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Guest Artist, Christopher Taylor

Christopher Taylor photoBack by popular demand is Christopher Taylor joining us on June 10th, Opening Night!

Among his generation of pianists, Christopher Taylor stands out as an innovative musician with a diverse array of talents and interests. During the past few years he has appeared regularly in many important concert halls and developed a loyal following throughout the United States and abroad; critics hail him as “one of the most impressive young pianists on the horizon today” (The Washington Post) and “frighteningly talented” (The New York Times). He is known for a passionate advocacy of music written in the past 100 years — Messiaen, Ligeti, and Bolcom figure prominently in his performances — but his repertoire spans four centuries and includes the complete Beethoven sonatas, the Liszt Transcendental Etudes, Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and a multitude of other familiar masterworks. Whatever the genre or era of the composition, Mr. Taylor brings to it an active imagination and intellect coupled with heartfelt intensity and grace.

In recent seasons Mr. Taylor has concertized around the globe, performing throughout Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. At home in the U.S. he has appeared with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Detroit Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, and the Boston Pops. Christopher Taylor has toured with the Polish Chamber Philharmonic, and with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra — with which he premiered Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Sea Orpheus at Carnegie Hall. As a soloist he has performed in New York’s Alice Tully Hall, as well as at Carnegie, in Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Ravinia and Aspen festivals, and dozens of other venues. In chamber settings, he has collaborated with many eminent musicians, including Robert McDuffie, Robert Mann, and the Borromeo, Shanghai, Pro Arte, and Ying Quartets. His recordings have featured works by Liszt, Messiaen, and present-day Americans William Bolcom and Derek Bermel. Apart from concertizing and recording, he has undertaken various unusual projects. Recent examples include: the commission and premiere of a piano concerto by Derek Bermel with the Indianapolis Symphony, made possible by a Christel Award from the American Pianists’ Association; investigations into the compositions of the legendary pianist Gunnar Johansen; performances and lectures on the complete etudes of György Ligeti; and a series of performances of the Goldberg Variations on the unique double-manual Steinway piano in the collection of the University of Wisconsin, an instrument whose rediscovery and refurbishment he has actively promoted.

Numerous awards have confirmed Mr. Taylor’s high standing in the musical world. He was named an American Pianists’ Association Fellow for 2000, before which he received an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1996 and the Bronze Medal in the 1993 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, where he was the first American to receive such high recognition in twelve years. In 1990 he took first prize in the William Kapell International Piano Competition, and also became one of the first recipients of the Irving Gilmore Young Artists’ Award.

Mr. Taylor owes much of his success to several outstanding teachers, including Russell Sherman, Maria Curcio-Diamand, Francisco Aybar, and Julie Bees. In addition to his busy concert schedule, he currently serves as Paul Collins Associate Professor of Piano Performance at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He pursues a variety of other interests, including: mathematics (he received a summa cum laude degree from Harvard University in this field in 1992); philosophy (an article he coauthored with the leading scholar Daniel Dennett appears in the Oxford Free Will Handbook); computing (he created a compiler for a new programming language); linguistics; and biking, which is his primary means of commuting. Mr. Taylor lives in Middleton, Wisconsin, with his wife and two daughters. Christopher Taylor is a Steinway artist.

Announcing 2017 Assistant Conductor

Born iRadu Paponiu 2n Romania in 1989, conductor and violinist Radu Marian Paponiu began studying the violin at age seven, moving on to study privately with Carmen Runceanu and Stefan Gheorghiu. After coming to the United States at the invitation of the Perlman Music Program, Radu was accepted to the studio of Robert Lipsett at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, California, where he earned both a Bachelor of Music and an Artist Diploma.

Beginning his conducting studies with Maxim Eshkenazy and continuing with Yehuda Gilad and Alexander Treger, Radu was appointed Assistant Conductor of the American Youth Symphony in the spring of 2011. During his four year tenure with the orchestra, Radu conducted numerous educational and subscription concert performances at the University of California Los Angeles Royce Hall. Additionally, during his time at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, Radu frequently conducted the Colburn Conservatory Orchestra, Colburn Chamber Orchestra, Colburn Youth Orchestra, and the Colburn Contemporary Players. These performances included collaborations with distinguished soloists such as Robert Levin, John Perry, and the Ebène String Quartet, including the United States premiere of cellist Raphaël Merlin’s work Eléa for string quartet and orchestra. Additionally, Radu has guest conducted the LG Youth Orchestra in Korea, Luzerne Music Center String Orchestra, and the Inland Valley Youth Symphony. Strongly committed to community engagement, Radu has conducted the Herbert Zipper Outreach Orchestra in numerous in-school performances throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

For two consecutive summers, Radu participated in the prestigious American Academy of Conducting at Aspen as the recipient of both the Albert Tipton Aspen Fellowship and the David A. Karetsky Memorial Fellowship. In Aspen, Radu furthered his studies under the guidance of Robert Spano, Larry Rachleff, Leonard Slatkin, Hugh Wolf, Patrick Summers and Frederico Cortese. During the summer of 2015, Radu also served as Assistant Conductor for the Aspen Opera Theater Center’s full production of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.

Radu is currently pursuing his Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting at the New England Conservatory in Boston, working privately with Hugh Wolff. While in Boston, Radu is also a Conductor Apprentice with the Handel&Haydn Society. Additionally, in May 2016, Radu conducted the world premiere of the opera The Summers Case by composer Sonnet Swire, recipient of the Charles Yves Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Since the fall of 2016, Radu divides his time between Boston and New York, where he serves on the conducting faculty for the Juilliard Pre-College Division.

An Inspirational Alumna

Katie Wyatt 2Katie Wyatt is an accomplished musician, executive and innovator in driving social change through music.

 In July 2010, Katie co-founded and assumed the post of Executive Director of Kidznotes, North Carolina’s premiere “El Sistema” inspired organization. Including her work in El Sistema, Katie is a national leader in the orchestra field in creating programs for access and opportunity for all people to experience the transformative power of music.

 She enjoys teaching “Music and Social Entrepreneurship” as adjunct faculty at Duke University, and as a violist has performed with chamber groups and orchestras around the world.

 Of her time at NRO, Katie says, “I attended in 2001, and I remember it kicked my butt! It was the first truly challenging, regular ‘professional’ orchestra experience for me. It felt like a professional orchestra, and I was inspired by my fellow attendees who treated it like a professional orchestra. As an undergrad, I performed for the first time with graduate and doctoral students from across the country, and with musicians who were beginning to take orchestra auditions. I remember well the young musicians who were my colleagues who have now gone on to do major things as soloists, conductors, and of course symphony orchestra musicians. I took advantage of the mountain setting and shipped my road bike out there – I rode and practiced hard every day. It was a wonderful summer!”

 Starting July 2016, Katie became the first Executive Director for El Sistema USA in a new partnership with Duke University. There she will champion the cause of El Sistema nationally while continuing to lead strategy and organizational development locally through Kidznotes.

 In July 2017, Kidznotes will announce a NEW Executive Director who will work with Katie to transition the organization into a new year of growth and opportunity!

 Learn more about the search for that position and learn how to apply for the position on the Kidznotes website, at http://www.kidznotes.org/edsearch.