Back to Home - Catskill High Peaks Festival Facebook Link Email

The Catskill High Peaks Festival welcomes some of the most esteemed artists in the performance world today.

^ Video Credit: Arthur Dominguez
Yehuda Hanani
Yehuda Hanani
Cello and Artistic Director
Yehuda Hanani's charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and reengagements across the globe. An extraordinary recitalist, he is equally renowned for performances with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Welsh Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among others. He has been a guest at Aspen, Bowdoin, Chautauqua, Marlboro, Yale at Norfolk, Round Top (TX), Great Lakes, and Grand Canyon festivals, Finland Festival, Great Wall (China), Leicester (England), Ottawa, Prades (France), Oslo, and Australia Chamber Music festivals, and has collaborated in performances with preeminent fellow musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Itzhak Perlman, Vadim Repin, Dawn Upshaw, Shlomo Mintz, Yefim Bronfman, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon, Amernet, and Manhattan quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano, as well as members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Borromeo, and Emerson. In New York City, Yehuda Hanani has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully, and the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rodgers Auditorium. His pioneering recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and his other discs have won wide recognition. On CD and in live performances, he has premiered works of Nicolai Miaskovsky, Lukas Foss, Leo Ornstein, Joan Tower, Paul Schoenfield, Osvaldo Golijov, Jorge Martín, and Bernard Rands, among other composers. Mr. Hanani has been committed to extending the range of the cello repertoire and to collaborating with performers in many artistic realms, including actors Jane Alexander, Richard Chamberlain and Sigourney Weaver. Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, he presents masterclasses internationally at conservatories and for orchestras, including the Juilliard School, University of Indiana at Bloomington, New England Conservatory, McGill University, Peabody Conservatory, Paris Conservatoire, Berlin Hochschule für Music, Royal Academy of Music in London, Tokyo National University, Jerusalem Academy of Music, Guildhall School in London, Central Conservatory of Shanghai and Central Conservatory of Beijing, and the New World Symphony in Miami. His engaging chamber music with commentary series, Close Encounters With Music, has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Calgary, Scottsdale, the Berkshires, and at the Frick Collection in New York City. A three-time recipient of the Martha Baird Rockefeller grant, Mr. Hanani’s studies were with Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School and with Pablo Casals. His best-selling recording of the Unaccompanied Bach Suites has become a standard-setter, and of his recent Naxos CD with the National Symphony of Ireland Fanfare Magazine wrote: “Renowned cellist Yehuda Hanani, great virtuoso that he is, handles this with astounding aplomb…This is certainly a splendid release, and should by no means be passed up.” Aimed at outreach for classical music, his weekly program on NPR affiliate station WAMC Northeast Radio, “Classical Music According to Yehuda,” has gained thousands of fans for the direct broadcast and podcast. A recent addition to his concert activities and educational mission is the founding of the High Peaks Festival, a teaching and chamber music festival in Rensselaerville, New York. Soloist, chamber musician, master teacher, essayist, and ambassador for the arts, Yehuda Hanani illuminates and enlightens audiences on the essence of music.

"One of the most polished performers of the post-Starker generation and a consistently expressive artist..."
-- The New York Times

Alexander Baillie is internationally recognized as one of the finest cellists of his generation. He began playing the cello at the comparatively late age of twelve having been directly inspired by the late Jacqueline du Pré. He went on to study at London's Royal College of Music and with André Navarra in Vienna. He has appeared with many British orchestras and has worked with Sir Simon Rattle, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and has appeared regularly as cello soloist in concertos, recitals and festivals throughout the world. He has given notable first performances of works by Penderecki, Hans Werner Henze, Takemitsu, Colin Matthew and H.K.Gruber. Recordings include the Tippett Triple Concerto with the composer conducting and the Shostakovich First Concerto with Benjamin Zander and the Boston Philharmonic. His version of the Britten Cello Suites achieved the highest acclaim in the New York press. He features in the film "Dvorak...who?" about the motivation for young people falling in love with classical music. Together with pianist partner James Lisney he has been promoting the Beethoven Project in England and Germany. He is Professor of Cello at the Hochschule für Künste, Bremen and founder member of "Gathering of the Clans" Cello School.

Alexander Baillie
Alexander Baillie, cello

Vincent Beer-Demander, mandolin

French mandolinist and composer Vincent Beer-Demander has carved out a remarkable career performing on one of the rarer instruments to be heard in concert halls. Born in 1982, he quickly accumulated diplomas and awards (more than ten first prizes) in European competitions. He is a regular collaborator of l'Orchestre National de France, l'Orchestre National de Lyon, l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, l’Orchestre National de Toulouse, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, l'Orchestre National de Montpellier, l'Orchestre National de Nice, l’Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, l’Orchestre du CNSM de Paris, l'Orchestre Philarmonique de Marseille, l’Opéra de Toulon Provence Méditérranée, l'Opéra National de Paris–Bastille, Romania National Orchestra and Minsk Philharmonic. As a composer, he has produced a vast array of pieces, published by the Oz musical library (Canada), Mundoplectro (Spain) and Trekel (Germany); and his discography, filled with popular and contemporary works, reflects his musical eclecticism. With a degree in ancient instruments, he is a professor at the National Conservatory of Marseille in France and at the Royal Conservatory of Liège in Belgium. He frequently collaborates with such well-known musicians as Pierre Henri Xuereb, Philippe Muller, Patrick Gallois, Emmanuelle Bertrand, Dejan Bogdavovic, Hélène Dautry, Ricardo Sandoval, Fabrice Pierre, Yehuda Hanani and Nana Mouskouri. Composers Vladimir Cosma, Claude Bolling, Francis Lai , Jean Claude Petit, Richard Galliano, Hamilton de Holanda, François Rossé, and Félix Ibbarondo, have dedicated their mandolin concertos to him.

"… His creations reflect his musical versatility and virtuosity. Through a rich repertoire and a renewed vision of the mandolin, it helps to highlight this remarkable instrument."
–François Hollande, Président of the French Republic

"... The greatest mandolin player of the world, that is Vincent Beer-Demander!"
–Vladimir Cosma, composer

Pianist Michael Chertock (CCM) has toured Asia with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops, Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and is a regular performer at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Blossom Music Center in Cleveland, and the Grand Tetons Music Festival in Wyoming. He has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, L’Orchestre Symphonique du Montreal, the Toronto Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Utah Symphony, and the Indianapolis Symphony, collaborating with such conductors as James Conlon, Jaime Laredo and Keith Lockhart. His performance on the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Petrouchka with Paavo Jarvi turned in rave reviews in Gramophone and American Record Guide. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1999 with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, performing Duke Ellington’s New World A’Comin’. In 2005, he gave the world premiere of Todd Machover’s concerto for hyper-piano and orchestra, Jeux Deux, in Boston’s Symphony Hall.
Michael Chertock
Michael Chertock, piano


Mikael Darmanie
Mikael Darmanie, piano
Mikael Darmanie has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. As a soloist, he has participated and won prizes in a number of regional and international competitions. Festival appearances have included Pianofest in the Hamptons, Art of Piano Festival, and L'Acadèmie de Musique de Sion (Switzerland). He recently performed in master classes for Leon Fleisher, Paul Schenly, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Jerome Lowenthal, Joseph Kalichstein, and Menahem Pressler. As a member of the Transverse Trio, he won First Prize in the North Carolina MTNA Chamber Music Competition. He has appeared at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music as part of the Apple Hill Fellowship Trio, and on the Taft Museum of Art Chamber Music Series (Cincinnati) with members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Since his debut as a conductor with the Carolina Chamber Symphony in 2008, he has performed throughout the U.S., conducting various piano concerti from the keyboard and symphonic works by Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Haydn and Liszt. An active composer, primarily for piano, he also performs his music. He is currently a doctoral student at SUNY Stony Brook under the guidance of Gilbert Kalish and teaches undergraduate piano and music history and coaches chamber music.

Cellist Paul Dwyer brings to life everything from early music on baroque cello to brand new works by young composers. He has been prize winner of numerous competitions and is the recipient of the Javits Fellowship and Presser Award. He has appeared as soloist and chamber musician at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, and has performed with pianist Menahem Pressler, principal players of Apollo’s Fire, and artist-faculty of the Juilliard School and Aspen Music Festival as well as in ensembles such as the Handel & Haydn Society Orchestra, the ACRONYM ensemble and the DSQ. As a Fulbright Fellow, Mr. Dwyer studied privately with Anner Bylsma and Frances-Marie Uitti in Amsterdam. He holds a BM degree from Oberlin Conservatory and a DMA from the University of Michigan and recently completed additional graduate studies in historical performance at Juilliard. His explorations on the cello began as he was growing up in Vienna and Munich where, as a teenager, he co-founded a cello quartet dedicated to heavy metal music.  

Paul Dwyer
Paul Dwyer, cello

DeYeon Kim
DoYeon Kim, cello
A native of South Korea, cellist DoYeon Kim has won first prize in the Adrian Boyer Competition, the 34th Music Education Journal Competition and the Grand Rapids Federation of Musicians Madura Scholarship Competition.  She has performed as a soloist with the Bayview Music Festival Orchestra and Acronym Baroque and has been a guest performer with the chamber series Close Encounters With Music in Great Barrington. International summer festivals have included The Quartet Program, Bowdoin and Aspen. Kim completed her Bachelor’s degree in Cello Performance at the University of Cincinnati in the studio of Yehuda Hanani, a Master of Music degree in Cello Performance at the Eastman School of Music in the studio of Alan Harris and is now pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Cincinnati as a teaching assistant. An avid chamber musician, she has worked with members of the Ying, American, Shanghai, Ariel, and Cavani quartets, and is a member of the Dante Deo Trio which was founded at the Eastman School of Music in 2012 and Miclot Production chamber society based in New York City.  She recently made her New York debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall as first prize winner of the 2016 American Protege International Strings and Piano Competition.   She has been a scholarship fellow and music coordinator of Catskill High Peaks Music Festival since 2014 and now joins the faculty.
Praised by the Boston Globe as “not just a virtuoso, but an artist,” Romanian violinist Irina Muresanu has won the hearts of audiences and critics alike with her exciting, elegant and heartfelt performances of the classic, romantic and modern repertoire. She achieved early international acclaim as an outstanding young soloist, recitalist and chamber musician winning top prizes in several prestigious international violin competitions including the Montreal, Queen Elizabeth, Pro Musicis, Presser Music Award, and the Arthur Foote Award from the Harvard Musical Association. Recent solo engagements include appearances with the Boston Pops, Miami Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (Geneva), Syracuse Symphony, Metropolitan Orchestra (Montreal), the Transvaal Philharmonic (Pretoria, S. Africa), Romanian National Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Radio Flamande (Brussels), and the Boston Philharmonic. In 2013, Muresanu introduced her “Four Strings Around the World” project, a solo violin recital featuring works of composers inspired by various musical cultures around the world. In November 2015 she received a Creative and Performing Arts Award from the University of Maryland that will allow the commissioning of new works for this project. Her recent recording releases include the Thomas Oboe Lee’s Violin Concerto (dedicated to Ms. Muresanu) on the BMOP label and the complete William Bolcom Violin and Piano Sonatas on the Centaur label with pianist Michael Lewin. An active chamber musician and recitalist, Ms. Muresanu is a member of the Boston Trio. Festival appearances have included Bay Chambers and Bowdoin in Maine, Strings in the Mountains and San Juan Music Festival in Colorado, Maui Chamber Music Festival in Hawaii, Festival van de Leie in Belgium, and the Renncontres des Musiciennes Festival in France. Irina Muresanu currently serves on the faculty the University of Maryland and Boston Conservatory and has taught in the Harvard and MIT music departments. She received an Artist Diploma degree and a Doctor in Musical Arts degree from the New England Conservatory. She plays an 1849 Giuseppe Rocca violin and an Etienne Pajeot bow.

Irina Muresanu, violin

Adriane Post, violin, viola
Adriane Post, baroque violin and viola, became interested in Historical Performance during her studies at Oberlin, where she learned and subsequently and fell in love with the Baroque Violin. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, studying both modern and baroque violin under the tutelage of Marilyn McDonald, and a Master of Music degree from Juilliard, studying with Monica Huggett. As a member of New Trinity Baroque, Adriane toured the US, UK, Sweden, Finland and Serbia, appearing at festivals such as Piccolo Spoleto (USA), Sastamala Gregoriana (Finland) and the International Early Music Festival in Belgrade (Serbia). She has also played with other Baroque groups such as Apollo’s Fire, Publick Musick, Oberlin Baroque Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society, Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra, The Knights, Passamezzo Moderno, Burlington Chamber Orchestra, and Arcadia Players. Her diverse musical interests have led her to take part in contemporary music, baroque, and jazz; and she has played in a variety of different ensemble settings, including the Oberlin Contemporary Ensemble, and the Eliot String Quartet, of which she was a founding member. She studied in Boston with Nicolas Kitchen of New England Conservatory, and in France with Regis Pasquier of the Paris Conservatory, where she additionally pursued her interest in languages, studying music and French for a year abroad in Paris. A native of Burlington, Vermont, Adriane now resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Miki Sawada
Miki Sawada, piano
Pianist Miki Sawada's 2016-17 performances have included solo recitals in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Asia, as well as chamber music tours in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. Miki’s performances have been featured at venues and occasions such as: Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center Stage, Chicago Symphony Center’s Macy’s Day of Music, Helsinki Music Centre, Spectrum NYC, Salon de Virtuosi (NYC), the Oneppo Chamber Music Series at Yale, PianoFest in the Hamptons, and radio stations WQXR (NYC) and WFMT (Chicago). As a proponent of new music, Ms. Sawada has premiered more than 50 new works by her contemporaries including works written for her, and also commissions new works for beginning chamber music students through her project NewMusic4Us. She serves on the faculty of Point CounterPoint chamber music camp, and has served as staff accompanist for the string department at Yale Scohol of Music. She holds degrees from Yale School of Music, Eastman School of Music, and Northwestern University.

Pierre Henri Xuereb
Michael Strauss, viola
Known for his “rich tone and lyrical acumen” (Chicago Tribune), violist Michael Strauss has performed around the world in chamber music and symphonic settings. Since his debut with the Minnesota Orchestra in 1990, he has appeared as soloist with orchestras across the United States. For 18 years, he served as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra principal violist where he was featured as a soloist or collaborator in duo roles nearly every season. As a member of the distinguished Fine Arts Quartet, he performed at the Schleswig-Holstein, Bayreuth and Montpellier festivals in Europe. Summer festivals include LaJolla, Caramoor, Banff, Sewanee, Crested Butte, Long Lake, Indiana University Summer Evenings of Music, Eastern Music Festival and the Beijing International Music Festival & Academy. His recordings can be found on the labels of I Virtuosi (debut of Jennifer Higdon’s Viola Sonata with pianist Hugh Sung), CRI (David Finko’s Viola Concerto and 20th century chamber music works with the Philadelphia-based Orchestra 2001), Lyrinx (Mozart’s complete viola quintets with the Fine Arts Quartet), and Centaur (Stamitz’s works for solo viola with orchestra). A sought-out teacher, Strauss has joined the faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He previously held faculty positions at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Swarthmore College, DePauw University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Butler University and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. A native of Iowa, Strauss studied with William Preucil, John Graham and Karen Tuttle, receiving additional training at Mannes College of Music and the Banff Centre for the Arts. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and performs on a viola made by Matteo Albani from Bolzano, Italy in 1704.
Violist Pierre Henri Xuereb (Paris Conservatoire) has performed internationally as a soloist and chamber musician, appearing with musicians such as Natalia Gutman, Eugène Istomin, Christian Ivaldi, Oleg Kagan, Gary Karr, Vladimir Mendelssohn, Janos Starker, and Walter Trampler, among others. He has made regular appearances on TV and in radio broadcasts and has recorded works of Ernest Bloch, Erwin Schulhoff, Arthur Honegger and Toru Takemitsu for Harmonia Mundi, Calliope, and Deutsche Grammophon. Mr. Xuereb is professor of viola at the Paris Conservatoire and at the Ecole Nationale de Musique in Gennevilliers. He regularly performs and teaches at international summer academies and festivals, including Académie de Courchevel, Festival Pablo Casals (Prades), Hamptons Music Institute, the Flanders Academy, in Choggia, Italy, and at the Johannesen International School of the Arts in Victoria, British Columbia. From 1991 to 1998, Mr. Xuereb was artistic director of the Florence Gould Hall Chamber Players in New York City. He is a member of the Patrick Gallois Quintet and an enthusiastic promoter of contemporary music with the members of Ensemble Alternance and the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris. One of the last students of the great William Primrose, at the age of sixteen, he was awarded First Prize in Viola at the Paris Conservatoire, where he now teaches. His chamber music collaborations have been with many prestigious ensembles and orchestras—the Audubon, Enesco, Muir, Orlando, Parisii, Rosamonde and Talich quartets; Orchestre lyrique Région Alpes-Provence; Israel Sinfonietta, and Belgrade Chamber Orchestra.

Pierre Henri Xuereb
Pierre Henri Xuereb, viola
Violinist Peter Zazofsky (Boston University) enjoys a richly varied career that includes performances with many of the great orchestras in America and Europe, recitals in major music centers, and recordings and tours as first violinist of the Muir String Quartet. A native of Boston, he studied with Joseph Silverstein and Dorothy Delay, before entering the Curtis Institute, where he studied with Ivan Galamian and Jaime Laredo. Graduating in 1976, Zazofsky went on to win top prizes in several international violin contests, including the 1979 Montreal Competition and 1980 Queen Elisabeth in Brussels. Since then he has performed repeatedly with the Boston Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra,  Minnesota Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic among many others, as well as the San Francisco Symphony, who also featured him on tour in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Long committed to teaching, Zazofsky holds the position of Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Boston University.
Peter Zazofsky
Peter Zazofsky, violin
top ^

Catskill High Peaks Festival   PO Box 34  Great Barrington, MA  01230 
Toll-free 800-843-0778 / email:

Donations are made through Close Encounters With Music a non-profit organization.  
Your contributions are tax exempt to the amount permitted by law.

Site designed and maintained by Shadoworks Web Design by Sharon

Facebook link