Lyra festival artists are among the best
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MEET OUR DISTINGUISHED
2019 FESTIVAL ARTISTS

Guest Artists

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Renana Gutman
Sat. July 20, 2019 Smith College Sage Hall
10:00am Piano Masterclass
4:00pm Solo Recital

Praised by the New York Times for her “passionate and insightful” playing, Renana Gutman has performed across four continents as an orchestral soloist, recitalist and collaborative artist. She played at venues like The Louvre Museum, Grenoble Museum (France), Carnegie Recital Hall, People’s Symphony Concerts, Merkin Hall (New York), St. Petersburg’s Philharmonia (Russia), Stresa Music Festival (Italy), Ravinia Rising Stars (Chicago), Jordan Hall, Gardner Museum (Boston), Herbst Theatre (St. Francisco), Menuhin Hall (UK), UNISA (South Africa), Marlboro (VT), and National Gallery, Phillips Collection, and Freer Gallery (Washington DC). Her performances are heard frequently on WQXR Young Artists Showcase, NY, WFMT Dame Myra Hess, Chicago, and MPR in Performances Today, MN.

Renana was one of four young pianists selected by the renowned Leon Fleisher to participate in his workshop on Beethoven piano sonatas hosted by Carnegie Hall, where she presented performances of “Hammerklavier” and “Appassionata” to critical acclaim. Her recording of Chopin etudes op.25 will be released in 2019 by “The Chopin Project” – listen here.

 A top prize winner at Los Angeles Liszt competition, International Keyboard Festival in New York, and Tel-Hai International Master Classes, she performed concerti such as Brahms 2nd, Rachmaninoff-Paganini Variations, and Beethoven’s “Emperor” with the Jerusalem Symphony, Haifa Symphony, Belgian “I Fiamminghi”, and Mannes College Orchestra. Her festival appearances included Marlboro and Ravinia, where she collaborated with prominent musicians like pianist Richard Goode, clarinetist Anthony McGill and members of the Guarneri string quartet, to name a few.

 High in demand as a chamber musician, Renana toured with “Musicians from Marlboro”, and served as the collaborative pianist of Steans Institute at Ravinia Festival from 2012-2018, where she performed chamber music and lieder extensively. In last seasons, she performed chamber music with violist Kim Kashkashian, violinist Miriam Fried, and clarinetist Charles Neidich. She tours regularly with violinist Alexi Kenney, winner of Avery Fisher Grant. 

 Renana premiered newly commissioned music by Paul Schoenfield, Tamar Muskal, Judith Zaimont, and other living composers. As a member of “Echoes of Hope” project, she is also dedicated to performing obscure pieces by Jewish composers who perished in the Holocaust; Erwin Schulhoff, Viktor Ullmann, and others.

She was a founder member of the award-winning piano trio “terzetto”. The trio performed in festivals and concerts across The United States. 

Renana will join the piano faculty of Boston’s Longy School of Music of Bard College in the fall of 2019. She had previously been on the piano faculty of the Yehudi Menuhin Music School in the UK.  

A native of Israel, Renana started playing at the age of six, and soon after, garnered multiple awards and honors. She received scholarships from the America Israel Cultural Foundation, and the Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women. She completed her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at Mannes College of Music, NY, where she studied with Richard Goode.

In Israel, her teachers were pianists Natasha Tadson, Viktor Derevianko, and the Israeli composer Arie Shapira.

Renana became an American citizen in 2015 and makes her home in NYC. She also pursues her passion for Argentinian Tango, languages, and poetry.


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Ayano Ninomiya, Violin
Sat. July 13, 2019 Smith College Sage Hall
1:00pm Violin Masterclass
4:00pm Recital with pianist Pei-Shan Lee


Praised by The New York Times as "deeply communicative and engrossing," violinist Ayano Ninomiya is committed to creating invigorating live performance experiences from concert stages to private homes and public schools. The Boston Globe wrote that, "A note from her was never just a note...Whatever project she takes on next, it is sure to be worth a listen."

Equally at home as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician, Ayano has performed throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Puerto Rico, Europe, China, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand. In addition to recent performances at Weill Hall, Zankel Hall, and  Merkin Hall, she made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2016 with the Stravinsky Violin Concerto. Recent performances include solos with A Far Cry and the Jacksonville Symphony, as well as recitals at the Music Mountain Festival, the Sembrich Opera Museum, and the Moab Festival. She will also perform with Beaux Arts Series (FL), Chamber Music International (TX), Boston Chamber Music Series, and Chameleon Ensemble (MA), as well as at the Cooperstown, Orford (Canada), Bowdoin, Morningside Music, Interlochen Arts, and Anchorage chamber music festivals.

She has won numerous awards, including the Naumburg International Violin Competition, the Tibor Varga International Competition, Astral Artists National Auditions, and the Young Performer’s Career Advancement Award (APAP). As a recording artist, Ayano has released a variety of albums including a solo album of works for violin by Larry Bell and more recently, three albums as the first violinist of the Ying Quartet.

In 2012 Ayano was invited to give a TEDx talk at the University of Tokyo. Other past projects include a benefit performance for victims of the 2009 Haiti earthquake, a fundraiser in the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake with sumo wrestler Konishiki, and the creation of her own Elderhostel “Day of Adventure” programs in NYC that gave an insider's view of making music. As a recipient of the Frank Huntington Beebe Fellowship, Ayano conducted research of scores at the Bartók Archives in Budapest, Hungary.

During the summers, she has performed at the Marlboro, Ravinia, Kingston, Skaneateles, Caramoor, Bowdoin, and Moab music festivals, as well as at Prussia Cove's International Musicians Seminar, the Canberra International Festival (Australia), and the Adams Festival (New Zealand), among others. She has been invited to tour France and the west and east coasts of the U.S. and France with "Musicians from Marlboro" (Marlboro Festival) and "Musicians from the Steans Institute" (Ravinia Festival). She is also a founding member of the exciting conductorless string orchestra, ECCO (East Coast Chamber Orchestra), which is composed of soloists and leaders of quartets and orchestras from around the United States. Because of her own experience beginning the violin in a public school program in Boston at the age of seven, Ayano has given numerous programs for children across the U.S. from Bethlehem, New Hampshire to Columbia, Missouri, to Denton, Maryland, including many in the greater Philadelphia area.

After graduating from Harvard University and The Juilliard School, Ayano studied at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary. Her principal teachers and mentors were Miriam Fried, Robert Mann, Eszter Perenyi, Michele Auclair, and Robert Levin at Harvard. From 2010-2015, Ayano was first violinist of the renowned Ying Quartet and Associate Professor at the Eastman School of Music. In the fall of 2015 she joined the faculty of New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. She has been a volunteer tutor for at-risk high school students at the East Harlem Justice Center and volunteer at the Lighthouse Music School (NYC). In her spare time, she loves to paint and practice Aikido.


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Astrid Schween, cello
Sun. July 21, 2019 Smith College Sage Hall
10:00am Cello Masterclass
4:00pm Recital with pianist Victor Santiago Asuncion

Cellist Astrid Schween has gained a rich following and enjoys a varied career as a soloist, chamber artist and teacher. Since joining the Juilliard String Quartet in 2016, she has appeared at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Berlin Konzerthaus, London’s Wigmore Hall, Yamaha Hall in Tokyo, and in Hong Kong, Singapore, Greece, China, Spain, Scandinavia and throughout the US, with concerts at the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, New York’s 92nd Sreet Y, Ravinia, Tanglewood and the Kennedy Center. With degrees from the Juilliard School, Astrid Schween received her training under the guidance of Leonard Rose, Harvey Shapiro, Bernard Greenhouse, Ardyth Alton and Dr. H.T. Ma, and was mentored as a young cellist by Jacqueline Du Pré and Zubin Mehta. She participated in the Marlboro Music Festival, the William Pleeth Cello Master Classes in Aldeburgh and made her debut at the age of 16 with the NY Philharmonic.

Recent solo engagements have taken her around the US, with a performance of the Elgar Concerto in Boulder, CO. Other concerto appearances have included performances with the Memphis Symphony and at the Peninsula, Interlochen and Sewanee festivals. Astrid Schween was recently featured in Strings and Strad magazines, on various NPR programs, and was a guest speaker on Women in Music at the Library of Congress. She also appears on Classical music internet platforms such as “Living the Classical Life,” The Violin Channel and CelloBello. Her current collaborations include frequent appearances at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, recitals with pianists Victor Asuncion, Randall Hodgkinson and a soon-to-be-released CD of Romantic cello sonatas with pianist Michael Gurt. Recent collaborative releases appear on the Sony, Centaur and JRI labels. Next season, Astrid Schween will appear as special guest artist at the Cleveland Cello Society and in Minneapolis at the 20th Biennial Suzuki Associations of the Americas Conference.

Astrid Schween is a member of the cello faculty at Juilliard and the Perlman Music Program on Shelter Island. She was for many years, senior cello faculty at Interlochen, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Mount Holyoke College. She was also cellist of the Boston Trio, a frequent guest with the Boston Chamber Music Society and a longtime member of the Lark Quartet, with whom she earned the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, appeared at Carnegie Hall, Lockenhaus, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival and other prestigious venues. Additional recordings appear on the Arabesque, Decca/Argo, New World, CRI and Point labels. She is represented by Thomas Gallant of General Arts Touring.


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Horszowski Trio
Jesse Mills, violin
Raman Ramakrishnan, cello
Rieko Aizawa, piano
Thurs. July 18, 2019 Smith College Sage Hall
1:30pm Chamber Group Masterclass
7:30pm Concert


Hailed by The New York Times as “impressive, lithe, persuasive,” when the members of the Horszowski Trio (Hor-SHOV- ski) – Jesse Mills, Raman Ramakrishnan, and Rieko Aizawa – played together for the first time, they immediately felt the spark of a unique connection. Many years of close friendship had created a deep trust between the players, which in turn led to exhilarating expressive freedom.

Two-time Grammy-nominated violinist Jesse Mills first performed with Raman Ramakrishnan, founding cellist of the prize-winning Daedalus Quartet, at the Kinhaven Music School over twenty years ago, when they were children. In New York City, they met pianist Rieko Aizawa, who, upon being discovered by the late violinist and conductor Alexander Schneider, had made her U.S. debuts at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. Their musical bonds were strengthened at various schools and festivals around the world, including the Juilliard School and the Marlboro Festival.

In the four-year period following their debut performance at Rockefeller University in NYC in December 2011, they were booked for almost 200 concerts in the U.S. and tours of Japan and India. They have continued their successful rise in the chamber music world, earning the praise of critics and audiences alike. The New Yorker has called them "the most compelling American group to come on the scene." The trio will return to Asia for another tour in the Fall of 2018, and they will make their European debut in 2019, including a performance at London's Wigmore Hall.

They often collaborate with guest musicians, including violists, clarinetists and singers. Recent guests include members of the Guarneri, Pacifica and Tokyo Quartets.

Ms. Aizawa was the last pupil of the legendary pianist, Mieczysław Horszowski (1892-1993), at the Curtis Institute. The Trio takes inspiration from Mr. Horszowski’s musicianship, integrity, and humanity. Like Horszowski, the Trio presents repertoire spanning the traditional and the contemporary. As an ensemble-in-residence of the Electric Earth Concerts, the Trio premiered the work by Eric Moe “Welcome to Phase Space” in 2014. They have also recorded “For Daniel” by Joan Tower for a part of the celebration album of the composer’s 75th birthday. The violinist of the Trio, Jesse Mills, who is also a composer and arranger, has written a work for the group “Painted Shadow,” which was commissioned by and premiered at Bargemusic in Brooklyn, NY in January, 2015.

In addition, they seek to perform works from the trove of composers with whom Horszowski had personal contact, such as Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Fauré, Martinu, Villa-Lobos, and Granados. Their debut recording, an album of works by Fauré, Saint-Saëns, and D’Indy – in memory of Mieczysław Horszowski – was released by Bridge Records in 2014. Gramophone called them "a highly accomplished group," and raved: "exemplary performance... I long to hear more of the Horszowski Trio." After their successful debut recording, they have two more upcoming projects with Bridge Records: an All-Schumann Piano Trios disc, as well as an All-Brahms Piano Quartets set with Masumi Per Rostad from the Pacifica Quartet.

Based in New York City, the Horszowski Trio is Ensemble-in-Residence at the Longy School of Music of Bard College.


Guest Collaborative Pianists

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Pei-Shan Lee, Pianist
Sat. July 13, 2019 Smith College Sage Hall
4:00pm Recital with Violinist Ayano Ninomiya

Pianist Pei-Shan Lee has toured the world as a duo and chamber music partner in concerts including the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Boston's Jordan Hall, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, Taiwan’s National Concert Hall, venues in France, Germany, Belgium, Israel, and throughout the United States. A member of New England Conservatory's Collaborative Piano and Chamber Music Faculty, she has worked with the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s guest conductors and soloists, and is seen as a pianist in the documentaries 'The Portrait' on the life of violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, and in 'Talent Has Hunger' on cellist and teacher Paul Katz.

In recent summers, Ms. Lee has performed at the Mostly Mozart Festival, Caramoor Festival, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Heifetz International Music Institute, Chautauqua Institute, Music Academy of the West, Pro Quartet in France, Great Wall Academy in Beijing, Formosa Chamber Music Festival in Taiwan, and the International Piano Festivals in Spain and Russia.

A native of Taiwan, Ms. Lee came to the U.S. after winning the Youth Division of Taiwan’s National Piano Competition. She is frequently invited for guest residency and master class in the U.S., China, and Taiwan. Her doctoral thesis “The Collaborative Pianist: Balancing Roles in Partnership” has become an important resource for researchers and schools wishing to begin a Collaborative Piano program.

A passionate advocate advancing the art and education of instrumental collaboration, Ms. Lee created a new MM in Collaborative Piano at California State University in 2013. She also serves on the faculty of the Perlman Music Program’s winter residency in Sarasota, and in the summer directs the Collaborative Piano Fellowship program at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine.


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Victor Santiago Asuncion, Pianist
Sun. July 21, 2019 Smith College Sage Hall
4:00pm Recital with Cellist Astrid Schween

Hailed by The Washington Post for his “poised and imaginative playing,” Filipino-American pianist Victor Santiago Asuncion has appeared in concert halls in Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Spain, Turkey and the USA, as a recitalist and concerto soloist.  He played his orchestral debut at the age of 18 with the Manila Chamber Orchestra, and his New York recital debut in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in 1999. In addition, he has worked with conductors including Sergio Esmilla, Enrique Batiz, Mei Ann Chen, Zeev Dorman, Arthur Weisberg, Corrick Brown, David Loebel, Leon Fleisher, Michael Stern, Jordan Tang, and Bobby McFerrin.

A chamber music enthusiast, he has performed with artists such as Lynn Harrell, Zuill Bailey, Andres Diaz, James Dunham, Antonio Meneses, Joshua Roman, Cho-Liang Lin, Giora Schmidt, the Dover, Emerson, Serafin, Sao Paulo, and Vega String Quartets. He was on the chamber music faculty of the Aspen Music Festival, and the Garth Newel Summer Music Festival.  He was also the pianist for the Garth Newel Piano Quartet for three seasons. Festival appearances include the Amelia Island, Highland-Cashiers, Music in the Vineyards, and Santa Fe.

His recordings include the complete Sonatas of L. van Beethoven with cellist Tobias Werner, Sonatas by Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff with cellist Joseph Johnson, the Rachmaninoff Sonata with the cellist Evan Drachman, and the Chopin and Grieg Sonatas, also with cellist Evan Drachman. He is featured in the award winning recording “Songs My Father Taught Me” with Lynn Harrell, produced by Louise Frank and WFMT-Chicago.  Mr. Asuncion is the Founder, and Artistic and Board Director of FilAm Music Foundation, a non-profit foundation that is dedicated to promoting Filipino classical musicians through scholarship, and performance.

He received his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in 2007 from the University of Maryland at College Park under the tutelage of Rita Sloan. Victor Santiago Asuncion is a Steinway artist.