Mimir returned to its second home at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in 2016, giving audiences the opportunity to experience some of the world's finest chamber musicians in action.
The world's leading chamber musicians
Fresh from its 19th season in Fort Worth, Texas, the Mimir Chamber Music Festival returned to the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music from 29 August to 4 September 2016.
Mimir has been listed as a “summer hotspot” in The New York Times and Travel & Leisure magazine, and a “Top 10 Musical Event of the Year" by The Dallas Morning News eight times in a row.Sign up for updates
Performances and masterclasses
Named for the Norse god of wisdom, the festival was founded in 1998 by Dr Curt Thompson, now Associate Professor of Violin and Head of Strings at the Melbourne Conservatorium.
During the week-long festival, Mimir artists presented four public performances and guides students from the Melbourne Conservatorium in a range of masterclasses.Meet the 2016 artists
2016 festival artists
One of Australia's leading pianists, Kristian Chong has performed throughout Australia and the UK, and in China, France, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, USA, and Zimbabwe. As soloist he has appeared with the Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, and orchestras in the UK, New Zealand and China with conductors such as Werner Andreas Albert, Andrey Boreyko, Nicholas Braithwaite, Jessica Cottis, Roy Goodman, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Nicholas Milton, Tuomas Hannikainen, Marcus Stenz, Arvo Volmer and Marco Zuccarini. His competition successes include the Symphony Australia Young Performers Award (keyboard) and the Australian National Piano Award.
Concerto highlights have included Rachmaninoff 3rd with the Sydney Symphony, the Rachmaninoff Paganini Rhapsody in Beijing, and Britten with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Recent concerto highlights include Shostakovich 2nd, Chopin 2nd, Rachmaninoff 3rd, Beethoven's Emperor in Melbourne, and Ravel's Left Hand concerto in Melbourne and Dunedin.
A highly sought after chamber musician, recent collaborations include Australian and Asian tours with the Australian String Quartet, performances with violinists Dale Barltrop, Jack Liebeck, Natsuko Yoshimoto, Sophie Rowell, Elizabeth Layton, Ilya Konovalov, (concertmaster Israel Philharmonic), Tinalley Quartet, and cellist Li-Wei Qin. He recently performed at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, the Bangalow Festival, and made a return appearance at the Huntington Estate Music Festival for Musica Viva Australia. In addition, Kristian debuted for ABC-Classics with baritone Teddy Tahu-Rhodes.
Other recent solo and chamber highlights include the Adelaide Festival, Adelaide International Cello Festival, the Xing Hai Festival in Guangzhou, Australian Music Week on Gulangyu Island (Xiamen) with the Melbourne Symphony, the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, where Kristian performed the complete Rachmaninoff Preludes, piano trios and the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Yoshimoto and Qin, and the complete Beethoven Piano & Violin Sonatas with Yoshimoto and Rowell at the Melbourne Recital Centre. Kristian studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Piers Lane and Christopher Elton, and earlier with Stephen McIntyre at the University of Melbourne where Kristian currently teaches piano and chamber music. He is also a 'Friend of Australia' for Tourism Australia.
Joan DerHovsepian holds the position of Associate Principal Viola of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. She joined the viola section of the Houston Symphony in 1999, hired by Christoph Eschenbach, and began her current position with the HS in the fall of 2010. She is an Artist Teacher of Viola at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, instructing students in viola orchestral repertoire and chamber music. She has given masterclasses in the study of orchestral excerpts at the New England Conservatory and Baylor University, and has been a viola instructor for the New World Symphony.
Ms DerHovsepian spends her summers in Wyoming performing with the Grand Teton Music Festival and in Wisconsin as Principal Viola of the Peninsula Music Festival. Her solo appearances with orchestras include performances of the viola concertos of Walton, Penderecki, Telemann, Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante and Harold in Italy by Berlioz.
Joan was the violist of the award winning Everest Quartet, top prize winners at the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. In addition to their residence with the Midland-Odessa Symphony, the quartet presented concerts throughout North America and gave the world premiere of a work by composer Paul Schoenfeld.
Ms DerHovsepian was Principal Viola of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra from 1997-1999 and played in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra from 1992-94. She has appeared as guest principal viola with the Cincinnati Symphony. Ms DerHovsepian was the second prize recipient of the 1995 Primrose International Viola Competition.Joan holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees and the Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, studying with James Dunham of the Cleveland Quartet. She attended the Hochschule fur Musik in Freiburg, Germany, where she studied with Grammy-award winning violist Kim Kashkashian.
Jun Iwasaki was appointed concertmaster of the Nashville Symphony by Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero at the beginning of the 2011/12 season. A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music’s prestigious Concertmaster Academy, he has been hailed for his combination of dazzling technique and lyrical musicianship. In a review of Iwasaki’s performance at the Mimir Chamber Music Festival, the Fort Worth Star Telegram called him “the magician of the evening. He could reach into his violin and pull out bouquets of sound, then reach behind your ear and touch your soul.”
Prior to joining the Nashville Symphony, Iwasaki served as concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony from 2007-2011, and he performed with that ensemble at the first annual Spring for Music Festival at Carnegie Hall in 2011.
Throughout his career, he has appeared with numerous other orchestras, including the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Blossom Festival Orchestra, Rome (Georgia) Philharmonic, New Bedford Symphony, Canton Symphony, Richardson Symphony, Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Plano Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra. In addition, he has served as concertmaster of Asian Artists and Concerts Orchestra (AAC), guest concertmaster of the Santa Barbara Symphony in 2010, and guest concertmaster of the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa in 2006. He served in the same position with the Canton (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra from 2005-07.
In addition to teaching at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music, Iwasaki is the artistic director of Portland Summer Ensembles in Portland, Oregon, a workshop for young musicians focusing on chamber music.
Noted by acclaimed author David Dubal as one of Juilliard's finest musical talents, pianist-composer Benjamin Martin has become known as an artist of exceptional versatility and subtlety of expression. He has been described as ʻthe consummate artistʼ (The Age), and as a composer, ʻdistinctive... arresting in styleʼ (New York Times).
Benjamin has appeared regularly with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and performed with artists such as Joshua Bell, Alina Ibragimova, Pekka Kuusisto, Richard Tognetti, and Hartmut Lindemann. As a chamber musician Benjamin has recorded for Chandos, Tacet Records (Stuttgart), Melba Recordings, and BIS. In 2014, he released his debut solo album for Melba Recordings featuring 20th Century English music, which was described as "shattering…compelling" by Richard Adams, director of The Arnold Bax Society Website.
On the composing side, Benjamin's career was launched when John Browning gave the World Premiere of his Three Portrait Etudes in 1993 at The Alice Tully Hall, NY. Martin's Triple-Concerto 'Trinitas' was highly praised by Murray Perahia, who attended the premiere at the MRC in 2013. Benjamin is currently pianist for Firebird Trio, and teaches at The University of Melbourne.
Stephen Rose is Principal Second Violin of Cleveland Orchestra, a position he has held since 2001. He joined the Orchestra in 1997 as a member of the first violin section and made his solo debut with the Orchestra in 2011. He again appeared as a soloist with the orchestra in 2013. He has also been heard in solo appearances and chamber music concerts throughout North America and Europe. From 1992-96, Mr. Rose was the first violinist of the Everest Quartet, top prizewinners at the 1995 Banff International String Quartet Competition.
Stephen Rose is a faculty member at The Cleveland Institute of Music, where he maintains a studio and directs the orchestral violin repertoire classes. He also serves on the faculty of Kent/Blossom Music, National Orchestral Institute, and The New World Symphony. A participant at many summer music festivals, Mr. Rose regularly appears at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Mimir Chamber Music Festival, Colorado College Music Festival, Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival and Pacific Music Festival in Japan.
In 1994 Stephen Rose received the Masters of Music degree and Performers’ Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, preceded by the Bachelor of Music degree in 1992 from the Cleveland Institute of Music. He was honored with the Alumni Achievement Award from CIM in 2005.
Born in New York, Brant Taylor began cello studies at the age of 8. His varied career includes solo appearances and collaborations with leading chamber musicians throughout North America, Europe and Asia, as well as orchestral, pedagogical and popular music activities. After one year as a member of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Taylor was appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra by Daniel Barenboim in 1998. In Chicago, Taylor's recital appearances include the Dame Myra Hess Concerts, First Monday Concerts, Rush Hour Concerts at St. James Cathedral, the Ravinia Festival's Rising Stars recital series and regular live radio broadcasts from the studio of WFMT. He has appeared regularly with the Chicago Chamber Musicians and on the CSO's contemporary chamber music series MusicNOW.
Taylor made his solo debut with the San Antonio Symphony at the age of 14 after winning a concerto competition, and he has since been soloist with numerous orchestras, performing the works of Dvorak, Haydn, Elgar, Shostakovich, Lalo, Boccherini, Saint-Saens and Brahms, among others.
From 1992–97, Taylor was cellist of the award-winning Everest Quartet, prizewinners at the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. The Quartet performed and taught extensively in North America and the Caribbean, including the world premiere performance of a work by Israeli-American composer Paul Schoenfield.
In 1997, Taylor was a member of the New World Symphony. He has returned to appear as soloist with that orchestra under the batons of Michael Tilson-Thomas and Nicholas McGegan, as well as to teach and participate in audition training seminars.
In 2002, Taylor began a seven-year association with the band Pink Martini. With this eclectic ensemble, he has appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Late Show with David Letterman, at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and in venues ranging from nightclubs to concert halls across North America. He can be heard on Pink Martini's 2006 release, Hey Eugene.
Taylor is a frequent performer and teacher at music festivals, including the Festival der Zukunft in Ernen, Switzerland, Portland Chamber Music Festival, Shanghai International Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Mimir Chamber Music Festival, Mammoth Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Music Festival Santo Domingo, Michigan's Village Bach Festival and Music at Gretna in Pennsylvania, where he has made repeated appearances as a concerto soloist. Taylor has also served as principal cello of the Arizona Musicfest Orchestra since 2006.
Active as a teacher of both cello and chamber music, Taylor serves on the faculty of the DePaul University School of Music. He has also been a faculty member at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts and Northwestern University's National High School Music Institute, and he has led classes on pedagogy and orchestral repertoire at the University of Michigan. Taylor holds a bachelor of music degree and a performer's certificate from the Eastman School of Music, where he won the school's Concerto Competition and performed as soloist with the Eastman Philharmonia. His master of music degree is from Indiana University. Taylor's primary teachers have been Janos Starker and Paul Katz.
Violinist Curt Thompson serves as Associate Professor and Head of Strings at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, where he is a founding member of the Ormond Quartet, whose residency at the MCM began in 2016. He is Founder and Executive Director of the Fort Worth, Texas-based Mimir Chamber Music Festival, which will present its19th season in Fort Worth and 4th season in Melbourne this year. Prior teaching appointments include the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the TCU School of Music.
Thompson performs throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia as concerto soloist, recitalist, concertmaster, and chamber musician in such prestigious venues as Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Salle Gaveau (Paris), Teatro Naçional de Costa Rica (San José) and the Shanghai Concert Hall. His debut recording of the violin sonatas by Charles Ives (Naxos) is regularly broadcast worldwide and has received outstanding reviews, including The Strad, The Wire, and The New York Times, where it was included in a listing of “Critics’ Favorites” and was called “…a hole in one…perfectly demonstrating Ives’ spicy, earthy rawness and appeal….” Gramophone acclaimed the CD in 2016 as one of the “Top 10 Ives Recordings” alongside those by the New York Philharmonic (with Leonard Bernstein) and mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, stating that of the recordings of the violin sonatas, “…This is now the version to choose….”
Concerto appearances include the Qingdao Symphony (China), Medellín Philharmonic Orchestra (Colombia), the symphonies of Corpus Christi, San Angelo, Las Colinas, Irving, Arlington, Garland, and the Texas Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Thompson has been a featured artist in the Copland/Shostakovich Festival (Rio de Janeiro), the Festival de Primavera (Oaxaca, Mexico), the Seventh Centennial Festival of Villarobledo (Spain), and Inter-Harmony International Music Festival (Hinterzarten, Germany). As Concertmaster, Curt has performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra (Italy), and the Corpus Christi, Las Colinas, and San Angelo symphonies. He has given master classes at the Royal Academy of Music (London), The Juilliard School, Beijing Central Conservatory, El Escorial Conservatory (Spain), and the Bulgarian State Academy of Music.
Thompson has served as juror in several international competitions, including the National Concerto Competition of New Zealand, the Pancho Vladigerov International Violin Competition (Bulgaria) and the Dorcas Mclean competition (Australia), and he serves on the Artistic Committee of Chamber Music Australia. He holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Rice University. His principal teachers included Nelli Shkolnikova and Sergiu Luca.
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