ALAN CHOO

Singaporean violinist Alan Choo has established himself on the global stage as a leading soloist, chamber musician and historical specialist. He made his solo debut with the Grammy Award-winning baroque orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, at the Tanglewood and Ravinia Music Festivals in 2017, and currently serves as Artistic Leadership Fellow for the ensemble, where he takes on soloist, concertmaster and guest director roles for the 2019-20 season. He is also Founder and Artistic Director of Red Dot Baroque, Singapore’s first professional period ensemble, which has enjoyed multiple sold-out concerts and critical acclaim since their formation in August 2018. In May 2019 he was invited as guest concertmaster and soloist with the Shanghai-based baroque ensemble, Shanghai Camerata.
 
As a modern violinist, Alan has appeared as a soloist with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Chinese Orchestra, Orchestra of the Music Makers and more. A proponent of contemporary music, Alan is co-founder of SG Inspirations, a project dedicated to performing works by Singaporean composers. In 2015, he recorded the SG Inspirations commemorative CD album with pianist Lin Hengyue as a gift to their nation on Singapore’s 50th anniversary. His piano trio Trio Phoenix combines both worlds of early and contemporary music by performing works by living composers and exploring the wealth of baroque repertoire performed with stylistic awareness on modern instruments. The trio completed their Asia Summer Tour in 2015 to critical acclaim, with repertoire ranging from Jean-Philippe Rameau to Alfred Schnittke, and were guest artists at the Lexington Bach Festival 2017.
 
Alan’s achievements in all areas of performance have earned him awards such as the Early Music Award 2016 from Peabody Conservatory, the Paul Abisheganaden Grant for Artistic Excellence 2015, the Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award 2014, the Grace Clagett Ranney Prize in Chamber Music 2014 and 1st prize in the National Piano and Violin Competition 2011, Artist Category. He has also given masterclasses and lectures in violin performance, performance practice and stage presence to college students at Baldwin-Wallace College, Bowling Green State University, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.
 
A graduate of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory and Peabody Conservatory, Alan is currently in his final year at Case Western Reserve University pursuing a Doctorate in Historical Performance Practice under Julie Andrijeski. His past teachers include Victor Danchenko, Alexander Souptel and Risa Browder.

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FRANCISCO FULLANA

Artist-in-Residence

“A continuous display of nuanced genius playing” – El Mundo

“A rising young virtuoso of outstanding potential” – The Violin Channel

Spanish-born violinist Francisco Fullana is one of the first international solo violinists to fully embrace and absorb the baroque language of historical performance. Hailed as a “rising star” (BBC Music Magazine), he is the winner of four international violin competitions as well as an Avery Fisher Career Grant. His Carnegie Hall recital debut was noted for its “joy and playfulness in collaboration … it was perfection” (New York Concert Review).

As Artist-in-Residence with Apollo’s Fire, he performs with the GRAMMY-winning period band in 17 concerts during 2021-22, including at Carnegie Hall in March and at Cleveland’s Severance Hall in May. He also shares his love of music and his immigrant story with youth at several Spanish-speaking public schools in Cleveland and Chicago, in collaboration with AF musicians.

Born into a family of educators, Francisco was raised in Mallorca and Madrid and was recognized in Spain as a prodigy. He moved to the U.S. at the age of 16 (as an unaccompanied minor) to study at The Juilliard School. His primary teachers and mentors for the next 8 years were Donald Weilerstein, Masao Kawasaki, and Midori.

His lifelong fascination with baroque music has influenced both of his prior recordings: his 2018 debut album, Through the Lens of Time (Orchid Classics) and his 2021 solo album, Bach’s Long Shadow, which juxtaposes Bach Partitas on gut strings and baroque setup with virtuoso solo violin works from the next three centuries.

As a concerto soloist, his engagements have included the Bayerische Philharmonie, the Münchner Rundfunkorchester, the City of Birmingham Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, and the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, among others.

As a chamber musician, Francisco is a Bowers Program Artist at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. His many performances have included the Marlboro Festival and the Perlman Music Program, as well as collaborations with Mitsuko Uchida and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Pacifica, Takács, and Cleveland quartets.

Using gut strings and a baroque bow, Francisco performs on the 1735 “Mary Portman” ex-Kreisler Guarneri del Gesù violin, on loan from Clement and Karen Arrison through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.

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SUSANNA PERRY GILMORE

Violinist Susanna Perry Gilmore enjoys a multifaceted career as solo artist, chamber musician, and orchestral concertmaster. Performing on both modern and period instruments and versatile in diverse styles from classical to fiddling, she is hailed as a player who is both “thrilling and sensitive” by the Memphis Commercial Appeal, “luminous and hypnotic” by the Omaha World-Herald, and “authentic with exquisite good taste” and “rich in tone, bringing musical depth and a human touch” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Ms. Gilmore frequently appears as a soloist with the Omaha Symphony on the Master Works, Joslyn, and Symphony Pops series. Recent performances include the Scottish Fantasy by Max Bruch and Celtic Journey: Magic of the Emerald Isle. In recent seasons Omaha audiences have heard Ms. Gilmore perform the Tzigane by Ravel, Berg’s Violin Concerto, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5, and the Korngold Violin Concerto as well as major concertmaster solos such as Rimsky Korsakov Scheherazade and Strauss Ein Heldenleben.

After beginning her career as a chamber player, at the age of twenty-six Ms. Gilmore became concertmaster of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. She joined the Omaha Symphony as concertmaster in 2011. Since 2014 she has been a frequent soloist and co-concertmaster on baroque violin and fiddle with the acclaimed period instrument ensemble and Grammy Award winner Apollo’s Fire (Cleveland), with whom she tours nationally and internationally and appears on the CD Sugarloaf Mountain: An Appalachian Gathering (Billboard Top 10 classical bestseller), the CD Sephardic Journey: Wanderings of the Spanish Jews (Billboard Top 10 classical bestseller), and Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain.

Ms. Gilmore holds a Bachelor’s degree from Oxford University (UK), where she studied musicology and performed both early music and symphonic repertoire while studying privately with Yfrah Neaman. She spent a post-graduate year in the Advanced Solo Studies Program at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Upon returning to the United States, she earned a Master’s in Violin Performance from the New England Conservatory, where she studied with James Buswell. Prior to her studies in England, Ms. Gilmore studied with Christian Teal at the Blair School of Music in the pre-college program and as a child began her violin studies with Mimi Zweig at Indiana University. Ms. Gilmore learned to play Celtic fiddle in her youth through sitting in on Irish sessions during her years living in Nashville and England.

When not working as a classical and baroque violinist and fiddler, Ms. Gilmore spends time with her two daughters, Katy and Zoe, and her husband, Viseslav Drincic. She performs on a 1776 Joseph Odoardi violin.

RENÉ SCHIFFER

Cellist René Schiffer is praised for his “interpretive imagination and patrician command of the cello” (The Cleveland Plain Dealer). He is a native of Holland where he was a protégé of Anner Bijlsma. He later studied baroque cello with Jaap ter Linden and viola da gamba with Catharina Meints. As a member of Sigiswald Kuijken’s La Petite Bande for sixteen years, he toured four continents and appeared many times on European television. He has also performed with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Les Musiciens du Louvre, and in over forty projects with Tafelmusik of Toronto. As a concerto soloist, he has appeared throughout North America and Europe, including such venues as the Royal Theatre of Madrid, and can be heard on acclaimed CD recordings of the Vivaldi Concerto for Two Cellos and the Tango Concerto for Two Gambas (his own composition) on British label AVIE. As a chamber musician, he has performed at the renowned baroque festivals of Utrecht and Bruges, as well as the Flanders Festival and Versailles. He can be heard on more than forty CD recordings, on the Harmonia Mundi, Philips, Virgin Classics, Erato, Sony, and AVIE labels. He serves on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music as Teacher of Baroque Cello, and has given masterclasses and coachings for the New World Symphony (Miami), the University of Michigan, Oberlin Conservatory, and Cincinnati College-Conservatory.

EZRA SELTZER

Hailed for his “scampering virtuosity” (American Record Guide) and “superb” playing (The New York Times), cellist Ezra Seltzer is the principal cellist of the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, New York Baroque Incorporated, and Early Music New York and a founding member of the Sebastians. He has frequently appeared as guest principal cellist of Musica Angelica and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, where he earned praise for his “delicate elegance and rambunctious spirit” (Twin Cities Pioneer Press) in performances of all six Brandenburg Concertos. Other performances with the SPCO include Handel’s Messiah with Jonathan Cohen and J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Paul McCreesh. With Musica Angelica, he appeared in performances of J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion in Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and also performed in an international tour with soprano Emma Kirkby and countertenor Daniel Taylor. He attended Yale University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in history and Master of Music in cello, and graduated from the inaugural class of Juilliard’s historical performance program.

EMI TANABE

Violinist Emi Tanabe holds a Professional Diploma from Roosevelt University and a Master’s degree in music from the University of North Texas. She is an adjunct faculty member at Benedictine University in Chicago. She enjoys a multifaceted career as a violinist – performing not only with baroque ensembles but also with modern groups including jazz, Latin, world music, and theatrical Cirque-style dinner theater shows, among others.

“The U.S.A.’s hottest baroque band.” –CLASSICAL MUSIC MAGAZINE (UK)