, Canada, Europe, Russia, and Asia. She has played frequently at such music festivals as Chamber Music Northwest, Caramoor, the City of London Festival, La Jolla SummerFest, and the Mostly Mozart Festival. Ms. Stroke is co-artistic Director of the Garden City Chamber Music Society in Long Island, New York.

Ms. Stroke has performed with Joshua Bell, Mark Steinberg, Eugene Drucker, Raphael Hillyer, David Krakauer, David Shifrin, and conductors Ransom Wilson and Reinbert de Leeuw among many others. She has played with the Brentano, Miami, Daedalus, and Borromeo string quartets. She has appeared in concerts with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and at Wigmore, Carnegie, David Geffen, and Alice Tully Halls.

In 2015, Sony Classical released a recording of Bruce Adolphe’s Einstein’s Light, music for the film by Nickolas Barris, performed by violinist Joshua Bell and Marija Stroke. Ms. Stroke recorded Adolphe’s Turning, Returning with the Brentano String Quartet and Mark Steinberg for CRI.  She recorded the Grieg violin and piano sonatas with Curtis Macomber on Arabesque, and Do You Dream in Color? with Laurie Rubin on Bridge Records. Do You Dream in Color?, which includes music by Adolphe, Rodrigo and Fauré, was awarded “Critics’ Choice” by American Record Guide. Ms. Stroke collaborated with six other pianists, Josef Kalichstein, Orli Shaham, Orion Weiss, Bruce Adolphe, Fred Child, and Fabio Luisi, on a CD of Piano Puzzlers.

Marija Stroke is a founding member of the Apollo Trio, which has performed to critical acclaim in the United States and in Europe. In addition to frequent appearances at major American music festivals and on chamber music series throughout the United States, the trio has performed at prominent New York venues, including Caramoor, Bargemusic, Avery Fisher Hall, Weill Hall at Carnegie, and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The Apollo Trio was featured in The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s “Great Day in New York” Festival at Alice Tully Hall, and among their performances there also gave the New York premiere of David Schiff’s New York Nocturnes, and the world premiere of Bruce Adolphe’s Wind Across the Sky for piano trio and soprano. In 2011, David Schiff’s Borscht Belt Follies— written for the Apollo Trio, David Krakauer, David Taylor and Michael Sarin—was given its world premiere at Chamber Music Northwest’s Encore Series. The Apollo Trio has recorded music by Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Adolphe and Schiff and, most recently, the complete Dvorak Piano Trios (available on Amazon, Spotify, and iTunes).

Strad Magazine: “music making of stature and substance”

The New York Times: “delightfully extroverted, Stroke’s playing was splendid, piercing through to the composer’s melancholy soul”.

Stereophile: “spectacularly heartfelt and colorful”

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Posted on July 30, 2010 at 2:37 pm