Blair Milton, Summer Violin Institute Director
Blair Milton joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1975 and four years later became a founding member of the Evanston Chamber Ensemble. As the founder of the Winter Chamber Music Festival, now in its 25th season, he has performed with Daniel Barenboim, Gil Shaham, Menahem Pressler, Yo-Yo Ma, Pinchas Zukerman, Lynn Harrell, Arnold Steinhardt and Janos Starker, among others. He has appeared on the Ravinia Festival Chamber Music Series and Chicago Symphony Orchestra Artist Series, as soloist with the Chicago String Ensemble and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Georg Solti. A member of Northwestern University’s violin faculty since 1984, Mr. Milton was director of the string program for Northwestern’s National High School Music Institute from 1998-2010.
In 2011, he established the Summer Violin Institute, which is held each summer.
He has given master classes across the United States as well as in South America, Germany, and Japan. A student of Josef Gingold at Indiana University, where he earned a master’s degree, Mr. Milton also studied with Ivan Galamian and former CSO concertmaster Sidney Harth.
Paul Kantor is currently the Sally Shepherd Perkins Professor of Violin at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University having previously served as the Eleanor H. Biggs Distinguished Professor of Violin at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard studying violin with Dorothy DeLay and chamber music with Robert Mann. For thirteen years he served as Chair of the String Department at the University of Michigan and has taught at the Juilliard School, the New England Conservatory, and Yale University. He continues as Artist in Residence at the Glenn Gould School of Music/ Royal Conservatory of Music since his appointment in 2008. Along with his son, violinist Timothy Kantor, he founded and directs the Gabriel Del Orbe Violin Program in the Dominican Republic.
Additionally, he has presented master classes at the Starling-Delay Symposium, Indiana University, the Eastman School, the University of Southern California and the New World Symphony, among others. His students consistently win major awards at important violin competitions including the Indianapolis, Montreal, Stulberg, Buenos Aires, Klein, and Fischoff.
For the past 37 years, he has been on the Artist/Faculty of the Aspen Music Festival & School where he has been concertmaster of both the Festival Orchestra and the Chamber Symphony. He has performed as soloist with numerous symphony orchestras as well as serving as concertmaster of the New Haven Symphony, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra and the Great Lakes Festival Orchestra. Kantor was a member of The New York and Lenox string quartets, the Berkshire Chamber Players and the National Musical Arts Chamber Ensemble in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Kantor has performed the world premieres of Dan Welcher’s Violin Concerto, (subsequently recorded with Larry Rachleff and Symphony II) as well as John Corigliano’s “Red Violin Caprices”. His recordings can be found on the labels of Equilibrium, CRI, Delos and Mark Records. In 2014 he was honored with the Artist Teacher Award from the American String Teachers Association.
Violinist I-Hao Lee’s active teaching career has culminated in notable achievements by his students – top prizes at the Queen Elisabeth, Young Concert Artists, Sarasate, Sion-Valais(Tibor Varga), Cooper, Postacchini International Competitions, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and performances with major orchestras such as the Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Mariinsky orchestra.Lee has given master classes throughout the U.S., China and Taiwan, and has taught violin and chamber music at Manhattanville College and the Great Mountains Music Festival and School.
Born in Yilan, Taiwan, Lee received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School, and his Doctor of Musical Arts from Stony Brook University. His major teachers include Dorothy DeLay and Hyo Kang.
Currently, Lee is a faculty member at The Juilliard School, DePaul University and the Music Institute of Chicago. He also teaches at the Meadowmount School of Music and the Summer Violin Institute at Northwestern University.
An artist deeply dedicated to the range of violin and chamber music repertoire, violinist Violaine Melançon serves on the violin and chamber music faculties of the Peabody Conservatory, and is Visiting Professor at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University. She was for thirty years the founding violinist of the Peabody Trio which was ensemble-in-residence at the Peabody Conservatory from 1987 to 2016. After winning the prestigious Naumburg Chamber Music Award in 1989, the Peabody Trio established itself as an important presence in the chamber music world as vivid interpreters of the classics of the repertoire, advocates for new music, and dedicated teachers and mentors to a generation of young musicians. As a member of the Peabody Trio, Ms. Melançon gave a New York debut in 1990 at Alice Tully Hall and has performed in the most important chamber music series in North America, including New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, Denver, Vancouver, Montreal, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Indianapolis, Dallas, Honolulu, Memphis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Portland, St. Louis, Boston and Philadelphia. With them, Ms. Melançon toured internationally, frequently performing in England, making repeat appearances at London’s Wigmore Hall, and in Japan and Israel.
She has a special affection for the music of today and is a serious interpreter of works of Gyorgy Kurtag, Mauricio Kagel and Zhou Long. The Israeli composer Shulamit Ran wrote a violin concerto for her and she has premiered several works by other leading composers. Among the artists with whom she enjoys collaborating are pianists Leon Fleisher, Gilbert Kalish and Peter Frankl, soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson, and violist Roger Tapping.During the spring of 2012, she presented the complete works for solo violin by J.S. Bach. She performs recitals annually, exploring unusual gems of the solo and violin-piano duo repertoire. Ms. Melançon is from Québec, Canada. After receiving First Prize in violin at the Conservatoire de Musique, she continued her studies with Ivan Galamian at the Curtis Institute of Music, with Isadore Tinkleman at the San Francisco Conservatory and with Arthur Grumiaux in Belgium. While at Curtis, she was a member of the Nisaika Quartet, prize winner of the 8th International String Quartet competition in Evian, France. Ms. Melançon is also the recipient of many awards for solo performance including the 1984 Prix d’Europe. In 1983, she formed the Knopp-Melançon Duo, an artistic collaboration which would eventually expand to become the Peabody Trio. In 1987, as a result of having been appointed USIA Artistic Ambassadors, the duo toured abroad extensively and made their Washington, DC debut at the Kennedy Center. Since then, her activities as a chamber musician, soloist with orchestras, and teacher have taken her to major music centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Japan.
She has participated in many summer festivals as violinist, teacher and guest artists, including those of Tanglewood, Ravinia, Skaneateles, Rockport, Orford, and Domaine Forget. She gives yearly masterclasses at the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, and teaches regularly at NOI, the National Orchestral Institute and Festival. For many years, she has served on the faculty of Yellow Barn (www.yellowbarn.org), an international gathering of artists who meet each summer to explore the vast riches of the chamber music repertoire. Violaine Melançon’s performances can be heard on the Naxos, Artek, CRI, and New World Records labels.
Gerardo Ribeiro has appeared throughout the world as featured soloist with major orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and the Gulbenkian Orchestra of Lisbon. His numerous awards in prestigious international competitions include first prizes at the Vianna da Motta in Lisbon and the Maria Canals in Barcelona. Prior to joining the Northwestern University faculty as professor of violin, Mr. Ribeiro was associate professor of violin at the Eastman School of Music. He records for the EMI and RCA labels, having released several concerto CDs; his RCA recordings include the Brahms Violin Concerto and Double Concerto, the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Radio Orchestras of Hannover and Berlin as well as the violin sonatas of Beethoven and Brahms. Ribeiro has earned high acclaim for his tours of the former Soviet Union, South America and China. He joined the Meadowmount School of Music faculty the summer of 2004, and has served as artistic director of the International Chamber Music Institute in Munich and has performed at the Marlboro and Lucerne International Music Festivals. Mr. Ribeiro is also on the faculties of Midwest Young Artists and Music Institute of Chicago. He is currently Co-Chair of the Department of Music Performance and Coordinator of the Strings Program.
Violinist Janet Sung enjoys an acclaimed international career as a virtuoso soloist, recognized for heintense, exhilarating performances, and by her signature lustrous, burnished tone. Hailed by The Washington Post for her “riveting” playing and “exquisite tone”, her playing possesses the rare blend of fierce intelligence, subtlety and brilliant virtuosity.Since her orchestral debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony at age 9, she has performed with leading orchestras and in recitals worldwide. Recent seasons has seen her as soloist with, among others, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Aspen Festival Chamber Symphony and the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, as well as the orchestras of Boise, Bozeman, Corpus Christi, Delaware, Dubuque, Fargo-Moorhead, Hartford, Las Cruces, Springfield (Massachusetts and Ohio), Tacoma and Wyoming. Abroad, she has been heard with South Korea’s Pusan Philharmonic Orchestra, Germany’s Stelzen Festival Orchestra and Russia’s Omsk Philharmonic Orchestra and National Symphonic Orchestra of Bashkortostan. An artist of remarkable versatility, Ms. Sung is celebrated for her compelling performances of traditional works from Bach to Berg, and is passionate about promoting works of the 20th and 21st centuries. In recent years, she has performed repertoire as diverse as Henri Dutilleux’s Violin Concerto, L’Arbes des Songes, to Astor Piazzolla’s Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas. In 2009, Ms. Sung presented the world premiere of Kenneth Fuchs’ American Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra, and, in 2011, the world premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’ Double Helix, which was recently released on Nimbus Records. Additionally, she has toured throughout the United States with fiddler Mark O’Connor’s American String Celebration, showcased in performances of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen, and original compositions by O’Connor. Her solo performances have frequently been aired on radio and television, nationally and internationally, including multiple broadcasts of her performance of Korngold’s Violin Concerto on NPR’s “Performance Today,” and regular featured performances on Chicago’s WFMT. She is featured on recordings of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1, the latter with members of the Gewandhaus Orchestra recorded at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany. Her latest recording project will include the complete works by J.S. Bach for Violin and Keyboard with pianist and Bach specialist, Sean Duggan. In recital, Janet Sung has been presented in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Louisville, New York City and Pittsburgh, as well as in Odense, Denmark, Lausanne, Switzerland and Queenstown, New Zealand. She is frequently heard as concerto and recital soloist at distinguished festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival, Bellingham Festival, Britt Festival, Hot Springs Music Festival, Sewanee Summer Music Festival, Germany’s Sulzbach-Rosenberg International Music Festival, and Switzerland’s Lucerne Festival. She is also a performing artist at numerous chamber music festivals, including the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Kreeger Chamber Music Festival in Washington, D.C., the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, and the Newport Music Festival, and is a regular guest with the Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble and the American Chamber Players, which tour nationally. Janet Sung was chosen by Leonard Slatkin as the recipient of the Passamaneck Award, for which she performed at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Hall for the Y Music Society Concert Series. Born in New York City, Janet Sung began her violin studies at age seven, making her public debut the following year. At age nine, she began a decade of private studies with renowned violinist and pedagogue, Josef Gingold, a period that overlapped with her attendance at Harvard University. She graduated with honors earning a double degree in anthropology and music, a reflection of her inquisitive passion and curiosity. Ms. Sung was subsequently invited to study on full scholarship with Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School. Other influential teachers include Masao Kawasaki, David Cerone, Eugene Phillips and the Juilliard String Quartet. Currently Associate Professor of Violin and Strings Coordinator at the DePaul University School of Music in Chicago, Ms. Sung is a highly sought-after artist-teacher and regularly conducts master classes at conservatories throughout the U.S. and abroad. She also serves as associate faculty at The Juilliard School (initially as the Starling/DeLay Fellow). During the 2003-2004 season, she was invited as the Clifton Visiting Artist at Harvard University for the “Learning from Performers” program, whose previous guests included Isaac Stern, James Galway, Mark Morris and Quincy Jones. Janet Sung plays a c.1600 Maggini violin crafted in Brescia, Italy.