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2024 JUDGES

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MICHAEL KLOTZ has established an international reputation as a performer and pedagogue of the viola. Klotz made his solo debut with the Rochester Philharmonic at the age of 17 and has since then appeared as soloist with orchestra, as a recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestra principal worldwide. Michael Klotz joined the Amernet String Quartet in 2002 and has toured and recorded commercially with the ensemble throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Romania, Colombia, Belgium, and Spain. Passionately dedicated to chamber music, he has appeared as a guest with the Borromeo, Shanghai and Ying Quartets, and collaborated with artists such as James Ehnes, Augustin Hadelich, Cho-Liang Lin, Paul Neubauer, Cynthia Phelps, Clive Greensmith and Gary Hoffman. His festival appearances have included Seattle, Newport, Caramoor, ChamberFest Cleveland, Festival Mozaic, Great Lakes, Cervantino, Festival Baltimore, Piccolo Spoleto, Sunflower, Martha’s Vineyard, Skaneateles, Virginia Tech Vocal Arts and Music Festival, San Miguel de Allende, Beverly Hills, Music Mountain, Bowdoin, Madeline Island, and Miami Mainly Mozart. Michael Klotz is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he was awarded the Performer’s Certificate. In 2002 he became one of the few individuals to be awarded a double Master’s Degree in violin and viola from the Juilliard School. At Juilliard, he was the recipient of the Tokyo Foundation and Gluck Fellowships. Michael Klotz serves as Teaching Professor of Viola and Chamber Music at Florida International University. He is currently a member of the artist faculty of the Heifetz Institute, a viola coach at New World Symphony and a founding member of the The Josef Gingold Chamber Music Festival of Miami. 

Violinist PHILIP SETZER, a founding member of the Emerson String Quartet, began studying violin at the age of five with his parents. He continued his studies with Josef Gingold and Rafael Druian, and later at The Juilliard School with Oscar Shumsky. Mr. Setzer won second prize at the Marjorie Merriweather Post Competition and a Bronze Medal at the Queen Elisabeth International Competition. He has appeared with the National Symphony, Aspen Chamber Symphony, Memphis Symphony, New Mexico and Puerto Rico Symphonies, Omaha and Anchorage Symphonies, and the Cleveland Orchestra. 

 

Currently serving as the Distinguished Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at SUNY Stony Brook and Visiting Faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Mr. Setzer has given masterclasses at schools around the world, including The Curtis Institute, London's Royal Academy of Music, The San Francisco Conservatory, among others. Mr. Setzer is also the Director of the Shouse Institute. He has also been a regular faculty member of the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshops at Carnegie Hall and the Jerusalem Music Center.

 

An innovative and versatile musician, Mr. Setzer is the mastermind behind the Emerson’s two highly praised collaborative theater productions: The Noise of Time, a multi-media production directed by Simon McBurney and a collaboration with writer-director James Glossman, Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy. Mr. Setzer has also been touring and recording the piano trio repertoire with David Finckel and Wu Han.

 

Philip Setzer exclusively uses Thomastik Dominant and Vision strings.   Violin: Samuel Zygmuntowicz (Brooklyn, NY 2011)

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Respected as both a soloist and chamber musician, ASHLEY SANDOR SIDON is the Briggs Endowed Professor of Cello at Drake University and Executive Director of the Zenith Chamber Music Festival. As an invited performer and clinician, Dr. Sidon’s credits include international solo performances across China, in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Canada, Taiwan, Italy, Germany, France, Poland, and Brazil.  Nationally, her performances as a chamber musician and as an orchestral soloist have taken her to the leading universities, chamber music festivals, and concert stages from Maine to California.  An advocate for new music, Ashley Sidon has commissioned new works by Miguel del Aguila, Matthew Quayle, Phillip Koplow, Roger Vogel, and William Dougherty; and in 2014 she performed the Polish premiere of Ned Rorem’s cello concerto on tour in Poland. Dr. Sidon previously was cello teaching artist at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in Shanghai, China.

As Executive Director of the Zenith Chamber Music Festival, Ashley Sidon is committed to expanding the audience base of classical music. Through Zenith, she has worked with leading musicians such as Xavier Foley, Matt Haimovitz, Damani Phillips, and Zuill Bailey as well as highlight the importance of providing a performance platform to underrepresented composers and performers. She works alongside donors and the community to bring classical music to unique venues and underserved communities.

Ashley Sidon has performed under the direction of artists such as Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Christopher Wilkins.   She has appeared with numerous orchestras, including the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Zazrbe Filharmonia (Poland), The Minnesota Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, the Butte Symphony Orchestra, the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Colorado College Music Festival Orchestra, Daytona I Solisti Orchestra, the DaSalo Chamber Orchestra, and theAthens Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Sidon performs on an Antonio Gagliano cello and Dominique Peccatte bow.

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