Award Recipients

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

Roderick Cox, The 2018 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Fellow

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra since September 2016, Roderick Cox previously served as the ensemble’s Assistant Conductor for a year. Prior to that, he served for two years as Assistant Conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Highlights of Mr. Cox’s 2017-18 season included conducting a second subscription concert week with the Minnesota Orchestra, concerts with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (London), Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and Seattle Symphony, and making his debut with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra.

Upcoming 2018 summer engagements include his debuts with the Grant Park Festival Symphony Orchestra in Chicago and Orchestra Metropolitan at the Launaudiere Festival. 2018-19 season highlights will include a subscription concert debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra with Cameron Carpenter in November 2018, and his Opera debut with Houston Grand Opera in January 2019 in performances of Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles.

A native of Macon, Georgia, and a graduate of Northwestern University with a master's degree in conducting, Roderick Cox is one of four participants selected to participate in the 2018 Daniele Gatti Masterclass with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. A recipient of a 2017 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, Mr. Cox’s awards and honors also include the 2013 Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize from the Aspen Music Festival, which led to national recognition and a return to the festival as a fellow. Other fellowships include a 2014 Chicago Sinfonietta Project Inclusion Conducting Freeman Fellowship, and the 2012 Chautauqua Institution David Effron Conducting Fellowship. (Complete biography attached.)


Christopher Allen, The 2017 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Fellow

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

The 2017 Solti Fellow from The Solti Foundation U.S., Christopher Allen is rapidly gaining attention as a rising conductor on the operatic and symphonic stages. His conducting career was launched when he received the Bruno Walter Conducting Award and Memorial Career Grant, and fostered by Plácido Domingo and James Conlon, who brought him to Los Angeles Opera as an Associate Conductor. He is also a recipient of a 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award.

Recently named The John L. Magro Resident Conductor for Cincinnati Opera, Christopher Allen will return in the summer of 2017 to conduct Barrie Kosky’s production of Die Zauberflöte. He has previously been seen conducting the new production of Tosca, the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star and the Cincinnati Opera’s Washington Park Concert leading the Cincinnati Symphony. In the 2016-2017 season, Mo. Allen made his Washington National Opera debut in Donizetti’s La fille du régiment and Florida Grand Opera debut in Cuban-American composer Jorge Martín’s Before Night Falls. He was seen at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas and will debut at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in the new revised version of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Grapes of Wrath. Mo. Allen also made his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra debut conducting a program of Wagner, Tchaikovsky, and Beethoven. Next season, Mo. Allen will return to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to conduct a new production of La traviata directed by acclaimed soprano Patricia Racette. He will also conduct the North Carolina premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain and debut at The Atlanta Opera conducting La fille du régiment.

Recently, Christopher Allen made his UK debut conducting The Barber of Seville at the English National Opera and debuted at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in a production of L’elisir d’amore directed by James Robinson. He was nominated as a finalist for 2015 International Opera Awards in London in the “Newcomer” category, and was named Musical America Artist of the Month in July 2015. Mo. Allen made his Los Angeles Opera conducting debut in Patrick Morganelli’s Hercules vs. Vampires. He also returned to the company as Associate Conductor in La traviata with Plácido Domingo as Germont and in The Ghosts of Versailles with James Conlon. He made his debut with Opera Santa Barbara in Rigoletto and returned to Intermountain Opera in Bozeman, MT to conduct a double-bill of Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica, as well as Don Giovanni. Mo. Allen made his Asian debut conducting Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Daegu Opera House. He prepared I due Foscari for Theater an der Wien assisting James Conlon with Plácido Domingo as Francesco Foscari and was the associate conductor to James Conlon on Lucia di Lamermoor, Falstaff, and the Britten Centennial Concerts at LA Opera. He returned to the Atlanta Symphony to assist Robert Spano on Britten’s War Requiem, as well as preparing a world premiere with Spano at the Ojai Music Festival. Other past assignments at LA Opera include productions of Don Giovanni, Tosca, Carmen, The Rape of Lucretia, Holdridge’s Dolce Rosa, and Madama Butterfly.

Since 2011, Christopher Allen has maintained a close relationship with the Atlanta Symphony working with Music Director Robert Spano and Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles. He was on the music staff of Cincinnati Opera as an assistant conductor to Carlo Rizzi in Aida, Joana Carneriero in John Adams’ A Flowering Tree, Bernard Labadie in Die Zauberflöte, Carlo Montonaro in La traviata and Edwin Outwater in Astor Piazolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires. He made his debut at the Intermountain Opera Bozeman in Montana conducting La traviata.

Christopher Allen has been a recipient of numerous piano awards which have led to debuts in venues such as Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Juilliard School and the Tenri Cultural Institute. While a student at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, his production of Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw was awarded a National Opera Association prize.


Karina Canellakis, The 2016 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Fellow

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

Karina Canellakis has rapidly gained international recognition as one of today’s most dynamic and exciting young American conductors. Praised for both her technical and lyrical command of the music, Canellakis has received glowing critical endorsements of her performances since first making headlines in 2014 filling in last-minute for Jaap van Zweden with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in Shostakovich’s 8th symphony. She made her European conducting debut last June with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe at the Styriarte Festival in Graz, Austria, replacing the late Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and has been re-invited to Graz this coming June to conduct his orchestra, Concentus Musicus Wien, in four symphonies of a Beethoven Cycle.

Already known to many in the classical music world for her virtuoso violin playing, Ms. Canellakis was initially encouraged to pursue conducting by her mentor Sir Simon Rattle while she was playing regularly in the Berlin Philharmonic for two years as a member of their Orchester-Akademie. In addition to appearing frequently as soloist with various North American orchestras, she subsequently played regularly in the Chicago Symphony for over three years, and appeared on several occasions as guest concertmaster of the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway. She spent many summers performing at the Marlboro Music Festival, and her approach to conducting is firmly rooted in her detailed and dedicated experience as a chamber musician. She plays a 1782 Mantegazza violin on generous loan to her from a private patron.

Ms. Canellakis is a recipient of a 2015 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, was the winner of the 2013 Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship, and was a conducting fellow at the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center for the summer of 2014.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in violin from the Curtis Institute of Music and a Master’s degree in orchestral conducting from The Juilliard School, where she was the recipient of the Charles Schiff Award for Excellence in Orchestral Conducting, the American Conductors Award, and the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship. In addition to Rattle and Zweden, her most prominent mentors are Alan Gilbert and Fabio Luisi.

Karina Canellakis was born and raised in New York City, where she is currently based. She speaks French, German and Italian, and is equally at home performing all genres of the repertoire.


Vladimir Kulenovic, The 2015 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Fellow

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

Recently appointed Music Director of the Lake Forest Symphony, Mr. Kulenovic also serves as Associate Conductor of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera and the Resident Conductor of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra in Serbia. Vladimir Kulenovic formerly served as the Principal Conductor of the Kyoto International Music Festival in Japan and remains in high demand as a guest conductor of leading orchestras in the U.S. Europe in Asia.

In addition to studying with Kurt Masur from 2008-2012, Vladimir Kulenovic is an alumnus of the Juilliard School and was awarded the Charles Schiff Conducting Prize for Excellence upon the completion of his post-graduate studies with James DePreist and Alan Gilbert. He also earned graduate degrees from the Peabody Institute, where he studied with Gustav Meier, and the Boston Conservatory where he graduated summa cum laude as valedictorian and was awarded Alfred B. Whitney Award for the highest scholastic achievement. He is also winner of the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship, 2012 Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Fellowship, as well as 2012, 2013 and 2014 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards and the $25,000 2015 Solti Conducting Fellow.


Cristian Macelaru, The 2014 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Fellow

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, $25,000

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

An exciting and highly regarded presence known for his thoughtful interpretations, poise and energetic conviction on the podium, Cristian Macelaru is Associate Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mr. Macelaru began his tenure at the Philadelphia Orchestra as Assistant Conductor in September 2011; in recognition of his artistic contributions to the orchestra, his title was elevated to Associate Conductor in November 2012. Mr. Macelaru’s upcoming season includes return engagements with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Chicago, Houston and Baltimore symphony orchestras. His season also includes debuts with the symphony orchestras of Detroit, Toronto, Seattle, Milwaukee and Indianapolis, and the Metropolitain Orchestra (Canada) in North America, and with the Halle Orchestra (UK) and the Residentie Orkest (The Hague) abroad. Macelaru received Solti awards in 2012 and 2014. For more about Cristian Macelaru: www.macelaru.com/.


The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

James Feddeck, The 2013 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Fellow

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

James Feddeck recently served four years as Assistant Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. Since his Cleveland Orchestra debut in August 2009, he has led the orchestra in a number of new initiatives including collaborative performances with the Cleveland Play House and the Cleveland Museum of Art. He made his Severance Hall debut in 2011, stepping in for Franz Welser-Most in the fully-staged Zurich Opera production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and recently led sold-out subscription performances of Orff’s Carmina Burana to critical acclaim. In June 2012, he led the youth orchestra’s first-ever international tour to the musical capitals of Prague, Salzburg, and Vienna. An Oberlin Conservatory alumnus, Mr. Feddeck holds the distinction of having been admitted in four areas: piano, oboe, organ, and conducting. He further studied as a protege of David Zinman at the Aspen Music Festival and School where he received both the Robert J. Harth Conductor Prize and the Aspen Conducting Prize. Feddeck also received a Solti award in 2009.


The Sir Georg Solti Conducting AwardCase Scaglione, The 2011 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Fellow

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

Case Scaglione began his tenure as Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic in September, 2011. For three years he served as music director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra of Los Angeles where he followed in the footsteps of such renowned conductors as Michael Tilson-Thomas, Lawrence Foster, and Myung-Whun Chung. He was also chosen as one of three conducting fellows to attend the 2011 Tanglewood Music Center. A former student of David Zinman at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen for three summers, he won the James Conlon Prize and, in 2010, the esteemed Aspen Conducting Prize. As a result he made his debut with the Cleveland Orchestra in July of 2010. Scaglione first received the Solti award in 2009. For more information: www.casescaglione.com/.


The Sir Georg Solti Conducting AwardErik Nielsen, The 2009 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Fellow

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

Erik Nielsen took up the position of Kapellmeister of the Frankfurt Opera from the beginning of the 2008/9 season. He studied as a double-major in oboe and harp at the Juilliard School New York, before studying conducting at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. Prior to moving to Frankfurt he played harp in the Berlin Philharmonic as a member of its Orchester-Akademie. In December 2010 Erik Nielsen made his Met debut in New York with The Magic Flute and his Dresden debut at the Semper Oper with Henze’s new stage work Gisela. For more information: www.ingpen.co.uk/artist_detail.php?aid=112.


The Sir Georg Solti Conducting AwardAnthony Barrese, The 2007 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Fellow

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

Currently Mr. Barrese works as a freelance composer and conductor. He has led several productions with Sarasota Opera (Lakmé, Le nozze di Figaro, Hansel and Gretel), and with Opera Southwest (Le nozze di Figaro, Die Fledermaus, La cenerentola) where he is Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. He was the Assistant Conductor of the Dallas Opera in 2006-2007 and returned there as Guest Conductor for a production of Tosca in 2008. For more information: www.anthonybarrese.com.

 

The Solti Foundation’s Career Assistance Awardees

 

Daniel Black

A 2018 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

“Firm, decisive,” “vital and engaging” and “with a droll sense of humor on the podium,” Canada-based American conductor Daniel Black has begun to attract attention as a conductor who “makes music in a way that is meaningful to audiences in the 21st Century.” Daniel will join the Florida Orchestra as Assistant Conductor in Fall 2018, and also makes his debut with the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra in 2019. In the 2017-18 season, Daniel made his debut as guest conductor with the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra and the Dnipro State Opera and Ballet Company (in Dnipro, Ukraine) in a production of Verdi’s Rigoletto. He debuted with Michigan Opera Theatre, serving as assistant conductor for productions of Rigoletto and Le Nozze di Figaro. He also served as assistant conductor with the Florentine Opera Company’s production of Die Zauberflöte with a second consecutive Solti Foundation U.S. opera conducting fellowship; and continued as Director of Instrumental Music at the Wildwood Arts and Music Academy in Little Rock. Daniel’s previous guest-conducting engagements have included the St. Petersburg (Russia) State Academic Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Basically Beethoven Festival, the Owensboro Symphony, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Wichita Falls Symphony, the Rockford Symphony, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony, and the South Shore Opera Company. As Music Director of the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra, he created the first professional recording of John Harmon’s Crazy Horse symphony, and presented the Midwest Premiere of the work, a performance which was hailed as “one of the most momentous evenings in the [130-year] history of the Grand Opera House.” Daniel received the 2017 Solti Foundation U.S. Opera Residency program working with conductor Stephen Lord and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. He has also toured China as assistant conductor of the Chinese premiere of composer/conductor Bright Sheng’s opera Dream of the Red Chamber. As Associate Conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra from 2014 17, Daniel conducted over 150 performances, including stepping in at a moment’s notice for his Subscription debut in place of Miguel Harth-Bedoya. Daniel was the recipient of consecutive Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards in 2015 and 2016. He has been engaged as cover conductor by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. A conducting fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Daniel has studied with Kurt Masur, Edo de Waart, Robert Spano, Hugh Wolff, Larry Rachleff, Marin Alsop, Daniel Lewis, David Effron, and Gunther Schuller. Also an accomplished composer, Daniel was the composer-in-residence for the International Horn Society’s 2014 Southeast Horn Workshop, and was a finalist and diploma winner of the International Prokofiev Composition Contest in April 2008. Fluent in Russian, Daniel has studied conducting at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, and Northwestern University, counting among his mentors Leonid Korchmar, Neil Varon and Victor Yampolsky. He has studied composition with Richard Danielpour. Daniel lives in Kitchener, Ontario with his wife, hornist Marie-Sonja Cotineau, and their cat Zelda.


Roger Kalia

A 2018 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Hailed as a conductor who leads with “passionate intensity” and recognized as “one to watch,” Roger Kalia is one of America’s most exciting young conductors. A three-time recipient (2018, 2017, 2013) of The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, Kalia is currently in his third
season as the Assistant Conductor of Pacific Symphony and Music Director of the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra. Kalia also serves as Co-Founder and Music Director of the Lake George Music Festival in upstate New York, which was recently featured in the League of American Orchestra’s Symphony Magazine as one of the premier summer classical music festivals in the country. In the 2017-2018 season, Kalia makes his European subscription debut with the Szczecin Philharmonic in Poland, leads the Camarada Chamber Orchestra of San Diego, returns to conduct the Bakersfield Symphony on their annual Gala concert, and collaborates with the Orange County Music and Dance School in a benefit concert featuring rock stars Johnny Rzeznik (Goo Goo Dolls) and Nancy Wilson (Heart). Upcoming engagements for the 2018-2019 season include debuts with the Wheeling Symphony and Symphony New Hampshire, conducting the Lake George Music Festival Symphony Orchestra in premieres by Paul Dooley, Steven Snowden and Chris Rogerson, and collaborating with PROJECT Trio at the Lake George Music Festival. Additional recent guest conducting engagements include the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, Chicago Sinfonietta at Symphony Hall, Long Beach Symphony, Great Falls Symphony, Owensboro Symphony, Boise Philharmonic, and Adrian Symphony. Kalia has served as cover conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Kansas City Symphony and Indianapolis Symphony. He has also worked in various capacities with the New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Utah Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Danish National Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Kalia conducted the Memphis Symphony in 2011 after winning Second Prize in their International Conducting Competition, which led to his debut the following season and launched his professional career. Prior to joining Pacific Symphony, Kalia held conducting positions with the Charlotte Symphony, the Young Musicians Foundation (YMF) Debut Orchestra and the Columbus (IN) Symphony Orchestra. Described as the region’s 21st century “cultural renaissance” (Art in the Adirondacks) and as a festival that “has a limitless horizon” (Glens Falls Chronicle), Kalia serves as Co-Founder and Music Director of the Lake George Music Festival, whose distinguished musicians come from many of North America’s finest orchestras and conservatories. Last summer, the Glens Falls Chronicle hailed Kalia’s concert with the Festival Orchestra in Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony as the “concert of the summer.” In 2016, Kalia created a groundbreaking series called Sounds of Our Time, which highlights the connections between the popular music of our time and orchestral music through an innovative concert format featuring visuals, audience engagement, and multimedia. This series has gained national publicity by being featured in the League of American Orchestras The Hub, Broadway World, EDMjoy, the Albany Times Union, and Saratoga Living. Kalia has held fellowships with the Chicago Sinfonietta as part of their Project Inclusion program, the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival with Robert Spano, the Conductors Guild Conductor/Composer Training Workshop at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music with Marin Alsop, the David Zinman International Conducting Masterclass with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, and the Kurt Masur Conducting Seminar at the Manhattan School of Music. Passionate about teaching the next generation of musicians, Kalia maintains a regular teaching relationship with the Colburn School and Cal State Fullerton, and he recently conducted the Missouri All-State Symphony Orchestra. Kalia holds degrees from Indiana University, the University of Houston and SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. At Indiana University, Kalia served as an Associate Instructor and Assistant Conductor of
the IU Opera Theater and New Music Ensemble. His primary mentors include David Effron, Arthur Fagen, and Franz Anton Krager. Born and raised in New York, Kalia resides in Southern California with his wife, musicologist/violinist Christine Wisch, and their dog Burney.


Stillian Kirov

A 2018 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

First Prize Winner of the 2017 “Debut Berlin” Competition, Stilian Kirov made his debut at the historic Berlin Philharmonic Hall in June, 2017. He returns to the U.S. to as the newly-appointed Music Director of the Illinois Philharmonic in Chicago’s Southland. He will continue his music directorships with the Bakersfield Symphony in California and New Jersey’s Symphony in C. A 2017 and 2016 recipient of the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, Mr. Kirov has proven to be not only a dynamic artistic director, but also an enthusiastic educator and community leader, continuing to build upon his previous successes as Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony and Associate Conductor of the Memphis Symphony. Upcoming engagements include concerts with the Minas Gerias Philharmonic/Brazil, Omaha Symphony and the Sofia Philharmonic, among others. Worldwide, Stilian Kirov has also appeared with Orchestre Colonne/Paris, Leopolis Chamber Orchestra/Ukraine, Orchestra of Colors/Athens, State Hermitage Orchestra/St. Petersburg, Thüringen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Zagreb Philharmonic, the Musical Olympus International Festival in St. Petersburg and at Carnegie Hall in NYC, as well as the Victoria Symphony/British Columbia, among others. Highlights of Mr. Kirov’s guest performances also include appearances with the symphonies of West Virginia, Venice, Kalamazoo, South Bend, the National Repertory Orchestra/Breckenridge, and the Tucson Symphony among others. Following his highly acclaimed debut in 2012, he has also appeared regularly as guest conductor with the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. During the 2013/2014 season, Stilian Kirov was engaged as an assistant conductor to Bernard Haitink with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as a cover conductor for Stéphane Denève, the late Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Andrew Davis, all with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Also during that season, he stepped in to replace Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos with the Seattle Symphony, conducting “spectacular” performances of Orff’s Carmina Burana. A prize winner at Denmark’s 2015 Malko Competition, Stilian Kirov is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, including an Emmy for the Memphis Symphony’s Soundtrack Project, the Orchestra Preference Award, and Third Prize at the 2010 Mitropoulos Conducting Competition, as well as Juilliard’s Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship and the Charles Schiff Conducting Award for outstanding achievement. He is also the recipient of France’s 2010 ADAMI Conducting Prize, culminating in a showcase concert at the Salle Gaveau with the Orchestre Colonne. Following the performance, Mr. Kirov was invited to conduct the orchestra’s opening concerts of the 2011/2012 season in Paris. Mr. Kirov is a graduate of The Juilliard School in orchestral conducting, where he was a student of James DePreist. In 2012, he studied at the Aspen Academy of Conducting, and in 2013, was one of three Conducting Fellows at the Tanglewood Music Center. In 2010, he was awarded the Chautauqua Music Festival’s David Effron Conducting Fellowship and returned in 2012 as a guest conductor with the festival orchestra. Mr. Kirov holds a master’s degree in conducting from the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, where he studied with Dominique Rouits. He has participated in master classes with such distinguished conductors as the late Kurt Masur, Michael Tilson Thomas, Gianluigi Gelmetti, George Manahan, and Asher Fisch. Also a gifted pianist, Stilian Kirov was Gold Medalist of the 2001 Claude Kahn International Piano Competition in Paris.


Farkhad Khudyev

A 2018 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Described by the critics as a “magician on the podium” and “the man of exceptional charisma” (Performing Arts Monterey Bay), with “the ability to connect with invisible worlds and to bring them alive in the music” (Herald), Farkhad Khudyev, has been recognized by the government of the United States as an Artist of Extraordinary Ability. Farkhad was born in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, where he first studied violin, piano and composition at the State Music School for gifted musicians. At the age of 10, he distinguished himself as the youngest performer selected to play with the National Violin Ensemble of Turkmenistan, and toured around Central Asia and Eastern Europe. As a soloist and a member of the Ensemble, Farkhad performed for the Presidents of France, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. At the age of 12, he was chosen to represent the country at the International New Names Festival, sponsored by the Moscow Conservatory, and was named as one of the most promising young musicians at the festival. In 2001, Farkhad came to the United States to study at Interlochen Arts Academy and then completed his Bachelor of Music degree at the Oberlin Conservatory. He received his Master’s degree in orchestral conducting from Yale University. Mr. Khudyev is the winner of the 3rd prize at the 2017 International Sir Georg Solti Conducting Competition in Germany, the Best Interpretation Prize at the 1st International Taipei Conducting Competition in Taiwan, the Gold Medal and Grand Prize at the 2007 National Fischoff Chamber Music Competition in the U.S.A., as well as the First Prize at the Yale Chamber Music Society Competition. Mr. Khudyev has performed around the United States, Europe and Asia at world-class venues and festivals including the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Emilia Romagna Festival in Italy, DR Koncerthuset in Denmark, the Alte Oper Frankfurt Großer Saal and the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festpiele in Germany. Farkhad’s performances are described as “true, powerful, ecstatic and utterly riveting” (Herald), “graceful, very sensitive…” (Frankfurt Neue Presse), and “a triumph in every sense of the word” (New York Music Daily). Admired for “meticulous guidance, superb musicianship and extraordinarily imaginative interpretation” (Performing Arts Monterey Bay), Mr. Khudyev has worked with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt Opera Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Monterey Symphony, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, Yale Philharmonia, Yale Symphony Orchestra, Greenwich Village Orchestra of New York City, New Jersey Youth Symphony, Manhattan School of Music Orchestra, National Orchestra of Turkmenistan, and the State Taipei Chinese Orchestra. Farkhad has served as the Assistant Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Music Director of New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra and the New Haven Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Associate Conductor of the Hidden Valley Opera. Currently, Mr. Khudyev serves as the Music Director of the Hidden Valley Orchestra Institute and Youth Music Monterey County in California. During 2018-19 Season, Mr. Khudyev will have his debut with the Seattle Symphony and the Xian Symphony Orchestra in China. Farkhad resides in Monterey, California, where he enjoys spending time with his Family and Nature.


Stephen Mulligan

A 2018 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Conductor Stephen Mulligan has been the Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra since August 2017. In late January, Mulligan stepped in at the last minute to replace an ill Robert Spano to critical acclaim on a program with mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano and pianist Jorge Osorio. The following week, he led a second subscription week in Spano’s stead. One month later, he stepped in yet again on a third subscription concert with pianist Behzod Abduraimov. In his first season he will conduct seventy performances with the ASO. Mulligan has also frequently worked at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, recently assisting John Adams on a production of his opera “Nixon in China” at Walt Disney Concert Hall and Gustavo Dudamel in a production of Bernstein’s “West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl. From 2014-16, Mulligan served as Assistant Conductor of the Winston-Salem Symphony and the Music Director of the Winston-Salem Symphony Youth Orchestras Program. Other recent highlights include appearances with the St. Louis Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, Reading Symphony Orchestra, London Symphonia, and Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo. Mulligan was awarded the Aspen Conducting Prize after studying with Robert Spano as a fellow in the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen from 2013-2014. He then served as the festival’s Assistant Conductor in 2015 and as a guest conductor in 2016. Before attending Aspen, Mulligan studied with Gustav Meier, Markand Thakar, and Marin Alsop at the Peabody Institute, and received his Master’s Degree there in 2013. In 2011, Mulligan graduated cum laude from Yale University, where he served as the Yale Symphony’s assistant conductor and was awarded the Wrexham Prize for excellence in performance for violin and conducting.
Mulligan grew up in Baltimore, MD, studying violin with his father Gregory, former concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony and current violinist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.


Sameer Patel

A 2018 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Internationally recognized for his versatile musicianship and passionate communication, Sameer Patel is one of America’s most exciting young conductors. A three-time recipient of Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards, Sameer is currently in his third season as the Associate Conductor of the San Diego Symphony. He is also the Associate Conductor of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, whose distinguished musicians come from many of North America’s finest orchestras. Sameer’s work as a conductor has taken him across North America, South America, and Europe. In the 2017-2018 season, Sameer makes his highly anticipated subscription debut conducting two programs with the San Diego Symphony. He also leads operatic works with the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera, conducts modern masterpieces of the 20th and 21st centuries with the La Jolla Symphony and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, shares the podium with legendary film composer John Williams, and closes Symphony New Hampshire’s season with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Devoted to the music of living composers, in the current season Sameer also conducts works by Ellen Reid, Hannah Lash, George Walker, Tan Dun, Derek Bermel, Mason Bates, and the world premiere of Adam Schoenberg’s violin concerto Orchard in Fog. Additional recent guest conducting engagements include appearances with the National Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Reading Symphony Orchestra, Leipziger Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra Giovanile Italiana, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and the Chicago Sinfonietta. In 2016, Sameer was selected out of a field of more than 120 conductors to study at the renowned Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy with Daniele Gatti, Chief Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Immediately following his participation in the masterclass, Sameer was selected by Maestro Gatti for further concerts in Europe, and he immediately returned to Italy to lead two acclaimed programs with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo. He was also a Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholar, an honor given to him by former New York Philharmonic Music Director Kurt Masur. As part of this award, Sameer traveled to Europe to study with and assist Maestro Masur with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2013, Sameer was one of only six conductors selected by the League of American Orchestras for the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, an event that showcases emerging conductors to industry professionals and which led to subsequent, multiple engagements with that orchestra. Prior to joining the San Diego Symphony, Sameer was the Associate Conductor of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic for three seasons and held prestigious conducting fellowships with the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Boston Philharmonic.  A graduate of the University of Michigan, Sameer furthered his training in Europe with some of the greatest conductors of our time, including Gianandrea Noseda, Daniele Gatti, the late Kurt Masur, Bernard Haitink, David Zinman, and Neeme and Paavo Järvi.


Stefano Sarzani

A 2018 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Stefano Sarzani cultivates an international career in North America and Europe and has been praised for his passionate conducting style in a wide range of repertoire, from baroque to contemporary. He has also a natural ease both on the stage and in the pit, actively pursuing a career that tries to keep together both operatic and symphonic music: strongly convinced of the unity of music and of the value of interdisciplinary exchange, he has a whole-round education that allows him to navigate securely all kinds of cultural dimensions. Italian born, educated in both Europe and America, married to Chinese and with a passion for foreign languages and literatures, he incarnates the 21th century artist who’s able to integrate the roots of European culture with the new stimuli of the hyperconnected contemporary world. Mr. Sarzani is music director candidate for the orchestra Symphony NH where he will conduct in the spring 2019. He recently worked at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as part of The Solti Foundation U.S.’s Opera Residency program; he returns this fall as an Assistant Conductor and member of the Music Staff to  assist and cover La Bohème and Il trovatore. An alumnus of the prestigious Monteux School of Conducting, this summer he will be back in Maine, this time to assist Maestro Stephen Lord on Le nozze di Figaro at OperaMaine. In the past summer, at Des Moines Metro Opera he conducted Piazzolla's masterpiece, Maria de Buenos Aires obtaining a huge success and receiving great critical acclaim. His recent conducting engagements also include Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi at the University of Memphis and symphonic concerts with the Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana (Italy). Mr. Sarzani has conducted and collaborated with symphonic and operatic institutions such as Boise Philharmonic Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra (Colorado), Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo (Italy), Den Jyske Opera (Denmark), Opera National de Lorraine (France), Atlanta Opera and Sarasota Opera. Already a recipient of the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award in 2016, he is also invested in cultivating interactions among music, multimedia, and other art forms. Mr. Sarzani’s education observes the finest of both American and European traditions, represented by institutions including Indiana University, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Monteux School, and in Italy, Conservatorio G. Rossini (Pesaro), Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Siena), and Accademia Musicale Pescarese (Pescara). In addition, he holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Bologna.


Lidiya Yankovskaya

A 2018 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Russian-born conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya serves as Music Director with Chicago Opera Theater, a resident artist at National Sawdust in NYC, and Artistic Director of Refugee Orchestra Project. Until recently, Lidiya also served as a conductor with Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, as a regular guest chorus master with Boston Symphony Orchestra, and as the Artistic Director of Juventas New Music Ensemble/Boston New Music Festival. Lidiya’s conducting engagements this season include Washington National Opera, Stamford Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, Wolftrap Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, Mobile Symphony Orchestra, Beth Morrison Projects, Symphony New Hampshire, assisting on a program with the London Philharmonic, and a workshop of a new work with The Metropolitan Opera. She was also featured in the 2017 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, and is a part of Marin Alsop’s Taki Concordia Fellowship and The Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors, and has previously served as assistant conductor to Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival, where she regularly stepped in for Maazel in rehearsals and performances.  Other previous positions include serving as Music Director with Harvard’s Lowell House Opera, where she was also a Harvard Davis Center associate scholar. In her work as an artistic leader, Lidiya has become known as a champion of living composers and cross-disciplinary collaborative projects, alongside her work with traditional repertoire.  Under her leadership, Juventas New Music produced annual operatic premieres and performances that cross disciplinary boundaries, including musical collaborations with robots, puppeteers, visual artists, circus performers, and more. Lidiya has also been an advocate for lesser known repertory and Russian operatic works, most recently conducting American premieres of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Kashchej the Immortal, Symphony No.1 and Snegurochka, Rubinshteyn’s The Demon, and an upcoming U.S. premiere of Donizetti’s Pia de’ Tolomei. Under her leadership, Chicago Opera Theater has established the new Vanguard Initiative, focused on composer mentorship and development of new work.


Connor Covington

A 2017 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Recently appointed Assistant Conductor of the Utah Symphony, Conner Gray Covington is currently completing his tenure as the Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he works with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and the Curtis Opera Theater while also being mentored by Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Covington recently made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra sharing the podium with Ludovic Morlot. He began his career as Assistant Conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Memphis Youth Symphony Program. Covington has guested with the St. Louis Symphony, Utah Symphony, and Virginia Symphony, and has served as a cover conductor for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, The Florentine Opera Company (Milwaukee, WI), and the Britt Festival Orchestra (Jacksonville, OR). In 2015, Covington was invited as one of three conductors to participate in the Pacific Music Festival Conducting Academy in Sapporo, Japan. A recipient of a 2014 Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation U.S., in May 2016 Covington worked with the Nashville Symphony as a featured conductor in the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview presented by the League of American Orchestras.


Aram Demirjian

A 2017 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Music Director of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Aram Demirjian previously served as Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony. Recent and upcoming guest engagements include the Philadelphia, Minnesota and Sarasota orchestras; Louisiana, Boise and Fresno philharmonics; and international debuts with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra and Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería. Demirjian also is regularly engaged as cover conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with which he has assisted Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Andris Nelsons, Stéphane Denève, Christoph von Dohnányi, Manfred Honeck, and others. In 2014, he was featured as a guest artist in the Tanglewood Music Center’s Festival of Contemporary Music, conducting performances of Jacob Druckman’s Bo, and Kate Soper’s Helen Enfettered. Demirjian recently was the only American among seven conductors selected by Maestro Bernard Haitink as an active participant in the 2016 Haitink Masterclass at the Lucerne Easter Festival. A three-time Conducting Fellow in the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, in 2011 he was awarded the Aspen Music Festival’s Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize. That same year, he won Third Prize in the Memphis Symphony International Conducting Competition.


Yaniv Dinur

A 2017 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Music Director of the New Bedford Symphony in Massachusetts and Assistant Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Yaniv Dinur has performed with orchestras in Israel, Europe, The United States, Canada and Mexico. Dinur began his conducting career performing with the Israel Camerata at the age of 19. Since then, he also conducted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony, Houston Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, New World Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Tallahassee Symphony, Orchestra Giovanile Italiana, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto, Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese, Pomeriggi Musicali in Milan, Solisti di Perugia, Torino Philharmonic, Portugal Symphony Orchestra, Sofia Festival Orchestra, State Orchestra of St. Petersburg, Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM in Mexico, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. A winner of numerous conducting awards, counted amongst them are a 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, 2nd Prize at the 2009 Mata International Conducting Competition (Mexico), and the Yuri Ahronovitch 1st Prize in the 2005 Aviv Conducting Competitions in Israel. He was chosen by the League of American Orchestras to be a featured conductor in the 2011 Bruno Walter Conducting Preview.


Lee Mills

A 2017 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Resident Conductor of the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira, Lee Mills was promoted to the post after serving only 18 months as Assistant Conductor. In 2014 he was selected by Maestro David Robertson and Carnegie Hall to be the Assistant Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. Previous posts include serving as Music Director of the Towson University Symphony Orchestra in Maryland, and as founding Music Director of the Divertimento Chamber Orchestra in Walla Walla, Washington. Guesting engagements include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and the Gran Teatro La Fenice. Amongst Mills’s honors and awards are a 2014 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, 2012 and 2013 conducting fellowships at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, and a 2011 BSO-Peabody Institute Conducting Fellowship.


Gemma New

A 2017 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Resident Conductor for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director for the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra in Ontario, Canada, Gemma New previously served as Associate Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. New’s guest engagements have included such orchestras as the Atlanta, Toledo, Long Beach, Miami and New Jersey Symphonies and the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio in the USA, as well as the Malmö SymfoniOrkester (Sweden), Christchurch Symphony and Opus Orchestras in New Zealand, and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (Canada). Founder of the Lunar Ensemble, a nine-piece new music collective that ran for six seasons in Baltimore, Maryland, New has also conducted several contemporary operas, as well as assisted operas by Mozart, Verdi, and Ravel. Honors and awards include being named a 2014 Dudamel Conducting Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Additional experiences include a David A. Karetsky Conducting Fellowship at the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, and an Ansbacher Fellowship, during which she was selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic to take up residence at the Salzburg Music Festival. New has also resided in Leipzig, Germany as a Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Fellow.


Gene Chang

A 2016 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Named Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati May Festival commencing at the beginning of the 2015-16 season, Gene Chang’s season highlights include his engagement with the Cincinnati Symphony, as part of which he will also lead the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra programs, as well as performances with the Pittsburgh Symphony and the UC Berkeley Opera. He was recently invited to participate in public masterclasses with Myung-Whun Chung and the Seoul Philharmonic, and has been engaged to guest conduct concerts during the 2016-17 season. He has also been engaged as a cover conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mr. Chang was named one of only four finalists in the Second International Chicago Symphony Orchestra Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprenticeship in 2013. In 2012, he was named the Conducting Fellow for the Atlantic Music Festival. Mr. Chang previously served as Assistant Conductor for the Juilliard Opera Company and for the Juilliard Dance department. Among his honors and awards are a Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship, a Hertz Fellowship, and the Eisner Prize for Creative Achievement in the Arts.


Joshua Gersen

A 2016 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Currently Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic, as well as the Music Director of the New York Youth Symphony, Joshua Gersen was previously the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Conducting Fellow of the New World Symphony, where he served as the Assistant Conductor to the symphony’s Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas. He made his conducting debut with the San Francisco Symphony in the fall of 2013 and has been invited back numerous times, including this past January where he led a program in the brand new SoundBox Theater and even filled in for Michael Tilson Thomas on part of a subscription series. Gersen has conducted the Indianapolis Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, and members of the Pittsburgh Symphony. He served as Principal Conductor of the Ojai Music Festival for the 2013 season, and as Assistant Conductor of the Aspen Music Festival for the 2012 summer season under Robert Spano. He is a recipient of a 2015 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, the winner of Aspen Music Festival’s 2011 Aspen Conducting Prize, and the 2010 Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize.


Michelle Merill

A 2016 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Currently in her second season as Assistant Conductor, and Phillip and Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador, of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO), Michelle Merrill was recently named as one of Hour Detroit Magazine’s 3 Cultural Organization Leaders to Watch, and made her classical subscription debut with the DSO in April 2016. Recent and upcoming engagements include the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Toledo Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Symphoria (Syracuse), Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, Boise Philarmonic, Orlando Philharmonic, New Music Detroit, and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic (where she formerly served as Assistant Conductor) and the St. Augustine Music Festival. In March of 2014, Ms. Merrill stepped in on short notice with the Meadows Symphony Orchestra for their performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4, which was then named to the Dallas Morning News’ Top Ten Classical Performances of 2014. In 2013, she was awarded the prestigious Ansbacher Conducting Fellowship by members of the Vienna Philharmonic and the American Austrian Foundation. A strong advocate of new music, Ms. Merrill recently collaborated with composer Gabriela Lena Frank and soprano Jessica Rivera on Frank’s work La Centinela y la Paloma (The Keeper and the Dove), as a part of numerous community programs related to the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts.


The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award

Ankush Kumar Bahl

A 2016 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Now in his fourth season as Assistant Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, Ankush Kumar Bahl has appeared with such distinguished  orchestras as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, National Opera Orchestre de Nancy, and Copenhagen Philharmonic,  This upcoming season, Maestro Bahl will debut with orchestras in Canada and South America as well.

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Ankush Bahl received a double degree in music and rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley.
He was appointed a conducting fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and completed his master’s degree in orchestral conducting at the Manhattan School of Music with teachers Zdenek Macal and George Manahan.  Following his participation in the 2009 Kurt Masur Conducting Seminar, Mr. Bahl was personally invited by Maestro Masur to study and work with him as an assistant at the Orchestre National de France, at the Royal Concertgebouw, and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Mr. Bahl has participated in master classes with Sir Colin Davis, Michael Tilson Thomas, David Zinman, David Robertson, James Conlon, Sergiu Comissiona, Gunther Schuller, Gustav Meier, Larry Rachleff, David Effron, Michael Stern, and Jorma Panula. His mentors and primary conducting teachers have included Kurt Masur, Christoph Eschenbach, Kenneth Kiesler, Alasdair Neale, and David Milnes. Mr. Bahl is the recipient of a 2009 Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship, and 2011, 2013 and 2015 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards.


The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award

Keitaro Harada

A 2016 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Conductor Keitaro Harada began his appointment as Associate Conductor of Richmond Symphony this past fall 2014. He also continues in his current posts as Associate Conductor for Arizona Opera, Principal Guest Conductor for Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra, and conductor of the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Early in his career, Mr. Harada served as Music Director of the Phoenix Youth Symphony. During his tenure, he elevated the organization profile, expanded their season, added more challenging repertoire and took the symphony on a European performance and education tour that culminated with a master class on the main stage of the Berlin Philharmonic.

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Keitaro Harada holds BM and MM degrees from Mercer University and completed his formal training at University of Arizona with Thomas Cockrell and Charles Bontrager. Conducting studies have been under Robert Spano, Michael Tilson Thomas, Oliver Knussen, Herbert Blomstedt, Adrian Gnam and Stefan Asbury. Harada is also a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy. Mr. Harada was a student of Fabio Luisi at the 2011 Conducting Academy, Pacific Music Festival, a recipient of the 2010 Seiji Ozawa Conducting Fellowship at Tanglewood Music Festival, and a student of Lorin Maazel at the 2009 Castleton Festival Conducting Workshop. Further honors and awards include being one of only six conductors selected by the League of American Orchestrasfor the 2013 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, being a semi-finalist at Poland’s 9th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors in 2012, and one of ten semi-finalists invited by Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony to participate in the First Chicago Symphony Orchestra Solti International Conducting Competition in 2010. A three-time winner of the International Conductors Workshop and Competition in Georgia, Mr. Harada received an Honorable Mention in the International Academy of Advanced Conducting in St. Petersburg, Russia, and was a semi-finalist for the 2009 Eduardo Mata International Conducting Competition in Mexico City, Mexico.  Most recently, Mr. Harada was the recipient of 2014 and 2015 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards.


The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award

Kazem Abdullah

A 2015 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

A vibrant, versatile and compelling presence on the podium,American conductor Kazem Abdullah is one of the most watched up-and-coming talents on the international stage today. Since 2012 he has been Generalmusikdirektor of the City of Aachen, Germany, where he leads both the orchestral and operatic seasons. His predecessors in this tradition-rich post include Fritz Busch, Herbert von Karajan, and Wolfgang Sawallisch.

Born in Indiana, Kazem Abdullah began his music studies at the age of ten. After graduating from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Clarinet, he then studied at the University of Southern California before joining The New World Symphony as a clarinetist under Michael Tilson Thomas for two seasons.  He then continued his musical studies at The Peabody Institute of the John Hopkins University. Mr. Abdullah served as Assistant Conductor at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, a three-year post to which he was appointed by Music Director James Levine. In addition to Levine, while at the Met he worked with conductors such as Louis Langree, Kirill Petrenko, Lorin Maazel, and Fabio Luisi.


The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award

Joseph Young

A 2015 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

American conductor Joseph Young was recently appointed asAssistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony and Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Recent highlights include debuts with Orquesta Sinfonica y Coro de RTVE, Chicago Sinfonietta, Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra and numerous reengagements with the Colorado Symphony, as well as performances with the  Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, Tucson Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Erie Chamber Orchestra, Amarillo Symphony, and Sante Fe Symphony.

Joseph Young completed graduate studies with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar at the Peabody Conservatory in 2009, earning an artist’s diploma in conducting. From 2007-2010, he was one of five recipients of the League of American Orchestras’ prestigious American Conducting Fellowship. In 2011, he was one of six conductors featured in the League of American Orchestras’ prestigious Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, hosted by the Louisiana Philharmonic. In 2013, Joseph was a Semi-finalist in the Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition (Bamberg, Germany).  Joseph is also the recipient of 2008, 2014 and 2015 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards.


CohlerYuga Cohler

A 2015 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

At 25 years of age, conductor Yuga Cohler has already accumulated several years of experience on the podium. He currently serves as music director of the Weill Cornell Medical College Orchestra, and as New York City Director of the Asia America New Music Institute. Former posts include serving as conductor of the Norwalk Youth Symphony Chamber Orchestra, and Assistant Conductor of the World Civic Orchestra. As Music Director for the Harvard Bach Society Orchestra (Harvard College), he conducted the group in several sold-out performances, including those with frequent collaborator and renowned violinist Ryu Goto.  As Music Director of Harvard’s Dunster House Opera, he led the 2009 production of The Rake’s Progress, which marked the first Boston performance of the work in over twenty years.

Yuga Cohler is the youngest graduate of the Juilliard School’s Master of Music program in orchestral conducting. As a recipient of the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship, he studied with New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert and worked extensively with the Juilliard Orchestra, with whom he made his professional debut in 2013. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College, where he studied computer science, and was a recipient of the David McCord Prize for Artistic Excellence, the Detur Book Prize, and the John Harvard Scholarship.  Mr. Cohler has been awarded fellowships to American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, Aspen Music Festival, under Robert Spano (2013), the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Conductor/Composer Workshop (2012), the National Arts Centre Summer Music Institute Conducting Program (2012), and was selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic as an Ansbacher Fellow at the 2012 Salzburg Festival. He has participated in a conducting seminar at the Tanglewood Music Center, and a Carnegie Hall Workshop with John Adams and David Robertson, where he was selected to perform a program of modern American orchestral works, and in in masterclasses given by Bernard Haitink, Michael Tilson-Thomas, and Christoph von Dohnányi. Mr. Cohler is the recipient of a 2015 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award.


The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award

Nicholas Hersh

A 2015 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Currently Assistant Conductor with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, conductor Nicholas Hersh has served as Music Director of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra in Indiana and as Assistant Conductor with the National Repertory Orchestra in Colorado.

Mr. Hersh has appeared in concert with the New World Symphony in Miami and the Southern Great Lakes Symphony in Detroit, and he has served as cover conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the Aspen Music Festival.

Nicholas Hersh grew up in Evanston, Illinois and started his musical training with the cello studies.  He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Stanford University and a Master’s Degree in Conducting from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, studying with David Effron and Arthur Fagen. He counts Robert Spano, Hugh Wolff and Larry Rachleff among his conducting mentors, and has participated in master classes with Bernard Haitink and Michael Tilson Thomas. In 2011 and 2012 Mr. Hersh was a Conducting Fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.  Mr. Hersh is a recipient of 2012 and 2015 Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Awards.


Yaniv AttaThe Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awardr

A 2014 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Newly appointed Music Director of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra in Bellingham, Washington, Attar recently completed a two-year residency as Assistant Conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Orchestras with which he has worked include the symphony orchestras of Cincinnati, Haifa, Jerusalem, Lithuanian State, Memphis, Milan, Milwaukee and Virginia, the Duna Szimfonikus Budapest, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali Milan, London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, Mihail Jora Philharmonic Romania, National Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Rochester Philharmonic, Russe Philharmonic Bulgaria, and the Salzburg Chamber Soloists. Attar is the 1st prize winner of the Duna Szimfonikus Conducting Competition Budapest, recipient of Solti Foundation Career Assistance Awards in 2010 and 2012, and a 2009 Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation Award. For more information: www.yanivattar.com/.


The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance AwardShizuo Z. Kuwahara

A 2014 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Shizuo Z Kuwahara is Music Director of Symphony Orchestra Augusta. A former League of American Orchestras Conducting Fellow with The Philadelphia Orchestra, he served as apprentice to Music Director Christoph Eschenbach, leading numerous concerts, Mr. Kuwahara has served as an Associate Conductor of the Virginia Symphony. His guest conducting credits include the Nice Philharmonic, Japan Philharmonic, Frankfurt Museum Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Century Orchestra Osaka, Nagoya Philharmonic, Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, Polish Chamber Philharmonic, Philharmonia Slaska, Sinfonieorchester den Nationalen Philharmonischen Gesellshaft der Uklaine Kiew, Nice Philharmonic, German Radio Symphony Orchestra and L’Orchestre Pasdeloup. For more information: www.shizuokuwahara.com/.


Christopher James Lees

A 2013 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Recipient of a Gustavo Dudamel Conducting Fellowship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic this season, Christopher James Lees made his debut with the orchestra in April 2013. Mr. Lees has conducted performances with the Detroit, Toledo, and Portland (Maine) Symphonies and served as an assistant conductor for multiple concert programs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit, Atlanta, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Charlotte Symphonies for noted conductors including Leonard Slatkin, David Robertson, Stéphane Danève, Robert Spano, Bramwell Tovey, and many others. For more information: www.christopherjameslees.com/.


Robert Trevino

A 2012 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Since his professional debut in 2003 at the age of 20, Robert Treviño has become an emerging force on the international music scene and is currently the Associate Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony. He has conducted numerous orchestras across North America, Europe, and Asia including the Cleveland Orchestra, New York City Opera Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, New World Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic, Napa Valley Symphony, Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival Orchestra, Suwon Philharmonic of South Korea, Wuppertal Symphony of Germany, Montpellier National Orchestra of France and Universidad Nacional Autonoma De Mexico Philharmonic of Mexico. Trevino also received the Solti award in 2010. For more information: www.roberttrevino.org/.


The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance AwardFrancesco Lecce-Chong

A 2012 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

American conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, active with both the orchestral and opera repertory on the international stage, currently serves as Assistant Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. In addition to working closely with renowned Music Director Edo de Waart, Mr. Lecce-Chong provides artistic leadership for the orchestra’s extensive community and education programs. In his first season with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 2011-2012, he conducted over forty performances, including an acclaimed mainstage debut with pianist Joyce Yang. In the 2012-2013 season, he makes his MSO subscription debut with violinist Augustin Hadelich and leads a gala performance with Itzhak Perlman. For more information: www.lecce-chong.com/.


Joshua Weilerstein

A 2012 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Immediately after completing his graduate studies in conducting and violin at the New England Conservatory in May 2011, Joshua Weilerstein was named assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic. In May 2009, Mr Weilerstein, then twenty-one years old, was named the winner of the international 2009 Malko Competition for Young Conductors in Copenhagen. His first-prize honors included conducting engagements over three years with such major Scandinavian orchestras as the Oslo Philharmonic, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and the Danish National Symphony, among others. One month later, in the first of this series of Malko engagements, Joshua made his professional conducting debut with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. For more information: www.opus3artists.com/artists/joshua-weilerstein.


The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance AwardWard Stare

A 2011 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Described as “a compelling figure on the podium” and “one of the hottest young conductors in America” by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Ward Stare is currently the Resident Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony, a position created for him in the fall of 2008 by Music Director David Robertson. In April 2009, Stare made his highly successful Carnegie Hall debut with the orchestra, stepping in at the last minute to conduct while Robertson made his debut as chansonnier in H.K. Gruber’s Frankenstein!!. In addition to his duties with the St. Louis Symphony, Stare is the Music Director of the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and, in June 2010, led the group in its New York City debut at the historic Riverside Church. The New York Times praised the orchestra for their “terrific concert,” noting that “Mr. Stare inspired the musicians to impressive heights.” For more information: www.wardstare.com.


Sean Newhouse

A 2011 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Sean Newhouse made an acclaimed last-minute debut with the Boston Symphony in February 2011, conducting Mahler’s Ninth Symphony on two hours’ notice in place of James Levine. The Boston Globe wrote that “The BSO often played beautifully for him, the strings digging in deeply in the final movement to produce a glowing and expressive tone.” No stranger to eleventh-hour substitutions, he also stepped in for Mario Venzago on short notice to open the Indianapolis Symphony season in 2008, to rave reviews commending his “expert” conducting and hailing the performances as “electrifying.” He is the first American-born conductor in fifteen years to be appointed Assistant Conductor to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a position he assumed in 2010 at the invitation of James Levine. For more information: www.seannewhouse.com.


The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award

Christopher Hill

A 2010 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

In 2012, Christopher Hill was selected amongst a pool of more than 500 applicants to participate in the Nikolai Malko competition in Copenhagen, Denmark. He recently concluded a two-year tenure as the music director and conductor of the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra and also served as the director of orchestras at the University of New Hampshire. In November, 2010, Mr. Hill was one of two American-born and resident participants of the Dmitri Mitropoulos International Conducting Competition in Athens, Greece. He was also a finalist in the Cadaqués International Conducting Competition near Barcelona, Spain in June of the same year. For more information: www.christopherhillconductor.com.


 

Ryan McAdams

A 2010 Sir Georg Solti Emerging
Conductor Award

Ryan McAdams is the 15th Music Director of the New York Youth Symphony (NYYS), a Fulbright scholar and former Apprentice Conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic under the tutelage of then-Chief Conductor (now Music Director of the New York Philharmonic) Alan Gilbert. Upcoming engagements include appearances with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, New York City Opera, New York City Ballet, Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, the Louisville Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and CityMusic Cleveland, in addition to his three Carnegie Hall performances with the NYYS. For more information: www.ryan-mcadams.com/.


Kelly Kuo

2009 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Kelly Kuo’s recent conducting engagements include debuts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Kentucky Opera, Madison Opera, Lexington Philharmonic, Anchorage Opera and Orchestra Nova San Diego. Mr. Kuo was also recently named Artistic Director of the Oregon Mozart Players and Music Director and Conductor of the Butler Opera Center at The University of Texas at Austin. In the past he served as Music Director of the Xavier University Chamber Orchestra and, for three years, Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. For more information: kellykuo.com.


The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance AwardSara Jobin

A 2006 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Grammy-nominated conductor Sara Jobin has a passion for opera, American, and new music. She has conducted the San Francisco Opera in performances of Tosca, Der fliegende Holländer, Norma, and the world premiere of Philip Glass’ Appomattox; she also led them in a production of Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince. As Music Director of the Center for Contemporary Opera, she premiered Michael Dellaira’s The Secret Agent in New York, and within a year reprised it in New York, at the Armel Opera Festival in Hungary, and in Avignon, France. For more information: www.hughkaylor.com/Jobin-Sara-Bio.html.


Eric Melear

A 2006 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Eric Melear returns to Houston Grand Opera in 2012 as Associate Music Director and Music Director of the Studio after a year on the music staff of the Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera), where he assisted on fourteen productions and conducted two children’ s operas. Previously, he was Associate Conductor/Assistant Chorusmaster with Houston Grand Opera and served as Head of Music Staff and Studio Manager at Wolf Trap Opera. For more information: www.ericmelear.com.


Carlos César Rodríguez

A 2005 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Carlos César Rodríguez has gained recognition as a virtuoso pianist who not only generates unusual excitement in the Hispanic keyboard repertoire (in recordings on the Omicron, Brioso labels) but also displays an extraordinary flair for Mozart and avant-garde scores. An expert on early instruments as well, enjoying entrée to the Smithsonian Institution’s rare collection, he was chosen by the Smithsonian to perform in its 150th anniversary concert in Washington, DC as well as a solo recital celebrating the 300th anniversary of the piano as part of the museum’s Piano300 exhibit. He has won acclaim moreover, as a music director of Mozart operas and a composer/improviser of ballet and Spanish dance scores. Mr. Rodríguez made his New York debut at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall at age 21, and has since has performed in such major venues as the Kennedy Center, The Corcoran Gallery, Merkin Hall, and the Royal Palace of Music in Salzburg, Austria. For more information: www.nationalchamberensemble.org/musicians.php?group=1&person=17.


The Solti Foundation U.S. Award

Thomas Rimes

A 2004 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Thomas Rimes is an Australian musician currently based in Germany. In recent years he has worked throughout Europe, the United States and Australia in the field of opera as a coach, conductor and composer. He lives in Kassel, Germany, and works at the Staatstheater Kassel as a conductor and pianist. Thomas recently finished composing his first full-length opera The Long Ride Home, based on a story and libretto he had written himself. He is currently writing his second opera, titled “O.T.O.” For more information: www.tomrimes.com.


Tappan was named one of Symphony magazine's 2005 "Upwardly Musical Artists on the Move."Stacey Tappan

A 2003 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Stacey Tappan continues to distinguish herself as a world-class musical artist. In stellar reviews for her “witty and sexy” Adele in Die Fledermaus with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, she was praised for the production’s “most polished singing… her coloratura bright and well-focused.” In 2008 she made her French debut with Opéra de Lille as Gilda in Rigoletto, which she reprised with the Opéra de Dijon in 2010. Other recent engagements include Adina in L’elisir d’amore and Despina in Così fan tutte with the Jacksonville Symphony, Woglinde and the Woodbird in the Ring Cycle with Los Angeles Opera, and a return to Lyric Opera of Chicago for multiple roles in Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten, covering Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare and the title role in Lulu, and singing the role of Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff. For more information: www.staceytappan.com


Named Musical America's "New Artist of the Month"Quinn Kelsey

A 2003 Solti Foundation U.S.
Career Assistance Award

Quinn Kelsey (baritone) is an alumnus of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center (formerly the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists). Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i, Kelsey received his Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa under John W. Mount. In 2012, the baritone makes a much-anticipated company debut with Dresden’s Semperoper alongside wife and soprano Marjorie Owens in the role of Count Di Luna in Verdi s Il Trovatore. He then continues with Verdi’s AÏDA with the Hawaii Opera Theatre, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Vancouver Opera in British Columbia, as well as a role debut with the San Francisco Opera as Ezio in Verdi’s Attila. For more information: www.quinnkelsey.com

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