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.