MOVING MUSICIANS FORWARD
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The Center for Musical Excellence is pleased to announce the creation of this new division in its mission of “Moving Musicians Forward.” These established Artists join our roster of already highly successful CME Young Artists, and will receive managerial and professional services and other support necessary to further promote their careers. They are all alumni/ae of CME as Grant Winners, members of the Young Artists roster, or featured performers at CME concerts. 

CME will soon be announcing another group of CME Artists, followed by CME Juniors, signaling our commitment to “moving musicians forward” and creating opportunities for them as we have been dedicated to do since our founding in 2010, locally, nationally, and internationally.  

ARTISTS IN PIANO

EUNTAEK KIM

Hailed by The New York Times as, “nimble” and “colorful,” a Korean-born American pianist, harpsichordist, conductor, and musicologist Euntaek Kim has emerged as one of the most promising talents of his generation. Mr. Kim began his piano lessons at the mere age of three and was admitted to the preparatory division of the Korean National University of Arts when he was nine years old. At twelve, he took his first conducting lesson and gave his first public piano recital in Seoul, presented by the Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation. A year later, Mr. Kim emigrated to the United States to begin piano studies at The Juilliard Pre-College Division.

Mr. Kim has made appearances in Belgium, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, and the United States. Mr. Kim has participated in summer music festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival and School, Music Academy of the West, and Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival.

As a chamber musician, Mr. Kim has collaborated with members of the Enso, Escher, and Ying quartets. Mr. Kim’s collaboration with Eric Gratz, the concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony, led to a successful release of a CD album in 2016. In 2017, Mr. Kim was a winner of the CME International Performing Arts Grant. It is through this grant that Mr. Kim’s debut solo album will be released in 2019. In 2019, Mr. Kim was one of the musicians featured in the album “Made in France,” released by the Olmos Ensemble, which can be purchased on the group’s website.

An active promoter of contemporary music, Mr. Kim’s recent collaborations include: his work in May 2018 with the Heartbeat Opera and Cantata Profana, based in New York City, in their modernized rendition of Beethoven’s Fidelio, praised by the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal; and tantalizing appearances in June 2018 at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY, as a part of the world premiere of a new chamber opera The Rose Elf by the American composer David Hertzberg.

Mr. Kim holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in piano performance from The Juilliard School, and an Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music. His instructors include Boris Berman and Jerome Lowenthal in piano, and Jeffrey Milarsky in orchestral conducting.

Mr. Kim resides in New York City, with his wife Sara Rossi, a violinist and violist.

JIAYAN SUN

Praised for his “revelatory” (New York Times) and “technically flawless, poetically inspired and immensely assured playing” (Toronto Star), pianist Jiayan Sun performs extensively in North America, Europe and Asia. He has performed frequently with The Cleveland Orchestra, The Hallé, Chinese and RTÉ (Ireland) National Symphony orchestras, Fort Worth and Toledo Symphony orchestras, Toronto and Aspen Concert orchestras and the Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra, among others, and he has conducted Meininger Hofkapelle from the keyboard. He has collaborated with prominent conductors such as Sir Mark Elder, Michail Jurowski, Stefan Sanderling, Leon Fleisher, David Hayes, Thomas Crawford, Daejin Kim, Kerry Stratton and Xincao Li, and performed concerts at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Severance Hall in Cleveland, Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, National Concert Hall in Dublin, Leeds Town Hall, Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall in Toronto, Beijing Concert Hall and Taipei National Concert Hall, among many others. His performances have been broadcast on BBC, RTÉ, China Central Television and classical music radio stations in North America. In 2018, he presented the full cycle of the Beethoven Sonatas at Smith College as the Iva Dee Hiatt Visiting Artist in Piano. 

Mr. Sun has been awarded many major prizes in international piano competitions, including the third prize in Leeds International Piano Competition, the second prize in Dublin International Piano Competition, the fourth and audience prize in Cleveland International Piano Competition, and first prize in the inaugural CCC Toronto International Piano Competition, among others. He was named a Sylff Fellow by The Tokyo Foundation, and was a 2014 CME International Performing Arts Grant recipient.

Mr. Sun also focuses on historical instruments and performance; important engagements include critically acclaimed appearances with the American Classical Orchestra and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and recitals at the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies at Cornell University and at Juilliard. In 2014, Mr. Sun performed a series of recitals commemorating the tricentennial of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's birth on clavichord, harpsichord and fortepiano. He has studied harpsichord with Lionel Party and fortepiano with Malcolm Bilson and Audrey Axinn.

Born in Yantai, Shandong Province, China, Mr. Sun studied in the Central Conservatory in Beijing with Jin Zhang before moving to the United States in 2006 to study at The Juilliard School Pre-college Division with Victoria Mushkatkol. He graduated with the achievement award in 2008, and received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Juilliard in 2012 and 2014, respectively. He continues his studies at Juilliard as a doctoral candidate under the tutelage of Yoheved Kaplinsky and Stephen Hough, with additional studies with Richard Goode and Robert Levin. 

ERIC ZUBER

Hailed as an "irresistibly fluid" and "illuminating" pianist by the New York Times and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Eric Zuber has established himself as one of the leaders of a new generation of American pianism.

During a period of just a few years, Dr. Zuber was a recipient of major prizes from ten of the world's most prestigious international piano competitions, including Arthur Rubinstein, Cleveland, Seoul, Sydney, Dublin, Honens, and the Piano-e-Competition. He was also awarded Gold Medals in both the Hilton Head and Boesendorfer International Piano Competitions. For these and many other remarkable achievements, he was given the Arthur Rubinstein Prize by The Juilliard School. Dr. Zuber is also a two-time recipient of the Gina Bachauer Prize at Juilliard—one of only a handful of pianists in the school’s history to have won the award twice in two consecutive years.

Dr. Zuber has made solo appearances at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, the Sydney Opera House, Severance Hall and for the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York City.  After making his orchestral debut at the age of twelve with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, he has gone on to perform with many of the major orchestras in the United States and abroad including Cleveland, Israel, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Phoenix, Sydney, RTE National, and the Royal Philharmonic. His collaborations with internationally acclaimed artists include performances with Lewis Kaplan, Paul Huang, Amir Eldan, Charlie Neidich, Joseph Silverstein, Gerard Schwartz, Johannes Moser, and Amanda Roocroft.

In addition to a busy solo and collaborative career, Dr. Zuber is dedicated to helping the next generation of aspiring young artists. He is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Piano at Bucknell University and has held previous faculty appointments at Columbus State University, Ball State University, the University of Memphis' Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, the Peabody Institute, and at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. He is also a frequent guest artist and teacher at various universities in and out of the United States, and has given masterclasses at Carnegie Mellon, Oklahoma University, Ohio University, Rutgers, Arizona State University, Bard College, Shenandoah University, and at Hanyang and Sookmyung Univerisities in Seoul. This past summer he joined the faculty for the Walled City International Piano Festival and Competition in Northern Ireland, the Cleveland International Piano Preparatory Academy and Festival, and the Asia International Piano Festival held at Ehwa University in South Korea.

Dr. Zuber holds degrees from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (B.M., A.D., D.M.A.), the Curtis Institute of Music (Diploma), and the Juilliard School (M.M).  His major teachers have been Boris Slutsky, Leon Fleisher, Claude Frank, and Robert McDonald. 

ARTISTS IN STRINGS & VOICE

NAN-CHENG CHEN, Cello

Cellist Nan-Cheng Chen’s performance was recently described as “personable and smile-inducing” and “fine playing” by the Washington Post and “Beautiful Tone” by New York Concert Reviews. Mr. Chen is the executive director and founder of the New Asia Chamber Music Society (NACMS), a member of Sonic Escape, Chen Trio, Ensemble 101, and many other active music ensembles in New York City. An active soloist, Mr. Chen has collaborated with Simon Bolivar Orchestra, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Queens Symphony Orchestra, Metro-West Symphony, Classic Orchestra of Taichung, Quincy Symphony and Symphony Pro Musica, which received a review that states: “It was the kind of performance one might hear live only once a decade” from Worcester Telegram and Gazette. A resident of New York City, he has taught at CUNY Queens College and is currently on the faculty at Fei-Tian College at Middletown.

Among Mr. Chen’s many honors and awards are first prize in the 2010 Queens Symphony Concerto Competition, 2009 Lillian Fuchs Chamber Music Competition, 2006 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition, 2005 Quincy Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, 2004 Hsin-Tian Temple National Cello Competition in Taiwan, and 2003 Metro-West Concerto Competitions. He also won prizes in 2010 Long Island Conservatory Young Artist Competition, 2006 Fischoff National Chamber Competition and 1999 Taiwan National Cello and Piano Competition. He has also been featured on NPR’s From The Top national radio broadcast in 2006, performing with its host, pianist Christopher O’Riley. Mr. Chen has been invited to music festivals such as Canada’s Banff Centre, Sarasota Music Festival, Heifetz Institute, Encore School for Strings, and Kneisel Hall. He was a guest performing artist at Chautauqua Summer Music Festival, a Kaplan Fellow at the Bowdoin International Music Festival and served as a teaching artist at the Annual Music Festival of Walnut Hill. As an educator, Mr. Chen has given masterclasses at Penn State University, University of Wisconsin, University of Calgary, as well as prominent universities in Panama, Colombia and Taiwan.

A Native of Taiwan, Mr. Chen has earned Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School, studying with Joel Krosnick, renowned cellist of The Juilliard String Quartet. Mr. Chen came to United States at the age of twelve and attended Idyllwild Arts Academy in California, studying under Eleonore Schoenfeld. He then entered the New England Conservatory Preparatory Program to study with Mark Churchill before attending the Juilliard School. He is currently a doctoral candidate at CUNY Graduate Center under the guidance of cellist Marcy Rosen.

Mr. Chen’s recent musical journeys features over a hundred performances including several solo and chamber concert tours throughout North American, South America, Europe and Asia. Recent highlights including a sold-out concerts with National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan and Taipei Symphony Orchestra’s Chamber Orchestra playing the Schumann Cello Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations.

SONYA HEADLAM, Soprano

Sonya Headlam is a music educator and singer of a diverse range of repertoire. She has performed across the USA, and around the world from Europe, Asia, South America and the Caribbean. Described as having a voice of “liquid tone," she has been praised by critics for her "complete involvement with the text" and "heartfelt authenticity" in her performances of art song and opera. 

In a recent interview Ms. Headlam described her perspective on being a singer: “As a singer that sings a lot of repertoire from the distant past, I often feel like a time traveller. When I sing, it is like I simultaneously embody two realms of time, and performances feel like a unique opportunity to become a bridge for my audience between the past and present. Like a museum, singers have stored in our brains important artistic and cultural relics (music and poetry), which span across a diverse range of cultures and eras. And there is something mystical about singing in that it has immense potential to stimulate universal human emotions, creating what can often feel like an otherworldly space of connection and inspiration."

Ms. Headlam is a featured soloist in several recent recording projects including a recording with The Choir of Trinity Wall Street of Pulitzer Prize winning composer Ellen Reid's dreams of the new world, conducted by Julian Wachner, as well as a recording of The Man Behind the Dream with One Voice Chorus, a work composed by Steve Milloy that depicts the life of civil rights leader Bayard Rustin. In Summer 2019, she  recorded songs of Madame Brillon de Jouy, a female composer and salonnière of the French Enlightenment with the Raritan Players, led by musicologist and keyboard player Rebecca Cypess.

Highlights of recent seasons include the role of Fiordiligi with Light Opera of New Jersey, a recital at Carnegie Hall with pianists Min Kwon and Warren Jones featuring the music of American Composers, Bernstein, Barber, and Copland, and an appearance at the State Theater of New Jersey as the soprano soloist with the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Headlam’s concert and chamber music engagements include Orff’s Carmina Burana, Fauré’s Requiem, Haydn’s Missa Brevis: St Joannis de Deo, Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ German Requiem, and Mahler’s 4th Symphony. She has performed with orchestras and choruses around the country such as One World Symphony, the Greenwich Choral Society, the Bronx Orchestra, the Master Singers of Milwaukee, and the Willow Ensemble. Operatic roles include le Feu in L'enfant et les sortilèges, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, the title role in Lakmé, Frasquita in Carmen, Musetta in La Bohème, Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Laurie in The Tender Land, and Lucia from Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia

Equally committed to the performance of contemporary music, Ms. Headlam regularly participates in musical readings of living composers with Helix! New Music Ensemble, and has performed in two world premiers: Michael Sahl’s Katrina, Voices of the Lost, featured at the Tribeca New Music Festival, and Richard Thompson’s The Mask in the Mirror. She was the soprano soloist in the Prototype Festival's 2018 presentation of Ellen Reid’s dreams of the new world. 

Ms. Headlam holds performance degrees from Miami University of Ohio, and she is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.

SIWOO KIM, Violin

Siwoo Kim is an “incisive” and “compelling” (The New York Times) violinist who plays with “stylistic sensitivity and generous tonal nuance” (Chicago Tribune). Mr. Kim performs as soloist and chamber musician and is the founding co-artistic director of VIVO Music Festival in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. 

 

Mr. Kim gave the world premiere of Samuel Adler’s violin concerto, which was written for him. He recorded the work on Linn Records to commemorate the composer’s 90th anniversary, for which BBC Music Magazine raved about his “impassioned playing.” Mr. Kim made his Carnegie Hall solo debut in Stern Auditorium with the Juilliard Orchestra, and has since performed with the Houston Symphony, Staatsorchester Brandenburgisches Frankfurt, Johannesburg Philharmonic, Seongnam Philharmonic, and Orchestre Royal de Chambre, in venues across the world including Walt Disney Concert Hall and Lotte Concert Hall. 

 

As a chamber musician, Mr. Kim formed the “whipsmart” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker) Quartet Senza Misura, and spends his summers at the Marlboro Music Festival. He has collaborated with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Joyce DiDonato, Jeremy Denk, Mitsuko Uchida and Denes Varjon. Mr. Kim has been featured internationally at the Stellenbosch Festival in South Africa, Bergen Festival in Norway, Tivoli Festival in Denmark, Ensemble DITTO in South Korea, and Port de Soller Festival in Spain.

 

Mr. Kim graduated from The Juilliard School, where he studied under Robert Mann and Donald Weilerstein with full scholarship. He went on to complete a two-year fellowship with Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect. Prior to college, he studied under Roland and Almita Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago.

SULIMAN TEKALLI, Violin

Violinist Suliman Tekalli has established his unique voice as an exciting and versatile soloist and chamber musician.  As the top prize winner of the 2015 Seoul International Music Competition and prize winner in the Sendai, Lipizer, and Szeryng International Violin Competition, he has performed as a soloist throughout the U.S., Canada, Central America, Europe, and Asia in numerous halls including the Seoul Arts Center, Kumho Art Hall, Wigmore Hall, and the Millennial Hall at the Kennedy Center among others. His performances have been broadcasted on live TV and radio from KBS TV in Korea, Montreal Canada's CBC Radio 3, and NPR. 

 

As a chamber musician, Mr. Tekalli has performed at numerous festivals including Music@Menlo, Yellow Barn, and the Banff Centre. He has performed with eminent musicians such as Gil Shaham, Cho-Liang Lin, Donald Weilerstein, Paul Watkins, Wu Han, and David Shifrin. Currently a fellow of Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect, he also concertizes as part of the Tekalli Duo with his sibling, pianist Jamila Tekalli.

 

Mr. Tekalli’s transcriptions and orchestrations of the classical and contemporary repertoire have been performed by ensembles such as the International Sejong Soloists.  He premiered and recorded composer and pianist Michael Brown’s Violin Sonata, written for him in 2013.

 

A native of Orlando, Florida, Suliman Tekalli attended the Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Yale School of Music where he completed his Artist Diploma.  His teachers have included Hyo Kang, Joel Smirnoff, and Sergiu Schwartz, as well as his early teacher Lev Gurevich.