Patricia Spencer, flute
Patricia Spencer enjoys a career full of historic highlights: her highly acclaimed New York premiere of the Elliott Carter flute concerto; her acclaimed US premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Kathinkas Gesang als Luzifers Requiem (staged scene for solo flute and electronic sounds); her Chinese premiere of Ge Gan-ru's flute concerto, Fairy Lady “Meng Jiang”; her world premiere of Shulamit Ran’s flute concerto, Voices — the list goes on and on. Solo CDs on the Neuma label, and countless chamber music CDs with the Da Capo Chamber Players. Dozens of composers have written flute works for her. She teaches flute and chamber music at Bard College/Conservatory and Hofstra University.
About the Elliott Carter Flute Concerto: “Ms. Spencer’s impressive performance had all the ‘beautiful qualities’ and ‘extraordinary agility’ Mr. Carter could have asked for.”
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
Curtis Macomber, violin
The playing of violinist Curtis Macomber was praised recently by The New York Times for its “thrilling virtuosity” and by Strad Magazine for its “panache”. He enjoys a varied and distinguished career as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher, and he has for several decades been recognized as one of this country’s foremost interpreters and proponents of new music.
Mr. Macomber’s extensive discography includes the complete Brahms and Grieg Sonatas; violin concertos by Martin Boykan and Laura Schwendinger; and hundreds of critically praised recordings of contemporary solo and chamber works.
His CD of Roger Sessions Solo Sonata was acclaimed by American Record Guide as “one of the best recordings of 20th-Century solo violin music ever made.” A solo CD entitled Songs of Solitude was named by the New York Observer as one of 1996’s best instrumental solo discs ("Macomber's intensely human fiddle...seems an entire universe, sufficient unto itself."). He has recorded for Nonesuch, Koch, Bridge, Arabesque, Naxos and Musical Heritage and Albany; he has performed, commissioned, and made first recordings of solo violin and chamber works by, among others, Carter, Davidovsky, Perle, Wuorinen, and Mackey.
Mr. Macomber is a founding member of the Apollo Piano Trio and a member of the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Manhattan String Quartet, the Walden Chamber Players and the New York Chamber Soloists. He was for many years the violinist of Speculum Musicae and has also appeared with the New York New Music Ensemble, Group for Contemporary Music, and in chamber music series across the country and in Europe. He has been a regular participant at La Musica in Sarasota, at the Yellow Barn Festival and at the Monadnock Music Festival.
As first violinist of the award-winning New World String Quartet for 11 years (1982-1993), Mr. Macomber performed the standard repertoire as well as numerous contemporary works in performances in major halls throughout the United States and Europe, and, with the Quartet, was appointed Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University from 1982-1990; with that group he also recorded 14 discs and performed numerous times on Public Radio and Television in this country, and the BBC in Great Britain.
Macomber is a longtime member of the chamber music faculty of The Juilliard School and the violin faculties of the Manhattan and Mannes Schools of Music, and has also taught at the Tanglewood Music Center and Taos School of Music. Other recent summer engagements have included Chamber Music Northwest and the Bard Festival. He holds his B.M., M.M., and D.M.A. degrees from the Juilliard School, where he was a scholarship student of Joseph Fuchs and winner of the Morris Loeb and Walter Naumburg Prizes.
Meighan Stoops, clarinet
Clarinetist Meighan Stoops considers herself privileged to be actively involved in both the classical and new-music realms as a solo, chamber, and orchestral performer. Since 2002 she has enjoyed tenure as a member of the Naumburg Award-winning Da Capo Chamber Players, which has commissioned and premiered over one hundred new works by American composers, toured nationally and internationally, and produced several critically acclaimed recordings. Luminous Spirals: The Chamber Music of Chinary Ung was named one of NPR’s Top 5 Contemporary Classical Recordings of 2010. As ensemble in residence at the extraordinarily creative community of Bard College and Conservatory for over thirty years, Da Capo continues to collaborate with student composers, performers, and distinguished faculty in the formation and performances of new works.
For several summers Stoops has been a member of the Walden School Players, the resident ensemble at the Walden School for Young Musicians in Dublin, New Hampshire. She is also certified as a Walden Musicianship teacher, emphasizing the fundamentals of music through creative engagement in improvisation and composition. She holds degrees from Northwestern and Yale where her teachers included Russell Dagon and David Shifrin and last year completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts at SUNY Stony Brook as a student of Alan Kay. Stoops currently serves as Music Director of the Calhoun School in Manhattan, where she fosters community involvement through inspired music making with students, parents, and faculty.
Chris Gross, cello
Chris Gross is an active performer in the New York contemporary classical scene, having premiered works by Pierre Boulez, John Zorn as well as Milton Babbitt's work for solo cello More Melismata. Following his performance of Brian Ferneyhough's Time and Motion Study II for cello and electronics, The New York Times wrote that "...for 20 minutes this skinny young cellist...seemed like a musical master of the universe...."
He is a founding member of the Talea Ensemble, whose recording of works by Faust Romitelli received recognition as one of the Top 10 Classical Albums of 2012 by TimeOut NY, and he has appeared as a guest with various ensembles including I.C.E., Cygnus, Flux Quartet, and at venues including Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Disney Hall, and Bargemusic.
Also active as an educator, Chris Gross is on faculty at Lehigh University and is a Teaching Artist with the New York Philharmonic. He has participated in numerous residencies at universities across the country, and given lectures on contemporary string performance at Harvard University and Brooklyn College. He is currently a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at The Juilliard School, completing his dissertation on the cello works of Charles Wuorinen.
Steve Beck, piano
Pianist Steven Beck continues to gather acclaim for his performances and recordings. Recent career highlights include performances of Beethoven’s variations and bagatelles at Bargemusic, where he first performed the Beethoven sonata cycle. In addition, this season he performs with the Orlando Philharmonic and repeats his annual performance of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” on Christmas Eve at the Barge; this has become a New York institution.
Steven Beck is an experienced performer of new music, having worked with Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez, Henri Dutilleux, Charles Wuorinen, George Crumb, George Perle, and Fred Lerdahl, and performed with ensembles such as Speculum Musicae and the New York New Music Ensemble. He is a member of the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Knights, and the Talea Ensemble. He is also a member of Quattro Mani, a piano duo specializing in contemporary music.
Mr. Beck’s discography includes Peter Lieberson's third piano concerto (for Bridge Records) and a recording of Elliott Carter’s Double Concerto on Albany Records. The debut CD of his chamber ensemble “Pleasure is the Law” was released on Boston Records in 2009.