Dr. Daredjan Baya Kakouberi, pianist, hailed as a “treat to watch and hear”, was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, and made her debut at the age of eleven. After graduating from Tbilisi Special School of Music for the Talented and Gifted, she entered the Moscow Conservatory, where she continued her studies on the Master’s and Doctoral levels under the tutelage of professor Sergei Dorenski, and Tchaikovsky Competition Gold Medalist, Vladimir Krainev.
Her engagements have included the Strings Music Festival, Steamboat Springs, CO, Nancyphiles Festival in Nancy, France and a solo recital at the request of the San Antonio International Piano Competition. Ms. Kakouberi is an annual artist at the Musical Bridges Around the World series in San Antonio, TX, where she was a key participant in the city’s all-inclusive Brahms and Beethoven Festival.
Business Leader magazine selected Ms. Kakouberi for the Woman Extraordinaire award in 2012. This honor exemplifies women who “demonstrated significant business achievement and community involvement” in their given field. In March 2010, Dr. Kakouberi was honored as the recipient of the coveted International Ambassador for Cultural Exchange Award. Awarded by the Russian Winter Festival at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, this award recognizes outstanding achievement in performing and teaching disciplines domestically and abroad. In 2009, Ms. Kakouberi was engaged to tour China a soloist. Due to her much sought after teaching skills, she is also rounding out the cultural event by presenting master classes in the leading conservatories in Mainland China.
In an unprecedented project in the spring of 2009, Ms. Kakouberi has recorded the three books of the Russian Piano Technique, based on the teachings of Professor Nikolaev, to be used in practice and performance techniques for students of all levels.
In 2009, she collaborated with violinist Gary Levinson in the recording of the complete sonatas for piano and violin by Beethoven. The project was spearheaded by the Classical Music Recording Foundation. The four CD set was released n 2012. Ms. Kakouberi has appeared as a soloist with orchestras in Moscow, Georgia, Armenia, Latvia, Italy and the United States.
In 1996, she was among the “World’s Ten Most Distinguished Pianists” chosen by the Palm Beach Invitational Piano Competition. In the summer of 2000, Ms. Kakouberi was chosen as recipient of the “Most Outstanding and Distinguished Pianist” award in the IBLA International Competition in Italy. In addition to her solo recitals, she has appeared as guest soloist in concerts throughout the US and Europe, including performances at Moscow Conservatory Great Hall, Steinway Hall in New York, and the Cerritos Center for Performing Arts in California.
As a chamber performer Ms. Kakouberi made her debut at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall in New York in February 2002. Ms. Kakouberi returned to that venue in a scheduled appearance on the CMRF annual gala concert in the fall of 2011 at Weill Hall.
Noted as an outstanding chamber music artist, Ms. Kakouberi is the Artistic Director of the Blue Candlelight Music Series in Dallas, Texas, where she enjoys collaboration with internationally renowned artists. She has appeared multiple times at the Music in the Mountains Festival in Durango, CO, where she was also a frequent soloist. She is a household name at the major venues in North Texas, such as the University of North Texas in Denton, TX, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts where she has appeared as a concerto soloist.
Gary Levinson enjoys a multifaceted career as a soloist, chamber musician and a pedagogue. In 2013 he accepted the prestigious post of Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth. Praised for his intense musicality and adroit technique by American and European critics, he has served as the Senior Principal Associate Concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony since 2002. He was chosen by Zubin Mehta to join the New York Philharmonic before the completion of his undergraduate degree from the Juilliard School in 1988. Mr. Levinson then made his New York Philharmonic solo debut in 1991, under the baton of Erich Leinsdorf, coinciding with the completion of his Master’s of Music degree at The Juilliard School, where his teachers included Dorothy DeLay, Glenn Dicterow and Felix Galimir.
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Levinson began studying the violin at the age of five with Professor Sergeev at the Leningrad Special Music School. After immigrating to the United States in 1977, he won the top prize at the 1986 Romano Romanini International Violin Competition in Brescia, Italy, as well as becoming the top American Prize winner at the 1987 Jacques Thibaud International Violin Competition in Paris, France.
As a soloist, Mr. Levinson has collaborated with Erich Leinsdorf, Jaap van Zweden, Raffaele Ponti and others. Much sought-after as a chamber musician, Mr. Levinson has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, Eugenia Zukerman, Lukas Foss, Joseph Kalichstein, Christopher O’Riley and Adam Neiman. Along with Daredjan Kakouberi and Jesus Castro-Balbi, they perform as Petrus Trio internationally. In March 1998, Mr. Levinson was appointed as the first violinist of the Elysium String Quartet, with which he performed on their regular Weill Hall Series at Carnegie Hall. He led the inaugural season of the Mykonos International Music Festival in August 1998 as well as a gala concert honoring the Elysium String Quartet at the United States Ambassador’s Residence in Athens, Greece.
The summer season takes him to various music festivals, such as the Strings Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the Sunflower Music Festival, the Florida Music Festival in Sarasota, Florida, the Utah Music Festival in Park City, Utah and the Arcady Music Festival in Maine. He served on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival from 2001-2010. Abroad, he was featured in the 2015 Moti Armonica Festival in Milan, the Banhoff Rolandseck Festival, Germany in 1990 and South Korea in 1990 and 1994.
A champion of contemporary music, Mr. Levinson recorded the Margaret Brouwer Violin Concerto under the baton of 2012 Musical America’s Conductor of the Year, Jaap van Zweden in 2012. He premiered and recorded several works dedicated to Mr. Levinson by award winning Iranian composer, Behzad Ranjbaran. In 1996 he, along with his father, renowned double bassist Eugene Levinson, recorded the world premiere for CALA Records of Dances of Life, a bass and violin duo, written for and dedicated to the Levinsons. Mr. Levinson also collaborated with New York Philharmonic Principal English Hornist Thomas Stacy in a CD for CALA’s New York Legends series. He recorded mixed ensemble chamber works of George Tsontakis, with a recording to be released under the E1International label. In it he is collaborating with Lawrence Dutton, Melvin Chen, Robert Jolley, Sophie Shao and others.
The complete Beethoven Violin and Piano Sonatas with acclaimed pianist Daredjan Kakouberi were released in August, 2011. The Vivaldi Four Seasons and the Brouwer Violin Concerto were released in 2014. His CD, "My New York Years", debuted to critical acclaim in January 2007. In the summer of 1999, Mr. Levinson completed a critically acclaimed all Mozart CD, featuring the Elysium String Quartet and three New York Philharmonic principals – Stanley Drucker, clarinet, Joseph Robinson, oboe and L. William Kuyper, French Horn. The American Record Guide hailed it “utterly Mozartean…full of good spirits and a real sense of occasion”. The CD is currently available. In the summer of 1999, Lucas Foss chose Mr. Levinson and the ESQ to collaborate with him on an all-Bach CD of works never before recorded in that artists’ distinguished career.
Mr. Levinson performs on an Antonio Stradivari violin, crafted in 1726. It is graciously made available for his use by the Dallas Symphony Association.
Born in 1978 in Rochester, NY, Michael Klotz made his solo debut with the Rochester Philharmonic at the age of 17 and has since then appeared as soloist with orchestra, recitalist, and chamber musician throughout the world. After a performance of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 with violist Roberto Diaz, the Portland Press-Herald proclaimed, “this concert squelched all viola jokes, now and forever, due to the talents of Diaz and Klotz”. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram recently proclaimed Michael Klotz to be “a superb violist, impressive, with an exceptionally attractive sound,” and the Miami Herald has consistently lauded his “burnished, glowing tone and nuanced presence.”
Michael Klotz joined the Amernet String Quartet in 2002 and has toured and recorded with the ensemble throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Romania, Colombia, Belgium, and Spain. Klotz has performed at some of New York’s most important venues, such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Weill Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, MoMA, Bargemusic, and the Kosciuzsko Foundation. His festival appearances have included Seattle, Newport, Caramoor, ChamberFest Cleveland, Festival Mozaic, Great Lakes, Cervantino, Sunflower, Martha’s Vineyard, Skaneateles, Virginia Tech Vocal Arts and Music Festival, San Miguel de Allende, Beverly Hills, Music Mountain, Bowdoin, Madeline Island, Sarasota, Music Academy of the West, and Miami Mainly Mozart.
Passionately dedicated to chamber music, Klotz regularly performs with many of today’s most esteemed artists, having appeared as guest violist with the Shanghai, Ying, and Borromeo String Quartets, the Manhattan Piano Trio, and collaborated with artists such as Shmuel Ashkenasi, Arnold Steinhardt, James Ehnes, Vadim Gluzman, Gary Hoffman, Carter Brey, Michael Tree, Robert DeMaine, Andres Diaz, Roberto Diaz, Joseph Kalichstein, and Franklin Cohen, and Alexander Fiterstein, as well as with many principal players from major U.S. and European orchestras. In 2015 he was named a Charter Member of the Ensemble with the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth and regularly appears on this series. In 2002 and 2009, he was was invited by Maestro Jaime Laredo to perform with distinguished alumni at anniversary concerts of the New York String Orchestra Seminar in Carnegie Hall. Michael Klotz is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he was awarded the Performer’s Certificate. In 2002 he became one of the few individuals to be awarded a double Master’s Degree in violin and viola from the Juilliard School. At Juilliard, he was the recipient of the Tokyo Foundation and Gluck Fellowships. His principle teachers and influences include Zvi Zeitlin, Lynn Blakeslee, Lewis Kaplan, Toby Appel, Peter Kamnitzer, and Shmuel Ashkenasi. A dedicated teacher, Klotz is Senior Instructor and Artist-in-Residence at Florida International University in Miami, where he teaches viola and chamber music.
Klotz has recently presented highly acclaimed master classes at the Cleveland Institute of Music, University of Michigan, Penn State University, University of Nevada – Las Vegas, Ithaca College, Texas Christian University, and West Virginia University. Since 2015 he serves as Director of Chamber Music and Viola Instructor for the Miami Music Festival where he curates a highly successful series of chamber music concerts featuring artist faculty of the festival and students at The Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach and Barry University. He has also been a member of the artist faculty of the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Beverly Hills International Music Festival, and the Killington Music Festival. His former students currently attend and are graduates of prestigious conservatories, including the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music and are already achieving leading roles in the music world. Michael was featured in the November 2013 issue of the “Alumni Spotlight” in the Juilliard Journal and as the subject of Strad Magazine’s “Ask the Teacher” column in the November 2013 issue. Michael Klotz resides in Hallandale Beach, FL with his wife Kelly and sons Jacob and Natan, as well as two dogs and a cat.
Principal Clarinet of The Cleveland Orchestra since 1976, Franklin Cohen has distinguished himself as one of the outstanding clarinetists of his generation. His playing has been described as “hypnotic, impeccable, brilliant… with a vocal quality that would be the envy of any singer.” He first gained international recognition and acclaim when, at the age of 22, he became the first clarinetist awarded First Prize at the International Munich Competition (the other first prize that year went to soprano Jessye Norman). Since then, Mr. Cohen has enjoyed an illustrious career as soloist, recitalist, recording and chamber artist, pedagogue and orchestral principal.
Since his first solo appearance with The Cleveland Orchestra in 1977, Mr. Cohen has been featured as soloist in nearly 200 performances — at Severance Hall, Carnegie Hall, Blossom Music Center, and on tour throughout the United States, Asia and Europe. In 1992, he recorded the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Orchestra and Christoph von Dohnányi for Decca Records. Mr. Cohen is also the soloist in Debussy’s First Rhapsody on a Deutsche Grammophon recording conducted by Pierre Boulez that won two Grammy Awards in 1996, and on a Decca recording of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas with pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy.
With his daughter, violinist Diana Cohen, Franklin Cohen is the co-artistic director of the critically acclaimed ChamberFest Cleveland, the first international summer chamber music festival in Cleveland, which presented its inaugural season in 2012. ChamberFest’s huge success has led to an expanded vision for growth locally and internationally.
Mr. Cohen’s professional music career was launched when Leopold Stokowski chose him as principal clarinet of the American Symphony Orchestra.
As a recitalist and chamber artist, Mr. Cohen has participated in the Aspen, Blossom, Casals, Marlboro, Santa Fe, and Sarasota music festivals. He has also been a featured artist with many of the world’s leading chamber groups, including the Emerson, Guarneri, Takács, Tokyo, Miro, Miami, Orion, Shostakovich, Cavani and Ysaÿe string quartets and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. In addition, Mr. Cohen has collaborated with leading artists including Emanuel Ax, Pinchas Zukerman, Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jessye Norman, Menahem Pressler and Heidi Grant Murphy, among many others. Mr. Cohen has given countless master classes and seminars at prestigious universities and conservatories throughout the world. His former students hold principal positions in major orchestras in North America, Europe, Mexico and Asia.
A passionate advocate of music education, Mr. Cohen founded and funded “The Concert Club”, introducing young musicians to world class artists and performances at Severance Hall.
Mr. Cohen’s children are both members of the Calgary Philharmonic, Diana serves as concertmaster and Alexander is the principal timpanist.