Hailed as “an outstanding instrumentalist and musician” with “exceptional musicality, integrity, and polish,” cellist Jing Li has performed around the world as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. She has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Miriam Fried, Donald Weilerstein, Lawrence Wolfe, and the Borromeo String Quartet, as well as participating in internationally renowned festivals including the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, and the Piatigorsky Seminar for Cellists.
Currently based in Boston and New York City, she can be heard performing with A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra, Boston Ballet, and Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), as well as with the New York Philharmonic and on various Broadway shows. As a dedicated teacher and chamber musician, she recently joined the Portland Piano Trio and serves as an Artistic Director with 240 Strings, an organization providing free musical education to students unable to afford instruction.
Hailed by Opera News for her “lovely clarity and golden color,” mezzo-soprano Krista River is at home in repertoire ranging from the Baroque period to the 21st century.In January of 2020 Ms. River won a Grammy award for her role as Mrs. Fox in Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s recording of Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. She has also been a winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition and a grant recipient from the Sullivan Foundation.Recent notable performances include the International Water and Life Festival in Qinghai, China, Messiah at Carnegie Hall with the Masterworks Chorale (NJ), and recitals at Jordan Hall in Boston and the Asociación Nacional de Conciertos in Panama City, Panama.The New York Times praised her recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, lauding “her shimmering voice...with the virtuosity of a violinist and the expressivity of an actress."
Recent opera appearances include the title role in Carmen at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Sesto in La clemenza di Tito with Emmanuel Music, Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Mercury Baroque (Houston) and the Connecticut Early Music Festival, Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with the North Carolina Symphony, Annio in La clemenza di Tito with Opera Boston, Narcissus in Boston Baroque’s Agrippina, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Crested Butte Music Festival, and the title role in Handel’s Xerxes with Arcadia Players. Ms. River made her Tanglewood debut in the role of Jordan Baker in John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby.
Ms. River’s orchestral engagements have included appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Handel & Haydn Society, Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, Harrisburg Symphony, York Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Pittsburgh Bach and Baroque Ensemble, the Cape Cod Symphony, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.She has performed as a guest artist at music festivals including John Harbison’s Token Creek Chamber Music Festival, Monadnock Music, Music from Salem, Saco River Festival, Meeting House Music Festival on Cape Cod, and the Portland Chamber Music Festival in Maine. A contemporary music advocate, Ms. River has premiered works by numerous composers including Tom Cipullo, Howard Frazin, and Herschel Garfein.She created the role of Genevieve in Brian Hulse’s chamber opera The Game at the Kennedy Center, as part of its Millennium Stage series. She sang the world premiere of Scott Wheeler’s Turning Back at her 2008 solo recital at Weill Recital Hall, and is featured on two of Wheeler’s CDs— The Construction of Boston, recorded live with Boston Cecilia, and Wasting the Night: Songs — both released on Naxos Records.
Ms. River began her musical career as a cellist, earning her music degree at St. Olaf College.She resides in Boston and is a regular soloist with Emmanuel Music’s renowned Bach Cantata Series.
Alex Ruvinstein is a Russian-American classical pianist. He won the XXVIII International Competition in Salerno, Italy (1995) as part of the four hands duo with O. Gurevich. Alex is a winner of the Ibla International Piano Competition in Ragusa, Italy (1996) in the solo and four hands duo divisions, the National Ukrainian Piano Competition for college graduates in Kiev, Ukraine (1985), and other local and regional piano competitions he participated in as a Student. Alex was born in 1966 in Polyarnyi, Russia, above the Arctic Circle, and began his music studies at the age of five. In 1985, Alex received his Bachelor’s degree from the Uman State College of Music where he studied with Professor Viktor Patricio. In 1992, he received his Master’s at the Gnesin Academy in Moscow under Professor Vera Nosina. After receiving his Doctorate with Professor Naum Starkmann at the Maimonides State Academy in Russia (1995), Alex worked as Professor of Piano and an accompanist for cellists and singers at this Academy. In 1998, Alex immigrated to the United States and made his American debut at the Union County Art Center in New Jersey. Since then, he has performed in various concert halls in Kansas, Delaware, Connecticut, and other states. His solo and chamber music performances include recitals at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, The Greater Princeton Steinway Society, New York Library Concert Series, the United Nations Concert Hall, the Bechstein Piano Centre, and the National Opera Center in New York City, among others. Alex was a member of the Memling Ensemble, directed by Metropolitan Opera violist Vincent Lionti. He has appeared on Russian and Ukrainian Television. Alex works at SUNY New Paltz, Kaufman Music Center in New York City, and Temple Sinai in Stamford, CT. Alex lives in Riverdale, New York with his wife Yelena and their sons, Michael, David, and Anthony.
Soprano Ilana Davidson enjoys a busy schedule of opera, concerts, and recitals, performing repertoire from the Renaissance and Baroque to the 20th and 21st centuries. Her performances have included William Bolcom’s Songs Of Innocence and of Experience conducted by Leonard Slatkin at Carnegie Hall which earned 4 Grammy Awards, Mahler Symphony No. 4 with Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra which was broadcast live, Mozart Arias at the Royal Concertgebouw Hall, Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre in the Netherlands, Krenek’s Das Geheime Königreich in Vienna, Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice and Mahler Symphony No. 2 with the Québec Symphony Orchestra, recital highlights include a tour of the Lieder of Ernst Krenek, New York Festival of Song, appearances with the Bard Music Festival and the Annenberg Center in Palm Desert. Ms. Davidson has performed major works and operatic roles with the Staatsoper Stuttgart, Florida Grand Opera, Nationale Reisopera, Vlaamse Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Berkshire Choral Festival, Harrisburg Symphony, Duke Chapel, Bellingham Music Festival, Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Krenek Festival Vienna, Innsbruck Early Music Festival and the Schwetzingen Festspiele.
Recent highlights include Carnegie Hall performances of Mona Lisa (Von Schillings), Der Diktator (Krenek) and Songs From Jewish Folk Poetry (Shostakovich) with the American Symphony Orchestra and TON, a debut with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra as Euridice in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Mahler Symphony No. 4 with Keith Lockhart at the Brevard Music Festival, the Anchorage Symphony, Bellingham Music Festival, Mozart Requiem and Haydn’s Creation, Mozart Requiem with the Bellingham Music Festival, and chamber music festivals in the United States and Canada.
Ilana recently rertuned to the Berkshire Choral Festival in Haydn’s Creation, Mozart Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Pergolesi Stabat Mater, Mahler Symphony No. 2, and 4 with Keith Lockhart at the Brevard Music Festival and with Lancing Symphony Orchestra. She also collaborates with Electric Earth Concerts, the Riverside Choral Society as well as the Riverdale Choral Society as Anne in Annelies by James Whitbourn and Ars Antiqua in works of Haydn. Ilana has been featured on several commercial recordings including works of Bolcom, Krenek, Weill, Zorn, Britten, Elwood, and more. She has been recognized in several competitions, and was recently awarded a BRIO award from the Bronx Council on the Arts, and received the first prize in the Mostly Mozart Competition of Philadelphia and a Sullivan Foundation recipient.
Ilana received a Master of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music and received an undergraduate degree in Voice Performance from Carnegie Mellon University. Ilana is the heartbeat behind ClassicalCafé and Serenata Chamber Series which fulfills a long standing dream of hers to help bring chamber music to intimate settings.
Broadway shows: Phantom of the Opera and Anything Goes.He toured with Disney’s High School Musical, tapped traveling with Anything Goes and rocked with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Soloist). Regional performances include Man of LaMancha (Quixote), A Christmas Story (Old Man), Mamma Mia (Harry), 1776 (Rutledge),, Spamalot (Sir Galahad), Around the World in 80 Days (Phileas Fogg), Little Women (Prof. Bhaer) Urinetown (Lockstock), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Trevor), Sweeney Todd (Antony), Kiss Me Kate (Fred) and Fantasticks (El Gallo).TV credits: Hallmark: Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane, The Deuce, Quantico, Law & Order, SVU,Law & Order , One Life to Live and All My Children.Trained at Carnegie-Mellon University, he loves motorcycling, picking his guitar and baking pies.Thank you Ilana and Seranata!
Dylan Marlais Thomas was born at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in the Uplands district of Swansea, Wales, on October 27, 1914. Before his birth, Thomas's parents, David John (D. J.) and Florence Hannah, had moved to the primarily Anglophone suburb from rural Welsh-speaking Carmarthenshire. Although both D. J. and Florence were bilingual, they raised Dylan and his sister Nancy to speak only English, even sending the children to elocution lessons. Dylan was an unremarkable student at the local grammar school in Swansea where his father taught English. Given unlimited access to his father's library at home, however, he engaged a precocious interest in English literature and began composing poetry, publishing some of it in school magazines. At sixteen, he left school to work for the local evening paper as a reporter. Journalism proved an unsuitable occupation for Thomas, and he quit the following year.
Between the ages of sixteen and twenty, Thomas kept a series of notebooks in which he developed the challenging and dense style of his earliest adult poetry. As a teenager his poems were published in New Verse and in the Sunday Referee's " Poets' Corner." In 1934, Thomas received the " Poets' Corner" Prize, an award that included the publication of a first book of poetry.
During the mid-1930s--the years between the publication of his first two volumes of poetry, 18 Poems (1934) and Twenty-five Poems (1936)--Thomas embedded himself in the London artistic scene, earning a reputation as a poet, drinker, and storyteller. Sometime in 1936, Thomas met Caitlin Macnamara, an aspiring dancer and former mistress of the painter Augustus John. The following year they eloped in Penzance, Cornwall. The couple were penniless and often lived off the money and housing they could borrow from family and friends. Shortly before Caitlin learned she was pregnant with their first child, Llewelyn, they moved to the Carmarthenshire fishing village of Laugharne.
During the war years, Thomas managed to avoid military service, probably on medical grounds. He moved between Laugharne and London, having secured work as a scriptwriter for Donald Taylor's Strand Films, a contractor for the Ministry of Information. Thomas's lifestyle in wartime London was relatively controlled and predictable; for the first time since his teenage foray into journalism, he was earning a steady income. Following the war, however, Thomas's life became more chaotic. Deaths and Entrances (1946), a pocket-sized volume of poems in a more accessible style, was an immediate success. Despite this, Thomas's domestic life grew more problematic: he and Caitlin were struggling to support two children (daughter Aeronwy was born in 1943), and the pair's relationship was becoming increasingly dysfunctional. Thomas no longer had the steady income from his wartime documentaries, and he began to rely instead on income from scriptwriting for feature films and radio broadcasts for the BBC. In 1949, the Thomases moved back to Wales and into the Boat House, a property in Laugharne purchased for them by their benefactor Margaret Taylor. In July of that year, a third child, Colm, was born.
In 1949 John Malcolm Brinnin, director of the Poetry Center at the Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association in New York, invited Thomas to visit the United States and cash in on his growing fame in America. He traveled there in 1950, giving readings at the Poetry Center and at college campuses as far west as San Francisco and Vancouver.
Three more American tours followed, one in 1952 and two in 1953. By this time, Thomas had been drafting for several years a play for voices about a day in the life of Llareggub, a fictional Welsh town with a backwards-reading name. During his third American tour, Thomas more or less finished the play, by then titled Under Milk Wood, and it was first performed on stage at Harvard University in May 1953. Under Milk Wood would posthumously become his best-known work.
Meanwhile, Thomas's health and marriage were deteriorating; years of heavy drinking were exacting a cumulative toll. As he began his fourth and final American tour in October 1953, his marriage appeared to be unsalvageable, and Thomas succumbed to despair. He began a regimen of self-destructive behavior, drinking copiously and often to the point of delirium. On November 4, after a doctor's well-intentioned but ultimately fatal injection of morphine, Thomas collapsed and fell into a coma. He died on November 9, 1953, at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City.This text is to help your site visitors with pressing questions.